Monday, June 28, 2010

Peel Pirates: Their Fates and Histories

After William Anderson was acquitted for arson in the destruction of the Sir Robert Peel, the American authorities stopped searching for any missing Peel raiders, except Bill Johnston. The uncaptured raiders simply went home or to business as usual. Some of them joined Johnston in the Thousand Islands. A few continued to fight for the Patriots and Hunters against the British in Upper Canada.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Peel Pirates: The Trials Begin

Within days of Bill Johnston's raid on the Sir Robert Peel, American constables arrested 13 of his pirate crew, including three men who never set foot on the ship. Most people in Jefferson County, NY, supported Johnston's men and waited expectantly for their trials to start. The show began on June 23, 1838, at the county court house in Watertown. And what a show!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bill Johnston: 7. Proclamation of War

Despite having two countries combing the Thousand Islands searching for him after the burning of the Sir Robert Peel, Bill Johnston did not cower in fear nor flee to safer environs. Instead he issued a declaration of war. Picked up by newspapers, his words swept across Canada and the border states, and landed on the desks of Queen Victoria and President Martin Van Buren.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Benjamin Wait, Samuel Chandler: 2. Patriots Escape Penal Colony

For weeks after the ship carrying Patriot prisoners arrived in Portsmouth, England, the British split the Short Hills prisoners into two groups on January 16, 1839. One group, which included Linus Miller, was sent to the infamous Newgate prison, a cesspool of human incarceration. Wait, Chandler and eight others were kept for months on a prison ship moored in Portsmouth harbor, shivering in its unheated bowels, hoping for a reprieve.