Monday, February 22, 2010

Handy, Sutherland, Theller, Roberts: The Four Stooges Go to War

Long before the Three Stooges and brother Shep entertained the North American masses, four Patriot generals staged their own dark slapstick comedy near Detroit in 1838.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Caroline: A Burning Ship Lets Mackenzie Set the Border Aflame

On December 13, less than a week after William Lyon Mackenzie fled his bungled 1837 rebellion to the US, he took control of Navy Island in the Canadian half of the Niagara River, upstream from the falls. Backed by hundreds of armed followers, he declared himself the head of a provisional government, the Republic of Canada. They built fortifications and began a cannon bombardment of the Canadian shore.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Charles Duncombe: Dr. Jekyll Becomes Mr. Hyde

Dr. Charles Duncombe (July 28, 1792-October 1, 1867) grew up in New York State. In 1819, he moved to Upper Canada, where he lived in several southwestern towns over the years practicing medicine. Drawn to politics, he succeeded in getting elected to the Upper Canada legislature in 1830. He started out as a moderate, not a radical like William Lyon Mackenzie. But that changed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Samuel Lount, Peter Matthews: First to Hang

Not all rebel leaders succeeded in escaping to the US after William Lyon Mackenzie's brief Upper Canada rebellion in 1837. The British captured Samuel Lount, Peter Matthews, and Anthony Van Egmond in flight. Each commanded rebel troops during the attack on Toronto, and each paid the ultimate price.

Monday, February 1, 2010

W. L. Mackenzie: The Firebrand Who Spawned a Border War

The raiders and rebels who turned the Canadian-US border into a war zone in 1838 can lay much of the blame for igniting the flame on one diminutive Scotsman, William Lyon Mackenzie. Driven by uncompromising political principles, Mackenzie (March 12, 1795-August 28, 1861) spent his adult life trying to bring political reform to Upper Canada (the colony that became Ontario in 1867).