On this date in 1847 American born Montreal Mayor John Easton Mills passed away after contracting typhus while tending to the sick Irish immigrants who invaded its shores in search of a better life, and who were quarantined.
In what seems to be an error in translation, the City of Montreal website lists Mills’ final resting place as the bottom of the Saint Lawrence River. In fact, Mayor Mills was interred in the St. Lawrence Burial Grounds, a Protestant cemetery located near present day Boul. René-Lévesque Ouest and rue Saint-Urbain. However when the burial grounds was repurposed as Dufferin Square, families were given the option to reinter their loved ones elsewhere. John Easton Mills’ family took advantage of the opportunity and moved him to Mount Royal Cemetery, where he is buried in his wife Hannah Lyman’s family plot.
John Easton Mills made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the citizens of his city. In his honour a tiny tree line street that runs parallel to rue Notre-Dame Est bears his name, an odd choice of locations given the impact he had on the sick and dying Irish immigrants in the fever sheds.
The first recollection I have of Al Darbyson was an encounter at Hurley’s Irish Pub one evening in March in the mid to late 1990s. In those days, the Marshals’ pre parade meeting took place in one of the many downtown pubs, quite probably Cheers! on Mackay Street in this case. I can’t recall the meeting, not for any reason of over consumption but because they all followed the same format. The Parade Director gets up, introduces everyone of special note in attendance, and goes over final details of the upcoming parade. Questions are asked of the Parade Director, many the same by the same marshals year in year out. Although fantastic social occasions, it was easy for one meeting to blend into the next in my memory over time. Continue reading Remembering Aloysius “Al” Darbyson
It has been two months since my last blog. Life gets busy at times and that has to take priority. Since we last met activities in the community are taking place. Notably, the annual Walk to the Stone took place on the usual date, the last Sunday of May. By all accounts it was well attended. Bloomsday Montreal recently wrapped up another festival.
With life getting busy things are status quo concerning the Historian portfolio but I’d like to share with you developments from the last few days. D’Arcy Quinn, great great grandson of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, contacted the St. Patrick’s Society in an effort to be able to enter the crypt where McGee’s remains. I got involved in my capacity as a Society vice president along with its Historian, Peter Shea. I wanted to make sure a connection was made between Mr. Quinn and the cemetery. In the end he was able to make a connection on his own. But as a result of our correspondence we agreed to meet last evening. He had to be a good guy; he’s a Quinn afterall. Continue reading Thomas D’Arcy McGee
The Saving the Famine Irish exhibit is at the Centaur Theatre in Old Montreal this week and it will cost you nothing to see it. It’s well worth the price of admission. Don’t delay.
Ken Quinn, Historian
Saving the Famine Irish exhibit comes to Montreal By Gloria Henriquez A special opening reception at the Centaur Theatre for the “Saving the Famine Irish” Exhibition, Monday, April 11, 2016. MONTREAL – It is a story of survival and compassion. The exhibit comes from Connecticut’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, which hosted the exhibition from March 17, […]
I was shocked and saddened to learn of Trisha Reid’s passing. Trisha was a Parade Princess in 1998, my first year on the Elected Executive and therefore invited to numerous functions along with the Queen & Court. May Trisha rest in peace and may her family be comforted by the many fond memories they have of Trisha.
I’m struggling with pain more than ever before. It looks like the cancer is fighting back despite my wildest efforts to wrap up my gloves and face off in the ring. I made it this far before going down for round 1 and now I need you all to help me get back up.
Both Arianna and Claudia dropped everything to be by my side this weekend along with some of my true friends to help me mitigate this pain and face the good and the bad of this nasty disease.
There is no good time to do the next step. It’s one of the more important pieces for me to find peace and to let go for the village to catch those I love.
Please be gentle. Please be kind. Please remember what it’s all about.
On Monday the voice of a United Irish Societies treasure fell silent when my friend and fellow past president passed away peacefully at home.
The last time I saw Don was in late November when he was spending some time at the new super hospital. I was off work that day, was headed in to town, and thought I’d drop in unannounced to say “Hi”. The sun was shining and he had a beautiful view from his window, so beautiful that he was enjoying a late morning nap in his chair. I could certainly relate. Warmth and sunshine beaming through a huge window is a recipe for a good nap. So Don didn’t see me. We were often in touch via e-mail. I would send an e-mail asking a question or simply to say “Hi” and to see how he was feeling. My last e-mail to him was sent Sunday evening to let him know an old friend sent his regards, having explained to the friend was gravely ill. Before that I sent a quick e-mail letting Don know we miss him and that we hoped to see him at one of the many Irish events if his health permitted. Don replied in an uncharacteristically short e-mail “Thanks, Don”