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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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MARQUIS, THOMAS GUTHRIE (1864-1936)

MARQUIS, THOMAS GUTHRIE, native son and author; b. Chatham, 4 Jul 1864, s/o Hugh P. Marquis and Mary McIndoe; m. 1st, 1892, Mary Adelaide King, of Kingston, Ont. (div., 1905), and 2nd, Alice Selby; d. Toronto, 1 Apr 1936.

Thomas G. Marquis's mother was born around 1825 on Beaubear's Island, where her father, John McIndoe, was employed in the shipbuilding industry. The family later returned to their native Scotland, and she was married there in 1849 to Hugh P. Marquis of the town of Gourock, in Renfrewshire, on the Firth of Clyde. A few years afterwards, she and her husband and their two infant children crossed the Atlantic and settled at Chatham, where Hugh P. Marquis was a tinsmith and later superintendent of the Chatham Gas Works. They had at least seven children, a number of whom were successful in life, while their son T. G. Marquis earned a measure of lasting fame.

Marquis was educated at the Chatham Grammar School under Ingram B. Oakes and Charles G. D. Roberts. In the fall of 1880, at age sixteen, he enrolled in Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. He was recognized as a brilliant student but was more interested in sports than classroom studies. He starred in football and hockey and won a prize for poetry but did not complete requirements for the BA until 1889.

In 1891 Marquis was appointed English master at the collegiate school in Stratford, Ont. In 1895 he transferred to a similar position at the collegiate institute in Kingston. In 1897 he became principal of the Brockville Collegiate. In 1901 he left the educational field in favor of a career in journalism. He was appointed editor of the Ottawa Free Press in 1905 but moved to Toronto soon afterwards and worked there as a freelancer for the last thirty years of his life.

Marquis's first book, Stories of New France, which was written in collaboration with the Kingston writer Agnes Maule Machar, appeared in 1890, and his second, Stories from Canadian History, in 1893. More than a dozen volumes followed over the next forty years, as well as numerous articles, book chapters, and editions of the works of other authors. He was an exceptionally versatile writer. While he was best known for his books on Canadian history, which foreshadow the work of writers such as Pierre Berton, he was also a literary critic (English Canadian Literature, 1914), novelist (The King's Wish, 1924), and poet (The Cathedral and Other Poems, 1936). He is the only native of the Miramichi, other than David Adams Richards, on whom a major entry may be found in recent editions of The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature.

Sources

[b] Morgan (CM&W) 1912 [m] Advance 21 Jul 1892 [d] Leader 10 Apr 1936 / Advance 3 Dec 1891, 21 Jul 1892, 25 Dec 1895, 7 Jan 1897; Advocate 22 Nov 1899, 30 Aug 1905; World 31 Aug 1887, 16 Jun 1909


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