Monday, October 01, 2018

John Strachan question UPDATED

A friend of this blog sends a research query:
Do you know anyone who has been or is studying John Strachan?

I have a question about Strachan and a possible visit by him to Rebellion prisoners in 1838.
If you fit the description or know something about possible answers to the question, I will be glad to put you in touch. See my email at right.

Lount & Matthews hanged; Durand perhaps looking through the bars

Update, October 3, 2018  Charles Levi, historian and Archives of Ontario archivist, has an answer for the query, which came from Chris Raible, author of Muddy York Mud and other studies of early 19th century Upper Canada. Levi:
I tracked down the original reference, in the heretofore unknown to me "Reminiscences of Charles Durand", page 325. Durand lists Strachan as one of the visitors to the prisoners (including Durand) in the winter of 1838, and Durand was quite familiar with Strachan and could not have mistaken him for anyone else.
Happily, Durand's Reminiscences can be read in Google Books.  Durand, a Hamilton-area lawyer, was arrested in 1837 for showing (at least) entirely too much enthusiasm for the rebel cause. He was sentenced to death, then exiled instead. He eventually returned to Canada West and to his legal practice.  Of his time in prison awaiting trial and then execution, he wrote
The Sabbaths were quiet, and various ministers of the gospel used to visit us by turns.  The ministers who did visit us were Bishop Strachan of the English Church, Rev. John Richardson (afterwards Bishop Richardson) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Rev John Roaf, a celebrated minister of the Congregational Church.
Elsewhere in his book, Durand has much to say of Strachan, and little of it positive.

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