At the turn of the last century, when the Loyal Orange Lodge was at its most powerful, it is estimated that one in three Ontario men was a member of the Order. They were militantly Protestant, Celtic, fanatically British and numbered Prime Ministers amongst its member.
For nearly 150 years, the Orange Order was represented by Murphy Lodge No. 710.
The Clinton Lodge was chartered on Jan. 18, 1858. William Murphy, a 29-year-old Irish immigrant who had settled in Goderich Township, was the first lodge master. With a membership of 14, the lodge originally met in Peter Cantelon’s Clinton home. Within a few years, Murphy had helped organize lodges in Hullett, Varna, and Goderich Township.
The Loyal Orange Lodge was a Protestant fraternal organization that had its roots in Northern Ireland. In English Canada it was an important social organization that eased the hardships of wilderness life during the 19th-century Celtic diaspora. The lodges provided a ready-made social network which emphasized education and religion. Parades, box socials, At-Homes, dances and picnics were activities the local lodges organized.