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Lt.-Colonel John Macpherson


Macpherson, Lt.-Colonel John, Director of Dominion Government Militia Stores, and Keeper of Militia Properties, Ottawa, was born in Lancaster, Glengarry, Ontario, on the 8th of January, 1830. Having completed his education, he entered mercantile life in Montreal, and continued to carry on business for several years in that city. This kind of business was not congenial to him, and having what seemed an all-absorbing yearning for military life, he abandoned mercantile pursuits, and joined the Canadian militia, and with heart and soul he entered on his new duty. In 1849 the first substantial recognition of his zeal and efficiency in a cause which at the time needed clear heads and strong hands, came to him, namely a commission in the 3rd battalion of the Montreal Militia. After a little it came into his mind that a first-rate company, chosen from among Highlanders, might be established in the Province of Quebec, and in 1856 he carried out his scheme and was appointed captain of the company. The militia authorities move with a pace fully as slow as those in any other department of the service, yet in his cause they bestirred themselves, and promoted Captain Macpherson to the rank of major. In 1861 he obtained another step, being gazetted brigade major to the active force of Montreal. The following year he was appointed brigade major of Military District No. 11; but so far he had smelt no powder, and paraded only upon mimic fields. In 1863 he became a lieutenant-colonel of militia, and the following year, during the Fenian troubles, served with the staff of Major-General Lindsay at Montreal. In the same year he was appointed deputy-assistant adjutant-general of Militia, and given command of one of the military districts in Lower Canada. In 1869 he acted as deputy adjutant-general commanding Military District No. 3, in Ontario; and the following year he was appointed acting superintendent of Military Schools in the Dominion. This position he retained until the threatened Fenian raids in April, when he was again appointed on the staff of Lieutenant-General Lindsay, as assistant adjutant-general. On this occasion he assumed command of the active militia brigades concentrated in Montreal, and accompanied the staff of His Royal Highness Prince Arthur to the scenes of action on the Missisquoi and Huntingdon frontiers. When his services here had terminated he joined the staff at headquarters, and acted for a period as deputy of the Minister of Militia and Defence, and as accountant in the department. In 1880 he was appointed by Sir John A. Macdonald's administration to his present position of director of Militia stores and keeper of Militia properties. Altogether Lieut.-Colonel Macpherson's career has been one of unusual activity, and his force of character such that it would be impossible to be unconscious of it. In a wider military field, where graver issues come under consideration, we may be very sure that Lieutenant-Colonel Macpherson would have made a name that the recorder of able exploits in the military world would have felt pleasure in putting in his pages.


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