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Andrew Leamy and Ruggles Wright - the unjust defamation of two great men.

Updated: Apr 5


Andrew Leamy and Ruggles Wright
Andrew Leamy and Ruggles Wright, from Leamy and Wright family collections.

RECENTLY, a series of articles appeared in Le Droit, entitled Le règne de terreur des Shiners, written by Mathieu Bélanger. (click here for articles) The stated purpose of the articles was to "shine a new light" on the Shiners War (pardon the pun) featuring a "new" history by Albert LeBeau that would supposedly prove the criminality of Andrew Leamy and Ruggles Wright.

Pardon the length of this article but it must be understood from the onset that it is published for the purpose of rebutting the inflammatory and baseless accusations of the Le Droit articles. The political nature of the articles must also be underlined by noting that prior to the Le Droit articles, LeBeau first published his so-called "new" history on the website of Impératif Français, a nationalist, anti-anglo organization. (click on each link to read first, second, third or fourth article). Those in particular are worth reading because even though historian LeBeau has published them directly, he provides not a single source or reference to support his worst accusations. The articles were somewhat toned-down for Le Droit.

Andrew Leamy and Ruggles Wright

SO, who were the two men in question? For most people living in the Ottawa Valley, Andrew Leamy is well-known by name only because of the lake and the casino in Hull that carry his name. But Andrew Leamy played a significant role in the early community. It was reported by contemporaries that he was beloved by many[1a], a pillar of the early English and French Catholic communities of Hull. He was a member of the Ottawa Valley gentry, the wealthy owner of a 160-acre farm on which he had a stable full of racehorses[1b],[19]. He married Erexina Wright, Philemon Wright's granddaughter - he was 19, she was 15 - and they had 13 children. His brother James was a respected Bytown Councillor, Nicholas Sparks was Andrew's father-in-law, Thomas D'Arcy McGee was godfather of Andrew's grandson, Andrew D'Arcy McCready[1c], and Bytown Justice of the Peace, Daniel O'Connor, was his very good friend. Andrew was the Founder of the first school commission in the Valley in partnership with Père Reboul, to whom Andrew donated land for the Oblates who established what is now the largest cemetery in the Outaouais, Notre-Dame. Andrew's wealth was made as a timber baron - he owned the mill on Leamy Lake, several timber shanties and several provision farms up and down the Gatineau River.

Ruggles Wright was the 3rd son of Philemon and Abigail Wright and a pioneer of the Ottawa Valley timber industry. He invented the world's first square timber slide in 1829, managed all of the Wright family affairs after 1841, and was appointed to be the first county Postmaster in the Ottawa Valley. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace and commissioned as an officer of the Hull Militia, which he led for many years.

These are the two men that are being slandered in the articles by LeBeau, accused of being criminals.

The articles

THE journalist, Bélanger tells us in the first installment of the series that "Previously untraceable court documents in the Outaouais 184 years ago will resurface this week in Le Droit. These archives, which have survived the abolition of Upper and Lower Canada, two courthouse fires and several moves over the past two centuries, contain previously unpublished, even incriminating information about illustrious figures from the region's early colonization." (as translated).

So, the first thing that must be made clear is that not a single document or source that was unseen by others, surfaced in any of the articles, and not a single event was ever overlooked by historians in the past. In fact, as the series progressed, the journalist writes in a convoluted way that the "new" sources were difficult to find in the various archives in which they resided over the years. The reason they were never cited by anyone else is because of their dubious value as "evidence", as will be shown.

At first glance, the journalistic endeavour of Bélanger and LeBeau is suspicious for several reasons, not the least of which is the use of sensational headlines and visual material used to draw readers to an exercise of re-litigating 200-year-old court cases. Re-litigating 200-year-old events is not a historical exercise, it is a political exercise - especially in light of it being published by Impératif Français.

On second glance, LeBeau's "new" history appears to be one more chapter in the Capitals's Curious History.

The Shiners - getting it right

MY twenty years of research into the Shiners have been spent delving into archives and the bibliography just below. It is included here, because some of the historians will be referred to in this article:

  • The books of Dr. Michael S. Cross on the Shiners and the History of the Outaouais by Dr. Chad Gaffield, both professors of history with the University of Ottawa.

  • The encyclopedic compilation of court cases and articles from that era from Richard M. Reid.

  • The books by David Lee, Donald MacKay, Courtney C.J. Bond, A.H.D. Ross, Lucien Brault, and Conor Ryan.

  • Articles from the Historical Society of Ottawa, the Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

  • Articles from local historians and journalists Edgar Boutet, Linda Seccaspina and Craig Baird, to mention just three of many.

  • The doctoral thesis of Dr. John Turing, Oxford University and the enlightening paper by Dr. James Lawson, Victoria University on Algonquin dispossession 1800-1830.

I published a blogpost in 2020, that was about the violence in the timber trade. The purpose was to illustrate the histories of two men, Andrew Leamy and Jos. Montferrand, and how very different the violent incidents of their lives are viewed through the lens of the "Two Solitudes". (click here to read the blogpost). Nothing was hidden on my blogpost concerning Leamy and Montferrand and so, it provided the best signpost for LeBeau to follow for his research.

Leamy and Montferrand were very similar in four significant ways but the one difference colours their history, even today:

  1. Both men were master-raftsmen and had a lifelong occupation in the rough and violent world of the forest economy, so historians agree that both men were involved in the violence on the rafts & in the shanties.

  2. Both men were involved in well-documented incidents where violence was used to settle disputes[2].

  3. Both men were involved in gang violence: Montferrand, in a Montreal riot during the violent by-election of May 1832 in Montreal, where Montferrand put to flight a band of braggarts who were threatening his friend Antoine Voyer. The latter, with one blow of his fist, had instantly killed an adversary whom Montferrand had thrashed[3]. During another election, Jos Montferrand and Antoine Voyer are said to have used a 250-pound weight to clear a polling-station occupied by one of the political parties[4]. Leamy was involved in a violent disturbance that was principally a religious dispute at a lumberman's meeting in Bytown, but he was not charged with anything[5]. Another time, Leamy was involved in a disturbance regarding a Rev. Anthony Burwell, again a religious dispute, and again, no charges resulted from it[6].

  4. Both men were reported to have a remarkably good side - Montferrand was known as light-hearted and religious, Leamy was an equally religious man, known as a community leader: founding the 1st School commission of Hull with Père Reboul, and donating land for the 1st Catholic cemetery.

  5. The only important difference: Montferrand who was born French-Canadian, is seen as a hero, and Leamy who was born Irish, is tarred by some as a pariah.

It is the last point above that supports the prime observation of my blogpost, that a Curious History is created when anyone writes that the Irish-bad-guys must be held to a different standard than the Canadien-bad-guys. The fact is that many (close to most) historians have understood from the facts that it couldn't be that simple.

Dr. Chad Gaffield (UofO), for one, writes that there were two separate struggles in the Shiners War:

  • The one aboard the rafts, which was all about the timber industry, exemplified by Peter Aylen, the King of the Shiners, and Montferrand.

  • The one in the streets of Bytown, which was carried out by Irish thugs[7].

Another interesting viewpoint worthy of a read along these lines, comes from Dr. Phillip Chipman [UofO] on "Quebec Strongmen" and the Shiners[8].

Both Drs. Cross (UofO) and Turing (Oxford U) wrote that the incidences of violence were committed by men from both sides of the Shiners War - especially on the rafts. Court reports of the day show that the rafts of the Irish were attacked by rifle-wielding French-Canadians as well[9],[10].

That being said, there is no doubt that the majority of the violence in town was committed by gangs of young Irish thugs organized by Peter Aylen between 1835 and 1837.

It should be noted here that most historians agree that the worst violence of the Shiners War occurred between 1835 and 1837, with one or two historians claiming that perhaps a small scattering of events up to 1845 could be included.

However, journalist Bélanger and historian LeBeau chose to broaden that timeline from 1832 to 1849 so that they can include the Stony Monday Riot, but the riot was political in nature and it had nothing to do with Shiners. The obvious purpose of expanding the timeline is to implicate Ruggles Wright as a Shiner.

Worst of all, though, is the spurious and equally unsupported claim that "A number of historians claim that Leamy even became its (Shiners gang) leader after Aylen fled to Aylmer in 1837." This last claim sounds more like a schoolyard rant than something that could be mistaken as history[11].

Albert LeBeau

THIS is not the first time that LeBeau has written, or rather attempted to re-write history, "The historian has almost made a habit of it", writes Audrey Leduc-Brodeur in Le Soleil de Chateauguay (click here to read her article).

In Ste. Catherine, in Chambly, and in La Prairie, LeBeau published articles in which he claimed to rewrite the histories of Cartier's third voyage, of the battle of La Prairie, and that he had discovered a "new route" for the historic Chemin "Royal" de Chambly from the data of one map. On the latter, LeBeau's findings were called out as false and his research methods were seriously put to question by two Quebec historians who have impeccable credentials, Michel Pratt and Paul-Henri Hudon. (The articles can be found here and here)

Michel Pratt is a well-known Quebec historian who specializes in the history of the Montreal South-Shore, he is an editor, toponymist, scriptwriter, and expert in aviation history. Paul-Henri Hudon is a historian who was President of the Société d'histoire de la seigneurie de Chambly for 20 years, author of a number of publications and monographs, numerous articles in Quebec magazines, and a retired high school history teacher. He was equally productive as a member of several historical and genealogical societies.

LeBeau openly expressed his outrage at my blogpost that compared Leamy and Montferrand, but outrage does not produce history. Academic rigour demands that historical revisionism be peer-reviewed - especially when it will alter tested versions of events or will impugn the reputation of a historical person. Any new piece of writing expressing a strongly critical attack on someone without foundation in truth, is by definition, nothing but a polemic. All "new" history should be inspired by more than a desire to cancel-culture or to gain notoriety. In this case, none of LeBeau's articles on Leamy have been subjected to a rigorous peer-review.

The journalist from Le Soleil is correct about LeBeau's habit of trying to revise history. In two instances, here in the Ottawa Valley, he has tried to revise history and was again, entirely refuted:

  1. A few years ago, LeBeau declared that one of his ancestors was indigenous. He had based that history on the misspelling of her name by a priest in a register. She was Eunice Hutchins Bradley (later Childs), a New England born settler in Old Chelsea. Both the family and local Indigenous representatives were disturbed as Genealogical proof had to be brought forward and published to refute his claim.

  2. In 2019, LeBeau donated to the Symmes Inn Museum a wood bas-relief sculpture - commissioned by himself - which depicts Jos. Montferrand alongside two characters. The plaque for the sculpture reads: "This sculpture represents the story of the Quebec log drive with Jos Montferrand at the center, on the left 'Bill Wabo', a fictional character of the author Claude-Henri Grignon in his book 'Les belles histoires des pays d'en haut' and on the right, Francois-Xavier Lebeau, great-grandfather of Albert Lebeau, who was a log driver. This art work aims to highlight the participation of francophones in the development of the local and regional economy; Jos Montferrand having been a legendary figure in the Outaouais and Quebec." Of course, Bill Wabo didn't exist and Albert LeBeau's great-grandfather was not yet born when Jos. Montferrand lived.

Setting the record straight

FOLLOWING is my point-form review of the deficiencies, omissions, and misrepresentations in Mr. LeBeau's polemic on Andrew Leamy:

  • Regarding the incident on Stony Monday[12], LeBeau accuses Ruggles Wright of stealing 3 cannons from the "Richmond regiment"[13],[14]. The majority of historical accounts of the riot record that one cannon, not three, as LeBeau states, was rolled across the Union (Chaudière) Bridge by the Wrights, Leamy and others. Those cannons were housed in the Hull Militia's armoury on Philemon Island and were certainly never stolen. When they crossed the bridge with the cannon, the men were stopped from entering Bytown by the Bytown militia, who had already taken position on the Sappers Bridge to block the Tory mob from entering Upper Town from the opposite direction. The cannon was taken in hand by the Bytown Militia and returned to the Hull armoury a day or two later. The most significant part of the story that LeBeau doesn't mention - and it is key to understanding this incident - is that Lt.-Col Ruggles Wright Sr., Major Ruggles Wright Jr. and Sergeant Joshua Wright, were all members of the Hull Militia (later called the 3rd Division of Ottawa's 9th Battalion)[15] - a militia that the Wrights commanded for over 30 years. The Hull militia and its officers were commissioned by order of the Governor-General[16a], [16b]. All able-bodied men in Wright's Town were called to be members of the Hull Militia so, could that mean Leamy was a member of the Hull Militia as well? We don't know, but the least that can be said is that Leamy was accompanying the Hull Militia on that day. The Bytown Militia was just another division of the same Ottawa's 9th Battalion. LeBeau's account ignores the actual provenance of the cannons and he fabricates a story about them being stolen. A simple Google search provides the details of their provenance. LeBeau also fails to mention the Hull Militia's existence and as history, that doesn't pass muster (pardon the pun).

  • Regarding the death of Donald McCrae in 1845, LeBeau offers no new facts. The trial began on August 6, 1846, and lasted just one day after witnesses testified. There are only three known facts from court records:

    • Donald McCrae died in Hull, as a result of a fight with Andrew Leamy over a stolen paddle, resulting in Andrew Leamy being charged with murder.

    • There were witnesses present at the trial who testified.

    • Pleading self-defense, Andrew was acquitted[17].

  • Regarding the artwork that was in Le Droit that was used to illustrate the death of McCrae. The old-looking sepia sketch was created purposely with the intent to inflame passion. It shows armed men with raised fists surrounding a victorious Leamy, whose foot is on the back of McCrae. Its caption is intentionally vague about both its date of creation and its provenance. It is not history, it is sensationalism.

  • Regarding LeBeau's claim of a lack of law and justice in the settlement, LeBeau writes that there was "no law" in Wright's Town, ignoring the presence - practically since the settlement began - of Crown appointed Justices of the Peace. What historians agree on is only that there was no jail and no court in Wright's Town and Bytown, a situation which certainly made law enforcement difficult, but cases were tried in Perth or Montreal, where each had both. LeBeau goes much further, and accuses the Montreal judges and lawyers of corruption, claiming that must be true for Leamy to have been acquitted. This claim is dispelled by the simple facts: Leamy WAS arrested, arraigned, and forced to hire counsel to appear before a Justice of the Queen's Court of Montreal, and he WAS acquitted. Elsewhere in his articles, LeBeau makes the opposite claim in the case of the assault of James Johnston by three Shiners on Sappers Bridge. LeBeau reports that justice was quickly meted out to the Shiners by a Justice of the Peace, sending them to Perth to be judged, the 3 escaped but were quickly recaptured, found guilty, and imprisoned for 3 years. So, was there a justice system in place or not? LeBeau can't have it both ways. His contradiction shows how uneven his history is when it concerns Leamy.

  • Regarding the signatories of the Gatineau Privilege, LeBeau writes that Ruggles Wright, Tiberius Wright, and Peter Aylen were all members of "an association set up by the Crown Timber Office to break up the monopoly on logging on the Gatineau River, which caused a great deal of tension in the region. The names Ruggles and Tiberius Wright (sons of Hull founder Philemon Wright) also feature on this short list of privileged members." The association he refers to is the Gatineau Privilege. The truth is that the Gatineau Privilege was set up by an order-in-council of the Lower Canada Executive Council to confer the right to timbering on the Gatineau to a limited group of timber merchants[18]. So, LeBeau doesn't understand that the Crown actually created that monopoly, and that Aylen - a timber merchant in his own right - was just one one of its members. What is also apparent, is that LeBeau doesn't understand that the "tension" was created by the Crown, and it was between the member-merchants and the excluded non-members - not between the Irish and French on the rafts. In his 4th article on the Impératif Français website, LeBeau inserts a sidebar to imply that Philemon Wright, by association with the Gatineau Privilege, was an associate of Peter Aylen's. The implications by LeBeau that the Wrights were criminally linked to Aylen is based on his own deep misunderstanding of the history of the timber industry's events.

  • Regarding Leamy Lake (formerly Columbia Pond), Leamy's farm, and Leamy businesses, in his 3rd article of his series published on the Impératif Français website, LeBeau calls Leamy a "banqueroutier" - a somewhat derogatory term for someone who is bankrupt. Leamy had one brush with bankruptcy because, like other wealthy timber merchants such as Philemon Wright, John Egan, George Hamilton, Thomas Mears and others who faced bankruptcy - some several times - the timber economy had wild fluctuations. LeBeau ignores that Leamy survived it, unlike others, and had vast holdings[19]. Instead, LeBeau makes the false claim that Leamy did not purchase the Gateno Farm, but received it as a dowry. Then he claims that the Crown developed the lake, not Leamy. LeBeau claims the Crown dug the first canal on Wright property. Finally, LeBeau claims that Leamy had no money but managed to build his mill on the lake only by taking advantage of the Crown investment. It is interesting to note that LeBeau gives a strange description of Columbia Pond (Leamy Lake) while providing no historical data[20]. More worrisome, is what LeBeau writes about Leamy's mill: that it had "a defective boiler" that exploded because of "Leamy's culture of negligence", and that "the factory was never rebuilt by the owner, for what many aptly assessed to be a matter of 'foul play'." Here are the facts:

    • LeBeau bases his assertions about Leamy's ownership of the Gateno Farm based on a Supreme Court judgement: Chevrier v. the Queen (1880). The judgement is a long document filled with legalese that can be difficult to read. LeBeau's conclusions about the judgement are the exact opposite of what the Crown ruled. The judgement supports that Leamy purchased and owned 159 acres of the Gateno Farm, land that included Columbia Pond.

    • History shows that Leamy dug the first, long (over 800m) canal before 1853, to bring logs into the lake from the Gatineau River.[21]

    • Leamy did not build the mill, Leamy hired none other than J. R. Booth to build and operate his steam mill.

    • After the explosion that killed Leamy's oldest son, Louis-Napoleon, the grief-stricken Leamy did not have the will to rebuild. LeBeau's accusation of "foul play" is gratuitous and unfounded.

    • The Crown only purchased the southern edge of the lake from Leamy and not the whole lake, in 1855. The adjoining land to the east, owned by Ruggles Wright, was purchased by the Crown in order to improve the flow in Pond Creek and deepen the waters in the Rafting Place.

    • The 2nd short canal (350 ft.) may have been dug by Leamy or the government much later - there are conflicting 2nd party histories.

    • Contrary to LeBeau's strange and unfounded description of Columbia Pond, it was a full-fledged lake, as shown on the maps of 1801. The lake was roughly the same size as it is today.

  • Regarding the Holmes affair it is important to note, first, that Leamy was never charged. Now here is where the rubber meets the road. Four years ago, in my blogpost, I included this purported assault by Leamy and two others on Rev. Holmes and the fact that no one was ever charged. I also wrote that Ruggles Wright was reported as saying "that he would take whatever means necessary to run Holmes out of town." LeBeau alters Ruggles' written statement to "all means of violence". In this affair, Rev. Holmes was accused by the Wrights of endangering the peace and harmony of their family. LeBeau has decided that on the basis of the (always-available) depositions in the case - his "new discoveries" - Leamy should have been charged. Today, we can all agree that there is no excusing violence as a means to solve a problem, but the operative word is "today". There can be many reasons why Leamy was never charged with assault, but the reasons are certainly not known. In the early 19th century, there was a different standard used in the shanties, rafts and streets. For example, two cautionary tales about Perth lawyer and scoundrel, Daniel McMartin, tell us much about justice in those days. For one, duels with pistols were very much allowed to settle disputes, and we are told about McMartin's call for duels in The Last Duel in Upper Canada[22], and for another, a report from the British Whig and General Advertiser for Canada West tells us about the same man, McMartin: “The account of the troubles in Bytown, contained in the Montreal Gazette, is incorrect. It seems Peter Aylen, a gentleman of large property near Bytown, and a friend to the poor man, thought proper to inflict a tremendous horsewhipping on D. McMartin, an attorney of Perth, who it is said richly deserved it.” One more incident, the 1832 Montreal riot mentioned above in this post, is about Montferrand and Antoine Voyer, where Voyer was not charged for killing a man and Montferrand was not charged with assault. So, it appears that Justices of the Peace in those days believed they could make judgements to "serve the common good". Violence was a fact of life, and it was sometimes judged to be excusable. In that light, should 200-year-old legal judgements be re-litigated? Obviously, that is what LeBeau believes, but that is a cautionary tale as well, because once that Pandora's Box is opened, it is unlikely to end there. The cancel-culture bandwagon could easily crush many who shouldn't be.

Conclusion

AS seen, the Le Droit articles provide no new light to shine on the events in the lives and times of Andrew Leamy and Ruggles Wright. Neither man was a saint, but they were good men, and important historic figures in the formative era of our Capital Area and its primary industry - timber.

The culture war that some wish to wage today, in some way resembles perhaps a gentler version of the Shiners War. Instead of the clubs and guns used by Shiners, the weapons of choice today are blogs and newspapers.

In the Outaouais, a culture of historical revisionism has existed since the Quiet Revolution. At times, it has been called out as Curious History, but in this case of defamation, it is an outright act of historical vandalism that is being perpetrated.

I invite others to call it out because a lobbying campaign has already begun to erase the names from our history. If this cancel-culture lobby succeeds, the names of Leamy, Wright ... or, God forbid, even Montferrand ... could soon disappear from our history and our public spaces.


NB: Impératif Français kindly provides a list of email addresses of officials at the end of LeBeau's article (click here) for you to send your opinion. Just copy and paste the addresses into an email and include a link to this blogpost in the body of the email.

 

Statement of acknowledgment: Andrew and Erexina Leamy are my great-great grandparents.


[1a] Pioneers of the Upper Ottawa Valley and Humors of the Valley, Anson A. Gard, Section "Genealogy of the Valley" page 34. The Emerson Press, Ottawa 1906.

[1b] The Toronto Globe, August 1878; and reprinted in The New York Times, August 19, 1878.

[1c] The Wrights, a genealogical study of the first settlers in Canada's National Capital, P.M.O. Evans, The National Capital Commission, 1975, Table 100

[2],[3] The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, MONTFERRAND (Montferan), dit Favre, JOSEPH (better known as Jos (Joe) Montferrand). "Around 1818 Jos. established himself as le coq du faubourg Saint-Laurent by thrashing three hooligans who were terrorizing the neighbourhood." Click here to read the article.

[4] The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Antoine Voyer. Click here to read the article.

[5] From The Upper Ottawa Valley to 1855 by Richard M. Reid.

[6] From History of the Ottawa Valley by J.L. Gourlay.

[7] History of the Outaouais, Dr. Chad Gaffield, Presses de l'Université Laval, 1992, pgs. 209-213 : “... Peter Aylen, the most important leader of the Irish gangs, was a merchant trying to gain a larger place in the forest economy. Since he was an employer, why would he fight for higher wages for the workers? ... Jos Montferrand, the most important French Canadian leader in the Shiners’ War, occupied a quite different economic position from Aylen since he was an employee of Baxter Bowman. As such, it seems unreasonable to think that he was leading a battle to keep wages low. Why would Montferrand resist Irish efforts to increase the pay of workers in the forest economy?"... "These questions indicate the need to situate the violence of the 1830s in terms of the quite distinct positions and identities of the combatants ... these conflicts must be understood in social and economic terms."... " Taken together, the social and economic conditions of the various groups of men in the Outaouais help explain the unprecedented violence of the 1830s ... In fighting against the Irish, Jos Montferrand was protecting both the place of the French Canadians in the forest economy and the established position of his employer, Baxter Bowman. In this sense, it is understandable that Montferrand's work for Bowman also included the physical intimidation of French Canadians who supported Patriote electoral candidates in the Lièvre Valley; both Bowman and Montferrand were determined to maintain their established positions.(citing P-L. Lapointe)." "For their part, Peter Aylen, Andrew Leamy and other ambitious merchants were battling ... to make more room for themselves in the expanding forest economy."

[8] Engraved in Iron, Phillip Chipman and Conor Heffernan, Click here to read the post entitled Strength Through Violence.

[9] The Construction of Colonial Identity in the Canadas, 1815-1867, Dr. John Turing, Submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall, Hilary Term 2014 Oxford University, pg. 59.

[10] When Joseph Galipaut, who owned Lower Town tavern which was frequented by French Canadian raftsmen fired a shot at one of the Shiners during a fight, they went to the magistrate who happened to be Irish and a friend of Aylen. Galipaut was jailed for assault and while he was incarcerated, the Shiners burned his tavern to the ground. Click here for article.

[11] Recollections of Bytown and its Old Inhabitants, William Pittman Lett, pages 55 and 56. Ottawa "Citizen" Printing and Publishing Company; Sparks Street, 1874. But was Leamy a Shiner? The only contemporaneous word on the subject comes from Lett's poem where he wrote: "And Andrew Leamy in his time, was head of many a stirring "shine", Wikipedia article on Lett, here.

[12] The detail of the Riot in this blogpost are based mostly on historian Edgar Boutet's article in Le Droit, March 5, 1960.

[13] Philemon Wright's Gun-Shed, Dr. H. T. Douglas, GVHS Up The Gatineau! Vol. 9: "In a report to a committee of the Legislative Assembly in 1824 Wright says “1822, Built a stone gun house 28 feet x 38, 12 ft. high, finished complete, having arched magazine and other apartments, a good well-painted roof to cover the same, which cost me 200 pounds, for the deposit and safety of two handsome pieces of brass cannon, three pounders. And l also raised a company of 75 men which are commissioned by His Excellency the Earl of Dalhousie. There were also a number of muskets in the shipment." click here for full article)

[14] History of the cannons from the the Richmond Heritage website.

[15] List of Officers of the Sedentary Militia of Lower Canada, 1862, Stewart Derbyshire and George Desbarats, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, 1863, pg. 170.

[16a] Hull 1800-1950, Lucien Brault, PhD., Les Éditions de l'Université d'Ottawa, 1950, pgs, 37, 167.

[16b] The Militia and French Canada 1760-1855, Looking at History, Richard Brown, click here for the article.

[17] Source: BAnQ-CAM, case files of Court of the King's/Queen's Bench (TL19, S1, SS11).) We read the following in La Minerve of August 13, 1846, pg. 2:

CRIMINAL COURT

Thursday, August 6, 1846.

The court is occupied all day in the trial of Andrew Leamy for the murder of McCrae. Mr. Drummond and Mr. Bouchette, counsel for the prisoners.

Friday, August 7th.

Leamy is again on the witness stand; a few witnesses are questioned, after which the jury retires and brings a verdict of not guilty.

[18] The Timber Trade in the Ottawa Valley, 1806-54, Sandra J. Gillis, (1975), Parks Canada, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, 1975, pg. 97

La Savoie Hotel
La Savoie Hotel, postcard
Leamy Home
Leamy Home 1950s. GVHS

[19] Leamy had a working, 160-acre farm that had a stone office building, at least 3 barns, a stable full of racehorses, the old Wright home, and various sheds. His home was a 2-storey stone & brick house with summer-kitchen. The house was moved in the early 1900s to the "Little Leamy Farm" situated at the corner of St. Joseph and St. Raymond blvds., which eventually became the La Savoie Hotel (Facts from written family history, supported by the Archeology of Marcel Laliberté, NCC, 2006). He owned a steam-powered Mill with two boilers on Leamy Lake, a landing on the Gatineau River where there was a huge area on the river called a Gappe that was made of a series of log-booms hundreds of metres-long, floating sheds and anchor-cribs that provided a facility for log-sorting. He also had several shanties and provision-farms up and down the Gatineau River, the Victoria Farm being but one.

[20] LeBeau writes: "... this small body of stagnant water inland from the Gateno Farm was of no importance to the forestry industry at the time. The pond would only become a 'lake' the day it received an influx of water from major tributaries, either from a few streams or, better still, from a major river such as... the Gatineau" and then about Leamy himself "... Andrew Leamy, brigand, Peter Aylen's right-hand man, Head of the Shiners, didn't have the financial means to undertake major renovations."

[21] The Evening Citizen, August 31, 1929:

"... Built Canal

The map here within shows a connection between the Gatineau River and Leamy Lake. That connection was not in existence in the pre‐Leamy days. That waterway is an artificial one made by Mr. Leamy to bring logs from the Gatineau river to the lake, when he built his historic sawmill on the east bank of the lake. This bit of waterway was dug by shovel and wheel barrow through the efforts of Mr Leamy’s forces. Originally the canal measured 40 feet wide, 700 feet long, and about 25 feet deep to allow the Gatineau river to reach the lake. The banks of the canal have narrowed to 23 feet wide due to caving in.  A second canal was dug years later about 300 yards south of the first. It was about 1000 feet long and was constructed by contractor James Goodwin. By the late nineteen twenties, it was largely choked with sand and debris . It only flowed during high water.

Outstanding Man

Andrew Leamy was a man of large physique and great force of character. All the Leamys were large men. Andrew Leamy stood six feet two inches in his stocking feet and was built in proportion. He was a man of great physical strength. In the early days when “best man”, ideas prevailed, Andrew was held in high respect. It was told of him that though a very powerful man and a terror in a fight but under ordinary conditions, he was one of the most peaceful of men. ..."

[22] Excerpt from The Last Duel in Upper Canada, Ken W. Watson, Martello Alley website: "Daniel McMartin, James Boulton and Thomas Radenhurst were Perth’s first three lawyers ... Boulton and McMartin were always arguing. Boulton perceived himself to be of a better social class than McMartin, and McMartin was of the opinion that hard work and actions defined a man, not just his social status as an accident of birth. Both were in agreement however, in their intense hatred of Radenhurst, a reformer; neither liked the radical concepts that Radenhurst expounded. They didn’t confine their disagreements to words, they came to blows on several occasions, Boulton even horsewhipping McMartin in 1831. They also challenged each other to duels. In 1827, McMartin challenged Boulton to a duel and in 1830 Radenhurst and Boulton agreed to a duel. In the end though, no duels ever took place. But the men believed in the concept, Boulton stating, in reference to McMartin’s challenge, that 'a duel could protect one’s character although it could never redeem it when lost.'”


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Mark VanBeek
Mark VanBeek
16 janv.

Rick, thank goodness for guys like you who are the only thing left battling for all of us against the rising destructive emotional and politically motivated fantasy, versus the documented factual reality that illustrates achievements of great people. Your frustration fueling the fight, and your ability to articulate here deserves utmost admiration and respect.

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En réponse à

Wow, thank you, Mark! I am humbled by your remark. I'm not sure why some terrible people think that just because their targets are dead, they're fair game.

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Jim Reicker
Jim Reicker
15 janv.

Thank you for your detailed rebuttal. Unfortunately racially motivated opinions are not changed by facts. Also, we are suitably warned by your conclusion — someone may have an unpleasant event in their past, but they should be remembered as the complex human they were and for their positive contribution to Canada.

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En réponse à

Thanks, Jim. You're right. History is always about remembering and learning but we don't need to have people creating false history for their own edification.

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Bryan Cook
Bryan Cook
14 janv.

we should request that Le Droit recant these articles or at least publish your rebuttal. Does LeBeau belong to a professional society of historians? If so, that society should be informed of his unprofessional conduct.

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En réponse à

I so agree.

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Bryan Cook
Bryan Cook
14 janv.

Well done Rick... a thoroughly researched and well documented rebuttal of revisionist propaganda!

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En réponse à

Thanks, Bryan.

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Well done. Thank you for doing the work on this and pushing back against the polemical, ahistorical tide.

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En réponse à

Thanks, Robin.

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Capital Chronicles
 The History You Were Never Told
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