Saturday, December 22, 2007

Robert Brodie's memoirs- an excerpt

This is from a short unpublished manuscript written in February 1934 by Robert Brodie, 80, just months before he died. His family settled in lower NDG in 1807 from Scotland. The Brodies had a farm where Oxford Park is now. The beautiful old stone farmhouse was demolished by the Drapeau regime in spite of promises to devote it to community usage. This excerpt deals with his family's experience in the Rebellion of 1837. Unclear words are marked by a question mark.

Papineau and his followers went the wrong way about it by declaring war against the English settlers and arresting those neighbours who had shown them nothing but kindness. My father and my Uncle Hugh were Officers in the Militia. My Uncle was a Captain in the Lachine Troop of Cavalry.

Some of the rebels were very cruel. They beheaded James Walker, a Laprairie farmer, who resisted arrest, and walked with his head on a pole to Caughnawaga. Another case was that of Angus Cameron of the Bean River who was not given time to put on his boots, but made to walk two miles over the frozen ground to Ste. Martine. They were also rough with my Grand Uncle James Holmen (?) who was lame and infirm and could not walk.

There was a character named McLean who lived in a log house near the river. When the rebels hammered at his door, he climbed up the chimney, and stood on the cross bar on which they hung the kettle, and called to his wife “Janet saw me me brask.” (?) In the meantime, the rebels broke into the house, and when she was tugging on his breeches, the cross bar broke, and down he fell, all covered with soot. They took him for the “Diable” and ran away. However, they finally plucked up courage and returned, and tied him up with a rope they found under his bed. McLean said, “It is the first time I have been tied up with me own rope." The rebels marched with their prisoner to Caughnawaga, thinking the Iroquois were with them, but the Indians let out a war whoop, and arrested the rebels, and let the English go free.

The rebels paid dearly for their cruelty. They were badly defated at Odelltown, not far from Hemmingford and also at St. Eustache, nort-west of Montreal. Father and Uncle Hugh were in the engagement, and father was sorry for the poor beggars. They went into the Church for safety but were shelled by the English, and until the present day there are marks of bullets on the walls of the old Church.

3 comments:

miss ginger said...

culd "Odeltown" be "Ormstown"?

Kristian said...

That's what I thought but it really doesn't look like that.

miss ginger said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odelltown,_Quebec