Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
April 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


William Drummer Powell


Powell, William Dummer (1755-1834), chief justice of Upper Canada, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1755, the son of John Powell and Jane Grant. He was educated in England and in Holland, and in 1779 he was called to the English bar from the Middle Temple. The same year he came to Canada, and was admitted to practise as an attorney in the province of Quebec He practised law in Montreal , and in 1783 was one of the delegates sent to England to petition for the repeal of the Quebec Act. In 1789 he was appointed the first judge of the court of Common Pleas in the district of Hesse. In 1794 he was appointed a judge of the court of King's Bench in Upper Canada ; and in 1816 he became chief justice of this court. At the same time he was appointed speaker of the Legislative Council of the province. He retired from the bench in 1825; and he died at Toronto on September 6, 1834. In 1773 he married Anne, daughter of Dr. J. Murray, of Norwich, England ; and by her he had five sons and three daughters. See W. R. Riddell, The life of William Dummer Powell (Lansing, Mich., 1924) ; and C. C. James, William Dummer Powell, a critical incident (Trans. Roy. Soc. Can., 1912).

Source : W. Stewart Wallace, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. V, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 401p., pp. 151-152.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College