File F 679.01 - Ryerson Family papers

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Ryerson Family papers

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F 679.01

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  • 1783-1946 (Creation)

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10 cm of textual records

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This is a collection of documents and correspondence pertaining to four generations of the Ryerson Family and assembled and organized, scrapbook-style, in a leather-bound volume measuring 37 x 28.5 centimetres. Approximately 130 of the volume's 173 pages are filled.The first section is entitled "Documents Relating to the Ryerson Family" and consists of several reproduced documents relating to Joseph Ryerson.The second section is entitled, "Col. Jos. Ryerson Papers". Joseph Ryerson was born in New Jersey in 1761. He fought on the Loyalist side during the American Revolutionary War and moved with his brother Samuel to New Brunswick in 1783. After owning and farming land for 15 years, Joseph joined Samuel in Norfolk County or the Long Point Settlement in Upper Canada in 1797-1798. There, in addition to owning and farming land granted by John Graves Simcoe for services rendered to the Loyalist cause, Ryerson served in numerous official capacities between 1800-1812: militia commander, sheriff, justice of the peace, collector of duties and revenue, chairman of Courts of Quarter Sessions, member of the First Commision of Magistrates, returns officer for parliamentary elections and district treasurer. In 1812, Ryerson was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the First Regiment of the Norfolk Militia by Isaac Brock, in anticipation of a threatened American invasion. Joseph Ryerson died in 1854, at the age of 93.The third section is entitled, "Rev. Egerton Ryerson, D.D. Papers". It contains the largest number of items in the volume. Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882) was Joseph Ryerson's son and one of Canada's foremost educational pioneers and historical figures.The fourth section is entitled, "Charles Egerton Ryerson". Charles Ryerson (1847-1909) was Egerton Ryerson's son. Born in Toronto, he trained as an attorney and later served for many years as Assistant Librarian and Secretary of the Toronto Public Library.The fifth and final section is entitled, "George Egerton Ryerson". George Ryerson (1876-1960) was Charles Ryerson's son. He was born in Toronto. He served as Vicar of St. Joseph's Anglican Church in Weston, Ontario. He also served as a missionary with the Church of England in Japan. In 1925, he became Vicar of St. Stephen's Church in London, England. He retired in 1950.

Among the many documents found in this collection are the following items:*Joseph Ryerson's military commissions and appointments, including a document signed by Sir Isaac Brock on the eve of the War of 1812.*A letter from the Governor of Upper Canada allowing Joseph Ryerson's niece to transfer furniture to New Brunswick in 1791.*Letters to Egerton Ryerson from prominent figures such as Robert Baldwin, the Earl of Dufferin and Lord Stanley, a distinguished British statesman and the father of Canada's sixth governor-general.*Letters to Egerton Ryerson from the private secreatry to King William, the Duchess of Kent, the secretary to Sir Robert Peel (Prime Minister of Great Britain), and other highly-placed British and European officials. This correspondence relates, in large part, to Ryerson's trips to Europe to: study educational systems, plead his case for free public education and petition for a charter and grant for the Upper Canada Academy in Cobourg (later Victoria University and today's Victoria College at the University of Toronto).*A phrenology manual and phrenological charts relating to Egerton Ryerson. Phrenology was a 19th-century "psychological theory or analytical method based on the idea that certain mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of a person's skull."*Ryerson's Doctor of Divinity degree from the Wesleyan University in Middleton, Connecticut, conferred in 1842 and Ryerson's certificates of appointment as Chief Superintendent of Schools in Upper Canada, including the first in 1846.

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