Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



12th of July, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Gazette, 6 July 1877, page 2

THE TWELFTH OF JULY – Many rumors have been circulated pro and con during the past few days relative to the Twelfth of July and an Orange parade on that day.  In an interview with Ald Wilson, Chairman of Police, the latter remarked that he did not apprehend any trouble on the day in question; in fact he thought there was much more speculation in than reason for the rumors to the contrary.  The following letters have passed relative to the affair, and were omitted accidentally from the Gazette of yesterday:-

[copy] Orange Hall, no 81 St James Street

Montreal, July 3, 1877

Sir – I have been instructed by the Celebration Committee to write to you, to inform you that the Orangemen of the city intend to celebrate the anniversary of the 12th July by having a peaceable religious ceremony at some place to be hereinafter named, if they are allowed so to do without being molested with on the way.

But having been threatened with violence, we ask and claim the protection of the police.

And we also intend to claim military protection, in order to assist the civil authorities.

I am, sir,

Yours, etc

John Hamilton

Secretary C Committee

To His Worship the Mayor

Mayor’s Office, City Hall

Montreal, 4th July 1877

John Hamilton, Esq, Secretary Orange Celebration Committee:-

Sir, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, in which you inform me that the Orangemen of the city intend celebrating the anniversary of the 12th of July, by a religious ceremony and procession.

I will state in reply, that I am advised that inasmuch as the Association referred to in your letter is not legally constituted, it has no right to claim as a body any further protection from the civic authorities than that which every citizen is individually entitled to under ordinary circumstances.

I may add, that in view of the excitement and ill-feeling which the proposed demonstration is likely to create in our mixed community, and the many threatening rumors which have recently reached me, and anxious as I am that the harmony and good feeling characterized the relations between the different creeds and nationalities, of which our fair city is composed, should be preserved, I would most earnestly and confidently entreat the Orangemen to reconsider their decision, and, as good and loyal citizens, to avoid in their celebration any outside demonstration which may provoke a conflict, the evil consequence of which could not but be most deplorable.

I have the honor to be, Sir

Your most obedient servant,

Jean Louis Beaudry

Mayor of the City of Montreal


Caledonian Games, Montreal, 1873

Alloa Advertiser, 20 Sep 1873 p2

The Caledonian Games at Montreal – the eighteenth annual athletic sports of the Caledonian Society of Montreal were held in Decker’s Park on 21st August, and were a great success.  Over 3000 people were present.  Great interest was taken by the Canadians in the games, more especially those regarded as more exclusively Scotch – putting the stone, Highland dancing, bagpipe playing.  At the dinner held at the close of the gathering, the President, Dr JT Finnie occupied the chair; and the Mayor of Montreal, Col Fletcher, Col Stevenson and a large company were present.  It was suggested that the society should devote its attention more to literary matters, and should bring out some of the most popular lecturers from Scotland; and this, we believe, is to be acted upon.

St Andrew’s Day, Montreal, 1822

The Scribbler, Montreal – 26 Dec 1822 pgs 4-6


Laprairie, 10th Dec

Mr LL MacCulloch

Saint Andrew, with his wintery robes, has been so ill received by his Mount Royal children [I never before knew St Andrews day pass in Montreal, without two or more public dinners.  It has been said that the chief persons of note of the Scotch nation, being all conspicuous unionists, and having been stigmatised as a Scotch faction, determined on discouraging a meeting on St Andrew’s Day, alleging that it would add to the popular opinion of their caballing together, and confirm that party-designation, by which they are now generally known.  The paltry and vulgar pride that prevented a ball taking place that evening, is exposed in the sequel; and well do such beggarly sentiments deserve exposure. LLM] that he has deigned to honour this place with a visit on his natal day.  A select party of his would-be sons assembled at Mr Campbell’s to indulge in the pleasures of national partiality, and to criticise wiser and better men than themselves, as well as to partake of the comforts of the feast. The room was decorated with numerous transparencies and emblems of the “native soil”.  (I cannot say whether they had a fiddle;) and the whole, the dinner particularly, did great credit to the landlord.  When it was on table, the hoarse tones of a hoarse bagpipe, summoned the party to the gorge. The gathering of the clans, seemed however, rather out of place, when the native countries of the guests are considered, and a Dutch medley might have been better. The gallant Old Buck presided, and filled the chair with the consequential dignity of a feudal chieftain, though he did not seem to be so much at home as when acting the quack-doctor before a dozen squaws in an Indian wigwam. Daddy Dull, who makes his scholars smart, was the nightingale of the day, and, occasionally giving a stave or two of the pathetic, made himself more agreeable, than when reciting his Sunday prayer, with his covenanting whine.  Mr Billytap was also one of the select, and, as usual, put too much brandy in his water: at his earnest request, the pleasure of his company was soon dispensed with, and (as the president did shortly after) he walked into the street, and laid himself comfortably down on a pile of wood near the door, where he slept for two hours, in a heavy rain, until he was as completely drenched without as he was within.  Mr Shortleg Donaldson, shewed his wit by his manners, but, being young and thoughtless, it is not surprising he should behave a little foolishly.  Another genius marshalled the decanters in a truly bacchanalian style, and displayed his soaking qualities so wonderfully, that one would have thought him a sponge. The rest were well Dunn up, and looked as Dow-dy as you please. Another distinguished guest had been invited, but to the great uneasiness of the party, did not make his appearance in due time: it appeared that, having set off in high spirits, the grocer found when he got almost within smell of the haggis, that he had put an old coat on, by mistake, so he thought it behoved Mac to lean towards home again to change it, and crossed the St Lawrence for the purpose.

After dinner, the jovial cup passed and repassed in flowing bumpers, to the numerous toasts which had been prepared for the occasion?  And certainly most of them were the worse for wear, and may easily be traced by looking over old newspapers; that, however is nothing, and is perfectly excusable, as the whole party could not have made them of their own, without pilfering.  But, Mr Scribbler, here comes the rub. I should not have thought it worth my, or your while, to have given you an account of a dinner, attended by eight or nine persons, and those almost entirely insignificant characters; had this party not been puffed in the Montreal Herald, where it occupied full half a column; and why? Because in the plentitude of their folly, these cacklers, wanting to have something to distinguish themselves by, gave amongst their toasts, one in favour of the union of the two provinces, and stigmatising the opposers of that measure as illiberal, designing and ignorant. Ignorant, indeed! But fools always think themselves wise men: the lord have pity upon these uneducated ninnies! But, it is right that every man should have and maintain, his own opinion, but, in social meetings, party questions should never be introduced.  However, without this, these eight or nine blockheads would neither have made a figure in the Herald, nor have been, by reaction, immortalized in the Scribbler.

As to the second part of the fete, suffice it to say that, its etoient tous fous naturellement, and as Sawney says, by the frequent tasting “the joys of the shell,” they were a’ fou. Burns’ much admired song on Bannockburn, was sung by the whole party, but the following parody, will better describe the finish.


Scots let’s nae gang yet to bed,

Till grog has filled each empty head,

Till a’ our senses far hae fled,

Till we nae mair can see.

This is the boozing hour of night;

Drink till a’ our eyes are white

Noise must be when fools unite,

Sae noisy let us be.

Wha wadna’ swill till roarin fou,

The beer that yon mon there doth brew?

And so we’ll a’ be drunk enow,

Then push about the bree.

Wha for Aundra loud wull ca’?

Wha for Bacchus gies hurra?

Like topers sup, like topers fa’

Then tak a dram wi’ me.

By rum, brandy, wine and gin,

By all the liquids, thick and thin,

We will drink till day peeps in,

For we shall not, shall not flee.


This bold resolution, however, was soon laid aside, when they were informed that it was Sunday morning, and that no singing or drinking would be allowed after twelve on Saturday night.  They then reeled off singing,


Bid McKay na’ longer blow,

Lay the noisy piper low,

To bed let us a’ reeling go,

Nid noddin a’ are we


Your’s faithfully,

Nicodemus Watch-em.

Update on a Brick Wall – Amy Jennings, 2018

My Brick Walls – Research that Frustrates

I have an update on a brick wall that I featured in November 2014.  I want to thank several cousins who have emailed me with the information which has since led to more information on Amy Jennings, and the re-reading of a document to correct sloppy handwriting. Many. many thanks to those who contacted me about this – so appreciated!

So, to recap – my brick wall was Amy Elizabeth Jennings, who was the sister of my great-grandmother Emma Jane. She emigrated with Emma Jane, Emma Jane’s husband Ernest Paulin, and his brother Herbert in 1884 to Canada – settling originally in Victoria, BC.

Shipping list, 1884
Shipping list, 1884

I know that she married William Momson on Oct 5th 1887 in Victoria, and then the trail goes cold.

Marriage record from BC 1887
Marriage record from BC 1887

Here is the thing – it is not Momson, although looking at the entry from her marriage one would expect it to read Momson – but it wasn’t, his name was Thomson.  And there is the answer.  Armed with her real married name, I have found that she had three children: William Herbert Thomson (1889-1890), Edith Amy Thomson (1891-1971) and Sidney James Thomson (1892-1983).  I know that Amy died in 1943 in Vancouver, and her husband died in 1904 in Nanaimo.
Regarding the pictures I mentioned in the original post:  “I do have these pictures, which came from my grandparents’ collection that my Mom identified as the “Mitchells” and said that they were related to her Nanny [Jennings] and that the picture was from BC. Are they Amy’s family?”

From the collection of my grandparents
From the collection of my grandparents


Yes, the Mitchells are connected to Amy…… Edith Amy Thomson married Andrew Henry Mitchell and they had two daughters that I know about – Ellen (1914) and Florence (1917).  So the pictures identified as the Mitchells are likely the family of Amy’s daughter Edith.  I would love to get in contact with any of the Mitchells to identify for certain the people in the pictures from the family collection – so please if you are related contact me!

The Procession Question, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Daily Star, 13 July 1877, page 2

The Procession Question

[Opinions of the Press]

Some people have the habit of standing upon their rights, come what will.  It may be conceded that this disposition may be pushed too far in individual cases, and become so much temporary inconvenience.  At the same time, history is full of instances in which popular rights have been gained or maintained by just such dogged determination as that exhibited at Montreal on the part of Orangemen.  One is at a loss to know why a procession on their part should not be tolerated.  Such an incident may not be agreeable to the majority in Quebec, but in this world, and particularly in this country, we must give and take on matters of opinion in order to live together in reasonable harmony. – London Free Press

Whatever may be any one’s views of the wisdom or otherwise of holding an Orange celebration on the 12th of July, there is no room to question its legality, and being legal, those who engage in it are entitled to the full protection of the law. – Hamilton Spectator

The white feather of fear should never be shown by the authorities. The denial of any right is always a sufficient incentive to the strongest assertion of it.  Were the right to celebrate the 12th of July in their own way freely conceded to the Orangemen of Montreal by their Roman Catholic fellow citizens, it is not likely there would be such a fixed and strong determination to exercise it.  The avowed opposition to the proposed street parade of Thursday has had, therefore, the inevitable effect of inspiring Orangemen with a stronger resolution to carry out their purpose – if for no other reason than to vindicate their unquestionable right to do so.  If the Orangemen should, at the very last moment, reconsider their intention, they would be entitled the public appreciation of the sacrifice such a step would imply in the interests of the public peace, although a few may say that in such a self-denying course they had been actuated by fear.  If, however, they should hold their original intention to celebrate their anniversary by a procession, British law, which guarantees protection to every law abiding citizen, would be tarnished and dishonoured if it should fail to extend that protection to them.  At all events equal rights must be secured to every citizen of free Canada. – Whig

Out of deference to public feeling in the matter and not from fear of immediate consequences, they (Orangemen) can afford to abandon even yet that part of their programme which is most likely to give rise to disturbance.  While saying this we do not wish to be challenging in the slightest degree their right to walk the streets of Montreal.  They have not only a right to go in procession but also to be fully protected while they are in procession. – Globe.

St Patrick’s Society Picnic, Montreal, 1871

Montreal Gazette, 3 July 1871, page 2.


The Pic-nic of this Society, no matte where it is held, whether at the Islands of Boucherville; the still more unromantic locality of St Lambert’s, or in the vicinity of the city, is always successful but never was it more successful than the pic-nic yesterday.  The scene of the picnic, if the term may be used, was on the grounds of Mr Jas Howley, on Upper St Antoine street, opposite Canning street, and better grounds for an occasion of the kind could not be found anywhere.  The grounds are in every respect as they were said to be, conveniently situated, pretty in appearance, well shaded, with a large stream of water running through, in which is it very pretty island. The grounds were crowded at one time during the afternoon there being no less than 4000 persons present. A large platform for dancing had been erected, and in the music of a very fair quadrille band, afforded ample accommodation for the numerous dancers who tripped the light fantastic toe until the pic-nic came for a conclusion. The land of the St Bridget’s Society played in excellent style.  The following list of games were contested for:

  1. 1st                    2nd

Running high leap ……………………………………………………….$3                               $2

Running long leap ……………………………………………………….$3                               $2

Race, in heats, 150 yards……………………………………………..$3                               $2

Boy’s race, 100 yards …………………………………………………..$2                              $1

Hurdle race, 3 ½ ft hurdles, in heats ……………………………$3                              $2

Irish Jig …………………………………………………………………………$3                              $2

Short race, 200 yards……………………………………………………$3                               $2

Standing leap……………………………………………………………….$3                               $2

Hop, step and leap ………………………………………………………..$3                            $2

Boy’s sack race ………………………………………………………………$2                            $3

The Society are indebted to Mr Howley for accommodation in one of the most suitable localities for a pic-nic, and the saving of several hundred dollars heretofore expended in the hire of steamboats.

At a late hour the picnic broke up, every one present on the occasion being sorry to part, and anxious to meet on the next occasion of the next pic-nic.  It is calculated that the Society will find themselves, on this occasion, considerably over six hundred dollars in pocket.

Oak Bay School Closing Exercises, Victoria, 1895

Victoria Colonist, 29 June 1895, page 2.


Oak Bay School

Programme of Closing Exercises – List of the Successful Pupils

The closing exercises of the Oak Bay Public School were held in the mission hall yesterday afternoon. The room was prettily decorated with flowers. The parents and friends of the children showed their interest by being present in large numbers. The following programme was rendered by the children: –

Recitation – “Opening Speech” Charlie Hopper

Recitation – “A Farmer’s Boy” Stanley Hobbis

Song- “Come Down, Little Birdie” – School

Recitation- “The Little Brown Squirrel” – Marguerite Bennett

Reading – “Pleasures of a Country Life” Flora Tait

Recitation – “I Must not be Idle” Mary Macmillan

Recitation – “Two Little Robins” Annie Tait

Recitation – “Harold’s Little Dog” Harold Pauline

Song- “The Useful Sheep” – School

Recitation – “Untidy” Flora Tait

Recitation – “I Wish” Emma Prescott

Class Recitation – “We are a Class of Little Tots” Chart Class

Evening Hymn – School


Roll of Honour – Regularity and punctuality – George Vye; deportment Myrtle Noble; proficiency Ethel Elenor Soule.


Prizes – Myrtle Noble, head of chart class; Mary Macmillan, head of first primer; Marguerite Bennet, head of second class; Ethel Elenor Soule, proficiency; Thomas Wilson Ashe, attendance; Florence Tait, spelling and reading; Harold Ernest Pauline, second prize for proficiency and spelling; George Vye, general proficiency.

The school board wish it stated that they greatly appreciate the skillful manner in which Miss Josephine Colquhouan has instructed the children, and they have passed a resolution thanking her for her constant diligence in the work.

Villa Maria Closing Exercises, Montreal 1876

[Family stories have it that my great-great grandmother Margaret Cuddy won the math prize and her father John Patrick was so proud, he took her to Ireland as a reward.  There it is said she met her future husband Timothy Corley.  So here is evidence that she won the math prize, and she did meet Timothy in Swinford, Ireland.  Not sure what happened in the ten intervening years between award and marriage….  But here is the proof that she won the math prize.]

Journal of Education, July 1876, page 107

Villa Maria Convent School

The annual distribution of premiums, medals and honors to the pupils of this Institution, took place on the 22nd June.  The annual event was formerly counted among the most brilliant of the season, being witnessed by the elite of Montreal society who made a point to visit what was in former days the Vice-Regal mansion, eager to enjoy the treat there offered to the admirers of beauty, art and talent. It was, however, celebrated, without its usual éclat this year, owing to the death of the late Superioress, the well-known and lamented Sister of the Nativity. The exercises were conducted in private, a few only of the more intimate friends of the Institution being in attendance. The medals for general proficiency, presented by His Excellency the Earl of Dufferin were awarded as follows:- the silver one was awarded to Miss Josephine Perrault of Montreal; Miss Maggie O’Meara of Pembroke, Ontario, being almost equal in merit, received a handsome medal as a testimony of successful competition, from the Lady Superioress General.  In the contest for the bronze medal, Miss Hortense Murphy of Montreal, and Miss Marion Murphy of Quebec, were proclaimed the successful candidates in a class of nineteen.  The question of assigning it was decided by drawing; the higher number favoring Miss Hortense Murphy. The other young lady was compensated for her loss, by a beautiful wrought silver medal, presented by the Reverend Mother Superioress.  Congratulatory addresses were afterwards tendered by the members of their respective classes to the happy winners of those honors.  The Edward Murphy prize, a valuable microscope, with an accompanying treatise, was awarded to Miss Lizzie Brennan for success in the study of the natural sciences. The exquisite gold medal, presented by Mrs Edward Murphy, as the prize of culinary art and domestic economy, was taken by Miss Zoe Sache of Montreal.  This course is complete, and affords young ladies every advantage for acquiring a practical knowledge of housekeeping.  An address of thanks in the name of the graduating class was presented to Mr and Mrs Edward Murphy, whom this institution counts among its most distinguished and generous patrons. Medals for excellence of deportment were awarded to Miss Alice Collins and Miss Lena Kelly; for composition to Miss McLaughlin and Miss Gibson, and for mathematics and bookkeeping to Miss M Cuddy and Miss Marion Murphy.  The names of the young ladies who received the graduating honors are as follows: – Misses Josephine Perrault, Zoe Sache, Lizzie Brennan, Katie Donnelly, Maggie Cuddy, Alice Collins and Agnes Donovan of Montreal; Miss Maggie O’Meara of Pembroke, Ont; Miss Bruneau of Sorel; Misses Fortin and Slavin of St John’s and Miss McLaughlin of Portland Me.  A handsome volume was presented to each of the pupils.  This work is a collection of the reminiscences of their school life, and personal recollections of Sister Nativity, made by the young ladies of the Institution, and to which have been added several letters, received by members of her community or by the pupils themselves at the death of this venerated Superioress; also the obituary notices and accounts of the obsequies as given by the press, and selections from the “In Memoriam” written on this occasion. Beautiful and touching valedictories were recited by the young ladies of the graduating class, during which the deepest emotion was evinced by those sweet girls, who, in their turn, had now to cross the threshold of their well loved “Alma Mater” where they are preserved from the world’s blighting contact, far removed from its pomps and its vanities, and where they are taught to prize and emulate those more real and noble accomplishments which constitute true worth and dignity in women.

At the close of the séance the Very Rev Superioress, who presided, made a few feeling and appropriate remarks on the general satisfaction given by the pupils to their devoted teachers.  She bade them adieu and hoped they would enjoy their vacation, and announced that the Convent would re-open on the 31st of August.

Daring Robbery, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Gazette, 23 June 1877, page 2


$23,000 Stolen in mid-day from the Grand Trunk Offices

One of the most daring and clever robberies ever perpetrated was committed yesterday, by which the Grand Trunk Railway Company have been victimised to the extent of nearly twenty-three thousand dollars.

The modus operendi was simple and, unhappily, successful and indicates by all appearance, the hand of a skilled operator.  The facts, so far as ascertained, gathered from authentic sources, are very brief.  Such details as have come to our knowledge are withheld for obvious reasons.

Between twelve and one o’clock yesterday Mr David Faulkner, paymaster, having received the usual monthly funds from the Bank of Montreal for payment of the employees deposited the amount in his bag; returned to his office, which is on the third flat of the general offices on Jacques Cartier street, and went to lunch.  He was absent about twenty minutes.

Upon his return he found the door of his office shut, but unlocked, and the money gone.  The door was opened by a patent key.  Communication was at once had with the police, a strict search made, but no trace of the missing funds could be discovered.

No clue has as yet been obtained.  Up to a late hour last evening the detectives were in possession of the building. The trains were thoroughly watched, but nothing satisfactory has as yet been discovered.

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