Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Scotch Relations: Joseph Sutherland (1808-1865)

We know that Thomas Sutherland (1772-1850) actively recruited new settlers to his Ontario settlement, placing ads in The Scotsman in 1836, and sending letters to Edinburgh extolling Canadian life which were intended to be circulated among potential emigrants. And we also know TS, Jr. wrote home. One of them –I’m not sure which, though I’d bet senior—even sent a specimen of black walnut, later exhibited at the Edinburgh Museum of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. Therefore it is also plausible to envision both men mailing missives to family in Scotland and England, all about the triumphs and trials of “roughing it in the bush.” In particular, one can imagine letters being written to Joseph G.H. Sutherland (1808-1865), the son of Thomas, Sr.’s brother, Lodowick (1773-1832). 

Lodowick, a year younger than Thomas, also relocated to Edinburgh, and had a butcher shop on Charles Street. It seems not all of Lodowick’s sons were interested in the family business, as Joseph was apprenticed to his Uncle Thomas, becoming in turn a merchant tailor. When TS announced his intent to sell his business in 1833, it is improbable that his nephew was secure enough to purchase it. That said, Joseph was established at 93 George Street as a tailor at some point before 1841, and by 1851 had ten men in his employ.

Depictions of Joseph Sutherland appear to coincide with what we know about his uncle TS. Namely, it is written of Joseph:

“Although he began business is a very humble way, he was successful in life, and at the time of his death had established an extensive business, which he carried on successfully for nearly forty years, and was long and honorably known as a man of good business capacity and of the strictest honour and integrity. He was in many respects a remarkable man. His mental agility was of a high order, and he was possessed of great originality and force of character, freedom of speech, sterling independence, and a wonderful amount of humour, combined with a power of mimicry which I have rarely seen surpassed and not often equaled. He was capital company and could tell a good story well with excellent histrionic embellishments, and sang many humourous songs with vigour and telling effect.”

Given this characterization, it is not surprising that so many of his grandchildren had careers on the North American stage.

No comments:

Post a Comment