TALBOT, JOHN, schoolmaster, journalist, and merchant; b. 21 Sept. 1797, probably at Cloughjordan, Tipperary County, Ireland, second son of Richard Talbot, a soldier and promoter of immigration, and Lydia Baird; d. 22 Sept. 1874, at Robinson, Illinois, U.S.A.
John Talbot came to Upper Canada in 1818 with the group of settlers brought out by his father on the Brunswick on the “£10 deposit plan,” whereby Richard Talbot hoped to obtain a large grant of land. The family, including John’s brothers, Edward Allen* and Freeman, settled in London Township. John Talbot, after several years of wandering through Ireland, eastern British North America, and New York State, working as a schoolmaster and labourer, became a schoolmaster in London Township in 1830, and two years later opened a school in London. Perhaps as a result of his failure to secure the land grant he considered rightfully his from 1818, he became a Reformer. Early in 1836 he took over the editorship of the St Thomas Liberal. His uncompromising support of reform ideas and his leadership in the Reform movement in the London District made him suspect. A few days after William Lyon Mackenzie*’s abortive uprising, the authorities sought Talbot; he escaped to Detroit and his press was seized.
He remained in Detroit until 1838, went to St Louis, and finally took a teaching position in Independence, Missouri. In 1839 he opened a general store in Somerset, Ohio; here he married Mary Jane Blake and had a family of four sons and three daughters. In 1863 he was forced to sell his store owing to an overextension of credit. After a brief stay in Terre Haute, Indiana, he moved to Robinson, Illinois, where in October he began publication of the Constitution, which supported the Democratic party. He turned the paper over to his two surviving sons in 1872 and died two years later.
PAC, RG 1, L3, T19/26; RG 5, A1, 159. PAO, RG 1, C-I-1, 49. University of Western Ontario Library, 248/3 (Talbot family papers). “Letters of John Talbot,” ed. Leslie Gray, Ont. Hist., XLIV (1952), 139–64. F. W. Scott, Newspapers and periodicals of Illinois, 1814–1879 (Illinois State Hist. Lib. Coll., VI, Springfield, Ill., 1910), 297. History of the county of Middlesex, 512.