The earliest minutes for the town council of Deseronto (in the days when it was known as Mill Point) show the names of the Reeve and four town councillors. One of the names is that of Florence Donoghue, which was intriguing, as it seemed highly unlikely that a woman could have been a councillor in 1872. The mystery was soon cleared up, as later minutes in the same volume referred to this councillor as “Mr. Donoghue”.

A check on the 1901 census shows Florence Donoghue as a male who was born on 28 January 1832. Directories of the time show Donoghue and Bro. as dry goods merchants on the south side of Main Street, at its junction with Prince Street. Donoghue and his partner, James Oliver, were still in business in 1911, when Donoghue was 79 years of age. The shop would have been one of those in the picture below:


Florence, it transpires, was fairly common as a boy’s name in Ireland in the late nineteenth century. In the 1881 census of Canada there were 64 Florences whose place of birth was Ireland. 24 of those were men. Florence Donoghue was born in Ontario, but (as his name suggests) he is listed as being of Irish descent.

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