A LITTLE OF HIS HISTORY TO UNDERSTAND THE MAN…
Donald Morrison (March 15th, 1858 – June 19th, 1894) was the son of Murdo Morrison and Sophia McKenzie: Scottish immigrants from Lewis Island, part of the Outer Hebrides. Upon their arrival in Canada, the family settles in Red Mountain, in the district of Lingwick in the Eastern Townships. Without certainty, it is thought that Donald was born in Red Mountain before his family moved to Ness Hill in the Megantic region. At the age of 20, Donald leaves for western Canada and the United States where he learns to work as a cowboy.
Four years later, his dad calls him back to the farm to help out. He dates a young woman from Whitton, Augusta McIver, and thinks of settling down. He offers his old parents to take over the farm and to build them a house, which they refuse. To give him, as they did his brothers, a certain amount of money to settle down, his father contracts a second mortgage on his property. Not knowing how to read or write, Murdo Morrison signs a contract that includes shady clauses with Major Malcolm MacAulay, then Megantic’s mayor, businessman and mortgage lender. Considering that his father was cheated, Donald undertakes a series of judicial maneuvers to cancel the contract. Badly advised by numerous shady lawyers, the farm will be sold at auction and it’s Major MacAulay that will win it.
Ruined and without recourse, his parents are forced to move while Donald rebels against this injustice that deprives them of everything they built. When the barn burns down, then someone shoots inside the house, the new inhabitant, Auguste Duquette, suspects Morrison. An arrest warrant for criminal fire and attempted murder is issued against Donald. To make the arrest, the American Jack Warren, a man with a questionable morality, is called upon. Warren boasts that he will outshoot Morrison, but during the duel, he is fatally wounded.
Donald is pursued within the region between June 1888 to April 1889. He remains untraceable during ten months. He hides mostly with supporters of the Scottish community in the townships of Lindwick, Scotstown, Hampden, Milan and Stornoway. Sometimes, the detectives who came specially from Montreal and Quebec City have him close by, but he remains so cool and collected that they never suspect his presence.
Finally, a truce is agreed upon, but Morrison is ambushed and arrested. He is judged in Sherbrooke, where is he condemned to 18 years of forced labour for manslaughter, despite the fact the he acted in legitimate self-defence during the duel according to his compatriots. In prison, he goes on a hunger strike and later, contracts tuberculosis. Following a petition by his Scottish compatriots, the Minister of Justice authorizes his pardon and his release in June 1894 and he dies four hours later. At his funeral, there are more than 200 people. He is buried at the Gisla cemetery, near Milan.