Teacher, artist, photographer, historian, researcher— of these pursuits Roy may have loved the study of history the most.
Born in Kilsyth, Derby Township, in 1878, son of Charles Fleming and grandson of Alexander Fleming, Roy Franklin Fleming (1878-1958) had deep roots in Grey County where the Fleming family were pioneering settlers in the 1850s. He was almost destined to become an educationist— a specialist in education as he described himself— due to the Fleming family’s attention to education.
After formative years in the Normal School system in Ontario and several teaching assignments, Roy enrolled in the New York School of Art in 1905. Two years later (1907) he was appointed drawing master at the Ottawa Model School (later Ottawa Normal School). For many, this might have been sufficient, but Roy’s intense interest in the history of Ontario and especially in the Great Lakes and the indigenous people led him into many other endeavours.
His love of history began with a childhood filled with stories about the Scottish homeland and the emigration to Canada. As a young teacher in Sheguiandah, Manitoulin Island in 1899, his curiosity about local history and native peoples deepened as he came to know the Assiginack family—Blackbird in English. In the years following he undertook further research to write about the oratorical skills and military genius of Sahgimah and Assiginack and bring recognition to both.
In January 1935 The Daily Sun Times published his long article—“Ottawas Defeated Invading Mohawks at Blue Mountain”—with the lengthy subtitle “Contingent of Warriors from Owen Sound, Saugeen, and Meaford Indian Villages Aided Ottawas and Objibways (sic) of Manitoulin Island Massacre Invading Iroquois —Chief Sahgimah Led Indians of This District in Bloody Battle.” (1)Continue reading