Historical Plaque Properties

 

Thomas Guthrie Marquis - Teacher/Author & Poet
25 Nile Street
1895

In 1864 Hugh, a sailor, and Mary Marquis, both born in Renfrewshire, Scotland, were living in Chatham, New Brunswick with their family of 5 when a fourth son  Thomas Guthrie, joined the family.  As a high school student one of his teachers was another New Brunswick native, Charles D. Roberts, who would become known as the father of Canadian poetry and receive a knighthood from King George V.

 

This young man came west to Queen’s University in Kingston where he graduated in 1889 with a BA, certification as a teacher and a reputation as a great football player. The 1891 census of Canada finds Thomas working as a law clerk in Kingston where, in July 1892, he married Mary Adelaide King, the daughter of a local druggist. The young couple made their way to Stratford where Thomas took a position as an English master at the Stratford Collegiate Institute and joined local hockey and lacrosse teams. 


In 1895 they moved into the newly built house at 25 Nile Street but their stay there was brief. They returned to Kingston and then on to Brockville where Thomas was appointed the principal of the Collegiate Institute. He retired from teaching in 1901 and settled in Toronto where he was already well known for what was to become his life work and which would make him very prominent in literature circles in Canada and other countries.


Thomas Guthrie Marquis had become a full time author and editor. His first book, Stories of New France, was published in 1890 before he embarked on his teaching career. Several other history works followed as well as historical novels, biographies, poetry and children’s books.  He was an ardent supporter of Canadian literature, encouraging his fellow writers and frequently expressing a longing for the time when Canadian writers would be free of the overwhelming influence of England and British imperialists.  A review of his writings demonstrates his enduring interest in early figures in Canada’s history such as the voyages of Jacques Cartier, the Jesuit Martyrs, Canadian soldiers who fought in the Boer War and a comprehensive selection of other military events.  Canadian Prime Ministers, American Presidents, native Canadians, educators and scientists are also featured. For a short time he was the editor of the Ottawa Free Press. Indeed he was a historian, poet, writer and teacher.


The marriage to Mary Adelaide King ended in divorce in 1905. He remarried later and lived in Toronto until his death in 1936. There do not appear to have been any children.