Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Montreal Puppet-Masters 1910 era

Edward Beck from Daily Mail 1914. A Handsome guy. Oh, Goodie!


It seems that without a big writing project I am bored. Even if I have a lot of little projects to do.

About 6 months ago, upon finishing my ebook Furies Cross the Mersey, about the invasion of British Suffragettes in Montreal in 1912, I said to myself, "That's it. No more books."

But last night it occurred to me, I must do the sequel to Furies starting in 1914, the war years. It's already all on this blog..

But the story won't be so much about war, not in the traditional sense, but about politics. The politics of Montreal. It will follow the suffragists, for sure - and cover the Conscription Crisis, but it will also be about tramways.

My grandfather, Jules Crepeau, Assistant City Clerk will figure in the story that will also feature Edward Beck of the Herald and then the Daily Mail and then his own short-lived tabloid, Beck's Weekly.

Mr. Beck forgot all about 'reporter's neutrality' and got embroiled big time in the politics of the city of Montreal.

He even lassoed the ladies of the Montreal Council into putting out a resolution against the Tramway Deal of 1913...He bribed them by giving them a special suffrage insert in the Herald newspaper. They all ended up quarreling over the profits.

Beck also caught my grandfather in a bribery sting in 1914. In Beck's Weekly, he called my grandfather a sleazy bugger but in much more colourful terms. Luckily the Toronto Sun reprinted everything about the scandal, so I can enjoy!

But I still have to figure out exactly how my grandfather was embroiled in all this, over and above taking bribes.  I have his City Hall file with lots of newspaper reports from the French Press.

He was aligned with the Forget's, somehow, his mother being a Vitaline Forget.  Jean Louis Forget, who died in 1911, was involved with Montreal Tramways and Utilities. Sir Rodolphe Forget was his nephew and father to Therese Casgrain, famed Quebec suffragist.

The best reporting on all the issues is in the Toronto paper.. the World, a tabloid.

That paper describes Beck's situation very well, especially in a December 1913 report shown here. Alas,  Beck was a merely a puppet of the Puppet Masters, the feuding financiers, Hugh Graham and Lorne McGibbon, just like my grandfather was a puppet for God knows who.

Looking on ancestry.ca, I noticed that Beck and my grandfather had similar careers. They were both making 3.000 a year in 1911 and about 8,000 in 1921. Beck had kids...maybe I could track them down.