Hugh McLennan, JS's father, had been very involved in Montreal and this involvement led him to be interested in McGill University. An endowment to the university was funded by the McLennans and in 1969, the McLennan Library was built to house research books for graduate students. The library was named in honor of Isabella McLennan, daughter of Hugh, whose estate helped finance the library. Much earlier, in 1881, Hugh McLennan had given financial aid to McGill. A year later, in 1882, JS's brother William was named honorary librarian at McGill. In 1883, Hugh became a governor of the university. Hugh also financed the McLennan Traveling Library of Montreal in 1901. This library was the first of its kind in Canada.
William McLennan, JS's brother, was born in Montreal in 1856. Of Hugh's children, William would be the one who would be most devoted to literature and writing. William's literary works included Spanish John, The Span O'Life, and In Old France and New. He would die in 1904 at Fiesole, Italy, and is buried in the English cemetery in Florence.
JS's other noteworthy brother was Bartlett McLennan, born in 1868. His death near Amiens in 1918 ended a very accomplished business career in Montreal. He was a director of many companies in his lifetime, including Canadian Explosives Inc., Montreal Telegraph, and Canada Sugar Refining. Bart was a graduate of the Royal Military College and his death was a deeply felt loss to JS In the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in Montreal, JS placed a memorial stained glass window to honor his brother and his regiment.
JS's son Hugh, who had been killed in the Battle of Ypres in 1915, received a memorial dedication in JS's book. Also, a plaque was placed at the Salt Mountain Park in Whycocomagh by his sister Isabel Farley.
Isabella, as described by John S. Jr., was the most handsome of JS's daughters. She was dainty and "very finely turned out". Pictures of her reveal a very beautiful and graceful woman. John Jr. believed that JS favored Isabella among his daughters for her feisty, yet elegant manner. Her home in Needham, Massachusetts was a favorite spot of his father's to visit. He admired the sophistication and good quality of the home itself and the life she enjoyed. Isabella would one day become a trustee of the Boston Symphony, while her husband was, at one time, the overseer of Harvard.
Margaret McLennan's husband, Dr. Ernest Kendall, was named Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia in 1942. In Government House, Margaret broke with tradition and drew notice to herself by associating with black Nova Scotians. She invited a black man to dine at Government House in an era when this type of thing caused quite a stir. Nevertheless, this helped usher in a new era of openness for the position of Lieutenant-Governor. She had always been headstrong and filled with bustle and this didn't sit well with JS's sense of decorum. Nevertheless, Margaret was personally well liked.
JS's younger son, John Stewart Jr., was an accomplished pianist and composer. He had composed some music for the Russian ballet. He would eventually reside on his mother's estate of Ashintully Farm in Tyringham, Massachusetts. However, the home became too expensive to maintain and when fire finally destroyed the building in May of 1952, John S. Jr. moved into a cottage on the estate. Though he was the product of an unhappy marriage, he seemed to keep a healthy attitude about the situation and remained close to both sides of the family. In fact, he often visited with Katharine and on one occasion traveled to Rome with her.
One of JS's grandchildren, Hugh Kendall, became very well known in the field of aeronautics. He created a tiny, two-seater jet plane for the famous racing pilot Nat Somers. Hugh served in WWII with the Fleet Air Arm and would later work for a petroleum company as an aeronautical engineer.
Another grandson, John Kendall, had an interesting experience as a cast member and crew of the "Bounty". This 1960 movie was filmed in the Polynesian Islands, but the actual ship from the movie was built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. John Kendall was a member of the crew who sailed her and was an extra in the movie. The Cape Breton Regional Library has a scrapbook that Katharine had kept about the movie and it contains some letters John sent home describing the experience.
This is by no means a total summary of the achievements of this remarkable family. The McLennans at home and abroad, were a unique family, the type of family any area would be proud to have associated with it. The Nova Scotia government has tried to bring to the attention of the people of Cape Breton some sense of the historical importance of the McLennans and the Petersfield Provincial Park is an attempt to preserve the historical integrity of the Petersfield site. Finally, it is hoped that this World Wide Web site will bring the McLennan story to a larger number of people, and will foster still more appreciation for the accomplishments of this family.
|Copyright, 1997. Cape Breton Regional Library, 50 Falmouth St.,
Sydney, NS B1P 6X9
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