How Many Times Can a Man Be Buried?

English: Maj. Gen. Sir Isaac Brock
Maj. Gen. Sir Isaac Brock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know that Sir Isaac Brock, a hero in the War of 1812, was buried four times? Isn’t that incredible? That certainly deserves a longer text.

He died of gunshot wounds at the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812. His body lay in state at the Government House (in what is now Niagara-on-Lake, Ontario) until October 16. Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell, Brock’s colonial aide-de-camp who died in the same battle, was buried with him at nearby Fort George.

By the way, even though the Americans captured Fort George in 1813, the graves remained undisturbed.

In 1814, the legislature for then Upper Canada decided that a monument should be erected near Queenston where Brock died. It took quite a while to raise enough money for the monument, so even though it wasn’t completed, Brock and Macdonell were buried a second time on October 13, 1824, ten kilometres away. About eight thousand Americans and Canadians attended the event.

On April 17, 1840, an explosion severely damaged the monument. That happened because of an Irish-Canadian, involved in the Rebellion of 1837, by the name of Benjamin Lett. Apparently he was just seeking revenge against the British.

By 1842 officials decided that a second monument should be built. As these things sometime happens slowly, work began in 1853. It was necessary to move Brock and Macdonnell to temporary graves in the village of Queenston. Are you still counting with me?

October 13, 1853 marks the fourth and final burial for these men. About fifteen thousand attended the event, some of whom were veterans of the War of 1812. The structure was inaugurated on October 13, 1859!

Phew! May they finally rest in peace.


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