Fletcher, James (DNB12)

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FLETCHER, JAMES (1852–1908), naturalist, born at Ashe, near Wrotham, Kent, England, on 28 March 1852, was second son of Joseph Flitcroft Fletcher by his wife Mary Ann Hayward. The eldest son, Flitcroft Fletcher, was an artist who exhibited five pictures at the Royal Academy (1882–6), dying at the age of thirty-six. Fletcher was educated at King's School, Rochester, and joined the Bank of British North America in London in 1871. In 1874 he was transferred to Canada and stationed at Montreal. In 1875 he entered the Ottawa office of the bank, and, resigning in May 1876, was employed in the library of parliament until 1 July 1887. Fletcher, whose leisure was devoted to the study of botany and entomology, was then appointed entomologist and botanist to the recently organised Dominion experimental farms. Since 1884 he had acted as Dominion entomologist in the department of agriculture. Elected a fellow of the Linnæan Society on 3 June 1886 and a member of the Entomological Society of America and other scientific societies, he was one of the founders of the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club. At his death he was president of the Entomological Society of Ontario, and honorary secretary of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1896 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Queen's University.

Fletcher was a voluminous writer. To the 'Transactions' of the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club he contributed a 'Flora Ottawaensis,' and with George H. Clark he published 'Farm Weeds of Canada' (1906). Valuable papers on injurious insects and on the diurnal lepifloptera appeared at intervals. Seventeen species of butterflies bear his name. He died at Montreal on 8 Nov. 1908, and is buried in Beech wood cemetery, Ottawa.

He married in 1879 Eleanor Gertrude, eldest daughter of Collingwood Schreiber, C.M.G., Ottawa, by whom he had two daughters.

The Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club erected in his memory a drinking-fountain with bronze medallion at the experimental farm, and had a portrait painted by Franklyn Brownell, R.C.A., which now hangs in the Ottawa public library.

[Information supplied by Fletcher's daughter, Mrs. R. S. Lake; memorial notices by the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club in The Ottawa Naturalist, vol. xxii. No. 10, Jan. 1909.]

P. E.