Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grandfather was a tyrant. Henry Fleming, Hunter Gowan and the Orange Lodge in Canada.

While on his father's side, Henry Fleming was descended from the Barons Slane, his mother's family were equally famous but also notorious.

Henry's grandfather was John Hunter Gowan II, often called Hunter Gowan.

Various descriptions of this man make him out to be a tyrant, a bully, and a violent leader. He was an anti-Catholic with a reputation for bloodshed.

One of his many children, Ogle Gowan, an illegitimate but recognized son, started the Orange Lodge in Canada. In The Orangeman: The Life and Times of Ogle Gowan, by Donald H. Akenson (, there is some description of Hunter Gowan's brutality back in Ireland.

There is also a paragraph mentioning how Ogle Gowan would use his half-brothers' and half-sisters' names when it suited him, even though he was "at daggers-drawn with his legitimate sisters and brothers".

"Catherine [Henry Fleming's mother], first married to a Sligo gentleman and also widowed had, as her second husband the Honourable John Fleming, third son and heir of Christopher, Lord Slane. A fine and noble man, Ogle was proud to say." (page 77)

I don't know if that's how Ogle said it, or if something has been lost in translation over the years, but my research to date indicates that Catherine married Captain Valentine Fleming, and that the descent from the Barons Slane was not quite as easily proven as Ogle might have suggested.

My other post for St. Patrick's Day today tells a bit more about the lost Baronetcy of Slane.

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