Two Marriages That Made a Law Firm: 1862-75

AuthorC. Ian Kyer
M C hapter N
Anyone seeking an appreciation of the early years of Faskens should begin
with a visit to Toronto’s St. James Cathedral. The Anglican Churc h, and this
church in partic ular, played a central role in the lives of the early partners
and their families. Religion was a n important part of their socia l fabric.
St. James is replete with evidence of the strong connection bet ween the
ers, a chapel donated by that family, stained glass windows, and numerous
andtothe rootsoft herm inthe Anglicancommun ityofmidnine teenth
centuryTorontoandspecicallyinthatportionwithOrangeIr ishroots
Two of the memorials i n St. James are of special interest. In the easter n
aisle of the nave is a beautiful white marble plaque commemorating the
deathin  ofa young woman Ellen Byrne ChadwickAlong the west
ernaisleisasetofth reetallstai nedglasswindowswithaLatinin scription
that translates as “Blessed is he that readeth.” These windows, which depict
the role played by the Church in the revival of English lear ning after the
Vikingraids arededicated tothe memoryof CharloeLoui saBeaywho
diedatt heageof eightyonein Thereisno obviouslin kbetween the
twowomen so memorialized and the Faskensrm yet such al ink exists
they were born in Toronto within three years of each other, and each mar
ried afou nding partnerTounderstand howthe rm came into existence
and why it prospered, one needs to look at the women remembered by these
Even though the rm did not admit its rst woman lawyer Georgia
Bentleyuntilalmostyearshad passedanddid nothaveawomanpart
neruntil EleanoreCron kin itisnota nexaggerationto saythat Ellen
Chadwick and Charloe Beay were crucial to its founding and success
Ellen’s courtship and later marriage to Edward Marion Chadwick gave birth
to the association between t he men; it is clear that but for her, Chadwick
would never have gone into partnership with her brother. Once established,
howeverthermg rewand prosperedbecause ofCha rloeWortsandher
marriageto William Henry BeayCharloeprovidedthe enormouslyim
portant link to the Go oderham and Worts families and their numerous and
protablebusinessesthe connection thatnurtu redther msearlysuccess
anteventintherstftyyearsofthe rm
Much of what we know of Ellen comes from the writings of her husband,
who was both a regular diarist a nd a published genealogist. In his diar y,
Chadwicktellsusthathe metEllenBeayinwhenshewasanaract
iveei ghte enyear old Shewas bor non Nove mber in Toront othe ft h
ofeightchi ldrenofJames andAn neBeay One brother, James Jr., died in
infancy. When Ellen met Chadwick, her father was seventy and had long been
in poor health. She had one older brother, William Henry, and three older
sisters, Elizabeth, Jane Louisa, a nd Annie. She also had a younger brother,
allunmar riedwerelivingwith theirparentsin atwostoreybrickhouse at
Willia mStree tone block westof CollegeAvenuemoderndayUniver
sityAvenueandjustnorthofQueenStreetT hisshorttreelinedstre ethad
butafewhouses onlarge lotsThe Beay housewas astonesthrow from
OsgoodeHallwhere EllensolderbrotherWilliam wasaendinglect ures
as he studied to be a solicitor.
TheBeays werein good companyonWil liamSt reetlivi ngjust south
of the substantial property owned by the Honourable William Pearce How
land, a prosperous grain merchant a nd member of the Legislative Assem
bl y. Farther up the street was the home of Justice John Hawkins Hagart y,
who had been a puisne judge of the Court of Common Pleas for six years and
Ellensfather had come to Canada from Belfast Ireland at age thir ty
ashortstopoverin YorkasTorontowas thenknown butinsteadseled in
thetow nof aboutIn he setup a business on the southside of
King Street, just a few shops east of Yonge. James soon became a prominent
merchantca lling hisbusiness theBritish Woollena ndCoon Warehouse
He sold plain and fancy muslin of his manufact ure and British woollen
goods that he imported. The year after he established his business, he mar
ried Anne Byrne McKowen, who had been orphaned in tra nsit from Dublin
when most of her family died in Montreal.OnDecemberAnnehad
givenherhusbandasonWil liamHenryJamesclosedhi sbusinessin 
most likely for health reasons, and became a “gentleman,” never working
again. Whatever his disabi lity, it did not prevent him from s erving in the
militiarisingtot herankofmajorinandlatertocolonel
Ellen’s father never worked in her lifetime. His hea lth problems meant
that William had been forced to mature ea rly, assum ing an adult’s respon
sibilityand sharing theroleof headoft hefamily withhismotherBy
Williamwas twentysixyears oldandb elatedlystudyingto bea solicitor
support his family on leaving school and before he star ted his legal educa
ItwasMaywhen Ellenmet ChadwickShea ndhersisters were
aending a party given to celebrate the accomplishment of a number
of young men whohad be en certied as aorneys and solicitors the day
ship to an established practitioner. At the end of their period under articles,
candidateswereexami nedandif theypassed theyreceived acerticateof
tnessasanaorneyandsolic itorAfurtheryearofprivatestudyfollowed
bywrienand oralexaminat ionswasnecessar ytobe calledasa barrister
AstheintroductiontotheUpper Canada Law List stated, “the professions
ofBarristerandAorneymaybeandusuallyarefollowedtogether One of
would have appealed to Ellen about Marion, as he was known: he was a tall,
handsomegregarious wiyt wentyoneyearoldWedonotknow agreat
deal about Ellen, but we do know that Chadwick was taken with her and her
foursisterst heshemininesashewouldlaterlabel themint hediary
It would soon have been obvious to Chadwick and the Beay girls
that they had plenty in common. Both fami lies had come from Ireland, both

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