This morning, after a paralytic illness of nearly a year, during which he suffered little pain, and enjoyed a good degree of consciousness, John Redpath, Esq, of Terrace Bank, Montreal, closed a long career of usefulness by a peaceful death, at the age of 73, in the midst of his family. He was born in Earlston, Scotland, in 1796, and was early left an orphan. After earning his trade as a builder, he emigrated to Canada in 1816, and has resided since that time in Montreal, with the exception of one year in Quebec and a few years on the Rideau Canal during its construction. In company with the late Hon. Thomas Mackay, he executed several extensive contracts on that national work, to the entire satisfaction of the chief engineer, Colonel By. The stupendous locks, at Jones’ Falls, were the portion of this great work that Mr. Redpath was more immediately engaged in (as his partner was in the construction of the series of locks at Ottawa), and we are informed that they are as perfect now as when first finished. Mr. Redpath took a lively interest in the development of the resources of Canada, and aided in many public improvements by his means and management. He was one of the first promoters of a forwarding company on the Ottawa and Rideau route, and he was partner in a steamboat company in between Montreal and Quebec. He was largely interested in the Montreal Telegraph Company from its commencement, and more recently took a heavy interest in copper and slate mines in the Eastern Townships, iron mines at Hull, and coal mines in Nova Scotia. He was the first to turn attention to sugar-refining in Canada, and erected and carried on the extensive refinery near the St. Gabriel locks, which constitutes such a prominent and important part of the manufactures of this city. For thirty-five years he has been a Director in the Bank of Montreal, of which he was Vice-President since the death of the Hon. Peter McGill. He was an active Alderman of the first City Council of Montreal, and first President of the Mechanics’ Institute.

It was, however, in works of Christian philanthropy that Mr. Redpath found his highest and most congenial field of usefulness. For many years he gave unremitting attention to the Montreal General Hospital, part of the time as chairman of the Committee of Management and latterly as President. The fist meeting to get in a House of Industry in Montreal was held in winter of that year. This great charity, so auspiciously begun under the united management of both Protestants and Roman-Catholics, would doubtless have continued but for the necessity that arose next year to occupy the building as a barracks; and it was not till nearly thirty years afterwards that the effort was renewed in the Protestant House of Industry and Refuge, of which Mr. Redpath was elected President, and which he has very liberally supported. He also took a deep interest in McGill College, and was one of the special subscribers to its endowment. He was for many years an elder in St. Paul’s Church in connection with the Church of Scotland, of which the late Rev. Dr. Black was pastor, but in 1843 felt it his duty to take a leading par in the Free Church movement, and contributed largely to the building of Coté street church, and about twenty years afterward to the building of the St. Joseph street Presbyterian church. In both of these edifices he established day schools, though the effort in the first case was unsuccessful. He was also a large contributor to the schemes of the church in which he has been an elder since the beginning. Mr. Redpath did not, however, confine his labors or gifts to any denomination, but aided good works generally, as very many churches and societies can testify. Especially he was connected with the French Canadian Missionary Society from its commencement, and after the death of Col. Wilgrees became its President. He was also President and chief supporter of the Labrador Mission on Caribou Island.

In 1840 he went to London as the representative of the interests of Protestant proprietors in Montreal, in opposition to the claims of the Seminary of St. Sulpice. But while opposing what he regarded as unjust claims, and aiding in the conversion of his French-Canadian fellow citizens to the gospel, he always maintained the most courteous and friendly relations with them, and regarded them with peculiar kindness and respect. Indeed, when employing hundreds of his men in his extensive contracts, he was rather inclined to give the preference to Irishmen and French Canadians.

Mr. Redpath was twice married, and leaves a widow and a large family, some of whom carry on the sugar refinery, and one son is a clergyman of the Church of England. Mr. Redpath was, in a literal sense, the widow’s friend and orphan’s stay, but into the extensive field of his private charities, we may not enter. “He rests from his labors, and his works do follow him.”

Source: Unknown, "John Redpath — Obituary," Montreal Witness, March 5, 1869

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