Item 2008.3.1.2.1.1 - Photograph of sketch of Roger Pocock

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Photograph of sketch of Roger Pocock

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2008.3.1.2.1.1

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  • [ca. 1927] (Creation)

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1 photograph : b&w; 11 x 15 cm.

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(1865-1941)

Biographical history

Henry Roger Ashewell Pocock was born November 9, 1865 at Cookham, Berkshire, England. He came to Canada with his father in 1882, and settled in Brockville, Ontario. In 1882 and 1883, he attended the Guelph Agricultural College, and subsequently took a job as a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Pocock enlisted with the North-West Mounted Police at Fort Osborne in 1884. When the North West Rebellion broke out, Pocock marched with Colonel Irvine's relief force from Regina to Prince Albert in the winter weather, freezing his feet during the trek. As a result of the advanced frostbite to his feet, Pocock had to have several toes amputated, rendering him an invalid constable. He kept a diary/scrapbook for each year he was with the N.W.M.P., and later used the collections to write and publish a series of fictional books based on his experiences, the first successful of which was a biographical work titled "Following the Frontier" (N.Y., 1903) also published as "A Frontiersman" (London, 1903). According to Watters (A Check List of Canadian Literature, 1628-1950), Pocock published at least 15 titles between 1888 and 1931. In 1905, Pocock went on to found "The Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth." He died November 12, 1941.

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Biographical history

Born at the Fort Macleod Mounted Police Barracks in 1891, Mary Charlotte Flora MacDonald Steele (better known as Flora) was daughter of Sir Samuel Benfield Steele and his wife Marie (nee Harwood). Flora spent much of her childhood at Fort Macleod (in present-day Alberta, Canada) where her father was in command of the Macleod District. It was here that her two younger siblings, Gertrude and Harwood were born as well. In August of 1898 Flora, her mother and her siblings moved to Montreal while Sam took a police posting in the Yukon. Throughout Sam’s posting in the Yukon and later deployment to South Africa to fight in the Boer war he and Flora corresponded regularly and she was often told to be good to her mother and look after her siblings.

[Talk about South Africa]

Flora served as a V.A.D. during World War I. In 1919 she returned to live with her mother in Montreal and in that same year her father died. Flora’s life following the war was marked by devotion to her family (she often looked after Harwood’s affairs while he was abroad and kept watch of the family’s finances) and her interests in religion, spiritualism, and Asian cultures. Her interest in Asian cultures was best exemplified by her involvement, as a volunteer, in McGill University’s Hung Tao Society during the 1930s and 1940s. [Description of Hung Tao Society can be added in that series’ description]. Throughout her life, Flora wrote poetry, short stories and submitted articles for publication. [Flora’s education should be added here] Flora, at Sam’s urging, studied both German and French during her childhood. Later, as an adult, Flora also learned Chinese [This is evidenced by a page of Chinese script signed with her English signature]. Flora never married, however, there is implicit evidence (in the form of a short story named “Love and a V.A.D.” and a presumably related letter to an Australian suitor) that she did date a number of men during her younger years. Flora died on October 19, 1948 and was survived by her mother and siblings.

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This photograph was sent to Flora from Roger Pocock.

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  • English

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Photograph of a sketch of Roger Pocock by Gerald Hudson; description on verso by Flora Steele.

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