Allan, Wm., Lieut. Col.
appeared in Acton Free Press (Acton, ON), 21 Nov 1907, p. 2, column 2
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DEATH OF LIEUT.-COL. ALLAN.
Passed peacefully Away on Sunday
in His 93rd Year.
A MILITARY FUNERAL YESTER-
The ripened sheaf has been garnered. It has been permitted to few men to enjoy the rugged health and keen mental vigor up to the age of ninety years, that was Col. Allan's privelege. Up to three years ago he was a hale and hearty old gentleman, and enjoyed life very fully. Two or three years ago he began to fail physically, but within eighteen months he was able to come down town in the morning for his Globe, and to be about the house every day. A year ago last winter he had a severe illness and has since been confined almost continuously to his room, where the loving devotion and care of his daughter, Mrs. C. S. Smith, was most dutifully bestowed, and his every wish anticipated. For several months he had been noticeably failing and last week it was observed that the end was near. Very peacefully he passed away on Sunday afternoon at the ripe old age of nine-two years, and two months. He was conscious until within a few hours of his demise. His birthday was on a Sunday and his early[sic] career terminated as the sun was sinking in the west on Sunday afternoon. As a true soldier he lived; as a true soldier he died, and full military honors were paid his remains at the funeral yesterday afternoon.
Lieut.-Col. William Allan first saw the light of day in the parish of Halkirk, Caithness-Shire, Scotland, on the 21st September, 1815 - the notable period in the world's history marking the downfall of Napoleon, on the plains of Waterloo. Having an inherent ambition for the army, he enlisted at the age of 18 at Wick, Scotland, in the 93rd Regiment of Highlanders, then known as the "Sutherland Highlanders," but now as the "Princess Louise Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders." The Colonel discharged the duties of Corporal and his number in the regiment was 916.
In consequence of the McKenzie Rebellion in 1837 the regiment was ordered to Canada and landed in Halifax on the 6th March, 1838. It was stationed at various periods in different parts in what was then Upper and Lower Canada, until 1846, when the rebellion having been subdued it returned to the old country. The Colonel had, however, formed very agreeable associations meanwhile in this newer country; received favorable impressions of the climate and other advantages and decided to remain here. His only regret was the parting from his comrades, the officers and men of the 93rd, for he had made lasting friendships with many of them. He applied for and received an honorable discharge, on the 9th May, 1839, at a cost of 15 pounds sterling.
In 1842 he was united in holy wedlock with Catharine Campbell, with whom he lived happily for nearly half a century, first in Cheltenham where the members of the family were born: Mrs. C. S. Smith, Acton; John C. Allan, of Goldfields, Col., and James Allan, who died in Chicago 24 years ago. The Colonel and Mrs. Allan moved to Acton fifty years ago this spring, and this was their home until called to their eternal abiding place. Mrs. Allan passed away four years ago last Easter. She was a lady greatly beloved by all who knew her.
Combined with the Colonel's natural liking for military service, his innate ability rendered him an apt pupil, and he was not slow in acquiring a thorough knowledge of the drill and general discipline of the army. This soon brought his usefulness under the notice of the authorities in Canada, where he found ample scope for the exercise of his untiring energies. He first became drill instructor to the 7th West York Militia, which at once afforded ample evidence of his zeal to promote their knowledge of the service by becoming notably proficient, not only in the drill, but in all other military movements essential for officers and men to master as qualified soldiers.
It was the veteran Colonel's remarkable privilege to have lived to see no less than five different monarchs grace the throne of Great Britain. He was honored with various commissions. One as Captain in the 7th Batallion of Peel Militia, under date of 18th February, 1856, by Sir Edmund Walker Head. Another as Major in the reserve militia of the Regimental Division of the County of Halton, bearing date 12th February, 1869, by Sir John Young, Governor-General, while holding one previously appointing him Ensign and Adjutant in the 7th Batallion of York Militia, dated 16th June, 1847, authenticated by the autograph of the historic personage governing the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada - the Right Honorable James, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine.
He held a further commission by which he was appointed Major in the 20th Halton Volunteers Infantry Batallion, dated 24th November, 1871, by the Right Honorable John Barron Lisgar, then Governor-General. By another commision he was appointed Lieut.-Col. in the active militia of the Dominion, on 10th April, 1877, by the Right Honorable the Earl of Dufferin. Later, on the 10th June, 1881, by Sir John Sutherland Douglas Campbell - The Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General - he was appointed Lieut.-Col. in the 20th Halton Batallion.
Ever alive to the necessity of keeping abreast of his military duties, the Colonel attended a school of military instruction at Toronto during 1864, and on the 21st September of that year passed an examination by George Peacock, Commandant, and obtained a first-class certificate.
Col. Allan was awarded a medal in recognition of his services during the Fenian Raids, also a long service decoration more recently granted. In view of the important duties he had performed in military life it is but just to say that these honors were well deserved.
The Colonel retired from active service nearly a score of years ago, but up to the very close of his long life he took a characterist pride and deep delight in recalling events of his young days among the broomy braes of his native land, and his subsequent interesting experiences in the army and in the Canadian Militia. The rehearsal of these events always gave him pleasure and those who were privileged with being his listeners never tired of his well-told reminiscences.
But Col. Allan was more than a soldier. He was a good citizen, always interested in local matters and proud of the progress of the town which had been for so many years his home. Over fifty years ago he was appointed a Justice of the Peace and the duties of this magisterial office were always performed with a judicial fairness which unbiased minds invariably appreciated. For many years he was an adherent of Knox Church and was a "sermon taster" equal to the wisest of Ian McLaren's well-known characters at Drumtochty. Col. Allan was a life-long Liberal, of the old school. He was uncompromising in his fealty to his party, and the leaders among the politicians were counted as personal friends. Sir Oliver Mowat, Hon. Alex. McKenzie, Hon. G. W. Ross and other leading statesmen were regarded by him as princes among men and he was favored with their personal friendship and enjoyed an occasional interchange of visits with them.
Although strongly allied to the Liberal party the Colonel had many friends on the other side of politics. The father of the late Sir John A. Macdonald, Premier, taught school at Halkirk, the Colonel's boyhood's home, and he and Sir John were boys together. This friendship ripened into a close intimacy when they came to Canada and Sir John and the Colonel saw eye-to-eye in everything but politics.
The Colonel's list of personal friends included many in high social and political positions. A number of years ago he was honored with a week's visit from the late Hon. Mr. Bissell, Postmaster-General of the United States. Mr. Bissell was accompanied by Mr. Grover Cleveland, afterwards elected President. Both in his own home and at the residence of his daughter dignitaries of Church and State have been frequently entertained.
Acton has been fortunate in having as one of its first citizens for so many years a man of the sterling character of Lieut.-Col. Wm. Allan. His life among us was appreciated most by those who knew him best.
The funeral yesterday was in progress as we went to press. Particulars thereof will be given in next issue.
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- 21 Nov 1907
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