The Last Of The Frontiersmen
A lifelong history buff, Merrick Belknap is a regular contributor to The Journal. A resident of Stanstead, he has donated many items from his col
lection of artifacts to our Society and others. Surprise shooting in 1939
During the evening of December 16, 1939, my co-worker came into the guardhouse, retired to the bunk and lit a cigarette. As I prepared to replace him on duty, a police car arrived. Two police officers entered the guardhouse and began to question my coworker about a complaint they had received while he was on duty at the main gate. He became angry and threw his cigarette, striking one of the officers in the face. He was quickly subdued, then given a warning to watch his behaviour in future.
Soon after their departure, he took down his shotgun from the wall and commented that he would settle matters in his own way. Anticipating his intentions, I contacted my superior, who took appropriate action by warning the police. They, in turn, prepared themselves by taking certain precautions. As they saw him approach the police station with his gun, two officers placed themselves on each side of the door while another bent down toward the door, intending to grab him as soon as he entered the station. But he was suspicious and without hesitation, fired a shot into the door, hitting the Deputy Chief in the cheek. In a flash, the Deputy Chief and a constable rushed outside and overpowered the man, who was then placed in a station cell.
A doctor tended to the Deputy Chief’s wounds, but he was then transported to the hospital where eight pieces of lead were removed from his face. Later, nine pieces were removed.
As for my co-worker, he got away with spending a few months in prison. A number of things were taken into consideration when he was sentenced, including the fact that he was a World War I veteran, fellow veterans were very supportive and it was pointed out that he was under stress as a result of war injuries. He returned to Magog shortly after his release and the incident soon became local history.
(On a personal note, it seems like such a long time ago, but if there are any members of the force still with us, I would like to contact them.)
Members of “D” Squadron on duty at the Doinion (sic) Textile plant. Left to right: Joe Dussault, Merrick Belknap, Gerard Renauld and Alfred Aspinall.