Loyal Orange Lodge (South Crosby, Ont.)

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Loyal Orange Lodge (South Crosby, Ont.)

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The Loyal Orange Order, an ultra Protestant fraternal order, originated in County Armagh, Ireland about 1795. The two main tenets of the Order were loyalty to the British Crown and support of Protestantism. The conflict that took place in Ireland, 1688-1690, between William of Orange, king of England and his brother-in-law James II, deposed from the British Throne for his Catholicism, among other reasons, provide the imagery for the order. It appears that various groups as lodges were established in Canada early after the founding, perhaps brought by the British Army, but the movement was not organized until the arrival of Ogle Gowan in Canada in 1829. Gowan came from Wexford, Ireland and settled in Brockville In 1830. Gowan and a group established the Grand Lodge of British North America to control existing lodges and promote new ones. Transplanted to Canada, the Loyal Orange Order first attracted the Protestant Irish, so its high incidence in the counties of Lanark and Leeds and around the Rideau waterway is not surprising. After the 1850s Irish immigration dwindled but the Orange Order remained strong and attached to Sir John A. Macdonald's Conservative party. In 1876 there were twenty-one Orange Lodges in North Leeds. Gradually the ethnic character of the organization changed and lodges were assimilated into Canadian society.

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