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Friday, June 7, 2013

"His Record Was As White and Pure As Snow": The Career of Mr. Henry Bulmer, or, Fame, Scandal, and Interesting Connections

Mr. Henry Bulmer, circa. 1880.  McCord Museum Collection.

I started looking into the career of Henry Bulmer for a post I have been preparing on the Bulmer family of Montreal, but there's so much available on him that I'm giving  him his very own post--he's making the Bulmer post awkwardly long.  Henry Bulmer was born in 1822 in Hatfield, England, to our ancestors Thomas Bulmer and Mary Bowling.  He, his parents and three siblings immigrated to Quebec in 1832, where they eventually settled in Montreal.  Thomas Bulmer, his father,  was a bricklayer and plasterer, but his son would expand those horizons considerably.  Henry was the older brother of John Bulmer, from whom we descend.  He married Jane Maxwell in 1848, and he died in 1912.  Upon his death the Montreal Gazette printed a biographical news article about him.

Montreal Gazette.  October 2, 1912.p. 5.

"Index to the News (front page):  Page 5.  Death of Mr. Henry Bulmer at age of 92."
"Mr. Henry Bulmer Died Yesterday / Former Chairman of Harbor Board and Noted Figure in City's Affairs / Resident Here 75 Years / Death Recalls Some Incidents Which Form Part of History of City.

Mr. Henry Bulmer, who for over a half century was identified with the business growth of Montreal and who had reached the advanced age of ninety-two years, passed away yesterday at his residence, 330 Mackay street.  Mr. Bulmer's death was very sudden.  He resided with his two sisters and he died almost in the act of reading to them a letter which he had just received from his son in New York.

Mr. Bulmer leaves two sons, Messrs F.T. Bulmer of New York and John A. Bulmer of this city. Three sisters also survive him, Miss Bulmer, Mrs. J.B. Bond of Montreal, and Mrs. Tiplin of Newark, N.J.

For many years, Mr. Bulmer was active in public life.  After long service in the City Council he was selected to run against the late John Louis Beaudry for the office of mayor.  He was for a long period a member and at one time chairman of the Montreal Harbor Board and was an outstanding figure among conservatives in federal politics.  He lived under five British sovereigns and was sworn in as magistrate under the last three rulers of the British Empire. 

 Mr. Bulmer, who was born in Hatfield, Yorkshire, England, came to Canada with his father, Mr. Thomas Bulmer, when ten years of age and after reaching manhood was for many years engaged in the building trade.  His career as a member of the Montreal City Council beginning as far back as fifty-six, was a marked one, several people now living recalling the advanced position taken by Mr. Bulmer in the discussion of all matters concerning the welfare of this city.  In 1883 when a strong feeling arose throughout the city against the continuous occupancy of the mayor's chair by the late John Louis Beaudry a number of leading French-Canadians united with the English party and invited Mr. Bulmer to stand for the position of chief magistrate.  Already an Irish candidate in the person of the late Judge Marcus Doherty had endeavored in vain to dislodge Mr. Beaudry, who, although a strong man and a good administrator appeared to believe that he had a perpetual lease of the position of chief magistrate. Mr. Bulmer made a good fight and polled a large French vote,  but he was defeated by a section of his own co-religionists who either voted against him or remained away from the polls.  When a tombstone was erected to the memory of Hackett, the victim of the so-called Orange riots in this city some imprudent people had caused the following words to be inscribed;  'murdered by an Irish Catholic mob,' which was removed by Mr. Bulmer then a member of the Mount Royal Cemetery directorate and this act so it was ascribed at the time caused several hundred ultra-Protestants to remain away from the polls.


For years Mr. Bulmer held a prominent place in the direction of the Conservative party in this city, and when Mr. M.H. 1878 expressed a desire to retire Henry Bulmer was chosen as the conservative standard bearer at the federal election of 1882, Sir John MacDonald having decided to go to the country a year before the five years had expired.  Unfortunately, however, at that time the party was split into two factions, the second supporting Lieut.-Col. 'Sandy' Stevenson for the seat, formerly held by Mr. Gault.  As both Mr. Bulmer and the Colonel were personal friends of the Prime Minister he declined to interfere and the fight went on, friendly at first, but finally more or less feeling developed.  The party then decided to select seven Bulmer men and seven Stevenson supporters and they went into caucus...and they fought it out for two sittings without being able to reach anything but a deadlock in the party nomination.  At a third meeting it was agreed to have a thirteenth member, Hon. John Hamilton, to act as chairman, and if necessary cast a deciding vote.  Meantime A.P. Macdonald... decided to break the deadlock and put in a blank ballot, giving seven for Stevenson and six for Bulmer, thus obviating a ruling on the part of the chairman.  Col. Stevenson was thus in the field, but Mr. Bulmer's host of friends throughout the city did not go to work as the leaders of the party hoped for.  As a last resource a little band of the faithful who saw the danger of going to the polls in so feeble a manner repaired to Mr. M.H. Gault's house the day before the official nomination and following an extended interview the ex-M.P. consented to again enter the field. Mr. Gault was returned by 1,700 majority although he had defeated his Liberal opponent four years before by 2,500, the split in the party being, no doubt, responsible for the drop in the ministerial majority.


Later Mr. Bulmer became chairman of the Montreal Harbor Board...When Sir Wilfrid Laurier came to power in 1896 and when the business of the harbor (was at a later period turned over to his command?) Mr. Bulmer never lost interest in the affairs of the port and he was ever ready to give his advice on matters with which he had been for so many years familiar.     

Mr. Henry Bulmer lived under five British sovereigns, viz. George IV, William IV, Victoria, Edward VII, and George V, and he was sworn in as magistrate under England's three last rulers.  Mr. Bulmer was a Britisher first, last and always, and a very patriotic Canadian.  In religion he belonged to the Anglican communion, being one of the oldest members of St. George's Church, attending regularly the services up to a few months ago.  He was a warm personal friend of the late Bishop Bond and the late Bishop Carmichael and enjoyed to a marked degree the esteem of all races and creeds in the community in which he had lived and labored for three-quarters of a century.  He was at different periods chairman of the Mechanic's Institute governing board, president of St. George's Society, and was captain in early life of the Montreal Foot Artillery.  During the past two years deceased [sic] did not come down town frequently, but when he did a warm welcome was always accorded him on St. James street, and apparently one of the happiest days of his life was his visit to the down town sections the morning following the triumph of his political party a little over a year ago.  'I always had faith', he said, 'in my fellow countrymen, and they have not disappointed me' was the old man's cheery remark to those who grasped his hand."

Henry did seem to have a personal relationship, or at least a very cordial and familiar business relationship,  with Sir John A. MacDonald.  Library and Archives Canada has extensive correspondence between the two posted online.  Here are some examples:

This one's a bit hard to read.  It's an early letter, from 1884, and is a bit more formal in tone than later correspondence.  Here is my transcription:

"Montreal 22 Dec./84
My dear Sir John, 
Amidst the many congratulations you are receiving on your safe return and the many honors you have received and so well deserved will you kindly allow me to offer you my sincere congratulations and confess the pleasure I felt after reading the report of your great speech in Toronto at the convention there.  It was worthy of you and the occasion.  Through storm and sunshine I have always had an abiding faith in your genius and ability to guide us onward, and I trust you will long be spared to do so.  Be good enough to accept the best wishes of your humble and faithful admirer,
Henry Bulmer." 

Again, congratulations, this time in telegraph form:

Congratulatory telegram from Henry Bulmer to Sir John on the occasion of his
winning the 1891 election.  "Glad at your personal victory and general success yesterday.  Henry Bulmer"

Here Henry is strictly business:

Letter to Sir John A. MacDonald regarding the Montreal Harbor.
Henry asks Sir John to use his "all powerful influence" on his behalf.

But wait!  What's the meaning of this third letter?  

This mysterious letter is dated 18 July 1882 and says:

"My dear Sir John,
I rec'd your very kind letter and want to thank you for it.  I am glad to know that you are satisfied with my action in my late troubles here.  
I remain, 
Your most (?) servant, 
Henry Bulmer"

I'm guessing that the troubles had to do with his failed  fight for the conservative candidacy opposite Col. Stevenson, which was referred to in his obituary.  The Quebec Daily Telegraph is rather uncomplimentary about the skirmish:

"TWO CONSERVATIVES ON THE WAR PATH / Government patronage is worth something and we have no question of doubt the split in the Conservative ranks in Montreal, is due to a division over the spoils.  It is not due to patriotism, for there is a lack of it when two great men are ready to draw swords on each other, and fight as rebels against their chiefs.  Mr. Bulmer and Col. Stevenson are prominent men and are ready to quarrel, over the choice of persons for one of the divisions of Montreal, at a time, singular to say, when the seat is secured.  The conservatives held a meeting and it appears that both gentlemen received the nomination and are in the field..."     
Whatever troubles Henry experienced in 1882, they must have been nothing compared to the scandal which broke out around him in 1884, having to do with a questionable banking transaction of his in 1883.  It made front-page headlines in The Toronto Daily Mail, June 5, 1884:


From our own correspondent.  Montreal, June 4--A sensation was created here this afternoon on it becoming known that Messrs. Alexander Buntin, paper manufacturer, and Henry Bulmer, senior contractor, ex-directors of the Exchange bank, had been arrested on a charge of conspiracy in connection with Thomas Craig, the absconding president, in accepting a preference over the creditors of the bank after the failure of the institution.  The amount drawn out by Mr. Buntin was ten thousand dollars, which he has refunded since, and the charge against Mr. Bulmer is for giving his cheque against his deposit for five hundred dollars, to meet a note  which he had endorsed for a friend, and to help the latter to meet his engagement.  The Banking Act makes the acceptance of a preference by a director or official of a bank a misdemeanor under the... circumstances. The accused entered into bail at once, and it is understood the matter will go to the assizes.  The Mr. A. Davis, superintendent of the North Shore railway, who is a depositor of $18,000.  The proceedings have been expected, as the prosecutor notified the defendants to that effect through a lawyer some time ago. 

The Quebec Daily Telegraph, on July 23, 1884, is rather tart in its appraisal of the situation:

"MR BULMER AND THE EXCHANGE BANK /  We are sorry that some of our people should be so anxious to become directors of banks without first ascertaining their true character and position.  When Mr. Bulmer became director of the Exchange Bank, it was when it was rotten to the core.  He had a right as director to make himself au fait with all the affairs of the institution, but he erred on this point and is now made to suffer.  But he is not unlike many others of the same type.  They do not care what position the Bank is in, so long as they can borrow for their own ends.  In this city, we know a couple of directors who have borrowed until they could get no more funds out of the institution.  Do they strengthen the bank?  Do they, by this means, help to build up their institution?  We certainly say no.  Such men are a mockery to our banks, and a disgrace to the cashier.  To make a bank healthy and powerful, directors must be independent men, possessed of capital and ability, and at any time capable of silencing any person who would commit a wrong act.  Was it so with Mr. Craig?  It seems not and for this reason Mr. Bulmer had no right to accept the position as director.  There must be some kind of fraud shown or strongly presumed in order to make the case solid against Mr. Bulmer, and this was wholly wanting.  If there had been any bad faith or desire on Mr. Bulmer's part on September 22nd to use his position as director to obtain undue preferences, would he not have applied the whole amount of his deposit to the payment of the note due instead of merely $500.  Of course, this is his defense, but it is the court that will declare as to his innocence or guilt."

On August 12, 1884, Henry Bulmer was found guilty as charged.  Not only that, but the magistrate complained of "annoying" attempts to influence his decision from "people of very high standing".  I wonder who they were.  Perhaps Sir John A. himself?  

Here is the report in the Montreal Daily Witness for August 12, 1844, p. 4:


This afternoon Mr. Desnoyes, the police magistrate, rendered judgement on the charge against Mr. Henry Bulmer, of having, when a director the Exchange bank [sic], given himself an undue preference.  In giving judgement he said that this action had been taken under a section of the Banking Act which declares that any bank director president or official giving any person an undue preference after the suspension of a bank was guilty of a misdemeanor...It was pleaded that Mr. Bulmer was a depositor in the Exchange Bank and a debtor of the bank as well, and that he had a right to set off his debt by his credit.  It was proved that, on the 22nd of September last Mr. Bulmer was a director of the Exchange Bank, and that on the 15th September the Exchange Bank closed its doors and never resumed payment.  It was likewise proven that on the 22nd September a note of $5,000, signed by Mr. Bulmer, came due, and at that time he had a deposit of $1,084 in the bank.  This note was taken up by a cheque for $500 and $4,500 in cash, the cheque being charged against Mr. Bulmer's account so as to reduce it to $584.  It was pleaded that this was but setting off a debt by a credit, and that this could not be considered an undue preference.  Had the note in question never left the possession of the Exchange Bank this might have applied;  but it was proved that on the 25th of June the note in question was re-discounted to the Quebec Bank.  At this time Mr. Bulmer was a director of the bank, and had free access to its archives and books, not only could he easily discover what had become of his note, but it was his duty to know.    

At this point the plot thickens, as Mr. Buntin becomes rather suspiciously involved:

 How did this note get back to the Exchange Bank?  It was evidently Mr. Buntin's interest to have it brought back, and from the evidence it was plain that the $4,500 cash received from Mr. Bulmer was used for the redemption of this note, the Quebec Bank receiving a cheque of $5,000 upon the account of the Exchange Bank with that institution to directly pay for it.  This left no doubt that the note was the property of the Quebec Bank, and therefore that Mr. Bulmer was in the same position as was Mr. Bunting [sic] or any other depositor in the bank, and he had no right to set off his credit against such a debit.  At the time the affair took place it was proved that everybody believed that the bank would recover its position, or at least pay its depositors in full;  therefore much could be said as to the good faith with which Mr. Bulmer had acted.  But this was a matter which a jury must decide, not a magistrate.   

And here comes the complaint of attempted influence:

In closing his remarks Mr. Desnoyers said that speaking both for himself and Mr. Dugas he must refer to a somewhat delicate matter.  While this case and that of Mr. Buntin had been en delibere, they had been approached by a number of persons of very high standing upon this subject.  While they were quite positive that these people were acting under the most benevolent feelings this was extremely annoying.  As magistrates they had a duty, however painful, to perform and the responsibility placed upon them, which they could not allow to be violated, was very great indeed.  Mr. Bulmer then pleaded 'not guilty' to the charge, and was admitted to bail upon his own recognizance for $400, to appear before the next session of the Court of Queen's Bench."     

 Ultimately Henry beat the rap.  The Toronto Daily Mail on September 10, 1884 was almost fawning in its report of his exoneration:


From our own correspondent.  Montreal, September 9--The Grand Jury at the assizes today rejected the bill of indictment which was sent up at the instance of Mr. Davis against Mr. Hy. Bulmer for obtaining a preference from the Exchange Bank, thus showing that in the minds of the members of the grand panel there was a great difference between the case of Mr. Buntin, who drew ten thousand in gold, and that of Mr. Bulmer, who merely gave a cheque on his deposit, believing it to be legal, for $500 to meet a note he had maturing in the bank, but which turned out to have been discounted without his knowledge in the Quebec Bank.  It, no doubt, was taken into consideration by the jury that when Mr. Bulmer gave the cheque it was thoroughly understood, in the opinion of the lawyers of the bank itself, that any one had the right to meet his indebtedness by drawing on the deposits he had in the insolvent institution.  From the first there was sympathy for Mr. Bulmer, who, as already shown in THE MAIL, was in no way compromised by the terrible wreck of the bank, for as is well-known the getting of the heavy loans and the discounting of the prime notes in other banks held by the Exchange commenced long before he was roped in by false representations of the bank's standing to be a member of the board.  He has paid dearly out of his own pocket for his confidence in the representations of others.  There is another feature which is greatly to his credit, and that is he / STOOD UP MANFULLY / after he became aware of the ruin that had been perpetrated on all alike by the management, to get removed as speedily as possible the old regime, and to replace them by new and independent liquidators.  He did all this amid a great deal of obloquy from those holding the balance of power at the time;  but it was his action, nevertheless, that compelled his conferes to resign.  The sympathy, thererfore, of nearly all outsiders and people interested has been with Bulmer throughout, and the general wish was that he would not be forced on a mere technicality to go through the ordeal of a public trial, for no man of high spirit and integrity like Mr. Bulmer but would feel the indignity of being arraigned in a criminal court, although his record was as white and pure as snow.  The accused gentleman has passed many decades of life in Montreal, has raised a numerous family, and made a competence for himself if not for those after him, but his sons are all self-dependent, and he has accomplished this by his intelligent industry, perseverance, and integrity, the later unassaid until the action was taken, as most independent and unbiased people think and so express themselves, injudiciously, to use a mild term, by Mr. Davis, the prosecutor. The congratulations of citizens of all conditions and  degrees of influence here, after the bill was ignored, manifested plainly that popular opinion on both sides of politics cordially endorsed the ruling of the grand jury, which was largely composed of French-Canadians, as is always the case at the Queen's bench trials here.  So far as Mr. Bulmer is concerned the matter is triumphantly settled.  Mr. Bulmer has repudiated, as his friends knew he would, the insinuation that he used influence through certain persons to get the jury to throw out the indictment.  It is needless to say that not a particle of evidence direct or indirect to the effect mentioned has been produced."   

Mr. Buntin wasn't quite as fortunate.  He was sentenced to ten days in jail for his part in the shenanigans.  His sentence made The New York Times
because it was so unusual for a wealthy man to be jailed for a crime of this nature.

The New York Times, December 3, 1884:

Montreal, December 2--Sentence was given today in the case of the liquidators of the Exchange Bank, which failed some time ago, against Mr. Alexander Buntin...Mr Buntin, on appearing in court, was accompanied by several friends, and the court room was very crowded, the proceedings having excited very great interest...from the fact that Buntin is a millionaire, and one of the wealthiest men in the Dominion.  Judge Monk, in passing sentence, said he did not wish to disguise the regret he felt at the duty imposed on him....For the offense the statute prescribed imprisonment in jail for any period not exceeding two years.  No fine was allowable.  Otherwise he might have imposed one.  But the court was disposed, in view of the fact that restitution of the money with interest had been made, to be lenient, and would consequently limit the term of imprisonment as much as possible.  The sentence would therefore be imprisonment in the common jail of this district for the period of 10 days.  Mr. Buntin was then removed to the jail, where, as he will be allowed to furnish his own bed, bedding, and food, the millionaire convict will not be so badly off.  Before being taken to jail Mr. Buntin was condoled by the Hon. A.W. Ogilvie, Henry Bulmer, and E.K. Green, all ex-Directors of the defunct bank, and the Rev. R. Campbell, a Presbyterian divine.  In conversation he said he felt he had done nothing to be ashamed of, but he would bow to the law, which last remark was certainly making a virtue of necessity."       

Henry Bulmer's name appears in the news again in 1890 in conjunction with a much more celebrated civic event, the visit of Prince George of Wales, later King George V.  Prince George had joined the Royal Navy at age 12 and came to Canada with the navy.  The Dominion Illustrated of September 20, 1890 describes the visit on page 4:

VISIT OF PRINCE GEORGE OF WALES... Prince George of Wales was born on the third of June, 1865, and at an early age entered the Royal Navy.  During the present year he was promoted to the command of the Thrush, a screw gun boat recently built, of 1,200 horse power...During the forenoon of Tuesday, September 9, the wharves of this city presented an aspect of unusual bustle and expectancy.  A multitude of loyal citizens had assembled to witness the arrival of the H.M.S. Thrush with her royal commander on board, accompanied by the gunboat Canada.  The vessels in the neighbourhood of the Victoria Wharf had run up their showiest bunting, the battery on St. Helen's Island had run up its flag of welcome, and from the top of the City Hall and the Harbour Commissioner's building flags floated gaily on the breeze. ...As the Canada cast anchor the Thrush hove in sight away down the river, and at 1:30 she was moored close to the stern of the Canada, the crowd extending a hearty welcome to her royal commander, which Prince George...acknowledged by raising his he passed along every head was uncovered and cheering was the order of the day....Whilst the Prince was on board the Canada,  Mr. H. Bulmer, Mr. Richard White, and Captain Howard, representing the Harbour Commissioners,  were shown into the presence of His Royal Highness and Admiral Watson, to whom they extended a cordial welcome to the city..."

 Here's a picture of Prince George of Wales during the time he was in command of the Thrush:


So it seems that Henry bounced back from scandal to resume his successful and rather prestigious  career.  There are several portraits of him in the McCord Museum collection, and they all show a  happy and prosperous-looking fellow.  He seems also to have been very well respected within his family, as he appears as witness in many family baptismal and marriage documents.  Here's a final biography of him, found in The Canadian Men and Women of the Time:  A Handbook of Canadian Biography (Toronto:  W. Briggs, 1898). 

"Bulmer, Henry, contractor and builder, was b. in England, and came to Canada, 1832. He settled in Montreal, 1841, and since then has run a long and successful business career.  Elected to the City Council 1856, he became an ald. 1859. Among other positions filled by him from time to time have been the following:  Presdt. Mech. Inst., Presdt. St. George's Soc., Chairman Bd. of Arts and Manf., Chairman Bd. of Harbour Commrs.  He served as a capt. in the Montreal Foot Arty,[sic]  at the time of the "Oregon" difficulty, and was on the directorate of the defunct Exchange Bank.  He is a Freemason, a Prot., and a Con. [Protestant and Conservative].  He m., early in life, Miss Jane Maxwell (she died 1892).  52 Mackay Street, Montreal."  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Biography of William Rutherford Jr., or, Don't These Men Ever Sleep?

This biographical sketch is from Montreal 1535-1914 Vol. 3 by William H. Atherton.  The S.J. Clark Publishing Company, Montreal, 1914. p. 245.  It summarizes the life of an extraordinarily busy man!  I also like that it gives us some extra information about William Sr. as well. 

"WILLIAM RUTHERFORD.  The steps in the orderly progression of William Rutherford whereby he has reached his present advanced position in business circles of Montreal are easily discernible and each forward step has brought him a broader outlook and wider opportunities.  Born in Montreal, April 22, 1964, he is a son of William and Elizabeth (Jackson) Rutherford, both of whom are of Scotch birth, the former coming from Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, and the latter from Biggar, Lanarkshire.  They were representatives of the excellent Scotch type that has done so much for Canada and its substantial upbuilding.  The father was a member of the first council of Cote St. Antoine, which afterward became Westmount.  He was an enthusiastic curler and greatly enjoyed other outdoor sports.  His interests, however, were largely concentrated on the development and management of important business interests.  He founded the lumber firm of William Rutherford and Sons in 1852 and was largely instrumental in developing it into one of the most extensive lumber enterprises in Canada.  

In the acquirement of his education William Rutherford attended successively the schools of Cote St. Antoine, the high school of Montreal and the private school conducted by Hon. E.H. Springrice.  He crossed the threshold of the business world as a junior clerk with Gillespie, Moffat & Company, general merchants, and subsequently became a clerk for the Pillow Hersey Manufacturing Company, owners of rolling mills, etc.  Subsequently he entered the firm of William Rutherford & Sons of Montreal and upon incorporation of the company became its treasurer.  The business is conducted today under the style of William Rutherford & Sons Company, Ltd., dealers in and manufacturers of lumber and timber.  The business is now one of mammoth proportions and in his official capacity William Rutherford of this review is bending his energies to administrative direction and executive control.  Into other fields he has also extended his efforts and his business interests are now of considerable volume and importance, placing him among the prominent representatives of commercial and industrial activity in the province.  He is now the president of the Dominion Box Company, Ltd., of the Grier Timber Company and of the Dominion Park Realty Company, Ltd.

On the 16th of May 1894, in Montreal, Mr. Rutherford married Miss Ida Bulmer, a daughter of John Bulmer and a representative of a well known Montreal family.  Their children are William J., John B., Jean, Andrew S. and Marjory.  Presbyterian in religious faith, the family hold membership in St. Andrew's Church of Westmount.  Mr. Rutherford is a liberal in politics, conversant with the leading questions and issues of the day.  He has filled a number of local offices, having been elected alderman of Westmount in 1908, while in 1910 he was chosen mayor of the city.  In 1913 he was made school commissioner of the city and in 1912-13 was a member of the executive committee of the Canadian Manufacturing Association.  He is also a member of the committee of St. Andrew's Society, while along more strictly social lines his membership is in the Canada, Engineers, Manitou, and North Lake  fish and game clubs.  His success permits him that leisure which enables him to enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor and indoor sports, but he is preeminently a business man and one whose successful methods might be studied by all who wish to gain prosperity within the legitimate line of business."      

His success permits him leisure??? You've got to be kidding me!  He's president of three companies and treasurer of a third!  And involved in city politics!  And raising a family of five!  And goes to church on Sundays!

Here is a sketch of William Jr. from the 1900 book Canadians As We See 'Em, by the Canada Newspaper Cartoonists Association.  

William Rutherford Jr., every inch the successful businessman. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rutherford Family Weddings

Not only are weddings significant family events, they are significant social events as well.  If we're lucky, newspaper accounts can bring to life family weddings long past, giving us a sense of the personalities, aesthetics and social circumstances in our family line.  Here are three generations of  newspaper reports of Rutherford family weddings in Montreal.

Generation 1:  William Rutherford Jr. and Ida Bulmer.
Montreal Gazette, May 17, 1894.  p.3.

"Rutherford-Bulmer.  At 5 o'clock last evening Mr. William Rutherford jr., of Cote St. Antoine, was joined in holy wedlock to Miss Ida Bulmer, daughter of Mr. John Bulmer, and niece to Mr. Henry Bulmer, chairman of the Harbour commissioners.  The ceremony took place in St. George's Church the Very Rev. Dean Carmichael tying the nuptial knot, and although invitations were extended only to the immediate relatives, so popular were the young couple that before 5 o'clock the church was crowded with their numerous friends. Miss Jane Bulmer, sister of the bride, acted as bridesmaid.  Mr. Sept. Fraser played the wedding march as the bridal procession left the church.  The newly married couple, before leaving for New York, were the recipients of many costly presents."  

Here are some images of St. George's Church in Montreal:

Engraving of interior of St. George's Church, Montreal, 1850-1885.  Courtesy of McCord Museum. 

Exterior of St. George's Church, Montreal, 1872.  Courtesy of McCord Museum. 

Modern interior shot of St. George's Church. 

Generation Two:  Their Children 

The first child of William and Ida to be married was their daughter Ida Jean.  Here is the description of her wedding, from the Montreal Gazette, September 18, 1924.

"The marriage took place quietly last evening at nine o'clock, at the residence of the bride's parents 61 Rosemount Avenue, Westmount, of Ida Jean, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Rutherford, to Mr. James Hargrave Drummond Ross, son of the late Dr. and Mrs. James Ross, of Dundas, Ontario.  The bride, who was given away by her father, was gowned in white georgette, with an overskirt of chantilly lace, with a georgette and lace scarf falling from one shoulder.  Her tulle veil was caught with orange blossoms and pearls, and she carried a shower bouquet of sunburst roses.  She was attended by her sister, Miss Marjorie Rutherford, as maid of honour, and by Miss Daintry Notman and Miss Kathleen Darling, as bridesmaids.  All three attendants were gowned alike, in orange shade georgette with petal skirts, and carried bouquets of nasturtiums. Dr. Graham Ross was his brother's best man.  The Rev. Dr. Clark, of St. Andrew's Church, performed the ceremony,  and Mr. E.W. Whitely played the wedding music.  The rooms were decorated with ferns, palms and autumn foliage, interspersed with pink and white hydrangeas and masses of gladioli and dahlias.  Mrs. Rutherford, the bride's mother, wore a gown of grey canton crepe combined with Spanish lace and a corsage bouquet of mauve orchids.  A reception followed the ceremony, and later Mr. and Mrs. Ross left for Lake Placid.  Going away the bride wore a russet brown suit with a tailored hat, suede cloth wrap, and an Isabella fox fur.  They will reside in Larchmount, N.Y.  The out of town guests included Miss Isabel Ross, sister of the groom, of Saranac Lake, and Miss Audrey Fitzgerald, of Winnipeg."

The wedding of John Bulmer Rutherford  to Norton Scott, daughter of Arthur H. Scott and Minnie Davis, is described in the Montreal Gazette on March 27, 1928, p. 8:

"At St. Mark's Chapel, Dorval, the Rev. W.P.R. Lewis officiating, the marriage took place quietly yesterday of Norton Scott, widow of Henry Stephenson Fry, late Lieutenant 42nd H.R.C., to Mr. John Bulmer Rutherford, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Rutherford, Cote St. Antoine Road.  Owing to the absence of her father, Mr. Arthur H. Scott, who is in Italy, the bride was given in marriage by her brother-in-law, Mr. John Fry, and was unattended.  She wore a French frock of pearl grey pussy willow with touches of rose needlepoint, a small rose transparent hat to match, and carried an arm bouquet of Ophelia roses.  Mr. Wilson Dunton acted as best man, and Mrs. Dunton played the wedding march.  The ushers were Mr. Jackson Rutherford, Mr. Andrew Rutherford and Mr. George McTaggart.  Following the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford received informally at their residence, 351 Cote des Neiges Road.  Later, they left to spend two weeks in Bermuda and New York.  Among the out-of-town guests were Mrs. Ruggles George and Mrs. F.A. Rolph, both of Toronto." 

John Bulmer Rutherford and Norton Scott are my husband's grandparents.  Jackson and Andrew Rutherford were brothers of the groom, and Mrs. Ruggles George was Helen Elliot Scott, Norton's sister.  According to David Austin Roses, the Ophelia rose is a blush-pink hybrid tea rose with a strong fragrance.  Sounds lovely.  

St. Mark's Chapel, Dorval, date unknown.
1928 was a busy year for the Rutherford family.  William Jackson Rutherford, William and Ida's oldest child, married on October 6th of the same year.

The Montreal Gazette, October 6th, 1928, p. 8.
"The marriage of Katherine, daughter of Rev. Canon and Mrs. Roger Howard, to Mr. William Jackson Rutherford, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Rutherford, of Westmount, is taking place at four o'clock this afternoon at St. Martin's Church.  The ceremony will be performed by the bride's father, Rev. Canon Howard, rector of St. Martin's, and the service will be choral.  The church, which will be lighted by candles, will be decorated with pink lilies, hydrangea and smilax.  Pink lilies will be arranged on the altar, and the chancel rail will be festooned with smilax and banked with hydrangea, the pews reserved for guests being marked with bunches of hydrangea tied with white tulle.  The decoration is being done by members of the chancel guild of the church. The bride, who will be given away by her uncle, Rev. O.W. Howard, will wear a gown of white satin made with a long tight bodice finished by a V. neck, and the skirt, uneven in length, will have a hem of tulle outlined in pearls. Her train, falling from the shoulders, is of the satin lined in pale pink chiffon edged with a circular frill of tulle.  Her tulle veil, pleated in cap effect, will be held by a bandeau of orange blossoms, and her satin shoes matching her gown will have buckles of pleated tulle and orange blossoms.  She will carry a shower bouquet of sweetheart roses and lilies of the valley.  Miss Glynne Howard, sister of the bride, who will act as maid-of-honor, and Mrs. Herbert B. Norris and Miss Marjorie Houson, of Toronto, the bridesmaids, will be dressed alike in gowns of Nile green chiffon in Princess style, the skirts finished with circular flounces short in front, and forming a train at the back.  They will wear large felt hats of a deeper tone, satin shoes with brilliant buckles to match their hats, and will carry arm bouquets of pink butterfly roses.  Little Miss Cherry Riepert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O. Vernon Riepert,  will act as flower girl.  She will wear a frock of Nile green georgette, a poke bonnet of felt of a deeper tone, and will carry a tiny bouquet of pink roses.  Mr. Andrew Rutherford will act as best man for his brother, and the ushers will be Mr. J.B. Rutherford and Mr. Hugh Crombie.  During the signing of the register the choir will sing 'O Perfect Love', and Mr. O.W. Rodomar will sing 'Love's Coronation'.  Mrs. Howard, the bride's mother, will wear a gown of goblin blue ring velvet, with a small Reboux felt hat, and suede shoes to match.  Her corsage bouquet will be of pink orchids and maidenhair fern.  Mrs. Rutherford, mother of the bridegroom, will be gowned in black net and silver, with a small black velvet hat with a brilliant ornament, and will wear a corsage bouquet of red roses. 

The reception following the ceremony will be held at the residence of the bride's parents, St. Martin's rectory, where the decorations will be carried out in pink lilies, hydrangea and ferns.  Later, Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford will leave for a motor trip through the Adirondacks, the bride traveling in a French  frock of beige crepe and satin, a beige coat trimmed with wolf and a small brown felt hat.  She will carry a brown bag and wear shoes to match.  They will reside at 465 Cote des Neiges Road.        

Goblin blue, in case you're wondering, is a shade of blue-grey.

In 1929, William and Ida's daughter Elizabeth Marjorie married Reginald Wallace.  Here is a rather short announcement from the Montreal Gazette, September 21, 1929, p. 8.  I miss the descriptions of clothing and flowers.

"The marriage of Elizabeth Marjorie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Rutherford, to Mr. Reginald H. Wallace, of Shawinigan Falls, son of Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Ramsay Wallace, of Halifax, N.S., is taking place this afternoon at half-past four o'clock at St. Andrew's Church, Westmount, Rev. Dr. Clark officiating.  The bride will be attended by her sister, Mrs. Drummond Ross, of Larchmount, N.Y., as matron-of-honor, and by Miss Betty Gordon, as bridesmaid.  Mr. Ronald Irving will act as best man, and the ushers will be Mr. Arthur Wallace, of New York, brother of the bridegroom, Mr. Eric Jones, Mr. John A. Macdonnell and Mr. Andrew S. Rutherford, brother of the bride.  The reception following the ceremony will be held at the residence of the bride's parents, 109 Cote St. Antoine Road, Westmount."    

Generation Three:  Children of John Bulmer Rutherford and Norton Scott.

I could only find an account for one marriage out of the family's two daughters.  I think my mother- in-law has a clipping of an account of her wedding, which I'll ask her about the next time I see her.  I could not locate an account for Mary Fry's wedding either (Mary was the daughter of Norton Scott and Henry Fry, her first husband).

The Montreal Gazette, June 14, 1951, p. 19.

"Stauble-Rutherford.  The marriage of Jean Scott, daughter of the late J. Bulmer Rutherford and of Mrs. Rutherford, of Montreal, to Mr. William John Stauble, son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor J. Stauble, of Port of Spain, Trinidad, B.W.I., took place yesterday afternoon, at half-past four o'clock, in St. Andrew's Church, Westmount, the Rev. D.M. Grant officiating.  Mr. Phillips Motley played the wedding music and white gladioli, peonies and snapdragons were used to decorate. 

The bride, who was given away by her uncle, Mr. W. J. Jackson Rutherford, was in a gown of white lace, the fitted bodice worn with a lace jacket, fastened to the waist with tiny buttons, having a small collar and sleeves ending in points over her hands, and the full flared skirt fashioned with an overskirt of tulle.  Her veil of tulle illusion, extending to the hem of her train, was held by a coronet of orange blossoms and she carried a bouquet of lily of the valley and stephantois.

Miss Jocelyn Rutherford, as maid of honour for her sister, and Miss Rosina McCarthy and Miss Shirley McCall, as bridesmaids, were in frocks of mist green organdy, with bodices having bateau necklines and short sleeves, and very full skirts.  They wore bandeaux of multicolour sweetpeas to match those in their bouquets.  

Little Miss Susan Wang, niece of the bride,  as flower-girl, wore a Kate Greenaway frock of white dotted Swiss organdy with a bandeau of flowers in her hair and carried a tiny nosegay.

Dr. Philip Gofton acted as best man for Mr. Stauble and the ushers were Mr. Alfred Stauble, brother of the bridegroom, Mr. David Blair and Mr. Hugh Miller. 

Mrs. Rutherford, the bride's mother, was in a floor-length gown of French blue crepe with a side panel of matching lace and wore a hat of blue flowers and a corsage bouquet of pink feathered carnations.

Mrs. William Rutherford, grandmother of the bride, wore a gown of navy blue sheer with a hat of the same colour, trimmed with pink and a corsage bouquet of Sweetheart roses.

The reception was held at the Montreal Badminton and Squash club where the bride's table, centred with the wedding cake, was arranged with multicolor sweetpeas.    

Later Mr. and Mrs. Stauble left for Bermuda and Trinidad, B.W.I., the bride travelling in a frock of navy blue and white tie silk, trimmed with red, and wearing a navy blue hat and accessories and a corsage bouquet of white carnations.  They will reside in Montreal.

The bridegroom is a student in the faculty of medicine at McGill University."

A historic photo of St. Andrew's Church in Westmount, circa 1910. The church was destroyed by fire in 1965.  

These kinds of announcements, with their precisely detailed description, are uncommon in newspapers today.  I love reading them, though.  If anyone out there has pictures from any of these wedding ceremonies, I'd love to see them!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Westmount Soldier's Wives League

I'm always excited when I discover something about the lives of women in our family.  They're more elusive than the men, but no less interesting.  Here's an organization that the Rutherford and Scott women involved themselves with during World War One, or "The Great War" as it was called at the time:  

The Westmount News, November 6, 1914


"At the first business meeting of the Westmount Soldier's Wives League held Wednesday morning in Victoria Hall, Westmount, with Mrs. William Rutherford in the chair, the following ladies enrolled in the League:  ...Mrs. William Rutherford....Mrs. A. Rutherford...Mrs. Arthur H. Scott....
It was decided that the League should hold a meeting every Wednesday morning at 10:30 o'clock in Victoria Hall.    Groups of workers were formed to sew and knit for the Westmount Rifles, and it was announced that the Lady Scott chapter of the Daughters of the Empire would make and donate the 'housewives' for the regiment...." 

A "housewife" was a sewing kit that a soldier could carry around with him, with needle, thread, buttons, etc.

An example of a WWI sewing kit or "housewife"--this one is American.

This one is British.

Mrs. William Rutherford (Ida Bulmer) was the chair of the first meeting, although her husband, William Rutherford Jr., would have been 50 years old in 1914, and was unlikely to go to war.  William and Ida Rutherford's son (my husband's grandfather) John Bulmer Rutherford enlisted on March 21, 1916, at the age of 20.  We have in our possession a diary he kept during his training period.  He emerged safely from the conflict. 

Mrs. Arthur H. Scott (Minnie Davis) was not the wife of a soldier either. Her husband Arthur was 49 years old at the time.  She was the mother of Howard Elliot Scott, who did enlist on August 4, 1915.  He died at the Battle of Courcellette, September 16, 1916 (this battle was part of the Somme offensive).

Mrs. A. Rutherford was perhaps the wife of Andrew Rutherford.  Andrew was the brother of William Jr., and married a woman named Florence Mathilda Cornelia Paris on June 7, 1905.   However, their children, born between 1906 and 1910, would have been too young to enlist in this conflict. 

It seems that you did not actually have to be a soldier's wife to join...perhaps just a woman wanting to contribute to the war effort.

A postcard, circa 1910, from the McCord Museum, of Victoria Hall, where the League met weekly.

What was the scope of this organization?  There are a few more mentions of the League in Montreal newspapers over the course of the war.  The Montreal Gazette ran this column on  January 6, 1915:


" The Westmount Soldiers' Wives' League held their first meeting of the New Year in Victoria Hall yesterday morning.  There was a lengthy discussion over the question  of monthly fees, with the final decision that each member should pay the sum of twenty-five cents per month.  It was also decided to hold a monthly meeting of a social nature for the wives of the Westmount Rifles men, the first of these to be held from three to six on the afternoon of January 20th in the lodge room of Victoria Hall...The visiting report showed twenty-one families now on the league's visiting list.  A letter received from Major Stewart, thanking the league for the plum puddings supplied for the Christmas dinners for the Army Service Corps,  was read at the meeting.

The ladies will continue their knitting meetings for some time longer, and sewing meetings will be started soon. Mrs. Edmund Sheppard will be at Victoria Hall every Saturday morning from eleven to twelve to give out wool and receive completed work.  At the meeting at half-past ten next Saturday the Rev. A.P. Shatford will give an address."  

On September 15, 1905, the Montreal Gazette ran this notice:


"A special request was made at the meeting of the Westmount Soldiers' Wives' League yesterday morning for clothing for children about nine years old, and particularly for two overcoats for boys. The Soldiers' Comforts Committee asked for gramophone records, soap, writing pads and envelopes to be sent to the men at the front.

It was decided that instead of the three hundred pairs of socks previously voted for the fifth mounted rifles, that six hundred pairs would be sent. 

Tomorrow is the Red Cross sewing meeting of the League and, while last week's meeting was largely attended, the ladies would like it to be known that others would be welcome.  They have now ten sewing machines for the purpose of Red Cross work."

Sometime during 1915 the League edited and published a fundraising cookbook, imaginatively titled The Cook Book.  Chapters include witticisms such as "How to Preserve a Husband" and advice on "Good Rules for Housekeeping".   I wonder if Ida Rutherford or Minnie Scott contributed recipes?  Unfortunately, I can't find an image of it, but it is described in Culinary Landmarks:  A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks, 1825-1949 by Elizabeth Driver.

"The Cook Book.
Q86.1 1915
The/ cook book/ edited by the/ Westmount Soldiers'/ Wives' League/ Westmount Canada.
DESCRIPTION:  22.5 x 150 cm... Small tp illustration of soldier (2  cm high)...Thin card, with image on front, drawn in art-nouveau style, of a woman carrying a plate;  stapled...
Notes:  the aim  of publication, according to p 3,  was "to augment [the Leagues'] Treasury and provide further comforts, etc. for "Our soldier boys at the Front."  Arthur G. Racey...who did the cover design, was a cartoonist at the Montreal Star at the time The Cook Book was published.  Albert Samuel Brodeur, Alberic Bourgeois, Georges La Tour...and Napoleon Savard were book illustrators."   
 Towards the end of the year the League tackled another new enterprise.  This is from the Montreal Gazette, December 1, 1915:


"The Westmount Soldiers' Wives' League, at their meeting yesterday morning, voted $1,000 of the eighteen hundred of so which they cleared at their bazaar, as the nucleus of a fund for widows and orphans of soldiers.  They hope to add to this fund from time to time.

The sum of $25 was voted to Captain Bateman to be used for tobacco for the officers and men coming aboard the hospital ship of which he has charge, running between France and England.  

Arrangements were made to send five hundred pairs of socks to Lt-Col. Gunn for the men of the twenty-fourth and five hundred to Lt.-Col. Fisher for the owing to the condition of the trenches a great many socks are required..."

Here's a snippet on the importance of lots and lots of socks in the trenches from the Australian history journal InsideHistory: 

“Woolen socks were vital during the war and had to be hand knitted to exact standards so they were seamless and comfortable. Aussie soldiers in the cold and muddy trenches needed a continuous supply of clean, dry socks to protect them against the debilitating ‘trench foot’ and they were often sent in ‘comfort boxes’ with cigarettes, food and mail. “The Library’s extensive WW1 collection includes over 900 diaries, with many entries revealing how socks were an obsession for many boys, along with letters and their pay.”

The League seems to have been a very business-like organization, whose mandate stretched as the War went on.  It seems that our women threw themselves into the cause within months of the War's declaration.  Ida (Bulmer) Rutherford chaired the first meeting, which suggests that she may have been  a driving force among Westmount society during her time.