Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
September 2007

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


William Henry Drummond


Drummond, William Henry (1854-1907), dialect poet, was born at Currawn House, county Leitrim, Ireland, on April 13, 1854, the son of George Drummond, Royal Irish Constabulary, and Elizabeth Morris Loden. He came to Canada with his parents in 1864, and was educated at the Montreal High School. He studied medicine at Bishop's College, Lennoxville (M.D., 1884), and for many years was a physician in general practice, first in the country, and then in Montreal. He died at Cobalt, Ontario, on April 6, 1907. His first volume of verse was entitled The habitant (New York and London, 1897), and was couched in an approximation to the dialect of the French-Canadian habitant speaking English. This was followed in the same strain by Phil-o-Rum's canoe (New York and London, 1898), Johnnie Courteau (New York and London, 1901), and The voyageur (New York, 1905); and there was published a posthumous volume entitled The great fight (New York and London, 1908), prefaced by a biographical memoir. He married, in 1894, May Isabel, only daughter of Dr. O. C. Harvey, of Savanna la Mar, Jamaica. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1899; and he was made an LL.D. of the University of Toronto in 1902. See biographical sketch in W. H. Drummond, The great fight (New York and London, 1908).


Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 238.


William Henry Drummond

THE late William Henry Drummond, M.D., LL.D., “The Poet of the Habitant”, was born April 13th, 1854, in Currawn House, near the village of Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland, where his father the late George Drummond was stationed, and where he was brought up until ten years of age. In the year 1864 the family moved to Canada and one year later the father died, leaving the responsibility of raising the family to the widow, Elizabeth (Soden) Drummond, and how well she acquitted her task is evidenced by the sound training and education the sons have had and the ability shown by the Drummond boys, both in business and professional life, is well known by every person in Montreal.

William H. Drummond resumed his studies at the High School of Montreal, upon his arrival in Canada, graduating therefrom and entering McGill University, subsequently graduating with high honors from Bishops' College with degree M. D. and at once entering the practice of his profession, his first work being as house surgeon of the Western Hospital and at the time of his death occupied a chair on the medical faculty of his Alma Mater as professor of Medical Jurisprudence. Besides winning an honorable place in the medical profession. Dr. Drummond was widely known and famous in the fields of literature and sport in both of which he won the highest honors, throughout his college career, he was  “Bill Drummond”  and was better known as an athlete than as a student, excelling in snowshoeing, hammer throwing, putting the shot, and fast walking and for a time was Canadian Amateur Champion of the last named exercise and one of the most popular men in College. His literary efforts are known and recognized the world over and the distinction he won in that field will live forever. He published several short stories, but his famous works were The HabitantJohnnie Courteau  and  Phil-O-rum's Canoe, all dealing with the life and character of the French-Canadian habitant, voyageur and trapper, being unique in style, written in a forceful and masterly manner, evidencing a thorough knowledge of the subject in hand and opening up a field of humor, sentiment and pathos, previously unexploited and handling it in a skilful and pleasing manner that won the commendation of the booklovers, being compared by many in style of writing to Bret Harte. In recognition of his literary work, Dr. Drummond had conferred upon him the degree of LL.D., by the Toronto University. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of England and of the Royal Society of Canada. He was an ardent sportsman, as was his father, and one of his particular hobbies was the protection of fish and game, being a member of the North American Fish and Game Protective Association, the Lamention, the St. Maurice and the Winchester Clubs, in Province of Quebec. Dr. Drummond was a member of the Church of England, and non-partisan in politics.

Source: Canadian History Makers. A Volume Containing Accurate and Concise Sketches of Men who have Done Things in The Dominion of Canada Past and Present Together with Photogravures Made from their Latest Photographs, Montreal, Canadian Publication Society, 1913, 159p., p. 153.

© 2007 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College