Upon recommendation from Dr. Gillian Leitch, historian and archivist at the St. Andrew's Society of Montreal, I perused some of the cabinets in our office. She told me about a framed presentation certificate addressed to a "Mrs. Robert Rollo."
One of the signers of this certificate was the Past President, Hon. John Young (http://biographi.ca/en/bio/young_john_1808_73_10E.html)
Once I found this certificate from the throngs of the office cabinets, I took the above photograph of it and transcribed the message:
The St. Andrew's Society of Montreal to
The certificate displayed and transcribed above was presented to a woman who was matron to the St Andrew's Home in the 1860s. Interestingly, she was in a position of power within the St. Andrew's Home prior to women being allowed membership in the society (which occurred in 1866).
The St. Andrew's Home functioned as a transition centre for Scottish immigrants in the mid-19th century in Montreal as they sought to find the means to head east or return to Scotland.
I found that this matron of the St. Andrew's Home was the epitome of an "Outsider on the Inside". She was referred to only by her husband's name as indicated by the drafters of this certificate calling her Mrs. Robert Rollo and not by her own given name. She was an emigrant from Scotland and was facing a "removal from Canada" as indicated in the document. As I cannot speculate to the reason for her return to Scotland, the language employed by the authors of the document indicates that it was not fully by choice.
Mrs. Robert Rollo was a Scot in Canada and a woman importantly involved with a fraternal order that was (at the time) exclusively male. She was recognized by the St. Andrew's Society as providing "wise direction and devoted attention" to the House and serving the community broadly as a "Member of the Charitable Committee and its First Directress".
Hello! My name is Olivia Kurajian. I am the St. Andrew’s Society’s (SAS) Summer Intern working as an Event Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. One of my tasks is related to the archives and artifacts of the St. Andrew’s Society.
Every week I will be posting something interesting that I have found in the archive, in order to share with you!
Today, I introduce you to this 10.5” (63.5 cm) tall statue of a solider.
I was intrigued by it! It is quite heavy and was buried in the back of a file cabinet in the office.
The statue depicts a solider in a kilt and a recognizable “Red Hackle” feather decorating his Balmoral bonnet/hat which instantly marks him as belonging to the Black Watch Regiment.
The Black Watch, originally the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada, was established in 1862. Members of the regiment served in the Boer War, both World Wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan, and currently throughout Iraq, Ukraine, Mali, and Latvia.
Currently, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada is located downtown Montreal at 2067 Rue de Bleury.
After speaking with Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce D. Bolton, MMM, CD, I learned that this statue is of a Lieutenant Officer of the Black Watch, likely after WWII. The statue was handmade by a Peter Hicks, as is noted on the bottom of the figure.
A half sheet of crumpled white paper, authored by Peter Hicks, found with the statue notes that the figure was fashioned by the use of “‘Cold Cast’ Metal technique” and that “although [the statue is] robust [it] should be handled with care.” Peter Hicks goes on to recommend that the statue be cleaned with furniture polish until it has achieved an “attractive finish or patina”.
He concludes this note with the location of his shop:
Military and Sporting Figures
Martinslade , Seend , Melksham, Wilts
Sadly, I cannot find Peter Hicks’ shop online to see if it still exists, or else I would have written to him to inquire further about our Lieutenant!
I can’t wait to discover more items in the archive to share with you!
The Inquisitive Intern, Olivia
Olivia Kurajian is an alumna of McGill University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. She has specialization in Canadian Studies and Quebec Studies. Last summer she worked under the supervision of Dr. Don Nerbas, the St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal and The McEuen Scholarship Foundation Chair in Canadian-Scottish Studies, as an archival intern at McGill's Rare Books and Special Collections. It was there that she became interested in the Scottish-Canadian history of Montreal. Next year she will return to McGill to pursue her Master of Arts degree in History.