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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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TEMPLETON, ALEXANDER STODDART (1830-1906)

TEMPLETON, ALEXANDER STODDART, soldier, militia officer, and almshouse keeper; b. Edinburgh, Scotland, 26 Feb 1830, s/o William Templeton and Catherine Stoddart; m. 1st, Adelaide Victoria - , a native of Antigua, West Indies, and 2nd, 1873, Mary Elvira Evans, also a native of the West Indies; d. Chatham, 4 Jun 1906.

Alexander S. Templeton enlisted in the British army at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1848 and was at the abortive uprising at Ballingarry in Ireland. He subsequently served in the ranks in Malta, Corfu, Turkey, the Crimea, and the West Indies. In the Crimean War he fought in the battle of Inkerman and took part in the siege of Sevastapol. During a five-year posting in the West Indies he was promoted from corporal to sergeant. In 1861 he was one of twelve soldiers sent to British North America to train militia units which could be called upon to repulse an invasion from the United States. Until 1863 he was a drill instructor in Fredericton. He was then assigned to the Miramichi to train the Chatham Rifles.

Templeton was discharged from the Imperial army in 1870 and became a lieutenant and adjutant of the 73rd Battalion of militia, which was formed that year to take the place of the former provincial militia units. He was soon made a captain, and he instructed many of the recruits who were later among the leaders of the battalion.

'Major' Templeton, as he was popularly known, retired from the militia in 1892 and was engaged as keeper of the almshouse at Chatham, as successor to John Harrington. At the same time, his wife, Mary E. Evans, was hired as matron. As keeper he imposed "military, yet kindly discipline," and from the start the inhabitants of the house were "loud in their praise" of both him and his wife. In 1893, in addition to all the "usual delights" provided at Christmas, the keeper gave "some choice tobacco and a new pipe to those who indulged in the weed." In July 1894 a picnic was held at which he played the cornet and the residents gave him and his wife a rousing three cheers. In an editorial in 1896 the Miramichi Advance discussed a long list of improvements and economies introduced at the almshouse and described it as a model institution.

The most dramatic event to occur during the Templetons' tenure was a fire which destroyed the almshouse in 1899 and killed four of its thirty-odd residents. The belongings of most of the others were burned, and the Templetons themselves lost almost all they owned. Emergency arrangements were made to accommodate the survivors, and a new three-storey structure was promptly erected. In 1900 a special silver service medal was awarded to Templeton, possibly to replace medals lost in the fire. He and his wife retained their positions until 1904.

The Chatham World described Templeton as "a fine old warrior, very proud of his numerous medals, fond of wearing them, and always ready to fight his campaigns o'er again when he had good listeners." He was "an honest, faithful, clear-headed, kind-hearted man," whom everybody liked. He was a trustee of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Chatham. He was survived in 1906 by his second wife, and a son and daughter from his first marriage, both of whom lived in the United States. He also left a younger brother, John H. Templeton, another veteran of the Crimean War, and a talented bagpiper and all 'round musician. After retiring in Chatham he became bandmaster of the 73rd Battalion band. He also organized the Chatham Brass Band and served for a time as choir leader of St Andrew's Church.

Sources

[b] LDS-SCR index [m] Advocate 9 Jul 1873 [d] World 6 Jun 1906 / Advance 28 Dec 1893, 5 Jul 1894, 1 Jan 1896, 20 Apr 1899, 14 Sep 1899, 13 Sep 1900; Advocate 25 Sep 1872, 8 Jun 1892, 6 Jul 1904, 6 Jun 1906, 10 May 1917; Bird; Fraser (C); World 4 May 1887

Notes

Templeton's birth date is given on his tombstone as 8 Jan 1830.


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