BOULTON, D’ARCY, lawyer, politician, and Orangeman; b. 29 March 1825, at Perth, U.C., grandson of D’Arcy Boulton*, and son of James Boulton and Susan Beman, half-sister of Sir John Beverley Robinson*; m . in 1856 Louisa Charlotte Corbett; d. at Toronto, Ont., 16 Feb. 1875.
Educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto, D’Arcy Boulton then studied for the legal profession. He was admitted to the bar in 1847 and became a member of the law firm of Boulton, Lount, Boys, and Stewart of Barrie. He soon laid the foundation for a career as a Conservative politician and Orangeman; to offset the influence of Reform newspapers in the Barrie area, he formed in 1857, with D’Alton McCarthy Sr and others, a company to establish a newspaper called the Spirit of the Age. Designed to defend Orange and Conservative interests in Barrie, the newspaper lasted about five years.
Boulton ran unsuccessfully for the Simcoe North seat in the Canadian assembly in 1861, and was again defeated in the dominion elections of 1867 in Grey North and of 1872 in Muskoka. In 1873 he entered the Ontario legislature as the member for Simcoe South in a by-election following Thomas Roberts Ferguson’s resignation, and he retained the seat in the elections of 1875. But Boulton’s real career was within the Orange Order, which he seems to have joined in the 1850s. He rose through private and district lodges to become deputy grand master of British North America in 1864 and provincial grand master of Ontario West in 1870. At the Imperial Grand Council of Orangemen held in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1873, he represented the Orangemen of the province of Ontario; he was unanimously chosen president at Glasgow of the Triennial Orange Conference of the British Empire, the highest office in the Loyal Orange Association. Boulton was also prominent in the Grand Black Lodge Chapter of Canada West, a more exclusive order of Orangeism, whose members were required to pass through a variety of degrees before initiation. As grand master of the chapter in western Ontario, he was active in promoting amalgamation with the chapter for eastern Canada in 1874 to form the Grand Black Chapter of British America. He was named its first grand master.
D’Arcy Boulton died at the age of 50, ending a promising political career as a Liberal Conservative: his influence within the Orange movement would probably have assured him of a prominent place in provincial and, perhaps, national politics. In his lifetime, however, he remained a minor political figure, and his correspondence with John A. Macdonald* deals largely with legal matters and patronage. He was described as a tactful man and seems to have had few enemies. His funeral, held at the Anglican St James’ Cathedral, was the largest in Toronto up to that time, an indication of his popularity but also of the efficiency of the Orange organization in securing the attendance of its members.
PAC, MG 26, A (Macdonald papers). Globe (Toronto), 17, 20, 25 Oct. 1856; 19 Feb. 1875. Leader (Toronto), 19 Feb. 1875. Mail (Toronto), 19 Feb. 1875. Lovell’s Canadian dominion directory for 1871 . . . (Montreal, ). Hunter, Hist. of Simcoe County.