Frank Somers (1834-1917)
The Sash Our Forefathers Wore
Francis "Frank" Somers was born February 10th, 1834 in County Fermanagh, Ireland to parents James Somers and Mary Livingstone.
Right Worshipful Brother Frank Somers was a leader in the Toronto Orange Community for over fifty years. Born in County Fermanagh, Ireland in 1834 he joined the Orange Order in his homeland in 1854. Upon arriving in Canada in 1857 he wasted no time in joining William III Loyal Orange Lodge No. 140 in Toronto and worked his way through the various offices from Tyler up to the chair of Worshipful Master.
Frank Somers was a veteran of the Fenian Invasion and fought with No. 9 Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles (University Company) at the Battle of Ridgeway in June, 1866.
Along with his good friend, E.F.Clarke, Frank Somers was a driving force behind raising the capital required for both the Orange Mutual Benefit Fund (Orange Insurance) and the County Hall in Toronto at 55 Queen St. East. The hall was to serve Orangemen of Toronto for over 80 years.
Frank Somers was the fourth County Master of Toronto serving from 1884 – 1886, and his term of office saw both the laying of the cornerstone and the official opening of the new County Hall, in total he served 34 years as a Trustee on the Hall Board. In politics, Somers was elected on several occasions as a Trustee with the Toronto School Board and served as the Board’s Chairman in 1890.
Frank married Jane Murray Leck, they had nine children; James W. Somers O.B.E. (b. 1863), Mary Ellen Somers (b. 1865), Jane "Jennie" Somers (b. 1866), Margaret McGregor Somers (b. 1871), Robert H. Somers M.D. (b. 1873), Charles Somers (b. 1875), Maria McIntosh Somers (b. 1877), John Alexander McDonald Somers (b. 1879) and Ada Sydney Somers (b. 1884).
Besides his affiliation with the Orange Order, Frank Somers served as President and was a life-member of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, a Past-President of the St.John’s Ward Conservative Association and a parishioner at the Church of the Redeemer Anglican Church. His son James (Jimmy) Somers was also a member of William III Loyal Orange Lodge No. 140 in Toronto, and was the longest serving Clerk of the City of Toronto.
Brother Somers had three grandsons in action in World War I; namely, Lieut. J. Russell Somers, C.F.A.; Lieut.Joseph F. Stewart, 75th Battalion, C.E.F.; and Gunner Clifford V. Somers, C.F.A.
Frank Somers passed away on April 19th, 1917 and is buried in St. James Cemetery in Toronto.
Note: A life size portrait of Frank Somers by the artist F.M.Bell- Smith was donated to Brother Somers in 1910 by the Orange Order. This portrait still hangs in the County Hall in Toronto, on the east wall of the Lodge room, behind the station of the Treasurer.
With information from John Wells and Ancestry.ca.
Francis "Frank" Somers.