De Courcy, John
b. 1821-03-30
d. 1890-11-20
John Fitzroy de Courcy was born on 30 March 1821 in Corfu, Greece. His association with the colony of Vancouver Island was limited to his time as a Stipendiary Magistrate, but he is most commonly described as a military man -- fighting in and with different regiments.1 De Courcy was the son of Lieutenant Colonel, the Honorary Gerald de Courcy; and was known as the 31st Baron of Kingsale, and Baron of Ringrove of Ireland -- a premier Baron.2 De Courcy enlisted in the military by the time he reached the age of 17 in 1838, where he entered the 47th Foot and served here until 1849, and in 1853 he was appointed as a Major for the Crimean War.3
Only five years after his time in the Crimean War, he traveled to Vancouver Island landing in 1858.4 On 23 July 1859, Governor Douglas appointed de Courcy as Justice of the Peace and Stipendiary Magistrate for the district of San Juan.5 He remained in this position for only two years when he offered his services to the United States during their Civil War. Here he was assigned as the Colonel to the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry -- he served from September 1861 until his resignation on 3 March 1864.6 It is unclear what de Courcy did after his time serving in the Civil War, but the Daily Colonist reported on his death and commented on his early career.7 De Courcy died on 20 November 1890 in Florence, Italy.
The Daily Colonist upon his death described de Courcy as pompous, passionate, and indiscreet but overall a brave and competent officer.8 Other interesting facts that the article emphasized was his suspected involvement in “The Pig War” on account of de Courcy committing an American citizen for trespassing as he had allowed his pig to cross over to the part of land deemed as British,9 this is not proven but likely asserted to demonstrate de Courcy's eccentric personality as a military officer.10
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Douglas, James

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San Juan Islands

Vancouver Island

The Colonial Despatches Team. De Courcy, John. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/decourcy_j.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)