Friday, June 3, 2011

J.N Greenshields: Montreal's forgotten industrial magnate

It's just too much fun. I got busy writing the next chapter of Threshold Girl, where she messes up the French Oral Exam and the Victor Hugo Poem Melancholia.

She's in the classroom at St. Francis College High School, so I look up an article I have posted on about St. Francis College (written by Edith for the McGill Daily) for a little background for the preamble to the scene. Edith writes, in the 1930's article, that one of the many illustrious graduates of St. Francis College is J. N Greenshields, industrialist.

A name I saw on a 1910 list of Montreal millionaires and elsewhere.

Well!! I look up J. N. Greenshields to see that he was also a prominent lawyer who defended Donald Morrison and Louis Riel! Donald Morrison successfully and Louis Riel, well, we all know what happened there.

Also was involved in some infamous Grand Trunk Rail Robbery....And who, at least after the war, was President of Wabasso Cotton and Shawinigan Cotton among many other concerns. How perfect!!! Big Shot. Now Forgotten for some reason. (He is mentioned but three times in the recent book about J. W. McConnel by William Fong, mentioned with my ancestors, the Forgets.)

Donald Morrison was the Megantic Outlaw and Flora's Dad, Norman, was involved in a citizen's committee for his defense. I wrote about it here. I even have a paper that has the lawyer's costs on it.. Somewhere.

Then I found an article from 1911, from the Montreal Gazette, claiming that Mr. Greenshields, in the 1911 Free Trade Election, was coming to Richmond to support Dr. Hayes, the Conservative Candidate, despite being a Liberal. He obviously did not like Mr. Tobin.

So this will fit in perfectly in an upcoming scene in Flora in the City, for she attends the Liberal meeting with Tobin. I'll have to find a way...

All very interesting, once again.

A blub from a Post war Who's Who of the E.T. claims Greenshields lived on McGregor in Montreal, (now Dr. Penfield) and summered in Danville. Dr. Wilder Penfield, the legendary neurosurgeon from McGill, after whom McGregor Street was renamed, summered in Magog, where the Dominion Textile Plant was located, which makes for nice symmetry.

I have not seen any indication that his wife, an American, was a 'Society Woman" who did good works, although the couple did give money to causes, so I am not sure if I can put her with the Montreal Council of Women. Must double check.

(Added: And I just noticed that Greenshields ran for MP in Richmond Wolfe in the 1887 election as a Liberal. He lost.And get this, in the 1891 election the Liberal candidate was Wilfrid Laurier. He ran both in RW and in Quebec East and became head of the opposition. Weird. Anyway, Greenshields is oft mentioned in my ebook Threshold Girl

A picture of Mr. Hayes. So I can describe him. Hmmm.