Stories

The 200 story nodes created in commemoration of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial can be searched by more than twenty themes, through the pins on the interactive map and by date on the timeline. 

You're viewing 27 stories about “Lawyer
Execution of Stanislaus Lacroix on March 21, 1902 in Hull, Quebec. Source: Napoleon Belanger, Library and Archives Canada.

The Death Penalty

1759 - July 14, 1976

Like any 19th century lawyer in what is now Ontario and Canada, John A. was well acquainted with the death penalty.

Kingston, Upper Canada. Source: Library and Archives of Canada.

The Cruickshank Grammar School

1829

In 1829, the Macdonalds moved John A. to Reverend John Cruickshank's new, co-educational Kingston Grammar School.

Legal Apprenticeship

1830

John A.'s formal education ends at age 15, when he begins articling with George Mackenzie, a Kingston lawyer and friend of the Macdonald family.

Sir John A Macdonald circa 1842 or 1843. Artist unknown. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Manages a Legal Office in Napanee

1832

In 1832, George Mackenzie opens a branch office in Napanee and sends 17-year-old John A. to manage it.

George Mackenzie's Death

1834

George Mackenzie dies suddenly during the 1834 cholera outbreak. John A. grieves the death of the man who had taught him so much and gave him his start in life.

The unveiling of 'Holding Court.'  L-R: Robert Quaiff (Mayor of Prince Edward County), Daryl Kramp (M.P. Hastings and Prince Edward), Janet Minor (Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada), Ruth Abernethy (Artist), David Warrick (Chair of the Macdonald Project). Source: The Macdonald Project.

Sir John A and "The County"

October 8, 1834

While often referred to as Macdonald of Kingston, he and his family originally had close associations with Prince Edward County and the Bay of Quinte region to the west of Kingston from 1824-1835.

The unveiling of 'Holding Court.'  L-R: Robert Quaiff (Mayor of Prince Edward County), Daryl Kramp (M.P. Hastings and Prince Edward), Janet Minor (Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada), Ruth Abernethy (Artist), David Warrick (Chair of the Macdonald Project). Source: The Macdonald Project.

John A.'s First Legal Case

October 8, 1834

Macdonald's first legal case ended in a  fistfight with the opposing counsel at the Picton courthouse.

Oliver Mowat. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Oliver Mowat and John A.

1836-1840

Unlike John A. Macdonald, Oliver Mowat is quiet, sober and deeply religious.

John A. Macdonald's receipt for application to the Law Society of Upper Canada (Note the misspelling of Macdonald as McDonald). Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Becomes a Fully Licensed Lawyer

February 7, 1836

Two weeks after his 21st birthday, John A. braved the winter conditions and travelled by stagecoach to Toronto to sit the bar exam. On February 7, 1836 a triumphant John A.

Site of the Battle of the Windmill, Prescott. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Nils von Schoultz

1837-1838

The most prominent criminal case in Macdonald's law career involves Nils von Schoultz, leader of a band of American-based raiders who attack near Prescott during the Rebellion of 1837.

In the left corner, the windows of the rooms turned into jail cells at Fort Henry have been barred. Watercolour by Lt. George St. Vincent Whitemore of the Royal Engineers, 1841. Source: National Archives of Canada.

The 1838 Escape from Fort Henry

June 29, 1838.

On June 29th, 1838 the prisoners of the Rebellion in Upper Canada escaped through one of Fort Henry’s underground chambers.

Sir Alexander Campbell. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Alexander Campbell Becomes John A.'s Second Articling Student

1839

In 1839 Alexander Campbell becomes Macdonald's second articling student (Oliver Mowat is his first). Four years later Macdonald makes him a junior partner.

Sir John A Macdonald circa 1842 or 1843. Artist unknown. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Brandt Trial

1839

In the autumn of 1839, John A. defended Abraham Brandt, a Mohawk man, against the charge of murder in the brutal beating and death of fellow Mohawk man, John Marrikell. John A.

Henry Smith Jr. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Henry Smith Jr.

1840-1850

Henry Smith Jr. is an immigrant from England and three years older than John A. Macdonald.

Students with home-built car, Queen's University, Kingston, ON circa 1916 by Clifford M. Johnston. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Queen's University

October 16, 1841 - present day

Sir John A. Macdonald attended and participated in the earliest Kingston meetings that led to the establishment of what is now Queen's University.

Sir Alexander Campbell. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Alexander Campbell's Political Career

1858-1864

A year after Alexander Campbell's bitter disolution of his partnership with Macdonald he is elected to Kingston City Council to represent Victoria Ward.

The unveiling of 'Holding Court.'  L-R: Robert Quaiff (Mayor of Prince Edward County), Daryl Kramp (M.P. Hastings and Prince Edward), Janet Minor (Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada), Ruth Abernethy (Artist), David Warrick (Chair of the Macdonald Project). Source: The Macdonald Project.

John A.'s Picton

1861

Macdonald may be “Kingston's favourite son,” but he also claims many happy youthful moments elsewhere.

First page of text inside the leather-bound copy of the British North America Act, March 29, 1867. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Writes Much of the British North America Act

1864-1867

While many students of law, who later become lawyers, study and read a great deal about the constitution, John A.'s legal training proved particularly relevant in the run-up to Confederation.

Empire Life (former Commercial Bank), 259 King St. East, Kingston, ON. Source: City of Kingston.

John A's Finances

1864-1869

John A.'s long-term law partner A.J. Macdonell died in 1864 and it is soon discovered that the law practice is insolvent.