RBSC / OSC Archives

McLennan family

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Family

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McLennan family

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History

The McLennan family immigrated from Kintail, Scotland, to Canada in 1802 on the ship “Neptune,” initially settling in the province of Quebec. After the death of Murdoch McLennan (1746-1803), his widow, Christina McLennan (d. 1841), and her children moved to Glengarry County, Ontario. In 1823, the family took up land on the 4th concession of Glengarry, where they lived until 1847, when John McLennan (1789-1866) bought property on the shore of Lake St. Francis, east of Lancaster. John McLennan rose to become a man of some importance in southern Glengarry County where he held various minor offices, including clerk of the court at Williamstown, and worked as a conveyancer. John’s fourth child with his first wife was Hugh McLennan (1825-1899), who married Isabella Stewart, the daughter of Neil Stewart of Vankleek Hill. In 1853, Hugh McLennan and his brother founded the firm of J. and H. McLennan, a grain and shipping company, which later became the Montreal Transportation Company. In 1867, Montreal became the home of this branch of the McLennan family. In addition to his interest in the Montreal Transportation Company, Hugh McLennan has interests in the International Coal Company Ltd., the Black Diamond Steamship Company, and Williams Manufacturing Company, as well as serving as a director of the Bank of Montreal, among other companies. A number of Hugh McLennan’s nine surviving children made significant contributions to their chosen fields. John Stewart McLennan (1853-1939) was a businessman in the coal industry, a newspaper publisher, a Conservative Senator for Sydney, Nova Scotia, and the author of books including “Louisbourg from Its Foundation to Its Fall, 1713–1758.” William McLennan (1856-1904), was a notary, scholarly antiquarian, and the successful translator and author of poems, short stories, novels, and other works, including “Spanish John,” “In Old France and New,” “The Span o’ Life, A Tale of Louisbourg and Quebec,” and “Songs of Old Canada.” Francis McLennan (1857-1940) was a lawyer and the founder of the McLennan Travelling Libraries, in addition to contributing time and resources to McGill University’s Redpath Library and other cultural institutions. Bartlett McLennan (1868-1918) was a businessman before joining the 5th Battalion of the Royal Highlanders of Canada as a lieutenant after the start of World War I. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before being killed in action at Amiens, France. Isabella Christine McLennan (1870-1960) was a philanthropist, her favorite cause being McGill University, particularly its library. Upon her death, her bequest to McGill University funded the McLennan Library, which was officially inaugurated on 6 June 1969. Hugh McLennan’s great-grandson, also named Hugh McLennan (1927-2004), earned a PhD in Neurophysiology from McGill University and later became a Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of British Columbia.

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RBSC-ARC-1717

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