Born in 1817, Anthony Joseph O'Loughlin immigrated to Canada with his wife Rebecca Hyles from Limerick, Ireland shortly after their marriage in 1854. They lived in Montreal for two years, then moved to Kingston, where Mr. O'Loughlin engaged in his trade as a highly skilled cabinetmaker. In 1858 he served as alderman for Rideau ward in Kingston. In October of 1863 he was appointed headmaster of Johnston Street School and taught there until the end of the year.
In the early days of the congregation of St. James, Kingston, during the late 1850's, services were held in his shop. It was while he was working on the reredos of Saint Peter's Church (now part of the parish of Saint Lawrence) in Brockville that the incumbent minister Dr. Lewis, later Bishop of Ontario, persuaded him to take holy orders. Fr. O'Loughlin was ordained in Kingston in December 1863 by the Bishop of Ontario, and licensed for the mission of Finch. Shortly afterwards he was appointed at his own request to Loughboro and Storrington mission, where he would be near his old home in Kingston.
The Rev. F. A. Cook tells the story of how he came to North Gower. In the early days of the Anglican Church in Canada it was customary to hold in each parish what was popularly known as 'the missionary meeting'. One such meeting was held on January 1st 1872 in the parish of North Gower-Wellington (now Kars), the visitor being Fr. O'Loughlin. Fr. Cook recounts that "so strong was the impression made by him that in August of the same year he was invited by the North Gower end of the parish to preach in their church, with the result that steps were at once taken to secure him as incumbent for this then vacant parish." Thus Fr. OLoughlin became Priest of the Parish of North Gower in the Diocese of Ontario [in 1896, after the death of Fr. O'Loughlin, the Parish of North Gower became part of the Diocese of Ottawa]. He was evidently very well received, for when he held his meetings in North Gower the fences for long distances were lined with the horses of farmers' families who had come to hear him preach.
In 1873 Manotick was very much an outpost. Fr. OLoughlin was meeting with his "unshepherded flock from the north" on Sunday afternoons in the First Line schoolhouse four miles north of Kars. He recognized the need for a church in Manotick, and the opportunity arose in 1875 when a prominent citizen, Mr. Moss Kent Dickinson, deeded a parcel of land in Manotick to the Diocese of Ontario. Thus the Church of Saint James the Apostle, Manotick, was brought into being. The church was built in 1876, and the first service was held in February 1877. Fr. OLoughlin did more than just preside. A cabinetmaker by trade, he set the example by building the first lectern and prayer desk to be placed in the chancel.
When on 19 September 1884 the Rev. Fr. OLoughlin died at the age of 67 the whole community of all denominations paid him the greatest respect. The newspapers in the district, indeed many across Canada, carried his obituary.
"North Gower, September 19th: (Special) All that was mortal of the late lamented Rev. A. J. OLoughlin, the well known and dearly beloved Church of England Minister here, was today consigned to the last resting place. Throughout the township people of all denominations entertained the highest esteem for the deceased, and consequently the cortege of mourning friends that paid their last respects to the memory of the deceased by following the remains to the grave today was the longest that has ever been seen in the township . Today three magnificent monuments, in the shape of churches, that will perpetuate the memory of the deceased, are erected in different parts of the township and the number of parishioners is very large. The deceased laboured unceasingly day after day in the Lord's vineyard. He established and presided over churches at North Gower, Wellington [now Kars] and Manotick, filling three different pulpits every Sunday . The numerous friends of the deceased throughout the county of Carleton deeply regret his demise, - 'Requiescat in pace'."