Edward Whelan was born in Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland 1824. His birthday is unknown, and much of his early life remains
a mystery. After receiving a very basic education at Ballina in Scotland, in 1831 he and his mother immigrated to Halifax because
his father died so the moved to Canada to start a new life. In Halifax, he went to school at St. Mary's school. And was apprentice
Joseph Howe in a printing office, who became a major influence on Edward. At 18 years
old, he left Howe's shop to edit the Irish Catholic newspaper the Register. In 1843 Whelan moved to Charlottetown to
found his own paper called the Palladium. He married twice, first to Mary Weymouth in 1845 (divorced 1845) and then
to Mary Major Hughes in 1850.
In 1846 Edward's political career started, he was elected to the Island assembly. Both in the assembly and in his newspaper
called the Examiner, Edward’s agitated for reform; the first was about an absentee landlord system, next the
political system in general. When responsible government took effect in 1851, Edward was after George
Coles amongst the Liberals of fame. When he was 27 years old he became a member of the Executive Council, he was the
Queen's printer until 1859, and temporarily stopped the Examiner to begin printing his new paper the Royal Gazette.
Over the next ten years he was an impassioned defender of Liberal policies defending land reform and education, but the party
was overthrown in 1859.
In the 1860’s when talk of British North American union started, the Liberal party was against the idea, along with
most of Prince Edward Island. During the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, Edward announced his support of union to free the
Island from being under power of the Colonial Office, solving the absentee landlord question.
Later, he promoted union in the pages of the Examiner when he brought it back. He found supporters in the assembly.
Also, his article in the paper about the Tenant League lost him many Irish Catholic
In 1867 when the Liberals regained power, Edward was renamed the Queen's printer. And required him to resign his seat and
run again. He suffered his first defeat. He blamed it in part on the local clergy. He died before the year was out in 1867