James G. Wigmore, Forensic Toxicologist, Speaker, Author

I am commandeering my own blog today to pay tribute to my nephew Gregory Wigmore. Greg recently won the Riddell Award from the Ontario Historical Society for the best article on Ontario’s history published during 2011. Greg asked me to accept the award on his behalf as he is busy working on his PhD thesis at UC, Davis.

The Awards Ceremony was held in the new Waterloo Region Museum this past Saturday at 12:00 noon after a nice lunch. The Waterloo Region Museum is quite impressive and forms the new entrance to Doon Heritage Village. I would recommend to anyone that hasn’t been to it to include it in your plans this summer. It is on Homer Watson Blvd, in Kitchener, just 3 kilometers north of highway 401.

Part of the Riddell Award ceremony included reading the attached citation and it made me very proud of Greg’s accomplishment. To quote the citation, “The 2011 Riddell Award, which honours the best article on Ontario’s history published during the award year, goes to Gregory Wigmore for his article “Before the Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom in the Canadian-American Borderland,” published in the Journal of American History (September 2011).  Gregory Wigmore adds a new and compelling chapter to the little known history of slavery and freedom in the years before the War of 1812, by examining the borderland straddling the Detroit River. He shows how authorities on both sides of the line came to attach meaning to the international boundary. Wigmore tells this story with clarity and precision. The article is based on extensive research in primary and secondary sources and includes several references to the work of William Renwick Riddell, after whom this award is named. Moreover, Wigmore brilliantly connects his local study of slavery and freedom to cutting-edge research questions concerned with borderlands, boundaries, and sovereignty.

I gave a short acceptance speech for Greg and talked about how he would have loved to attend. One friend said that I was speaking “Wigmore on Wigmore”!