HOPPER, ARTHUR, Orangeman, merchant, and farmer; b. Roscrea, County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1784, son of Arthur Hopper, a substantial farmer and landowner, and his wife Sara; d. Merivale, Ont., 14 Nov. 1872.
Arthur Hopper left Roscrea for Dublin, where he was living at the time of the union of the British and Irish parliaments in 1801. He became an Orangeman in 1802 and served in a yeomanry corps in 1803. Some time after, he returned to Tipperary where he became deputy grand master of the Orange order in County Tipperary. On 27 July 1807 he married Anna Sparling. Hopper left Ireland in 1821 although he retained land in Tipperary and continued to receive revenue from it.
Hopper with his wife and four children (three more were born later) settled in Montreal, where he opened a jewellery shop. Shortly after his arrival he organized, in company with several other Montreal Orangemen, what was possibly the first civilian Orange lodge in the Canadas: Moving to Huntley in the Dalhousie District, Upper Canada, in 1825, he opened a store, and established the first post office and the first Orange lodge in the township (first known as Hopperville, now Huntley). Two years later he settled at Bytown where he ran a jewellery shop for five years. He then acquired 600 acres of land in Nepean Township; the village that was established there was called the Hopper Settlement until 1864 when the name was changed to Merivale.
Hopper was instrumental in founding a number of Orange lodges in the Ottawa valley, the last being number 85, in Nepean, of which he was master. The authority to found such lodges came from a warrant which William Burton of Montreal had secured during a visit to Ireland in 1827, and it was over Hopper’s signature that several of the warrants founding lodges in the Ottawa valley were issued, thus earning him a claim to the title of father of Canadian Orangeism. Hopper was among those who met with Ogle Robert Gowan in Brockville in 1830 to form the Grand Orange Lodge of British North America, and he was elected to the grand committee in 1838. Throughout his life he remained an active Orangeman. Yet Hopper was on good terms with the Roman Catholics in the Ottawa valley and was never a violent partisan in politics. For him the Orange lodges were primarily fraternal societies, useful in providing social life in frontier communities.
The most extensive source of information on Arthur Hopper is a collection of papers privately held by his grandson, Henry Hopper, of Merivale, Ontario. Ottawa Citizen, 15 Nov. 1872. Times (Ottawa), 16 Nov. 1872. Davin, Irishman in Canada, 323–25. R. B. Sibbett, Orangeism in Ireland and throughout the empire (2v., Belfast, ), II, 522. Harry and Olive Walker, Carleton saga (Ottawa, 1968), 146–52.