Sunday, 10 April 2011

American history

United Empire Loyalist statue in Hamilton, Ontario

I’ve always had an interest in American history.  Americans and Canadians have always had a convoluted and complex relationship.  My Ex like a lot of Canadians comes from a United Empire Loyalist family.  In this particular case her ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch who supported the crown during the American Revolution, had their property confiscated by the Continental congress and moved to Thorold, Ontario in the 1780’s.  They still think that the wrong side won and are particularly incensed by the Jay treaty of 1794. One clause in the treaty stated the American government would compensate those who had their property confiscated and this was never honoured. Isn’t time you guys paid up?

Paul Revere's Midnight Ride

In order to demonstrate the other side of the relationship, I’ll tell another story. The Bond Head rectory in which I lived was rebuilt in 1892 after a fire.  The original house was built in the 1830’s and the original incumbent was a Rev. Featherstone-Osler.  His eighth son, William, was born in the house and grew up to be a famous doctor.  He studied Medicine at McGill University, became the first chief of medicine at John Hopkins medical school and married Grace Revere Gross who was the great-granddaughter of Paul Revere. So I can say with a reasonable degree of historical accuracy that a person who was born and spent his youth in the house in which I lived married the ancestor of an iconic American revolutionary. You can read more here.

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