Cariboo Cameron – John A. Cameron, more commonly known as Cariboo Cameron, is a legendary Glengarry figure. He was born on September 1st 1820 in the Charlottenburgh Township. His parents were Angus Cameron and Isabella McDougal. He went to the Cariboo (British Columbia) with his wife, to proespect for gold. In December of 1862, Cameron and his miners struck gold in the Cameron Claim; this would be the foundation of his fortune. Meanwhile, his wife and child had passed away. His wife’s dying wish was to be buried back on home soil. Cameron and his associate, hauled her body with great difficulty back to Victoria for temporary burial. The body would be place in a alcool-filled coffin and moved to Cornwall, Ontario, by way of the Panama. Cameron would also return, a wealthy man. On July 5th 1865, he laid the first cornerstone of his new mansion “Fraserfield”, located in Summerstown, during a grand ceremony. However, many rumours and speculations surrounded Cameron, concerning his wife’s death and the coffin’s strange journey. It was even rumoured that he had sold her to an Indian chief in exchange of gold! To put a stop to the rumour mill, Cameron had his wife disinterred and showed her face to a gathering of spectators in Cornwall. He would then have her reburried in Summerstown. He would go on to lose his fortune and head back west to Bakersville, B.C. home to the mine that had made his fortune. He would die on November 7th 1888 and is buried in Camerontown, named in his honour.
Ralph Connor – Charles W. Gordon was born on September 13th 1860, in what is now known as St. Elmo. He was the son of Revd. Daniel Gordon (minister of the local Free church) and his wife, Mary. Gordon stayed in Glengarry for the first ten years of his life, attending school in Athol, before moving to oxford County, Ontario. The school he attended as a young boy has been given a new life and today stands in Upper Canada Village. Gordon was an impressive author and is considered to be one of the founding fathers of early Canadian literature. Throughout his life, Gordon penned numerous books under the alias ‘Ralph Conner’. His most successful works however, are those modeled off his pioneer youth spent in Glengarry: “The Man From Glengarry”, “Glengarry School Days” and “Torches Through the Bush”. The first two of these still remain among the best known novels and Canadian favorurites. Gordon went on to be a missionary in both British Columbia and the North West Territories, as well as a chaplain during the First World War.His lawyer, who was killed during the war, wasted the entire fortune Connor had accumulated through his writings. He passed away in Winniperg on October 31st 1937.
Simon Fraser – Simon Fraser was born near Bennington, Vermont on the 20th of May 1776. He was a fur trader and an explorer, credited with charting much of British Colombia. In fact,David Thompson named the Fraser River after Simon Fraser in 1813. He was the son of Scottish Loyalists, Simon Fraser and Isabella Grant. Simon Fraser, the father, died while a prisoner of the American revolutionaries. His mother and him were forced to flee to Canada. Fraser continued his education in Montreal, where he apprenticed with the North West Company. He did very well with this company, becoming a full partner in 1801 at age 24. Soon after comissioned to expand the company into Bristish Colombia in 1805. He conducted his famous exploration of the Fraser River in 1808. Fraser retired from the fur trade in 1818 and settled on a farm in St. Andrew’s. In 1820 he married Catherine McDonnell. His life is poorly documented after this time, but it is known that he served as Captain in the Stormont militia in the suppression of the 1837-1838 Rebellions. During his militia service, already aged 62, he was injured which left him partially crippled for the remainder of his life. He predeceased his wife by a single day, passing away on August 18th 1862.
John Sandfield Macdonald – Born on December 12th 1812 in St. Raphael’s to Alexander Macdonald and Nancy Macdonald. His baptismal name wa John Brock Macdonald but he adopted the surname Sandfield. His mother passed away when he was 8 years old. He had a reputation of being a turbulent child and it can not be said that he valued his education. He worked as a store clerk in Lancaster and by the age of 20, convinced he needed to better provide for himself more effectively, he went back to school. He became one of Reverend Hugh Urquhart’s students at the Cornwall Grammar School. He eventually turned to the study of law. He would be called to the bar in 1840 and became a most famous lawyer in Glengarry. He married Marie Christine Waggaman in 1840 and they would have 9 children. In 1841, he was elected as the representative for Glengarry County in the newly formed Province of Canada’s Legislative Assembly and stayed there until 1857, at which point he became the representative for Cornwall. He represented Cornwall in the assembly until Confederation. Afterwards, he represented Cornwall in both the Ontario Legislature and the federal Parliament until his death. He was also the Premier of the Province of Canada from May 1862 until March 1864. He became the first Premier of Ontario after Confederation on July 15th 1867 until December 19th 1871. He died at his home in Ivy Hall in Cornwall on June 1st 1872 at the age of 59 years.
Black Allan the Dogs – Allan McRae, more commonly known as Allan Gorrach, Allan the Dog(s), Black Allan, Black Allan the Dogs, Allan na Coin. He was another legendary figure in Glengarry. He is believed to have been born on August 20th1829 in Prescott County to Alexander R. McRae and Catherine Morrison. His lineage, date of birth and place of birth have all been questioned and it is only fitting that such a mythical character have a mysterious background. He is made famous by his appearance in Ralph Connor’s novel “Glengarry School Days.” He is known to have been a vagabond wandering the countryside from Glengarry County to eastern Stormont County, into Prescott County and presumably all the way to Argenteuil County, Québec. However, he was not a beggar. He would make wooden objects such as butter ladles and axe handles or make, sell and fix chairs out of materials he found in the forest. Another one of his side jobs included disposing of unwanted dogs. He would sell their hides or turn them into leather mitts. He was also said to speak English, French and Gaelic, to have been an excellent storyteller and singer. He was said to be wise beyond his years. He eventully fell ill during his travels and was admitted to St. Paul’s Home in Cornwall on November 12th 1909 and passed away on June 1st 1910.