The Wallers now found in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, are all descendants of the Waller who came to England, from Normandy, with William the Conqueror in 1066. The subject of this sketch is a direct descendant of Richard Waller, of Groombridge, who went to Ireland in 1641, thus being of Norman-Irish extraction. He left two sons. The elder, Richard Waller of Cully, County of Tipperary, married Elizabeth Redmund, and, dying in 1701, was succeeded by his eldest son, Edmund Waller, who, dying without issue, in 1711, was succeeded by his brother, William Waller, of Cully. The latter married Blanche Weeks, by whom he had six sons and one daughter. Jane was married to Richard Maunsel. The eldest son, Richard, settled at Cully, or Castle Waller, and died in 1758, leaving by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Admiral Holland, a son and heir, Richard Waller, of Castle Waller, great grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He married Ann, daughter of Kilner Brazier, and had, with other issue, Richard of Castle Waller, who married Theresa, daughter of Captain Burke, and had six sons, Edward, William Henry, Robert Alfred, George Tyner, Theophalus and Rodger, and four daughters, Anna, Maria Theresa, Eleanor Ricarda and Bidina, of Castle Waller; all of whom but two George Tyner and Maria Theresa at this date (1879), survive.
Robert Alfred Waller, the father of William Henry, married Elizabeth Hogan, of O’Brien’s Bridge, County of Clare, Ireland, and had two sons and three daughters, Maria Theresa, William. Henry, Anna Matilda, Richard DeWarren and Maria.
William Henry was born at Castle Waller, May 14, 1835; was educated at Newport, two miles from the family seat, leaving school at the age of fourteen years, on account of unforeseen events, acquiring, however, a fair English education, to which, by a good use of spare time, he subsequently made valuable additions. His oldest sister, Maria Theresa, died in youth, and the rest of the family immigrated to Canada, in 1853, settling in Toronto, where both parents died in 1856 and 1857.
Immediately on reaching the Province of Ontario, then called Canada West, young Waller entered the office of the Globe, Toronto, to learn the printing business, working in that office for seven years. During this period, through self endeavor, he learned the art of short hand writing, and for his improvement became an amateur reporter; in a few years, by dint of hard practice, acquiring considerable proficiency in this honorable but laborious profession.
In 1861 Mr. Waller removed to Ottawa, then recently made the Capital of the Dominion, and became a reporter for the Union newspaper, at that time published tri-weekly, and made a daily a year later. He remained on that paper until it was sold out in 1865, when lie formed a partnership with one of its retiring publishers, Roderick O’Connor, in the insurance and commission business, continuing it until January 4, 1879.
In 1871 Mr. Waller was elected president of the St. Patrick’s Literary Association of Ottawa, and was re-elected annually for eight years, when .he voluntarily resigned the position. Under Mr. Waller’s presidency this association attained prominence and prosperity, and was brought in intimate and friendly relation with the other national societies in Ottawa.
In 1874 and 1875 he was a member of the separate school board, and during the same period represented St. George’s Ward in the City Council, declining a renomination for alderman in 1876. In the spring of the last named year, Mayor Fellows died, when Mr. Waller, much against his wishes, was persuaded to run in opposition to Mr. C. W. Bangs, to fill the vacancy in the mayoralty, and was elected by a handsome majority, serving the rest of that year, and was then re-elected without opposition. He made one of the most popular chief magistrates which the City of Ottawa has ever had. On retiring from this office he was honored with a public banquet, and presented with a splendid gold watch, chain and seal, as a mark of respect for him and a token of the appreciation of his fellow citizens of his valuable services. At the same time he was also presented with an illuminated address by his constituents, irrespective of political party or religious creed. The two years that he was in the mayor’s office were years of great depression, and by his judicious management he did much to relieve suffering. He found the finances of the city in an unsatisfactory state, and gave much time to the self imposed task of placing them on a better basis. For the several positions enumerated, Mr. Waller was elected by the public, in no instance having sought for election to any of them himself.
In the latter part of 1877 he was appointed Registrar of the County of Carleton, by the Ontario Government a responsible and lucrative position, which he now holds, and which precludes him from offering for any other public office while he retains this.
Mr. Waller has always acted with the Reform party, while not a subservient follower, on several occasions publicly dissenting to portions of their policy which he could not approve of. His sentiments on national questions were broad and liberal, on more occasions than one, of late years, eliciting the warm commendations of leading men of all denominations and shades.
October 1, 1860, Miss Jane Nolan, daughter of John Nolan, of Toronto, formerly of the County of Mayo, Ireland, became the wife of Mr. Waller, and of five children, the fruit of this union, all are living but George Tyner, who died in infancy. The names of the others are Eleanor Ricarda, Robert Alfred, John, and Bidina.
Mr. Waller is a public spirited man, but of a retiring rather than an obtrusive disposition.
From the day that he landed in the Province of Ontario, he has devoted the leisure time at his command to self-culture. He has a small, yet well selected library; is a liberal patron of scientific and literary periodicals; endeavors to keep progress with the developing young sciences; is a frequent contributor to the press, and occasionally lectures before the public on popular subjects. He is emphatically a self educated, self made man. In his busy life he has verified the remark of Robert Aris Willmott, in his “Journal of Summer Time in the Country,” “The spare hours of a year are mighty laborers, if kept to their work.”
The Alms of the family are as follows: Chequay, or and as.; on a canton gu., a Iion rampant, double queued, of the first.
Crest Out of a ducal coronet, a plume of ostrich feathers, the 2nd and 4th az., the 1st, 3rd, and 5th arg., surmounting an eagle’s claw gu.
Motto-Honor et Veritas.
Seat-Newport, or Castle Waller, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.