Internet Archive Texts — source for unlikely finds

On the hunt for background on the Ottawa Sharpshooters, who served in the 1885 NorthWest Field Force, I didn’t anticipate finding relevant information in Text Archive in the Internet Archive. Text Archive has over 38 million items, many full books and all full-text searchable. That includes over 839,000 items in Canadian Libraries.

The unexpected hit I got was in a poem in the book Selections from Scottish Canadian poets : being a collection of the best poetry written by Scotsmen and their descendants in the Dominion of Canada, published in 1900. What are the chances you’d read through that for mention of the Ottawa Sharpshooters?

Margaret Beatrice Burgess, penned IN MEMORIAM: Battle of Cut Knife Creek, 2nd May, 1885. Private John Rogers, Ottawa Sharpshooters, born in the island of Barbadoes, West Indies, 6th May, 1858; killed in battle 2nd of May, 1885 ; aged 27 years less 4 days.

Of its time, read the poem with a good helping of poetic licence.

Each poet of the 37, including eight women, listed below, is introduced by a short biography. There are also 30 portraits.

Anderson, Rev. R S. G.
Boyd, Robert.
Brack, Mrs. Jessie Wanless.
Bruce, Rev. G., D.D.
Burgess, Mrs. Margaret Beatrice.
Clark, Dr. Daniel.
Graham, Miss H. Isabel.
Harper, Dr. John Murdock.
Imrie, John.
Laidlaw, Thomas.
Lockhart, Rev. A. J.
McCaig, Donald.
McLachlan, Alexander .
MacColl, Evan.
MacCormack, Malcolm.
Macfarlane, John.
Mackay, Mrs. Isabelle Ecclestone .
MacKeracher, W. M.
Macnab, Rev. Andrew.
Maitland, Mrs. Mary A.
Marshall, Mrs. J. R.
Mortimer, John.
Muir, Alexander.
Murdock, William.
Murray, William.
Nelson, Edwin G.
Newhall, Mrs. Georgina Fraser.
Pirie, George.
Reid, Robert.
Ross, Allan.
Simpson, John.
Smith, Rev. William Wye.
Steele, John.
Telford, William.
Tytler, Agnes.
Wanless, Andrew.
Wingfield, Alexander H.

Like John Rogers, Margaret Beatrice Burgess is buried at Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery.

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