A Monument for a Hero

This print is taken from a drawing by W.H. Bartlett. This is the original Brock’s Monument at Queenston as it appeared prior to 1840.

The monument was inaugurated on the anniversary of Brock's death - October 13, 1824.  Brock and Macdonnell were removed from their original resting place. The Globe reported that "Although twelve years had elapsed since the interment, the body of the General had undergone little change, his features being nearly perfect, and easily recognized, while that of Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell was a mass of decomposition." This, of course, bolstered the image of the great general. There was a three hour procession from Fort George to Queenston Heights. When the procession went by the spot where Brock was killed, the cortege stopped for a few minutes of silence. At the service, a guard of honour presented arms and there was a 19 gun salute. 

When the foundation stone of the Brock monument was laid in June 1824,  William Lyon Mackenzie placed a time capsule within the monument. He included: an inscription by which he wrote, coins, a copy of the Upper Canada Gazette, and the first issue of the Colonial Advocate. The capsule was removed by order of Peregrine Maitland because it contained that "Colonial rag". This caused the removal of several feet of masonry, but it was necessary to remove the offensive newspaper.

During the reinterment, Brock's body was placed into a new coffin. The old coffin was blown up into pieces. These wood pieces of the coffin were presented to veterans of the War of 1812. This particular fragment is currently on display at the Niagara Falls History Museum. It was a donation and is a part of the Gale Family War of 1812 Gallery.


 The Christian Watchman of Boston made a rather grim report of an accident that occurred at the monument in 1824.

"The floor of this tower is stained with blood; the sarcophagus which is designed to perpetuate the memory of a slaughtered British hero, will also serve as the tomb stone and memorial of 'a youth to fortune and to fame unknown.' A young Scots lad, a stone cutter and contractor for quarrying, has met his death on the very spot where the general's bones are intended to be entombed."

Prev Next