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    Too lovely not to share...and a few ?

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    Super item from a Vermont estate, I got this today. I love it, and would like to know more about the man and the unit. Rim stamped "GNR J E KING MONT. GARR. ARTY.". I know its to a gunner and for the Montreal Garrison Artillery, but know nothing about them, and if there is a way to find out about this man and how he came to the US. The value of this Canadian stuff seems to have jumped beyond catalogs and I wonder the rarity of these. Oh well, I'm sure one of you who knows more than I will be informative! Enjoy!

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    Guest Rick Research

    With a fairly common name and only initials, no other details known, this will be tough.

    I'd say your BEST bet is:

    assuming that where it came from is where HE ended up, check with the town cemetery commission for a King with his initials buried there. From THAT, you can get the death information from the town clerk's office, which may have enough birth information to get you back across the border. Don't know how far up you found this, or how small a town it was-- to hope for a splendid Victorian obituary in a local paper.

    Unless he was an OLD private in 1866, I don't think that's him-- the haircut, collar, and cut of the suit suggest somebody falling behind fashion circa 1850, all spiffed up in what he may have gotten married in during the 1840s. It might be his father or some other random family member. Is that photo on glass (you'll see the "negative" shift in the 3-D nature of the image when tilted if so) or tin? Don't try and take it out of the case-- usually glued in there permanently. so there won't be any name or date clues underneath.

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    Lovely medal. Can't help on the tracing myself but here's a short history of the Montreal Garrison Artillery, arguably one of Canada's first two regular forces units. As suggested by para. 4, they didn't actually fire any shots in anger but that's common for Fenian Raid Medal holders - 90% didn't. Still a very nice piece and quite saleable up here.

    Good luck with the research - I've also included a note on the medal roll book. This vendor is reliable, I believe.


    PS: You might check out www.gunners.ca for more history of the unit.


    A company of Royal Montreal Artillery was raised in 1828 and was used to patrol the city during the riots of November 1837. All Corps of this type were privately organized and financed.

    3rd Montreal Field Battery, The battery was authorized on 27 September 1855 as the ?Volunteer Militia Field Battery of Artillery of Montreal, and exists today as 7th Fd Bty RCA. The battery began with three 6 pdr guns and one 12 pdr how and fired one of its first salutes for the 39th Regiment of Foot, returning from the Crimea in 1856.

    The Battalion of Montreal Artilllery was raised on 27 November 1856 (with 6 Btys) and was re-designated ?2nd (Montreal) Regiment of Garrison Artillery? in 1895. The Garrison Artillery were trained as static fortress Gunners and their roles would eventually change to manning the Heavy, Siege and Medium batteries of the two world wars. They are today perpetuated by the 50e Brie de Campagne, ARC.

    3rd Montreal Field Battery was called out on 1 June 1866 and on 25 May 1870, but did not see action. Both the battery on the battalion provided personnel for ?E? Battery, RCFA which saw action in South Africa.

    Canada General Service Medal Roll 1866-70. Compiled by John R. Thyen. Medal Roll for all those who received the medal for the Fenian Raid, of 1866 and 1870 as well as the Red River 1870. Lists all British and Canadians who participated in the Campaigns. Hard Cover, 305 pages. Black and White pictures as well as maps.$39.95 http://www.marway-militaria.com/books.htm

    Edited by peter monahan
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    I've run him in Thyen's book. There is a William King shown for the M.G.A., but no J.E. Could be a mistake on the roll, or it could be a late claim. What is the style of lettering? The originals were upper and lower case, rather artistic letters. Later naming tended to be block caps. An engraved naming probably means it has bee renamed.

    No Kings from the M.G.A. served in the Riel rebellion in 1885, in which the M.G.A. were also active.

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    Came from Brattleboro area and anonymously, sadly. No info on exactly where. This is extreme southern VT. The name is in all impressed capitals, and is original to the medal. The image is an ambrotype, clear glass with black paint or varnished backing, so its circa 1855-65. Probably later in that range, as its not a ruby glass style, which were the first used c. 1855-60. Not a tintype, and is consistent with the 1866 era, give or take 5 years. I assume ambrotypes were used in Canada longer than the US, where we seem to want what is new before it even comes out! People seemed to pay little attention to correct initials at that time, or they get copied and lok like something else to someone. The name you found is most likely him, but there is no family left to tell for sure, it was a final cleanout.

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    As for the poor boy's age, they seemed to want to look older, and dealing with images for about 20 years (thats how I found this) I would say he is 20 or 25 trying to look 35, and balding, and a quantity of hair oil has helped him a few years along.

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    The name is in all impressed capitals, and is original to the medal.

    My take is that he is probably William's brother or son. The impressed capitals are the mark of a late claim, and although he is not listed in the "late claims" section of Thyen's book, no one would believe that he got 100% of the scattered claims for this medal.

    I think a little genealogical sleuthing would probably tell you a lot. A quick check of the name King in the LDS database for the 1881 U.S. census shows several Kings living in Vermont who were born in Canada.

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