The Young Man’s Preparation for the Bar a Severe Strain Upon His Mental Balance, Which the Doctor Says, Was Unhinged When He Fired the Shots.

The report of the death of Mrs. J. J. Redpath and her son, J. C. Redpath, last night, was the subject of much sympathetic comment on the part of their many friends and citizens generally today.

Owing to the exceptional circumstances under which the deaths took place, the absence of witnesses, and the utter lack of motive, except that of temporary insanity, the circumstances of the death of the mother and her son at the latter’s hand are not expected to be made clear until after the coroner’s inquest, which is going on this afternoon. From those best qualified to speak of the matter, the following particulars have been learned:

“This most distressing occurrence, which resulted in the death of Mrs. J. J. Redpath and her youngest son, Mr. J. C. Redpath, took place at the residence, 1063 Sherbrooke street.

“Mr. Redpath had been in poor health for some time, but notwithstanding his condition was preparing for his Bar examinations.

“In fact, Mr. Redpath had been so overworked as to have developed severe nervous symptoms. It seems that during the earlier part of the day he was in a state of mental depression, which increased as the afternoon wore on.

“About five o’clock in the afternoon he discharged a pistol several times, resulting in the almost instant death of his mother, and fatal injury to himself.


“The family, aroused by the shooting, immediately ran to the room and found the mother dying and her son mortally wounded. Mr. Redpath was removed by the ambulance of the Royal Victoria Hospital as quickly as possible, and on his arrival at the hospital was attended by Dr. Bell in the absence of Dr. Roddick, the family physician. In spite of everything that could be done for him he died not recovering consciousness, so that no explanation could be obtained from him. He died about half and hour before midnight.

“This morning Dr. Roddick was interviewed on his return from Toronto. He had been greatly affected by the distress that had befallen a family he had known so long. But knowing the young man’s constitution as he did, and that the had been subject to epileptic fits, and the he had for some time suffered from insomnia, knowing, too, that in spite of his nervous condition he was studying very hard for his Bar examinations and helping also to nurse his invalid mother, he was not surprised that his mind should have given way. But neither he nor any one else who knew the young man could imagine for a moment his having done such a deed intentionally, or while he was in his right mind.”


The late Mr. Redpath was a B.C.L. of McGill and at the time of his death he was working hard at his studies for his Bar examinations which were to take place in July.

For three years he was a student in the law office of Campbell, Meredith, Allan, and Hague, but left there about a month ago to study.

In appearance he was tall and manly: fond of outside sports, he could be found in the spare time in the summer either canoeing or horse back riding, and much preferred to be alone in his jaunts, unless a very intimate friend accompanied him.

The young man was much esteemed by his associated and fellow students. He was assiduous in working at his college studies and graduated from McGill with distinction. He was ambitious about his future, and looking to the fulfilment of his aspirations had arranged to enter the office of a firm of leading lawyers when the Bar examinations had been passed. His circumstances were, therefore, exceptional, both in respect to social position and business prospects. It is considered particularly lamentable that his state of health should have resulted in the tragic occurrence recorded.

Mr. Redpath was the son of the late J. J. Redpath, who died about twenty-five years ago, and who for a time was associated with others of the Redpath family in connection with the sugar refining business founded in Montreal by them.

He was about 25 years of age, of pleasing personal appearance, and quiet demeanour.

It is learned that he was down town between luncheon and five o’clock, and the tragedy occurred just after his return home.

It is stated that the inquest will develop the fact that two bullet wounds were inflicted by Mr. Redpath upon himself. Mrs. Redpath was about 58 years of age. She belongs to an English family. For some time she had suffered greatly from insomnia and nervous depression, so much so, that she was considered more or less of an invalid.

In the absence of eye-witnesses it cannot be said whether the first shot was or was not accidental.

Certainly, say his friends, Mr. Redpath’s constant and tender solicitude for his mother all through the months of her illness, are evidences of the young man’s real attitude toward her.

The inquest began at half-past three this afternoon.

The funerals will be strictly private.

Source: Unknown, "Sad Occurrence," The Montreal Daily Star, June 14, 1901. Notes: PG, 6

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