LORD, WILLIAM WARREN, merchant, shipbuilder, and politician; b. 11 Feb. 1798 in Tryon, Prince County, P.E.I., son of John Lord, a farmer, and Charlotte Gouldrup; m. in 1825 Annie Lea, and they had no children; d. 9 May 1890 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
William Warren Lord, the son of a loyalist, received a rudimentary education in the Tryon area. During his teens he worked on the family farm and in 1817 moved to the Miramichi River in New Brunswick to work as a lumberman. Around 1825 he returned to Tryon, married, and within a few years had set up an inn and tavern. He also entered the shipbuilding business and acted as an insurance agent; his prominence in the community was shown by his appointments as justice of the peace, fence viewer and constable, member of the board of health, and commander of a small militia unit.
In the spring of 1841 Lord left Tryon for Charlottetown. His move was regretted by the people of his home town who, at a special meeting, gave him credit for directly and indirectly helping to improve the economic state of the area since the late 1820s. In Charlottetown he opened a general store, constructed a wharf, and had built under his own direction numerous brigs, barques, clippers, schooners, and steamers. In the more than 20 years he spent in business in Charlottetown, he owned approximately 42 vessels which made regular trading voyages to Dublin, Liverpool, and London, often accompanied by Lord himself. An important figure in the Charlottetown business world, he was a shareholder and director for many years of the Bank of Prince Edward Island, a founder and director of the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island, and a director of the Charlottetown Mutual Fire Insurance Company and the Marine Insurance Company of Prince Edward Island. He was, as well, part-owner of the Charlottetown Advertiser. In April 1856 he took into his business his wife’s relative, John Lea, and his nephew, Artemus Lord. The latter, whom he and his wife had adopted as a son, carried on the business after Lord’s retirement in 1864.
Lord combined his business activities with a lively interest in provincial politics. A Liberal, he was first elected to the assembly to represent Prince County in 1835, serving until 1838. In 1850 he re-entered the assembly as member for Prince County, 3rd District, and with such colleagues as George Coles*, Edward Whelan*, Joseph Pope*, and James Warburton* successfully established the Island’s first responsible government in 1851. Lord was a member of Coles’s Executive Council from 1851 to 1857, with the exception of a few months in 1854, but when he accepted the paid office of commissioner of public lands in May 1857, he was obliged by law to seek re-election. He was defeated by the Conservative James Colledge Pope, whose victory presaged the Liberal government’s difficulty in handling the contentious issue of religion in publicly supported schools. Lord was returned for Prince County, 4th District, in 1858 but in the following year was not a candidate in the election in which Protestant voters deserted the Liberal party and elected an all-Protestant, Tory government under Edward Palmer.
In the assembly Lord consistently advocated free schools, abolition of the leasehold system of land tenure, protection of agriculture and the fisheries, and vigilant economy in the expenditure of public funds. Although a faithful Liberal, he prided himself on his independence in the legislature and did not hesitate to offer his opinions and suggestions or to defend his character against attacks by the Tory press. Lord was active in assembly committees and during periods when the Liberals were in power frequently served in such posts as trustee of the lunatic asylum, commissioner for the government-run poor asylum, official representative to the Royal Agricultural Society (which he had helped organize) and commissioner for its model farm, member of the Charlottetown Board of Health, commissioner for the small debts court, and road justice for Charlottetown.
Shortly after his defeat in the 1857 by-election, Lord declined to stand as Liberal candidate for the mayoralty of Charlottetown, but from 1863 to 1870 he represented Prince County, 1st District, in the Island’s elected Legislative Council. When Coles and the Liberals returned to power in 1867, Lord again became a member of the Executive Council, serving under Liberal premiers Joseph Hensley* and Robert Poore Haythorne*, until his defeat in the 1870 election. Like the majority of Island politicians and electors he had opposed the Island’s entry into confederation in the 1860s because he felt that the colony’s loss of independence could not be compensated by any terms of union, no matter how advantageous.
Lord often administered estates, executed wills, and conducted sales and auctions. He belonged to the Central Liberal Society and the Royal Agricultural Society, and after 1853 was a lieutenant-colonel in the Island militia. He and his wife were both active workers in the Methodist Church, to which he bequeathed money. Lord retained close links with his home town of Tryon (to which he donated a town hall) and he was buried there after his death in 1890. In a biography published in 1881, his neighbours were said to “give him credit for having lived an unblemished life,” a judgement which reflected the high standards he set for himself in both business and politics.
PAPEI, Bank of Prince Edward Island, Minute book; Indenture of amalgamation between the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Union Bank of Prince Edward, 26 Sept. 1883 (mfm.); Prince Edward Island shipping registers, 1824–69 (mfm.). Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown), Estates division, liber 12: f.409 (mfm. at PAPEI). P.E.I., House of Assembly, Debates and proc., 1855–57; Journal, 1835–38, 1850–60; Legislative Council, Debates and proc., 1867–70; Journal, 1863.
Examiner (Charlottetown), 1855–64, 3 Jan. 1876, 9 May 1890. Islander, 15 Oct., 19 Nov. 1847; 31 Oct. 1851; 4, 11, 18 March 1859; 15 Jan. 1864; 16 July 1869; 11, 18 March, 17 June, 26 Aug., 2 Sept., 14, 28 Oct. 1870. Prince Edward Island Register (Charlottetown), 1823–30. Royal Gazette (Charlottetown), 1831–53. Canadian biog. dict., II. Cyclopædia of Canadian biog. (Rose, 1888). The Prince Edward Island almanack . . . (Charlottetown), 1853–54; 1864; 1869; 1873–80. The Prince Edward Island calendar . . . (Charlottetown), 1857; 1862–68; 1870–71. Past and present of P.E.I. (MacKinnon and Warburton), 481, 698. W. H. Warren, “Pioneers of Tryon and North River,” Prince Edward Island Magazine (Charlottetown), 1 (1899–1900): 410–14.