Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MAIR, Charles, Canadian poet, born in Lanark, Canada, 21 September. 1840. His father, James, emigrated from Scotland about 1780, and was one of the pioneers of the square timber trade in the tributaries of the Ottawa. The son was educated in Perth grammar-school and at Queen's college, Kingston, and studied medicine until he was called to make researches in the parliamentary library in reference to the question that was then pending about the transfer of the northwest territories to Canada. In 1868 he was appointed by the government paymaster of the party that was sent to Red river to open communication with the Lake of the Woods. During the first northwestern rebellion in 1869 he was taken prisoner, and told by Louis Riel that he would be executed, but made his escape, and raised a force at Portage La Prairie, which marched to Fort Garry and forced Riel to surrender the other prisoners. Through treachery other captures were made by the insurgents, but Mair escaped, and, walking about 400 miles on snow-shoes, reached Ontario. Subsequently he returned to the northwest to recover his scattered manuscripts, but was unsuccessful, and, disheartened by the loss, he abandoned literature and entered into the fur-trade at Portage La Prairie, remaining there until 1876, when he removed to Prince Albert to conduct the same business. During this period he contributed to the "Canadian Monthly." About 1883 he foresaw the trouble that" culminated in the northwest rebellion of 1885, and withdrew to Windsor. At the opening of the rebellion he attached himself to the governor-general's body-guard as quartermaster, and served with that corps during the entire campaign, returning afterward to Toronto, and receiving a medal for his services. He is the author of "Dreamland and other Poems" (Ottawa, 1868), and a drama entitled " Tecumseh" (Toronto, 1886).
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