Posted by Bill MacKay on Jul 29, 2019
Rotarian Bill MacKay introduced another history lesson to the lunch group meeting and focused on four (4) Rotarians from the late 1800's.  Edward Guss Porter, K.C., M.P., was not only one of Belleville's leading citizens at the turn-of-the-century, but was also one of Canada's foremost criminal lawyers and a well-known federal member of parliament.  He was born in Consecon, Ontario on May 28, 1859 and received his education at Consecon and Upper Canada College in Toronto.  He continued his studies at Albert College in Belleville and was called to the Bar in 1884.  Mr. Porter was an alderman in Belleville for five years and mayor in 1891, but it was in the field of federal politics that he made his mark.  Following the resignation of Harry Corby, Porter stood as a candidate in the by-election against the Liberal nominee John G. Frost and won a sweeping majority.  He was to keep his seat for 23 years.  In his career as a criminal lawyer he rose to prominence when he won his first major case defending William Ponton, a Belleville man accused of robbing the Dominion Bank in Napanee.  Ponton was found innocent.  Of 13 murder cases in which Porter was counsel for the defense, he lost none.  A keen sportsman, he was a member of the Belleville Yacht Club and of the Albany Club, the Belleville Club and the Laurentian Club.  He was also active in the Masonic Order, Oddfellows and Loyal Orange Lodge.  He died in 1929 at age 70.
William B. Deacon was born in Belleville in 1869 and received his education in city schools and at the Ontario Business College and upon graduating, went to work for local drygoods merchant W. Flint Jones.  In 1892 Deacon went to Chicago and spent six years in the employ of Messrs. Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company.  In 1898 he returned to Belleville and five years later entered the textile trade and started Deacon Bros. Limited, a shirt manufacturer.  He was a member of the Board of Albert College and of Bridge Street United Church and during the second World War, was county chairman of the Victory Loan campaigns.  During the years 1908, 1916 and 1917, he served on Belleville city council.  It was said of him that he was "a public spirited citizen" who "enjoyed the respect of his fellow men.  In civic, educational, fraternal and religious affairs he took an active part and he gave freely of his time and ability in furthering the aims of many worthy causes".  He died in 1943 at the age of 74.
William Doyle played a brief, but important role in the development of the Rotary Club of Belleville, for it was he who was given the task of doing most of the organizational work.  In business life he had been in charge of the Belleville branch of the income tax office from its opening in 1919 and previous to that he had held the position of tax collector for the city of Belleville.  He left the City in 1927 with his family and moved to Peterborough where he had "interests" which he said necessitated his full-time attention.
J. Gordon Moffat was one of the primary men involved in getting Belleville Rotary off the ground and a reality.  He was a Belleville resident for only nine years, coming here as a bank manager.  He was a prominent member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, an officer of the Chamber of Commerce and a popular member of the Bay of Quinte Country Club.  He died in 1924 at St. Andrew's Hospital in Midland after a two week illness.  It was said upon his death that "the community at large will mourn the loss of a man whom it knew as a popular, obliging and in many ways unselfish citizen".