John Bethune (principal)
|Born||John Wadden Bethune
5 January 1791
Charlottenburg (Williamstown), Upper Canada
|Died||22 August 1872
|Occupation||Anglican clergyman, dean of the diocese of Montreal|
Life and work
Born in Williamstown, Glengarry County, Upper Canada, the son of Reverend Doctor John Bethune and Véronique Waddin, the daughter of Jean-Étienne Waddens (1738–1782), a founding partner in the North West Company and formerly a Professor at the University of Bern and the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Bethune received his education at the school of the Reverend Dr. John Strachan at Cornwall. After serving in the War of 1812, he entered the ministry of the Church of England and in 1814, he was ordained by Bishop Jacob Mountain in Quebec City. In 1818 he was made Rector of Christ Church, Montreal, where he remained for more than fifty years, eventually becoming Dean of the diocese. He succeeded George Mountain as Principal of McGill University from November 1835 until May 1846, afterwards replaced by Edmund Allen Meredith. He died in 1872.
John Bethune was part of a prominent family which included four brothers of note: Alexander Neil Bethune became Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto; James Gray Bethune was a businessman; Angus Bethune was prominent in the fur trade and Donald Bethune was an important political figure in Upper Canada.
Bethune married Elizabeth Hallowell, daughter of William Hallowell (1771–1838), partner of the North West Company, and his wife Martha, natural daughter of Alexander Henry the elder. They were the parents of Strachan Bethune and Mary Martha Bethune, who married Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott. Bethune was the great-great-grandfather of Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, and the great-great-great grandfather of actress Amanda Plummer.