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James McIntyre, poet

For Over Fifty Years A Resident of Ingersoll 

Death of Mr. James McIntyre in his 79th Year --
The Close of a Long and Useful Career

Mr. James McIntyre died at the Sanitarium shortly before 4 o'clock this morning. yesterday [sic] at noon he had been delirious and the end was not unexpected. 

From the first Mr. McIntyre's illness had occasioned alarm and hosts of sympathetic and loving friends constantly enquired as to his condition. The universal hope was expressed that he might be spared, but his age considered, this seemed improbable. A faint ray of hope came on Thursday night, when word was received from his bedside that his condition had taken a change for the better. This, however, was but the final struggle before the vital spark fled. 

By the death of the late James McIntyre Ingersoll bows her head in grief. A resident for over fifty years, he was intimately known by all citizens and he commanded universal respect. He occupied a warm spot in every heart, and tongue nor pen can give but faint expression to the sense of sorrow that is felt. 

For half a century the late James McIntyre had been closely Identified with the commercial life of Ingersoll. His loyal citizenship and unquestionable business methods were always conspicuous traits of character. He made friends and he retained them. As a pioneer resident his thoughts and energies were concentrated upon the upbuilding of Ingersoll. He was always a staunch supporter of every measure looking to this end; and never lost an opportunity to proclaim the advantages of Ingersoll and the banner county of Oxford. 

In his own business, notwithstanding serious misfortunes by flood and fire, he was eminently successful. He was attentive to his business and was uniformly courteous and obliging. He was an entertaining conversationalist, and it has been said that he was the best Shakespearean scholar in Ingersoll. 

His poems, which were published in book form a number of years ago, attracted world-wide attention. From there it was evident that he was a child of nature. Mr. McIntyre received many complimentary letters from noted writers and others regarding his poems. While they were probably not of the highest literary standard, there was an unmistakable sentiment that made them deservedly popular. There was a sincerity about his poems that was characteristic of the man. 

He was a modest man, always plain James McIntyre. He had few faults, and was reluctant to discuss those of others. 

A particularly sad feature in connection with his death is that it occurred so soon after the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of Samaritan Lodge, No.88 I.O.O.F.. He had books [sic] a most active and valued member of Samaritan Lodge for half a century and had anticipated the golden jubilee as the closing event of his career. 

He was stricken just a week before the celebration began -- Wednesday of last week -- and it was the prayerful wish of Oddfellows and others that he might sufficiently recover to attend. He was a devout Oddfellow, being a regular attendant at the meetings and ever ready to bear his share of the responsibility. For twenty-five years or more he had held the office of chaplain. He was also a member of King Hiram Lodge A.F. and A.M., where he had also been chaplain for many years. He was also a very active member of the Caledonian Society. 

For a chamber of years he served as town councillor. 

The late James McIntyre was in his 79th year, and a native of Scotland. He came to Canada at the early age of fourteen years, and learned the undertaking business with an uncle at St. Catherines. A few years later he engaged in the undertaking business in Thorold. He came to Ingersoll in the early fifties and had resided here continuously ever since. He engaged in the undertaking business and some time later commenced to manufacture furniture, his factory being on King st. east, which was destroyed by fire a number of years ago. He at that time resided on Hall street, having built the house at present occupied by Peter Marshall. In the early sixties Mr. McIntyre was a leading spirit in a literary society, out of which grew the Mechanics Institute, with which he was prominently connected. 

During his residence here Mr. McIntyre always took an active interest in all public question, but his views were broad. 

He was a member of the King st. Methodist church, and in politics a Liberal. 

About three years ago he disposed of his business to his stepsons, A.B. and G.E. Walker, who have continued the business under the firm name of James McIntyre & Co. 

He is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Ruttan, of La Valle, Ontario; two stepsons, Alonzo B. Walker, and George. F. Walker, and one granddaughter, Miss Maud Cameron of Barwick, Ont. Mr. John B. McIntyre of St. Catherines, is a cousin. 

The funeral, which will be conducted by Samaritan Lodge, I.O.O.F., will take place from the residence of A.B. Walker, Thames st., on Monday afternoon at 1.30 o'clock to King street church, thence to the Ingersoll Rural Cemetery. Service at King street church at 2 o'clock. 

The Ingersoll Chronicle and Canadian Dairyman
March 31, 1906, page 1, column 4, 6 & 7,
no author given for article

Other Information on James McIntyre

  • McIntyre was born in 1827 in the village of Forres, Morayshire, Scotland.
  • As McIntyre's reputation as a poet grew, some of his poems were printed in the Toronto Globe newspaper, partly thanks to his political connection to the paper's editor, a fellow Liberal supporter.
  • Though McIntyre wrote poems on many subjects, it was through his living in Ingersoll and Oxford County during the time that cheese and dairy industry started there that he found his muse and what would bring him his fame: writing cheese themed poetry.

"The Four Jameses" by William Arthur Deacon. Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1927, Revised 1953.

  • James McIntyre married three times.
  • First marriage was to Euphemia Fraser, with whom he had a son, who died in 1876, and a daughter, Katie McIntyre Ruttan.
  • The second was to Anna Williams in 1864.
  • The third was to Belinda Walker, who brought to the marriage two sons, Alonzo B. and George E. Walker who later went into the furniture business with McIntyre under the business name of James McIntyre & Co.


The Ingersoll ChronicleThe Ingersoll Chronicle and Canadian Dairyman, and The Ingersoll Daily Chronicle newspapers. 

Media Interest in James McIntyre 

Saveur Magazine May/June 1998: a brief article entitled "Cheese Whiz" by David Goldstein told readers about James McIntyre and his most famous poem "Ode on the Mammoth Cheese." 

BBC Scotland August 23, 1999: Librarian Rosemary Lewis, and Scottish poet Don Paterson were interviewed regarding the two Victorian poets, William McGonagall of Dundee, Scotland, and James McIntyre, of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. 

CBC Radio 1's programme Basic Black January 13, 2001: Arthur Black's interview with Librarian Rosemary Lewis about the James McIntyre Poetry Contest was broadcast across Canada.