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MALLORY, CALEB ALVORD, farmer, politician, and agrarian activist; b. 30 Sept. 1841 near Cobourg, Upper Canada, son of Caleb Robin Mallory (Mallery) and Harriet L. ———; m. first 9 Oct. 1866 Harriet Ann DeFurlong (d. 1902) of Warkworth, Ont., and they had five sons and two daughters; m. secondly Margaret Ann Berry (d. 1918); d. 6 Dec. 1926 near Cobourg and was buried in Grafton, Ont.

The eldest of seven children, Caleb A. Mallory was born and spent his life in Northumberland County. His father was a farmer who also became involved in a variety of commercial ventures. After receiving primary and secondary education, Mallory, a Methodist, attended Victoria College in Cobourg, but illness forced him to leave before he completed his studies. He purchased land near Warkworth in Percy Township in 1863 and cleared a farm. At various times he served as a township councillor, deputy reeve, and reeve, and in 1888 he was chosen warden of the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham.

A member of the Patrons of Husbandry, Mallory was drawn to the Patrons of Industry, an agrarian body founded in Michigan in 1887. County units of this organization were formed in Ontario and in February 1890 Mallory and other local delegates gathered in Sarnia to form a grand association in affiliation with the American body. Mallory was elected vice-president, a position he retained in the autonomous association organized in London in September 1891. The following year he became president, in which office he served until 1898. Using the elevated rhetoric of agrarian and urban radicalism, the Patrons of Industry called for sweeping reforms, including the elimination of tariffs on “the necessaries of life,” enhanced democratic mechanisms, and “purity” in public life. During his tenure Mallory, in eloquent, well-publicized speeches, called upon farmers to renounce their old Conservative and Liberal party allegiances, to fight against monopolies and other corrupt business practices, and to build a more egalitarian and democratic society. The Patrons also established or supported several cooperative enterprises, including a binder-twine factory at Brantford and a salt company at Kincardine, and formed an alliance with the Canada Farmers’ Sun (London, Ont.; Toronto), begun by George Weston Wrigley* in 1892. For a short time in the mid 1890s Mallory was president of the Sun Publishing Company.

Initially the Patrons enjoyed strong popularity, with a reported membership of 35,000 in Ontario and Quebec by 1893. In the Ontario provincial election a year later they fielded candidates in some 50 constituencies. To the surprise of many, the Patrons captured 17 seats and came close to winning 20 more. They appeared destined to present a strong challenge to the old parties, though their leader in the legislature, Joseph Langford Haycock, proved ineffectual. The Patrons never really became adept at parliamentary politics.

In 1895–96 Mallory, a former Liberal, participated in two secret attempts to collude with the federal Liberals. In 1895 his brother Albert Ethanan, a physician in Colborne, Ont., informed party leader Wilfrid Laurier* that a “person high up in the Councils of the Patrons” (almost certainly Caleb) wanted to work out an electoral arrangement whereby Liberals would not field candidates in ridings where Patrons’ nominees were likely to win, and vice versa, thus preventing Conservative victories as a result of split voting. But no agreement was reached.

The second bid to trade off ridings, this time involving Liberal brokers and Caleb Mallory directly, became public knowledge. Mallory weakly defended his actions by pointing out that the Liberals had eventually backed out of the arrangement. The fact, however, that he had secretly negotiated with both the Liberals and parliamentary maverick D’Alton McCarthy* further demoralized the Patrons movement, which was struggling through internal divisions and failed attempts to join with urban labourites. His actions also fuelled charges that the Patrons were not the independent political force they purported to be but were merely disguised Liberals. In what undoubtedly was a sincere effort to obtain a presence in the House of Commons and deny seats to the protectionist Conservatives, Mallory, in the minds of many members, particularly secretary-treasurer L. A. Welch, had committed an unpardonable sin: he had connived with one of the vilified and patronage-ridden old parties.

Mallory nonetheless managed to retain credibility and the leadership of the movement. He contested the riding of Northumberland East in the federal election of June 1896 and publicly encouraged Patrons’ locals elsewhere to endorse candidates; he lost by a narrow margin to his Conservative opponent, Edward Cochrane*. By this time, however, the Patrons were in irreversible decline and, overwhelmed by the Manitoba school question and other major political issues, they managed to elect only three mps.

In an attempt to revitalize the farmers’ movement in Ontario, Mallory and other leading agrarians formed the Farmers’ Association of Ontario in September 1902. Its purpose was to press for legislation that benefited farmers. At the inaugural meeting in Toronto, which he chaired, Mallory was elected president, but he remained in the position for only a year. Though still vehemently opposed to protective tariffs that favoured manufacturers, he seemed content to pass the lead to such younger activists as James Lockie Wilson, James J. Morrison*, and Ernest Charles Drury*. In his sixties, he had probably lost much of the energy he had exhibited in the formative years of the Patrons, though around 1909–10 he played some role in the formation of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, for which he was honoured in the Weekly Sun (Toronto).

By the early 1900s Mallory had moved from Percy to the farm east of Cobourg where he had been born. Tragedy struck on 10 Dec. 1902 when the cutter carrying him and his wife was hit by a train. She died instantly and Mallory suffered severe injuries, though he recovered quickly. A freemason and a member of the Grafton United Church, he quietly lived out his final years at Maple Grove, the family homestead. Through his farm he recouped the losses he had incurred when he was preoccupied with Patrons business.

At the time of his death in 1926, Mallory was a largely forgotten figure in Ontario’s agrarian movement. There appears to have been no tribute to him in the Farmers’ Sun (Toronto), by then the official newspaper of the United Farmers of Ontario. Even so, his contributions to agrarian populism had been substantial. His thoughtful attacks on blind party loyalty, high tariffs, and monopolies, and his appeals for a more democratic and egalitarian Canada, had struck responsive chords in many who heard or read his words. Moreover, the Ontario farm leaders who succeeded him, including Drury, Morrison, and William Charles Good*, were all indebted to the ground-breaking work undertaken by the Patrons under Mallory’s capable, if occasionally contradictory, direction.

Kerry Badgley

Caleb Alvord Mallory is the author of “The Patrons of Industry Order,” in Canada, an encyclopaedia (Hopkins), 5: 100–5.

AO, F 179; RG 22-191, no.10947; RG 80-8-0-677, no.29182; RG 80-27-2, 39: 47–48. LAC, MG 26, G: 3548–51, 3561–63; RG 31, C1, 1871, Hamilton Township, Ont., div.1: 66. Northumberland East Land Registry Office (Colborne, Ont.), Percy Township, deeds, 1862–69: 231–32 (mfm. at AO). TRL, SC, Biog. scrapbooks, 12: 18. Canada Farmers’ Sun (London, Ont.; Toronto), 7 Feb., 7 March 1893; 27 May 1896. Cobourg World (Cobourg, Ont.), 12 Dec. 1902, 21 June 1918, 9 Dec. 1926. London Free Press, 30 May, 6 June 1896. Weekly Sun (Toronto), 17 Dec. 1902. Canadian annual rev., 1903: 85, 442. Canadian men and women of the time (Morgan; 1898 and 1912). Farmers’ Assoc., The Farmers’ Association: grounds on which it seeks the cooperation of all farmers ([Toronto, 1903]); The Farmers’ Association: origin and purpose of the organization (Toronto, n.d.; copy in AO, Pamphlet coll., n.d., F, no.2). From a farmer’s standpoint (n.p., 1904; copy in AO, Pamphlet coll., 1904, no.25). W. C. Good, Farmer citizen: my fifty years in the Canadian farmers’ movement (Toronto, 1958). Patrons of Industry of North America, Grand Assoc. of Ontario, Minutes of the annual meeting (Strathroy), 1893–95. S. E. D. Shortt, “Social change and political crisis in rural Ontario: the Patrons of Industry, 1889–1896,” in Oliver Mowat’s Ontario: papers presented to the Oliver Mowat colloquium, Queen’s University, November 25–26, 1970, ed. Donald Swainson (Toronto, 1972), 211–35. L. A. Wood, A history of farmers’ movements in Canada (Toronto, 1924; repr., intro. F. J. K. Griezic, Toronto and Buffalo, N.Y., 1975).

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Kerry Badgley, “MALLORY, CALEB ALVORD,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 15, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 19, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mallory_caleb_alvord_15E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/mallory_caleb_alvord_15E.html
Author of Article:   Kerry Badgley
Title of Article:   MALLORY, CALEB ALVORD
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 15
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   2005
Year of revision:   2005
Access Date:   May 19, 2024