GEORGE McDOUGALL was a native of the City of
Kingston, in the Province of Ontario. His parents
were Scotch; his father was a sailor by profession,
who, becoming connected with the British navy, found
himself and his family stationed at Kingston, which
was at that time a naval depot.
George was very young, the family moved into the
wild north country of Ontario, and located upon a
portion of land near Penetanguishenc road, and not
far from the Georgian Bay.
in the primitive condition of this forest country,
the subject of our sketch began really his struggle
in life, for, in common with very many of his
compatriots, poverty, as regards the things of this
life, surrounded him on every hand.
this time wild and semi-savage Indians roamed the
country, wild animals abounded, and settlers were
sailor-life of the father kept him away from his
home the most part of the year, which inspired
George with the feeling, while still very young,
that upon him devolved the duty of bestirring
himself for the support of the family. He, though
only a boy, cleared the forest, worked on the farm,
hunted deer and bears, and in the season trapped the
fur-beating animals, and in every way possible to
him worked in the interests of his mother and the
rest of the family.
were no common schools in those days in that
country, or if any, only for a short time in the
winter ; thus George in early life was debarred the
blessings of even an ordinary education. All his
early surroundings partook of the wild freedom of
occasional visit to the neighborhood of some pioneer
missionary who had picked his way across the
corduroy road, or had been guided thither by the
blaze on the tree, was the only connecting link
between these early settlers and civilization;
notwithstanding, in the heart of the boy there were
yearnings after better things, but the opportunity
for his acquiring an education was slow in coming.
the meanwhile, he became a first-class pioneer; his
knowledge of woodcraft became great, he became
renowned as a hunter, many a deer fell, shot by his
unerring rifle, many a bear was either shot or
trapped by him. He could handle a birch canoe or a
pair of snowshoes like the natives. Without his
knowing it, he was, in the hand of Providence, going
through a course of education, which would
pre-eminently qualify him for his life work, as this
following copy of a document still extant, will show
how little he knew of ordinary schooling, not as yet
being able to sign his own name, and yet, while very
young, in stature and in other requirements fitted
to do battle in the interests of loyalty and order:
MAJESTY'S REGIMENT OF ROYAL FORESTERS
Whereof Arthur Carthew Esquire, is
are to certify, that Private George McDougall, in
Captain Armstrong's Company, in the Regiment
aforesaid, residing in the first concession,
forty-four lot, of the Township of Floss, in the
District.... hath served in the said Regiment, for
the space of months and sixteen days, and that he is
now discharged from further service in that corps,
by order of His Excellency Sir George Arthur, Knight
Commander of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Upper Canada,
Major-General Commanding Her Majesty's Forces
therein, etc., etc., etc. And to prevent any
improper use being made of this Discharge, by its
falling into other hands, the following is a
description of the said :
about seventeen years of age, is five feet six and
a-half inches high, dark hair, gray eyes, dark
complexion, and by trade a
under my hand and seal at Toronto, this twelfth day
of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.
aforesaid thereby acknowledges to have received the
undermentioned clothing and pay to thirty-first
coat; one cap ; one trowsers; one shoes; one pair
socks; one shirt; one mitts.
GEORGE X MCDOUGALL.
Witness, Robert C. Stewart,
Lieutenant, Royal Foresters.
Returning from the war, our hero alternated between
the farm and the adjacent towns and settlements,
finding employment wherever he could. He became
famous as a chopper, and purchased for himself a
horse by clearing a number of acres of a neighbor's
farm in this way.
the meanwhile a night school came within his reach.
This chance the young man eagerly grasped. In his
nineteenth year the grand event in his life took
place. He was soundly converted. There were meetings
held in a little school-house. One of the
neigh-burs, a Mr. White, who was a local preacher,
seemed to have been the instrument in the hands of
God in bringing George to seek and find salvation.
home from one of these meetings, he entered the
house, and his mother and the rest of the children
were rising from their evening worship. They noticed
that he was excited ; and after a while his mother
said, "Well, George, what is the matter?" "Why,"
said he, "Mother, I want to tell you, I have given
myself to -Jesus," and again the good old "Scotch
matron" knelt in prayer with George and the others,
and together they praised God.
this, George took his part in the family worship of
the house, and presently he is heard witnessing in
public, and before long is requested to conduct the
public prayer-meeting in the neighborhood.
this time he became acquainted with a family by the
name of Williams. Three of these, brothers, later
on, entered the ministry of the Methodist Church.
Association with these Christian people greatly
helped George in his new career, and also inspired
him with a strong desire for a higher sphere of
usefulness. Often have we heard him in later years
speak of those who gave him such willing and
much-needed help in the days of weakness.
the meanwhile he became acquainted with an English
girla member of a Quaker family who, a few years
previously, had come across from England to cast in
their lot with this new country. The family's name
was Chantler. The daughter was keeping house for her
brother, who was running a grist mill at a place
called Tollendale, not far from Barrie, on the
shores of Lake Simcoe.
acquaintance ripened into ardent affection, and the
result was, George McDougall and Elizabeth Chantler
were married at Tollendale, in the autumn of 1842.
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