FELTON, WILLIAM LOCKER PICKMORE, lawyer and politician; b. 6 April 1812 at Mahon, Minorca, eldest of a family of 12 children, son of William Bowman Felton*, who had distinguished himself in the navy during the Napoleonic wars, and of Anna Maria Valls; d. 12 Nov. 1877 at Sherbrooke, Que.
In 1815 William Locker Pickmore Felton came to Canada with his parents, who settled at Belvedere, near Sherbrooke (then called Hyatt’s Mill). He attended Mr Johnson’s school at Hatley, then that of Mr Dricoll at Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicolet. After studying law at Quebec in the firm of Andrew Stuart* and Henry Black, he was admitted to the bar on 21 Nov. 1834; he then took up residence at Quebec, where he practised for three years. It was in this town that on 6 Aug. 1835 he married Clara Lloyd, daughter of Thomas Lloyd, a surgeon in the English army.
In 1837 Felton was attached to the judicial district of Saint-François; he was first appointed a queen’s counsel, became president of the Court of Sessions before 1854, then crown attorney (1853–61), and was elected bâtonnier of the district (1861–75). He was the mla for Sherbrooke-Wolfe from 1854 to 1857, and as a candidate in Sherbrooke in 1861 against Alexander Tilloch Galt* was defeated by a slight majority. The prestige of Galt, who for 20 years had directed the colonizing company known as the British American Land Company, and who had obtained passage of the St Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad through Sherbrooke in 1853, explains Felton’s defeat. At this time Galt was also solicitor general in the cabinet of George-Étienne Cartier and John A. Macdonald*. As a Liberal-Conservative deputy, Felton had concerned himself with questions relating to seigneurial rights and municipal laws. Furthermore, at his wife’s suggestion, he had defended the cause of the separate schools in Upper and Lower Canada when Joseph Papin* made a proposal recommending the establishment of a general and uniform system of elementary schools maintained by state support. At the local level, Felton, although a Protestant, encouraged his wife to contribute to religious and educational causes in the parish of Saint-Michel at Sherbrooke. Thus in 1857 Clara Lloyd was to make possible the founding of Mont Notre-Dame, which was administered by the sisters of the congregation.
William Locker Pickmore Felton died at Sherbrooke, in Villa Belvedere, on 12 Nov. 1877. He left one son, William Hughes, who had been called to the bar on 8 April 1862 and who was practising at Arthabaska. The respect in which Felton was held can be judged through a significant incident: on the day of his death, his colleagues at the bar of the district of Saint-François decided to honour his memory by wearing mourning for a month. Felton was a prominent man in the region of Sherbrooke, and people of high social standing were often to be found at his house. Nevertheless he does not seem to have exercised as great an influence in the community as his father or to have made as lasting a contribution to its causes as his wife, who outshone him in this regard.
The author had access to the family papers of Mrs H. S. Horsfall (Lennoxville, Que.). Archives du Mont Notre-Dame (Sherbrooke, Qué.), letters of William Locker Pickmore Felton to the superior. Gazette (Montreal), 15 Nov. 1877. Le Pionnier de Sherbrooke, 16 nov. 1877. Le Progrès (Sherbrooke), 16 nov. 1877. Annuaire du séminaire Saint-Charles-Borromée, Sherbrooke, 1882–1883 (Sherbrooke, Qué., 1883), 28, 48. Can. biog. dict., II, 249–50. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 162. Maurice O’Bready, La première messe à Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, Qué., 1933), 14–16.