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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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WHALEN, THOMAS HERBERT (1881-1958)

WHALEN, THOMAS HERBERT, lawyer and businessman; mayor of Newcastle, 1936-37 and 1943-45; b. Mount Pisgah, near Sussex, N.B., 5 Nov 1881, s/o John Whalen and Mary Purtill; m. 1911, Eva Alberta Hunter, of Charing Cross, near Chatham, Ont.; d. Newcastle, 24 Mar 1958.

T. Herbert Whalen attended the superior school at Sussex and entered the Provincial Normal School in 1897, at age sixteen. He taught in the Sussex area prior to 1901, when he enrolled in the law school in Saint John. He took his degree from King's College, Windsor in 1904 and by 1906 was established as a lawyer in Newcastle. He shared an office for a short time with T. William Butler but otherwise practiced law independently. In 1907, after Traven Aitken's resignation, he was named registrar of vital statistics for the county. In 1914 he succeeded T. William Butler as clerk of the peace, and in 1921 E. Perley Williston as clerk of the Circuit Court. He retained these appointments throughout his liftime. During the later years of his life he also acted as legal advisor to the County Council and had his law office in the courthouse.

Whalen was highly skilled as a carpenter and supplemented his income by building boats, houses, and apartment blocks. He conducted classes in carpentry which were attended by a number of those who later practiced the trade on the Miramichi. A business interest of his for several years was the Miramichi Creamery at Newcastle, which he helped organize in the 1920s, in collaboration with William M. Sullivan and others. The creamery was the first to produce ice cream commercially on the Miramichi, and a nephew, Clarence Whalen, of Kings County, was the operator of the ice cream machine.

Whalen was elected president of the county branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1906 and was subsequently an active member of the Knights of Columbus. He joined the 12th Field Battery of militia soon after his settlement in Newcastle and was a captain in 1911. During a four-month period in 1909 he was co-editor of the Union Advocate, with W. J. McNeil. In the 1930s he played a part, with Father John D. Keane and others, in introducing the Co-operative movement to the Miramichi and surrounding districts. In 1936 he was the founder of Farm & Labor, an eight-page publication addressed to local workers, which he produced and distributed personally for several years.

Whalen was elected mayor of Newcastle for two separate terms and served for a total of three years. He was a participant in Liberal party politics but was ideologically conservative. He revealed this most emphatically in 1938 when he wrote anti-Communist letters to the Union Advocate in which he defended the Quebec Padlock Act.

Whalen's wife, Eva A. Hunter, died in 1956. Three sons and a daughter survived him in 1958.

Sources

[b] Whalen family data [m] Advocate 20 Sep 1911 [d] Commercial World 27 Mar 1958 / Advocate 5 Jan 1916, 24 May 1911, 16 Sep 1936, 9 Mar 1938 (for example); Commercial World 14 Mar 1946; Harper; Leader 6 Jul 1906 (ad), 23 Nov 1906, 15 Feb 1907, 9 Nov 1956, 26 Jun 1974


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