Seventy years ago in 1951, my grandmother Millicent (1895-1982) Granny-Lin finally got the cottage she had always wanted. My grandfather Sydenham (1887-1975)The Priest had it built for her on the waterfront of Shediac Bay in New Brunswick.
Truly a dream come true, she aptly named it “Iona Cottage” for “I own a cottage”!
The person who designed their simple cottage somehow knew exactly what they wanted. A small eating nook off the kitchen led into the living room with a fireplace and the three small bedrooms branched off from there. A simple door leading to the patio enticed family and guests outside to enjoy the view of the Bay.
Just around the corner from Iona Cottage stands St. Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church built almost 200 years ago by Millicent’s great grandfather, and the founder of Shediac, William Hanington. There is a huge monument beside the church where he and some of his family are buried. On Sunday mornings during their summers, Millicent and Sydenham would stroll down the lane to church. Sydenham was an Anglican priest and would sometimes hold the summer church services thereby giving the local priest a break.
Millicent grew up in Montreal as the youngest of six girls. Her pharmacist father moved the family from Shediac to Montreal in 1890 to study medicine at McGill…at the age of 45! During the summer breaks, the family returned “home” to Shediac. After completing his degree in 1894, Dr. Hanington Pharmacist then Doctor and family remained in Montreal where he set up a practice… but they always spent their summer holidays in Shediac.
Millicent and Sydenham hosted many summer family gatherings at their Shediac cottage over the years. There are numerous photos taken on the patio in front of the impressive red brick chimney. An endless assortment of Millicent’s sisters (and sometimes their husbands) would line up along the side of the house enjoying the sun and cool breeze off the water. A few photos have captured some of the bravest taking an icy cold dip in the bay.
In July 2015, my sister and I took a “sister pilgrimage” trip to the New Brunswick area, and finding Iona Cottage was the top priority. We recognized it immediately even although the light yellow cottage from our memories had been painted a lovely country blue. The surrounding grounds looked immaculate and a quick peek in the window assured us that it was well loved inside and out. What a terrible disappointment when no one answered our knock at the door. We snapped a few photos of house and garden (and us!) for our travel album and to share with the rest of the family.
Upon my return home, I wrote a short story about our “sister pilgrimage” and published it on the Genealogy Ensemble website Sister Pilgrimage. A year ago, the current owners of Iona Cottage read my story and contacted me by email. They are the fourth owners (since 2018) and are thrilled to share my scanned copies of the old photos of their cottage.
How surprising to learn that they already had a copy of my favourite photo… a gift from their neighbour. It captured four-year old me in front of Iona Cottage during the summer of 1961 when I visited with my mother shortly before she died of cancer that November.
My only other stay at Iona Cottage was some twenty years later when my cousin and I flew into Moncton to spend a long weekend with our grandmother. In an era before highways, two lane roads between Quebec and New Brunswick made the drive impossibly long, which might explain the lack of visits over the years
Recently my cousin unearthed a real treasure in his inherited boxes of memorabilia – an envelope marked: “Blueprints – Iona Cottage”. I took a quick look before sending them off to the current owners and to my utter amazement I saw that MY FATHER had drawn up the plans for his in-law’s cottage! I had no idea. What a joy for me to see his handwritten notes in the lower right-hand corner…and no wonder the cottage was so perfect for Millicent and Sydenham.
When I was a little girl, I would spend hours with my grandfather in his home workshop. He would make all kinds of things and I used to love watching him at work. I still have some of the tools he made, as well as a cribbage board and a turntable that swings the Scrabble board around to face each opponent. He crafted a complete house of Barbie furniture for my dolls and, to my delight, he asked me my opinion about every single piece. I felt both the weight of responsibility for deciding what each bed and chair would look like, and pride in participating in this project with him.
My grandfather, George Deakin (1901 -1983,) born in Sheffield, England, learned these skills when he was a young man. His father was a miner and George also worked for the coal mining companies of Sheffield, which were significant employers in the early 1900s. Gramps was a fitter which means that he made parts either for piping or for equipment and machinery.1, 2
I used to ask my grandfather why he came to Canada and the answer was always the same and always emphatic. “I did not want to work in the mine.” Sometimes he would go on to explain that, when he left, he still worked above ground for the mining company. However, he was a very short man and he knew that it was a matter of time before he would be required to work underground. Small men were valuable in the low tunnels of the coal mines, but the work was dangerous and unhealthy. Gramps had no intention of ever working underground.
So in 1923, he came to Canada as part of the Harvester Scheme. That year, Canada had a bumper wheat crop and North America could not provide the labour needed to harvest the crop. Under the Harvester Scheme, the two major Canadian railway companies entered into an agreement with the British government to transport 12,000 workers out west where they would earn $4.00 per day plus board. 3
He ended up in Manitoba and the Canadian west must have suited him because he used to enjoy talking about his time on the farm. The days were long and the men worked hard but Gramps found it satisfying to work so hard. And how the workers enjoyed the hearty meals that the women of the farm prepared for them!
He only stayed one harvesting season in Manitoba because, once that bumper crop had been harvested, there was no more work. He took the train to Montreal and easily found work as a draftsman at the Northern Electric plant. He had learned to read and draft drawings in Sheffield and his skills were in high demand. He worked at the Northern Electric plant in Lachine all his life, even during the Great Depression.
When Gramps first arrived in Canada, he was not sure he would stay.4 But after he met and married my grandmother in 1925, they settled in the Montreal suburb of Verdun and raised two children.
Here, he was able to work all his life in a job that he loved. He especially enjoyed the attention to detail that went into designing. And when he wasn’t designing at work, he was making tools, games, and Barbie furniture for the family.
It was a joy to speak with journalist and genealogist Janice Hamilton about her ancestors, her recent book « Reinventing Themselves, » and surprises she’s discovered while researching and writing her family history.
Listen to the episode on Mixcloud, SounderFM or any other podcast player you use.
James Sutherland’s death from apoplexy (cerebral hemorrhage) was noted in The Music Trade Review published in New York in 1915. The Sutherlands were not known for their musical abilities so discovering that James had been the well known proprietor of Sutherland’s Old Reliable Music House in Toronto, was a surprise.
James was born in Toronto in 1850. He moved with his parents, William Sutherland and Elizabeth Mowat to West Gwilliambury and then to Carrick, Ontario where his father had obtained crown land. He worked on the family farm and attended school until 1867, when he returned to Toronto. He was seventeen and lived by himself in a boarding house.
His brothers William and Donald, soon followed him to Toronto. All the Sutherlands, it seems, preferred being merchants to farmers. He and Donald were first book sellers. There was no mention of a music store until 1884. The store was then situated at 292 Yonge Street and perhaps a complement to Donald and William’s book store, Sutherland’s Dominion Book Store at number 286. In the late 1800s, music stores sold mostly sheet music rather than instruments. They sold some pianos but they were not an everyday purchase. In the early 1900s, gramophones became popular and so stores also sold the wax coated cylinders and vinyl discs.
James married Elizabeth Bridge in 1882. He was 32 and she only 17. She wasn’t a Toronto girl but from back home, born and raised in the Carrick, Ontario area. They had four children; sons James Russell, Alexander Uziel, Neill Clarence and a daughter Verney. James, according to his obituary, was an upstanding citizen and business man as his memberships show. He was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church, the Yonge St Mission and the Order of the Canadian Home Circles.
He died in 1915 at 65 years of age and his wife Elizabeth not long after, in 1921. They were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery but not in the same plot. They are both lying in adult single graves.
With three sons, I was hoping to find a living relative with the Sutherland name. The eldest son, James Russel married Laura Bansley in 1914. He died of influenza in 1918. They had no children.
Alexander married Florence Petherbridge in 1915. He was an electrician and signed up for military service during WWI. He survived the war but like his brother died of influenza, in 1919. Florence then went back to live with her parents, Charles and Elizabeth Petherbridge taking baby Douglas with her. Twenty years later Douglas visited a friend in the US. His border crossing is the only further mention of him.
Neill Sutherland married Mabel Ashby July 9, 1926. His marriage certificate listed him as a 22 year old chauffeur and she was a 16 year old spinster. John their son, born in September 1926 unfortunately died in July 1927. I have not found any other children.
Daughter Verney born in 1891 leaves even less of a trail. She only appears in two census and her father’s 1915 obituary. Her name is spelled many different ways on the documents. While I would like to find out more about her she would not leave Sutherland named descendants.
I still find the Music Store a strange occupation for James. His brother Donald left a Presbyterian church when they were considering buying an organ as he felt the human voice was all that was needed to praise God. I wonder what he thought about his brother selling gramophones? At least he didn’t sell on Sunday.
The Music Trade Review Vol LX No. 15 April 10, New York 1915
Toronto City Directories 1879 – 1915.
Toronto Daily Star: Obituary Mr James Sutherland. Page 11. Friday March 25, 1915.
Ancestry.com. 1871-1921 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.
Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familiarization/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-347 : accessed 18 May 2016), James Sutherland, 30 Apr 1915; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 4954, line 33082, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.
Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-8FM : accessed 18 May 2016), James Russell Sutherland, 14 Dec 1918; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 4954, line 38164, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.
Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-683 : accessed 18 May 2016), Alexander U Sutherland, 19 May 1919; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 5404, line 38405, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.
Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2763-JZH : accessed 05 Dec 2014), Elizabeth Sutherland, 23 Feb 1921; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 5404, line 41137, volume Volume 04, 1920-1931, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 001617217.
Single graves aren’t necessarily single, as James and James Russel were buried in the same adult single grave and Alexander and his mother Elizabeth were also buried in another adult single grave.
Douglas Sutherland gave his Aunt Kate Petherbridge as his Canadian contact when he crossed the US border in 1938. Kate had visited her sister Florence Hatler, who I assume had remarried, in Detroit Michigan in 1928.
Marguerite Lindsay wrote a letter from Cartwright, Labrador, to her brother in Montreal, Quebec. The letter was postmarked July 29, 1922. Six days later she was dead.
Marguerite, 26, volunteered as a summer teacher in 1922 with the Grenfell Mission1 at Rev. Henry Gordon’s orphanage school in Muddy Bay six miles from Cartwright. She ran the recreation program for Rev. Gordon and taught the older girls sports such as swimming and introduced the game of french cricket which the boys played as well.
In her long newsy letter to her brother, she mentioned the gunfire from the previous night which announced the arrival of the “Bayeskimo2” in Cartwright. It had taken the ship just a week to come from a very hot Montreal. She wrote: “It is really cold here and foggy quite often, but very bracing, and I like it much better than heat; also when it is cold, there are no flies, and that means a great deal.” Then she described the local bug problem with a delightful sense of humour:
“We bathe in citronella. About 50 of them were getting free transportation on different portions of my anatomy … and there is a species of black fly, and their teamwork with the mosquito is extraordinary. They don’t bother to pierce your epidermis for themselves but follow exactly in the footsteps of the mosquitoes, and they hurt. I could hardly turn my head for a day, the back of my neck was so bitten.”
Perhaps that explains the white hat with a neck flap she wore in the photo of the children and staff sitting on the steps of the school. In another effort to protect herself at night, she cleverly tacked up strips of cotton gauze in the screen-less windows.
Annette Stiles, the other summer volunteer and nutritionist for the school, became close friends with Marguerite. In her letter, Marguerite wrote: “We were bewailing our inadequacies about things we had to tackle; but Annette very truly remarked, that anything we could do was an improvement.” Between them, they cared for about 28 orphaned children3 and gratefully “the children’s enthusiasm was very contagious – a great contrast to the boredom of some in more civilized places.”4
These unfortunate children had multiple health issues as well – many of them suffering from tuberculosis and/or scurvy and berri-berri5 – mostly due to their poor diet. It appeared that the boys were much brighter than the girls and the adult ratio in the community was four men to every woman.
She continued her letter with a brief description of her daily routine: “We are teaching the children to swim; the water is not as cold as you might think…and you would be amused to see me giving the children drill, and getting them to breathe through their noses.”
The friendly duo happily shared their combined duties. “We really have been working awfully hard, but Annette is amusing to work with. We are cooking for some 30 odd people… and some of the experiments would turn your hair grey!”
Overall she adapted to the local food: “The salmon is in now, and we get over 100 a day in the net just off the point. It is very good; am also getting used to condensed milk.” She lamented the lack of ice, but mentioned that any attempts to capture young icebergs were foiled, as it proved too difficult to tow them home behind a boat without them breaking free.
As a reward for all their hard work, Rev. Gordon gave the two volunteers the day off, to accompany a fisherman and some boys on an expedition for firewood across Sandwich Bay. It took three hours to cover the 18 treacherous miles across the stormy waters. The “fisherfolk” at the point of White Bear River welcomed them warmly upon arrival and kindly provided food and a place to stay.
“We had expected to sleep on the floor, so had brought rugs; but Annette and I were given a bunk in a room about the size of a dugout, which was really comfortable after we had skilfully removed a pane of glass with a knife, the window being purely for ornament. They provided us a feather bed in the bunk, warm and dry rugs, and fed us with smoked salmon and cariboo meat. It was loads of fun.”
The next morning, they walked up White Bear River for a few hours…”as pretty a place as you could find” before safely returning to Muddy Bay later the same night with ”a perfect run right into the sunset”.
A few days before Marguerite mailed her letter, she met Dr. Grenfell himself (the head of the Mission) when the year’s supplies arrived by steamer. He made such an impression on her that she wrote – “he certainly has a great personality and has accomplished more than would seem possible.” Although Rev. Gordon and the men were away Marguerite told Dr. Grenfell: “Oh we can work just as well as men. You must treat us as such.” and the two girls insisted on rolling barrels and carrying boxes with the rest of the crew.
Soon after Marguerite’s death, Dr. Grenfell wrote a letter of condolence to her mother and spoke of “…the pleasure of meeting and knowing the joyous spirit of your daughter and the full measure of energy she was so gladly giving to help others.”
On August 4, 1922, six days after mailing her last letter home, Marguerite died accidentally while on a walk in the nearby woods.
If my sisters and I have strength, persistence and a refusal to be victimized, we get it from our ancestor Marie-Madelaine Michel Gasnier DeRainville.
Over her 72-year lifetime, Marie left her family and friends three times, married twice, bore nine children, and raised eight of them to adulthood, marriage and their own children. She also lost her first husband to the Beaver Wars that lasted throughout her lifetime.
Jacques and Claire from Genealogy Ensemble also share Marie as an ancestor. If you have roots in North America, chances are, she’s one of your ancestors too.
Like many women, most of the records in which Marie appears focus on the men she accompanied. Many contain estimates about her data. The circumstances they show, however, hint at both suffering and forbearance. She never learned to write, but the strong ‘x’ she used as a signature indicates a woman who knew her worth.
My favourite resource for Marie’s life is a website created by Reverend John F. Gasnier in 2012.1 Gasnier excels at research. His detailed work provided me Marie’s parents’ names, the birth of her children and many of the dates in their lives.
I have begun to collect the original sources he used to compile this data, but so far, his work seems accurate except possibly her birth date. He estimates her birth date at 1620; another good site estimates 1619. Fichier Origine puts her birth at 1615, the date I’m using. Two of the three sites indicate that her birth took place in the village of St-Martin du Vieux Bellême, which Jacques tells me now sits within the modern-day Département de l’Orne. Both her birth town and Igé, the birthplace of her husband Louis, still exist in the now township of Bellême.
From the rest of the data, Marie’s life looks so sad. How did she live through so much suffering?
Her trauma began with the death of her first child sometime between his birth in 1639 and the family voyage from Igé, France to New France in 1644.
Two years before they left, the couple’s daughter Louise was born. By that time, Marie had reached her 27th year; her husband Louis his 30th. Perhaps her birth was the family’s chance for a new life.
It’s not clear why Marie and her husband decided to leave France, but emigration from the region started 10 years earlier, due to the recruitment by apothecary Robert Giffard and the Company of New France.
Giffard recruited many Percherons to New France until his death in 1669, except during the years when the Kirk Brothers occupied Quebec on behalf of England (1629-1631). By then, the colony of New France had 3,000 settlers, including Marie, her husband and their daughter.
In about forty years, 194 adults who had various jobs, often related to construction (mason, carpenter, brick-maker, etc), undertook the great voyage. Some returned to live and work in their native country but the great majority, despite the Iroquois threat, chose to settle on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River in order to clear and thrive the new territories. Their descendants are estimated today at 1.500.000 people in Canada and much more if we include the United States.2
When they undertook the voyage with their two-year-old daughter in July 1644, Marie was pregnant with their second daughter. Her namesake Marie became their first child born in the colony the following September.
Life couldn’t have been easy for the couple once they arrived in New France. It took them more than two years to lease a farm for their fast-growing family from the Saint-Joachim Seminary.
At that period of time, colonists to New France integrated into one of many manors set up under the seigneurial land management system brought to New France in 1627. New France then extended from the Arctic to Florida.
Under the manor system, the Compagnie de Cent Associés (Company of 100 associates) granted important people and groups, including religious ones like the Seminaire de St. Joachim, one by three league (5 by 15 km) land masses along major rivers, including the Saint Lawrence. The land was divided into 3 x 30 arpent sections perpendicular to the river so that everyone had access to boat transportation. (Note that each arpent measured 190 feet (58m).
Marie and her family rented La Ferme Saint-Charles in Cap Tourmente near the town of Saint Joachim for four years. They had two sons—Pierre and Olivier—during this period.
The family then moved back to Quebec while Marie’s husband built a new house in what is now St. Anne de Beaupré. While they waited, Marie had two more children, Louis and Anne.
Just after Anne’s birth, the family moved into a new house on a lot in the Seignerie de Beaupré (Beaupré Manor).
Part of the Beaupré Manor still exists today. Now run jointly by the l’organisme de bassins versants charlevoix-montmorency (obv-cm) and the séminaire de québec – seigneurie de beaupré, the territory covers a 20 by 95 km band north of the Saint Lawrence River. The territory spans 1,600 square kilometres west of Stoneham and east of St-Urbain in Charlevoix. Hunting, fishing and outdoors clubs share the space with loggers, Boralex and Gaz Métro/Valener.3
Back when my ancestors moved in, however, most of the action took place right next to the St. Lawrence River, where the village of Sainte Anne de Beaupré now stands. Marie’s husband Louis built a solid 22 by 20-foot home with 2-foot-thick walls on a cliff overlooking the river. There’s still a house built on the original foundations at 432 Cote Ste. Anne.
Things were good that year. Marie’s oldest daughter Louise got married and she and her husband established their home three lots away. Louis’s older brother Pierre arrived in New France from France with his pregnant wife and three sons. By 1655, he had established a property and house six lots away from his brother.
A year later, Marie gave birth to my six times great grandfather Ignace. The records indicate that Marie worried he wouldn’t live long. Jesuit Father Ragueneau rushed to the house on March 12, 1656 to baptize him. That could have been the first of three major tragedies, but he survived and married. (See my story What legacy stems from our Quebec pioneers?)
In May that same year, the second tragedy occurred. Louis’ older brother Pierre died of recurring fever.
The next three years went quickly, with all three families living in a small neighbourhood along the river. Marie’s namesake child married Andre Berthelot on January 26, 1659. Marie had her last child, son Joachim, a year later.
It would be the family’s last happy year.
In June the following year, 1660, the third tragedy occurred. Louis and seven other neighbourhood men got caught up in the politics of the era. They ended up being scapegoats in the Beaver War.
The Beaver War took place because the fur trade encouraged by British, French and Dutch colonialism pitted Algonquian and Wendat, who sided with the French, against the Haudenosaunee (called the Iroquois in Jesuit papers), who sided with the British and Dutch. Things became even worse after the British and Dutch decided to arm their First Nations allies with rifles. The French refused to supply weapons to theirs.
The weapons imbalance combined with over-hunting led to Haudenosaunee raids of the colonies. Marie’s husband became one of the victims. He probably died in Auriesville.
“Louis disappeared from the records, and it’s believed he was among a group of 8 people who were captured in a raid by some Iroquois on the morning of June 18, 1661. The settlers were forcibly taken to the tribe’s village near Lake Champlain in what is now New York. There the victims were tortured, then killed; one of them was known to have been beaten with “clubs and iron rods” before being scalped....4
Marie didn’t know for sure that her husband was dead until a notary arrived at her home a month later. At the time, she had two dairy cows, two heifers, an ox, two veal calves, nine pigs, a plow, a boat, two rifles, a pistol, an axe and household goods that included only three beds for Marie and six children.
Her son in law Claude guaranteed that she would take care of these goods for her children, her now dead husband’s heirs.
Yet still, Marie stayed strong. Five years after the tragic death of her husband, she remarried Paul DeRainville at 51 years old. Together, they raised my direct ancestor Ignace and his brothers, all of whom married and had Marie’s grandchildren.
By the time Marie died on November 12, 1687, peace still hadn’t arrived in New France. That wouldn’t occur until the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701.
Circumstances beyond his control* compelled the third William Lindsay to abandon a brilliant career as a lawyer. In 1841, at the age of 17, he entered the public service as an Extra Clerk in the Legislative Assembly of Canada while also studying law.
I wonder what those circumstances may have been?
The third William Lindsay (1824-1872), my three times great-uncle, exhibited great potential in his law studies as well as becoming an accomplished scholar. He spoke French as fluently as English – a must as the Clerk – but could also speak Latin and Greek as well.
William studied law with such an impressive ability that even before his admission to the Bar many of his teachers predicted a very successful career ahead of him.
But why did he never practise law in the end ?
Perhaps the established family tradition influenced his decision. Like his father and grandfather before him, he became the third William Lindsay to progress to the senior positon of Clerk for the Legislative Assembly. It’s certainly the most plausible explanation. But who knows, maybe there were lucrative perks that came with the “clerkship” that enticed him.* It seems we will never know for sure.
All that to say he certainly had big shoes to fill! There must have been high expectations placed on him not only as the son of the most recent Clerk of the Legislative Assembly but also as the grandson of William Robert Lindsay who held the same office for twenty years in the early 1800’s during the time Lower Canada possessed a separate government and legislature. A multitude of historical changes in the structure of today’s Canada have all been recorded by the “Lindsay” hand.
William was born in Quebec City. He had six brothers and five sisters. One of his brothers, Robert A. Lindsay (1826-1891), was my two times great grandfather who followed their father’s other profession and enjoyed a life long banking career with the Bank of Montreal.
In November 1845, at the age of 21 and just after completing his law studies and passing his Bar exams, William married Marie Henriette Bourret in Quebec City. Eventually, they had 13 children, although four of them died in infancy.
William’s career as a clerk progressed quickly. He was promoted from Extra Clerk to Assistant Law Clerk and Translator to the Legislative Assembly of the then Province of Canada. The progression continued until he ultimately became the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.
In 1867, The House of Commons came into existence, when the British Parliament passed the British North America Act, uniting the Province of Canada (which was divided into Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a single federation called the Dominion of Canada.
William was appointed the first Clerk to this newly established House of Commons1.
The multiple steps taken toward Canadian independence in the past, during the clerkship of William’s father and grandfather, had finally come to fruition.
William’s main duty as the Clerk of the House began with the reading of petitions and bills, and later progressed to recording the House’s proceedings. Those notes on the proceedings were kept in journals which tracked the decisions and other important transactions of the House.
In September 1872 at age 48, just five years after becoming Clerk to the House of Commons, William’s career ended abruptly. He died in Ottawa during the smallpox pandemic2. He left a family of several children and a widow who then died two months later. His mother-in-law also succumbed to the disease at the same time. The youngest of their orphaned children was only five years old at the time.
Nine years later, according to the 1881 Census, William’s eldest daughter Maria Louisa (then aged 30) was still looking after her three teenage siblings and living in Quebec City. Her older brothers Crawford (and his family) and Lionel (a priest) also lived nearby and perhaps offered support of some kind.
William was the third and last of the Three William Lindsays. His eldest son “Crawford William” went by the name Crawford and did not become a clerk, however, he did inherit his father’s talent with languages and became a translator.
1.As the family genealogist, I research my ancestors and write their stories. Recently, I found three generations of ancestors with the same name and the same role in an evolving Canada.
Their birth and death dates were vital as the first step to sorting them out. I noticed, however, that previous genealogists also struggled to sort them, as two of the three were sometimes labelled “Senior” and “Junior” (and sometimes in reverse order) and then “The Elder” and “The Younger” were assigned to another two. To keep things simple in my story, I will label them first, second and third – in the order of their births.
2.* Handwritten notes – Stanley Bagg Lindsay – dated March 1939
3. My cousin Ian Lindsay recently shared the following in an email 2021-05:
Somewhere I saw the report of the parliamentary committee that looked into the work of the Clerk’s office. By that time, while it was never going to be a sinecure, it was an opportunity to make friends, at the very least with stationers. (An old friend explained the best job was Minister of Supply and Services, where one could feather all your friends’ nests, and bide your time.) In any case, the Committee asked about the qualifications for the job were, and WBLII explained that the clerk had to be fluently bilingual and versed in all the relevant technical terms of both languages. Here, I point out that his son was fluently bilingual and versed in technical terms. The Committee next asked the same question of the Assistant Clerk, who explained that, when needed, he just asked one of the French guys for help. I think a grave injustice was done.
If a British novel penned in the first part of the 20th century contains a Canadian character (for exampleBrideshead Revisited, or Bridge on the River Kwai) that character is inevitably English and from Montreal. Most UK readers of the era would have been unfamiliar with any other Canadian city, including Toronto.
Founded in 1642 as a fur-trading fort, Montreal’s port is strategically located on the St. Lawrence River. By 1900 the city was the financial and industrial capital of Canada– and only increasing in wealth and influence as the rest of the country became more and more industrialized.
The city (majority English in the early going) expanded greatly around that time, gobbling up the mostly French suburbs and flipping the balance of power at City Hall. This expansion also put a strain on city services, especially the housing, water works and transportation systems. Businessmen of all stripes scrummed for the right to improve these services – and make a bundle in the process. The question of the day: were water and power and transportation monopolies good or bad for the average citizen.
The city saw unprecedented immigration in the 1910 era, the numbers peaking in 1912. This influx of mostly poorer people from both Northern and Southern Europe further strained the already inadequate city infrastructure, generating some scary, well-publicized urban problems (including typhoid and ‘the social evil’ of prostitution) and giving rise to a prominent social reform movement. This reform movement was led by McGill professors, clergymen and the elite wives of successful businessmen whose good intentions, often handicapped by an intransigent value system5, inevitably got entangled with the dirty politics and deep dark prejudices of the day.1
The Beck Detectaphone Affair: Tawdry Tabloids and Tasty Tortieres
Jules Crepeau’s first scandal of record at Montreal City Hall was small potatoes. In 1900, as Secretary in charge of Bonsecours Market (the main farmer’s market in the city) he was called to testify on behalf of one Germain Tessier, Clerk-in-Chief, who apparently forced vendors to pay ‘bonuses’ to him for the rental of stalls. It was all on the up and up, said my grandfather. Mr. Tessier was honest and these costs arise naturally and are not, as some butchers were claiming, ‘a surcharge to pay for the next municipal elections.’
My grandfather’s second scandal was much more substantial, a meaty pulp fiction style fiasco involving all levels of government that almost put an early end to his brilliant City Hall career.
Indeed, as the Toronto World tabloid loudly reported in a March, 1914 headline: “Most highly-seasoned stew that has ever been uncovered in Canada. Beats all other scandals put together.”
Jules, along with a handful of members of the provincial legislature, allegedly got caught accepting bribes in a sting set up by journalist Edward Beck, former Editor-in-Chief of the Montreal Herald who had recently started his own tabloid Beck’s Weekly with the help of former Herald publisher Lorne McGibbon,2 just so he could write about it.
McGibbon was livid over a proposed 40 year tramways deal that would greatly benefit his arch-rival, Montreal Star publisher, Hugh Graham. McGibbon and Beck hired Burns detectives from the US armed with ‘detectaphones’ in the hope of proving that the tramways people were bribing members of the legislative assembly.
That didn’t work out. Instead, the American detectives posed as members of the Montreal Fair Association, a group hoping to get a private bill passed at Quebec so that they could start up a horse-racing and liquor business. They allegedly got my grandfather to accept 3,500 dollars a year in return for insider help, effectively doubling his salary as second assistant city clerk – were the charges true.
This all came down a month before the 1914 municipal election where it looked like the municipal Reform party, that had been elected in 1910 with help from Montreal suffragists, would be thrown out paving the way for the much despised tramways deal.
Now, it helps to have a background in the complicated Montreal/Quebec politics of that era -and thanks to a 1972 Masters thesis, my own decade-long research as well as BANQ fonds, I do.3
But let this excerpt from the Toronto World summarize the bribery situation (and its myriad mysteries) for you.
Yes, my grandfather got caught up in something much bigger than himself:a series of feuds between the municipal reformers, mostly ‘benign’ English businessmen who wanted to clean up what they saw as a corrupt political system and the ‘machine,’ an informal alliance of aldermen arranged in a hierarchy, who made sure their poorer wards got all the infrastructure improvements while they allegedly pocketed pork, as well as much bitterness between two English publishing titans, Hugh Graham and Lorne McGibbon, who had once been partners in a scheme to control Montreal’s newspapers.4
My small potatoes second assistant city clerk of a grandfather was held up to the voting public5 by Beck as an example of a corrupt (see “impure”)4 French City Hall when the real flash point was a transportation mega deal that would pour millions into the coffers of various Square Mile multi-millionaires, most of them Anglos.5
My grandfather’s name was dragged through the mud in many English and French tabloids, all of whom quoted Beck’s Weekly.
By the look of Beck’s purple prose, he really had it in for my grandfather. It seems personal.
“The City Hall is a sweet-scented sink hole of pollution if men like Crepeau speak the truth. Their greedy official hands take toll of contracts, levy tribute on ordinances, and prey upon the poor city labourers. Graft, graft, graft is written over the doorways, the lintels and on the doorposts.” 6
According to the newspaper Le Devoir, my grandfather’s mustachioed face filled up the entire front page of Beck’s first edition. Ouch! La Patrie tabloid put a smaller pic cropped from grandpapa’s official City Hall picture in their newspaper the next day. (It’s probably the same pic.)
The Beck’s Weekly account also made my grandfather look very stupid. “The endurance of the operators (of the detectaphone) were sorely tried by the gabbiness of the Handy Man of City Hall.”
Now, Jules Crepeau was anything but stupid. He was an energetic man – with complete recall – who hustled and muscled his way up the municipal ladder over a 32 year period. “Affable, intelligent, ambitious and active, with pride of purpose,” were words used to describe him*7, as were “a model of courteousness and a living encyclopedia of municipal affairs.” Apparently, he didn’t join the civil service for “security and repose.”8 He also had powerful people in the Liberal Party of Canada on his side.10
In 1888, Jules was a message boy in short pants in the Health Department (my mother like to say he started out ‘sweeping the floors’) and by 1921 he was Director of Services in a dark power suit, his office overseeing basically everything that came down in the city.
Back in 1914, my ‘handyman’ grandfather had clearly earned a reputation for being useful, but I think he was merely a willing (?) pawn of ‘the machine’ and of some very powerful politicians and industrialists – on both sides of the English and French divide and at all levels of government.
If he were greedy, as Beck so salaciously writes, he didn’t seem to prosper above his salary grade. *9. Even at the height of his career in the 1920’s, my grandmother Maria Roy was no ermine-draped socialite. She herself swept the floors in their three storey grey stone at 72 Sherbrooke West (right beside the Liberal Reform Club of Canada, a watering hole for political bigwigs); she herself rolled out the dough on her fabulously fatty tourtieres; and she gave away to Catholic charities most items from the roomful of ‘gifts’ Jules received at Christmas – keeping only the cigars and certain beautiful pieces of Chinoiserie.
In April 1914, my grandfather sued Beck and McGibbon (and Tarte of La Patrie) for libel and won. He was awarded 100 dollars in reparations and two thousand in legal costs by the Court. He donated the 100 dollars to a children’s hospital, as reported in the Liberal l’Autorite newspaper. (See bottom)
It is no coincidence that Jules was defended by R.L Perron11, distinguished Montreal lawyer, Quebec Liberal MLA, lawyer for the Tramways people and President of the Reform Club (Liberal) of Canada. Thanks to Perron, the detectives’ evidence was deemed inadmissable in court. Of course, it had already been printed word-for-word in numerous newspapers.
Beck’s Weekly ceased publication in 1915 during WWI. It is said that Hugh Graham made sure Beck couldn’t get the newsprint.
In 1916 Beck went West to work for a Winnipeg newspaper12 (where he was sentenced to prison for contempt of court – but won an appeal) and then he left journalism and moved into public relations, working for the pulp and paper industry headquartered in Ste Anne de Bellevue, Quebec. He stayed there until his death in 1930, occasionally planting stories in the Toronto Press about corrupt Montreal politics.
My grandfather kept his job as second assistant city clerk, soon rising to first assistant city clerk, occasionally earning some strategically-placed praise in the left-liberal newspapers l’Autorite and Le Canada until in 1921 he was unanimously appointed Director of City Services. This was a new post created with a new city charter – and after broad public consultations. This lofty post was specifically created to ensure that the city services were distributed evenly between the wards. Ha ha.
But this politically sticky post (being at the centre of all municipal activity; the designated liaison between top elected officials and the seven city department heads, including the Chief of Police) put my dear grandpapa in the way of other ugly scandals.
I will write about those in parts 2, 3 of this series: My Grandfather’s Brilliant City Hall Career in Four Scandals.
For more information: Montreal, City of Tomorrow (in French) by Honorable Nantel, 1910. Internet Archive. I found this book entering my grandfather’s name. The author is describing the city in 1910 and how its recent vast expansion has created opportunities and problems. He wants to pattern Montreal after Paris. He thanks my grandfather, among others, for providing him with information.
2. Lorne McGibbon was a prominent Conservative Party organizer who had brought the bribery scheme idea to a certain Thomas Chase Casgrain, Postmaster General in Borden’s Conservative party, who claimed it was ‘criminal’ – so he went it alone. During WW1 McGibbon spoke at Win the War rallies in support of Premier Borden and conscription. Indeed, he claimed in a speech, that any man who didn’t serve in the war shouldn’t be given work at home.
3.. The Municipal Reform Movement in Montreal: 1886-1914, University of Ottawa Master’s Thesis by Michel Gauvin. 1972.
4. The terms ‘benign’ and ‘machine’ from the Gauvin Thesis. ‘Machine’ refers to an earlier administration, but I think it still applies here. “Benign” is used in the sense that these businessmen believed their motives to be pure and beneficial to both their pocketbooks and the citizenry.
5. Montreal had universal male suffrage with exceptions. It could be said that many (most?) male British citizens could vote in municipal elections: they had to live in a house above a certain rental price, pay off their water tax. There were other stipulations. Widows and unmarried women with property could also vote.
In 1910, inspired by a 1909 visit from Britain’s Ethel Snowden, a moderate ‘maternal’ suffragist, the Montreal Council of Women mounted an effort to get the female vote out and ‘purify’ City hall. Their words. Widows and unmarried women of property could vote in the municipal elections. Council of Women volunteers went door-to-door and sure enough, their Reform candidates and Mayor, John James Guerin, was elected. The women were elated, assuming they had won the battle for their key interests, child welfare, temperance, etc. Guerin gave up the post within two years, claiming that as Mayor he was powerless do to anything.
In 1914, populist Mayor, Mederic Martin, a cigar manufacturer, won the election. He would remain Mayor for many years.
It was these women reformers who liked to refer to City Hall as ‘impure.’ Martin, irked by a letter they sent to him about the Tramways Affair, dared call them out in the press as women of leisure, “idlers” but he had to publicly retract his statement. These women were anything but lazy. He got them back: at the public consultations into the Tramways Affair the Council of Women was asked only silly questions: “Why can’t women get the ticket from their purses before getting on the tram instead of holding up the line.” Why can’t women shoppers shop outside of rush hour?” OUCH.
When the Montreal Council of Women helped get the Reform ticket elected in the 1910 municipal elections, Carrie Derick, President of the Council and Montreal’s No. 1 suffragist, wrote an ecstatic piece in The White Ribbon (the magazine of Christian Temperance Union) about how they had cleansed City Hall of impurities. Purity was a loaded concept in 1910, an era of tainted water and milk and of heavy immigration from Southern Europe. Here’s a bit from her article:
“Self-seeking and dishonour, which would have been scorned in private life, long characterized the Municipal Government of Montreal.
The Citizens appeared to be indifferent or helpless, allowing corrupt officials to display open disregard of all right principles. Associations and leagues to purify the administration of Municipal affairs sprang into being and died.
The result of our united efforts and public-spiritedness paid off (in the election of 1912). An unusually heavy vote was registered. Practically the whole of the reform candidates were elected.
Men united with women in urging women electors to do their duty by voting in order that civic reform might be secured, reform which alone would diminish the unceasing supply of sick, poor, the weak and depraved...”
Derick’s ideas were inspired by the eugenics theory. She was a gold-medal McGill geneticist, educated in Europe, and she gave many lectures, some of them mixing her areas of expertise, social reform, suffrage and social engineering. Her stature lent these ideas weight. The movement would accelerate after WWI and culminate in 1924 in the Coderre Inquiry into Police Malfeasance which would again ensnare my grandfather Jules, by this time the Director of City Services. I will write about that in Part 3 of this series.
5.The group included McConnell and Sir Rodolphe Forget who supported Mayor Martin in in 1914. (My grandfather was kin to the Forget’s, supposedly, but he was a Conservative Senator and my grandfather was aligned with the Liberals, so…)
6. Beck’s Weekly was quickly founded when Sir Hugh Graham bought the Herald from under McGibbon after Beck, as Editor in Chief, complained about the Tramways Deal in the Herald in March 1913, with a full page rant in huge 20 point enboldened type. “The Tramways Company’s Brazen Demands: It is well-known that the Tramways Company has City Hall under its thumb and works its sweet will with the people working there. It is known to have an alliance with a sector of the newspaper industry, stifling public opinion. The President of the Tramway and his henchmen occupy seats in the legislature and vote away people’s rights.”
Beck also invited the Montreal Suffrage Association to create a multi-page insert in return for their support of his point of view. That group passed a resolution against the deal (not in their usual purview) soon thereafter. The suffrage insert was published, with a front page letter from Christobel Pankhurst hiding out in Paris. The Montreal Suffrage Association and Beck then had an argument over the profits.
7. From his obituary in Le Devoir, 1938. It was here where it is said that grandpapa had complete and utter knowledge of every detail, however minuscule, of municipal government “like a bank vault.” (This sentiment was widely held.) He was the go-to-guy even at the Quebec legislature, the most influential man when it came to private bills, said the obit.
Another newspaper article said, “Jules Crepeau went grey teaching aldermen their jobs.” In those days, the federal Liberals were aligned with the provincial Liberals who were aligned (claimed the Editor of Le Devoir in 1930 upon the force ‘resignation’ of my grandfather) with Mederic Martin’s regime. Of course, my grandfather, as a civil servant, was supposed to be neutral in his allegiances, but the very nature of his job as defined by the City Charter made this next to impossible.
8. From an article in L’Autorite newspaper upon his installation as Director of City Services in 1921.
9. I met someone online whose grandfather, a corrupt cop-on-the-beat of the era, had managed to buy four homes, at a time when few working class men in Montreal owned their own homes. It is possible that my father needed money to buy his way up the ladder, but it also seems unnecessary, considering his connections and his boundless energy and sharp mind.
My grandfather’s home at 72 Sherbrooke West was right beside the Liberal Reform Club of Canada, where Canada’s Liberal Party power brokers socialized over the decades. No coincidence, I suspect.
I can see that Mme Guerin-Lajoie also lived a few doors down. She’s the famous Quebec suffragist. I wonder if my grandmaman knew her. I assume my grandpapa did.
10. https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/3584769?docsearchtext=Jules%20Crepeau%20BeckL’Autorite newspaper’s explanation of the Beck affair, March 1914. It’s all bait and switch tramways business, apparently. The story is put on a back page with the headline being “A tissue of lies,” my grandfather’s quote. This liberal anti-clerical newspaper was started in 1913 by one Tancrede Marcil, who was a disciple of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. BANQ’s blurb claims Laurier was the real ‘chef’ of this newspaper. Marcil also worked on the start up of Le Devoir newspaper.
The elite newspaper praised and promoted and acted as cheerleader for my grandfather throughout his late City Hall career. I’m not surprised that the Liberal Party of Canada was on my grandfather’s side. I just wish I knew more. It looks as if my grandfather was part of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s plan to rebuild the Liberal Party of Canada and get re-elected. The party had been turfed out in 1911. That was working for Laurier at the beginning, but then WWI happened and the infamous Conscription Crisis killed his chances. He died, anyway, in 1919. WWI broke out a few months after the Beck business, in August.
The article at bottom appeared in l’Autorite in1915, when it seemed that the Chief City Clerk, Patrician lawyer/journalist/scholar L 0 David, my grandfather’s boss, might win a seat in Parliament. (He didn’t). (I got it off BANQ). They are rehabilitating Jules’ reputation after the Beck scandal. LO David, a Senator, made some unsuccessful attempts at winning political seats federally and provincially. It is said that this cultured, learned man preferred writing his histories over the day-to-day minutia of his important day job as Chief City Clerk. That allowed my grandfather, a self-made, humbly-educated ‘detail’ man, son of a mere house painter, to punch above his weight at work.
In a front page editorial in March 1914, Publisher Marsil derided those people who said his newspaper was started up by Pro-Tramways people, much as Beck’s Weekly was started up by anti-tramways people. Nonsense, his newspaper was independent, Marcil said.
Louis Dupire Editor of Le Devoir wrote in 1930, upon Jules’ forced resignation from his position at City Hall that attacks such as Beck’s only served to increase his prestige.
11. RL Perron would benefit, it seems, in 1927 from the Montreal Water and Power Deal, my grandfather’s next scandal.
12. This was during the Galt Inquiry into some Conservative Government impropriety involving legislative building contracts. Beck refused to testify claiming the inquiry was illegal. He died in 1930, after an appendicitis operation, but he lived to see my grandfather turfed out of City Hall by Camillien Houde, so he likely died happy. He got a short obit in the New York Times, where where the bribery scandal was mentioned as his crowning achievement.
Below: Young Grandpapa and Edward Beck. Archive.org. Bitter adversaries or politics as usual? I suspect Beck hated my grandpapa because they were equal in social standing, pretty much earning the same salary.
One night in 1837, a party of twenty-five to thirty masked men, armed with rifles, axes and sticks invaded the home of Antoine Bruneau, my three times great grandfather. They forced him to renounce his commission as a Militia Captain by threatening to destroy his life and the lives of his wife and family. “That the said party, the same evening compelled the depositor to say that he was a Patriot and to shout hurrah for Papineau three times.” 2
Antoine Bruneau, probably participated in the War of 1812 but definitely served as a Militia Captain during the Rebellions of 1837-38. He did not fight with Les Patriots under the leadership of Louis Joseph Papineau, rather his loyalty was to the governing British.
He was born in La Prairie, Lower Canada, now Quebec, in 1773. The French had earlier been defeated on the Plains of Abraham, so he grew up under British rule. Antoine farmed in St Constant south west of Montreal, married Marie Josephte Robidoux, raised his family of ten children and attended the local Catholic Church. A seemingly simple life.
When war with the United States seemed imminent in 1812, all citizens of Upper and Lower Canada banded together to fight the Americans. Sedentary Militia were organized and men 16-60 were called upon to serve. Most of the Militia Captains were career officers. Others were doctors, lawyers, notaries and seigneurs, all people of “superior backgrounds”. It was a chance to improve ones social standing and gain power. Few farmers became Militia captains so did Antoine at this time? Initially, the best, healthiest and strongest men continued to work on the farms while the unproductive men were sent to the military.
After the war, Louis Joseph Papineau, then the elected speaker of the Assembly of Lower Canada wanted self government. The Governor General of British North America ignored all demands for more local control of the Legislature. Members were elected but Britain had veto power over all legislation. Papineau began organizing protests and rallying the French citizens who became know as Les Patriots. The French farmers suffered through an economic depression during the 1830s so many willingly joined the armed insurrection. These men wanted to free themselves from British rule. The continued protest rallies and calls for armed conflicts from the radical Patriots lost the support of the French moderate wing, most of its anglophone support as well that of the Catholic Church. The Church wanted a return to calm so as to continue their control of the population and preached their position to their congregations. The revolt came to a head in 1837 with the battles of St Denis and St Charles in the Richelieu Valley and later the battle of Ste. Eustache, just north of Montreal.
Antoine didn’t remain silent. He spoke out against the rebellion and gave numerous depositions to the government against his neighbours. These depositions were all signed Antoine Bruneau with his mark and an “X”.
One deposition recorded a time when his son told him that his life was in danger so Antoine loaded his gun and kept watch all night as at least 350 men engaged in the revolt passed by. He knew which of his neighbours were rebels and that they had secret signs he wasn’t party to.
In December of 1837 Antoine reported that after a reading of a proclamation from the Governor-General and the loyalist’s address to the Queen, Etienne Longtin, a member of his militia, responded with the coarsest expressions against the Queen and the British government. Antoine said that Longtin forgot his duties as a Militia officer and attempted to excite the people by the most seditious and revolutionary speeches that one could imagine. “He is a dangerous man in a word a rebel who seeks harm at every opportunity to help the revolutionary party.” 3
Later after another revolt, he reported that Augustin Beauvais, a tanner from La Prairie, was using his utmost influence to effect a rising of his neighbours to overthrow her Majesty Queen Victoria. Antoine believed Augustin Beauvais to be a determined rebel to anything British and the British government. He knew Beauvais left the province the previous winter during the troubles and had only recently returned. Last winter he was a principal leader and disturber in furthering the view of the rebel agitators to annihilate the British population of the province. 5
Antoine wasn’t deterred by attacks on his person or beliefs and continued to serve in the St-Constant militia as did his sons Barnabé and Medard. After his flurry of depositions the depositor said nothing more.
All I knew about Antoine Bruneau, my three times great grandfather besides the BMD facts was that he was a Militia Captain. In looking to prove this fact I entered his name in the search function Advitam on the BAnQ (Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec) website: https://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/. After limiting the time frame to his life, up came all the depositions around the time of the Rebellions of Lower Canada.
These documents are difficult to read as they are hand written and mostly in French. Some had been transcribed and typed. The quotes are my translations of these documents.
1.Affidavit d’Antoine Bruneau, capitaine de milice, de Saint-Constant, contre Edouard Lanctot et Joserige, (dit Laplante) de Saint-Constant. 11 Decembre 1837. E17,S37,D79 Fonds Ministere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.
2. Affidavit d’Antoine Bruneau, capitaine de Milice, Saint-Constant de de Saint-Constant, contre Charles Allard, meunuisier, de Saint-Philippe, maintenant de Montreal. 17 Decembre 1837. E17,S37,D87 Fonds Minirtere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.
“Que le dit parti aurait le meme soir contraint le deposant de dire qu’il etait Patriote et crier Houra pour Papineau trois fois.”
3. Affidavit d.Antoine Bruneau, capitaine de milice, de Saint-Constant, contre Etienne Longtin, cultivateur de Saint-Constant, un homme dangereux. 6 Fevrier 1838. E17, S37, D78. Fonds Ministere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.
” Que le dit Etienne Longtin est un homme dangereux en un mot un Rebelle qui ne cherche en tout que l’occasionde nuire et aider le parti revolutionnaire.”
4.Deposition d’Antoine Bruneau père, de Saint-Constant, contre Francois Camire et A. Dugas. 16 Novembre 1838. E17, S37, D1926. Fonds Ministère de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.
5.Deposition d’Antoine Bruneau pere vcontre Augustin Beauvais, de Laprairie. 20 Novembre 1838. E17, S37, D1899. Fonds Ministere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.
Antoine Bruneau born June 2, 1773, La Prairie, Quebec to Joseph Bruneau and Marie Anne Longtin and died February 1847 in St Constant, Quebec.
He married Marie Josephte Robidoux April 15, 1796 in St Constant, Quebec. She was born Feb 10 1775 in St Phillipe, Laprairie, Quebec to Francois Robidoux and Marie Josephte Bourdeau and died in St Constant, Roussillion, Quebec.
They had 10 children:
Marie Josephte 1796-1880 m. Basile Emond
Marie Louise,1798-1885 m. Basile-Leon Lefebvre
Antoine, 1802-1844 m. Adelaide Dupuis
Vincent de Paul 1805
Joseph Barnabe 1807-1880 m. Sophie Marie Prud’homme
Medard 1811- m. Louise Dupuis then Seraphine Maigret
Leon 1815- 1839
Marie Marguerite 1816-1834
The British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.
The Patriots took refuge in the church in Ste. Eustache which was fired on with cannons and cannon ball damage can be seen to this day.
About a year ago, my cousin and I were invited to luncheon with a distant family member who wanted to share her inherited Lindsay papers. The delicious luncheon filled our bellies and the precious family papers filled our souls. Among the papers were copious legible (!) handwritten notes by my great uncle, Stanley Bagg Lindsay, with some details of the lives of all three William Lindsays.
Why the second William (Burns) Lindsay (1796-1862) mantained two careers
In many families the eldest son often follows in his father’s footsteps when choosing a career. However, the second William Lindsay’s older brother died in 1817 when William was only 21.
Before then, in 1808, 12-year old William actually began work as an apprentice writer* in his father’s office, who was the recently appointed Clerk of the House of Assembly for Lower Canada. However, instead of eventually following in his father’s footsteps full time, William first pursued a career in banking.
William worked as one of three employees when the Bank of Montreal first opened in Quebec City in 18171. He began as the bank teller and eventually worked his way up to became an officer of the bank. During his time at the bank, William requested and obtained leaves of absence to attend to his duties at this father’s office during the Assembly sessions.*
At the age of 23, William married Maria Jones in Quebec City in 1819 and eventually they had 11 children. Their first son was his namesake, William Burns Lindsay, who would also continue the family tradition as the Legislative Clerk (see next story).
About ten years after they married, William’s father resigned from the Assembly in 1829 due to his failing health. (see The Three William Lindsays part 1) Not surprisingly, thirty-three year old William was unanimously appointed Clerk of the House of Lower Canada thus providing a fairly smooth transition and continuity of management. After 12 years establishing his own career in banking, he ultimately did step into his father’s political shoes.
At the time of his resignation from the Bank, “he had earned and obtained the good will and esteem both of his employers and of their customers, the merchants of Quebec.”* His unique combination of careers would have provided him with useful contacts with not only the elite “but young Canada’s most enterprising merchants and aspiring financiers”2 at that time. It must have placed him in a very powerful position indeed.
His work continued as Clerk of the Assembly right up until the 1837 rebellions (also known as the Patriots’ War)3, pitting the rebels against the colonial government of Lower Canada in an armed conflict, that had been brewing for nearly three decades. For the next few years, William commanded a volunteer artillery company*, until the restoration of order.
At this point, William was appointed Clerk to the Special Council4 set up to administer the affairs of Lower Canada until the Act of Union of 1840 when Lower Canada and Upper Canada were united into the one Province of Canada, as a result of these rebellions.
Lord Sydenham5,the first Governor General for the United Province of Canada, convened the first Parliament of Canada in 1841 in Kingston, Ontario6, and appointed William to be the clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Perhaps the Grand Trunk Railway enabled a commute between Assembly sessions while Kingston was the capital, as the 1842 census listed Quebec City still as his home.7 William held this office for the next 21 years until, according to his obituary, he died “almost in harness: for, though very unwell, he attended his place in the House … and within a few days of his death he signed official papers.”*
William died in Quebec City in 1862 at the age of 65 years.
The funeral took place from his residence in Quebec City while the flag on the Parliament Buildings flew at half mast during the funeral. An eloquent tribute to his worth was paid by the premier Hon. Mr. Cartier8 and the House of Assembly adjourned to testify respect to his memory. The members attended the funeral together putting any differences aside for that day. “As an efficient public officer, Mr. Lindsay was a very remarkable man…he was emphatically the right man in the right place … he never suffered himself to become a political partisan or to show more favour or grant more facilities to one side than the other.”*
Upon his death in 1862, William’s namesake (the third William Lindsay), succeeded to the clerkship of the Legislative Assembly thereby taking his father’s place and continuing the family history.
Next: Why the third William Lindsay gave up a promising career as a lawyer
As the family genealogist, I research my ancestors and write their stories. Recently, I found three generations of ancestors with the same name and the same role in an evolving Canada.
Their birth and death dates were vital as the first step to sorting them out. I noticed, however, that previous genealogists also struggled to sort them, as two of the three were sometimes labelled “Senior” and “Junior” (and sometimes in reverse order) and then “The Elder” and “The Younger” were assigned to another two. To keep things simple in my story, I will label them first, second and third – in the order of their births.
* Handwritten notes – Stanley Bagg Lindsay – dated March 1939
6Kingston was named the first capital of the United Province of Canada on February 10, 1841. While its time as a capital was short (ending in 1844), the community has remained an important military installation.
7The capital moved from Kingston to Montreal in 1844 and then alternated between Quebec City and Toronto from 1849 until Queen Victoria declared Ottawa the permanent capital in 1866.