JOHN P. ROBLIN ESQ.
From “Journal of Education for Ontario 1874”
JOHN P. ROBLIN, ESQ., was born in Sophiasburg, in August, 1799. His father, Philip Roblin, emigrated to Canada, with his ancestors, from New Jersey, in the year 1784, and settled in Adolphustown, with several other United Empire Loyalists. The Roblin family, after a few years, removed to Prince Edward and took up land at the place afterwards known as Roblin’s Mills, Sophiasburg. M. Roblin received what was considered in those days a good Common School education; being taught principally, if not wholly, by the late Jonathan Greeley. In 1832, he went forth to battle with the primeval forests of Ameliasburg, where he cleared and improved a farm and remained upon it till 1847, when he removed to Hallowell. In 1858 he gave up the farm and moved to Picton, where he resided at the time of his death. At an early age Mr. Roblin gave promise of public usefulness, and in his 31st year was elected to serve in the Parliament of Upper Canada. the Election took place in 1830, when Sir John Colborne was lieutenant-Governor. The Candidates were Asa Werden, Jacob Howell, Paul Peterson and J. P. Roblin. the first and last named were elected. In 1834, the House having been dissolved, another election took place, at which the Candidates were William Rourke, Asa Werden, James Wilson and J P. Roblin. the two last named were elected. Sir Francis Bond Head having succeeded Sir John Colborne as Lieutenant-Governor, dissolved the House in 1836, in consequence of an irresistible demand for Responsible Government. At the election in 1836, the Candidates were Charles Bockus, James Wilson, James Armstrong and J. P. Roblin. Armstrong and Bockus were successful. In 1840, the Provinces having been united, a new election was ordered by Lord Sydenham. Prince Edward could then send but one representative, and Bockus and Roblin were the candidates. - The latter was elected by a large majority. During this Parliament Lord Sydenham died and was succeeded by Sir Charles Bagot, who survived his predecessor only one year. After the dissolution in 1844, Mr. Roblin first met as an opponent at the polls, the late D. B. Stevenson, but notwithstanding the shrewdness and popularity of his opponent, Mr. Roblin was successful, and entered for the fifth time upon his duties as representative for the County of Prince Edward. At this time the Hon. W. H. Draper was Attorney-General, and for the first half of the Parliament had a narrow majority in the House. An election petition was pending before a Committee, and Mr. Roblin was Chairman of that Committee. Mr. Hincks (now Sir Francis) was the Respondent. - The Committee were equally divided, politically, and the Chairman would have the ensuing vote. Mr. Draper thought that if he could get Mr. Roblin out of the House, he would effect a treble gain. First, he would get rid of him. Second, he would get rid of Hincks; and third, the probability was that Mr. Stevenson could be elected over any other man in Prince Edward. Under the circumstances a proposition was made to Mr. Roblin by Mr. Draper, Mr. Roblin refused at first to accept the position himself, but asked the Minister to allow him to name a man as Registrar and he could give the collectorship to any one he liked. Mr. Draper replied that he might take both positions himself, but if he refused to accept he could have nothing to say in the matter. Mr. Roblin waited till he heard the evidence on the election petition, and decided that in view of his oath he could not vote to sustain Mr. Hincks. This opinion he communicated Hincks, and he (Hincks) endorsed it. Next, Mr. Roblin remembered that he had beaten Stevenson by only 58 votes and knowing that his opponents were very busy in his absence, thought there was a serious probability of his being defeated at the next election. He therefore concluded, that inasmuch as he could not save Hinck’s seat by remaining in the House, and as he was liable to be beaten the next election, he would do no injury to his party to retire, and allow some other man to meet Mr. Stevenson. - He accepted the positions of collector of Customs, Registrar and Crown Land Agent, and left Parliament forever. The result was that Francis Hincks, although editor of the Pilot at the time, never found fault with his course regarding the Committee, and remained ever after his personal friend. Besides this, at the ensuing election, Roger Conger took Mr. Stevenson by surprise, and defeated him by four votes! Mr. Roblin’s Parliamentary career was marked by ceaseless activity. Through all the conflict for the civil and religious privileges which we now enjoy, he stood valiantly at his post, and did battle for the right. In the great fight for Responsible Government, he was no idle spectator - but an active participator in the fiercest of the struggle. Time after time he rose to his feet on behalf of Wm. Lyon Mackenzie and the principles he was advocating, but as often was doomed to no other success than having his name written with that of thirteen members, who fought against tremendous odds for the freedom of their fellow citizens. And often have we heard him express his thankfulness to the Disposer of all events, that he had spared him to enjoy all the rights and privileges for which he had spent the early part of his life in political contention. In all matters affecting the welfare of the municipality, Mr. Roblin took an active if not a leading part. Through his instrumentality Prince Edward was separated form the Midland District, and given a municipal government of its own. He had the honour of being appointed the first Warden of the County, and organized the first council in 1841. Although a firm supporter of W. L. Mackenzie in Parliament, yet he did not hesitate to obey the call of his Sovereign in 1837, and was the only Captain who raised a full company without drafting! With this body of men he went to the Carrying Place, and did duty for two months during the winter of 1837-38. He was Captain of the first troop of Cavalry in the County, and afterwards appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd Battalion Prince Edward Militia.
As a staunch supporter of the Temperance Cause, Mr. Roblin had few equals, adopting the principles of Temperance, when the opposite were more popular. For 55 years, he was a zealous member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and has held many positions of trust under the conference of that body. For over 20 years he was a member of Victoria College board; and for the last 25 years has been Recording Steward of Picton Circuit. In all matters affecting the good of society, our readers are well aware the deceased was an active worker. Every good cause had a warm friend in John P. Roblin. In him every bad cause found an inveterate enemy. At the good old age of 75 years he has gone to his rest. - Picton Times.
ALLEN RUTTAN, M.D.
(A Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography, 1886)
Ruttan, Allen, M.D., Napanee, Ontario, was born on the 26th January, 1826, at Adolphustown, County of Lennox, Ontario. He is a son of Peter William Ruttan and Fanny Roblin. His father carried on extensive farming operations at Sophiasburg, County of Prince Edward; was a justice of the peace; and for many years before his decease a lieutenant-colonel of militia in that county. He was the eldest brother of the late Sheriff Ruttan, of Cobourg. He had but one sister, Elizabeth, wife of the Rev. Dr. Townley, of Paris, Ontario. Allen Ruttan was educated at the Picton Grammar school, in the County of Prince Edward, Mr. Cockrell, an Eton man, and a retired officer in the English army, being head master of the school. After matriculating at McGill college, Montreal, our subject entered upon the study of medicine at that institution, and obtained the degree of doctor of medicine and surgery in 1852. He began practice in Newburgh, a village in Addington county, situated on the Napanee river, and about six miles from Napanee. Newburgh at that time was considered a more promising village than Napanee; but at the separation of Lennox and Addington from the County of Frontenac, Napanee was made the county town of the new county. he then removed to the premises which he now occupies of John Street. During the past thirty-three years, Dr. Ruttan has had an extensive and lucrative practice over a district thirty or forty miles square. Thirty years ago the roads in this country were in a horribly wretched condition, and the people, especially those of the back townships, were less prosperous than they are at present. Very frequently he found it necessary to ride all night, placing a saddle in the gig, and after travelling as far as he could go on wheels, would take to horseback, and when the horse could no longer find a road, he would travel on foot, following a trail through the wilderness with a birch-bark torchlight, in order to relieve from suffering the wife of some lonely settler or to amputate a limb for some woodman, with no other assistance than the hand of some kindly neighbour. There was no Grand Trunk then, and no Napanee and Quebec Railway, as now. The forest has disappeared, and flourishing farms and farm houses are to be seen everywhere, while the roads are better in these back townships that they are at the front. Dr. Ruttan has always been passionately fond of his profession, and took great delight in the study of anatomy, physiology, surgery and chemistry. Indeed, he has regretted all his life that he did not remain in Montreal, as it would have afforded him a better opportunity for the prosecution of these studies and the practice of surgery, which he has almost made a specialty. he was appointed examiner in anatomy and surgery at the University of Toronto in 1850; and was elected unanimously by the medical practitioners in the Newcastle and Trent electoral division to the council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ontario, 1885. He has always taken an active part in municipal matters, school boards, and boards of health; is medical health officer at Napanee, and held the appointment of gaol surgeon since 1876. Himself, his wife and family are regular communicants of the Church of England, and Liberal-Conservative in politics. Dr. Ruttan was married, at St. George's church, Montreal, in 1854 by the Rev. Dr. Bethune, brother of the late bishop, the register being the cathedral register where Dr. Bethune officiated. His wife is Caroline, daughter of the late William Smith, Montreal, whose father and grandfather were interested in, or in some way connected with, the Hudson Bay company. There are three sons and two daughters by the marriage. The eldest, Robert Fulford, was educated at University College, and graduated in arts at the University of Toronto in 1881, and obtained the gold medal in natural sciences at his final examination. He entered upon the study of medicine at McGill College the same year, obtained the Sutherland gold medal and the Morrice scholarship in 1883, and his degree of M.D. & C. in 1884. He was appointed assistant lecturer upon principle and practical chemistry in that college in 1885. During the past interim he has been engaged in original work in Professor Hofmann's laboratory, Berlin, Germany. The second son, Allen Montgomery, was educated at the Napanee High school and entered upon the study of law with Reeve & Morden, Napanee, and McCarthy & Co., Toronto; and passed his examination at Osgoode Hall for attorney and barrister in 1883. He is now practising his profession with John Leys, barrister, Toronto.
HON. HENRY RUTTAN
(The Canadian Biographical Dictionary 1880)
The late Henry Ruttan was the son of a United Empire Loyalist, William Ruttan, who settled in Adolphustown, Upper Canada, about 1784, where Henry was born in 1792. He descended from a Huguenot family of Rochelle, France, the founder of the family being the Rev. Jean Baptiste Rotan, a prominent ecclesiastical writer and controversialist near the close of the sixteenth century.
His grandfather emigrated to America in 1724, and settled with other Huguenot families at New Rochelle, Manchester county, New York. His father and uncle, Peter Ruttan, were in the 3rd Battalion Jersey Volunteers, on the Royalist side; each had a grant of twelve hundred acres of land in Adolphustown, Midland District, and there settled with other United Empire Loyalist families, and greatly suffered the first few years on account of the hardships and destitution attendant on frontier life, eighty-five and ninety years ago. During one of two of the severest winters starvation seemed at times to be staring them in the face.
At fourteen years of age (1806), our subject finished his education, and repairing to Kingston, became a clerk in a store. When war with the United States broke out in 1812, he joined the "Incorporated Militia," held a Lieutenant's commission, and received a serious wound at Lundy's Lane, which laid him up for several months. When the war closed he went into business at Haldimand, Northumberland county, and not long afterwards was promoted to the rank of major. A few years later he became Colonel.
In 1820, Col. Ruttan was elected to the House of Assembly of Upper Canada, for Northumberland; in October, 1827, was appointed sheriff of the Newcastle District, embracing Northumberland, Durham, and one or two other counties; in 1836, he was again elected to the Assembly, and in 1838 was the Speaker. His term of legislative service expired in 1840, and the last vote he cast was for the Union of Upper and Lower Canada, which was consummated on the 10th of February, 1841, though the Act had received the assent of Her Majesty the July before, a suspending clause causing the delay.
In 1857, when Col. Ruttan resigned the office of sheriff, he was, with one exception, the senior Sheriff and colonel of Militia in the province. For some time he had command of the 9th Military District, into which Upper and Lower Canada were divided. At one time he was President of the Provincial Agricultural Association, and took great interest in such matters being a public-spirited, enterprising man.
In 1860, he was thrown by accident from his buggy, and was seriously injured, recovering slowly and only partially.
In a short time he resumed his experimentings and writings on the theory of ventilation, on which he had been engaged several years, and continued them until 1866, when he was seized with apoplexy, and continued to gradually decline, until he expired, July 31, 1871. The Cobourg Star of the same week (August 2nd), from which we glean many of these facts, says that:
"Mr. Ruttan was a good man, an humble christian, and left a name of which his children and relatives may be justly proud. At the time of his death he was in his eightieth year."
His funeral was attended by a large body of masons, he being a member of that Order.
The wife of Col. Ruttan was Mary Jones, an estimable lady who died February 21, 1878. She was the mother of nine children, four of whom preceded her to the spirit world, and one son, Henry Jones, has since followed her (February 4, 1879). He was editor and proprietor of the Cobourg Star from 1846 to 1855, and was interested for years with his father in what is now widely known as Ruttan's system of ventilation, which is largely in use and growing in popularity, as will be seen by Appleton's New Cyclopaedia. Mary, the only daughter living, is the widow of Judge Robert M. Boucher, of Peterborough. Charles is rector of a church near Toronto; Richard is a barrister and attorney-at-law, residing in Cobourg, and William E. is a short-hand writer and reporter in New York city.