[ Mrs. J.J. Redpath's Group, Montreal, QC, 1881 ]

Notman & Sandham, Musée McCord Museum, II-59824.1, This is an extremely rare photograph of Ada Maria Mills Redpath and John J. Redpath's five children with the family dog. For more information about this image please click here

As Peter Redpath told the story, he heard shots, dashed to his mother’s bedroom, and found her and his younger brother Cliff lying on the floor. The family servants rushed to help. It was June 13, 1901, at 6 pm. Mrs. Redpath died instantly.

The case attracted wide publicity because the Redpaths were among the richest families in Canada and well known as philanthropists and industrialists. Clifford’s grandfather, Scottish-born John Redpath, had amassed a fortune by building the Lachine and Rideau Canals, founding the Canada Sugar Refining Company in 1854, and purchasing landholdings in Montreal.

The investigation was short and sweet. A coroner’s inquest was held the next day, and on June 15, Ada and Clifford Redpath were buried in the Redpath family grave in Mount Royal Cemetery.

What happened on June 13, 1901? The clues lie in the surviving documents: the newspaper reports, coroner’s investigation, and family records that are presented together here.