Lieutenant Colonel John Earl Halliwell, was born on July 18, 1854 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England and died in 1907 in Stirling, Ontario. Halliwell came to Canada in 1857 with his parents and brother, William Earl, arriving in Montreal before settling in Cote St. Louis, where his mother had family connections (an uncle named John Earl). His father, John Halliwell, was an ordained deacon of the Anglican Church and in 1871 the family moved to Sterling. The Halliwell family eventually expanded to include Charlotte Earl, Edwin Armitage Earl and Lawrence Earl. John Earl Halliwell attended Trinity College in Toronto and joined the Canadian Militia, graduating with the degree of B.A in 1879, and an M.A. in 1903.
While in Toronto in 1873 he served with the Queen’s Own Rifles under the command of General Otter. Later he was a member of the No. 2 Company, 49th Regiment, under the late Dr. Boulter, of Stirling. In 1883, he became a commissioned officer in the 15th Regiment Argyll Light Infantry, passing successively from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment.
During the Riel Rebellion in 1885, Halliwell went with the Belleville company, which became “A” Company of the Midland Battalion as Lieutenant, and was in command of “A” Company at the charge of Batoche, where he was seriously wounded. After recovering from his wounds, he completed his study of law and opened a law practice in Belleville, Ontario where he remained until 1893 when he returned to Sterling, Ontario.
During his life time he was also a member of several fraternal societies: serving as Grand Chaplain of the Most Worshipful Grand Orange Lodge of British America, Chaplain of the Imperial Grand Council of Orangemen of the World, District Deputy Grand Master in the Ancient Order of United Workmen, a Past Grand of Stirling Lodge of Oddfellows, a member of the Masonic Order, D.D.G.M. of Prince Edward District, Past Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch, Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Orange Lodge of Ontario East, Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Black Chapter of Eastern Ontario, and a member of the Royal Black Knights of Ireland. He also was a Municipal Clerk and later a Reeve of Stirling, a County Councillor, Director of the Public Library, and other public institutions as well as an active member in the church. John Earl Halliwell married Letitia A. Boldrick of Sterling in 1900 and had two daughters.
John Earl Halliwell’s brother Edwin Armitage Earl Halliwell also served in the Canadian Militia as a Captain and during the Riel Rebellion was shot five times while trying to carry John Earl off the battle field at Batoche. He later went on to become the British Vice Consul for Mexico.