Reuben Traveller
(2/20/1788 – 2/14/1861)

The headstone of Reuben Traveller describes Reuben as being “a native of London, England”.

Reuben was the 17 year old cabin boy or midshipman aboard the HMS Victory to Admiral Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar fought on October 21, 1805. This was a pivotal Naval Battle when Britain was fighting France. Admiral Lord Nelson became Britain’s greatest naval hero and this battle confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the 18th century.

“As a ship’s boy for Horatio Nelson, Reuben Traveller likely went to sea around the age of nine. Captains would take 5 to 10 young boys aboard their ships, with plans of training them to be midshipmen. …

Reuben married Sarah Veal in 1807 and had 7 children. In about 1820, the family sailed from England to Philadelphia where Sarah died in 1821. Afterwards the Traveller’s moved to Bytown, where Mr. Traveller may have worked on the Rideau Canal and was the Bytown court crier and town crier for many years. By 1860 he had remarried at least once and probably twice, but by that time he was in declining health. Mr Traveller’s will at the National Archives on Ottawa includes the story of his life, which he probably wrote himself.”

Reuben’s “Last Will and Testament” mentions a wife named Emily and an eldest son Fortunatus, a second son Reuben and a daughter named Georgiana. The will reveals that Reuben had religious inclinations.

“Should [Georgiana] be permitted to live long the greatest portion of her happiness will depend upon her early instructions under the blessing of God which must be daily prayed for. God may still preserve my life to see her arrive at Womanhood although it now hangs on as it were upon a slender thread. My desire, however, that she do not unite herself in marriage with a Roman Catholic whose religion is a religion of form and ceremonies, nor with a Methodist for theirs is only a religion of tempory xxxxx which produce loud whining and precise speeches and unfathomable duplicity, the life of God in the soul of man is found in but few of them.”

“My dear wife Emily has been a good wife to me and I earnestly desire her future happiness, but I also hold that if she resolves to alter her condition in in [sic] life in this respect and —?— that the man she may choose for her future husband furnish her with a dove Cote and the materials for building a nest , and provision for the remainder of her days.”

Reuben is buried in St. James Anglican Church Cemetery in Hull, Quebec.