Truth or Lore in Eyvel Family History

Truth or Lore in Eyvel Family History

Mr. George Eyvel, President of the Canadian Shorthand Writers Association[1], was a reporter for the Hansard News (see information below), who after covering Parliamentary goings-on, was assulted, “…knocked down by Foot Pads [padfoots] at night and lay insensible on the street.”[2] while walking home in the early hours of the morning, on or about the 25 of March, 1888.”

The Temperature that night could have been -2c or close to that. Mr. George Eyvel, whilst laying in the street insensible, also very nearly froze to death.


Information unreported in the news, and according to his now-a-days cousin was that when the police found him, they thought he was drunk and just needed to sleep things off. They carried him to the station and locked him up. Later, much later, as he lay near death in his cell, the Police discovered he was really a victim of a padfoot. They then got him some medical attention. After his death Parliament passed a resolution and most everyone present signed a book of condolences for his wife and raised $1000.00 for his wife and kids.

The information that jives.

He did receive medical attention. He had nearly frozen to death and had fingers amputated, developed blood poisoning


and ultimately died about a month after sustaining his original injuries from the padfoots (I am pretty sure this has nothing to do with Harry Potter but more to do with an English term, “one of many names for ghostly black dogs reported across the United Kingdom.”[1] I hope these black ghost dogs have not spread to Ottawa in the past 130 years).

Family Lore or Truth


From the story above we see that the press reported he awoke himself and smashed a window in a house near where he fell, or was attacked, and given immediate medical attention. So if the press is correct he was not found and mistaken as a drunk in the street.

Do we believe the press of the day or do we believe the family lore?

More Truth

As mentioned in the article above, “the press gallery met to pass resolutions of condolences.” There is indeed a book of autographs from many of the pressmen and parliamentarians of the time. Was it a Parliamentary Resolution? More research is needed to verify this.

Geroge Evels Condolence Books and letter.

As a note of interest, Included in the autographs is the then Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. McDonald’s signature.


The Hansard Press

The Hansard Press “…In 1878 a subsidy was granted to the Hansard press and at that point reporters were employed.[1] Despite hiring contract reporters there were still widespread complaints about the accuracy of the debates.” This press was an attempt to publicly report debates and happenings in the Parliament. At points this style of press was more a commentary on the happenings rather than a true to the facts kind of reporting. Parliamentarians were even allowed to edit what had been written and correct it before their words were sent to press. Parliamentary debates had been in the realm of privacy prior to 1809.[2]

The question then, is the story about a man who worked for a news organization with questionable accuracy…? Who is to be believed, the Family of George Eyvel or the press of the time?


  1. The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, April 21, 1887 – Page 1,
  2. Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tuesday, February 28, 1888 – Page 1,
  • “Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 10 April 2015), George Eyvel and Ella Maria James, 22 Nov 1877; citing registration , Napanee, Lennox And Addington, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,863,649.
  • “Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 November 2014), George Eyvel, ; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot , line 12201, volume Volume 07, 1883-1891, Toronto Trust Cemeteris, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,041.
  • Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Series: MS935; Reel: 53, Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938, 1943, and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, February 25, 1888 – Page 4,
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Monday, February 27, 1888 – Page 1,
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, February 23, 1888 – Page 1,
  • Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tuesday, February 28, 1888 – Page 1,
  • The Ottawa Journal, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Thursday, April 21, 1887 – Page 1,

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