Last Friday morning at St. Andrew’s Church Cemetery, a group of RCMP Veterans’ Association Golden Horseshoe Division members and former RCMP officers, led by Dave Miller, installed a memorial grave marker to honour the service of John Malcolm McFarland (1858-1915) to the North West Mounted Police.
The NWMP was formed on May 23, 1873 as a para-military law enforcement force to protect Canada’s sovereignty. It was then enhanced with the recruitment of local Canadians across the territory in 1878 when Constable McFarland, #145, was enlisted. King Edward VII awarded Royal to North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) in 1904. The government amalgamated the RNWMP and Dominion Police to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1920.
John M. McFarland was the great-grandson of John McFarland (1752-1815), the Scottish master shipwright who built McFarland House on the Niagara River Parkway in Niagara in 1800. and was Governor John Simcoe’s dockmaster. Several McFarlands held important positions in Niagara. Although there were large family groups in the McFarland family, the inheritance of the acquired wealth between the generations was ruled by the family tradition of intestate deaths and primogeniture (the eldest son inherited the entire estate of his parents), and many of the children remained unmarried. Finally, the wealthier family members moved west to Alberta and British Columbia, leaving no living family members in the Niagara region.
The name has been largely forgotten, but there are 20 family members buried in St. Andrew’s Church Cemetery, mostly without grave markers.
David F. Hemmings is an author of local history books, and the president of the Niagara Historical Society and Museum.