Ensign Malcolm McEachren

Ensign Malcolm McEachern, first QOR soldier to fall at the Battle of Ridgeway, June 2, 1866

“At thirty-five, he was older than the average militia volunteer. Born in Islay, Scotland and raised in Lower Canada, he came from a humble background and had originally wanted to be a minister. Born a Presbyterian, he had only recently joined the Wesleyan Methodist and was a Sunday school teacher. McEachren was married to Margaret Caroline, aged thirty-one and the couple had five children: two boys, eight and twelve, and three daughters, two, four and six years old. He was a store manager in Toronto with an annual salary of nine hundred dollars, plus free rent for the family in an apartment above the premises. McEachren was sufficiently organized to have purchased life insurance but not sufficiently wealthy to acquire more than a $250 policy – in [2005] dollars about $6,675.

Ridgeway (Vronsky) pp.61-62

He was gazetted as an Ensign March 30, 1866 and was the first to fall in the Battle of Limestone Ridge, fought against American Fenians near the town of Ridgeway in the vicinity of Fort Erie on June 2, 1866.

McEachren’s green tunic with bullet hole in the lower chest is displayed in our Museum.

Tunic of Ensign Malcolm McEcheran, first casualty of the Queen's Own Rifles at the Battle of Ridgeway (or Limeridge) June, 1866
The rededication of Malcolm McEachern's headstone in the Toronto Necropolis is shown. McEachren was Canada's first combat casualty.

4 thoughts on “Ensign Malcolm McEachren”

  1. I’ve done some genealogical research on Malcolm and the rest of his family. He was my GGG uncle, through his brother Neil. I’ve seen his name spelt both ways, in newspapers and other official documents. The Canadian census for 1861 has him as McEachren. The most definitive history of the Fenian raids, “Troublous Times in Canada: A History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870”, by John A.MacDonald (not the Prime Minister!), published in 1910,has him as McEachren. My GG grandfather Neil, used McEachren all his life. Over time, however, McEachern has become by far the most frequently used of the several variants of the name. The same thing has happened with my family name..


    1. Was he related to the McEachern’s of Ormstown Quebec? Hector McEachern and his wife Elizabeth McVicar who came to Canada from Islay?


  2. He was my GG grandfather, I have this portrait hanging in my living room, as well I have his wife’s photograph and her rocking chair and foot stool.

    Liked by 1 person

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