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Archive for April, 2014

FISHERDUNCAN, shoemaker; born c. 1753 in the parish of Little Dunkeld, Scotland, probably the son of Duncan Fisher, a farmer, and Christian (Christen) Creighten; died July 5, 1820 in Montreal, Lower Canada.

Duncan Fisher settled as a farmer near Argyle, N.Y., in 1773. In July 1777 he was recruited to transmit verbal dispatches to Major-General John Burgoyne* at Skenesborough (Whitehall) and continued as a volunteer without pay until the convention signed near Saratoga (Schuylerville) on October 17 after the campaign. He then came to Montreal, probably joining his brother James, a fur trader. Their brothers John, a merchant, and Alexander, a hosteller, as well as their cousins Finlay Fisher, a schoolmaster, and Alexander Fisher, apparently established themselves in the city about the same time. By 1783 Duncan was in business as a shoemaker. The following year he and Finlay were among the signatories to a petition asking that Quebec be granted an assembly. Duncan and his brothers Alexander and John were described in the early 1790s as “Gentlemen of the Northwest.” No other evidence has been found to indicate that Duncan participated directly in the fur trade; in 1799, however, he was a supplier of goods to the fur-trade firm of McTavish, Frobisher and Company [see Simon McTavish; Joseph Frobisher]. Fisher’s business evidently prospered, since in June 1793 he paid the impressive sum of 18,000 livres (about £900, Halifax currency) for a house on Rue Saint-Paul belonging to the estate of Marie-Anne Hervieux, widow of the merchant Jean-Baptiste Le Comte* Dupré. From 1792 to 1803 Fisher made many applications as a loyalist for land in different parts of the province, and was supported by such prominent figures as Alexander Auldjo*, James McGill, John Richardson*, and Sir John Johnson*; in 1802 he received 1,200 acres in Roxton Township, Lower Canada.

After his arrival in Montreal Fisher supported the English “Protestant Congregation,” in which many Scots worshipped [see David Chabrand* Delisle]. As early as 1785, however, he was subscribing funds for a Presbyterian congregation, which was to hold its first service on March 12, 1786 following the arrival of the Reverend John Bethune. In 1787 Bethune left Montreal, and the Presbyterians appear to have attended services at the English Church (Christ Church) until 1791, when Presbyterianism was put on a permanent footing after the arrival from New York State of the Reverend John Young*. A congregation called the Society of Presbyterians was formed, and on 8 May 1791 Fisher was elected, along with Richard Dobie and 16 others, to the first temporal committee. Fisher that year began conducting correspondence with the Presbytery of Albany to secure Young’s services as “stated supply;” that is to have Young fill the position of pastor without, however, his being officially called and inducted into the post. In 1791 as well the temporal committee charged Fisher with the task of locating and negotiating the purchase of a lot on which a church could be built. In April 1792 ground was finally acquired on Rue Saint-Philippe (Rue Saint-Gabriel) and the construction of a church begun, Fisher being a member of the building committee. In the mean time the congregation worshipped, following the service of the Church of Scotland, in a church on Rue Notre-Dame placed at its disposal by the Recollets. On October 7, 1792 Young was able to conduct divine service for the first time in the new Scotch Presbyterian Church, later known as St Gabriel Street Church, which had cost £850 and could seat 650 people; however, construction would not be completed until 25 years later, at a total cost of £2,268. Fisher was appointed one of ten trustees, to hold property on behalf of the congregation, and he helped to administer its mortgage discharge fund. He was elected among the congregation’s first elders, a post he held until his death, and was for a time clerk of the session, the most important lay office in the congregation.

In 1802 Young, who was an alcoholic, was obliged to resign his position, and Fisher, along with most of the leading Scottish merchants, supported a call to James Somerville*. Since Somerville was still a licentiate, the Presbytery of Montreal was reestablished in September 1803 to ordain him; it consisted of Bethune, Alexander Spark, minister at Quebec, and Fisher, who represented the Scotch Presbyterian Church. Somerville then became the congregation’s first regularly inducted minister. However the “American party” in the church, which had preferred another candidate, Robert Forrest, formed a new congregation, keeping the keys to the church. Fisher was one of those appointed by the “Scotch party” to secure its rights, and the delegates were able to recover the keys.

On 27 February 27, 1783, in a Presbyterian ceremony at Montreal, Duncan had married Catherine Embury, daughter of Philip, the founder of Methodism in the United States. Catherine appears to have been as strongly Methodist as her husband was Presbyterian, and she brought up their children with Methodist leanings. She helped establish her denomination in Montreal and was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist congregation (St James Street Methodist Church) after its foundation in 1809. The Fishers had five daughters, one of whom died in infancy, and four sons. Their daughters were noted for their beauty, and since Duncan had apparently acquired a reasonable fortune, and he and Catherine had become socially prominent in their respective denominations, the girls were able to make excellent marriages. The eldest, Jannet, married the Reverend John Hick, who helped organize Methodism in the city; another, Margaret, married successively the merchants William Hutchison and William Lunn*; the third, Elizabeth, married another merchant, John Torrance*; and Nancy, the youngest, married John Mackenzie, also a businessman. Nancy’s daughters married the Reverend Alexander Mathieson* and the merchant Robert Esdaile. The Fishers’ son Duncan became a prominent lawyer in Montreal, and married the widow Budden, mother of Edwin Henry King*, president of the Bank of Montreal. Duncan’s descendants moved into some of the most important places in Montreal, and Fisher stands as a founder of some of the city’s leading 19th-century families.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

 by  Frederick H. Armstrong

ANQ-Q, CN1-83, 5 oct. 1793. PAC, MG 23, GIII, 32; RG 1, L3L: 417, 5243, 21086, 41917–18. PCA, St Gabriel Street Church (Montreal), Reg. of baptisms, marriages, and burials, 5 July 1820 (mfm. at ANQ-M). St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Williamstown, Ont.), Reg. of baptisms and marriages, 27 Feb. 1783, 13 March 1785 (mfm. at PAC). “United Empire Loyalists: enquiry into losses and services,” AO Report, 1904: 1106–7.Montreal Gazette, 12 July 1820. Montreal Herald, 8 July 1820. DAB (entry for Philip Embury). W. H. Atherton, Montreal, 1535–1914 (3v., Montreal and Vancouver, 1914), 2: 93–94. R. Campbell, Histof Scotch Presbyterian Church, 69–70, 72–75, 77, 81, 126. J. S. Moir, Enduring witness; a history of the Presbyterian Church in Canada ([Hamilton, Ont., 1974?]), 49–50, 64–65.

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Storm, William George (1826-1892) from Dictionary of Architects in Canada

COBOURG, ONT., Wesleyan Methodist Church, Division Street, 1852 (Examiner [Toronto], 28 April 1852, 3; Horwood Coll. 769)

RICHMOND STREET WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH, Richmond Street West near Yonge Street, 1871, 1874, demol. (Daily Leader [Toronto], 20 July 1874, 4, descrip.; Horwood Coll., 662a)

PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH, Carlton Street near Yonge Street, 1874-75; additions, 1886; demol. (Mail [Toronto], 11 June 1874, 2, descrip.; Toronto World, 27 May 1886, 1, descrip.; T.E. Champion, The Methodist Churches of Toronto, 1899, 196-8, descrip.; J.R. Roberston, Landmarks of Toronto, 1904, iv, 357-60, illus. & descrip.; Horwood Coll. 663, 669)

STORM, WILLIAM GEORGE, architect and militia officer; born October 29,  1826 in Burton-upon-Stather, England, son of Thomas Storm and Mary Hopkins; married January 3, 1882 Agnes Cotterill in Toronto, and they had one son and three daughters; died there August 8, 1892.

William George Storm immigrated to Upper Canada with his parents, who settled in York (Toronto) about 1830. They were devout Methodists and for a brief period they sent him to be educated at Upper Canada Academy in Cobourg. Some years later he joined his father, a prominent contractor, in the building trade and in the summer of 1845 he suffered a near-fatal fall from a scaffolding. His artistic ability and knowledge of construction had directed him toward architecture and he was articled to William Thomas* in Toronto. A contemplated move to California was cancelled when in late 1848 or early 1849 he entered the office of Frederic William Cumberland*, where he assisted with the preparation of working drawings and details and developed his considerable gifts as a delineator. In July 1852 he was taken into partnership, a working association that lasted about a dozen years, during which time Cumberland and Storm was one of the leading architectural firms in the province.

A difficulty arises in attempting to assess Storm’s place within the partnership. Cumberland, with his family, social, and business connections and his entrepreneurial skills, undoubtedly remained in charge of enlarging the firm’s clientele and negotiating its contracts. During the partnership’s early years he probably contributed the creative ideas as well, but his growing involvement with railways would have increasingly necessitated delegating responsibilities to Storm, especially with respect to the delayed completion of the cemetery chapel of St James-the-Less. In the preparation of the design for their major monument, University College (1856–59), Cumberland crossed the Atlantic to study collegiate schemes abroad. Storm followed in the fall of 1857, visiting England, Ireland, France, and Germany. The trip enabled him to enlarge his professional background and to gather material that would not only be immediately useful in the completion of the college but would also influence his later work.

Although Cumberland’s effective participation in the partnership seems to have ended after 1863, the firm name continued in use until 1866. During this transitional period, a number of projects in Toronto were undertaken solely by Storm. In 1862 he designed the Northern Railway’s office building and in 1865 he added the tower to St James’ Cathedral, with only slight changes from Cumberland’s 1850 design. Storm’s connection with Osgoode Hall, the centre portion of which had been executed by Cumberland and Storm, was maintained in 1866 when he designed the cast-iron fence that remains an ornament to Queen Street. The most prestigious commission to come his way in this period was the design of the Great Western Railway station, completed in 1866, which was destroyed by fire in 1952. Planned with a rational separation of functions, the station’s barrel-vaulted train shed and passenger facilities with Italianate detailing effectively rendered in wood provided a picturesque conclusion to the south end of Yonge Street. The dissolution of the partnership was marred by a dispute largely attached to losses from the firm’s investment in property in Toronto and Nottawasaga Township. The suit that Storm launched against Cumberland was settled in 1871 with Cumberland retaining the property and Storm being freed of financial obligations.

After Cumberland and Storm, except for a brief period of partnership in 1877 with Charles Albert Walton, Storm worked on his own. The development of his independent practice was marked by struggle: much of his work consisted of modifications to existing buildings or was related to projects carried out during the partnership, and it was almost without exception confined to Toronto. Possibly deriving from a physiological weakness or even from his fall in 1845, ill health twice interrupted his career. In the spring of 1873 he sought treatment at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium in New York State. A few years later he became a patient at the Toronto General Hospital, where by July 1878 he was assuming minor architectural duties for the hospital in return for medical care and an office. He remained at the hospital into 1879, and there made the acquaintance of William Holmes Howland, chairman of the hospital board, who, through his involvement with various charitable institutions and the Church of England, was to prove a valuable friend.

Another important connection was Emerson Coatsworth, a prominent Methodist, city commissioner, and chairman of the Public School Board in 1873. He assisted Storm in re-establishing himself upon his return from Clifton Springs by having him design his house and was instrumental in the board’s hiring Storm to design five public schools, each for a different city ward. The schools were built in 1874, all but one of brick construction. The sturdily proportioned Wellesley Street School was elaborated with polychromy. Storm was employed by the board again in 1884 to enlarge Borden Street School and in 1887 to design Sackville Street School. Still standing, the latter presents a spare dignity that is in marked contrast to the earlier school compositions. His practice extended to other types of educational structures. In 1880 he enlarged the Upper Canada College boarding-house. Seven years later, largely through the initiative of Howland, the Victoria Industrial School and residential cottages were completed in Mimico (Toronto) with Storm as architect. A varied roof-line and half-timbered gables contributed to the school’s domestic character.

Storm’s close ties with the Methodist Church had led to important commissions throughout his career. In 1852–53 the outgrown Wesleyan Methodist Church in Cobourg, the “home church” of Victoria College staff and students, was replaced by Storm’s Gothic design of white brick, since modified and enlarged. Of greater interest is Queen Street Methodist Church in Toronto (1856–57). Erected under the firm name of Cumberland and Storm but under Storm’s supervision, it was probably his design as well. Its eclectic range of detail relates to University College while the rose-window of the façade was to become a familiar Storm motif. In 1874 the Primitive Methodists chose Storm over Henry Langley* for their new church on Carlton Street. The apse, accommodating the lecture room and schoolroom, was completed that year, and the church proper was opened the following summer. Storm’s robust composition featured a corner tower balanced by a rose-window puncturing the gabled façade, contrasting with the smaller scale of corbel-tables and blind arcade. In 1885 he widened the interior to provide the amphitheatric arrangement then favoured by Methodist congregations.

As the Carlton Street church was being erected, Storm was also building St Andrew’s at the corner of King and Simcoe streets for the Presbyterians [see Daniel James Macdonnell]. Difficulties with St Andrew’s reached a climax in August 1875 when the building committee accused Storm of being derelict in his duties as superintending architect. The firm of Grant and Dick was hired to complete the church, which opened for worship in February 1876. With its triple Norman portal, twin-towered façade of rock-faced masonry, and third tower sheltering the western entrance, St Andrew’s remains a Toronto landmark, representative of Storm’s taste for the grandly picturesque. His problems with the Presbyterians cannot have been too damaging since he was called back in 1883–84 to design the church’s sanctuary and organ screen and in 1886 to modify the interior of “old” St Andrew’s at the corner of Jarvis and Gerrard.

St Andrew’s was Storm’s last major church commission. In 1879–80 he designed extensive alterations and additions to Grace Church (Anglican) on Elm Street resulting in its reorientation. In 1882 he was married there. Shortly after, he became a member of the Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) and in 1890 he designed the rectory adjacent to the church and enlarged the Sunday school building.

Storm’s association with the Methodist and Anglican denominations extended to collegiate plans. His first attempt in this field had been made in 1861 for Victoria College in Cobourg. His scheme would have incorporated the existing building in a quadrangular arrangement with projecting wings for the laboratory and chapel. His second, a reduced and more compact proposal was brought forward in 1875 but Storm’s effort was again ignored. The decision to move the college, granted university status in 1884, to Toronto was fraught with controversy [see Nathanael Burwash*], not the least item of which was the limited competition for the design of the new buildings. In October 1886  Storm was one of four competitors invited to furnish plans and in November 1888 he was appointed architect. Construction was postponed until the question of federation with the University of Toronto was resolved in November 1890. Although a grouping of college and residences had been contemplated, only the main building was erected, the modifications recommended by Chancellor Burwash having been incorporated into the final design. Of grey and brown Credit valley stone, Victoria College proves Storm a master of the Romanesque style popularized by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. If the interior disappoints, the exterior is an assured, astutely scaled composition that conveys an enduring presence. Its balance of horizontals with verticals, of massive towers with ample porches, provides the campus with one of its finest and most imposing structures.

During his long association with the Methodists, Storm designed the Protestant Episcopal Divinity School (from 1885 Wycliffe College) for the evangelical branch of the Church of England [see James Paterson Sheraton*]. Erected in 1881–82, the college (now demolished) was a Gothic design of red brick with brown stone dressing. In 1886 he enlarged it with the addition of a library and lecture halls but his plan for the chapel was never realized. The only related work that he was to undertake was the 1881 addition of a convocation hall and classrooms to the east wing of Osgoode Hall and a further extension in 1891.

His gradual resumption of professional life while at the Toronto General Hospital had resulted in work for that institution. He designed the hospital’s first ambulance, put into service in 1881, and in 1883 a new wing with surrounding verandas for convalescents. He also designed Hillcrest Convalescent Home, erected about 1885 on Bathurst Street on property donated by William Gooderham*. His last work in this field was the addition of an infirmary to the Boys’ Home on George Street in 1889.

Storm’s residential practice was not large, much of it consisting of alterations and additions. His most impressive house commissions were Northwold, designed in 1882–83 for the widow of financier William Cawthra*, and John Charles Fitch’s residence of two years later. Located at the fashionable north end of Jarvis Street, both were substantial two-and-a-half-storey stone houses combining the decorative gables, varied window groupings, and colouristic detailing favoured in the late 19th century. They were internally organized around a large panelled ground-floor vestibule with the stairway a conspicuous feature. Elaborate cornices adorned the doors, windows, and mantels of the principal rooms. In the same neighbourhood he designed major modifications to the homes of John Hallam (1887–88), William Mulock* (1888), and Dr John B . Hall (1892) .

Storm’s first independent venture into commercial architecture was for James Worthington, formerly a partner in Worthington Brothers, the contractors for University College. Erected in 1874 where the St Lawrence Centre now stands, the Worthington Block was a three-storey, six-bay structure with a rusticated ground floor and the air of a Venetian palazzo. For George Ralph Richardson Cockburn*, principal of Upper Canada College, he designed a row of five stores on Queen Street, built in 1881–84 and still standing. Three years later he provided a trimly elegant composition for druggist Andrew Jeffrey’s narrow Yonge Street property. Arthur Brindley Lee, for whom he had earlier altered a house and who was a partner in the firm of Rice Lewis and Son, was undoubtedly responsible for hiring Storm in 1888 to enlarge the firm’s new warehouse. In 1890 Storm designed a five-unit row for William E. Dunn, which still stands at the corner of Spadina and St Andrew, and the following year he returned to Rice Lewis and Son for the erection of the firm’s new five-storey warehouse at King and Toronto streets. With an appropriately lavish use of cast iron for the façade and interior fittings, it provided a vigorous composition for the corner site.

The Toronto city council employed Storm in a variety of situations. He designed the city registry office, a tidy brick building with Venetian Gothic detailing, erected in 1869–70, and he enlarged it to nearly twice its original size in 1886–87. His other main project for the city consisted of internal modifications to the east wing of the city hall on Front Street in 1887. Other work from these years includes the handsome receiving vault built at Prospect Cemetery in 1889–90; constructed of red brick with stone trim in a restrained version of the Romanesque Revival, it is still in use.

A number of young Toronto architects apprenticed in Storm’s office. There in 1887 he and other prominent architects met to discuss professional concerns and initiated the Architectural Guild of Toronto, in which he remained active until his death. The Ontario Association of Architects was established in 1889 with Storm elected its first president, a position he held for three years. He was also a founding member of the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. A lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of Toronto militia, he was a member of the 10th Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles (later the Royal Grenadiers) when it was established on 14 March 1862. He was a life member of the Toronto Mechanics’ Institute. A freemason, he was also active in the Knights Templars. In later years he was a devout member of the evangelical branch of the Church of England, a lay delegate to synod, and a zealous worker in the church’s Brotherhood of St Andrew.

William George Storm died suddenly of a stroke in the summer of 1892. Despite his apparent financial stability, his estate was valued at only $2,600. His career had suffered from Cumberland’s departure from the partnership, and his progress had been hampered by ill health and financial difficulties. Yet he made a significant contribution to the city’s architecture, skilfully adapting prevailing historical styles to the wide variety of projects he undertook. Within this eclectic range, he was perhaps most at home with the Romanesque Revival, attracted to its possibilities for the expansively picturesque. Although the refusal of the University of Toronto to allow him to participate in the rebuilding of University College after its partial destruction by fire in 1890 was a humiliating disappointment, at the time of his death he was at the peak of his career, enjoying the esteem of clients, colleagues, and the community at large. The board of regents of Victoria College described him as a “talented architect” and a “Christian gentleman whose professional ability and urbanity of manner have made it a pleasure to be associated with him.”

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

 by  Shirley G. Morriss

AO, Architectural Guild of Toronto, minute-book, 1891–1916; J. C. B. and E. C. Horwood coll.; Ontario Assoc. of Architects, proc. before incorporation, 1889–90. Hillcrest Hospital (Toronto), Hillcrest Convalescent Home, minute-book, 14 June–9 Nov. 1886. Law Soc. of Upper Canada Arch. (Toronto), Minutes of the Convocation of Benchers, 1876–81. Private arch., A. W. R. Adair (Toronto), Records of St Andrew’s Church, Toronto, agreement, W. G. Storm and building committee, 7 Aug. 1875. Toronto Board of Education, Records and Arch. Centre, II.E.1.a.iii–iv (Public School Board, Sites and Building Committee, minutes, 1874, 1884–87). Toronto General Hospital Arch., Board of Trustees, minutes of meetings, 1866–93. UCC-C, Cobourg Wesleyan Methodist Church, later Trinity United (Cobourg, Ont.), Building Committee, minutes, 1852–53; Queen Street Methodist Church (Toronto), Board of Trustees, minutes, 1856–1920; St Luke’s United Church (Toronto), Records of Carlton Street Primitive Methodist Church, no.12 (Board of Trustees, minutes, 1874–75; Building Committee, minutes, 1874–75); Victoria College Arch., Board and Annual Meeting, Cobourg, minutes, 1886–89; Board of Regents, minutes of committee on building, site, and settlements, 1886–[89]; Building Committee, Toronto, minutes, 1890–92. Wycliffe College Arch. (Toronto), Wycliffe College, Council minutes, 1878–92; Trustees and Board of Management, minutes and reports, 1879–92. Law Soc. of Upper Canada, Convocation of Benchers, Journal of proc. . . . [1879–1904] (3v., Toronto, 1885–1904). Toronto City Council, Minutes of proc., 1869, 1885, 1887, 1890. Toronto Public School Board, Inspector of Public Schools, Annual report (Toronto), 1874. Empire (Toronto), 11 Aug. 1892. Evening News (Toronto), 8 Aug. 1892. Toronto Daily Mail, 9 Aug. 1892. Canadian album(Cochrane and Hopkins), vol.1. E. [R.] Arthur, Torontono mean city, revised by S. A. Otto (3rd ed., Toronto, 1986). Histof Toronto, vol.1.

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DOVEJAMES, Methodist clergyman and historian; born December 3,  1827 in Darlington, England; married 1859 Mary White in St John’s, and they had four daughters and five sons, of whom five survived their parents; died there January 2. 1908.

James Dove prepared for the Methodist ministry in the days when Newfoundland was a mission of the British Wesleyan Conference. With another young missionary, Charles Comben, he volunteered for service in Newfoundland in 1855. Arrangements for their free passage to the colony were made with Mission House in London by a prominent St John’s merchant and Methodist lay leader, James Johnstone Rogerson. The pair embarked on Rogerson’s brig Claudia at Torquay, and after a month-long voyage reached St John’s on Saturday, December 1. The following day Dove preached his first sermon at Gower Street Methodist Church, and on Monday he celebrated both his 28th birthday and the beginning of an active ministry of singular length and some distinction.

Following his probationary period as an assistant at the Gower Street church, Dove acted as relief minister in Burin for two years. In 1859 he married Mary White, the eldest daughter of the noted sealing master and lay Methodist Edward White*, and began a circuit ministry characteristic of the time. His charges were frequently in Conception Bay communities, the scene of the earliest Methodist missionary activity in North America [see Laurence Coughlan*], but were sometimes further afield. These years of pastoral service included Port de Grave (1859–60), Lower Island Cove (1860–63), Harbour Grace (1863–66), Bonavista (1866–69), St John’s (1869–72), Twillingate (1872–73), Carbonear (1873–76), Blackhead (1879–82), Cupids (1882–85), and Brigus (1885–88).

From these busy years few personal details survive apart from the steady record of service and a growing reputation as “one of the strong preachers of the Methodist ministry.” There is one intriguing anecdote recounted by David G. Pitt, the biographer of poet Edwin John Pratt*. In 1882, when Dove was serving at Blackhead, Pratt’s father, John, was pastor at the neighbouring station of Western Bay. Dove baptized the future poet, naming him at the parents’ request Edwin John Dove Pratt. Ten years later, we are told, Dove fell briefly from grace in the eyes of his church for an offence not specified, and John Pratt, a severe, almost chalcenterous Methodist, “expunged the old patriarch’s name from that of his son forever.”

In 1888, after 29 years on circuit, Dove became a supernumerary minister in St John’s, principally at George Street Wesleyan Church, where he was admired for his performances as a theological preacher. He was also busy in the affairs of the St John’s Wesleyan Academy (later the Methodist College) as a member of successive boards of directors, executive committees, and the like. For this work, and for his services as twice secretary (1875 and 1878) and thrice president (1876, 1879, and 1883) of the Newfoundland Conference, he was awarded a dd by Mount Allison College in Sackville, N.B., in 1893. Two years later his brief history of the Methodist Church in Newfoundland was one of four chapters in the ecclesiastical supplement to Daniel Woodley Prowse*’s massive History of Newfoundland . . . (London). At the time of his death in January 1908, Dove, aged 80, was engaged in writing a formal history of Methodism in St John’s. The unfinished but valuable manuscript remains as a relic of “the Nestor of Newfoundland Methodism,” the last survivor from the era of British missionaries to the island.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

G. M. Story

[Information on Dove’s family background is sparse; the details presented in his biography are based mostly on the family bible presented to Mary [White] Dove by her father, Captain Edward White, now in the possession of Miss Janet Story of St John’s.

Dove’s papers, including a manuscript “History of the Methodist Church in St John’s,” are preserved in the UCC, Newfoundland Conference Arch. (St John’s); a second copy of the history in Dove’s hand is located at the UCC, Central Arch. (Toronto).  g.m.s.]

Daily News (St John’s), 3 Jan. 1908. Collegian ([St John’s), 1960: 65–84. Family names of the island of Newfoundland, comp. E. R. Seary with S. M. P. Lynch (St John’s, 1976). D. W. Johnson, History of Methodism in Eastern British America . . . ([Sackville, N.B.], n.d.). Charles Lench, The story of Methodism in Bonavista . . . (n.p., 1919; repr. St John’s, 1985), 89. Methodist Monthly Greeting (St John’s), July 1893; February, March 1908. D. G. Pitt, EJPratt . . . (1v. to date, Toronto, 1984–  ), 13, 370. G. M. Story, George Street Church1873–1973 (St John’s, 1973), esp. 46. William Wilson, Newfoundland and its missionaries . . . (Cambridge, Mass., and Halifax, 1866)

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ROGERSON, JAMES JOHNSTONE, businessman, politician, and philanthropist; born March 21, 1820 in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, eldest son of Peter Rogerson and Amelia Palmer; married first 21 January 21, 1845 Emma Garrett Blaikie (died 1878) in St John’s, and they had three sons and four daughters; married secondly 1879 Isabella Whiteford; they had no children; died October 17, 1907 in St John’s.

James J. Rogerson was the descendant of a Scottish family of some prominence in Johnstonebridge, Dumfriesshire. His grandfather, a Greenock merchant, is found in the Newfoundland records at least as early as 1803. Peter Rogerson became a permanent resident of Harbour Grace in 1817 and soon married a local girl. He was a pew holder, “though a dissenter,” in the Church of England, and one of the small but influential group of Scottish-born merchants in the colony, whose involvement was chiefly in the supply of manufactured goods exchanged for the produce of the fisheries.

After a good education at the Harbour Grace grammar school, James Rogerson was apprenticed at the age of 13 to the Scottish house of Green and Hunter in St John’s and then served with the old firm of J. and W. Stewart and Company. In 1841 he joined his father in the St John’s-based Peter Rogerson and Son, which had a number of vessels engaged seasonally in the seal fishery but was principally in general trade. The firm imported cargoes from Liverpool, England, salt from Cadiz, Spain, coal from Sydney, Nova Scotia, lumber from Halifax and Prince Edward Island, and flour from New York, and carried Methodist missionaries to Newfoundland free of charge [see James Dove]. It exported salt and pickled fish, seal skins and oil, and the like. Later Rogerson was to expend his entrepreneurial talents in the encouragement of local enterprises: agriculture, mineral exploration in association with Stephen Rendell*, John Steer, Edward White*, and others, and the establishment of a foundry and a boot and shoe factory.

In the 1840s, recently married to the daughter of the Scottish-born magistrate James Blaikie and beginning to raise what would be a large family, Rogerson first appeared prominently in the public life of the colony. He was an early member of the Newfoundland Natives’ Society, founded to secure the advancement of native-born residents in the era of representative government. In 1850 he was appointed to the Legislative Council and eight years later to the Executive Council as a representative of mercantile and Methodist interests. With Ambrose Shea he stood for the Liberal party in Burin district in the general election of 1859, and they were returned after a hard-fought contest. Rogerson was not a candidate in several subsequent campaigns, but in April 1870, at the by-election made necessary by the appointment of John Bemister* as sheriff of the Northern District, he was chosen MHA for Bay de Verde. Re-elected in 1873, 1874, and 1878, he served as receiver general in the administrations of Frederic Bowker Terrington Carter* and Sir William Vallance Whiteway between 1874 and 1882. During the election in the latter year Rogerson emerged as a leader of the New party, a group of individuals dissatisfied with the Whiteway administration, particularly its railway-building policy. Like most of the New party candidates, he was defeated. On his retirement from political life he had bestowed upon him the title “Honourable” in recognition of a public career of probity and distinction.

With a son, William, now experienced in the family business, Rogerson was increasingly able to direct his prodigious energy to philanthropic work, for which he and his second wife, Isabella Whiteford, were held in uncommon regard by contemporaries. He was active, as always, in Methodist affairs and in the Temperance Society, whose journal he edited. With Isabella he was involved in the creation of a fishermen’s and sailors’ home and an agency to give employment to jobless workers in winter, and in the education of poor children, the provision of teachers for juvenile youths incarcerated in the penitentiary at St John’s, and the distribution of books and magazines to advance literacy in the most remote out-harbours of the colony. The vivid remembrance by his contemporaries on his death at age 87 was of “a life of unbounded charity and benevolence.”

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

G. M. Story

General Protestant Cemetery (St John’s), Tombstone inscription. Maritime Hist. Arch., Memorial Univ. of Nfld (St John’s), Keith Matthews coll., ser.I, Rogerson name file. Evening Telegram (St John’s), 18 Oct. 1907 (obit. notice by D. W. P. [Daniel Woodley Prowse*]). Royal Gazette and Newfoundland Advertiser, 28 Jan. 1845. The book of Newfoundland, ed. J. R. Smallwood et al. (6v., St John’s, 1937–75). P. K. Devine, Ye olde StJohn’s1750–1936 (St John’s, 1936). Encyclopedia of Nfld (Smallwood et al.), 1: 679–749. G. E. Gunn, The political history of Newfoundland,1832–1864 (Toronto, 1966). J. [K.] Hiller, “The railway and local politics in Newfoundland, 1870–1901,” Nfld in 19th and 20th centuries (Hiller and Neary), 123–47. K[eith] Matthews, Lectures on the history of Newfoundland1500–1830 (St John’s, 1988), esp. 163–65. Methodist Monthly Greeting (St John’s), November 1907 (obit. notices by James Dove, who preached Rogerson’s funeral oration, and Charles Hackett). Nfld men(Mott). R. E. Ommer, “The Scots in Newfoundland,” Nfld Quarterly, 77 (1981–82), no.4: 23–31. Paul O’Neill, The story of StJohn’s,Newfoundland (2v., Erin, Ont., 1975–76), 2. Prowse, Histof Nfld (1895). G. M. Story, George Street Church1873–1973 (St John’s, 1973).

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RICHARDS, JACKSON JOHN (also known as Jean Richard and Richard Jackson), Methodist minister and Sulpician; born  February 21, 1787 in Alexandria, Virginiaa, son of Thomas Richards and his wife Anna; died July 23, 1847 in Montreal.

Jackson John Richards came from a Protestant family with at least three children. Very early his father destined him for the ministry, and to that end entrusted him to a Presbyterian clergyman who taught him the rudiments of Latin and Greek. Little is known of Richards’s life until 1807, when he became a Methodist itinerant and set out for the Canadas. After a stay in Buffalo, N.Y., and a visit to Niagara Falls, he reached York (Toronto), where he preached to Methodist congregations and Indians.

Richards arrived in Montreal on August 19, 1807, having come by boat from Kingston. Shortly afterwards he contacted Sulpicians Jean-Henry-Auguste Roux*, Candide-Michel Le Saulnier*, Jean-Jacques Lartigue, and Simon Boussin. It seems that he wanted to convert the priests of the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, but things worked out differently. On October 31, in the presence of notary Thomas Barron and Denis-Benjamin Viger*, Richards formally abjured Protestantism. From 1807 till 1809 he furthered his education at the Petit Séminaire de Montréal, and, since he wished to become a priest, he began theological studies while serving as a regent in the college.

Having received permission to ordain Richards from John Carroll, the bishop of Baltimore, Bishop Joseph-Octave Plessis*conferred the priesthood on him at Notre-Dame church in Montreal on July 25,  1813. Richards left the Petit Séminaire de Montréal in 1815 to embark upon what was to be a long and fruitful parish ministry. He served principally at the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours in Montreal, where he gathered the town’s English-speaking Catholics, most of whom came from Ireland.

Richards was admitted to the Sulpician community as a member on February 17, 1817 and became assistant to the bursar in 1821. He rapidly won the confidence of Roux, the superior. In the 1820s the seminary was deeply divided on the questions of its property and the authority over the institution of archbishops Plessis and Bernard-Claude Panet* of Quebec and Bishop Lartigue, their auxiliary in Montreal. Richards shared the opinion of the majority, who came from France, and the bishops’ letters clearly show their opposition to his influence and ideas. Richards accompanied Roux to Europe in June 1826 and stayed there until August 1828. He acted as Roux’s interpreter in the political and ecclesiastical circles of London. In particular, the superior was negotiating a settlement of the question of Saint-Sulpice’s property, but the Canadian bishops and priests did not accept his solution. The Sulpicians were, in fact, ready to cede some of their seigneurial rights in return for a fixed, perpetual annuity.

On his return to Montreal, Richards resumed his ministry and his administrative duties. In September 1829 the exasperation of the archbishop of Quebec reached a peak when Roux named Richards acting curé of Notre-Dame during Le Saulnier’s illness. Panet challenged the practice followed by Sulpician superiors of appointing parish priests by virtue of their office, without seeking canonical confirmation from episcopal authority. In addition, like Lartigue, Panet considered Richards a foreigner who did not have sufficient knowledge of French. The following December, in the face of the two bishops’ repeated protests, Roux appointed Claude Fay curé of Notre-Dame in place of Richards, without, however, seeking episcopal confirmation.

In 1831 Richards, who had been naturalized the previous year, officially became the priest in charge of English-speaking Catholics, who now held their own services in the chapel of the Recollet friary. He continued his ministry to the Irish until the end of his life. In 1833 he added the duties of bursar to the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, assuming responsibility for ensuring good administration and the physical well-being of those living there.

Contemporary correspondence indicates that Jackson John Richards had a most beneficial influence on the priests and faithful in Lower Canada and the United States. He was asked for advice and sometimes for material help. In 1847 a typhus epidemic broke out among the Irish immigrants. Those stricken were herded into lazarets at Pointe-Saint-Charles (Montreal). Richards was unsparing in his aid. He caught the disease himself and died on July 23. Jean-Charles Prince*, the coadjutor bishop of Montreal, buried him in Notre-Dame church the following day.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

by   Bruno Harel

ACAM, 465.101, 8181, 8291, 2, 3. ANQ-M, CE151, 24 juill. 1847. Arch. du séminaire de Saint-Sulpice (Paris), Fonds canadien, mss 1230. Arch. of the U.S. Province of the Sulpician Order, St Mary’s Seminary and Univ. (Baltimore, Md.), Obituary notes, vol.1. ASSM, 11, B, no.25; 21; 24, B; E. Mélanges religieux, 30 juill. 1849. Desrosiers, “Inv. de la corr. de Mgr Lartigue,” ANQ Rapport, 194142; 194243; 194344. Louis Bertrand,Bibliothèque sulpicienne ou histoire littéraire de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice (3v., Paris, 1900), 2: 582. Chaussé, Jean-Jacques Lartigue. Golden jubilee of the reverend fathers Dowd and Toupin . . . , ed. J. J. Curran (Montreal, 1887). J.-M. Leleu, Histoire de Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours à Montréal (Montréal, 1900). Lemieux, Létablissement de la première prov. eccl. J. R. Danaher, “The Reverend Richard Jackson, missionary to the Sulpicians,” CCHA Report, 11 (194344): 4954.

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KINGBOSTON, Methodist preacher and author; born c. 1760 near Charleston, South Carolina; died 1802 in Sierra Leone.

Boston King was born a slave on Richard Waring’s plantation near Charleston. His father, who had been “stolen away from Africa when he was young,” was on good terms with Waring, and his mother also was well treated because of her skills as a nurse and seamstress. King was trained as a house servant but at the age of 16, still under Waring’s control, he was sent to a nearby town to be apprenticed as a carpenter. The time he spent learning his new trade was far from pleasant, for his employer often beat him “without mercy.” Fortunately, when the American revolution broke out Waring adhered to the rebels, which meant that if King could flee to the British he would gain freedom. His opportunity came when the British took Charleston in May 1780. Joining a mass movement of runaway slaves to the royal standard, King now “began to feel the happiness of liberty.”

The treatment provided by the British did not match the generosity of their offer of freedom. Squalid and overcrowded accommodation promoted disease, and King was one of the many to contract smallpox. After his recovery he became useful to his benefactors. As a carpenter he might have been one of that sizeable minority of black loyalists with specialized skills, many of whom plied their trades in the British service, but the absence of tools forced him to seek alternative employment as a servant. Like countless black loyalists, however, he soon was engaged in military action. By carrying dispatches through enemy lines he was responsible for the relief of 250 besieged British soldiers at Nelson’s Ferry (near Eutawville), S.C., and as a crew member on a British man-of-war he helped capture a rebel ship in Chesapeake Bay. Later he was taken and re-enslaved by the American navy but escaped for a second time to British safetet threats to his freedom came not only from the rebels, for innumerable runaways were betrayed and sold as slaves by loyalist militia officers. Once King himself was taken by a militia captain, but his talent for escape saved him again.

As the war drew to a close, thousands of loyalists converged on New York City, King among them. While there he supported himself as a servant and casual labourer, and married Violet, a fellow runaway who had escaped from a master in Wilmington, N.C. The publication of the preliminary peace agreement in late 1782 destroyed King’s comfort, for article 7 required the British to return all American property, including slaves. As King wrote later, the prospect of being returned to bondage filled the black loyalists with “inexpressible anguish and terror,” and their fears were certainly not diminished when former masters entered New York City and began seizing blacks in the streets and in their homes. At this critical point Sir Guy Carleton, commander-in-chief of British forces, announced that his interpretation of article 7 was that black loyalists were not in fact American property at the time of the agreement and so must be allowed to evacuate with other loyalists. Issued with certificates guaranteeing their freedom by Brigadier-General Samuel Birch, the city commandant, New York’s black refugees boarded the transport ships and had their names, descriptions, and personal histories recorded in the “Book of Negroes.” Between 26 April and 30 Nov. 1783, 3,000 black loyalists were shipped to Nova Scotia. King, described as a “Stout fellow” aged 23, embarked with his wife on LAbondance and sailed for Port Roseway, recently renamed Shelburne, on July31.

The first loyalists had reached Port Roseway in May 1783, including a party of blacks who set to work clearing the town-site and preparing roads. At a discreet six miles from Shelburne, surveyor Benjamin Marston* laid out a separate town-site for the blacks. King arrived there on 27 August in time to witness the survey and participate in the establishment of Birchtown, named for their New York protector. A muster held in January 1784 showed that Birchtown, with a population of 1,521 blacks, was the largest free black settlement in North America. Each of them received a town lot large enough for a garden, but the delay in granting farms forced them to continue to labour in Shelburne where construction assured plentiful employment.

A great religious revival occurred in Birchtown during the winter of 1783–84, part of a phenomenon seen all over Nova Scotia as the former slaves flocked to the churches for baptism. William Black*, the Methodist evangelist, paid special attention to Birchtown, which contained the largest Methodist society in Nova Scotia. Even John Wesley remarked upon the religious enthusiasm of the Birchtown blacks, and in 1785 American Methodist Freeborn Garrettson was sent from Baltimore, Md, to assist in the harvest of souls. The first person in the settlement to be converted was King’s wife, Violet, who owed her deliverance from “evil tempers” to the preaching of Moses Wilkinson, a black loyalist and Birchtown’s leading Methodist. In early 1785 King, too, was converted. Describing his feelings at this time, King wrote: “All my doubts and fears vanished away: I saw, by faith, heaven opened to my view; and Christ and his angels rejoicing over me.” For the next few years King preached in black settlements from Shelburne to Halifax. Owing to his and other preachers’ efforts, by 1790 black loyalists constituted one-quarter of Nova Scotia Methodists.

With most of his Birchtown neighbours King worked in Shelburne, as a carpenter, and supplemented his income with his garden. Because they accepted lower wages, the blacks attracted the hostility of white workers, who launched a riot in July 1784 and attempted to drive them out of Shelburne. That issue disappeared as the whites were given farms, but by 1789 Shelburne’s economic difficulties created unemployment and abject distress for the blacks. King, appalled by the “poverty and distress” around him, left Birchtown and found work on a fishing boat operating out of Chedabucto Bay, where he continued to preach at every opportunity. In 1791 William Black, by then presiding elder of Nova Scotia’s Methodists, appointed King preacher to the black settlement at Preston near Halifax. The Preston black community was closely knit, and the preachers in the Anglican, Baptist, and Methodist chapels were its natural leaders. King knew comfort at last, earning a decent living from his work in Preston and nearby Dartmouth, and enjoying the respect of his flock. His stay in Preston, however, was brief. Although satisfied with his life in Nova Scotia, he had a strong desire to spread “the knowledge of Christianity” amongst his African brothers, and in 1791 he joined other prominent Nova Scotia blacks, such as David George and Thomas Peters*, in assisting John Clarkson of the Sierra Leone Company to recruit emigrants for a colony of free blacks in West Africa. The support he gave Clarkson in this endeavour yielded results: almost the entire black community of Preston, many of whom were motivated by the promise of free land and self-determination in Sierra Leone, joined in the exodus.

A fleet of 15 ships – King and the Preston blacks sailed on the Eleanor – left Nova Scotia for Sierra Leone in January 1792. After arriving in Freetown, Violet King succumbed to a fever epidemic, but King survived to establish a Methodist chapel. His ambition was fulfilled when in August 1793 the Sierra Leone Company appointed him teacher and missionary to the Africans on the Bullom shore, opposite Freetown, making him the first Methodist missionary in Africa. To improve his qualifications for this work, the company in March 1794 sent him to England, where he attended the Kingswood School near Bristol for two years. While there he wrote a memoir of his life to 1796. On his return to Africa in late September 1796 the company employed him as a teacher in Freetown and its vicinity, but he seems to have been dissatisfied with this work since his personal goal was to minister to the indigenous Africans. He soon left the colony for a company post located amongst the Sherbro people, some hundred miles south, where he probably resumed his missionary activity. He and his second wife both died there in 1802.

King was one of three black loyalists to leave a personal account of his experiences. John Marrant*’s influential Narrative of the Lords wonderful dealings is his most important legacy, and David George, still remembered as the founder of the black Baptist church in the Maritimes, published a revealing account of his life in the Baptist annual register. Boston King’s “Memoirs” was not a major literary or historical work, but through his reminiscences it is possible to gain an impression of the life of the ordinary black loyalist during the American revolution and in early Nova Scotia.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

  by   James W. St G. Walker

The original “Book of Negroes” is in PRO, PRO 30/55/100. A photocopy is available in the NYPL, British Headquarters papers, doc.10427, while transcript versions with slight variations can be seen in PAC, MG 23, B1, 55, and PANS, RG 1, 423. Boston King was the author of “Memoirs of the life of Boston King, a black preacher, written by himself during his residence at Kingswood School,” Methodist Magazine (London), 21 (1798): 105–10, 157–61, 209–13, 261–65.

BL, Add. mss 41262A–64. Huntington Library (San Marino, Calif.), Zachary Macaulay papers. N.B. Museum, F50, “Muster roll of the Black Pioneers, 1779–80”; F53, “State of the Guides & Pioneers, 27 Nov. 1780” (transcript). NYPL, Emmet coll. PAC, MG 23, D1, ser.1, 24 (transcripts at PANS). PANS, MG 1, 219; 948, docs.196, 340; MG 4, 140–41, 143 (copies); MG 100, 169, no.27a (photocopy); RG 1, 47, doc.13; 137; 213, 5 Aug. 1784; 302, doc.11; 346, doc.89; 371; 419–22. PRO, AO 12/54, 12/99, 12/102; AO 13, bundle 79; CO 217/63, 217/68; CO 267/91; PRO 30/8, bundle 344 (transcript at PAC); PRO 30/55, nos. 1215, 4331, 6480, 7419, 7448, 8668, 8800, 8886, 9130, 9304, 9955 (photocopies at NYPL); WO 1/352. USPG, Dr. Bray’s Associates, minute-books, 3; unbound papers, box 7; Journal of SPG, 23: 379; 25: 18–19, 24, 97. [David George], “An account of the life of Mr. David George, from Sierra Leone in Africa; given by himself in a conversation with Brother Rippon of London, and Brother Pearce of Birmingham,” Baptist annual reg. (London), 1 (1790–93): 473–84. [John Marrant], A narrative of the Lords wonderful dealings with John Marrant, a black . . . , ed. Rev. Mr Aldridge (2nd ed., London, 1785). SPG, [Annual report] (London), 1784. Benjamin Quarles, The negro in the American revolution(Chapel Hill, N.C., 1961). J. W. St G. Walker, The black loyalists: the search for a promised land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783–1870 (London, 1976). E. G. Wilson,The loyal blacks (New York, 1976). R. W. Winks, The blacks in Canada: a history(Montreal, 1971). P. R. Blakeley, “Boston King: a negro loyalist who sought refuge in Nova Scotia,” Dalhousie Rev., 48 (1968–69): 347–56. W. O. Raymond, “The founding of Shelburne: Benjamin Marston at Halifax, Shelburne and Miramichi,” N.B. Hist. Soc.,Coll., 3 (1907–14), no.8: 204–77.1. W. St G. Walker, “Blacks as American loyalists: the slaves’ war for independence,” HistReflections (Waterloo, Ont.), 2 (1975): 51–67. A. F. Walls, “The Nova Scotian settlers and their religion,” Sierra Leone Bullof Religion(Freetown, Sierra Leone), 1 (1959): 19–31.

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SHAKESPEARE, NOAH, labourer, photographer, politician, activist, and civil servant; born January 26, 1839 in Brierley Hill, England, son of Noah Shakespeare and Hannah Matthews; married there December 26, 1859 Eliza Jane Pearson (died 1923), and they had seven children, of whom three sons and one daughter survived infancy; died  May 13, 1921 in Victoria.

Born and raised in the industrial Black Country of Staffordshire, Noah Shakespeare, who claimed a distant relationship to William Shakespeare, began work in a local chain factory at age eight. He returned to school briefly and then worked in an iron-rolling mill until he decided to emigrate in the fall of 1862. Having chosen British Columbia because of glowing accounts of the Cariboo gold rush, he arrived in Victoria on January 10, 1863. He found employment in Nanaimo as a labourer with the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company and by working double shifts he was able to pay passage for his wife and son within a year. The family moved to Victoria in the summer of 1864. There, Shakespeare learned photography from George Robinson Fardon and subsequently managed his photo gallery for a year. By August 1866 he was running another gallery, which he later took over from its absent owner, Charles Gentile. With the exception of a brief interval in 1870, when he worked for journalist and politician Amor De Cosmos* at theVictoria Daily Standard, he seems to have continued in photography. Towards the end of his life, he would imply that he had moved quickly into real estate and after 1880 he would identify himself as a manufacturer’s agent, but contemporary sources indicate that from 1864 to the late 1870s he was principally a photographer. By 1877 Eliza Jane had opened a “fancy store.” An uncommon step for a married woman, her initiative suggests that Shakespeare’s income may not have been adequate for the family’s needs.

In January 1875 Shakespeare had entered politics when he was acclaimed a city councillor for James Bay Ward. The election of the mayor and many of the councillors had been attributed by some of their opponents to the Chinese vote. In view of his later anti-Chinese activities, Shakespeare’s role in helping to defeat a motion in council to disenfranchise Chinese residents in civic elections is ironic. Later in 1875 he initiated a motion to close Chinese brothels in the city. This move may have stemmed from his strong Methodist beliefs or it may have been the beginning of his anti-Chinese platform. Shakespeare ran for council every year from 1876 to 1881, but was successful only in 1878, 1880, and 1881. In the provincial election of 1875 he had run as an independent in suburban Victoria District, but lost to anti-government candidates because of his association with De Cosmos, who had been premier from 1872 to 1874, and with the government of his successor, George Anthony Walkem*.

White working-class hostility towards Chinese immigrants in British Columbia grew in the late 1870s because of fear of their economic competition and professed concern about their morality. Shakespeare, who declared himself an advocate of workingmen, rose to prominence as a leader of the anti-Chinese movement. In August 1878 the Legislative Assembly passed the Chinese Tax Act to enumerate and tax all Chinese residents. Shakespeare was appointed the tax collector in Victoria, on a commission basis. When people refused to pay, he seized their property. The result was a general strike by Chinese workers and shopkeepers in Victoria on September 17, 1878. When Shakespeare’s assistant was accused by Tai Sing of illegally seizing and selling his property, justice John Hamilton Gray* of the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that the act was ultra vires the provincial assembly. The following year the federal government disallowed the act, eliminating any chance of future income from this source.

In October 1878 Shakespeare had assumed leadership of the Workingmen’s Protective Association. Formed in Victoria a month earlier, the WPA was an early labour union, with the elimination of Chinese competition its primary goal. Shakespeare expanded the organization to the mainland and used it as a springboard for his political career. Early in 1879 he and the WPA sent a petition with almost 1,500 signatures to parliament, calling for taxation of resident Chinese and the exclusion of new immigrants. In April 1879 he stepped down as president of the declining WPA, but he helped found the Anti-Chinese Association the same year. Its goals were identical and on its behalf he petitioned federal and provincial governments for exclusionary legislation and tried to get Chinese labour barred from work on the proposed transcontinental railway. In spite of varying public support, he persevered.

Shakespeare’s rising profile led to his election as mayor of Victoria in January 1882. He acquitted himself well, the high point of his term being the state visit of the governor general, Lord Lorne [Campbell*], later that year. Playing on the growing Sinophobia caused by the influx of Chinese work crews for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Shakespeare, a Conservative, successfully contested one of the two seats for Victoria in the federal election of June 1882. He continued as mayor until the end of his term and when the House of Commons was reconvened in February 1883 he took his seat. The following year he reached his political zenith when he tabled a motion in the commons for a law to prohibit Chinese immigration. It was made necessary, he claimed, by their unfair economic competition and their immorality. His motion was amended and became law in 1885 as the Chinese Immigration Act, introducing the infamous $50 head tax on each Chinese arrival and limiting the number of immigrants per vessel. It did not provide outright exclusion, but it was the culmination of Shakespeare’s anti-Chinese activity. Later that year in Victoria he established the Labor Bureau, a union of white labourers to fight Chinese competition. In the 1887 election Shakespeare retained his federal seat, but he resigned it to accept an appointment on January 1, 1888 as postmaster of Victoria, a reward for his loyalty to Conservative prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald*. He held the position until his retirement on March 31, 1914, supervising the rapid growth of postal facilities as the city boomed.

With his election to parliament, Shakespeare had attained a higher social status, demonstrated by his appointment as a justice of the peace in 1883 and by the business opportunities that came his way (he was, for example, an organizer and president of the British Columbia Fire Insurance Company in 1886). He did not become wealthy, but on his appointment as postmaster he was able to commission a new house in a fashionable district. At the same time, Eliza Jane gave up her store.

From the 1860s Shakespeare had been a leader of the temperance movements in Victoria and British Columbia. In 1877 and 1878 he was elected grand chief templar of the Independent Order of Good Templars for British Columbia and the Pacific northwest states. He maintained a lifelong involvement in temperance and in other issues consistent with his Methodist beliefs and the improvement of workingmen. He served as president of the Victoria Mechanics’ Institute in 1882, the British Columbia Agricultural Association in 1885, and the Young Men’s Christian Association in Victoria in 1886-87, and as a member of the management committee of the British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home in Victoria at least in 1887 and 1889.

An active Methodist in England, Shakespeare had remained so in Victoria, belonging to Pandora Street Methodist Church until 1885, when he became a trustee for the new Centennial Church. He acted as a local preacher, class leader, steward, and Sunday school superintendent in these congregations, as a delegate to the provincial Methodist conference, and as a director of the Columbian Methodist College. Founder of the provincial branch of the International Sunday School Association, he was its president and later honorary president in the period from about 1900 to 1917. During these years he also played a prominent role in the Victoria branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

An atypical “self-made man,” Shakespeare had become a member of the social elite not through the conventional route of success in business or industry, but by means of a political career based on his being, in the words of historian Patricia E. Roy, British Columbia’s “first professional anti-Chinese agitator.” It seems that once he had achieved prosperity and status as postmaster, he abandoned this cause and turned his attention to social issues more consistent with his Methodist beliefs. His period of intense anti-Chinese activism may have been a misguided effort to improve the lot of the white working class or a calculated device to better his own economic and social position. Regardless, he had played a considerable role in defining race and class relations in British Columbia.

…from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography

by   JAMIE MORTON

BCA, GR-1052, file 10973; GR-1304, file 182/1921; MS-0254; VF130, frames 0641-65. City of Victoria Arch., CRS1 (council minutes), 25 Aug. 1862-16 April 1884. Daily Colonist(Victoria), 1863-1921. Victoria Daily Times, 1887-1921, esp. 10 March 1917. H. T. Allen,Forty years’ journey: the temperance movement in British Columbia to 1900 (Victoria, 1981). B.C., Legislative Assembly, Sessional papers, 1880: 406. British Columbia Gazette(Victoria), 1878-79. The British Columbia orphans’ friend: historical number, ed. Alexander MacDonald (Victoria, 1914). Can., House of Commons, Debates, 1879, 1884-85.Cyclopædia of Canadian biog. (Rose and Charlesworth), vol.2. Directories, B.C., 1882-85, 1887, 1889; Victoria, 1868-69, 1874. 1881 Canadian census: Vancouver Island, comp. Peter Baskerville et al. (Victoria, 1990). 1891 Canadian census, Victoria, British Columbia, comp. Eric Sager et al. (Victoria, 1991). Valerie Green, No ordinary people: Victoria’s mayors since 1862 (Victoria, 1992). J. B. Kerr, Biographical dictionary of well-known British Columbians, with a historical sketch (Vancouver, 1890). “Leading laymen, 4: Mr. N. Shakespeare, Victoria,” Western Methodist Recorder (Victoria), 1 (1899-1900), no.4: 10. David Mattison, “The Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery (and the gallery next door),” British Columbia Hist. News (Victoria), 14 (1980-81), no.2: 1-14. P. E. Roy, A white man’s province: British Columbia politicians and Chinese and Japanese immigrants, 1858-1914 (Vancouver, 1989). W. P. Ward, White Canada forever: popular attitudes and public policy toward Orientals in British Columbia (2nd ed., Montreal and Kingston, Ont., 1990). Western Methodist Recorder, 20 (1920-21), no.11: 5. Workingmen’s Protective Assoc., Constitution, by-laws and rules of order . . . ([Victoria?], 1878).

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