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CANADIAN RAILWAY TELEGRAPH HISTORY-Canadian Telegraphic Historical Newspaper Accounts

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Article Ninety-eight
"Robert Roberston, Agent"

Robert Robertson had some link to Actor Boris Karloff 
(William Henry Pratt: 1887-1969; Immigrated to Canada in 1911 left for Hollywood c. 1919),
perhaps even 'discovering' him or being responsible for getting him to Hollywood.  
He is also the ancestor who may have been approached by French government officials 
attempting to make reparations for Irish nationals who were dispossessed during the 
French Revolution.  The lead here, in the absence of other names, is 'Robertson'.

The 1871 Ontario Census lists a Robert Robertson aged 36 born in Scotland with the
occupation of 'RR Employee' living  in Middlesex North, Sub-district Lobo (D) - to the
west of London, Ontario.  While not confirmed this location is consistent with what was
known including living for a time in the London area and working for the GWRR or
Grand Trunk Railway.  The 1891 census has him as Station  Master Grand Trunk Railway
in St. Catherine's Ontario.  Listings of children and their estimated birth dates are
taken from this census c/o EMT.

According to EMT, daughter Roberta told the tale of Robert being approached by the
French government in the 1880/90's who contacted him a a surviving relative of foreigners
(Irish) killed during the French Revolution.  According to the story Robert turned down

the offer claiming he had enough for his family and did not want their money.
The persons named for whom the reparations were being offered was possibly Montague,
perhaps ancestor on the maternal family side.  EMT's research  shows the creation of 3 Irish
Regiments in service to the French monarch, all but one suffering executions either by
English or French during the revolution.  This will lead to more research of both Irish
and French connections.

Robert Robertson, according to family lore, was the or a telegraph operator at one end
of Alexander Graham Bell's first phone call (August 4, 1876,  Mount Pleasant to Brantford,
Ontario) or long distance phone call (August 10, 1876, Brantford to Paris, Ontario; seven
miles via telegraph in Toronto - 63 miles).  Search as of November 1999 looking for evidence
of actual presence at this event.  Oral history, dates, general locations and occupation
are consistent with these events.

A postcard post-marked May 7, 1907 travelled from Stirling Scotland to St. Catherines
Ontario arriving May 17, 1907 addressed to Robert Robertson Esq. from R.W. Robertson;
Message: " We are daily enjoying the lovely views from the walls on the top of this rock.
Expect to be in Dunkild and Aberfildy shortly."

It  now appears that Robert W. Robertson  was a cousin to Robert and was the person

"instumental in bringing 'Boris Karloff' to America".  R.W. was supposed  to have been
a movie director who lived some of his life in Hollywood.

Further Contact: Dana Taylor

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