Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



Manitoba Scientist finds world’s largest dinosaur – 1925

Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 15 Jan 1925 page 1

Manitoba Scientist finds world’s largest dinosaur

Prof WE Cutler Makes big find in East Africa

Local man leading scientific Expedition for British Museum

Dinosaur located in Tendaguru Field

Prof WE Cutler of the faculty of the University of Manitoba, now leading a research expedition in British East Africa has found the largest dinosaur skeleton ever discovered, according to word received in Winnipeg today.

Prof Cutler’s scientific explorations are being conducted on behalf of the British Museum near Tendaguru, 69 miles north of Lindi, in Africa, where German scientists, before the War, found specimens of skeletons of gigantic pre-historic reptiles.

Prof Cutler left Winnipeg about eight months ago, going first to England, and sailing from there for Africa.  He had as chief assistant Mr. LSR Leakey, a Kenya-born Cambridge student, who preceded him to Africa to handle the transport and make general arrangements for the expedition.

Leakey back in London

Mr. Leakey has now returned to London with specimens, photographs and the story of the results to date.

Prof Cutler’s party took up the exploration work where the German scientists left off, and it is the opinion of members of the group now that the field work at Lindi had only been touched by the earlier efforts.

The dinosaur skeleton, parts of which the party has located, is from eight to 10 million years old, according to Prof Cutler’s opinion.  It has a probably height of 20 feet and an estimated length of 80 feet.  A shoulder blade, the largest bone so far unearthed, measured 74 inches across and needed 16 men to lift it.

Bones found

A femur measuring 65 inches and a tibia of 54 inches are among the other bones reclaimed.

Hundreds of dinosaur bones are being dug up by Prof Cutler, and discoveries of vast importance to the scientific world are expected shortly.

The presence of the giant reptiles at the spot at Tendaguru is attributed to drowning.  The subsoil there is soft clay.  In long forgotten ages it was, Prof Cutler believes, on the shore of the sea beside which the dinosaurs wandered in herds. Now and then one would step into clay too yielding for such a huge animal, sink and smother to death.

Prof Cutler, before he undertook the expedition, was laboratory assistant in the geological branch at Manitoba University.

He first came into prominence through his discoveries of fossil vertebrae in the Red River Valley.

wpg tribune image


Finds skeleton of big reptile

Prof WE Cutler

Prof Cutler, who is conducting the scientific explorations for the British Museum in East Africa, has found the “Largest Dinosaur” skeleton in history, Winnipeg friends learned today.


Family of Sprott Boyd and Catherine Cutler – A Link

One of my Cutler relatives, Andrew Connor, has been doing some research about his family – the Boyds, who moved to Australia in the nineteenth century.

Here is a link to all of his work:


St Patrick’s Church Research, 1998

St Patrick’s Basilica – from website:,_Montreal

Recently I gave a presentation on the history of St Patrick’s Church in the church hall – which was wonderful!  I was asked about a petition I cited in my MA Thesis, and about who was on the list.  It was a good question, and of interest to many historians and genealogists. So I decided to go back to my notes from the thesis and get out the documents.  Unfortunately, this was 1998 so my notes were on a 3 1/2 floppy, but I had printouts.  So I am attaching them as PDFs here in this post for people to look at.

donation list 1841

This is a list of those donations made between 1841-1843 to the Fundraising Committee of St Patrick’s Church, which was administered by prominent members of the congregation.  I took the list when I transcribed it and put it in alphabetical order.  There are 370 entries, some donations are in dollars, some in Halifax Pounds.

The source information: St Patrick’s Church Minute Book, 1841-1843, St Patrick’s Basilica Archives.

1833 petition

This is a petition sent to the Rev Quiblier, who was the Superior of the Seminary of St Sulpice, in Montreal.  The congregation of the Recollet Church asked for an enlargement of the said church, and a High Mass every Sunday.  The document was handwritten, and unfortunately I was not able to decipher every signature.

The Source information: Petition, Section 27, voute 2, T-97 #188, Archives du Seminaire de Saint-Sulpice, Montreal.




Grandfather’s cigarette case – questions

I have this cigarette case which belonged to my grandfather and I treasure it.  However, I do have some questions as to why he was presented this item.

First – an image of the item.


The case is a Birks silver case, with cedar lining.  I use it for the ink of my fountain pen – I don’t smoke.

The engraving says “Hugh J Leitch from the Town of Hampstead in appreciation of his services as alderman, 1948-1949”

Not that I doubt that he was a good alderman, but for his work as one for one year?  I believe that was the length of one term.  Why was he presented with a gift at the end of the work?  Did all the aldermen get presentation gifts?  Was this special? Was he elected as alderman?

This is the only evidence I have of him having any kind of political life. He did serve a year as Assistant Director General of Naval Shipbuilding, during the Second World War. Beyond that he was an engineer, then sales manager for Dominion Bridge.

A month ago I did make an inquiry at the archives for the municipality of Hampstead.  Patience is a virtue, so I await news.



Yardley Association for the Prosecution of Felons, Birmingham, 1839

Ari’s Birmingham Gazette, 1 April 1839 page 3

Yardley Association for the Prosecution of Felons

We, whose names are hereunder written, Members of the above Association, for the purpose of detecting and the more speedily and effectually bringing to justice any person or persons who shall commit any felony or robbery upon any of our persons or properties, have agreed, at our joint expense, to give the following rewards to any person on whose information any felon shall be taken and convicted, viz.

For every murder, highway robbery, burglary, housebreaking, or setting fire to any ricks or buildings, or stealing or maiming any horse, mare, or gelding, the sum of ten pounds.

For stealing any household furniture, plate, clothes or wearing apparel, horned cattle, sheep, or other cattle, the sum of five pounds.

For stealing any sort of grain, hay, straw, or clover, pigs, poultry or pigeons, robbing fish ponds, gardens or orchards, stealing implements of husbandry, iron-work, hooks or thimbles, or milking of cows, the sum of two pounds two shillings,

For stealing, destroying or injuring any crops of turnips, peas, beans, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, or other vegetables, gates, stumps, rails, pales or stiles, the sum of ten shillings.

For apprehending and convicting any person who shall buy or receive any goods or chattels, knowing them to be stolen, the sum of two pounds.

To every Turnpike Gate-keeper through whose information any such offender or offenders shall be apprehended, or stolen goods or cattle shall be recovered, the sum of two pounds five shillings.

And in all other cases such a reward as the majority of the members present at any annual meeting shall think fit.

Anderton, Thos Yardley                                 Jennings, Isaac

Anderton, William Aston                              Jones, Thomas

Ashmore, William                                             King, Edmund

Allday, Thomas                                                 King, Edward

Briscoe, Joseph                                                 Kennedy, Rev R

Bedfords, Mrs.                                                  Kemp, Richard

Brown, Joseph                                                  Lloyd, Francis

Colmore, Thomas                                             Mayou, John

Dolphin, John                                                    Mansfield, Thomas

Edwards, John                                                   Mudely, William York

Gunn, Samuel                                                    Nicholls, Joseph

Gwyther, Rev H                                                 Richards, Joseph Cary

Glover, Joseph                                                  Steedman, Benjamin

Holloway, Robert                                             Swinburne, Thomas

Homer, Henry                                                    Smith, Charles

Hipkiss, Mary                                                     Tomlinson, John

Hinks, John                                                         Tomlinson, Joseph

Harbourne —                                                     Tomkins —-

Hargrave, Robert                                              Waddell, William

Waddington, John

The members of this Association, and all other persons who are desirous of becoming Members of the same association, are desired to attend the annual meeting at the house of Mr. Kemp, the Bull’s Head, Hall Green, on Friday next the 20th day of April.

By order of the treasurer,

Colmore and Beale, Solicitors

NB Dinner on the table at two o’clock precisely.

Upcoming talk….. 2019

If anyone is interested I will be speaking at the BIFHSGO meeting this Saturday.  No admission – all welcome.

Monthly Meeting: June 8

The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

10:00 to 11:30 am


A Dark Chapter in a Successful Life – Nigel Lloyd

Edward Lloyd, was one of the 19th Century’s most successful publishers and newspaper proprietors. His paper, Lloyds Weekly News, became the only newspaper in Britain to have a circulation of more than a million copies in the nineteenth century. This talk focuses on his private life: He had nineteen children by three different women. While sorting out these relationships, a dark chapter is revealed.

A Poor Racine – Mike Jaques

The Times newspaper in 1854 published an article about poverty in Bethnal Green, London, and made mention of “a poor Racine”.  Research to try to identify this Racine and determine whether he was a relative resulted in an unexpected discovery.

Finding Frances – Gillian Leitch

Wife of Jean Victor Baron and then John Inigo Wright, mother to Richard John Baron and John William Wright, daughter of Richard Guise and Elizabeth Windham, younger sister of Sarah Elizabeth Cutler: these have been the only ways of knowing Frances.  She has been an enigma.  Through a lot of research, spots of good luck and great help her identity and her life in late 18th and early 19th century London has become a “Great Moment” in research.

Family Fiction, Facts Found – Roberta (Bobby) Kay

Family stories often suffer the fate of the “telephone game”.  There is usually some truth in the family legends, but they morph and take on a life of their own over the generations until it is sometimes difficult to discern the real truth of the matter.  Unraveling the stories about the Swinn family of Lincolnshire produced just such twisted stories, interesting facts and delightful details.

Highland Games in Canada – CBC Broadcast – Scottish Home Service – 1947

Falkirk Herald, 2 Jul 1947, page 3


Highland Games Canada


On Tuesday, 8th July at 7:45 pm the Scottish Home Service is broadcasting a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation feature on the Highland Games held this year at Hamilton, Ontario.  Scots from all over the Dominion have come from all over the Dominion have come to demonstrate their prowess in tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, piping, Highland dance, fiddling and all the other events of such a gathering as it is held in the land of their forefathers Scotland.  There are very many people of Highland descent in Canada, particularly in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, where Gaelic is spoken.  The exiles have cherished the traditions of their homeland in language, music and song, and events such as the Highland Games.  Highlanders in particular will be interested to hear about the Highland Games in which their brother Scots overseas are taking part.

History of St Andrew, Dundee, 1898

Dundee Courier, 1 December 1898 page 4


The Patron Saint of Scotland

Amongst Scotsmen in their own country the 30th of November – St Andrew’s Day – receives little notice, but when they go to other countries, they cordially celebrate it as a period for the reunion of all the members of the race.  In all parts of the world St Andrew’s Day is observed, while curious to say, outside Masonic Lodges, in Scotland itself very few people give the smallest heed to the Saint or his place in the calendar.  Of late years a tendency has been observable to give the day national honour, but this has its origin not in Edinburgh but in London.  The Scots in London have set the fashion of celebration St Andrew’s Day in great style, and possibly we may see before many years a popular movement in favour of a Saint who at present receives little honour in his own country.


Not that we mean to hint that St Andrews was a Scot; but how comes it that his name is associated with the “Land of Thistles” and that Scotsmen in every part of the habitable globe on his day are called upon to dine upon fare which contains much oatmeal, to sing Scottish songs, to drink Scottish whisky, and foot it in “twosome reels and fowersome reels.”  The commonly accepted account is that St Andrew is believed to have travelled as a missionary through Asiatic and European Scythia; to have afterwards passed through Thrace, Macedonia, and Epirus into Achia: and at the city of Pairs, in the last-named region, to have suffered martyrdom in the year 609 AD.


The Roman pro-Consul, it is said, caused him to be first scourged and then crucified.  The latter punishment he underwent in a peculiar manner, being fastened by cords instead of nails to the cross, to produce a lingering death by hunger and thirst; whilst the instrument of punishment itself, instead of being T-shaped, was in the form of an X, or what is termed a cross decussate.  We are further informed that a Christian lady of rank named Maximola caused the body of St Andrew to be embalmed and honourably interred.


Pope Ursinus, three hundred years later, ordained the 30th of November a festival to the Memory of St Andrew.  The remains of the martyr were removed by the Emperor Constantine to Constantinople, where they were deposited in a church erected in honour of the Twelve Apostles.  The history of the relics does not end here, for we are informed that, about thirty years after the death of Constantine, a pious Greek monk, named Regulus or Ruise, conveyed the remains of St Andrew to Scotland, and there deposited them on the eastern coast of Fife, where he built a church, and where afterwards arose the renowned city and Cathedral of St Andrews.


It is said that the Order of the Thistle was founded in honour of St Andrew, about the year 809, by Archaius the First, King of Scotland.  That monarch had made an alliance with the great Charlemagne, taking for his device a thistle.  There was, it seems a tradition to the effect that King Hungus, the Pict, had a dream, in which St Andrew paid him a midnight visit, and promised him a sure victory over his foes the Northumbrians.  On the next day a St Andrew’s Cross appeared in the sky, and victory followed the King’s arms.  It was on this account that Archaius founded the Order of the Thistle.


The Reformation, suppressing all the festivals of the Romish Church, made no exception in the case of the national Saint.  Now and again, however, habit was not to be overcome by the fear of Church discipline.  Thus, we find a Strathkinnous man, in 1649, appearing as a culprit before the Kirk Session of St Andrews.  He was charged with having been drunk – but observe that drunkenness was not the offence – he had been drunk on St Andrew’s Day.  He escaped being banished from the parish by giving an undertaking that when next he got drunk he should not be suspected of doing honour to a Popish Saint.


A part of the cross on which St Andrew was crucified is alleged to have been carried to Brussels by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and Braband, who, in honour of it, instituted the Knights of the Golden Fleece, who, for the badge of their Order, wear a figure of this cross, called St Andrew’s Cross, or the Cross of Burgundy.


The Russians declare that St Andrew preached among them, and claim him as the principal titular saint of their Empire.  Peter the Great instituted the first Order of Knighthood under his name, this being the Order of the Blue Ribbon.


St Andrew is also the patron Saint of the Royal Society, and at the early anniversary meetings the members came with little St Andrew’s Crosses affixed to their hats.  The lacemakers in the Midlands of England, before the introduction of machinery, observed St Andrew’s Day as a festival with much merry-making, but with them the name had become corrupted to “Tandrew.”


On the eve of St Andrew’s Day German girls, who are desirous of ascertaining what will be the colour of the hair on their future husband’s head, take hold of the latch of the house door, and repeat three times, “Gentle love, it thou lovest me show thyself;” she then opens the door quickly and makes a rapid graps through it into the darkness, when she finds in her hand a lock of her future husband’s hair.


Formerly St Andrew’s Cross was affixed to the doors of rooms as a sign that those within wished to be private, and had no intercourse without.  Thus, in the Duke of Buckingham’s diary, there is an account of the conclave of Cardinals which met for the election of a successor to Pope Leo the Twelfth.  He says – “Cardinal Gregoris now, they say, has to chance, but his friends stick by him.  Sixteen, who always vote for him had affixed a St Andrew’s Cross against the doors of their cells.  This is meant to say that they wish for no intercourse with the rest of the conclave, had made up their minds, and desire not to be disturbed.”  Apparently, Sir Walter Scott has a reference to the custom in “Rob Roy” in describing the peeled willow wand placed across the half-open door of Jean MacAlpine’s alehouse.  Andrew Fainservice understands its import, and advises the Bailie and Osbaklistone not to enter. “For,” says he, “some of their chiefs and grit men are birling at the masquebaugh in by there and dinna want to be disturbed, and the least we’ll get if we gang ramstam in on them will be a broken head, to learn us better havings, if we dinna come by the length of a cauld dirk in our wame, whilk is juist as likely.”


Murder of Bruce Leitch, Sand Point, ON, 1917

Montreal Gazette, 18 Jul 1917, page 7

Renfrew Crown Attorney on Holidays and Substitute could not attend

Doctor is indignant

Authorities would not allow girl to be brought to Montreal Hospital – Bennett’s parents arrive

(Special to the Gazette]

Arnprior, Ont – July 17 – The Inquest into the death of the late Lieut Bruce M Leitch of Montreal, the returned officer who was shot and killed by William Bennett, former sweetheart of Leitch’s bride, near Sand Point on Monday afternoon, was postponed until tomorrow morning.  It was to have been held here tonight, but the Crown attorney is on his holidays and the substitute appointed could not attend until tomorrow.

Coroner Dr A Armstrong and Chief of Police JW Hunt met tonight and empanelled a jury.   Among the witnesses who will be called will be the mother and the brother of the girl, who are now at her bedside, and the men who were first at the scene of the shooting and who late helped to carry Bennett to the station, and heard him say he was sorry he didn’t make a better job of it, as he couldn’t bear to see them happy together while he was so miserable. That only one verdict is possible under the circumstances is the assumption here, and it is not expected that the enquiry will be long one.

A report brought from the Victoria Hospital, Renfrew, says that Bennett, who attempted suicide after killing Leitch and shooting his bride twice, is in a very critical condition.  Dr James Mann, who is attending him declared his chances for recovery were very poor.  There was a bare possibility that the optic nerve had not been severed, as it was first thought, and that Bennett’s blindness is due to pressure on the nerves cause by the bullet in his head.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, the father and mother of the young man, arrived at Renfrew this evening and were at once taken to their son.  The latter is quite conscious and an affectionate meeting took place.

Removal of girl refused

The coroner and the Crown Attorney refused to sanction the removal of Mrs. Leitch from the hotel at Sand Point to the General Hospital in Montreal.  When a wire was sent to JH Burrill, KC of Pembroke, crown attorney of Renfrew County, asking him to attend the inquest here tonight, it was learned that he was away on holidays at Belleville.  He was reached by telegram there and replied instructing JH Reeves barrister of Pembroke to take his place.  Reeves notified Coroner Armstrong that he would be unable to come to Arnprior until Wednesday morning, and he agreed with the coroner that the girl had better be detained in her room at Young’s Hotel, Sand Point, until after the inquest was held.

Dr WA Cameron of Arnprior who has been attending the girl, expressed considerable indignation when discussing her detention here. He said she was in need of good hospital treatment, and that it was an injustice to keep her here until tomorrow afternoon.  Her mother and brother, who were rushed here as soon as word of the shooting reached Montreal, had intended taking her back to Montreal on the Soo train.  The Doctor said his patient, unless complications get in, would recover.  One of the bullets passed through her right lung, and the other went under the right ear, along the roof of the mouth and lodged below the lobe of the left ear. This morning the girl was rational and bright, and talked a little, though she seemed to be a little deaf and Dr Cameron thinks the bullet may have ruptured the membrane of the ear.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: