Government House [page 48]
Keeping Christmas [page 50]
The Ellis boy is mentioned in both Ferdinand Brock Tupper’s, 1845 publication ‘The Life and Correspondence of Sir Isaac Brock,’ and in the correspondence of John Baskerville Glegg, as referenced in ‘Burying General Brock’ by Robert Malcomson, 1996. By cross referencing, it is possible to work out that the boy’s biological father was Captain Hercules Ellis of the 49th Regiment, drowned probably in 1809 on a return trip to England. Afterwards the boy was cared for personally by General Brock. Glegg assured the Brock family that the boy was not, in fact, Brock’s natural son and Glegg himself undertook to provide for the boy’s education since Brock was penniless at his death (Malcomson, page 7).* Isaac Brock’s brother, Savery, undertaking a tour of Upper Canada in 1817, recounted meeting the Niagara area “landlord” of a country house where Brock lived, presumably with young Ellis, shortly before the outbreak of war; hence my presumption that the youngster lived with a farm family for part of 1812. Having found no record of the boy’s first name, I have christened him “John Ellis.”**
On a personal note, the character of Isaac Brock came vividly alive on learning that Brock had a ward. Moreover, the nature of the Lockwood family derives almost entirely from the author’s speculation regarding what sort of people Brock would have trusted with the care of his ward. One more aspect of Brock’s personality, and its implications for the Lockwood family, will appear in Chapter Three. Most readers will guess what is coming from the section 'Keeping Christmas.'
*In the 1854 edition, but deleted from the 2007 Bibliobazaar edition, the author Tupper gives the following: “At the time of his [Brock’s] death, a youth of about nine years of age had been residing under his roof and protection for nearly two years, it being the general’s intention to provide for him: he was the illegitimate son of Captain Hercules E____, of the 49th, who was unfortunately drowned on his passage from Canada to England two or three years previously, the vessel in which he embarked having never been heard of after sailing. [Tupper continues in a footnote.] After the general’s fall [Brock’s death at Queenston,] Major Glegg kindly took charge of the youth, and sent him to school, but we know not what has since become of him.”
At the time of Tupper’s comments , Ellis might have still have been alive. Please the Victorian hyper-sensitivity Tupper evinces by giving only the beginning 'E' in the natural father's last name. The rest of the name is given in Glegg's correspondence.
I am unable to explain why this interesting information regarding the existence of Brock’s ward was deleted from the more contemporary reissue of ‘The Life . . .’
** The quote Tupper gave from Savery Brock’s 1817 letter is: “Seven miles from the fort [Fort Erie], we stopped the next morning to breakfast at a house where Isaac had lived six months, and the landlord told me with tears: ‘He was a friend and a father to me. I was close to him when he was shot;’ – with these words, unable from his feelings to add more, he walked away quickly up his orchard . . .”