I M Edwardsson

I M Edwardsson
13 min readMay 19, 2021

“My Pen name… which is an agglomeration of notions, I = ‘Aye’ in Scots Gaelic a “Yes” , M = “am” , as in Canadian slang, right (I am) an Edwards son , three generations removed on my maternal family tree from ‘The Man’ in the thumbnail picture above top right, my Great Grandfather Lt. Col. E.B. Edwards. ‘E.B.’ was born a Canadian Elihu Burritt Edwards, minted on Canadian soil to his father, Alexander Edwards, my Great, Great Grandfather, likely a humble, devout, yet determined to make it in the new world, Presbyterian Scottish immigrant arriving from Edinburgh, Scotland to Russell County in Upper Canada by way of Montreal. Russell, founded circa 1790, became Russell a recognized town in 1797 in the new province of Ontario. Not much is known about his mother’s origins. ( I keep digging).

I write this post inspired by my Mother, an Edwards, who at age 92 is still driving her car and fully engaged in daily life running the household and home with her 94 year old partner my father, a Reive. I am told by my mother I look remarkably the same as the man in the picture, based on earlier photos of same taken in 1905.

What’s in such a name ‘Elihu’ and how did he get such a strange (to us these days) handle?

Well, I took it upon myself to find out, since no one in the immediately family older than I really knew how that name came to be. It turns out the ‘Burritt’ part, who some thought was some how a ‘family name’, turned out to be a BIG ‘red Herring’. To learn more read on. ;)

E.B Edwards brother, W.C “William Cameron” Edwards was born 7 May 1844 he died 17 September 1921. In between, W.C and his younger brother E. B. Edwards, who was 8 years younger, born 21st of August 1850 and who later died 1919 (succumbing to the flu after first taking the forced Canadian Army injection to prevent the flu, the same one taken by American Doughboy Troops sent to Europe (Spain)in 1917. The injection was supposed immunize and prevent Spanish flu. Later at age 69, just short of the Canadian government lifting their very first mask restriction, which never worked then either), functioned under the United Kingdom crown and Canadian Government as Lt. Colonel, E.B had been mustered into the regular corps of the Army from the reserves in times of war, to be in charge recruiting and directing the training of the newly minted 101st Edmonton 2nd Regiment, so they could be shipped off to their fates unknown in Europe, to defend King and Country and the Dominion of Canada too in what was the most brutal slaughter house of the 20th Century). The two Edwards brothers William and Elihu, eventually went their separate ways after early family life in Russsell, William apparently first to build and operate one of the first saw mills at Rideau Falls, likely working together for a spell. W.C was building the first saw mill by the Rideau Falls to compete with Upstream Competitor Colnel By (Bytown was the first name for Ottawa). The same first saw mill site is now the home of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, just south of where the Rideau River joins the mighty Ottawa River.

W.C. Edwards went on to put Col. By of ‘Bytown fame’(as mentioned earlier called Ottawa, ON, Canada) out of business in the ‘sawed lumber’ trade.

W.C Edwards circa 1910s ? source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cameron_Edwards

Later “W.C.” became Chairman of the Board of Canada Cement, also acquiring as 2nd owner, 24 Sussex Drive, which he more or less built up into the form the grand residence now perched high on the south edge of those steep Cliff banks of that mighty Ottawa River, which is now the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. The Canadian government (liberals of the day, led by the ‘King of Canada’, William Lyons Mackenzie King, he was like a piece of toilet paper that would not let go of pursuing the PM title having held the pot three separate times ), a regime which conveniently and unilaterally expropriated the land from the W.C. Edwards offspring in 1947 for a pittance, just because they could, with King wanting to show he was in total control before he left office in 1948 and kicked off in 1950. Funny enough, both King and later Diefenbaker came from Prince Albert, and later Andrew Scheer, relocated to Prince Albert also tried to grab the title as recently as 2015 against the current regime PM one Justin Trudeau, a name spoken with a ‘blue streak’ attached under one’s breath out here in Alberta, and land he will never set foot in.

E.B. Edwards, after his early sawmill labour with his brother W.C, went on to what is now called the University of Toronto, to earn his law degree and then on to Peterborough in 1872 where he joined what was part of the Peterborough Canoe Company original 22 investors, a time spent there plying his early legal profession, marrying one Harriet Francis Stewart, born Dec 4th, 1860, some 10 years younger, who died January 13th, 1937. Harriet was the daughter of Sir Thomas A. Stewart, the founder of the colony at Peterborough named after the York (“Hogtown” and later Toronto), Upper Canada located financier, Peter Robinson. Sir T.A. Stewart’s wife was Harriet Francis Brown. The ‘Scotch’ protestant pair originally located and married in North Ireland in Belfast. Sir Thomas A. Stewart was in fact, the last direct male heir to the English throne via a brother of the King, a now-defunct claim to the British throne, which came about through the illegal regicide of Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Wales, but not after Charles the II, his eldest son, was proclaimed King in the face of the rise of Oliver Cromwell. Unlike his father, Charles the First, Charles the Second did not yearn or plot to return the United Kingdom under the domain of the Catholic church of Rome, which is historically the reason for Protestant Enemies of Charles the First to finance Cromwell so as to arrange the assasination Charles I, an act committed by Anglican led forces at the time. Charles the Second allegedly waited until his deathbed in 1685 to be received by the Catholic church, but not before first dissolving parliament in 1681, so as to rule for another five years before his death.

Sir T.A. born 1786– died 184 7 found his way to Canada first in 1815, as a Ship’s Mate to the Captain doing surveys onboard the boat to map the UK & American Int’l border after the War of 1812–15. Later at age 35 in 1821, he arrived for the second time in Canada, fresh from Belfast (where the Stewart family line was earlier banished for some 130 years after the death of Charles II, the so-called “Merry hedonistic King”). Young Thomas Alexander Stewart is historically noted as the Captain’s ‘mate’, serving duty on the Survey Ship from 1815 to 1816 according to his own handwritten diary (which I have seen and read), a survey commissioned by the British Crown to be surveying boundaries on Lake Ontario post War of 1812–1815 with the Americans.

As mentioned earlier at age 35, T.A arrived from Belfast a second time, this time with his newly wed wife, Harriet Frances Stewart, at the time 27 years old. Harriet France was born 1794– died 1872(nee Browne). The newly married couple made their way with a few worldy goods and small number of paid servants to Peterborough, after first being barged along the St. Lawrence past Myer’s Creek (now Belleville), and then portaging over Carrying Place into Lake Ontario’. The Stewarts then make their way through the dense forests along Indian paths in a covered wagon with local guide help to later to arrive late in the fall of 1821, so as to winter with the local Indians in the Area (‘Our Forest Home’ is the ‘book’ source which can be found in the Canadian Archives, a compilation of letters between Mrs. Stewart and Catherine Parr Trail of Belleville, ON.)

The pair, first travelled as mentioned, via draft horse pulled barges from Montreal, where they arrived from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to land in Carrying Place, ON and likely in the same manner, the pair continued on to travel to near where Port Hope is today, again arriving by horse pulled barge , where from Port Hope the married couple made their way through the rugged, completely wooded terrain to a plot of land with the help of local guides, likely the natives, to a place which is known today as Auburn, ON, just east of Peterborough, ON, Canada. Since Sir T.A. was partially crippled at birth with a partly lame and somewhat smaller right leg, he relied on the recently arrived and partly funded and resettled Belfast Scotch & Irish catholic settlers the next year, to have their first real log cabin built before the winter of 1922 set in. 12 Years later Harriet Frances Stewart the youngest of eight surviving children born. Harriet Frances Stewart went on to marry a Brown, with whom she had a daughter Harriet Francis Brown born 1860, who became E.B. Edwards ‘Elihu Burritt Edwards’ wife in 1888, after E.B.’s graduation from Law School in Toronto’s Osgood Hall of University of Toronto fame these days. Their first son, my Great uncle Donald, who I new between my ages of 5 and 7 (til the summer of ’66 when we moved to Trenton, ON. when I had recently turned 8 yrs). Great Uncle Don was born in 1892, 8 years senior to my Grandfather, Herbert Burritt born Christmas day, 1900 to E.B and Harriet Frances Edwards as their second son, their third and last child. My Mother, born Joan Eleanor to H. B. and his wife Beatrice Edwards (nee Dick of Olds, AB), on the 8th of July, 1930 . Joan Edwards went on to marry who is now Captain George Andrew Reive on October 10th, 1953. At the Time my father George was an LAC freshly returned and promoted RCAF private from the War in Korea, where worked as Air Frame Crew , fixing up P-51s and then later F86 Sabre Jets. It was in Edmonton in the grand “Edmonton old” E.B. Edwards house owned by my great Uncle Don at the time, both my parents were married. (a house since razed to make way for hi-rise apartment life).

So in this way both my parents, My mother, thorough actually meeting the wife of E.B. Edwards, her paternal grandmother, as a seven year old and younger many times in Edmonton, and as well my father by actually being holding their marriage reception in the E.B. Edwards home, actually engaged and rubbed shoulders with a a bit of old Canadian and United Kingdom well known history.

E.B. Edwards according to my mother, through her recollections of her own father Herbert, my grandfather was tough, hard drinking man, reticent, but in the same breath a fair man as long as people aligned to the ‘rule of law’. Records showed he had defended and reclaimed land stolen from Indians illegally during gambling affairs in the Alberta Courts. He also has the notariety of hanging the first Law shingle in the newly minted town of Edmonton in 1905, having moved from Peterborough to do so. Great Uncle Donald, who fought in WWI (shooting his toe off, my Dad insists, to get back to Alberta in 1917, at age 27, after 3+ years in the WWI trenches 1914 to 1917, went onto work first as a lineman for the newly minted Alberta Government Telephone, where over time he rose to become the chief Engineer of AGT for a period. He returned to take over the Family estate which included a cottage he had helped build on North Cooking lake, now a dried up mostly puddle near Edmonton. On the cottage loop he has strung up a party line I remember being told during a few visits there, has different short and long ring sequences of three rings so each cabin on the lake would know who the call was for. (Of course being a party line anyone coud listen in simply by lifting the hook_ The ld phones were in fact the crank style first, with the two bells mounted on box and with the box connected ear piece on the end of the wired/cloth covered chord, really vintage stuff.

E.B.Edward, first and foremost was a man of the crown, with full allegiance to the King and then Canada as a Dominion of the United Kingdom, part of the British Empire, re-labeled later a Confederation of Provinces and Territories. E.B was an Old School lawyer, likely aligned to the Tory party Federally and the Alberta Conservatives of the time, firmly juxtaposed and far away from his brother at his time of death recorded 1919, two years before W.C Edwards passed in 1921, the latter a classical liberal ‘Laurentide’ elite businessman of Upper Canada, having been both the elected MP federally for Russell County and later, a key senior Liberal Senator backing Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier during his reign.

As to Elihu Burritt Edward’s USA namesake, one can only surmise the connection being that of an Edwards who had relocated from Virginia with strong American ties or had family that had migrated in the same era to Virgina (more likely), with Alexander Edwards not so much concerned with winning the Civil war, but admiring the work of Abraham Lincoln’s ‘right-hand man” Elihu Burritt enough to give his second son that name in 1850.

Burritt craftily founded the peace organisation the League of Universal Brotherhood in 1846 in the UK, prior to the American civil war, a measure which surely found its way into the newspapers far and wide throughout the British Empire and even to Canada, news which was a likely source of reference by E.B’s father Alexander Edwards to so proudly label Elihu Burritt Edwards, his second son, with such a name of prominence.

So I honour my ancestry recent and distant, via my Pen Name handle ‘I. A. Edwardsson’ in my own unique way, as I am also a second son, born in the ‘land of the second sons’, Canada, as I am related directly to the Edwards clan of Edinburgh through my mother, where the Edwards in Scotland turned out to be really just a bunch of boat people which arrived there in 1536 from Bergen, Norway. (confirmed by my Father and Mother on a holiday trip many years back to Scotland and Edinburgh to check out the Edwards name in the official registry, which is why I use the Norwegian form of the name) ;)

So the Edwards who landed in 1536 was likely given farm labor work centred around livestock, where a the chore of settling borderlan chieftain scores was also assigned to such newcomers, who were told to “reive” the offender’s livestock, where many of these newcomers from Norway adopted the “Reive” name as their surname and wore the commoner’s red/green/white/blue tartan, still banned to this day by the UK crown.

In a follow on related story, I will go into the “reive’ handle notorious as it was, and apparently still is in the UK, where most of my earlier namesakes were first found lurking in and protecting the borderlands called ‘Debatables’ as chieftain organized bands of men in the 100s if not 1000s, protecting such lands from any of the lords and lairds who though to attempt to forceiblu claim such lands as ‘ theirs’, claims made in the name of the United Kingdom under deals made between these types. Such lands were known historically as former haunts of the reivers of old (and a place of hiding and protection of Robert the Bruce, when he was on the run for a time, way before the Battle of Bannockburn and just before the William Wallace fiasco, which started Scotland on its way to independence from England 14 years later), those pesky raiders/reivers, acknowledged as brilliant by Elizabeth the First, were ‘guerilla tactic’ light horse cavalry ‘raiders’ of mixed up largely ‘peasant’ northern English, lowland Scot and Scandavian old and recent arrivals, making up a body of ‘Debatables’ defenders known to the English and Highland Scott alike as the “Reivers”, most of whom eventually ended up with a couple of choices, once the forests of Caledon were ‘mowed down’ by the reigning monarch of England at the time, a catastrophic event which led to largely a Reiver mass capitulation for many, (the remaining ones in Northern England were masters of playing both sides), where such ‘Royal’ choices for the captured Reivers were:

“ be sentenced to the gallows to hang from the neck until dead or, go to Northern Ireland and start fighting for the Crown (England) against the Catholic Irish to save your self and your families (and pick up a plot of land, should you survive your lengthy tour of duty), take your pick.”

Knowing the Lowland Scot attitude, many of them took the second choice, which brings us up to date and explains why Ulster, Belfast and Northern Ireland looks the way it does, today, really ‘Scotched Earth’.

It should be interesting doing a bit of research into the reivers… ;)

Until then, I am signing off as a real person

Robert A. Reive aka I M Edwardson in pen form.



“William Hepburn Scott (1837–1881) had been born in Brampton, and came to Peterborough to start a law practice in 1861. The Hon Sidney Smith, former Postmaster General in the Province of Canada, joined him in the office at the corner of Water and Hunter Streets. John Green, and E. B. Edwards later joined as junior partners in the firm.”

League of Universal Brotherhood[edit]

Burritt founded the peace organisation the League of Universal Brotherhood in 1846.[1] He launched it at Pershore, and it was supported by Sturge, James Silk Buckingham, and John Jefferson of the London Peace Society. The Quaker Edmund Fry (1811–1866) became its Secretary, and Charles Gilpin a supporter. Burritt edited the monthly Bond of Brotherhood, from London.[7] The League promoted the use of free-labour produce. Female auxiliaries, called ‘Olive Leaf Circles’, raised funds for the League by selling articles made from free-labour cotton and other raw materials. By 1850 there were around 150 of such circles in Britain.[10]

Which meant the UK effectively boycotting forced labour cotton in the USA South harvested by black labour. A way for Lincoln to cut off financial flows to the US South (they relied on Cotton Export Revenue made with the UK) which could fuel the US South success in what became the American Civil War. — R. Reive

Excerpt from:


Colonel E. B. Edwards and Lucien 
Dubuc. From the fall of 1916 until the spring of 1918 Mr. Pelton followed
his profession in Vancouver, British Columbia, although continuing his
connection with the firm of Edwards, Dubuc & Pelton, and upon the death
of the senior member, in 1918,




I M Edwardsson

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