Albert Swinn (1865)

Albert (1865), Thomas (1830), Samuel (1800), Jesse (1772), George (1700),

Nicholas (1672), Nicholas (1650), George (1608), Peter (1588), Robertus (1551), Nicholae (1520)



Albert Swinn was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1865, son of Thomas and MaryAnn (Robinson) Swinn and d. Aug 4, 1937


Albert came to Canada on the ship Adriatic and arrived in New York September 26, 1884, and came to Tillsonburg, Ontario by train.  His future wife, Alice Sophia Tomlinson, sailed on the same voyage.


It appears that Alice had been sent to Canada by her father to help John and Elizabeth Sutton, aunt and uncle of the Tomlinsons, who were in their seventies and had no children.


John and Elizabeth Sutton immigrated to Canada 1855.  An entry in a family bible shows John Sutton was born December 18, 1806 and Elizabeth Rawson was born June 10, 1809.  In 1838 they were living in Misterton, Nottinghamshire, England.   John Sutton and Elizabeth Rawson were married November 28, 1826. When they arrived in Canada they bought a 50-acre farm on Lot 2, Conc. 1, NTR in Middleton Township at Guysboro.  From a deed at the registry office in Simcoe, Ontario June 21, 1855 the S/W 1/3 of Lot 2, Conc. 1 NTR described as southwest equal quarter part of lot number 143 north on Talbot Road to John Sutton of the Townhip of Brantford, Farmer, from Peter Hostrossor of Middleton Township for 150 pounds.


Albert’s aunt (Thomas’ sister) was living near Milan, Michigan with her husband Benjamin Wanty.  Upon Albert’s arrival in Canada, he intended to continue to Milan.  However, since a connection had been made with Alice Tomlinson, either before or during the voyage, Albert decided to stay on at the Sutton place.  He and Alice were married October 27, 1884.


Albert Swinn was instrumental in organizing a local association of Patrons of Industry of North America in Guysboro in the 1890's and helping to organize other chapters in Ontario.  This organization was superseded by the Farmers' Institute and Albert continued involvement with Institute meetings throughout Ontario until the 1920's. He was elected as municipal councillor for the Township of Middleton in 1890 and served as Reeve from 1893 to 1889.  He was nominated in 1900 but withdrew his name and was appointed Assessor.  He served again as Reeve in 1901 and 1902.  In 1903 he was the representative at County Council.  He served as Reeve in 1905 and 1908 and again in 1917 and 1918. He also was a Justice of the Peace.  Albert Swinn was instrumental in the established of rural mail routes in the area so citizens did not have to travel to a local post office to collect their mail. 


Albert Swinn was involved in establishing telephone service in the area.  In 1905 Albert Swinn, Bob Dick and Mr. Livingston received a charter and sold shares for the Norfolk and Tillsonburg Telephone company.  It was necessary to own a share to have a telephone installed in your house.  The "central" was at Glen Meyer.  Albert Swinn was Secretary-Treasurer from the time the telephones started until his death in 1937.  The telephone company submitted a request to Middleton Township Council in December 1908 requesting council to pass a bylaw granting the telephone company permission to erect poles and wires in the township.  In the 1940's there were some storms that did extensive damage to the lines.  It became impossible for the small telephone company to continue and the company was sold to another local company in 1946 and shortly thereafter was sold to Bell.



Orange Lodge in Guysboro


Albert Swinn was a member of the Guysboro Chapter of the Orange Lodge which is a protestant fraternal organization.  Minute books of the meetings of the Orange Lodge chapter 556 Guysboro show Albert Swinn was initiated into the Orange Degree on Feb. 10, 1892. Another minute book shows Albert Swinn was advanced to the Royal Arch Purple Degree, Guysboro LOL 556 on Nov. 5, 1896.  By 1901 the minutes show he progressed to position of Worshipful Master of the Loyal Orange Lodge 556.


The following information is an extract of reports written by Charles Birdsall (son-in-law of Albert Swinn) May 20, 1954 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Guysboro Loyal Orange Lodge 556 and on May 26, 1974 on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the establishment of the Guysboro Loyal Orange Lodge No. 556 documenting its history:  "The Orange Lodge at Guysboro received its charter in 1854.  Thomas Maguire had emigrated to Canada from Ireland and lived in Belleville, Ontario.  He became a member of the Orange Lodge in Belleville in 1834.  Some time later he enlisted in the Colonial Army, attained the rank of captain and saw action in the Mackenzie Rebellion.  Later he was dispatched in search of a deserter who he located at Richmond, Ontario which is about 8 miles west of Guysboro. In his short stay here he met a young lady by the name of Mary Ann Mitchell.  After delivering his prisoner to Fort Henry at Kingston, Thomas returned to Richmond and on April 2, 1844 he married Mary Ann Mitchell.  He lived for some time across Talbot Street from where the late Guysboro Church was located.  He later purchased a farm about a half mile south of the corner where the present Orange Hall stands on the Talbot Street on the Houghton side of the Township boundary with Middleton.  Still being interested in the Orange Order and having started a Lodge while in Richmond, he decided to apply for a Warrant to establish a lodge at Guysboro.  On June 14, 1854 the charter was granted by the Local Orange Institution of British America and signed by the Grand Master of that time Ogle R. Cowan.


A building was needed for the meetings, the use of one was secured.  This had been a small store and was located south across Talbot Road from the present hall.  This was used for about seven years until the owner sold the building and it was moved to a different location.  Having known this was going to happen the members, at a meeting held January 23, 1861 agreed to build a new hall.  This was to be a two story frame structure 16' x 26' in size.  After being built, this hall was used by other organizations as records show a Literary Society met there frequently as well as a Temporary Society known as the "Rose of the Woods."


As they had no title to the land where this building stood and as the owner of the land was in financial difficulties in the early 1880's, one of the members of the Lodge, Mr. Charles Ball Sr., offered to sell them a corner of his farm on the north side of Talbot Road.  This offer was accepted and during the summer of 1885 Mr. George McKonkey moved the building to the site of the current hall.  The Orange Lodge continued to use this building but as membership grew it was deemed too small to accommodate the membership.  It was decided to build a larger brick building.  The old hall was sold to Frederick Wanty, a Lodge member who moved the building to his farm.


The new building was started at once.  Much of the material such as stone, lumber, gravel and labour was donated.  The laying of the corner stones took place on May 24, 1904 with the name of J.R. Saunders, Worshipful Master of the Lodge engraved on one stone and the name of the Honourable David Tisdale, MP, engraved on the other.  In a cavity of the stones was deposited copies of local newspapers and other articles as was the practice at that time. One year from that date, on May 24, 1905, a dedication service was held with considerable ceremony.  The Deputy Grand Master E.J. Essery presiding assisted by Rev. E.W. Hughes, Rev. Fred Davies, Rev. Decor, Re. Haylock and Mr. A.C. Pratt, MPP for Norfolk.  The founder of the Lodge, Thomas Maguire, did not live to see the new hall but on April 2, 1894 the members of Guysboro L.O.O. 556 presented Mr. and Mrs. Maguire with a large, comfortable arm chair on the occasion of their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  Having enjoyed good health all his life Thomas Maguire died on April 12, 1901.  The certificate issued to him on November 17, 1834 in Belleville still hangs in our lodge room.”


Orange Lodge Update- 2015


In January of 2015 an advertisement appeared in the Lakeshore Shopper announcing a sale of the contents of the Orange Hall at Guysboro.  This Orange Lodge chapter had been inactive for many years.  The lodge no longer had the financial capacity to maintain the building and pay the property taxes so decided to sell the property and the Orange Hall building.  The contents had been prepared for sale.  Orange Lodge banners had been hung along the walls.  Three large chairs and an arch were at the front of the room.  There were a few desks, some tables and a few speaker's lecterns.  There were tables along both sides of the hall that contained ledgers and minutes of the Orange Lodge meetings dating back more than 100 years.  Most people at the sale appeared to be interested in the antique furnishings. The manner of selling was more that of a yard sale.  Some of the items were of historical value to either the Orange Lodge or some other museum.  The Orange Lodge banners were given to the Orange Lodge in Ontario branch.


The journals and record books were all taken to the Eva Brook Donly Museum in Simcoe, since the Orange Hall had been located in Norfolk County.


An inventory was taken before the donation was made:


This inventory comprised minute books and various programs from special events such as lodge anniversaries:


Guysboro LOL 556 Minutes of meeting        Feb. 3, 1858 to Nov. 13, 1872

                                                                        Dec. 11, 1872 to May 3, 1896

                                                                        Dec. 16, 1891 to Dec. 10, 1902

                                                                        Dec. 18, 1907 to Oct. 20, 1915

Some of these minutes books included minutes of other chapters of the Lodge including Royal Blue and Purple

Guysboro 372 Rose of the Woods      Apr. 9, 1877 to Nov. 7, 1879

Guysboro 556 Purple Degree             Feb. 14, 1894 to Sep. 6, 1916

Guysboro Royal Arch Purple Degree Nov. 5, 1896 to July 9, 1930

Guysboro 556 Blue Degree                Mar. 25, 1896 to June 14, 1921

County Black Chapter of Elgin and

Norfolk of the Black Knights of Ireland        Apr. 13, 1922 to Feb. 15, 1927

Guysboro 556 Royal Arch Blue Degree         Aug. 25, 1936 to Jul. 3, 1949

Guysboro 556                                     Jul. 6, 1949 to Sept. 20, 1961

Financial Ledger LOL 556                             1908 to 1948



The Tillsonburg chapter of the Orange Lodge, LOL 254 was declared dormant in 2014.  A copy of a notice included with these documents the closure of the Tillsonburg LOL 254 and reads:


Tillsonburg Loyal Orange Lodge #254

Constituted June 10, 1850      declared dormant November 10, 2014.

At the Orange Hall in Guysborough, Ontario on November 10, 2014 the Lodge Warrant, Seal and Minutes of Tillsonburg Loyal Orange Lodge #254 were surrendered to Worshipful Brother Jeremy Dowdell, Grand Treasurer of the Provincial Grand Orange Lodge of Ontario West.

Members present that day were:

Brother Bob Sergeant

Brother David Chute

Brother Ron Cattrice

Brother Scott Brown

Be it known that these Brothers remain true to their Orange and Protestant Heritage.  God Save the Queen.


Tillsonburg LOL 254 minutes books:

June 27, 1850 to Oct. 6, 1859

Jan. 6, 1853 to Nov. 23, 1871

Feb. 5, 1872 to Oct. 14, 1875

March 5, 1914 to July 1920

Feb. 4, 1909 to July 12,1927

Dec. 1, 1927 to Dec. 7, 1939

Jan. 4, 1940 to Nov. 6, 1953

Dec. 4, 1953 to July 12, 1969


Tillsonburg Royal Purple Arch          Dec. 24, 1868 to Nov. 1, 1928

Tillsonburg Royal Arch Purple and

Tillsonburg Royal Blue Degree          Nov. 7, 1929 to Oct. 12, 1967


Ladies Lodge LOBA 1113 Tillsonburg

Jan. 4, 1946 to May 11, 1953

June 8, 1953 to Dec. 31, 1961

Jan. 8, 1962 to May 10, 1971



A sampling of names included in minute books of Orange Lodge LOL 556 Guysboro:


Feb. 8, 1858    Officers installed:

Master             Henry Wilkinson

Secretary                     John Clifford

Deputy Master Robert McClease? (McClean)

Treasurer                     Charles Ball

First Committee:         Thomas McGuire        John Collicott  John Berdan?

                                    William Brinn             John Ball                     Thomas Graydon

                                    James Brinn

May 1870                    Fulkerson, Weston, Clouse


Purple Degree Guysboro LOL 556

Feb. 14, 1894

Worshipful Master:     Frank Smith

Secretary:                    Albert Swinn

Members:                    William Woulds         Thomas Ball                John Richardson

                                    James Coyle                Alonzo Vincent           JA Garnham

                                    J.H. Brinn                    J. Priddle                     JR Saunders

                                    Peter Culp                   G. Cowell                    Robt Soper


Royal Arch Purple Degree

Guysboro LOL 556

November 5, 1896


J.A. Garnham, CM

Thomas Ball

F.W. Smith

Applications for advancement:           Charles Soper

A.    Swinn

Jas Baker

JR Saunders

Alonzo Vincent


Moved by Bro. F.W. Smith and seconded by Bro. W. Woulds that the application be balloted on.  Carried and elected and then duly advance to the Royal Arch Purple Degree.


Purple Degree Guysboro LOL 556

Jan. 1912

Worshipful Master      Wm Tomlinson

Deputy Master George Ball

Chaplain                      Seveir

Secretary                     Woulds

Finance                        Dick

Treasurer                     Marshall

Dir. of Ceremony        Ball

Lecturer                       Jas Baker

Members                     Culp                Garnham                     Wall

                                    Wilson Heatherington Swinn


Guysboro LOL 556 Blue Degree from minute book March 25, 1896 to June 14, 1921:

W. Woulds      Thomas Ball                Bruce Smith                Robert Soper

Jas Mabee       Melvin Vincent           Albert Swinn               Jas Baker

Chas Soper      JR Saunders                James Coyle                James Wilson

EG Marshall


Guysboro LOL 556     July 6, 1949 to Sept. 20, 1961

Sampling of members:

Worshipful Master      Ross Messecar

Deputy Master Gene Mitchell

Chaplain                      Russell Mitchell

Rec. Sec.                     Dan McQuiggan

Fin. Sec.                      AE Swinn

Treasurer                     Lloyd Swinn

Members:        Bruce Morse                Gordon Hetherington  Clare Baldwin

                        Wilton Vannatter        FL Albright                             Ralph Hurley

                        Chas Birdsall               Ray Thurston              Ken Locker

                        Geo Jenkins                 Basil Nevill                             Alfred Ball

                        Lee Hetherington        Earl Ketchabaw                      Wilbur Locker


A photograph of members of Guysboro, Ontario Royal Black Preceptory No. 757 dated 1951 includes some of the same members as noted above:

Lloyd Swinn, Russel Sage, Ken Locker, Roy Payne, Gerald Marshall, James Marshall, E.G. Marshall, Dan McQuiggan, Charles Birdsall, Steven Gregson, Stan Nunn, James Walsh, Edward Swinn, Ray Thurston, Frank Albright, Gordon Hetherington, Walter Stansell.


Financial Ledger entry from 1908 includes the following members:

Thomas Ball                RS Ball                        Jno Bate                      Jas Baker

Thos Burley                Alfred Bunt                 Peter Culp                   Ezra Cowell

JA Cowell                   Jas Coyle                     JN Curtis                     J Collison

Nelson Campbell         Chris Cooper               Jos Crossett                 JA Carr

Clark                           Albert Chute               Coyle                           RW Dick

Thom Dennis              Stanley Day                JH Ferris                      GM French

JA Garnham                Eber Gale                    Geo Gerry                   Geo Godby

JJ Haylock                   Jno Hazel                    Jno Hotchkiss  B Hetherington

W Hetherington          Jno Honsburger           Jno Lavin                    Daniel Leach

Phil Lyndley               Wm Lake                    Lewis Stratton JW Maguire

CB Matthews              GW Marshall               EG Marshall                Jas Mabee

Geo Mansell                Thomas McCord         Wm Marten                 WA Morse

Wm Otterson              Jas Otterson                Jno Priddle                  JA Price

L Robinson                 Isaac Robinson            Jas Rohrer                   AL Rollinson

Albert Swinn               Ed Sivyer                    JR Saunders                Jesse Silverthorn

FW Smith                    Lewis Smith                Wm H Smeed WA Tomlinson

M Vincent                   Wm Weston                Wm Woulds                Robt Woulds

Jas Wilson                   Sam Wall                    AF Wanty                   Henry Wallace


One of the minute books was for the County Black Chapter of Elgin and Norfolk of the Black Knights of Ireland.  Minutes from the meeting of August 13, 1922 include the following:


Special meeting of the County Chapter of Elgin & Norfolk Royal Black Knights of Ireland held in the hall of Wesrn? Preceptory Chapter opened in due form, Sir Knight A.W. Johnson, County Master, in chair.

Moved by Sir Knight Sprague, seconded by Sir Knight Edmonds, that the repetition of the lecture be dispensed with.  Carried.

Moved by Sir Knight L.E. Sprague, seconded by Sir Knight Edmonds, that we redue? To the Royal Black.  Carried and the Chapter was rendered? Accordingly.


Appointment of Credential Committee

Moved by Sir Knight Marshall; seconded by Sir Knight Wm Geo? That the Co. Master appoint the credential committee.  The Master then appoint Sir Knight Mashall 551, Sir. Knight Wm Geo? And Sir Knight Harvey.  The County Master declared a recess of 15 minutes to enable the committee to report.  The report of the Committee on Credentials is as follows presented by Sir Knight Harvey.  We you committee in credentials beg leave to report as follows:

Present Sir Knights:

W.W. Johnson, C.M.  494

W. Geo (Yeo?)                        494

Albert Swinn                           551

E.G. Marshall              551

L.E. Sprague                           929

Chas. E. Edwards                   929

R.H. Millman                          929

W.J. Parker                              929

Wm. Harvey                           929

Albert Swinn, Registrar.



In 2020, the home built by Albert Swinn on Lot 2 Con. 1, NTR was still occupied by his direct descendants.


Children of Albert and 1)Alice (Tomlinson) Swinn:


1)      Constance, b. Aug 1, 1887, d. Dec 1, 1889


2)      Eva Bernice, b. Aug 24, 1895, d. Oct 29, 1965, m. Charles Birdsall


3)      Albert Edward, b. March 11, 1897, d. Sept 8, 1983


Children of Albert and 2) Annie Marshall, surname Swinn:


4)      Lloyd Robinson Swinn, born July 28, 1916, m. Verna Reid, d. May 28, 1985



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