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Original title:  John Keast Lord by John Kirkwood - etching, 1840s. Bequeathed by L.M. Griffiths, 1924. Reference Collection of the National Portrait Gallery. NPG D7665. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw41618/John-Keast-Lord?

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LORD, JOHN KEAST, veterinarian, naturalist, and author; b. 1818; d. a bachelor, 9 Dec. 1872, at Brighton, Sussex, Eng.

John Keast Lord, who was brought up in Tavistock, Devon, received his diploma from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 1844, and returned to Tavistock to practise his profession, but his “convivial tastes led him astray” and he disappeared suddenly. No connected record of his subsequent movements can be formed, but his writings mention, among other experiences, a winter spent at the Bruce copper mines of Ontario, living and wandering with Indians “over the fur countries east of the Rocky Mountains,” and “rambling about” in Arkansas.

After service as a veterinary surgeon in the Osmanli Horse Artillery during part of the Crimean War (1854–56), Lord became veterinary surgeon and assistant naturalist to the British North American Land Boundary Commission which, during 1858–62, surveyed and marked the 49th parallel between the mainland of British Columbia and the United States. Lord’s work of caring for the animals and arranging the transport of supplies, his journey to California in 1860 to buy pack-mules (which he drove 1,000 miles overland to the Columbia River), and his zeal in collecting zoological and other specimens, both when in the field and from winter quarters on Vancouver Island (1858–59 and 1859–60), earned high praise from the commissioner, Colonel John Summerfield Hawkins, Royal Engineers.

In 1863 Lord gave a series of lectures based on his experiences with the commission at the Egyptian Hall, London, and following a meeting there with the naturalist Francis T. Buckland, he became a frequent contributor to the Field, to Land and Water (established by Buckland in 1866), and to other periodicals. His travels in northwest America and California were also reported in The naturalist in Vancouver Island and British Columbia (1866) with interesting descriptions of animals and birds and a list of his zoological collections. At home in the wilderness (1867) contains “practical hints” based on Lord’s experience in his wanderings: “I have . . . lived in a Sibley tent in North-west America, in a Bell-tent in the Crimea, in a Turkish tent with eight sides in Asia Minor, in a Bedouin Arab’s tent, in Indian wigwams east and west of the Rocky Mountains, and in Palmetto shantees in the tropical world . . . .”

Lord spent 1868–69 carrying out scientific researches in Egypt, along the African shore of the Red Sea, and in Arabia, on behalf of the viceroy of Egypt. After his return to England he became the first manager of Brighton Aquarium, but he was already a sick man when it was officially opened in August 1872, and he died from “chronic disease of the brain” on 9 December.

Alice M. Johnson

[The DNB called him William Keast Lord in the 1893 ed.; the name was corrected in the 1909 ed.  a.m.j.].

PRO, FO 5/811, ff.1–377. Royal Veterinary College (University of London), Register of students, 1844. J. K. Lord, “Furs how trapped and traded,” Land and Water (London), III (1867); At home in the wilderness by “The Wanderer” (J.K.L.) (London, 1867; 3rd ed., 1876); List of coleoptera collected by JK. Lord, Esq. in Egypt, Arabia and near the Arabian shore of the Red Sea, with characters of the undescribed species by Francis Walker (London, 1871); A list of hymenoptera collected by JK. Lord in Egypt, in the neighbourhood of the Red Sea, and in Arabia, with descriptions of the new species by Francis Walker (London, 1871); The naturalist in Vancouver Island and British Columbia (2v., London, 1866); “The traveller. The viceroy of Egypt’s exploring expedition,” Land and Water (London), V (1868).

“The Brighton Aquarium, death of the manager,” Brighton Daily News and Sussex Gazette, 12 Dec. 1872. F. T. Buckland, “Practical natural history. The late John Keast Lord,” Land and Water (London), 14 Dec. 1872, 395. “Obituary,” Land and Water (London), 14 Dec. 1872, 387. Times (London), 1863, 1872.

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Cite This Article

Alice M. Johnson, “LORD, JOHN KEAST,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 3, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lord_john_keast_10E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lord_john_keast_10E.html
Author of Article:   Alice M. Johnson
Title of Article:   LORD, JOHN KEAST
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1972
Year of revision:   1972
Access Date:   June 3, 2023