Hon. George Washington Stephens*

From: "Histoire de la Corporation de la Cite de Montreal"
By J. Cleophas Lamothe, Avocat & La Violette et Masse  editeurs,
Montreal Printing and Publishing Company Ltd. 1903

The Honorable George Washington Stephens who's name has been so conspicuously associated with local politics as well as municipal matters, served no less than seventeen years in the Municipal Council of the City, and during that long period of service, always upheld a prudent and economical administration and severely criticised wrong doing and dishonesty. He was the second son of the late Harrison Stephens and Sarah Jackson, who came to Montreal from the state of Vermont about the year 1828. 

G.W.Stephens was born at Montreal, in 1832, and was educated at the Montreal High School with a view to enter upon a commercial career, but he abandoned this first vocation to embrace legal studies.  He entered the University of McGill College and graduated a B.C.L., being admitted to the Bar in 1863.  He at once entered in partnership with the late F. Perkinsand at an early date in his career earned fame by winning the celebrated Connolly case, the outcome of which was the establishment of the validity of an Indian marriage performed according to the customs of the country.

After some years of honourable practice at the Bar of Lower Canada, Mr. Stephens abandoned his professional career to administer his father's expensive estate.  He was elected an alderman in 1868, and kept his seat alternately till 1892, winning the designation of "The Corporate Watch Dog". In politics he is a liberal of the old school and during his term as member of the Quebec Legislature, for Montreal Centre, from 1881 to 1886, he did much to further the interests of the Province.

In 1890, he unsuccesfully contested the provincial electoral District No.4, of Montreal, but, during the general elections that took place two years later, in 1892, he captured his seat by a large majority. He entered the Marchand Cabinet, in 1897, a minister without portfolio.  In 1896, he introduced and passed an important bill respecting indecent theatrical posters.

Hon. G.W.Stephens, was one of the chief organizers of the Montreal Good Government Association, and was for sometime a member of the Council of the Montreal Board of Trade.  He is a life Governor of the Montreal General Hospital and Protestant Hospital for the Insane.  He married, in 1865, the daughter of M.N. McIntosh, of Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr. Stephens was for several years President of the Montreal Decorative Art Association.

From "Montreal History and Gazeteer  to the year 1892"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick,  John Lovell & Son, Montreal 1892

Son of the late Harrison Stephens, Esq., was born in Montreal and educated at the High School. He graduated in McGill College, and took the degree of B.C.L.  He was engaged for nine years in commercial persuits, hence his value in the Council of Montreal connected with his legal acumen. 

He was admitted to practice Law in November 1863, and elected to the City Council in 1868. Alderman Stephens was the promoter of the following By-laws: "Prohibiting the keeping of pigs in the city", "Planting trees", "Sale of Coal to prevent fraud", "Sale of wood to prevent Fraud", "By-law concerning Nuisances, Drains, etc.", "Scavengers", and the "Carters' New Tariff". He also conducted the Drill Shed and Road Committee Investigations, and has generally kept up a surveillance over speculators in the City Council.  His efforts have resulted in turning public attention to the importance of improving the standard of public representatives. And so uncomfortable has he made it for speculative Aldermen, that they have, for the most part now, left the Council. The Municipal Legislature is improved in its moral, and this is partly due to his seven years' strenuous labors.

Mr. Stephens gained much distinction at the Bar in conducting the great case of Connolly vs Woolrych to a successful issue. This was a cause celebre, and will ever be a leading case on the Law of Marriage as applied to Indian marriages and those by cohabitation.

Whilst at the Bar he was associated with J.A.Perkins, the firm being Perkins & Stephens, and their practice was very extensive and successful. He was rarely absent from a Council meeting, and has always been on the side of economy and good government. He has finally retired from the Council, but is at present a candidate for representation in the County of Huntington for Local Legislature.

*Researching G.W. Stephens.................Bill Stephens (g-g-g-nephew)

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