London and Middlesex Branch – “Issues in Writing Historical Biography: the case of P. W. Philpott”

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Date(s) - January 6, 2024
10:00 am - 11:30 am

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


The London & Middlesex branch is pleased to invite you to join us on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at 10 am for our monthly hybrid event, with author and speaker, Dr. David R. Elliott, who will be joining us in person to discuss issues he encountered in researching and writing his latest book. 

A bit about our Speaker:

Dr. Elliott brings to this study a background with degrees in archaeology, history and theology.   As a retired professor of history, he operates Kinfolk Finders, a genealogical company specializing in Irish research, and also provides interim   ministry for local Presbyterian Churches.

Research for this book took Dr. Elliott across Canada, and to Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Los Angeles, and greater Chicago.  He will be discussing his use and evaluation of sources: family memoirs, diaries, official and family correspondence, news stories, legal documents, his published books, articles and sermons, tape and video recordings, along with interviews.


With deep genealogical roots in South Western Ontario, Peter W. Philpott, being a grandson of Peter McGregor, London’s first white resident, he made his mark on religious life in Ontario and across the United States. Author David R. Elliott’s new book, From Anvil to Pulpit: the Spiritual Journey of P.W. Philpott, explores Philpott’s history, his ideas, and the ethical conflicts he encountered, starting when he joined the newly formed Salvation Army when he was 18 and was working as an apprentice blacksmith in Dresden.  The Salvation Army had its first public meeting in Canada in Victoria Park in London in 1873 and on two different periods of time Philpott was in charge of its London operations.

After Philpott broke with the Salvation Army in 1892 he ministered in Toronto and Hamilton before moving on to Chicago and Los Angeles.   Besides dealing with his life in Christian ministry, the book explores the dynamics of his married and family life.  Philpott’s twelve surviving children became prominent in journalism, social service, and business.  One son became a Member of Parliament and another was the Dean of Medicine at McGill and president of the American College of Surgeons.

Registration is required for those planning to attend virtually. Attendance is free and open to all.

Link to register (virtual):

Once registered, a confirmation email will be sent with the meeting details.

For those attending in person, we invite you to stay after the meeting for refreshments and to socialize. The London Familysearch Library (formerly the Family History Centre), located in the building, will also be open until 1 pm to allow you to do some research. Additionally, copies of Dr. Elliott’s book will be available for sale at the in-person event. Cost to purchase (with GST) a copy is $42.00. (Cash or cheque only).