Alex was born in the town of York, so called by Upper Canada's Lt. Governor John Graves Simcoe 40 years earlier. York being chosen in honor of HRH King George's son Prince Frederick, the Duke of York.
Alex's father John Henry Dunn was clearly one of the elite in the town. He being Upper Canada's Receiver General for 17 years at Alex's birth and serving as such for another 8 years.
Within a few blocks, a bricklayer by the name of James lived at # 49 Lot street. Unknown if a relative or not.
Within 6 months of Alex's birth the town took up a petition, successfully to change the name because there were "too many York's in use." They chose an English spelling of an indigenous name.. thought to mean a "meeting place". They also sought, successfully, to change from the status of a town into a city. A city called Toronto.
A portion of the document creating the new CITY, and with the name Toronto, appeared 2 blogs ago in this space.
In youth Alex would walk a few blocks to what may have once been called the College of Upper Canada, but in his day known as Upper Canada College. This was an all boys school, on King Street about 4 blocks West of Young Street. Here he no doubt started to learn about discipline, along with the other basics.
In the lower picture you can see the word MILITARY just below where he lived. Though the image is very poor quality, if you look two blocks to the left of the word ... Military, you can see a building and some red colouring. The words above it say it is the COLLEGE.. ie Upper Canada College.
Today you find Clarence Square in this general area. After his mother died, possibly in 1841, Alex and his father moved to England where the youth continued his schooling at the Harrow School in London.
Harrow was yet again another boys school, but it was one of the best in the country. Over the years it claimed educating 8 British or Indian Prime Ministers, including Churchill, many of the most senior politicians, 5 Kings, and other Royal Family members, 3 Nobel Prize winners, 20 Victoria Cross recipients and even one George Cross recipient.
After his formal schooling Alex did what so many from the 17th to 19th century. He bought a commission in the military. For the sum of about 1200 pounds be bought his ranks as a lieutenant in the Cavalry, and started service with the British Cavalry's 11th Hussars.
Buying a commission meant an immediate promotion to officer level, one that normal took considerable time, merit and experience in the lower ranks. By paying a sum of money, you were promising, on penalty of loss of the substatial amounts, to perform with due merit, integrity and bravery. Failing same you got the boot and they kept the money. Good service also meant a large sum waiting for you after your military days were done, and military pay stopped.
Very soon Alex.... or now Lt Alex... or more well known... Lt. Alexander Roberts Dunn would find himself caught up in the Crimean War.
But I will tell you all about that on Sunday October 18th.
Hope you will join me then.