Peter Gower talks to us about Mayor John Breden.
A gentleman called John Breden, I’m not sure how he said his name: he was Irish, he’d come to Kingston in 1832 from the island.
He worked with his brother, and I think he made most of his money, and it was a lot of money that he made, supplying meat to the military. As we said when he first came the shipyards were busy and Fort Henry would always have a military establishment there.
Supplying other public institutions as well, he was in government contracts, and he invested well, and he became a director of interior building and savings society, and shareholder of the Missing Mill which we know as the wooden mill up on the Cataraqui. He decides to enter local politics, now in those days you would be in office for just one year and there would be elections each January. He sat on council for eight one-year terms, and interestingly enough three different wards in the city and I’m not sure why he moved around but it certainly suggests that he was a well known and well respected during those years.
The last of those years was 1858, but in 1866 he ran for mayor and was successful. So he was the next two years, so he happened to be the mayor in 1867. As chief magistrate he’s the person who read the proclamation of Confederation in Market Square, and I presume that that was done in at least all cities. I don’t know how small a place you have be, of course the official declaration was made in Ottawa, but he had the job of reading it here.
1868 was the last year that he was mayor but he was also trustee of Sydenham United Church, and a big donor there. And when he died he was very very rich, he left about $300,000 in 1893 and that would be quite a fortune at that time.