Have you Ever Heard about Doran? Here Come da’ Judge!


Dorans Rapids

Today I saw mention of a small hamlet called Doran near  Perth. Even though I studied long and hard for the last Lanark County Genealogical Society Bus tour of 2015 somehow that name had escaped me. So as Janet Dowdall reminded me on Saturday I became obsessed  focused with finding out about the community.

Dorans Rapids is located on the Fall River in Lot 2, Concession 9, of the Bathurst Ward and these mills were owned at once owned Alvah Adams, son of Joshua Adams of Adamsville (Glen Tay). Later, they were owned by William Doran and the saw mill and grist mill became known as the Village of Doran. John Doran was also the postmaster of Doran in 1857 and became Warden of Lanark County from 1869-70.


The St. George Hotel had a direct relationship to the ececonomicc and social development of Perth. Constructed in 1830 by John Doran–Perth Remembered

William Doran advertised about the sawmill and grist mill in the Village of Doran in  November 1862 of the Perth Courier. He mentoned John was to let ‘his grist mill in the 9 Township of Bathurst, containing three run of stones, and one of the best Smut Machines in the Province. Also in that offer was his sawmill and two upright saws, one edging saw and shingle machine.  It was  said that both mills were new, well fitted up, and in good working order; and either or both would be leased to a respectable person.’

John Doran, became a stipendiary magistrate, registrar, and judge of the Division Court in the District of Nipissing, dates his birth at Perth, county of Lanark, Out., January 10, 1826. His parents were John Doran, senior, who came from Wexford, Ireland, alone, when quite young, and was a merchant at Perth; and Mary McGarry, who was from the county of West Meath, Ireland. His father died at Perth in 1850; his mother is still living, being in her 76th year.

Judge Doran was educated in the Perth grammar school; at an early age became a clerk in his father’s store, holding that situation for 14 years, and when the latter died, the son suceeded him, and had a successful business career, retiring at the end of a dozen years. While a resident of Perth, he took an active part in municipal matters and public enterprises; was for nineteen years in succession a member of the town council; was also reeve for several years, and was warden of the united counties of Lanark and Renfrew, in 1854 and in 1868, after the separation of these counties, was warden of Lanark. Few men have ever done more or better work in the municipalities of these counties while united, than Judge Doran. He was appointed magistrate in 1851.

In 1869 the Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald appointed him to the offices which he now holds, his residence being at Pembroke, county of Renfrew, since 1870. His courts are held quarterly, at Mattawa, a hundred miles from Pembroke.

The Judge is chairman of the Roman Catholic separate school trustees, and of the General Hospital committee, and was chairman of the building committee, when the Roman Catholic church, at Pembroke, was in the process of erection. He is a man of much public spirit, being at one time a director of the Brockville and Ottawa, now Canada Central railway. His politics are Reform, and he was an unsuccessful candidate, some years ago, for Parliament.

In 1867, the  Judge married Miss Mary Philomena Lynn, of Eganville, county of Renfrew, and they have four children living, and have buried one son. The Judge is a man of very kindly disposition, generous hearted and a warm friend of the poor.

DORAN from Fuller’s directory for 1866 and 1867 

A small post village situated in the Township of Bathurst, and 
County of Lanark, near the line of the Brockville and Ottawa 
Railway. It is distant from Perth, the County Town, 15 miles, 
and has a population of about 50. 

Crossen, James F., miller 
Doran, Michael, accountant 

Doran, William, postmaster, mill owner, and general merchant 
McDonald, Allan A., hotel keeper 
Thompson, James, shingle manufacturer 
Tucker, John, sawyer


On September 23, 1866 the United County was dissolved and the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew established as separate municipalities. Daniel Galbraith (1812-1879) was elected the first Warden of Lanark County. Perth continued to serve as the County Seat for Lanark. The Township Reeves comprising that first Lanark County Council were; Bathurst – William Lees (1821-1903) Beckwith – Patrick Struthers (1830-1927) Burgess – M. Stanley Dalhousie & Lavant – William Purdon (1804-1896) Drummond – Abraham Code (1828-1898) Elmsley – Duncan McGregor Lanark – James Affleck (1813-1893) Montague – John McGill Chambers (b.1805) Pakenham – Young Scott (1803-1880) Ramsay – Daniel Galbraith (1812-1879) Darling – Peter Guthrie (1826-1914) South Sherbrooke – Thomas Moore (1826-1887) Town of Perth – John Doran (b.1826) Smiths Falls – J.H. Gould Lanark Village – William Robertson (1823-1903)

Perth Courier, Jan. 19, 1872

We are glad to see the ever welcome face of our old townsman, John Doran, once more among us.  Mr. Doran brought his family with him from Pembroke and intends remaining here about a week before returning home

Perth Courier, August 30, 1872

On Sunday, 18th inst., 3 men started from the mill premise of William Doran, Esq., at Doran Village up the river for Maberly.  There men were named James Robertson and his brother who was lately arrived from Glasgow, Scotland, and Archibald Kane.  They proceeded up the river in a flat bottomed boat to Maberly, a distance of four miles.  The three men remained there all day Sunday until dark and during their stay they drank considerable liquor until all three were intoxicated, especially James Robertson.  At about dark, they started back to Doran, but not until Robertson (deceased) had to be helped into the boat so much was he under the influence of liquor.  They had proceeded down the river until within a short distance of Doran when through some misadventure the boat capsized and all three were thrown into the water.  The younger Robertson and Kan managed to reach the shore but James Robertson sank immediately and never rose again until the grappling hooks brought his lifeless body to the surface of the water.  The two man, after getting ashore, wandered about in the woods until about 2:00 Sunday morning when they came to the residence of the deceased and gave the alarm.  Immediate search was made for the body but not until nearly sundown was it recovered with the fatal bottle of whiskey in one of the coat pockets that must have helped to drag him down to the muddy bottom of the stream.  Mr. Doran with the assistance of the neighbors conveyed the body to its late home and washed and dressed it.  The funeral took place the next day to the burial ground on the 6th Line Bathurst.  Deceased was a miller by trade, having worked with Mr. Doran in that capacity for the past year.  Previous to that he had been employed in the Moffat Mill in Pembroke for nearly ten years.  He always bore a good character being industrious, kind and obliging in manner except when under the influence of liquor.  Deceased’s family is left in particular unfortunate circumstances there being a wife and seven small children the youngest only two months old—wholly unprovided for, to mourn his loss

Perth Courier, January 6, 1899

The saddest news we have to record this week is the death of our old townsman Judge William Doran of North Burgess which occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at his residence in that town.  His age was about 63 years. Judge Doran was born in the town of Perth and was the son of John Doran, native of County Wexford, Ireland.  The family was a large one and the boys unusually strong, hearty and vigorous and it is sad and also strange to realize that not one of the list of stalwart youths and then grown up men who were so well known in town and country 20 to 50 years ago are alive today.  Of these men two of them, John and William, rose to prominence as public men; both were Liberal candidates at parliamentary elections and both became judges of the Nipissing District by appointment of the Ontario government.

The Doran family were cousins of Messrs. William, Alexander, and Patrick McGarry of Drummond and the late Rev. Father Stafford of Lindsay, Tobias of Renfrew, Thomas of Lanark Township, Henry of Almonte and John of Perth (the last two deceased).  Judge William Doran married Miss McRae of Wolfe Island and leaves behind him his widow and a family of sons and daughters.  He also leaves one sister Maggie who is a nun in Hotel Dieu, Kingston.  Deceased owned a saw mill in Rokeby(?), S. Sherbrooke for some years and gave up that business to accept the judgeship of Nipissing District, a position which he filled with efficiency.  About 1878 he was chosen the Liberal candidate for S. Lanark for the Ontario legislature and made the best fight any Liberal ever made in this Conservative hive going to within 169 of victory.  His opponent was the late Abraham Code.  Judge Doran was a genial, whole hearted man.  He was a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Perth Courier, August 5, 1870

Legarce-Hall—Married, at Doran’s Mills on the 19th July, by the Rev. Dr. Chisholm of Perth, Mr. Joseph Legarce to Miss Rose Ann Hall, both of Dalhousie

1852 Census of Canada
11 Doran, John Merchant Canada West Roman Catholic 27 M
12 Doran, James Merchant Canada West Roman Catholic 25 M
13 Doran, Wm Merchant Canada West Roman Catholic 21 M
14 Doran, Michel Law Student Canada West Roman Catholic 18 M
15 Doran, Peter Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 17 M
16 Doran, Richard Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 15 M
17 Doran, Mary Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 12 F
18 Doran, Julia Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 11 F
19 Doran, Thomas Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 7 M
20 Doran, Margaret Scholar Canada West Roman Catholic 5 F

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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