This sword is one of two housed within the collection of the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, that belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Sproat, who was active in Bruce County during the years of early settlement and served with the Southampton Rifles during the Fenian Raid. These swords dates from his time of military service. Discover the other sword here
At the age of 19, he joined the engineering staff of the Grand Trunk Railroad before moving to Elora, and then Southampton in 1856 where he worked as a provincial land surveyor.
He then accepted a position with the Commercial Bank of Canada, first at Southampton and then at Walkerton. Marrying Alexander McNabb’s daughter Eliza in 1861, Sproat was appointed Treasurer for Bruce County, a position that he would hold until 1873.
Alexander served with the Southampton Rifles during the Fenian Raids. In 1866, he was made Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 32nd Bruce Battalion of Infantry, a unit formed from the various volunteer companies in Bruce County. A year later, Alexander was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for North Bruce, sitting in the first House of Commons after Confederation. In 1872, he lost his bid for re-election by a very few votes. He also served as the Mayor of Walkerton in 1876.
In 1880, Alexander Sproat and his family followed the movement west from Bruce County, settling in Prince Albert in what was then the Northwest Territories. There, he served as registrar. When the North West Rebellion broke out in 1885, he joined the Prince Albert Volunteers, fighting at Duck Lake where his brother-in-law, Alexander McNabb was wounded.
The organizer and first lodge master of the first Orange Lodge in Alberta, Sproat also helped found the Curling Club of Saskatchewan, serving as its first president. Alexander Sproat died at Prince Albert on August 17th, 1890.