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no. 3 




Kingston. < >ntari< i. 

November. 1954 



Being the Transactions of tine Kingston Historical Society for 1953 - 54. 


The History of the Port of Kingston, by Dr. R. A. Preston, R.M.C. 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary, by Mr. J. A. Edmison, Queen's 

The Story of St. Mark's, by The Reverend Allan J. Anderson. 

The Battle of the Windmill, by Dr. G. F. G. Stanley, R.M.C". 

Early Canadian Glass, by Mr. G. F. Stevens, Mallorytown. 

The History of the Port of Kingston 

R. A. Preston, Royal Military College 
I. ITS RISE, 1673 -1845. 

Kingston, Ontario, is now distinguished from all other lake and 
river towns between Montreal and Toronto by virtue of its being 
a great educational and military centre; but in the past its mosl i 
important feature, for the greater part of its existence, has been it- ' 
activity as a great port. The city's fortunes in the nineteenth cen- 
tury were related directly to the rise and fall of its maritime com- 
merce. Other aspects of its history which have attracted much 
more attention, for instance its importance as a garrison town and ' 
as the capital of the united provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. 
were really dependent upon the city's prosperity as a port. Situ- 
ated at the junction of the River St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario 
it had a dominant position as the chief inland port of transhipment 
on the water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the interior of the 

The maritime commerce of Kingston was always subject to 
many variable influences which were continually operating to fur- 
ther or to impede its growth. Among these the most important 
were the following: developments in modes of transportation, tin- 
opening of rival routes, the settlement of new areas in the interior, 
British Imperial policy, and the changing relations between the gov- 
ernments of Canada and of the United States. One factor was 
constant, namely the zeal and vision of Kingston's merchants who 
planned and worked to maintain the city's maritime primacy. Un- 
til the end of the nineteenth century shipping continued to be Kings- 
ton's biggest business. Now, fifty years later, when the building 
of the St. Lawrence Seaway is about to write another chapter in 
the history of transportation in Canada, and when Kingston's pros- 
pects as a port are once again under discussion, it is timely to re- 
view the city's maritime history and to analyze the forces which 
have affected its history as a port. 

The site of Kingston, or Cataraqui as it was called, was sel- 
ected by the French, because of its value as a port and not, as is 
sometimes suggested, because of its strategic position and military 
strength. The earliest fur-trade route to the Upper Lake- had 
gone by way of the Ottawa River to keep out of range of Iroquois 
and English interference; but that route was usable only by fau- 
lt was clear that the use of the lower lakes would permit lar 
vessels to be employed for at least part of the way and so decrease 
the cost of carriage. Hence in 1673 Frontenac and La Salle built 
a fort at Cataraqui to protect the most suitable harbour for tran- 
shipment from river canoe to lake schooner. The fort was sec 
ondary to the port. 

The History of The Port of Kingston 

The French port at Cataraqui was in a little bay inside the mag- 
nificent estuary of the Cataraqui river. The little bay faced north- 
east and thus did not suffer from a disadvantage of the Cataraqui 
estuary, namely that it is open to the prevailing south-west winds. 
The old French harbour, now mainly filled in. was located almost 
in front of the present entrance to Fort Frontenac. There La Salle 
and his successors built and operated lake schooners which ran reg- 
ularly to the western end of Lake Ontario and back in less than 
two weeks carrying trade goods on the outward journey and re- 
turning with fur. The schooners also carried supplies and rein- 
forcements for the western forts. 

Under the French regime Kingston prospered as a port. Its 
importance can be seen by the fact that when Col. Bradstreet cap- 
tured Fort Frontenac in 1758 he found there a warehouse two hun- 
dred feet long, six sailing vessels, ten thousand barrels of Indian 
°oods, and provisions, the whole amounting to an estimated value 
of eight hundred thousand livres (or £35,000 sterling). 

But the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence route to the sea had, from 
the first, been challenged by an alternative route by way of Oswego 
to the Hudson River. Because the English offered higher prices' 
for fur and the French and Indian traders were inclined to carry 
their pelts to the south, the French government had to issue or- 
ders that canoes (which were also used on Lake Ontario in addi- 
tion to the schooners ) must keep to the north shore. The fall of 
New France in 1760 was a victory for the Oswego-Hudson route 
over the St. Lawrence route. The western trade now flowed more 
freely to the Hudson; and the Ontario - St. Lawrence route and 
Cataraqui suffered a heavy blow. 

With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War the British gov- 
ernment found it necessary to re-establish a defended port of tran- 
shipment at the junction of the St. Lawrence and Lake ( )ntario. 
Captain Twiss of the Royal Engineers, sent in 1778 to locate a 
suitable site, reported favourably on Buck Island, in the channel 
south of Wolfe Island, in preference to Cataraqui to the north. 
The southern channel was shorter and more convenient than that 
to the north of Wolfe Island; and Buck Island, now renamed Carle- 
ton island, was more suitable than Cataraqui as a base for offen- 
sive operations against the Americans. A fort named Haldimancl 
was built there, and this new port took over the functions which 
Cataraqui had performed during the French regime. Canoes and 
bateaux carried supplies up the St. Lawrence and these were tran- 
shipped at Carleton Island into lake schooners for the voyage to the 
western ports. Cataraqui remained relatively deserted. 

Carleton Island had two small sheltered bays, one for naval 
vessels and the other for merchant ships. But there was little room 

The History ok The Port of Kingston 

for the expansion of mercantile interests. Furthermore it- position 
on an island had obvious disadvantages in time of peace. There 
fore in 1783 when Cataraqui, soon to be re-named Kingston, was 
prospected as a site for a Loyalist settlement, at least two of the 

shipping firms which had operated through Carleton Island, those 
of Joseph Forsyth and of Hamilton and Cartwright, moved with 
the Loyalists and built wharves and warehouses near the old French 
Fort Frontenac. The new wharves were not actually in the old 
French harbour. Lieutenant Peachey, one of the officers who went 
with the Loyalists to Cataraqui in the summer of 1783, has left three 
drawings which show us that the British merchants built outside 
of that little bay, on the other side of the old French fort, on the 
^hore of the estaurv itself. Why this change was made is not clear 
Perhaps the old French vessels sunk in the little bay made it un- 
usable. Alternatively it may be that the British intended to use 
larger vessels than those which had served the French. The old 
French harbour was probably quite shallow. It was no bigger than 
the bavs at Carleton Island and would be no better than they were 
for future expansion. Whatever the reason, the change in the loca- 
tion of the port was important. While it made possible the build- 
ing of a great commercial port at Kingston, it was one that would 
always be exposed to the wild storms which blow in regularly from 
the south-west. 

For the moment a different problem troubled the merchants 
in the new port of Kingston. During the war. in order to prevent 
illicit trade with the enemy, shipping on the lake had been restricted 
to the naval vessels of the "Provincial Marine." With prospects of 
rapid expansion of settlement which followed the war, the shipment 
of colonists, supplies, and produce was obviously about to become 
a major concern of the shipping industry. But the "Provincial Mar- 
ine," an organization run under military direction and in military 
fashion, was unsuitable for this traffic. Under such a system the 
growth of Kingston as a commercial port would obviously be great- 
ly hampered. 

The way for expansion was cleared by the Inland Navigation 
Act of April 30, 1788 which permitted commercial vessels to oper- 
ate on the lake and established a registry for lake shipping. Tin 
first vessel registered under the new act was the Good Intent oi 
Kingston, a vessel which had been built at Fredericksburg. In 
Kingston itself Richard Cartwright immediately began to build 
ships to operate out of the port, the first being the Lady Dorchester. 
launched in 1789. Five years later, when Governor Simcoe visited 
Kingston, it had become a flourishing mercantile port. Sim< 
wrote: "On my arrival at Kingston I found it improved beyond my 
expectations; many stores for merchandize and wharfs had b 
built and new ones were in contemplation. I also found the lan- 
guage of the merchants very much altered. The Fur Trade, a- I 

The History of The Port of Kingston 

had hoped, seem'd no longer the principal object of their attention. 
They looked forward to the produce of their country as the true 
source of their Wealth." The foundations of Upper Canada were 
being laid. 

The letter books of Richard Cartwright give a good picture of 
the forwarding trade of this period in which the barrel of rum was 
the standard unit for reckoning the cost of carriage. French-Can- 
adian bateauxmen and sailors manned the river and lake craft. Cart- 
wright supplied flour to British garrisons and also to American 
army posts. He exported pork, middlings, wheat, peas, butter, 
cheese, lard, potash, and oak staves. The total value of export 
business carried on by the Kingston merchants, including their for- 
warding of goods from Detroit and Niagara, was £27,867 (Provin- 
cial Currency). In 1800 Kingston became a port of entry for Amer-jj 
ican goods and a customs house was established. Schooners begani; 
to run regularly to Sackett's Harbour as well as to other Canadian 1 
forts with resulting benefit to the city. Shipbuilding continued 
to flourish. In 1808 Mr. Cartwright built two more ships, the Eliz- 
abeth and the Governor Simcoe on Mississauga Point where ship- 
building has been carried on ever since. York's isolation up to 
1801, when Asa Danforth completed his road along the north shore 
of the lake, gave Kingston a head start in the race for commercial 

Furthermore, in the period before the war of 1812, develop- 
ments in transportation did not affect Kingston's strategic position. 
A bateaux canal to avoid the Cascade rapids was begun as early as 
1779. But it was regularly damaged by ice and a second canal had 
to be dug in 1805. Other St. Lawrence rapids^remained as barriers 
to navigation. Until bigger canals were dug tall goods destined for 
the great lakes had to be brought laboriously from Montreal to 
Kingston either by being carted past the rapids or hauled up them 
by ropes. From about 1809 the Durham boat, a rather bigger craft 
than the bateau, came into use, but it was similar in design, with 
a heavy oak flat bottom and suitable only for the sheltered waters 
of canal, river and bay. While some bateaux went on up the Bay 
of Quinte and even across the Carrying Place over the isthmus of 
Prince Edward County on to York, it was more usual to tranship 
into lake schooners at Kingston^ 

While Kingston was building up its business in commercial 
transhipment it sought also to become the port of military and 
naval transhipment and the naval base. Carleton Island had had 
some disadvantages during the Revolutionary War. It was so close 
to the American shore that often at night the garrison had been 
penned up in Fort Haldimand by fear of hostile Indians. Further- 
more, after the peace treaty there was good prospect that when 
the boundary was finally drawn it might be found to be on the 
American side. 

The History of The Port of Kingston 

Major Ross, when investigating Cataraqui as a site for Loyalist 
settlement in 1783, had proposed that a naval base should be built 
in Haldimand Bay, the next cove east of the Cataraqui River, now 
called Navy Bay. He had recommended that a breakwater should 
be built at the entrance to offset the prevailing southwesterlies. In 
1785, the merchants built warehouses at Kingston in expectation 
that government shipment would henceforward be carried on there 
but in April 1786 the Commander-in-chief ordered that tranship- 
ment stores be continued at Carleton Island. In April the Kingston 
merchants stated that the storehouses on the island were in a bad 
state of repair and petitioned Lord Dorchester to make their port 
the naval base for Ontario and the supply depot for the Upper Lakes 

However, in 1788 Deputy Surveyor General Collins reported 
in favour of Carleton Island as against Kingston because "the fea- 
tures of the S.W. end of this island are very singularly formed and 
seem admirably adapted for all naval purposes, upon a scale per- 
haps sufficiently extensive for whatever could at any time be re- 
quisite upon this Lake." Cataraqui on the other hand, "lies rather 
open to the Lake, and has not very good anchorage near the en- 
trance, so that they (vessels) are obliged to run a good way up 
for shelter." Collins was referring here to the entrance to the 
greater Cataraqui River which was more exposed than Haldimand 
Cove, the site recommended by Ross, and which also had two shoals 
in its mouth. He admitted that if the object were transport alone 
Carleton Island had no advantages but he declared that, as a naval 
station, the old base was preferable because Kingston was some- 
what vulnerable in the rear. He obviously preferred the naval base 
to be on an island. 

Governor Simcoe was also reluctant to move the naval base 
to Kingston. In his opinion the winter station of the fleet and the 
re-fitting port should be at York because he considered Kingston 
open to American attack across the ice. These opinions appear 
to have delayed the building of a permanent naval base until, in 
1794, Lt. Alexander Bryce had made an intensive investigation of 
all possible bases from Gananoque to the upper part of the Bay of 
Quinte, twenty-one miles west of Kingston. He reported in favour 
of Haldimand Cove saying that although Kingston did not com- 
mand the entrance from the river into the lake, neither did any 
other place. He saw* that it was the obvious place for tranship- 
ment from bateau to lake schooner. 

Hence the Provincial Marine came to be permanently estab- 
lished in Haldimand Cove, renamed Navy Bay, at Kingston; and 
the port's significance is made clear by the words of a French-Can- 
adian officer stationed in Kingston during the War of 1812 which 
describe the city's function concisely and explain it- growth. "All 

8 The History of The Port of Kingston 

the supplies from the Upper Countries pass through Kingston; it 
is also the principal depot of military stores, provisions etc. All 
these stores are usually brought here in bateaux. Large lake ves- 
sels, in consequence, seldom go farther down the river, although 
the largest of them could easily reach Prescott. But the channel 
is narrow, and the return could only be accomplished with a favour- 
able wind . . ."7 At the dockyard on Point Frederick were built most 
of the warslups, including the three-masted sloop of war Royal 
George which gave the British a decided advantage over the Amer- 
icans when the war broke out. As it turned out York was burned 
by the Americans during the war while Kingston remained per- 
fectly secure. The decision to build the base at Kingston was thus 
proved to be the correct one. 

During the war soldiers, sailors, and craftsmen were brought 
to the city in large numbers. The story of Kingston as a war time 
naval base is an important and interesting part of its history as 
port ; but it is too well known to need repeating here. The war. 
fought in the west, stimulated the carrying trade. Hence in 1815 
Commodore Bouchette reported "Wharfes have been constructed, 
and many spacious warehouses erected, that are usually filled with 
merchandize. In fact it (Kingston) is now become the main entre- 
pot between Montreal and the settlements along the lakes to the 
westward. From the commencement of spring until the latter part 
of autumn great activity prevails ; vessels of eighty to nearly two 
hundred tons, employed in navigating the lake, are continually 
receiving and discharging their cargoes; as well as the bateaux used 
in the river. The harbour is well sheltered and convenient, access- 
ible to ships not requiring more than three fathoms of water, with 
good anchorage close to the north-eastern extremity of the town." 

Yet a map of Kingston's waterfront in 1816 shows that the 
wharfage was still relatively small. Three piers had been built in 
the old French harbour and there were a few more at irregular in- 
tervals on the west shore of the estuary between the barracks on 
the site of old Fort Frontenac and Mississauga Point. All these 
were quite small. Despite Bouchette's enthusiastic account of King- 
ston's development the great period of expansion was still in the 

After the war there came depression and falling prices. Freight 
rates declined as much as 50%. Kingston was affected and many 
merchants failed. But war had led to a great scarcity of commodi- 
ties in the country and the reduction of transportation costs actually 
stimulated the flow of goods and colonists to the west and of west-i 
ern products to the markets of the east and of Europe. Kingston. 
the port of transhipment from river boat to lake schooner. profitted.J 

The History of The Port of Kingston 

Not all of the expanding trade was legal. To satisfy the de- 
mand created by war scarcity, smuggling grew up between U.S. 
and Canadian ports which the Customs ( )fficers were unable to 
stamp out. Nor were they any more successful in their attempts 
to enforce the Navigation Acts. Before the war American vessels 
on the lakes had traded freely between Canadian ports despite the 
fact that such trade contravened the Navigation Acts. Immediate- 
ly after the war a Kingston Customs Officer seized the cargo of 
an American schooner when it endeavoured to revive the illegal 
trade. A number of similar seizures occurred; but although Can- 
adian shipping men tried to get the laws enforced, violations were 
usually winked at. However, all this trade, legal and illegal, bene- 
fitted Kingston citizens in one way or another. 

To meet the growing demand for the carriage of goods and 
passengers, ships were needed. Here Kingston's war activity proved 
a great advantage to the city. The carpenters and shipwrights who 
had come to the naval dockyard on Point Frederick to build war 
ships stayed on in the area to build merchant vessels. By their, 
labour they created an industry which was to flourish in the city 
long after it had decayed in other Canadian and American lake ports. 
Ships were built on Mississauga Point where Cartwright had had 
his shipyard. From 1828 to 1832 Robert Drummond owned the yard. 
When he sold out to MacPherson and Crane he immediately opened 
a second yard at Portsmouth. The Kingston Marine Railway Com- 
pany, incorporated in 1836, took over the shipyard at Mississauga 
Point, built there a large marine railway for hauling ships from the 
water, and extended the dockyard along the waterfront. One of the 
promoters of the Marine Railway was Henry Gildersleeve. an Amer- 
ican who had worked on the great American warships at Sackett's 
Harbour during the war and who then became the leading shipping 
man in the Kingston area. Thus Kingston drew upon enemy re- 
sources as well as on those which war had drawn to the port for the 
defence of Upper Canada. 

Gildersleeve had moved to Ernestown (Bath) in 1816 to work 
on the first steamship to navigate the Great Lakes, the Frontenac, 
which was launched at Finkles Point on Sept. 7. 1816. The con- 
struction of this vessel, and of others which soon followed in Kings- 
ton itself, was also a direct result of the war. At the instigation of 
military and naval authorities a committee of the leading citizens of 
Kingston met together in 1815 to organize a company to build a 
steamship for the express purpose of forestalling the Americans. 
One of the provisions of their agreement was that no "alien' - could 
have a share in the ship. It was ironical that the contract for build- 
ing the Frontenac was given to Harry Teabout of Sackett's Harbour, 
a builder of the American war fleet; but it has been confirmed that 
the Frontenac was in operation before the launching of her Amer- 
ican rival. S S. Ontario. 


The History of The Port of Kingston 

The appearance of paddle-steamers obviously posed a serious 
threat to one of the basic causes of Kingston's primacy as a port. 
Although the Frontenac stuck in the mud on her maiden voyage down 
the river and had to be ignominiously hauled off by soldiers, the 
steamers could and did go down river safely as far as Prescott. As 
they could now ply directly from Prescott to the Head of the Lake 
the port of transhipment from bateau to lake steamer might well 
move from Kingston to Prescott. However, for many decades steam- 
ers were greatly outnumbered by sailing vessels on the lakes. Fur- 
thermore, although they won the passenger trade from the sailing 
vessels because they were much more convenient and comfortable, 
for a long time heavy cargo was carried more economically by sail- 
ing vessels. Kingston remained the port of transhipment. 

The opening of the Rideau canal in 1832 confirmed Kingston's, 
position as the eastern port terminal. Although the canal was built 
for military purposes, the Ottawa-Rideau route came to rival the St. 
Lawrence as a means of transporting goods from the oceans of the 
world to the Great Lakes and the interior of the continent. Steam- 
boats and barges could use the canal. Transhipment to lake schoon- 
ers was done at Kingston which was therefore the most important 
shipping centre at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. The steamers 
in the passenger trade adapted their operations to the fact of Kings- 
ton's primacy. Lines fanned out from the port to the Head of the 
Lake, to American ports, to Prescott, and. via the Rideau. to the 
Ottawa River. 

The opening of the Rideau system in 1832 had brought to the 
city another advantage which must be mentioned, namely, the ooen- 
ing up of a new hinterland. Much of the lumber and potash derived 
from clearing the land was exported from the port of Kingston and 
a regular trade in these commodities developed with Oswego. There 
was great hope that the country between Kingston and the Ottawa 
could now be opened up and could produce agricultural products 
and, perhaps, minerals. Thus, within a generation after the War of 
1812, Kingston seemed on the way to becoming an outlet port as 
well as a port of transhipment. 

The naval base at Kingston declined steadily in importance after 
the war. Even so, for many years it contributed to the city's pros- 
perity. To conform with the letter of the Rush-Bagot agreement, 
the great St. Lawrence and the frigates were laid up "in ordinary" ; 
but £10,000 a year was spent in an attempt to keep them seaworthy. 
When decay triumphed and the old vessels became waterlogged, ten 
gun-boats were built on the stocks and the one allowed by the agree- 
ment was launched and commissioned. The dockyard was closed 
down altogether in 1834 and most of its stores were sold off by 1836: 
but it had to be hurriedly re-opened as a result of the rebellion of 
1837. Captain William Sandom, and enough sailors to man a frigate, 

The History of The Port of Kingston 11 

were rushed to the city. Gunboats were built and, later, steam-ves- 
sels. The first naval steamship on the lakes, a wooden, paddle-driven, 
schooner-rigged, six-gun sloop of war, H.M.S. Cherokee, was built 
at Kingston in 1842. Thus, although the tremendous activity of war- 
time was not maintained, the naval base undoubtedly brought busi- 
ness to the city and Kingston remained a great naval port until after 
the Fenian raids. 

However, the chief cause of Kingston's increasing prosperity 
in these decades after the war was the fact that it was a port of tran- . 
shipment when the opening of the American west brought a flood 
of wheat to European markets. In the days before the railways, 
water transportation was the only means of moving bulk cargoes; 
and the Great Lakes system provided an invaluable outlet for west- 
ern grain. Amendments to the British Corn laws ensured Kingston's 
participation in a good proportion of this trade. In 1825 Canadian ' 
wheat was given preference in the British market ; and wheat grown 
in the United States but milled in Canada was classed as "Canadian". 
Hence a good part of the American harvest flowed through Canada 
to British ships. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1826 diverted 
some of this trade from Lake Erie to the Hudson River; but in 1829 
some compensation was brought by the construction of a canal at 
Welland from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. In 1842 "colonial" wheat 
was allowed into Britain at a nominal duty of one shilling a bushel 
and as a result the St. Lawrence trade greatly increased. A grain 
elevator was built at Buffalo in that year and the Lower Ontario 
terminals were at Oswego and Kingston. A large part of the grain 
flowed down the St. Lawrence to the sea and had to be handled in 
the port of Kingston. So, largely as a result of the opening of the 
American West, Kingston's rise as a port of transhipment during 
the generation after 1812 was spectacular. The city seemed destined 
to become one of the great cities of the North American continent. 

The physical expansion of the port in this period is well illus- 
trated bv comparing a map of the water-front in 1816 with one dated 
1842. Where there had previously been only half a dozen small jet- 
ties and wharves, some twenty now filled all the shore between Fort 
Frontenac and the shipyard at Mississauga Point. Here the great 
"forwarding companies" which operated on both the Rideau and 
the St. Lawrence routes had spacious warehouses. Many years later 
Dr. Barker of the British Whig reported that he remembered that 
in his boyhood in Kingston it was "no unusual sight to see thirty 
or forty vessels, from a square-rigged three-master down to a small 
fore-and-aft schooner" waiting to have cargo shipped into barges. 
The grain was handled in primitive fashion. H was shovelled with 
scoops by men standing knee-deep in the hold and then moved on 
stretchers or by horse "and tackle. A cargo which today could be 
moved in seven seconds took seven days to tranship. But ot course 
the large amount of labour involved enriched Kingston's merchants 
and citizens. 


!_> The History of The Port of Kingston 

In 1841 Kingston, reacting to the growing stature of its own 
port, petitioned Lord Sydenham to make Montreal a free port of 
entry. Tt realized that any increase in Montreal's trade automatic- 
ally benefitted Kingston. At the same time Kingston merchants 
asked that government inspectors for flour, beef. pork, potashes and 
lumber should be established at Kingston on the same footing as 
those at Montreal and Quebec, saying that "a large portion of that; 
(export) trade centres at Kingston, being the port of delivery for 
all the products of the Province and of the surplus of the neighbour-; 
ing states." So it can be seen that the people of Kingston were well 
aware of their dependence on their port. 

In that same year, 1841, Captain Shepherd took the steamer St 
David from Brockville through all the Cornwall and Coteau rapids 
to Lachine. He had also succeeded in finding a passage past the 
St. Ann rapid on the Ottawa which hitherto had been passed only 
by means of a private lock. Shepherd initiated the practice of tow- 
ing timber rafts by steamboat to Montreal from Kingston. He also 
made possible a new circular trade which the "propellers" began in 
1841, towing barges down the St. Lawrence and back by the Ottawa 
and Rideau to Kingston. The deepening of the St. Lawrence canals 
to 9 feet in 1843 increased the business of towing barges by steamers. 
In 1845 there were 30 small steamers making the round trip from 
Kingston. In addition to wheat they carried oats, flour, pork, pot- 
ashes and staves and brought back for onward transportation to the 
west coal, salt, general merchandise and immigrants. Kingston's 
position as the centre of the inland maritime commerce of Canada 
had thus been firmly established and it was, in effect, in recognition 
of this fact that Kingston had become the capital of the Canada in 
1841. The city seemed destined for a great future. 

II— DECLINE, 1845-1953. 

The removal of the parliament in 1844 has often been blamed 
for Kingston's failure to live up to the great promise of its early 
career. Naturally the departure of the politicians and their clerks 
and secretaries brought loss to the citizens, especially, as, in antici- 
pation of remaining the seat of the government, they had built the 
great City Hall and other fine buildings. But the future home of 
Kingston, like its past, depended much more on its activity as a port 
and in particular on the flow of grain from the West than on the 
continuance of parliamentary sessions in the city. The first real ) 
blows to Kingston's prosperity were the measures repealing the 
British Corn Laws in 1846 and the Navigation Acts in 1849. Where-" 
as formerly the "Old Colonial System'Miad tended to draw Ameri- 
can wheat down the St. Lawrence to British ships, the adoption of 
free trade by Britain, according to Lord Elgin, "drove Canadian 
wheat down New York channels of communication." The port of 
New York had certain advantages over Montreal. It was ice-free 

The History of The Port of Kingston 13 

all the year round ; and it could offer a greater variety of supple- 
mentary freights in both directions. The St. Lawrence route, and 
Kingston, had been dealt a severe blow. Never again was the city 

O CD m/ 

to achieve a near-monopoly of the transhipment of grain. 

At the same time the improvement of the St. Lawrence canals in < 
the 1840's was steadily working to weaken Kingston's control of the ' 
transhipment trade on the St. Lawrence route. After 1843, when i 
the new Lachine and Cornwall canals with a depth of nine feet be- 
came available, although most of the grain still went by barge, some 
lake schooners began to be towed down the canals to avoid the 
necessity of transhipment. Furthermore, the completion of the St. 
Lawrence system in 1847 fore-shadowed the end of the Rideau as j 
a commercial waterway and so struck another blow at one of the | 
bases of Kingston's importance as a port. 

Other difficulties had also become evident even before the pros- 
perous forties. Kingston's harbour, magnificent as it seemed, had 
two great advantages. It was wide open to the frequent storms 
blowing in from the open lake. And shoals in the harbour entrance 
caused ever more trouble as ships grew in size. A map of Kingston | 
harbour in 1842 was entitled "Part of the Harbour of Kingston 
showing the Position of the Shoals adjacent to the Town". It 
shows two shoals in the main stream towards Point Frederick 
which are covered by only about ten feet of water, and a third 
(where the Martello Tower was built a few years later) with less 
than six feet of water. Narrow channels, marked on the chart "deep 
water", "over 20 feet", had to be negotiated between these shoals. 
When the wind was high and the water rough, Kingston was not 
an easy harbour to enter; and sailors on vessels tied up to Kingston's 
wharves had to give close heed to their shore-lines. 

Five or six years before the time when this map was made 
Kingston newspapers had canvassed the idea of building a pier at 
Mississauga Point. It had been suggested that the breakwater 
should run for 400 feet southward and then east toward Point Fred- 
erick, making a total length of 1000 feet. It was claimed that 50 
vessels would thus be provided with shelter during the mild south- 
erly and south-westerly gales. In 1839 a Kingston merchant. Mr. 
Markland, had petitioned the Provincial Legislature for the con- 
struction of a pier at "Cataraqui Point" near Kingston. It is prob- 
able that this was another reference to Mississauga Point near which 
Markland had property and that it is not a reference to the area near 
the Little Cataraqui, west of the city. The petition had been re- 
ported by a committee but no action had been taken. Kingston's 
harbour remained dangerous. 

Nevertheless, notwithstanding fierce competition from tin- Erie 
Canal route now aided by British fiscal policy, notwithstanding tin- 
improvement of the St. Lawrence canals, and notwithstanding the 
difficulties caused by inadequacies of the Kingston Harbour, the 

14 The History of The Port of Kingston 

city's mercantile business continued to flourish into the fifties. By 
1853 a grain elevator which could handle 3000 bushels an hour and 
store 80,000 bushels of grain had been erected by the firm of Walk- 
er and Berry at the foot of Queen Street. This firm alone shipped 
annually about 600,000 bushels of grain, mostly to England. Their 
(.•levator machinery was driven by a 60 h.p. motor which drove a nail- 
manufacturing machine as a side-line. A government line of tugs 
had been established to provide towing service down to Montreal 
and some of the shippers who had at first taken advantage of the 
canals to send their schooners down the St. Lawrence began to re- 
turn to the practice of transhipment into barges at Kingston. 

But in the 1850's a recession hit the shipping trade. Over ex- 
pansion was one basic cause. For instance, Berry of the grain ele- 
vator firm, had become too ambitious and had begun to build ocean- 
going vessels at Portsmouth. When that venture failed, his grist- 
mill, his warehouse and elevator, and his nail factory were all in- 
volved in the crash. A second cause of the slump was the with- 
drawal of Imperial troops from Kingston for the Crimea in 1853 
which cast a blight on the city's business. Soon Canadian lumber 
interests found that the British transports, which had carried the 
troops to war, were taking back to England from Black Sea ports 
at reduced rates, wood which was competing with the Canadian 

In an essay attempting to explain this depression, C. W. Cooper, 
the legal editor of the Toronto Globe, wrote that, while the Im- 
perial garrison and the dockyard had furnished employment to a 
very great number of people directly and indirectly, it was emplov- 
ment in callings which were unproductive and even demoralizing. 
He instanced the large number of "small inns, taverns, and .qrog- 
geries". He said that the belief that Kingston's prosperity was 
based on imperial subsidies was erroneous and that it was actually 
built on the development of its natural resources. He argued that 
the temporary check caused by the removal of the seat of govern- 
ment had already been overcome and that the withdrawal of the 
imperial garrison for the Crimea was not a fatal blow. A "return 
to the city's many legitimate sources of prosperitv and the rapid and 
certain development of its resources" would, he said, "speedily re- 
move a temporary stagnation". 

Cooper's chief thesis was that Kingston's prosperity had been 
built on its situation and its function as a port of transhipment; and 
in this he was quite correct. But he seems to have failed to ap- 
preciate that there was a new danger to that main pro]) of the port's 
prosperity. He mentioned railwav building; but he did not under- 
stand how it might adversely affect Kingston by creating a rival 
transportation route which would obviate the necessitv "for tran- 
shipment at the port. 

The History of The Port of Kingston IS 

American railroads had reached Lake Ontario in the early forties 
and, with the support of Kingston merchants, sought to tap the 
Canadian trade. In 1845, a railway from Toronto to Wolfe Island 
had been promoted to link up with the American system. The first 
plan had been to bridge the St. Lawrence at Pittsburgh township, 
immediately east of Kingston. The Wolfe Island, Kingston 
and Toronto railway had been incorporated in 1846 and another 
line from Kingston to Montreal had obtained a charter at the same 
time. In 1851, the two projected lines running east and west were 
amalgamated and it was also planned, if the bridging of the St. 
Lawrence at Kingston proved to be impracticable, to dig a canal 
across Wolfe Island and operate a car ferry through it to connect 
with the U.S. railroads. The Kingston City Council arranged for 
the sale of stock in the canal and itself put up £2,500. Thus Kings- 
ton was to become a railway centre connecting Canadian lines with 
those running to the American Atlantic ports. 

Although the incorporation of the Grand Trunk Railway in 
1852 destroyed the plans of the earlier Canadian railway companies, 
the canal and car ferry scheme, in which the Rome and Watertown 
Railroad owned a half share, went ahead. The car ferry, John 
Counter, was ready to run on December 1, 1853, to bring cars from 
the Rome, Watertown, and Oswego R.R. at Cape Vincent. They 
were unloaded at a new stone warehouse in Kingston. The Reci- 
procity Treaty of 1854 promised an increase of trade with the Unit- 
ed States and gave good hopes of success in this venture. But the 
G.T.R. was slow to arrive and the car ferry soon found itself profit- 
less. The steamer was sold during the first season of its operation. 
The plan for linking the Canadian West with American Atlantic 
ports through Kingston had thus received a serious setback. To 
the anger of Kingstonians, the G.T.R. station at Kingston, which 
was opened in 1856, was over a mile from the city, and also from 
the car ferry stage. Not until 1860 was a branch line thrown to the 
water-front ; and by that time all hope of linking with the U.S. rail- 
roads had faded. The termination of reciprocity in 1866 made the 
plan not worth reviving. 

The Wolfe Island canal had not been completed until 1857; it 
was used until 1890 but only by an ordinary ferry which ran from 
Cape Vincent to Kingston. Eventually that ceased to operate ; and 
a weedy depression across the island is all that now remains of the 
schemes in Kingston merchants in the 1850's to make their city a 
railway centre linking with the United States. 

The G.T.R. line along the north shore of Lake Ontario quickly 
obtained a stranglehold on light freight and fast passenger traffic, 
and the steamboats, now too numerous for the business, cut their 
rates in suicidal competition. But the depression lingered on, and 
the railways were blamed for it. However, early in 1860. the Kings- 
ton Board of Trade reported that the competition between the G.T.R. 
and the steamer^ had not really hurt the city. "It matters little 


The History of The Port of Kingston 

whether goods are carried past us by rail or water." The Board felt, 
perhaps over-optimistically, that the steamers, many of which were 
.till owned in Kingston, could hold their own against the railways 
in competition for passengers because they were much more com- 
fortable; it went on to declare that the city's most important bus- 
iness was still the transhipment of bulk cargoes from schooners to 
river boats; it found that the slump was caused by the over-build- 
ing of sailing vessels in 1854 and 1855 followed by crop failures in 
1857 and 1858; and it was confident that the better harvest of 1859 
would bring a revival of trade. It is clear that Kingston was still 
cajiable of holding a share in the wheat export trade; but because 
it was now having to share that trade with alternative routes there 
was not enough trade to go around when business was poor. 

Hence it is not surprising that in the second half of the nine- 
teenth century the Board of Trade was active with plans to main- 
tain Kingston's position as a port and to improve its facilities. The 
crying need was for the opening up of an alternative business to 
supplement transhipment. One obvious method was to develop ^ 
the hinterland behind the port. In this work the railway might 
help. Plans to open up the back country Kingston and Ottawa by 
various railway developments were discussed in 1854 and again in 
1869. In the latter year, to tap mineral resources which were de- 
scribed as "inexhaustible", a railway using cheap wooden rails was 
proposed. Finally, in 1872 the Kingston and Pembroke R.R. was 
successfully promoted with a bonus of $400,500 from the govern- 
ment. It was at first believed that the Tete-de-Pont Barracks 
would be handed over by the government as a site for the station ; 
but the Kingston Board of Trade itself insisted that the line should 
be carried further west so that it would connect with all wharves 
and thus support Kingston's function as a port. At the same time 
an approach was made to the G.T.R. for a "loop-line" through the 

In 1889 further prospecting having indicated deposits of lead, ] 
phosphate of lime, mica, iron ore, and plumbago in the County of 
Frontenac, the Board urged that the roads leading into the city 
should be developed. In the same year the completion of the ex- 
tension of the Napanee, Tamworth and Quinte 1\.R. to Tweed brought 
considerable trade to the city; and plans were made for a Kings- 
ton, Smiths Falls and Ottawa R.R. In 1895 there were plans for 
an iron and steel works in the city and as the only site available, 
on the west bank of the Cataraqui north of the bridge, was inac- 
cessible to vessels of deep draught, the Board of Trade petitioned 
the Dominion government to dredge the inner harbour. A year 
later, however, the plan had to be dropped because the supply of 
iron ore was found inadequate for commercial exploitation. The 
plain truth is that Kingston did not develop as a big outlet port for 
the hinterland because the back country produced nothing in ade- 
quate quantities for export. The country to the north, at the cdge. [ 

The History of The Port of Kingston 17 

of the Laurentian shield, was not good agricultural country ; and 
mineral resources were not in adequate quantities for bulk trans- 
port through the port. 

Nevertheless there were strenuous efforts to make the best of 
the situation. Some small industries had grown up. In the fifties 
there was a nail manufacturing plant and a grist mill. In the eight- 
ies there were cotton and knitting mills, cigar factories and tanner- 
ies, a rope works, milling company, a sawmill and broom factor}-. 
By 1890 a car works and an oil cloth factory had appeared. In 1912 
there was also a piano manufacturer and a tile and brick works. But all 
these did not greatly increase the business of Kingston's water 
front. Calvin's rafting business, which flourished on Garden Island 
with shipbuilding as a subsidiary, was one of the few large-scale 
efforts to supplement Kingston's dependence on grain ; but, as local 
timber stands became exhausted, it also became largely a tranship- 
ment business and so did not make Kingston an outlet port. In 
1901 petitions sought the extension of the Kingston and Pembroke 
Railway to the Glendower mine and to the iron mines at Carleton 
Place ; and the Board of Trade tried to advertise the iron resources 
of Frontenac and Lanark counties. In 1907 there was talk of build- 
ing smelters for zinc and cobalt at Kingston. But all these pro- 
jects, which might have made Kingston an industrial centre and 
built up an outlet port, came to nothing. It is significant that Tor- 
onto, with a rich agricultural hinterland, and in a convenient lo- 
cation for railway development in several directions, left Kingston 
far behind both as an industrial centre and also as a port. 

Hence, Kingston continued to depend on the trade which had 
made it what it was, the transhipment of grain. Accordingly, 
throughout the century, the Board of Trade directed its most stren- 
uous efforts to the retention of that trade. In the first few months 
after its organization in August, 1851, the Board urged the strength- 
ening of trade bonds with Britain, the best customer for western 
grain, by the introduction of transatlantic steamers and by a return 
to differential treatment for British goods. At the same time it pro- 
posed various measures to favour goods passing down the St. 
Lawrence route to the sea rather than through the United States. 
Although the Board frequently resolved in favor of the improve 
ment of inland waterways it consistently opposed the opening of a 
canal from Lake Huron to Ontario which might have led to a chal- 
lenge to Kingston's position as a port of transhipment. It urged 
the continued subsidizing of the government tug-line operating be- 
tween Kingston and Montreal. From 1858 it pressed for the re- 
mission of all canal dues on the St. Lawrence; but this measure was 
not finally achieved until 1904 when it was the result of agitation 
of the Dominion Marine Association, a group of Great Lakes ship- 
owners which was organized in Kingston in that year with a Kings- 
ton lawyer, Francis King, as its secretary and moving spirit. 


The History of The Port of Kingston 

Meanwhile, partly as a result of the Board's efforts, Kingston 
succeeded in retaining for some time a good share of the growing 
trade in shipping grain to England. A general depression hit the 
city in 1875 and 1876 but Kingston merchants felt that they had 
fared better than those of most other places. Oddly enough the 
chief cause of Kingston's expanding trade in grain and therefore of 
the city's continued prosperity was the railway expansion wdiich had 
at first seemed likely to threaten the city's trade. The opening of 
the west by the C.P.R. transcontinental line brought a flood of grain 
to the ( rreat bakes. 

In 1886. the year before the deepening of the Welland to 14 
tret was completed, vessels could get through from the Upper Lakes 
to deliver cargoes of over 50.000 bushels at Kingston. But vessels 
carrvinq- up to 100,000 bushels were then operating on the Upper 
Lakes and therefore it was expected that even bigger cargoes would 
soon lie coming through the Canal and that Kingston would need 
bigger facilities if it was to receive its due share of the trade. In 
1871 a new grain elevator had been projected and in 1875 a com- 
mittee of the Board of Trade had been set up to raise stock for it. 
In 1882 Richardson's replaced their old elevator, wdiich thev had 
built in 1869. by a new one which could hold 60,000 bushels. In 
1890. George Richardson and C. F. Gildersleeve moved a Board of 
Trade resolution asking for government support for the building 
of an adequate grain elevator because the task was beyond the 
capacity of private enterprise. Seven years later, Richardson's elevator 
having: burned down, it was replaced bv a new one which could 
hold 250,000 bushels, and the Board of Trade recommended that the 
City should subsidize the Montreal Transportation Company (which 
was rumoured to be planning to leave the city) to build a "second 
elevator" at the port. So, bv the end of the century, Kingston had 
two new elevators capable of handling the cargoes now being brought 
from the Upper Lakes in ships wdiich could carrv cargoes of over 
80,000 bushels. 

In response to the challenge imposed by continued growth in 
the size of ships Kingston also built improved and enlarged re- 
pairing facilities. In 1878 in anticipation of the 14 foot Welland 
Canal the Davis Dry Dock was built in the old French Harbour 
behind Fort Frontenac. But soon this was not large enough and 
this fact was emphasized when the "propeller" Myles went aground 
on a shoal at the entrance to Kingston Harbour and had to go to Port 
I )alhousie for repairs. Through the agency of John A. Macdonald the 
government built a new dockyard at the shipyard on Mississauga 
Point. It was opened in 1890. 

But the biggest obstacle to the increase in the size of the grain 
ships using the Port of Kingston was the condition of the harbour 
itself. By 1863 many other Ontario ports wdiich were less well 

The History of The Port of Kingston 19 

favoured by nature had built breakwaters for the protection of ship- 
ping. But Kingston's harbour still lay open to the westerly gales. 
The wharves were all privately owned and there was no harbour 
or port authority. Although the city had at one time imposed port 
dues the practice had been discontinued because it was alleged that 
vessels were thereby discouraged from coming to Kingston. Hence 
no fund had been established locally for the improvement of the 

With the growth of the size of ships in the latter part of the 
century, port development became imperative. In 1872, when the 
deepening of the Welland Canal to 14 feet was known to be im- 
minent, the Board of Trade requested government aid to deepen 
Kingston's harbour which was only eleven feet at the wharves in 
normal times and which, in the low water of that season, had dropped 
to 9' 6". The removal of the Point Frederick shoal was also re- 
quested as was a breakwater, to run from the Murney Tower. The 
Dominion Board of Trade would not support these requests be- 
cause they were local matters which it thought ought to be covered 
by harbour dues. A resolution was therefore introduced at the 
Kingston Board to prepare for the appointment of Harbour Com- 
missioners to carry out improvements ; but for some reason it was 
withdrawn. Presumably the shipping interests were not prepared 
to submit to port dues. A year later, in an attempt to get the 
government to undertake the improvements to Kingston's harbour, 
some experimental dredging was begun on the shoals. Apparently 
these tactics were successful for, during the next ten years, the 
Ministry of Public Works financed a considerable amount of dredg- 
ing in Kingston Harbour. 

However, in 1886, when the Myles went aground, the Board 
pressed for a more vigorous programme of dredging at public ex- 
pense. Between 1885 and 1896 the water over Point Frederick 
shoal was considerably deepened at a cost of $66,425. In 1898. in 
anticipation that the new grain elevators would bring yet bigger 
ships to Kingston, the Board of Trade again pressed for more dredg- 
ing to be done at public expense. Effective work was done in 1898 and 
1899; but in 1900 B. M. Button, Kingston's M.P., made urgent re- 
presentations for the building of a breakwater and yet more dredg- 
ing, saying that the previous work, although considerable, had not 
been systematic. The channel was still too narrow to allow two 
of the large grain ships to pass each other. In 1906, 1907, and our 
1908 representations for improvements to the harbour were still 
being made and $50,000 was appropriated for deepening the inner 
harbour for industrial development but was not spent when the iron 
mining syndicates concerned abandoned their plans. The root ol 
all the trouble seems to have been that the limestone outcropping 
under the harbour made dredging a laborious process which could 
only be justified if profitable commercial expansion could be antici- 

2q The History of The Port of Kingston 

pated. As a result, on the eve of the first World War, Kingston 
Harbour was still too shallow for the safety of big vessels and re- 
mained exposed to the prevailing gales. 

Meanwhile the prairie harvest continued to grow and bigger v 
ships were being built to carry it on the Upper Lakes. Two years 
after the building of the second grain elevator at Kingston in 1898 
Kingston's merchants petitioned the government to deepen the 
Welland Canal which had already become a bottle-neck in the lakes 
grain trade. Silting made the canal actually less than its regula- 
tion depth of fourteen feet and many of the big grain boats were 
unable to pass through into Lake Ontario. The Kingston Board 
of Trade accompanied its petition for a deepening of the Welland 
by a resolution against the spending of public money for storage 
facilities at Port Colborne or Port Dalhonsie, saying, "There is no 
question that the transhipment of grain from lake steamers to river 
barges should be done at the foot of lake navigation and elevator 
and storage facilities for this work are already provided at the ports 
of Kingston and Prescott." However, an increasing proportion of 
the transhipment from Upper Lakes grain carriers to smaller ships 
took place at Lake Erie ports and the grain then either went past 
Kingston down the St. Lawrence or. to make matters worse, through 
Buffalo down American canals which had been made free of toll 
in 1885. By 1910 the C.P.R. opened its new grain port and elevators 
at Port McXicol on Lake Huron and grain wdiich was landed there 
from the Upper Lakes made the journey to ocean vessels by rail 
again by-passing Kingston. This trend grew until only about ten 
per cent of western grain was going down the St. Lawrence. Of 
that amount Kingston handled only a part. 

By 1906 Kingston had become "a city almost without hope". 
In May of that year, however, the Board o'f Trade was reorganized 
to undertake a vigorous programme of economic re-habilitation. 
This was a period of intense inter-city competition for new industries. 
Within six years Kingston had successfully re-vitalized its old in-a 
dnstnes of shipbuilding and locomotive building and had attracted ! 
several other industries to the city. But the' main plank of the j / 
Boards programme, an attempt to restore the city to its position] 
as the chief port of transhipment, had not been, successful In! 
December. 1906, the Board had addressed a query to the manager 
of the Montreal Transportation Company's Kingston elevator (who 
happened to be the Chairman of the Board's 'Marine Committee) 
to ask whether the elevator was handling its full capacity or whether 
gram was having to be sent on to Prescott. His answer was not very 
informative "They handled there this year all the grain that it 
was possible for them to do". Whether the elevator was working 
at full capacity was not made clear, but the real solution of King- 
ton s problem of re-capturing the trade of transhipment was to bring 
h7s enT ^ am . boat f mto Lake Ontario. The campaign to achievl 
Trade ^'^ ful1 SUpP ° rt ° f the re -° r gani z "ed Bo ^d of 

The History of The Port of Kingston 21 

Some interests again advocated the building" of a new canal from 
Huron to Ontario to shorten the route and avoid the shallow waters 
of Lake Erie. Kingston, however, opposed this alternative and put 
all its efforts behind the deepening of the Welland. By 1910 the 
city had received some assurances from the government that this 
would be done and so it turned to the ancillary problem of deep- 
ening its own harbour facilities to accommodate the bigger vessels 
which might now be expected. For a time it was hoped that the 
development of smelting might bring about the desired dredging 
of the inner harbour. When that hope faded another obstacle was 
discovered. It was said that the government was reluctant to under- 
take the work until something was done about the old Cataraqui 
Bridge which separated the inner harbour from the outer. 

The privately-owned Cataraqui Bridge, built in 1827, was long 
past its prime. The Annual Report of the Kingston Board of Trade 
for 1890 had indicated the need for a new bridge, and in 1908 a peti- 
tion had been sent to the government pointing- out that the small 
swing-span of the bridge prevented large vessels from entering the 
inner harbour to winter. It had been suggested that the govern- 
ment should build a new bridge at Bell's Island. Nothing had come 
of this at that time. In 1912 Mr. Francis King of the Board of 
Trade's Marine Committee expressed the opinion that the govern- 
ment would take no action to improve the harbour until the city 
had come to a decision about the bridge and that therefore the city 
could not hope to obtain improvements to the harbour until it con- 
trolled the bridge property. He stated that the government pre- 
ferred to rebuild the bridge at the same place as the old one. A few 
months later, the private company which owned the bridge having 
been bought out, Mr. W. F. Nickle, M.P., announced that the plans 
for a causeway to serve as breakwater and bridge were completed. 
It was confidently expected that there would be a large appropria- 
tion for harbour improvement the next session. 

However, things went much more slowly than that. Despite 
the war which followed two years later, work on the Welland Canal 
was "well and satisfactorily under way" by 1916; but Kingston had 
not yet succeeded in getting a start made on its harbour develop- 
ment. In 1919, work on the canal having ceased for a time and then 
restarted, Kingston had to take up from the beginning the task of 
persuading the government to build behind its new causeway a 
great terminal port for the Great Lakes grain trade. 

The city appointed a Harbour Development committee in 
March, 1919, to plan a Deep Water Terminal Port for Kingston. 
The Inner Harbour was the suggested location but the committee 
was also instructed to investigate, as possible alternatives, the Mont- 
real Transportation Company's wharves (the present C.S.L. docks) 
and the Tete-de-Pont Barracks. There was to be ample trackage 
and wharves for coal and package freight; but the real purpose of 

The History op I he Port of Kingston 

the scheme was to build a deep water terminal for the grain ships 
which came through the Sault canals. Indeed, the President of the 
Kingston Board of Trade emphasized this when he wrote in May 
1919 ? "The present work will probably resolve itself into a plant 
for the transhipment of grain only." 

The project of the building of a deep water terminal at Kings- 
ton had the support of the Dominion Marine Association in which 
all the Canadian Great Lakes Shipping lines were represented. In 
1919, at the request of the Department of Public Works, the City of 
Kingston appointed an experienced American elevator engineer, Mr. 
C. D. Howe, to prepare plans for the terminal. He produced his 
report on fanuary 20. 1920. He proposed to dredge a 25 foot channel 
into the inner harbour, to dredge a 25 foot turning basin within the 
12 acre area of the inner harbour, to use the material removed from 
the harbour bottom to connect Bell's Island with the mainland, and 
to build the terminal on the reclaimed land. There was to be a grain 
elevator with a capacity of 400,000 bushels and with a storage annex 
callable of holding 2,800,000 bushels. Mr. Howe stated that bor- 
ing- showed that no rock excavation would be necessary and that 
the inner harbour, being landlocked and protected by the cause- 
way would require no further protection. Despite the fact that Mr. 
Hour made it quite clear that a Kingston terminal would compete 
successfully against rail carriage from the Upper Lakes, the C.P.R.. 
the C.N.R., and the G.T.R.. gave full co-operation and advice about 
laving out the necessary trackage; but the Vice-President of the 
G.T.R., when his recommendations were not taken, turned rather 
cool to the scheme, saying, "Inasmuch as . . . the bulk of the grain 
will be sent forward by water and . . . the amount to be handled 
by the railroads will be of a much lesser quantity ... I do not 
feel that this Company can be of much further help to you." Mr. 
Howe's estimate for "the whole scheme was $2,421,000. A brief, 
based on his report, was submitted to the federal government and 
a booklet describing the harbour was prepared. The Kingston Board 
of Trade was given some kind of promise that as soon as the 
Welland Canal w-as completed the improvements at Kingston would 
be undertaken. It was said that Kingston would thereby not only 
regain all the shipping it had formerly had but much more and 
would come to have the same position in Canada as Buffalo had 
in the United States. 

However, the building of the new Welland Canal was a slow 
process. By 1923 it was learned that the government was still try- 
ing to make up its mind whether to build the lower lakes terminal at 
Kingston or at Prescott. Mr. Francis King, Secretary of the Domin- 
ion Marine Association, informed the Deputy Minister of Public 
Works that his Association, which included all the shipping lines. 
still preferred Kingston. There is, however, in the files of the 
Kingston Harbour Improvement Committee a curious letter from 
which the signature has been cut off and in which one of the steam- 

The History of The Port of Kingston 23 

ship lines circularized its masters to say that the Company was in 
favour of Prescott and that the captains and mates were to send 
in letters in support of that location. It went on to say, "Any of 
you captains who can get letters supporting our views from captains 
who are not in our .employ" were to do so. Notwithstanding this 
break in the ranks, the shipping men as a whole did not want to 
take the new big ships down the precarious channel to Prescott; 
in 1923, 1924, and 1927 representations were made to Ottawa; 
and literature was printed to show that the narrowness of the chan- 
nel in the St. Lawrence and the frequency of fog made the voyage 
to Prescott dangerous. It was said that if any of the new long 
grain carriers went aground they might swing around and block 
the whole of the navigable channel. 

But all Kingston's efforts were of no avail. The government 
appointed a committee of engineers to report on the proper site 
for the lower lakes terminal and towards the end of the session 
it announced that they had decided in favour of Prescott. The 
engineers' report was never made public, allegedly because of diffi- 
culties experienced in getting the United States to agree to dredge 
its share of the channel in the river ; but it is said that the reason 
given for the abandonment of the Kingston project was the same 
which Kingston had long urged against Prescott, namely that fog 
menaced the entrance to the inner harbour. Prescott's advantage, 
of course, was that it gave sixty miles more of water-carriage with- 
out breaking bulk. Accordingly the government built the elevator 
for the lower lakes terminal down the river at Prescott. 

When it had become clear that this would be done the largest 
Canadian grain-carrying concern, the Canadian Steamship Lines, at 
once declared it would not send its big ships down the sixty miles 
of river channel but would build its own facilities at Kingston. In 
May 1927 Mr. Coverdale of C.S.L. and Mr. James A. Richardson, 
the grain merchant, endorsed a plan to build an elevator by private 
enterprise at Kingston, on the site of the Montreal Transportation 
Company's Dock and Tete-de-Pont. Apparently the inner harbour 
was not selected because of the great expense which the necessary 
facilities would cost there and perhaps because of the fear that the 
causeway would cause continual trouble through the silting of the 
basin. In any case, as the government had just rejected the plan 
to build there, it was probably easier to obtain government help 
for dredging at a different site. A few months later, however, the 
Mayor and Mr. W. F. Nickle were sent as a deputation to endeavour 
to persuade Mr. Coverdale to build the terminal above the cause- 
way. They were unsuccessful ; and indeed after investigating the 
dredging necessary to open a channel as far as the proposed site 
on the Montreal Transportation Company's property, it was decided 
to move the whole project even further away to Cataraqui Bay at 
the west end of the city. This decision may have been due to 
doubts about the feasibility of opening a deep channel in the mouth 

,_, The History of The Port of Kingston 

of t h e Greater Cataraqui where rock had always made dredging 
difficult. But it was possibly also influenced by another factor. The 
of ..rain ships had increased much beyond those of 1919 when 
the Howe plan was drawn up and the length of ships like the 
Lemoyne made manoeuvring in the narrow channel of the mouth 
of the Greater Cataraqui extremely difficult. The government agreed 
to dredge I ittle Cataraqui Bay and to build moles for the protection 
of the ships at the elevator wharves. The port of transhipment thus 
moved from the Greater Cataraqui to the Little Cataraqui. The 
great elevators which had dominated Kingstons waterfront during 
the early years of the twentieth century became white elephants. 
To the new elevators grain boats brought cargoes ten times as big 
as those previously coming to Kingston. Kingston had not been 
reinstated to the monopolistic position as a port of transhipment 
that it had occupied a century earlier, but it had now gained a much 
greater part of the trade than it had had at the beginning of the 
present century. 

Hardly had the new elevator been built when the great depres- 
sion came. During the thirties the government elevator at Pres- 
cott was little used and most grain ships carried to the Kingston 
elevator. But Kingston's port declined in all other respects. A 
-real many freighters were tied up for lack of cargoes; and indeed, 
a] >ari from the trade in transhipment of grain at the new elevator 
i which employed many fewer men than were employed in tranship- 
ment a hundred years earlier), the only function of the Port of 
Kingston came to be as a port of call for a few daily tourist steam- 
ers and as a port of safety for vessels during the winter season. 
Package freight, which had once been a large subsidiary industry 
in the port, had disappeared largely as a result of changes in ware- 
house and wholesale organization in the Province. Due to the im- 
provement of motor transport Kingston had lost its place as a cen- 
tre of wholesale business for the old Midland District which could 
now be serviced by road from Toronto or Montreal. During" World 
War II a few small naval vessels revived the memories of the great 
shipbuilding of earlier days ; but the new industries which came into 
the city, the Aluminum Plant and the C.I.L. Nylon Plant, did not 
use water transportation to any extent for their raw materials or 
their finished products. After the war even the remnants of the 
tourist trade in big ships went with the laying up of the Kingston 
in 1951 ; and the fleet of launches now making daily trips through 
the Thousand Islands is but a trivial reminder of wdiat had once 
been a great system of passenger transportation. 

The plans to build the great "Seaway" to connect the Great 
Lakes with the Ocean have raised once more the question of Kings- 
ton's value as a port. Indeed the old Howe plan has been pulled off 
the shelf (now increased in cost to about $4,000,000) and Kingston 
has been given assurances that, if the city will surrender its title to 
the harbour (vested in it by the Act which created the Corporation 

The History of The Port of Kingston 25 

of Kingston and which pre-dates the British North America Act by 
which harbours were made the property of the Dominion Govern- 
ment) federal government money will be spent on the development 
of the port of Kingston as part of the overall plan for the seaway. 

In this connection the foregoing account of Kingston's history 
as a port has some important lessons to convey. In the first place, 
the Howe plan of 1919 was primarily to make Kingston a terminal 
port of transhipment, and indeed to take advantage of the fact that 
the deep waterway terminated at the eastern end of Lake Ontario 
and did not carry through to the sea. It is obvious that the creation 
of the Seaway will not increase Kingston's function as a tranship- 
ment port for grain but may possibly decrease the business carried 
on in Little Cataraqui Bay. Secondly, it is obvious that weight must 
be given to the arguments which led to the transference of the port 
for grain transhipment from the inner harbour to the deep water 
west of the city. However, these arguments may have less force 
with regard to a Seaway port since it was the phenomenal length 
of the grain-boats which necessitated the change and it will not be 
grain-boats but ocean steamers that will be using the new port. 
Thirdly, and perhaps most important of all, it is clear that the im- 
portance of Kingston as a port has, throughout its history, rested 
on its position at the junction of two different types of waterway 
and therefore as a port of transhipment from one vessel to another. 
All efforts to build it up as a great port of outlet for the hinterland •' 
have met with failure and indeed what little business it did in that I 
direction has faded away in the twentieth century. No outlet bus- 
iness presently exists for a new port development. On the other 
hand, it is claimed that the opening of the seaway and the improve- 
ment of transportation will bring the possibility of new industrial 
development to the adjacent country along the whole length of the 
river and lakes. Obviously such industrial development will occur 
where the port facilities are available. If Kingston is to obtain a 
share of that industrial development it is imperative that its port 
facilities be improved. 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary 

./. Edmison, (jurat's University 

The Penitentiary "near the Town of Kingston" was opened on 
1st fune, 1835, when six convicts were received, five of them from 
Toronto. The institution was built on land, "combining the advan- 
tages of perfect salubrity, ready access to the water, and abundant 
quantities of fine limestone." The situation was described as "Lot 
number twenty, in the first concession of the Township of Kingston. 

The west half of this lot, belonging to the heirs of the late Philip 
Pember, which contains 100 acres of land, reaching from Hatter's 
Bay, on Lake Ontario, to the rear of the first concession, was ac- 
cordingly purchased for the sum of one thousand pounds . . . twenty 
or twenty-five acres on the front of this lot would, perhaps, furnish 
all the room that is required for the Penitentiary buildings . . . and 
the Legislature might therefore direct the residue to be sold. The 
Commissioners are, however, of opinion that the land is worth the 
purchase money, and should be retained for public uses. . . ." 

The Penitentiary was built upon the plan and lines of the 
Auburn, X.Y.. Prison. The Deputy Keeper of Auburn, William 
Powers, was hired, at £350 per annum, as building superintendent. 
The estimated cost was £56,850 sterling. To enclose nine acres of 
yard walls the sum of £7,500 was estimated. The architect was Wil- 
liam Coverdale, the first Warden was the highly controversial Henry 
Smith Senior, and the first surgeon, Dr. James Sampson, who in 
1854 became the first Dean of Medicine at Queen's. 

Kingston Penitentiary had only been operating a few years 
when an agitation was made to have it moved to Marmora in Hast- 
ings County. The Honourable Peter McGill of Montreal was will- 
ing to sell the Marmora Iron Works for £25,000. Two of the three 
Commissioners appointed by the Legislature to study the question 
reported that such a move was feasible and that the Iron Works 
could be operated by the convicts at an annual profit of £13,037. 
18s. 6d. The third Commissioner, Isaac Fraser of Ernestown, how- 
ever, put in a minority report (dated 20th February 1839), stating 
. . . "The principal object of transferring the Penitentiary from 
Kingston to Marmora, would seem to be the employment of convict 
labour so as not to interfere with the pursuits of the honest mech- 
anics of the Province: but if this object can be equally well attained 
at the present establishment, it is evident that the loss of the large 
amount already expended on it will be avoided, and the necessity of 
a further large outlay would be prevented." Mr. Fraser was elo- 
quently supported in his viewpoint by a communication from Mr. 
\ illiam Powers, Building Superintendent of Kingston Penitentiary. 
Mr. Powers wrote, in part: 

The wealth and prosperity of a community proceed from the in- 
ustry of the inhabitants, and is increased in proportion to the produc- 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary 27 

tiveness of the labouring classes; in the benefits of which, all classes 
participate. Every dollar earned by an individual is so much addition 
to the commonwealth. No class of society is more interested in an 
increase of national wealth than the mechanics, or more benefited by it, 
— as a demand for their labour, and skill in articles of convenience and 
ornament, will increase with an increase of wealth and refinement. What- 
ever objections may be made against productive mechanical labour in 
a Penitentiary, will apply with equal force and reason against water and 
steam power, and against all inventions and improvements in labour 
saving machinery; which improvements, by facilitating manufacturing 
operations, and increasing the product of individual labour, thirty, fifty, 
or perhaps a hundred fold, notwithstanding its dense population, has 
made England rich. 

I have been informed that a proposition was once made by some 
person to bring water to the Town of Kingston in pipes or an aqueduct, 
the Town being mostly supplied from the Lake, drawn by carters; and 
the proposition was objected to by some, because (they said) it would 
injure the carters by throwing them out of employ. The objection in 
the case above, is precisely the same in principle as those made by the 
mechanics against the Penitentiary, which principle, if universally al- 
lowed and carried into effect, would annihilate the arts and sciences, 
change the plough for the spade or the mattock, and bring mankind to 
a state of barbarism. 

It is said, likewise, that learning the convicts a trade, which they 
may follow when they are set at liberty, will disgrace the honest mechanic. 
I cannot see why mechanics should be disgraced by the occupation at 
mechanical labour, of those who had been convicts, than the farmer 
would be disgraced, should they follow the plough. If there is any rea- 
son at all in this objection, it will apply with equal force against all 
labour by one who had been guilty of crime, and the divine precept, 
"let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labour," would be 
wrong. Of all complaints made or grievances imagined, those of the 
mechanics against the Penitentiary are, in my opinion, the most pre- 
posterous. As well might the physician complain of any measure to pre- 
serve the public health, or tavern-keepers, distillers, and gin-shops, of 
efforts for the promotion of temperance. 

Discord and turbulance marked the administration of the Peni- 
tentiary in its early years. Warden Smith seemed to quarrel with 
most of his associates. The Deputy, William Powers, was soon dis- 
missed. The Warden, through his parliamentary son (afterwards 
Sir Henry Smith) had his own salary increased and those of the 
Surgeon, Chaplain, and Architect, who had criticised him severely, 
correspondingly reduced. 

Although the Penitentiary did not open until 1st |une 1835, five 
convicts from Toronto had arrived on 27th May and these had to 
be confined in the County Jail at Kingston until the Big House was 

I m Historv of Kingston Penitentiary 

, ooen lor business.- On 2nd November, 1835. the Inspectors re- 
DO rted "It is observed that the sentencing of females to the Peni- 
l,ntiarv causes some inconvenience." Other custodial problems are 
stressed in the first Report, dated 2nd November, 1835. 

In consequence of this sudden concentration within the boundaries 
of the Prison of so large a number of criminals, many of them daring 
and desperate, and all unsubdued in temper, and strangers to the re- 
straints of discipline, the Board felt the importance of impressing on 
their minds the hopelessness of attempting to escape, by adopting every 
means at their disposal for preventing all conspiracies for mutual aid 
and co-operation in their insurrectionary schemes. This point was the 
more urgent, since the yard was surrounded merely by a plank fence, 
and the prisoners might think it practicable to break through it, if they 
did not see that they were at all times watched by a sufficient force. 

The Warden was accordingly authorized to engage two more Keep- 
ers and six more Watchmen. 

At this date the penitentiary population was 62. "The cost of 
;i daily ration at first amounted to 7 l /% pence per diem, and is now 
estimated by the Warden at 5 7/10 pence per convict. As the num- 
ber of the convicts increase, and the culinary arrangements of the 
Prison become improved, the cost of sustenance may be expected 
to diminish." 

On October 22nd, 1836, the Inspectors of Kingston Peniten- 
tiary had published the Rules and Regulations of the institution. 
These were pretty strenuous for both staff and inmates alike. The 
Warden had "to attend constantly at the prison." The guards were 
to be on duty from five in the morning until 6.30 in the evening, 
seven days a week, from the 1st of April to 30th September. "Dur- 
ing the remainder of the year, the hours for continuing the Prison 
open, shall embrace all day light." The standard wage for guards 
was £37, 10s a year. Many of the keepers were illiterate ( as we 
see from the number who signed receipts and depositions by their 
mark). Their duties were onerous as they had to "preserve un- 
broken silence" among the inmates, who under the Rules — "must 
not exchange a word with one another under any pretence what- 
ever." The convicts also "must not exchange looks, wink, laugh, 
nod or gesticulate to each other." When the bell rang for them 
to go to the mess hall they were to come out of their cells "in reg- 
ular order and march with their faces inclined ..." in one direction. 
At Chapel the convicts were to be "so seated as to confront the Min- 
ister, without looking into each other's faces." The convicts were 
to yield "perfect obedience and submission to their keepers" — and 
were, at all times, "to labor diligently." Over them always hung 
tins final threat - "for the wilful violation of any of these duties, 
corporal punishment will be instantly inflicted." (As we shall see 
presently, this was by no means an idle threat.) These 1836 ex- 
tracts will serve to indicate how depressive and soul destroying the 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary 29 

atmosphere must have been. This custodial circus was always open 
for the citizens of Kingston to visit: "male adults. Is 3d each, females 
and children, 7y 2 d each." 

The smallest section of all in the 1836 Rules and Regulations 
had to do with the discharge of the Convicts. It was as follows : 

... a discharged convict shall be clad in a decent suit of clothes, selected 
from the clothing taken from new convicts .... He shall then be supplied 
with money, according to the distance of the District where he was tried 
and sentenced, but not exceeding the sum specified in the law (one pound). 
As the time when the convict is about to be discharged is favourable for 
eliciting truth, with a view to obtain facts which may be useful, the 
Chaplain will endeavour to obtain from him a short history of his life, 
his parentage, education, temptations, and the various steps by which 
he was led into a course of vice and crime, and commit the same to writ- 
ing, for the information of the Inspectors; after which, the convict shall 
be discharged with a suitable admonition and advice. 

I do not envy the Chaplain giving "suitable admonition and advice" 
under all the circumstances which we now know existed at Kings- 
ton Penitentiary. 

Repression almost invariably brings about a blow-off in time 
and this one finally happened in 1849, fourteen years after the open- 
ing of the prison. Headed by the afterwards famous George Brown, 
a Commission set up headquarters in the British American Hotel 
in Kingston to ". . . investigate into the Conduct, Discipline and 
Management of the Provincial Penitentiary at Kingston." This en- 
quiry was directly brought about by the disclosures of the prison 
physician. Dr. James Sampson. (I am sure, when the Centenary 
of the Queen's Medical School is celebrated in 1954, that more will 
be heard about this remarkable man who was the first Dean of Med- 
icine at Queen's. He was also a founder of the Kingston General 
Hospital and several times Mayor of the city. He was an Irishman, 
a doctor in the British Army, who took his discharge in Kingston, 
much to the benefit of this community.) I have one of the very rare 
copies of the Finding of this Commission. Even after a century its 
lurid revelations make terrifying reading. 

The document contains material and disclosures so incredible 
and bizarre that the so-called "good old days" quickly lose their 
reputation for saintliness and humanity. The eighty-four double 
pages of the Report are crammed with charges of graft, corruption, 
cruelty and sinister politics. The Commissioners were very severe 
in their condemnation of the treatment accorded child convicts. 
They pointed out the case of Convict Peter Charboneau, who was 
committed on the 4th of May, 1845, for 7 years, when he was ten 
years of age. They said "The Table shows that Charboneau's of- 
fences were of the most trifling description — such as were to be 
expected from a child of ten or eleven (like staring, winking and 


In, History of Kingston Penitentiary 

lamrhinf r); and that for these- he was stripped to the shirt, and pub- 
S? lashed fifty-seven times in eight and one half months Then 
;;;.;,. IvL the case of Convict Antoine Beauche committed on the 
7th November, 1845, for three years, aged eight. The : Table - 
thev said --hows that this eight year old child received the lash 
within a week of his arrival and that he had no fewer than forty- 
seven corporal punishments in nine months, and all for offences of 
the most childish character. Your Commissioners regard this as an- 
other case of revolting inhumanity." They cite other cases of the 
same description and observe— "It is horrifying to think of these 
little children being lacerated with the lash before five hundred 
grown men; to say nothing of the cruelty, the effect of such a scene. 
so often repeated," which must have been to the last degree brutal- 
izing." Even the linguistic angle comes up in these sordid revela- 
tions, because it was found that a French-Canadian boy convict 
named Alec Lafleur, aged eleven years, was on Christmas Eve, 1844, 
given twelve strokes of the rawhide for talking French. The Com- 
missioners also delved into the practice of flogging women in the 
Kingston Penitentiary of a century ago. One perhaps shouldn't 
refer to Sarah O'Connor as a "woman" since she was only fourteen 
\ears of age when flogged five times in three months, and the same 
applies to Elizabeth Breen, who was only twelve years of age when 
on six occasions she was lashed. We can agree with the Commis- 
sioners when they say "We are of the opinion that the practice of 
flogging women is utterly indefensible." 

And so the Report goes on, revealing barbarity after barbarity, 
and also corruption and inefficiency on a vast scale. Yet all this 
was, I suppose, unknown to most of the citizens of Kingston who 
were watching with pride the early beginnings of a little school 
called Queen's College, and had no concern in what went on behind 
the grim walls of the other institution at Portsmouth. Perhaps 
their suspicions, if any, had been lulled by the glowing tribute paid 
by the eminent Charles Dickens who said, in his American Notes, 
after a visit to Kingston in the eighteen forties. "Here at Kings- 
ton is a penitentiary, intelligently and humanely run." I am sure 
that when the author of Little Dorrit visited the prison they did not 
put on a special flogging of Antoine, aged eight, or of Elizabeth, 
aged twelve. Yet it should not be thought that these unspeakable 
happenings were approved by all the penitentiary officers. Some 
indeed spoke out against them and were afterwards fired on trumped- 
up charges. Others had their salaries sharply reduced by a par- 
liamentary bill introduced by the warden's son, who very conven- 
iently was also a member of the Legislature for Kingston. (The 
same warden had another son who was on the prison staff and there 
was evidence that this favoured young man used to amuse himself 
by hurling water at the prisoners and by using them for targets in 
his bow and arrow practices.) 

The Historv of Kingston Penitentiary 31 

These 1849 Commissioners did a thorough job of removing 
many of the sadistic, grafting, illiterate prison officials, or having 
them resign under fire. The harm these monsters did while in office 
could never of course be undone : for instance, the 720 lashes given 
James Brown, "an insane prisoner," during his confinement. All 
honour to Dr. James Sampson, who despite much abuse and name- 
calling, brought on this belated investigation. 

The first Penitentiary Report after the Brown Commission was 
dated March, 1850. There was a new Warden — Angus Macdonell, 
and a new Board of Inspectors. Pride is taken in the reduction of 
punishments, in one year, from 6,000 to 3,825. (Floggings with the 
cat and confinements in the Sweat Box and in chains had been 
greatly reduced.) At this time there were 410 inmates, 24 of them 
being females. Convict labour was a major concern of the Inspec- 
tors. The letting out of contracts to outside parties was apparently 
a big problem — 

In the management of the Industrial Department we have en- 
countered some difficulty. We endeavoured to ohtain wholesale orders 
for various articles to he made hy the Convicts, without success; and 
the same fate attended our efforts to induce parties to hire the labour 
of the Convicts for the prosecution of branches of trade not yet exten- 
sively carried on in the Province. Our last and only resource was to 
hire out the labour of the convicts for any trade, to any responsible 
parties who might be willing to contract with us for a term of years. 
We endeavoured to obtain Contractors by public advertisement and 
personal solicitation in the Province and elsewhere, but though in treaty 
with various parties, we did not succeed in closing any contract until 
the 7th June, 1849. On that day, we concluded an agreement with Mr. 
E. P. Ross, of Port Byron, in the State of New York, for the labour of 
fifty Convicts, to be employed in Shoemaking, with liberty to increase 
the number to one hundred. The Contract was made for five years, 
at the rate of Is. 6d. per day for each man, and it was to have com- 
menced on the 15th June. In consequence of the prevalence of Cholera, 
however, Mr. Ross did not commence operations until the 16th July; 
lie has gone on since then satisfactorily, and will, we understand, shortly 
call upon us for the additional fifty men to whose services he is entitled. 

In June, we opened negotiations with Mr. John Stevenson, of Nap- 
anee, C. W., and Mr. William Stevenson, of Auburn, State of New York, 
for fifty men, to be employed in Cabinet-making. After protracted nego- 
tiations, we succeeded in concluding a contract. Twenty-five men were 
to have been taken on 1st February 1850, and twenty-five on 1st August, 
1850; the Contract to be for five years from February, 1850, and the 
price Is. 6d. per day. The Contractors are putting up machinery of the 
best kind, for carrying on the business, and in a very few weeks the 
whole will be in vigorous operation. 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary 

(in the ISth of February, 1850, we concluded a contract with Mr. 
tuoim Brown, Clothier, of Kingston, and Mr. J. A. McDowall, Furrier, 
,.i the same place, for the labour of 50 Tailors; thirty to be taken on 
l.-t April. 1850. ton more on 1st Inly, 1850, and ten further on 1st Octo- 
ber, 1850. The Contract is to run for five years from 1st April, 1850, 
;iml the price is Is. 6d. per day. We have also closed an agreement 
with tin- same parties for supplying the Prison Clothing, at rates- which 
will secure a large annual saving to the Institution on the expenditure 
(.i pasl years. 

We are now in treaty with several other parties, for the disposal 
o\ the remaining available labour of the Convicts, and doubt not, that ere 
lung, we shall succeed in disposing of all of our command. 

In this 1856 Report on Kingston Penitentiary, we find abont 
every possible combination of statistics on tbe 668 convicts then 
confined in the institution. Their crimes (horse stealing-, 42; oxen 
stealing, 1) — Where they were convicted (Montreal, 115; Toronto, 
96) -Their occupations (labourers, 373; law student, 1; medical stu- 
dent. 1 ; seamstresses, 49). The Chaplains also juggle with figures. 
We find listed the crimes committed by Methodist convicts, by Pres- 
byterian convicts and those committed by convicts who have been 
blacksmiths. The zealous Protestant padre asked each convict dis- 
charged during the year— "Do you go out a better or a worse man?" 
Me lists their answers as follows: 

55 — Go out improved morally 1 — About the same 

7 — Go out much better 1 — Better in a great many ways 

1 — Better in prudence 1 — Not any worse 

1 — Inclined for the better 3 — Cannot say whether improved 

1— Xot much better 1— Is not better 

1— Xot better 2— Goes out worse 

2 — Neither better or worse 5— No definite answer 

All this was evidently pleasing to the Padre because he adds, 
"These answers make it evident . . . that the discharged convicts, 
generally, leave the prison morally benefitted." We "can question 
his assurance on this point when we study the Punishment Chart 
in the same 1856 report. Although the Warden says, "the treat- 
ment of convicts I consider to be humane," the Chart shows 1,600 
deprivations of bed with concurrent bread and water diet, 735 con- 
finements in the dark cell. 111 convicts punished by water shower, 
and numerous lashings including that of one convict who was given 
84 strokes of the cat in tbe month of March, 1856. 

Ordinarily only those sentenced to two years or over have been 
incarcerated in Kingston Penitentiary. However, during the time 
Kingston was a garrison city, military offenders were confined there 
It is rather strange to read over the alphabetical convict lists of a 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary 33 

hundred years ago and to see the name of a soldier serving 7 or 14 
days for drunkenness and next to his the entry of a man doing 30 
years or life for manslaughter or rape. 

One crime now appearing strange is that of "returning from 
banishment." There were quite a number convicted on this ac- 
count and confined in the Penitentiary. These were mainly those 
who had been "banished" from Canada due to their support of Messrs. 
Mackenzie and Papineau in 1837. 

One of the best and one of the most humane Wardens of Kings- 
ton Penitentiary was John Creighton who held that difficult post 
from 1870 to 1885. His great-granddaughter, Mrs. Frances Cham- 
bers of Kingston, has given me the chance to see a batch of letters 
received by him from many ex-convicts. During his regime, fol- 
lowing the Fenian Raid, he had as his "guests" numerous Amer- 
icans of Irish extraction. These gentry, many of them, took pen 
in hand on return to their homes in the United States and in varied 
ways paid tribute to their late Custodian. One, in 1872, was grad- 
uated as a medical doctor from Bellevue Hospital, New York. He 
is sorry that Mr. Creighton could not attend his graduation, but 
expects him to be an honoured guest at his wedding. He wrote, "I 
am bound you shall come to my wedding, even if I have to fix the 
time therefore with special reference to your convenience." The 
guests at the St. Patrick's Day Dinner in Louisville, Kentucky, in 
1872 must have been very disappointed in one of their 'free ticket' 
guests. He had been expected to "tell all" in relation to his "hor- 
rible experiences in a foreign penitentiary." However, he writes— 
"I am going to disappoint them very much. If I do say anything 
about prison treatment, especially since that noble Warden Creigh- 
ton took his place there, I could not say anything but what was gen- 
tlemanly towards him for I love and esteem him the same as if he 
were my own Father or Brother . . ." Sometimes, also, Warden 
Creighton would receive letters from grateful relatives. From Man- 
chester, England,— - "If I ever go near to Kingston, I shall want to 
go to see you and thank you in person for your kindness to my bro- 
ther and your concern for me. May God forever bless you and 
your's is the sincere prayer of a convict's sister." Warden Creigh- 
ton not only had the respect and affection of the inmates but of his 
staff also. This note came out from Keepers Hall on 9th February, 

We the Officers of the Kingston Penitentiary cannot allow the 
death of our beloved Warden John Creighton to pass without giving 
expression to the deep grief we feel at his loss. To us he was ever 
kind and considerate ever mindful of our smallest wants. To our short- 
comings he was forbearing and if at times he had to reprove somewhat 
sharply it was intended for our good and by him soon forgotten for 
he remembered that we were but men. By his death society has lost 
a valuable member. The country has lost a faithful and trusted servant. 
His bereaved family have our sincere sympathy for it is there his ab- 

34 The History of Kingston Penitentiary 

sence will be most Felt. It was in the family circle the grand qualities 
of the man had their fullest development. But he is gone fallen a 
martyr to the great Interest committed to his charge. And those who 
knew him best loved him most. 

( Ither Wardens have also left their mark in the community and 
in the institution. Such names as Lavell, Piatt, Ponsford, are well 
known in Kingston. (Queen's graduates will recollect that it was 
a son of Warden Lavell who was mainly responsible for the famous 
Gaelic yell of Queen's!) Some have stayed aloof from local affairs. 
( Hhers like the present incumbent, Richard M. Allan, have become 
prominent in the community. (Mr. Allan is as well regarded in 
curling and service club circles as he is in penal ones.) The post^ of 
Warden at Kinsgton Penitentiary has never been an easy one. Aside 
from the obvious problems of custody and internal discipline, the 
Warden has in the past been hemmed and circumscribed by official 
red tape. The Archambault Report brought out the ludicrous limi- 
tations placed on this important functionary by armchair authority 
in Ottawa. Now. happily, under the present administration of Com- 
missioner R. B. Gibson, that has changed. The Warden now has 
the freedom and discretion, especially in his public relations, which 
his position deserves. 

Kingston Penitentiary has through the years been more in the 
public eye than any other penal institution in Canada. Royal Com- 
missions have on several occasions probed its operations. In 1913 
a Commission, of which Dr. Frederick Etherington of Kingston was 
a member, was set up to investigate and report upon, the conduct 
and administration of penitentiaries and particularly the conduct of 
the officers of Kingston Penitentiary. In 1920, W. F. Nickle. K.C., 
of Kingston, was a member of another Commission which gave spe- 
cial attention to the local institution. The Archambault Commis- 
sion, before reporting in 1939, spent several weeks in an intensive 
study of all aspects of Kingston Penitentiary management. In ad- 
dition, there, of course, has been much additional publicity centred 
on Kingston Penitentiary through the careers of such notorious 
alumni as 'Red' Ryan and 'Mickey' McDonald. The underworld in 
Toronto has a term, "down East," which means "Kingston Peni- 
tentiary." In official circles "K.P." is often used. Citizens of Kings- 
ton for generations tried to point out that the penitentiary was sit- 
uated in Portsmouth, and not in Kingston. This technicality availed 
not and in the popular mind "Kingston" meant "The Big" House." 
Xow. however, there is no point to even this distinction because of 
the merging of the two municipalities. 

Fort Henry is the biggest tourist attraction in this area, but I 
am afraid that "K.P." is not too far behind. The number of cars 
whose drivers "just want to pass in front of the place" is very con- 
siderable indeed. 

The History of Kingston Penitentiary 35 

You may gather from this fragmentary narrative that it lias 
not been too easy to collect data on the long history of Kingston 
Penitentiary. It is certainly easier to obtain information about the 
early days of a university than about the pioneer stages of a penal 
institution. In the latter we do not ordinarily find placpies to found- 
ers or memorial windows to first enrollers. "If walls could talk" 
we would indeed have a story of drama, of tragedy, of cruelty, of 
every vicissitude of human emotion. We would have a story of 
people who have been forever 'crushed' in that penal environment 
and of others who have 'found' themselves in it. We would have 
a story of staff personnel who have ranged from the illiterate and 
the sadistic to some whose idealistic, unselfish, ill-paid service is 
one of our finest Canadian sagas. The penal historian of the future 
will have much more material to draw on. The public is no longer 
kept in ignorance of what goes on behind penitentiary walls. The 
press and the radio are welcomed, and play an important part in 
the public relations programme. No longer can monstrous abuses 
exist as they did exist so often and for so long behind the limestone 
walls of Kingston Penitentiary. And further, the future historian 
will have the priceless source of the files of the K.P. Tele-Scope. In 
the old days the inmates could not speak to each other, let alone 
write an intimate journal which every Canadian can obtain for one 
dollar per year! 

Today, in Kingston Penitentiary — "Prisoners are People." The 
results of this new and civilized approach are already apparent. I 
count among my friends many dischargees who are 'making good' 
and are a credit to their country. There is always tragedy present 
when the shackled individuals are ushered off the train at Kingston 
station en route to the Penitentiary. That so many of them can 
afterwards emerge therefrom with hope for the future is perhaps 
the most important thing one can now say in dealing with the His- 
tory of Kingston Penitentiary. 

The Story of St Mark's 

The Reverend Allan J. Anderson, Barriejield 

[f you would look at a map showing the Anglican Dioceses of 
Canada, you would see that at the present time there are twenty- 
eight such divisions of the church. But if you could see a similar map 
dated 1843, you would find only three divisions. These would be 
marked Diocese of Nova Scotia, Diocese of Quebec, and Diocese of 
Toronto. This latter included all Upper Canada. The Bishop of 
Toronto was Bishop John Strachan, and it was to him that a letter , 
went from Barriefield, under the date of April 14th. 1843, asking his 
sanction for the erection of a church. Behind this letter, and behind 
the bald inscription on the corner stone of St. Mark's, declaring 
"Built by Subscription, A.D. 1843. A Brunei!, Inventor", lies a story of 
devotion and enthusiasm. 

The story begins with the spiritual needs of the families of 
personnel employed at the Government dry-dock at Navy Bay. The 
docks were then in full operation, and many of the families con- 
nected therewith lived in the vicinity of Barriefield. Bolstering their 
desire for a church in the community were men such as the Sheriff 
of Kingston, William Ferguson, and Dr. Edward Barker also of 
Kingston. The final impetus to build came with the offer of a site 
by John Bennet Marks, paymaster in the Royal Navy. Following 
this offer there came an invitation to the people of the community to 
meet and discuss the building of a church. The notice, a copy of 
which is still preserved, reads : 

Pittsburg, 26th March. 1843. 

You are requested to attend a Meeting, to be held at 
the house of Mr. JAMES MEDLEY, in the Village of 
Barriefield, on Monday the 3rd of April next, at the hour 
of 3 o'clock, p.m., for the purpose of taking into considera- 
tion the propriety of 


in the 


For the use of Members of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND 
residing therein, and in the adjoining neighborhood, and also 
for considering other matters connected therewith. 


The Story of St. Mark's i7 

From this meeting went the above mentioned letter to the 
Bishop of Toronto, and at this meeting the Building Committee to 
plan the work was elected. Chosen for this important group were : 
John B. Marks, Esq., Chairman; Edward J. Barker, Secretary; 
Thomas Gurley, Treasurer; George Baxter, William Ferguson, 
William Hunt. 

By May 31st, this Committee was prepared to settle on the 
matter of Tenders. The sum of £500, subscribed at their first 
meeting, was the guide to their spending. The Tender accepted was 
that of Richard Jones. He contracted "to erect the Stone Work of 
the Church proposed to be built at Barriefield agreeable to the plans 
and specification adopted by the Committee for the sum of £249 
and the Plastering at £50 Halifax Currency." Of several currencies 
in use, Halifax Currency was regarded as most reliable. In this 
month also, Mr. George Cummins was added to the number of the 
Building Committee. 

On Monday, July 10th, 1843, the corner-stone of the new 
church building was laid by the Bishop of Toronto. The stone-work 
went ahead, but in January of the following year it was found neces- 
sary to supplement the amount subscribed for the building. Ac- 
cording to the Vestry Minutes, under the date 22nd of January, 1844. 
"It was resolved that in order to raise means. Pews be marked out 
on the floor of the Church, and sold by public auction on Monday, 
the fifth day of February next, at the hour of 11 o'clock." The sale 
price of the proposed pews ranged from £3.10.0. with a rental value 
of 10 shillings per annum, to £10, with a rental of 25 shillings. A 
fe 1- ; pews were reserved for public use. The pews themselves, when 
installed, were the old square type, and the original pulpit and 
lectern were two-decker affairs. These have long since disappeared. 

The Vestry Minutes, now preserved in the vaults of the Synod 
Office, Kingston, prove interesting to the reader. Excerpts from these 
minutes tell plainly of the progress, and the worries, of the founders. 
Following is a part of an early entry : — "At the first Vestry Meeting 
held at St. Mark's Church, Barriefield, this 24th day of June, 1844. 
Present: the Committee of Management, pewholders, John B. 
Marks being called to the Chair, and Mr. Robert Breese appointed 
secretary. It was moved by Thomas Gurley, Esq., and seconded by 
Mr. Dunn, that George Baxter and Wm. Ferguson be nominated and 
appointed Churchwardens for the current year. 

It was moved by Dr. Barker and seconded by Mr. Wilmot that 
the Churchwardens be requested to call upon the Venerable Arch- 
deacon Stuart for the purpose of entering into arrangements for per- 
forming divine services in the said church." 

In response to this petition the church was formally opened on 
Sunday, July 7th, 1844, by the Ven. Archdeacon John George O'Kill 
Stuart, assisted by the Rev. John Pope, first Rector of the Parish. 


The Story of St. Mark's 

Within ten years of the opening of the church, the Vestry 
Minutes reveal some of the difficulties which beset the parish. Bear- 
in- the date October 18th, 1853, there is record of a letter signed 
by George Baxter, and addressed to the Bishop. This epistle com- 
plained of the need of an active man as Rector (there had been a 
temporary vacancy), because the parish was so poor, and there were 
"so many sects, and so many lukewarm and even careless church- 

The organization of the Diocese of Toronto was somewhat dif- 
ferent from our present administration. The Toronto Synod was known 
as the Incorporated Church Society. This Society, covering the 
whole of the diocese, was broken down into various districts, each 
known as a District Association. Members of the District Associa- 
tion were the Rectors and Churchwardens of the particular district. 
The Parishes, in turn, were Sub-Associations of the District, and 
each of these smaller divisions was bound to contribute a stipulated 
amount annually to the District. The Synod proceedings of Toronto 
in 1852 record that "St. Mark's Parochial Association, from year to 
year, since the first organization of this Branch, has shown an in- 
crease in its funds ; and through its instrumentality, either wholly or 
in part, the Parish Church has been improved both in appearance 
and comfort; the amount subscribed for the past year was eighteen 
pounds, nineteen shillings and eight pence, of which four pounds, 
eighteen shillings has been received by the Treasurer of the Parent 
Society." Some benefits accrued from these contributions to the 
Parent Society. Seven years after the above report, there appeared 
another statement with respect to Barriefield in the Synod proceed- 
ings. ''The Parochial Committee report to the following effect : — It is 
with much pleasure and satisfaction we state that the roof of St. 
.Mark's Church, which was in a very dangerous state, has been 
thoroughly repaired during the past autumn. For being able to 
accomplish so expensive an undertaking, your Committee have to 
return their sincere thanks to the District Branch for their liberal 
grant of £12 10s, which, with a like sum raised by a voluntary 
subscription in this Mission, enabled the work to be done in a very 
satisfactory manner. The services at Birmingham and McLean's 
school-house have been regularly kept up during the year, and in 
both places the attendance is very satisfactory." 

In the first year of the existence of the Diocese of Ontario as 
such, a petition was sent from the parish to the new Bishop request- 
ing the Consecration of the Church. On September 25th, 1862, the 
twenty year old church was Consecrated "the Church of St. Mark" 
by Bishop Lewis. 

A treasure of St. Mark's is a fine old silver Communion set. con- 
sisting of Chalice, Paten, and Flagon, and dated 1849. The original 
Chalice is still in the Church, but a newer one, of the same pattern, 
given in 1911 as a thank-offering, is the one regularly in use. The 

The Story of St. Mark's 39 

original set came very close to being lost to us in 1863. At the 
annual Vestry meeting in this year, it was moved by Wm. Ferguson 
and seconded by F. J. George, "That it is with a feeling of deep regret 
and sorrow that this meeting places on record the 'sacrilege and 
church robbery' which took place in this Church during the past 
week, resulting in the loss of the valuable Communion Service, the 
Crimson Cloth and Linen of the Communion Table and other pro- 
perty." The congregation at once set about taking up a collection 
to replace these important items of worship. The purchase of new 
vessels was not made necessary, however, as the missing ones were 
eventually found. Notes of the Easter meeting of the Vestry in 1864 
enlighten us with respect to their recovery. "It was moved by W. 
Ferguson, and seconded by George Seal, 'that there be placed on record 
the recovery of the Church plate and furniture mentioned in our last 
report, and that we recognize the Hand of Providence in directing 
us to the successful recovery of the property (hidden miles away in 
the bush) and the punishment of the Thief." 

The perennial problem of Churchwardens is the matter of 
financing. This problem appears to have become more than a little 
acute, if we are to judge by the recommendation from the minutes, 
in 1874. It was moved by R. Millen and seconded by G. Baxter 
"that the Clergyman be requested to lay before the Congregation at 
an early day the necessity of placing on the plate a piece of money 
larger than the usual copper." 

In the year 1885 a movement was set afoot which was to change 
the appearance of the church's interior, namely the replacement of 
the old square pews and two decker pulpit by newer pews and pul- 
pit. The decision to make this change was by no mean unanimous, 
but seems to have been carried out with a minimum of difficulty. It 
is something of a pity that we have been unable to trace what be- 
came of the old seats. The present day seating is good, but the old 
arrangement was, from such account as can be found, more pictur- 
esque. In the year following the decision to change the seats, the 
proposition came forward to abolish pew rents. This was more dif- 
ficult to achieve than the changing of the seats themselves, for it was 
not until 1889 that some concession was made to the idea, and pews 
were made rent free at the evening services. 

The commission of the Christian Church has been first of all 
to teach "all nations." In compliance with this commission, mis- 
sionary work has always been a very large part of the church's pro- 
gramme. Indeed, a church which is not missionary-minded is a dead 
church. This is the verdict of history! Consequently, it is scarcely 
surprising that a young church like St. Mark's, with zealous leader- J 
ship, should register its desire to take part in this essential work)/ 
On November 12th, 1893, there was organized in the Parish the 
first Women's Auxiliary. Mrs. R. V. Rogers and Miss Muckleston 
came to Barriefield from Kingston to conduct the organization meet- 



The Story of St. Mark's 

ing. What is now the W.A. to the Missionary Society of the Church of 
England in Canada was then called the W.A. to the Board of Domes- 
tic and Foreign Missions. The first officers of the W.A. in the Parish 
writ': President, Mrs. C. L. W T orrell ; Vice-President, Mrs. Henry 
Milton; Secretary, Miss Constance Hora ; Treasurer, Miss Hora. 
There wire 11 members, one of whom, Mrs. Charlotte Vanhorne, is 
the only survivor, and is still an active and faithful member of this 

The original church structure consisted of what is now the 
nave, plus the tower. The choir and organ loft were in the balcony 
at the west end of the church. In 1897 the gift of the present Chancel 
by Mr. E. J. B. Pense added immensely to the beauty of the building. 

Since the inception of the parish, the women had been a tower 
of strength to the work, but had not been active as an organization, 
except in the W.A. In the autumn of 1905, a Parish Guild was 
organized under the leadership of Mrs. John Baxter as President ; Mrs. 
K. |. Moore as Vice-President, and Miss Charlotte Medley (Mrs. 
C. Vanhorne) as Secretary-treasurer. Since that time, the Guild has 
been continually active and helpful. 

In 1911, Canon A. O. Cooke was appointed Rector, an office 
which he held until his retirement from active ministry at the end 
of 1950. During Canon Cooke's rectorship the present, and first, 
Rectory was purchased. He saw many difficulties, not the least of 
which came during the depression years in the '30's. and in the 
succeeding war years, when, in order to make necessary expansion, 
the Department of National Defence bought up so many farms in 
the area. Canon Cooke is now living in Kingston, and is' a frequent 
visitor to St. Mark's. 

In 1951, by the help of generous friends of the congregation, St. 
Mark's was completely re-decorated, and its beauty newly em- 

So much for the past. What the future may hold for our parish 
is open to several questions. What will be the development in the 
arear How far will Army property expand? These are but samples 
of the questions which face us now. One thing is certain, the con- 
tinued welfare of the parish is in God's hands. We commend our 
selves to His disposing, and pledge ourselves to His purpose. 

The Battle of The Windmill 

George F. G. Stanley, Royal Military College 

As you drive eastwards along- No. 2 Highway towards Mont- 
real, you will notice, on your right, after you pass through the town 
of Prescott, a large stone tower which serves as a light house. It 
is situated close by the river's edge, not far from the Government 
grain elevator. This structure resembles a martello tower. It is, 
in fact, an old stone windmill minus the arms. Few people pause 
even to look towards this tower ; fewer know that it was the centre 
of one of the stiffest battles fought in this province a little over a 
century ago. It is the story of this battle at the Windmill and its 
sequel in Kingston that I wish to tell you tonight. The account as 
I give it is drawn from contemporary sources, including the Kings- 
ton Chronicle and Gazette, and the proceedings of the trials of the 
prisoners who were taken at the Windmill. 

— I — 

The early 1830's had been years of political agitation in Upper 
Canada. The Reformers, under William Lyon Mackenzie, had 
struggled to bring about political changes in the province, only to 
find their efforts constantly thwarted by the Family Compact, among 
whose leaders was that redoubtable Kingstonian, Christopher Hag- 
erman. Despairing of reform after the victory of the Compact at the 
polls in 1836, extremists among Mackenzie's supporters began to 
think in terms of a recourse to arms. Mackenzie himself toyed with 
the idea of overthrowing the existing regime and of establishing a 
Republic of Upper Canada. The immediate result was the rising 
at Toronto in December 1837 which saw the defeat of Mackenzie's 
ill-armed farmers at the engagement at Montgomery's Tavern. A 
number of the rebels were taken prisoners and lodged in newly com- 
pleted Fort Henry. Others, including Mackenzie, managed to es- 
cape to the United States. 

South of the border Mackenzie succeeded in enlisting a consid- 
erable amount of sympathy for his cause. The anti-British feelings 
of the Americans, the legacy of the American Revolution and the 
War of 1812, were still close to the surface, and Mackenzie was able 
to raise men and to obtain arms from the sympathetic citizens of 
the United States. For a brief period he established himself on Navy 
Island in the Niagara river. But his plans for using Navy Island 
as a base for an invasion of Upper Canada very quickly evaporated 
with the gathering of the militia under Sir Allan McNab; and after 
the destruction of the Caroline, the supply ship upon which Mac- 
kenzie depended to bring support from the United States, the army 
of the Republic of Upper Canada disintegrated. Nevertheless there 
were a whole series of disjointed raids against Canadian soil car- 
ried out during 1838 by renegade Canadians and their American 
sympathizers. There was fighting at Pelee Island in the spring of 

42 The Battle of The Windmill 

1838, a raid across the Niagara River in June, and finally a landing 
at Prescott in November. There were piratical activities on the 
water- of the Lakes and the Upper St. Lawrence, notably the des- 
truction of the Canadian steamer, Sir Robert Peel, by one William 
[ohnson, a Canadian who had lived in Kingston prior to the War 
of 1812 and who had, during that war, been imprisoned for pro- 
American sympathies. 

I )uring the summer of 1838 the republican agitation took on a 
new form. A number of secret lodges, called Hunters Lodges, after 
one lames Hunter, a refugee from Whitby, were organized. The 
lodge membership was recruited among the Canadians who had fled 
or escaped to the United States during the rebellion, and among 
their American friends. Each member took an oath to work for 
the establishment of republican institutions in Canada and "never 
to rest till the tyrants of Britain cease to have any dominion or 
footing whatever in North America." The new secret organiza- 
tion seems to have enjoyed considerable popularity. It is estimated 
that the lodges numbered no fewer than 1,174, with 80,000 mem- 
bers. Undoubtedly the prospect of carrying the true gospel of poli- 
tical freedom to the down-trodden Canadians appealed to many 
woolly-minded youthful enthusiasts in the United States; perhaps 
however, the promise of 160 acres of land and a cash bounty of 
twenty dollars and ten dollars a month while on service was an 
even more powerful stimulant to recruiting on the part of the 

William Lyon Mackenzie was not himself a member of the 
secret society. He knew well enough what it was doing and his 
own activities, his writings and his public addresses in those centre 
where the lodges were formed, did much to encourage the Hunters. 
It is rather interesting that the organization was essentially Amer- 
ican in composition. Only a few Canadians belonged to the Hunters, 
and none held any positions of significance in the Lodges. Had 
Canadians been more prominent in the affairs of this secret society 
it is possible that the Hunters would not so readily have deluded 
themselves that they had only to cross the frontier into Canada to 
be greeted by the shouts of welcome of a people who would look 
upon them as liberators from the baneful yoke of Great Britain. 

— II — 

Early in November a number of the Hunters began to assemble 
in various towns in northern New York State, including Salina 
Syracuse). Oswego, Sackett's Harbour, Watertown, French Creek, 
and Ogdensburg. The principal leader one John Ward Birge. Nils 
zoltevky von Schoultz, a young Pole who had come to the United 
in 1836, was leader of the Syracuse group; Colonel Martin 
was in charge of the Watertown contingent. Birge vis- 
red the several centres, calling for "volunteers for the liberation of 

The Battle of The Windmill 43 

Canada." According to one account two drummers accompanied 
him. They "beat the long- roll" while Birge "flourished his sword" 
and swore that not only would the people of Canada welcome the 
liberators, but also large numbers of regular soldiers themselves 
would desert the British colours once the Hunters had landed on 
Canadian soil. 

There was not much secrecy about these proceedings. They 
were carried on quite openly. The general public was well aware 
that a hostile expedition was being planned against Canada ; but no 
steps were taken by the American authorities to prevent several 
hundred adventurous Hunters from embarking at Sackett's Harbour 
on the steamer United States on the morning of Sunday, November 
11, 1838. Proceeding down the St. Lawrence River the United States 
picked up two schooners, Charlotte of Toronto and Charlotte of 
Oswego near Carleton Island. Both schooners took aboard men 
and munitions of war, and were then taken in tow by the steamer. 
They proceeded as far as Brockville. Then, as the wind was fair, 
the schooners were released and sailed downstream towards Pres- 
cott. After a suitable delay of several hours after the departure of 
the steamer, the American officer commanding at Sackett's Har- 
bour. Colonel W. J. Worth, undertook to investigate the current 
reports that a filibustering expedition was in progress against Can- 
ada. He went as far as Carleton Island, satisfied himself that noth- 
ing was amiss, and reported to Washington that there were no signs 
of any unusual "Patriot" activity. 

The self-styled liberators carried with them a Proclamation, 
copies of which were to be distributed to the Canadians. It was the 
work of John Ward Birge and was addressed to the "Brother Patriots 
of Canada." It ran, in part, as follows: 

We have come to your rescue; we have heard the groans of your 
distress; and have seen tears of anguish, hurning on the cheeks of your 
exiled companions. They have besought us to aid them and you in the 
great work of reform, and to establish on your own native soil, EQUAL 
RIGHTS and EQUAL PRIVILEGES. We come not to invade your 
country as robbers and plunderers, but we come as brothers from a land 
of liberty, as free men PLEDGED to your cause. . . Let not your 
brother patriots, who are men struggling against their oppressors, be 
disappointed in you. They have raised their standard and will maintain 
it. They have gained victory after victory and they expect you to 
AROUSE to the conflict and join in the great work. Your homes, your 
firesides, and your sacred altars shall not be violated. Come on then, 
be men, be free men, and your liberties are secured! In behalf of the 
American and Canadian patriots. 

Brigadier-General Commanding Eastern Division. 

44 The Battle of The Windmill 

Birge was, however, better at flourishing the pen than the sword. 
His courage diminished the nearer he approached his destination. 
He not only disagreed with his subordinates, von Schoultz, Dorethus 
Abbey, Martin Woodruff and others^ but, "pale as a ghost" he shut 
himself up in his cabin on the United States. Then he announced 
his intention of raising more men at Ogdensburg. No sooner did he 
touch land than he fell ill. The suddeness of his complaint was un- 
iversally attributed to cowardice. One of his followers later de- 
clared that Birge was a "coward, sick with a complaint vulgarly 
called the belly-ache." 

The loss of Birge was no real blow to the Patriots. It might 
well have been a matter of congratulations, for the leadership fell 
to the Pole, von Schoultz. Not only did von Schoultz come from a 
military family in Poland, but he himself had held a major's com- 
mission in the Polish Army before migrating to the United States. 
Von Schoultz's plan was to land his men at the wharf at Prescott 
and to take Fort Wellington. He, Abbey, and Woodruff, would 
lead the assault, which would succeed through sheer surprise and 
audacity. The operation did not work out as planned. The two 
schooners' reached Prescott late Sunday night. They ran in towards 
the wharf but, missing the pier, they swung around and before they 
could be got under full sail again, ran aground. To assist them a 
scow put out from Ogdensburg. Into this craft the heavy cannon 
and arms were loaded from the schooners. In this way one of the 
vessels was successfully floated, but the other, commanded by the 
redoubtable Bill Johnson, the erstwhile Kingstonian turned pirate, 
remained firm in the mud. The Charlotte of Toronto then drew 
°ff- Towing the scow with her, she fell down stream towards 
Windmill Point where she landed her men and arms. Meanwhile 
efforts were continued to free the other schooner. These efforts 
were hampered, although not apparently very effectually, by the fire 
of a small British steamer called Experiment, for it was not until 
the late afternoon of Monday, November 12th, that an American 
steamer, Paul Pry succeeded in freeing the Charlotte of Oswego. 
By this time her captain had abandoned his vessel along with thirty 
of the Hunters, whose zest for savin-- the Canadians was by now 
considerably less than their interest in saving themselves. How- 
v .« r '-i . Cha rlotte of Oswego joined her companion vessel at Wind- 
mill Point where she disembarked the remaining men and arms on 
the Canadian shore. 

i now well on towards evening. Any chance of surprise 

iad long since disappeared. The success of the operation, as von 

schoultz had envisaged it, had depended upon the suddeness and 

unexpectedness of the landing and the attack. Now the filibusters 

>mxl themselves on Canadian soil with a broad river between them 

and the safety of the United States. But they were still optimistic. 

Ltl do lV 1 ; tr ° d ? en Canadians would be sure to come to their assist- 

Ihat at least they professed to believe. For the present their 

The Battle of The Windmill 45 

position did not seem to be completely hopeless. There was, close 
by, a large stone windmill, and a number of stone houses which of- 
fered good protection from attack. The windmill, which had been 
built in 1822, was a particularly strong work. It was no less than 
six storeys high and its walls were three and a half feet thick. In 
consequence, a council of war consisting of von Schoultz, Dorethus 
Abbey, Daniel Brown, Daniel George, and several others, agreed to 
hold on to their footing in Canada as long as possible. Accordingly 
they mounted their three cannon, took possession of the mill and 
houses, and proceeded to build up and strengthen a nearby stone 
wall as best they could. 

Meanwhile the British and Canadians had mustered their forces. 
Captain William Sandom, a Royal Naval officer who had been moved 
from Quebec to Kingston earlier in the year to take command of 
the Dockyard, rushed to Prescott a small detachment of thirty Mar- 
ines under Lieut. Parker and forty men of the 83rd Regiment under 
Lieut. Johnson in the steamers Queen Victoria and Cobourg. Ac- 
cording to some authorities these men reached Prescott late Mon- 
day night, but the Kingston Chronicle and Gazette states defin- 
itely that it was not until Tuesday. This is a minor point; for it 
was not until Tuesday, November 13th, that the troops, who had 
been joined by groups of militiamen from Glengarry under Captain 
George Macdonell, from Dundas under Colonel John Chrysler, and 
from Grenville, all commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Plomer Young, 
attacked what the Canadians referred to as "the patriot pirates.' 1 
Here is the account of the fighting which appeared in the Kingston 
newspaper : 

While the main body assailed the rascals in front, who had come 
out of their houses and posted themselves behind a stone wall, a party 
of militia under Colonel Duncan Fraser, made a detour, with a view to 
attacking them on their flank. The troops advanced under a galling 
fire from the wall, and soon succeeded in expelling the enemy from be- 
hind it. They then drove them to seek refuge in the houses, from 
which they kept up a deadly aim on our gallant fellows. Lieutenant 
Johnson, in a daring attempt, with a few regulars, to storm a house, 
with nine windows in it filled with men firing at his party, fell within 
a few feet of the house — a gallant victim for the honour of his in- 
sulted country. The Marines strove nobly to succour Mr. Johnson, as 
their list of wounded will show (no less than one officer and fourteen 
other ranks were wounded), but were compelled to retreat or die. Being 
destitute of artillery to batter the houses in which the sympathisers were 
so strongly posted, our gallant troops were reluctantly obliged to re- 
tire from the unequal conflict. 

While this battle was going on, the wharves and shore at Og- 
densburg were lined with enthusiastic sightseers who cheered re- 
peatedly as the troops and militia retired. And yet these cheers 
struck a discordant note in the ears of the Patriots at the Wind- 


The Battle of The Windmill 

mill. "It embittered our hearts to know," wrote one of them, "that 
iluv whose tongues could beguile so successfully had not the moral 
courage to aid us in our hour of trial." 

From this, and other contemporary accounts, it would seem 
that the Patriots more than held their own. Such gunfire as could 
be brought to bear upon the Windmill made little impression upon 
its thick walls, and the guns of the Patriots were able to keep the 
British vessels at a good distance from the Patriot position. Never- 
theless the outlook for the invaders was not very bright. They had 
lost a number of men in Fraser's flanking movement. More signifi- 
cant was the fact that the American authorities had at length in- 
tervened. Colonel Worth, in the steamer Telegraph, had taken over 
the two schooners as well as the United States, and with American 
help Captain Sandom was patrolling the river in order to prevent 
any reinforcements from reaching the Windmill — and incidentally 
to prevent the Patriots from getting back to the American shore. 
Pour Patriots attempted to slip back to Ogdensburg to get medicine 
and surgical supplies for the wounded men in the mill. They man- 
aged to launch a dilapidated old yawl, half-filled with sand and 
water, which they found drawn up on the beach ; but before they 
had pushed out very far into the river they were captured, taken 
aboard the Cobourg, and hurried to Kingston to be imprisoned in 
Fort Henry. 

During Wednesday the 14th there was no fighting. An hour's 
truce was agreed upon to enable both sides to dispose of their dead ; 
but the Patriots were handicapped by lack of shovels. It is hard 
to understand why von Schoulfz and his men did not make a real 
effort to get back to the safety of the American shore. Colonel Worth 
interceded on their behalf and deliberately left the river free for a 
brief period while Sandom was busy effecting repairs aboard the 
Experiment. The steamer Paul Pry' crossed to the Windmill; but 
instead of accepting advice to withdraw while the chance offered 
itself, the Patriots preferred to believe another report that reinforce- 
ments and supplies would soon reach them from Ogdensburg. 

The reinforcements which were gathering were not those for 
the deluded Hunters. Four companies of the 83rd Regiment under 
the commanding officer, Lieut. Col. the Hon. Henrv Dundas, to- 
gether with a number of field pieces from Kingston and Brockville 
were now en route to Prescott. Dundas took' his time. Xot until 
Friday, November 16th, did he put in his assault. Major MacBean's 
iteen-pounder field guns were placed so as to batter the mill and 
stone houses When these failed to breach the stonework. Captain 
ndom with two gunboats and an armed steamer, took up a posi- 
tion in the river somewhat below the mill. He boomed away with 
hteen pounder cannon; but from all accounts neither Mac- 
fnw?r n °v Sand t °" 1 wa f able to bring about the demolition of the 
Nevertheless the weight of fire did serve to discourage the 

The Battle of The Windmill 47 

defenders and thus to enable the troops, with the militia on the 
flanks, to move in close to the Hunters' position. Heavy rifle fire 
compelled some of the Hunters to abandon one of the houses which 
they had occupied, and before they could reach the mill and safety 
they were taken prisoners by the militia. Finally the garrison in 
the Windmill hoisted the white flag and agreed to Dundas's de- 
mand for unconditional surrender. Von Schoultz himself held on 
until the last. "I kept my position," he wrote, "though the roof 
crumbled to pieces over our heads.' The Hunters (there were some 
130 of them) were then disarmed and marched into Prescott in a 
long line, single file, each man tied to a rope. After being paraded 
before the jubilant citizenry they were "crammed into the forecastle 
of a small steamboat" and brought up river to Kingston. 

Inside the thick walls of the mill the soldiers poked about to 
see what they could find. There was a good supply of powder, two 
hundred stand of arms and over 10,000 rounds of ball ammunition. 
Some of the cartridges were rather ingeniously made of powder and 
bullets, with three buckshot tied neatly down with thread in the 
cartridge. There were three cannon in front of the door of the mill, 
one of which, a four pounder, was still loaded with rusty nails and 
spikes tied into a ball. Such a charge, wrote the reporter in the 
Chronicle "would do much mischief at a short distance." Among 
the trophies captured in the mill was a beautiful white silk flag, 
bearing an eagle surmounted by a star. Beneath the design, fanci- 
fully worked by hand, were the words "Onondaga Hunters - - Can- 
ada Liberated". This flag, it was said, had been given to von 
Schoultz by the sympathetic ladies of Onondaga County, one of the 
hotbeds of Hunter activity. A more gruesome find was the bodies 
of two Patriots who had hidden in a bake oven and who had been 
burned to death when the building had been consumed by flames. 

It is difficult to ascertain accurately just how many Patriots 
did take part in this battle at the Windmill. There was a certain 
amount of movement across the river on the Wednesday, and it is 
known that some of the Hunters succeeded in escaping to the United 
States both during and after the fighting. According to the Kings- 
ton newspaper dated 17th November, 30 Patriots surrendered on 
Tuesday the 13th and 132 on the 16th. It was also reported that 
67 Patriots had been killed in the fighting on the Tuesday and 35 
on the Friday or a total of 102 fatal casualties. Subsequent reports 
gave the Patriot casualties as 56 killed and 16 wounded. Von 
Schoultz said that his losses were only 16 or 17, a figure which, in 
view of the strong defences he occupied, may not be very far wrong. 
One present day estimate, which I regard as reasonably accurate, 
says that 17 Patriots were killed; three subsequently died of wounds; 
seventeen were wounded and five escaped. One thing that all ac- 
counts are agreed upon is the lieavy loss of self-styled "generals". 
Both Charles Brown and James Phillips, Brigadier-Generals in the 
Patriot army, were anion"; those killed. 

4S The Battle of The Windmill 

The official returns of the killed and wounded on the Canadian 
side show one lieutenant of the 83rd, one lieutenant of the 2nd Gren- 
ville Militia, and eleven rank and file of the Glengarry Highlanders, 
2nd Dundas Militia, 2nd Grenville Militia and Brockville Inde- 
pendent Company of Militia, killed; and one lieutenant-colonel 
of the 9th Provincial Battalion, one lieutenant of the Royal Marines, 
one lieutenant of thee 2nd Dundas Militia, one ensign of the 
Glengarry Highlanders, one sergeant of the Prescott Independ- 
ent Company of Militia, and 62 rank and file from the Royal 
Marines, Glengarry Highlanders, 9th Provisional Battalion, 2nd 
Dundas Militia, 1st Grenville Militia, the Brockville and Prescott 
Independent Companies and "Gentlemen Volunteers", wounded. ] 


Meanwhile great excitement prevailed in Kingston. Men rush- 
ed to arms and within several days no fewer than 2000 militia 
had been emhodied to defend Kingston in the ahsence of the regu- 
lars. These included, in addition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Frontenac 
Militia, the 1st and 2nd Addington and the 1st and 2nd Lennox 
and five troops of militia cavalry. On the 14th the Chronicle and 
Gazette reported. 

. . . the 3rd Regiment of Frontenac Militia mustered strong at 
Barriefield yesterday, notwithstanding the heavy rains which prevailed 
in the forenoon. They now occupy Barriefield and have taken the 
Dock Yard guards. As an instance of the activity displayed by the 
officers and met, we may mention that it was 10 o'clock before Captain 
Birtle commenced collecting his company from the back concessions 
of the township of Kingston, and at 3 p.m. he reached his station with 
about 50 or 60 fine young men. Such exertions are beyond praise. 

At 7 p.m. on the same day some 70 to 80 Indians from the 
Mohawk Village commanded by Captain Portt came in "all anxious 
for an opportunity to try the accuracy of their aim upon the pre- 
tended patriots". 

There was great rejoicing on the part of the people of Kings- 
ton when news reached town of the successful outcome of the fight- 
ing at the Windmill. It was late at night when the miserable.' de- 
jected prisoners disembarked at Scobel's wharf on Front Street, but 
not too late for them to be paraded along the principal thoroughfare, 
which was, according to the press report, "brilliantly illuminated" 

the occasion. Thousands of people turned out' to cheer the 

as they passed and to greet the prisoners with "groans of 

nsion Two by two, they plodded, tied together to a rope pass- 

mg betw een them. Von Schoultz, tall and dark, strode at the head. 

and LLt^an^Dulm^'oPtHr'r'l ^f^Urf- • inc , lu , ded Lieutenant W. S. Johnson cf the 83rd 

t the 9th Provincial Battalion T S' IIe t M ' htl « k]1 cd ; a " d Lieutenant-Colonel Ogle R. Gowan 

the 2nd Dundas and Ensigr An ^Tf ^-'^J °v. f *& Royal Marines. Lieutenant Parslow of 

- Angus Macdonneli of the Glengarry Highlanders, wounded 

The Battle of The Windmill 49 

His clothes were in tatters and his shirt hung in ribbons on his back. 
"In this condition" wrote one of the prisoners "with a line of soldiers 
on each side, we were marched to Fort Henry, about one mile dis- 
tant from the landing, the band playing Yankee Doodle". . There 
was no pity in the hearts of the onlookers. Said the newspaper re- 
porter "we were much struck at the abominable weapons which the 
Pirates had carried with them. The bowie knife is certainly a fit 
instrument in the hands of such a set of cutthroats". 

The Roman boliday afforded by the parade of the prisoners was 
followed several days later by the more dignified and sombre cere- 
mony of the funeral of Lieutenant Johnson of the 83rd, who had 
fallen while leading an assaulting party on the 13th. Johnson's body 
had been mutilated by the Patriots, despite the efforts of Von 
Schoultz to protect it, and public feeling ran high among Canadians 
in the upper St. Lawrence towns. The funeral was carried out with 
"unusual solemnity". From the Tete de Pont barracks the long 
cortege marched slowly to the graveyard. Those who had been so 
vociferous a few days before, now stood silently along the road side, 
with their heads bowed. At the head of the cortege marched the 
firing party, followed by the band of the 83rd, members of the bar, 
the clergy and gentlemen of the town. Then came the troops of 
the 83rd in mourning, followed by the Kingston Volunteer Artillery, 
the dismounted troopers of the 1st and 2nd Frontenac Dragoons, 
militia officers, and officers of the garrison and the Royal Navy. 


The immediate question was, what should be done about the 
prisoners? After making all allowance for the very natural desire 
on the part of the prisoners to excuse their actions on the grounds 
of ignorance of what they were doing, there is no doubt that the 
Patriots were, for the most part, men who had been deluded into 
believing in the justice of their cause. The Kingston paper was pre- 
pared to concede this point, blaming the whole episode upon William 
Lyon Mackenzie, that "little vagabond from Toronto", who at this 
date was spending his time and energy giving speeches in the United 
States and raising money for the Patriot Cause. And yet the 
Chronicle and Gazette found it hard to understand wh the so-called 
Patriots should so easily have been deluded when the facts spoke so 
clearly : 

There are a few plain facts which appear to us, ought to strike 
the American sympathizers very forcibly. We believe that they are 
in some measure imposed upon by the discontented renegades from this 
Province, who make them believe that our people really wish for a re- 
publican government. . . . Last winter, at the breaking out of the re- 
bellion at Toronto, when there was not a regular soldier in the Province, 
why did not the mass of the people join the few wretched rebels who 


The Battle of The Windmill 

did assemble to change the form of government — the very reverse was 
the case the yeomen of the country flocked in thousands, nay tens 

of thousands, to Toronto, for the purpose of protecting the government. 

Then again as to the party of Sympathizers who a few days since 
landed below Prescott, they certainly took up a formidable position 
consisting of a Windmill built of stronger masonry than any ordinary 
Martello tower, and which with the large stone buildings in the vicinity, 
offered the greatest shelter for the advance of an attacking party. This 
disposition the Patriots, as they call themselves, occupied for several 
days. Did any of our people join them? Were they so inclined they 
had plenty of time and opportunity to do so, but no, not even a solitary 
radical. How then can the Sympathizers allow themselves to be so 
peacefully led astray on this important point — how permit them- 
selves to be gulled by such a cowardly little Jackanape as Mackenzie 
and his stamp? Do they put themselves in personal danger? No, — 
they take care of that, but they make dupes enough to do it for them. 

Letters written by the prisoners to their friends in the United 
Statts make rather pathetic reading in their naivete. One prisoner 
wrote "We have, for some cause or other, made up our minds that 
the good people of Canada do not wish a change in their form of 
government, therefore it is the height of folly to say more." An- 
other prisoner, Charles Smith of Cape Vincent, was captured, bear- 
ing in his pocket a letter which urged him to "be like Mr. Mackenzie, 
do not spare a Tory, and if there is not ropes enough to hang the 
lories yon can buy more, if you want more men send to me." 
.This belligerent friend did not take part in the fighting. Presum- 
ably he was safe in the United States applauding the speeches of 
William Lyon Mackenzie. But when Smith, behind Fort Henry's 
forbidding walls, wrote home, his letter indicated no eagerness on 
his part to indulge in the sport of hanging Tories. Instead he said, 
"If there should be another attempt made, do you tell them from 
your best friends, for God's sake, to stay where they are, as I am 
well convinced that they do not want a new form of Government 
here; we are deceived by a set of dastardly cowards who threw us 
ito the very jaws of death and left us poor innocent young men, to 
-et out the best way we could, for God's sake expose them and do 
not let a coward go free". One of the prisoners. Jeremiah Winnegar, 
I that he "had not expected to fight when he 'left home, but came 
sole purpose of giving liberty to the people of Canada. He 
thought when he was coming that he was doing God's service, for 
had heard Ministers of Gospel encouraging the people to support 
the Patriot Hunters . y 

1 : United States the reaction to the events at Prescott and 

apture of the Patriots - - almost all of them were Americans - 

. Some newspapers assumed a threatening attitude: 

ie heaped obloquy upon the Canadian refugees; some appealed 

Colonel Worth, at Sackett's Harbour wrote to Lieu- 

The Battle of The Windmill 51 

tenant Colonel Dundas asking him to show mercy on "the wretched 
victims of baseness and duplicity". Dundas replied pointing- out 
that his authority "did not extend in any degree to the remission or 
infliction of any punishment to which the prisoners taken at Pres- 
cott have subjected themselves by the laws of this country", but 
promised to send Worth's letter to the Lieutenant Governor. Few 
Canadians were, however, inclined to listen to requests for the re- 
lease of prisoners. Canadian patience had been pretty well tried 
by the constant attacks of the patriots along the whole length of 
the Canadian frontier during 1838. The Transcript in Montreal 
said that the pleas for clemency amounted to, "We tried to murder 
you and failed, therefore do not hang us". "Will it be mercy to 
execute . . . some three dozen well selected rascals, and stop the 
revolt?" asked the Transcript; then answering its own question 
the newspaper continued "We believe the public will unhesitatingly 
join in our confident affirmative". One Kingstonian, writing to 
the local newspaper, shared the Transcript's view. He expressed 
great indignation at the sympathy being expressed in the United 
States for the poor Prescott prisoners, their mothers and their 
sweethearts, and commented upon the complete absence of any such 
sympathy for the widows and the orphans which "these misguided 
innocents made in Canada". Another Kingstonian put forward the 
suggestion that some arrangement might be made to exchange some 
of the prisoners for the persons of William Lyon Mackenzie, William 
Johnson, and John Ward Birge, the men really responsible for 
the loss of life and damage to property suffered by the Canadians 
at Prescott. 

The Canadian authorities were neither influenced by this sug- 
gestion nor moved by appeals on the part of Colonel Worth, Judge 
Fine of Ogdensburg, or other Americans. On November 20th the 
Lieutenant Governor directed that a Militia Court Martial be as- 
sembled at Fort Henry on November 26th, "for the trial of such 
persons as may be brought before it, charged with being in arms 
against Her Majesty, within this Province, contrary to the provis- 
ions of an act of the Provincial Parliament of Upper Canada, passed 
in the 1st Year of Her Majesty's reign, entitled "An Act to protect 
the Inhabitants of this Province against Lawless aggressions from 
Subjects of Foreign Countries at Peace with Her Majesty". The 
president of the Court Martial was John B. Marks of Barriefield. 
Colonel of the 3rd Battalion Frontenac Militia. The Judge Advocate 
was the Hon. William Henry Draper, Solicitor-General in the Upper 
Canadian Government, who also held a commission as Colonel of 
the 2nd North York Regiment. The other members of the court 
included Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. John Kirby of the 1st Fron- 
tenac Militia; Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Raynes of the 2nd Fron- 
tenac Militia ; Lieutenant-Colonel John S. Cartwright of the 2nd 
Lennox; Lieutenant-Colonel John Turnbull of the 1st Hastings; 
Lieutenant-Colonel William Logie of the 3rd Frontenac ; Major 
Thomas Kirkpatrick of the 1st Lennox; Major James Sampson of 

; - The Battle of The Windmill 

the 3rd Frontenac; Major David John Smith of the 1st Frontenac ; 
Captain Hugh McGregor of the 2nd Frontenac; Captain Elijah 
Beach of the 2nd Frontenac; Captain John Strange of the 1st 
Frontenac; Captain lames McFarlane of the 1st Frontenac; Cap- 
tain John Bower of the 3rd Frontenac; and Captain John R. For- 
syth of the 1st Frontenac Militia. A quorum for the court was eight 

( )n Mondav. November 26th, the Court Martial assembled in 
one of the low, grey casemates of Fort Henry, and was sworn in. 
The first case was that of Daniel George, the so-called paymaster 
of the Patriots. He was no heroic crusader for republican ideas. 
He had. in fact, deserted his comrades and had been picked up in 
a small boat while trying to escape to the United States. With the 
belli of his counsel, the young John A. Macdonald, George succeed- 
ed in getting an adjournment of his case in order to prepare his de- 
fence. The red-coated officers then turned to consider the fate of 
the Patriot leader. Nils Szoltevky von Schoultz. Somewhat to the 
surprise of the Court, and against the advice of Macdonald, von 
Schoultz pleaded guilty. Colonel Draper set forth the terms of the 
statute. He explained to the prisoner at the bar the severe penalty 
of the law upon his crime and the impossibility of the court mod- 
ifying this penalty. But von Schoultz, who bore himself in court 
with the same stoical, somewhat vain braver)'- that he had shown 
on the field, replied that, although he had been deceived as to the 
situation in Canada, he could not and would not deny his leadership 
of the expedition. He confirmed his plea of guilty. Despite the plea, 
the Court went ahead with the trial and heard the necessary evidence. 
According to Edward Smith, a soldier of the Prescott Independent 
Militia Company who had taken von Schoultz prisoner on November 
16th, the accused had told him that he had taken over command from 
Birge while en route to Ogdensburg. Another witness, Jean Bap- 
tiste Ruza (Rousseau) from Montreal, a Patriot who turned Queen's 
evidence, identified von Schoultz as one of the Patriot generals; and 
then to save his own hide he added, "They gave me arms, a musket 
and cartridges. I threw them away after the first firing on the Tuesday 
morning". Another witness, a fourteen year old boy from Boucher- 
ville, Laurent Mailhotte told a similar story. To clinch the case 
a statement given by Schoultz to George Baker, the magistrate at 
Kingston, was admitted as evidence. This statement read as follows: 

Nils Szoltevki von Schoultz, a Pole, aged thirty-one years. In 

eighteen hundred and thirty-six, came to the United States — is a 

Chemist; resident in Salina heard of the new Government of Canada 

for the first time about the beginning of November — was told by a 

Society in Salina that if he went to Ogdensburg to General Birge of 

'atriot Army he should have particulars. Accordingly he embarked 

swego in the United States Steamer on Sunday the eleventh of 

landed the following morning below Prescott — designed 

Ogdensburg. The General put the boat in the river and 

The Battle of The Windmill S3 

directed them to land on the Canada side; that he would meet them — 
was never sworn into the service - - never regularly joined the Patriot 
Army; left Oswego to see the General before joining — his father was 
a Major in the Regiment of Cracow, and was killed; after which the 
present von Schoultz got his rank of Major in the Polish army — never 
received pay in the Patriot Service; saw Bill Johnson when he brought 
provisions and ammunition; Johnson brought the three pieces of artill- 
ery on Monday morning. General Birge was to have the command but 
never appeared; Birge is from Cazenovia in the State of New York - 
Johnson left when he landed the artillery; on Monday evening when 
the General had not appeared the prisoner undertook to lead the party 
back to the American shore - - on Tuesday their adjutant came over and 
said that schooners were coming to their assistance and to take them 
off — the adjutant immediately returned — on Tuesday seven or eight 
were killed and fourteen or fifteen wounded. Mr. Stone, a merchant in 
Salina first introduced this informant to the Patriots: does not know 
the name of the Patriot leader in Salina; brought two of his country- 
men with him who joined at Oswego; was told that the Upper Can- 
adians would all join with them; about one hundred and eighty landed 
below Prescott — on Monday night informant sent a man floating on 
a plank to have the boats sent from the American shore to take them 
over — the man never returned. When he embarked at Oswego he 
knew that a great many men were on board with the same intention 
as himself — paid his passage money (twelve shillings and six pence) 
— two or three hundred passengers in all — saw some of them pay the 
passage money — Birge, when he came to the schooner left Ogdens- 
burg in a small steam boat; on the night of Wednesday no relief came 
to them. Johnson attempted to come over with small boats, but was 
defeated- On Thursday night a steam boat came over near the shore, 
but put off again without landing or taking away the wounded does 
not know her name. Was told to make a landing in Canada and that 
forces would join them, and that the British regulars would also come 
over to the Patriots - - on Monday night he first took the Command to 
withdraw the party from below Prescott. Since that time he was some- 
times called Captain and sometimes General. No man from the Canada 
shore joined them after landing; understood that all the men in the 
schooners and steamboat were Americans; did not know of any British 
subjects being among them; never was in Canada before; did not know 
of any assistance being given by the American Government — in the 
attack the British fired first; procured the flag used by him at Salina; 
it was given to him by Mr. Stone to be handed to General Birge. Never 
swore any men into the service. 

During the court proceeding's von Schoultz remained "as un- 
moved as a rock". Only the evidence of the mutilation of Lieu- 
tenant Johnson's body — and a revolting mutilation it was - - dis- 
turbed him. When he spoke to the court it was not to save his life 

54 The Battle of The Windmill 

but to save his honour. He denied that he had shown any inhuman- 
ity to the dead and wounded. He said: 

When 1 found we had no medical stores for the wounded I was 
willing to give them up. On Tuesday evening when Colonel Fraser 
sent in a flag to remove the dead, I met him and told him that I would 
give up the British wounded as I had no means of taking care of them 
and we had already given up all the bedding and every comfort we could 
for their accommodation. I merely state this to show that there was 
no inhumanity shown to the wounded. 

\> regards the maltreatment of Captain Johnson's body — I tried 
to .yet the body away but the fire was such that I could not. Two men 
ucii- wounded in the attempt. I put a sentinel to shoot the hogs that 
might approach the body and he fired to keep them off. This may 
show that I had no concern in mutilating his body. I have no witnesses 
to call. 

The court had no choice but to declare von Schoultz guilty. On 
Friday, November 29th he was condemned to die by hanging. On 
Saturday Daniel George and Dorethus Abbey were condemned to 
the same fate. Several days later the warrant for the executions 
arrived in Kingston. On December 6th von Schoultz, George, and 
\hbey were removed from Fort Henry to the common jail in Kings- 
ton; hut on Saturday von Schoultz was taken back to Fort Henry 
and executed, not on the common gallows in Kingston but on a 
special gallows erected on the glacis of the Fort. It is said that this 
was at the request of John A. Macdonald. but the evidence is not 
conclusive. In any event the other two were hanged on December 
12th "at the new drop, hack of the goal". According to the Chronicle 
ami Gazette "very few persons, besides the militarv, attended the 
execution". On December 19th Martin Woodruff, the last of the 
leaders, was executed. In his last hours von Schoultz wrote to his 
friend Warren Green at Salina (Syracuse): 

W hen you get this letter I am no more. I have been informed 

that my execution will take place tomorrow. May God forgive them 

who brought me to this untimely death. I have made up my mind, 

and I forgive them. Today I have been promised a lawyer to draw up 

will ... If the British Government permit it. I wish it (his body) 

may be delivered to you to be buried on your farm. I have no time to 

long to you, because I have great need of communicating with 

Ireator, and prepare for His presence. The time has been very 

that has been allowed. My last wish to the Americans is that 

not think of revenging my death. Let no further blood be 

and believe me, that from what I have seen, all the stories that 

told about the sufferings of the Canadian people were untrue 

Farewell my dear friend: God bless and protect you. 

The Battle ok The Windmill 55 

In the will of which he spoke - it was drawn up by John A. 
Macdonald von Schoultz left £490 to the dependents of the 

militia who had been killed at the Battle of the Windmill. But his 
body was not delivered to his friend in the United States. It rests 
today in peace and obscurity in St. Mary's cemetery. 

Following the trials of the principals, the work of the court 
martial became more and more perfunctory. The trial of Martin 
Woodruff aroused a certain amount of interest : but the rest of the 
prisoners were poor, terrified, colorless stuff. On December 22, Joel 
Peeler and Sylvanus Sweet were hanged. On January 4th four more 
Patriots suffered the same fate, and on February 11 one more. By 
this time even the most belligerent Kingstonians had had their fill 
of hangings ; and on December 29th the Chronicle and Gazette 
asked whether the execution of all the prisoners would "add to the 
dignity of the Empire". The editor expressed his view that "sec- 
ondary punishment" would be sufficient, particularly in view of the 
fact that courts martial had been set up in Western Ontario to deal 
with the prisoners taken in the raid which the Patriots had tried to 
carry out against Windsor. 

Certainty and speed of punishment were more important than 
severity. On January 5th the newspaper reported that 140 prisoners 
had been tried, ten had been executed, four had turned Queen's 
evidence, two had died in hospital, four still remained in Fort Henry 
had been tried, ten had been executed, four had turned Queen's 
evidence, two had died in hospital, four still remained in Fort Henry 
to be tried and nine were lying in hospital still to undergo trial. Of 
those who were not executed the more youthful were pardoned and 
allowed to go back to the United States. The others, about sixty 
of them, were sentenced to be transported to the Penal Colony of 
Van Dieman's Land. 

The last word on the Patriots who fought the battle at the Wind- 
mill comes from the pen of a soldier of the 65th Regiment, who, 
under the name of "Milites" sent the following piece of verse to the 
Kingston paper : 


This is the scheme that Mac built, 

These are the people who worked at the scheme that Mac built, 
These are the knaves held up by the people who winked at the 
scheme that Mac built. 

This is the Patriot all tattered and torn 

Who prowls like a wolf from night till morn; 

He has joined the plundering lawless band, 

And hears the name of a "stout brigand"; 

56 The Battle of The Windmill 

\nil he raises the cry of the "Canadas free", 

To seize on his neighbours property. 
He is one of the knaves held up to the people who winked at 

the Scheme that Mac built. 

These are the widows of those who were slain 

For Albion's rights, on the battle plain, 
And they slowly chant as they glide along. 

To the shade of the dead, the requiem song; 
]!ut they change to a cry both shrill and wild, 

As the tearless eye of the orphan child 
[s fixed on the Patriot all tattered and torn, etc., etc. 

These are the bandits! Lo they stand 

Bound with manacles hand and hand 
And surrounded by an armed band 

And they gaze with a wild and vacant eye 
On the gallows tree where they're doomed to die. 

No trophies of war shall bestrew their bier. 
Not their's the sigh, or the friendly tear, 

No friendly hand shall adorn their grave; 
No! these are reserved for the loyal and the brave. 

But their names shall go down the course they run 
I nwept — unhonoured — and unsung 

As one of the Patriots all tattered and torn, etc. 

This is the Peri of Albion's Isle 

All! where is the wretch that could blight that smile? 
Or plant a canker worm of care 

In the peerless bosom of one so fair! 
She .sits aloft, while her lustring eye 

Beams with the fire of majesty; 
While the millions around her rend the sky 

With bursts of — VICTORIA —victory 
Over the Patriots all tattered and torn 

Who howl like wolves from night till morn; 
They have joined the plundering lawless band 

And hear the name of "stout brigand" 
And they raise the cry of the "Canadas free", 

To seize on their neighbour's property! 
They are the knaves held up to the people who winked at the 

scheme that Mac built. 

iter such an outburst of literary bellicosity what more is there 
ior me to say? 

Early Canadian Glass 

G. F. Stevens, Mallorytown 

The story of glass, its history and authentication, is one having 1 
many unwritten chapters. Scholars and students have expended vast 
efforts in research and, although much is known, there remains even 
more to discover. Even the country of origin is disputed. Some schools 
of research claim Syria, and others Egypt, as the home of glass, one 
of the world's most useful materials. 

The principal ingredients used in making glass throughout the 
ages are the basic materials used to-day. Styles and techniques have 
changed, but silica, usually in the form of sand, and alkalis, such as 
potash and carbonate of soda or lime are the main ingredients. Other 
materials used are oxide of lead or of manganese, saltpeter, etc. These 
are added according to the kind or colour of glass desired. For ex- 
ample, cuprous oxide gives a ruby colour and silver oxide a yellow 

The types of glass most interesting to collectors are free-blown, 
pressed, and blown-moulded. Free-blown glass has for most students 
the interest of being hand-made and carries the personal expression 
of the craftsman blowing it. The basic tools necessary to produce 
blown glass are a blowpipe, a pontil rod, and a scissors. Another tool 
of major importance is the pucellas, shaped somewhat like a sugar 
tongs. Its use is the shaping of the glass while it is being worked. 

Basic steps in the art of glass blowing are as follows. The in- 
gredients are first subjected to intense heat (approximately 2500 de- 
grees Fahrenheit) then allowed to cool to the consistency of a very 
heavy oil. The batch is then at the proper stage for manipulation. 
The blowpipe, a hollow iron tube from 2 ft. to 6 ft. long, is then in- 
serted into the "metal" (a term for glass), a "gather" of metal is se- 
cured, the blowpipe is withdrawn, and a light puff through the blow- 
pipe forms a pocket of air in the metal. This pocket is then enlarged 
by blowing to whatever size is desired. The gather is then ready for 
forming. This is done in various ways, using the pucellas and other 

The next step is of importance to collectors. The pontil rod, 
usually a solid iron rod, is dipped into the molten metal to obtain a 
light coating on the end. The coated end of the pontil rod is then 
applied to the bottom section of the gather being worked and a fusion 
takes place. The blowpipe is freed and the shaping of the piece is 
completed by using the pontil rod as a means of manipulation. The 
scissors is used to cut a clean edge ; or a narrow strip of the edge, 
or rim, is folded over. Handles and ornamentation of glass are 
added, and the pontil rod is then severed from the completed piece. 
This leaves a scar on the bottom of the finished article. This scar is 
usually round and quite rough and, unless it has been ground out, 
is a means of determining that a piece of glass has been blown. This 

E \ki-Y Canadian Glass 

-car is dear to the heart of the collector. The foregoing is only a very 
rough description of a very great art. 

Pressed glass has been made throughout the ages, but it was 
not until the late 1820's that it began attaining the predominance that 
it has to-day. Tressed glass is a mechanical process and is made in 
moulds having a pattern or design chipped or shaped on the inner 
vide. The metal is gathered on a pontil rod and the necessary amount 
dropped into the mould. The metal is then forced into the designs in 
the mould by a plunger which is usually operated by a lever. The 
moulds are of many types and are made in sections, some having two 
sections, and others having as many as eight or more. The lines 
made by the joining of the several sections of the moulds distinguish 
early pressed glass. These mould marks are frequently so noticeable 
that they art- considered to be a distinguishing characteristic. These 
mould marks are called "fins". 

There is also a type of glass blown-moulded. This glass is 
made by a combination of the two previously mentioned techniques. 
It is blown into a mould rather than free-blown. Its characteristic 
marks are the scar left by the pontil rod and the lines or fins left by 
the moulds. 

Glass was ornamented by engraving, cutting, and enamelling, 
etc., but the ornamentation most interesting to students of glass is 
that of glass applied to itself. This was the earliest form of decora- 
lion, and it includes punts (applied blobs of glass), quilling (ribbons 
of glass applied in a wavy formation), and superimposed decoration 
i a separate gather of glass attached to a partially formed piece, pulled 
up to form an outer layer and worked into the desired form. One of 
these forms is the so-called lily-pad). 

I wish to apologize for the preceding descriptions. It is impos- 
sible to condense the techniques of a great art or craft without be- 
littling it. 


History records that by the fourth century A.D. household art- 
icles made of glass were, more or less, in common use. The rise of 
the Roman Empire spread the art of glass making throughout Europe. 
This art was sadly neglected during the Dark Ages, but Venice was 
to give it a new impetus, and Bohemia and Silesia were to help de- 
velop the artistic side of glass making. France and the Low Countries 
introduced new styles and techniques. This new knowledge influ- 
enced glass making in England, and eventually these techniques and 
the discovery of a new flux— lead— by English craftsmen resulted in 
a native English glass, called flint. 

: first glass factory in British North America was established 

at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608-1610. As time passed and the popula- 

i the Colonies increased, a number of small local glass houses 

Early Canadian Glass 59 

were established. Of greater importance were the eighteenth cen- 
tury glass factories of Caspar Wistar and Henry William Stiegel. 
The dates of their factories are approximately, Wistar's, 1739-1779, 
and Stiegel's, 1763-1774. Examples of glass manufactured by Wistar 
and Stiegel are eagerly sought by glass collectors. 

Many people have done a vast amount of research on the glass 
factories of Europe, Asia, and North America. North America, with 
the exception of Canada, has had many of its glass houses traced and 
catalogued. With Canada it is another story. The dates and loca- 
tion of Canada's first glass factory are as yet unknown. In fact, 
any knowledge of it whatsoever has yet to be learned. The story of 
early Canadian glass is one which remains to be written. Many 
people have attempted to obtain facts and definite information on 
early Canadian glass houses, their founders, and workmen. These 
efforts, so far, have not proved to be very successful. The leads are 
few and the data is scanty. A person doing research is obliged to 
rely to a great extent upon local history and folk-lore which, based 
frequently upon oral tradition, lacks the definite proof provided by 
documents. The writer has spent some years on the subject. He has 
been in touch with various public institutions, including the Public 
Archives of Canada, and has read many books written on the sub- 
ject of glass. The books in particular are inadequate concerning 

In only one book has he found a reference to a Canadian glass 
factory. This book American Glass written by Geo. L. and Helen 
McKearin, mentions a Canadian glass factory. An excerpt from this 
book, on page 174, was the cause of this writer's first interest in the 
glass factory at Mallorytown. It is as follows : 

This pitcher and a small howl . . . are of especial interest because, 
if the history which came with them is correct, they were not blown in 
New York State but in a small glass works in the hamlet of Mallory- 
town in the Province of Quebec, about 30 miles from Watertown. They 
. . . were purchased . . . right in Mallorytown. Mr. Neff . . . was told 
by old residents . . . that they were made in a glass works there which 
was operating at the same time as the Redwood Glass Works near 
Watertown. On the other hand, we were told by another person, who 
visited Mallorytown . . . that he was unable to verify the existence of 
a local glass house and was told that residents of the village had been 
employed in the glass works at Redwood. We have since discussed the 
matter with Mr. Neff who . . . revisited Mallorytown, checked the in- 
formation, and is certain a glass works was located there. Be that as 
it may, the lily-pad pieces obtain from . . . Mallorytown families are 
similar in colour and technique to the lily-pad pieces blown at Redwood 
and Redford. 

60 Early Canadian Glass 

As this book is one of the most informative books on American 
glass, and this mention of a Mallorytown glass factory is the only 
reference to a Canadian glass house, the information available for 
the student of Canadian glass is most inadequate. 

One ray of light is to be found in the Recorder and Times of 
Brockville, Ontario. This newspaper had, on January 11, 1938, an 
article' headed "Site of Old Glass Works now fixed on farm short 
distance from Mallorytown." Excerpts from the article read as fol- 

The puzzled situation in regard to the location of the glass works 
which functioned many years ago in the vicinity of Mallorytown is clar- 
ified to some extent by the statement of George H. Andress, aged 79, 
... to the effect that the plant was situated not far from the present 
No. _' Highway .... a short distance west of the village. Mr. Andress 
says that, as a small hoy he was taken to a . . . farm property, . . . (and) 
the party examined a foundation and a well. He continued north over 
an outcropping of rock streaked with quartz to what he was told had 
been the site of the glass works, then also marked by an old founda- 
tion. The site, as he recalls it, was only a short distance beyond the 
rock. . . . Various sites have been mentioned as that upon which the 
glass works, now little more than a legend in the Mallorytown com- 
munity, was situated. 

This article was most helpful as added evidence that a Mallory- 
town glass factory had existed but, although helpful in some ways, 
it added to the confusion in others. The location given proved in- 
accurate, and a number of persons digging in this location and, find- 
ing no evidences of a glass factory, greatly increased the doubts about 
the existence of this Ontario glass house. This was unfortunate, as 
we were to find later on that the party mentioned in the newspaper 
article actually walked over and ignored the true site. 

Amongst those who had investigated the site referred to in the 
Brockville newspaper was the late Miss Harriet Robertson an an- 
tique dealer of Brockville. Ontario. Miss Robertson had. so she told 
the writer, employed several persons to investigate this site. These 
persons had. on different occasions, done considerable digginq- which 
had produced negative results. Miss Robertson's opinion coincided 
vith hat of Mr. McKearin, namely, that the specimens of glass ob- 
tained m the Mallorytown district might have been made at the 
Kedwood or Redford glass factories. 

heirP l^ T? ed ^° the immedi ate vicinity of Mallorytown, and 

f t£ 1 f d m Canadiana of a" I found the" local tales 

I de c irled tf / a -)° ry " T UrCe ° f - reat interest - Mrs - Stevens and 

inite woof tW tv° m r v We " ° r anybod y else ' ever stained def- 

e would trvtn ;i,1 - d '^\ glass factory had been in operation, 

to acquire a specimen of the glass manufactured there 

Early Canadian Glass 61 

We made local inquiries and discovered there were few, if any, 
examples of the glass, said to have been manufactured at the Mal- 
lorytown factory, left in the district. We became discouraged and 
almost gave up the search. One afternoon in August of 1952, we 
thought that we would try to track down one more lead we had 
heard of. A visit was made to a farmhouse owned by Mr. Cuthwin 
Burnham, and there, reposing on a pine sideboard in a Leeds County 
kitchen, stood a somewhat crude sugar bowl and cover, blown in 
an aquamarine coloured glass. 

The sight of that sugar bowl, and the vehement insistence that 
it was "made at the Mallorytown glass factory years ago" and that 
it had been "handed down" as a family heirloom, caused Mrs. Stev- 
ens and I to decide to carry on for ourselves a really intensive search 
to prove or disprove the folk-tale that Canada also had had its share 
of artisans in the early days. Our first step was to make a list of 
the people we knew had lived in the Mallorytown-Lansdowne area 
for sixty years or more. We then questioned them as to their opin- 
ion on the past existence of a glass factory in this vicinity and, if 
their answer was in the affirmative, we attempted to ascertain their 
ideas as to its location. By questioning we heard of seven different 
sites. We were a little disconcerted at the thought of attempting 
to gain permission to excavate on all seven. One thing we noticed, 
however, and that was that one approximate location was men- 
tioned several times and, as this location was in the field written 
of in the Brockville paper, although not the same site, we decided 
to investigate this field for ourselves. We interviewed the owner 
of the field. Mr. Kenneth Topping", and he graciously granted per- 
mission to dig on his property. 

We next approached Mr. Fred Guild, the owner of the adjoin- 
ing property and, knowing he is most interested in anything con- 
cerning Leeds County, we asked him if he would wish to join in 
the search for the site. This he readily agreed to do. We then 
made a thorough search of the field and found the ruins previously 
mentioned. While making a study of the field, we noticed that the 
old road to Kingston had originally curved into the field and passed 
what appeared to be the ruins of a well. This well was only a circle 
of stones showing through the sod, and very close to it, almost ad- 
joining, there were mounds that suggested a building. The orig- 
inal road had not crossed over the ledge of rock mentioned in the 
newspaper article and there were no signs of there ever having been 
a road across this ledge. Thinking it strange that a factory of any 
kind would be made so inaccessible as that mentioned in the article 
we decided that possibly the wells and mounds were of significance 
and that our first digging should be done at this location. 

On August 18, 1953, Air. Fred Guild, his brother Lawrence, their 
tractor and two-furrow plow, Mrs. Stevens and I, our shovel and 


Early Canadian Glass 

rake, went to work. It was indeed a pleasure to find vindication 
of our selection of the site in the first six inches of sod turned by the 
plow. The plow had been set to cut as deep a furrow as possible 
and, less than a foot from where the plow had entered the ground. 
we picked up several small pieces of an aquamarine coloured glass, 
a broken piece of early Staffordshire, and the remains of a hand- 
wrought nail. We continued the plowing until an area of about ten 
by fifty feet had been uncovered. We then commenced digging and 
raking' It was found that, about twelve inches down, a stratum of 
sand, stone, and broken quartz was spread over a wide area. This 
broken quartz was similar to quartz strewn about the mouth of a 
shaft located on the far side of the ledge of rock previously men- 
tioned. The sand, stone and quartz appeared to be unsuccessful 
batches of metal. It could be picked up separately, fused, and partly 
vitrified. This stratum was found where the front of the building 
had presumably been located. It had probably been put there as 
fill. Early Canadians must also have had their troubles with spring 

Another discovery, which may be considered to be of major 
importance in its implications, was the finding of a number of pieces 
of what appear to be pots, coated on the inner side with a thin layer 
of an aquamarine glaze. From descriptions, and from pieces we had 
seen elsewhere, we recognized these as parts of earlv melting pots 
such as were used to melt the ingredients necessary for the making 
of glass. 

We also unearthed pieces of worked glass with folded rims, 
rounded corners, and pontil marks. Some of these pieces appeared 
to be broken bottles. Worked glass and slag was found in suffi- 
cient quantities to make it quite certain that an establishment man- 
ufacturing glass had been situated on this particular site. 

The period spent on excavation on the day of discovery and on 
the occasion of our second visit was only about six hours, for, on 
our second visit, the owner of the land requested us to refrain from 
further digging. Our intentions had been to remove all sod for an 
area of about fifty by fifty feet, then carefully rake and sift the earth 
uncovered. Then, when all necessary excavation had been done, 
we had intended to replace the earth and sod, leaving exposed only 
the actual foundations of the glass factory. We thought that these 
foundations might be of interest to other people desiring visible 
proof. Unfortunately, that plan was not carried out. 

As far as we could discover in the short period spent at the dig- 
gings, the Mallorytown glass factory was housed in a wooden build- 
ing, having a stone foundation, and shaped in the form of an L. The 
tip of the L faced south-east and possiblv housed the furnace. The 
djoinmg ro o mi or building, pointed north-east, and a small build- 
or room adjoining this also pointed in the same direction. Ap- 

Early Canadian' Glass 63 

parently these buildings suffered destruction by fire. Charred wood 
was found close to and all about the foundations. Possibly, after 
the closing down of the glass factory, the buildings had been used 
as a residence. This was suggested by the fact that we found the 
remains of a two-tine fork, and many small pieces of old plates and 

The articles most frequently produced in early glass factories 
were bottles and window glass, and, in Upper Canada during the 
early part of the 19th century, these items were, we are told, much 
in demand. The country was sparsely settled, but the need for 
glass containers was great. Fluids came in bulk, and the shop- 
keeper, apothecary, and tavern keeper often expected their patrons 
to supply their own containers. Bottles were used by all, and num- 
bers of these are known to have been owned in Leeds County up 
to a recent date. Few, if any, exist at the present time. Their colour 
is said to have been similar to that of pieces excavated at the Mab 
lorytown site; that is, a deep aquamarine. The window glass of 
many of the oldest of the Leeds County homes has been examined. 
So far none of a sufficiently early make has been found to indicate 
that this type of glass had been made in this district. 

Strangely enough, it is the whimsey or off-hand glass, made by 
the individual, that can be traced to particular factories. Often, 
when all the commercial output has disappeared, the free-blown 
pieces, being in many cases products of one of the family, are more 
carefully preserved. A personal search of the Mallorytown area 
has revealed that a number of pieces of this off-hand glass had been 
owned by local residents, and examples, such as sugar bowls, pitch- 
ers, vases, flasks, ink-wells and cruets can, with some degree of as- 
surance, be said to have been made at the Mallorytown factory. 
Many of the glass fragments and shards excavated at the Mallory- 
town site are of the colour mentioned previously, aquamarine. There 
is much worthwhile investigation necessary before a statement, as 
to whether or not this is a distinctive colour can be made. If this 
is so, fragments could be used to verify the authenticity of the worked 
pieces attributed to the Leeds County factory. 

The writer has in his possession several broken pieces of glass 
said to have been dug up at the site of the glass factory at Redwood, 
N.Y. These pieces also are of an aquamarine colour, but of a much 
lighter shade. The confusion existing over the worked examples of 
glass attributed to the New York State and the Leeds County glass 
houses could be definitely settled if these Redwood fragments are 
typical. This is a point of some importance, and, until such time 
as analysis will be possible from scrapings obtained from authentic 
examples from the different glass factories, it should be given care- 
ful study. 

64 Early Canadian Glass 

F. St. George Spendlove, Curator, Canadiana Collections, The 
Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto, Ontario, visited 
the site of the Mallorytown glass factory with the writer and has 
very kindly given permission to quote the following extract from his 
report of November 16, 1953, to the Archaeological and Historic Sites 
Board : 

... I believe that tests will show that the glass contains lead. The 
metal is a brilliant and quite heavy glass, of a deep aquamarine tint, used 
for bottles but also blown into functional shapes such as flasks, and 
probably drinking glasses and jugs. The glass has so much character 
that 1 think a satisfactory attribution of specimens to the factory could 
be made by the glass-metal itself, accompanied by a technique used at 
the time. 

The factory seems to have used a local sand, plus a local quartz in 
lump form and (probably) local wood-ash potash. The considerable 
weight of the metal would suggest a lead content, and the glass seems 
to be resonant. The addition of quartz was most unusual and may 
have been called for by a low silica content in the sand. Since speci- 
mens of the materials are available, it would be interesting to trace the 
origin of the deep aquamarine tint in the glass, probably due to the 
presence of a considerable amount of iron. 

Dr. and Mrs. Lome Pierce of York Mills, Willowdale, Ont.. 
also visited the Mallorytown diggings. Mrs. Pierce was one of Can- 
ada's most noted collectors of early glass and was keenly interested 
in the discovery. Mrs. Pierce was also impressed by the dee]) aqua- 
marine colour of the glass. 

At the time of the writing of this paper, the writer has. in his 
possession, two pieces of Mallorytown glass of undoubted authen- 
ticity, the "Burnham Bowl," the sugar bowl previously mentioned, 
and the "Shipman Vase," obtained from the descendant of a United 
Empire Loyalist settler. The writer feels that, as authentic exam- 
ples of the Mallorytown glass house are so few in number, those 
pieces having a good "pedigree" should be named after the families 
from whom they were obtained. Also, in the possession of the writer 
are three other pieces, a flask, which is very possibly a Mallorytown 
product, a plate, the origin of which is more dubious, and a blown 
glass cane, 43" long, having Nailsea-like loopings in the handle. It 
i- so very thin that it is difficult to judge the colour or weight of 
metal. So far as is known there are only two other fully authenti- 
cated worked pieces remaining in the possession of Canadians. First. 
a vase of cuneiform shape with a circular foot. This piece is in Tor- 
onto. Second, a very crude drinking glass owned by a Leeds Comity 
family. Mallorytown glass has indeed become a rarity. 

An American collector of note has. in his personal collection, 
everal pieces of blown glass having an aquamarine colour, and. 
lso. a superimposed gather in the form of a design known as "Lily- 

Early Canadian Glass 65 

Pad." These are stated to have been made at the Mallorytown fac- 
tory ; this is possible as they were amongst a number of pieces of 
glass acquired in that area at some time in the past. However, the 
"Lily-Pad" design is definitely known to have been used by the 
Northern New York State factories and further investigation is nec- 
essary on this point before this design can be stated to have been 
used in the Leeds County glass factory. The writer has not had 
the pleasure of examining these pieces. 

It is my hope that a list of all pieces that can be fully authen- 
ticated will eventually be compiled and we are working on this. If 
anyone, at any time, learns anything more concerning the Mallory- 
town glass factory, the writer will be grateful for information which 
may be sent tbrough the Kingston Historical Society. 

Diggers, untrained to recognize significant shards, can do un- 
told damage. Dr. G. F. G. Stanley, of Kingston, representing the 
Historic and Archaeological Sites Board of Ontario, paid a visit to 
the work done at the site of the Mallorytown glass factory to see 
what steps the Board might take to protect the diggings and to pre- 
vent the mutilation of the workings by the owner or his family. But 
the Board and the Provincial authorities concerned did not see fit 
to set aside a piece of ground for archeological purposes without the 
consent of the owner, as would have had to be done. 

To return to the specific subject of my talk, namely the Glass 
House at Mallorytown, here are my general conclusions. I am con- 
vinced, from the limited amount of work which I was able to do, and 
from the samples of glass which I have been able to locate, that the 
existence of the glass house in Leeds County is beyond doubt. It 
was located one mile west of Mallorytown on the north side of No. 2 
Highway close to the road. Thus far I can go with certainty. 

The exact dates when it operated are, unfortunately, less cer- 
tain. The county records of Leeds have been examined, but they 
yield nothing. The Township records have, unfortunately, been 
destroyed by fire. It could not, very well, have been in existence 
prior to 1800, for the Mallorytown area was just being settled at 
that time. Oral tradition, backed by family records proving ages 
of persons supplying the correct location of the site to people who 
had in turn supplied it to me, show that it was in ruins by 1831 (His- 
tory of the Guild Family by Charles Burleigh). It would be reason- 
able to assume that the factory operated around 1825. Before we 
can give any exact dates, and before we can tell anything more about 
the Glass House, who operated it, what was the extent of its pro- 
duction, a great deal more research will have to be done. 

Early Canadian Glass 

— Ill — 

\i u>t her Ontario glass factory, of a later date (circa 1865) is 
known to have been established at Napanee by the late John Herr- 
ing. The commercial glass produced by a glass factory holds very 
little interest for the collector or student. The products which arouse 
them to an almost fever pitch are the whimseys, usually free-blown. 
made by the workmen from metal left in the pots at the end of the 
work period. These must not be confused with the so-called end- 
of-day glass, usually a commercial glass. These whimseys can be 
partially listed as: glass walking-canes, paper-weights, hats, cream 
and milk pitchers, sugar bowls and other small articles of household 
use. also, invariably, the much controversial witch-balls. Witch- 
balls are hollow glass spheres and are said by some to have been used 
by those credulous enough to believe in the charming ladies after 
whom they were named, and to have been hung in windows to pre- 
vent witches hovering about. Other people say they were made for 
the much more mundane purpose of covering pitchers. Be this as 
it may, witch-balls were made in quantity at most 19th century glass 
factories and are very appealing to those happy mortals who have 
retained a romantic approach to their collecting. A number of whim- 
seys made at the Napanee Glass factory have been acquired by col- 
lectors. Possibly the finest collection of these Xapanee pieces is 
owned by Mrs. Lome Pierce. 

Doing research on early Canadian glass factories leads to many 
strange things. A person will often make a great many calls and 
write numberless letters, without obtaining any results. Then sud- 
denly a lead is given, a call is made, and unexpected data is forth- 
coming and flagging spirits are again aroused. 

Just recently I have been given a lead which 1 wish to pass 
along. The tale told me concerned a gentleman, said to have been 
a resident of Kingston, who had made several trips to the im- 
mediate vicinity of Lansdowne. Out. This gentleman, it was said, 
obtained sand-stone from a local quarry and took it to Kingston 
where he used it in glass making. 1 had, in attempting to gather 
further information concerning this gentleman, already annoyed the 
usually forty to fifty people, without any results, when I was finally 
instructed to interview Mr. Wm. Armstrong and Miss Sarah-Ann 
Armstrong of Lansdowne, Ontario. This interview was both pleas- 
ant and instructive. They informed me that the gentleman from 
Kingston had obtained the sand-stone from a quarry originally 
owned by their grandfather, the late William Armstrong (deceased 
The greater part of the quarry had been sold to "a gentle- 
man from Napanee" by their grandfather in "about 1870," and "for 
a number of years blocks of the sand-stone had been taken to the 
apanee Glass Works and used for making glass." "Many flat-ears" 

Early Canadian Glass 67 

loaded with this stone had been sent to Napanee. This sort of thing 
is manna to the research worker. The location of this quarry is, 
Lot 21, 2nd concession, Township of Lansdowne, County of Leeds. 

Mr. and Miss Armstrong also informed me that the "gentleman 
from Kingston had been seen working in the quarry one spring day, 
about 1900. He wasn't seen again until haying, when his remains 
were found." He had apparently been overcome by his exertion. 
"The remains had been taken to Kingston." So far the writer has 
been unable to discover the name of "the Gentleman from Kingston." 
Possibly a resident of this city would be willing to attempt to trace 
and, if possible, verify this somewhat nebulous story of a Kingston 
glass factory. The visit made to the home of Mr. and Miss Arm- 
strong added much worthwhile data concerning the Napanee glass 
house. The original information about the "Gentleman from Kings- 
ton" was supplied to the writer by Mr. Joseph Turner of Mallory- 
town, Ont. 

The writer feels that students of Canadian Glass should pool 
their information and so, eventually, obtain sufficient data to war- 
rant the publication of a book written exclusively on the subject of 
Canadian Glass. There is a crying need for a book of this type. 
Persons wishing to study Canadian History, or write Canadian his- 
torical novels or histories, must at the present time sidestep all men- 
tion of glass native to this country. This can be changed if there 
is a pooling of knowledge. Many people have, or know of. a bit of 
evidence of information concerning one of tht world's greatest mys- 
teries, Early Canadian Glass. If there could be some focal point 
established for this pooling of information, it would save years of 
research and grubbing about in the ground. This being so, the 
writer will mention several hints as to Canadian glass factories in 
hopes that these hints will assist anyone wishing to do research on 
Canadian Glass. 

There is another Ontario glass factory waiting for someone 
to prove its existence. This factory was said to have been located 
at Picton, Ontario. The writer has, as yet, been unable to learn 
anything more about this establishment, but hopes that someone 
living in that vicinity will undertake the search. 

Information obtained from Mrs. Lome Pierce, Dr. Wm. Kaye 
Lamb, Dominion Archivist, Public Archives of Canada, and other 
sources, suggest that, at some time in the past, William Godkin 
Beach (1839-1902) or Thomas Beech (1839-1902) are supposed to 
have owned three glass works situated in Ottawa, and St. Cathar- 
ines, Ontario, and in Montreal, Quebec. The writer has so far been 
unable to gain additional data on these three factories. 

The Province of Quebec also has had its share of early glass 
factories. There is one that we know was situated at Hudson Heights 

Early Canadian Glass 


,,i the Lake of Two Mountains, P.O. It was a bottle glass factory, 
and operated sometime in the latter part of the 19th century. We 
have been attempting to obtain further information regarding this 
facory and also to acquire a piece of the glass manufactured there, 
h is possible that we shall do so. 

Another Quebec district that can be said to be rich in possibil- 
ities is that of the Eastern Townships and in particular, the country 
surrounding Lake Massawippi. Many years ago I had the pleasure 
of examining bulls-eye panes of window glass in several of the older 
homesteads. I was told that these window panes had been made 
locally. I tried to verify this statement and to acquire one of these 
bulls-eye pieces but was unable to do either. The preceding may 
suggest a line of research to someone. (Bulls-eye window panes 
were a very early technique and the mark left by the pontil rod was 
much in evidence). 

— IV — 

All specific pieces of glass so far mentioned in this paper were 
made by the technique termed free-blown. As far as we know, there 
is no outstanding design in pressed glass that may be solely attri- 
buted to an early Canadian glass factory. Apparently all moulds 
used by Canadians were either imported or of minor importance. 
The subject of pressed glass has been gone into most thoroughly 
by Ruth Webb Lee in her hook Early American Pressed Class Pat- 
terns, and it is a valuable source of information. The different pat- 
terns are all catalogued under different names so that the reader 
may distinguish one from the other. There is one named pattern 
which has caused some confusion, and perhaps I can throw a little 
light upon one of the obscurities which seem to darken this subject 
for amateur collectors. Many people seem to think that any glass 
that is called 'Canadian' should be collected as "Canadiana." There 
are a good many dangers of which the amateur collector should be 
aware. A glass Jiaving a design or pattern on it of leaves and a 
scene showing pine trees, a house, and birds in flight, has been named 
"Canadian" by Miss Lee and other writers. This is pressed glass 
of the type called 'Pattern'. It dates from around 1870. It was made 
in all forms for table use. It is not blown glass, and it was made 
in large quantities by later American glass factories. It has some 
value and interest to collectors, but it should he appreciated by those 
who buy it that it is definitely not to be classed solely as Canadian, 
as has apparently been done many times in the past. 

— V — 

Any attempt to authenticate the glass of any period of history 
is most difficult; it is a task which must he approached with some 
degree of caution and perhaps even of suspicion. In the old days, 
itinerant craftsmen and glass-blowers travelled from factory to fac- 

Early Canadian Glass 69 

tory. They took their knowledge to new places and passed on to 
others their various trade secrets. This has obliged us, in the pres- 
ent day, to use the vague term "attributed to," when we examine 
a vast amount of the antique glass still in existence. Moreover, and 
this is very important to the collector - we have no choice. We 
cannot be sure. Samples of glass prepared by pupils bear all the 
marks of the master. Modern reproduction methods are such that 
even the expert and, in many cases, only the expert - - hesitates be- 
fore making a definite statement. There are a multitude of factors 
to be taken into consideration. The source from which the glass 
has been acquired ; the texture and weight of metal ; the colour and 
form ; the type of pontil mark ; and, above all, signs and location of 
wear have all to be studied. This wear must appear to have occurred 
through natural use. and not be lacking or overdone. There are 
many pitfalls for the unwary in the collecting of antique glass. I 
have spent a great deal of time climbing out of these and expect to 
do more. Only time, help from others, and study of public and 
private collections can assure a person of at least an elementary 


OFFICERS FOR 1953 - 54. 


Mr. W..J. Henderson, M.P. 
Dr. W. A. Mackintosh 
Mr. W. M. Nickle, M.P.P. 
Dr. R. C. Wallace 
Mayor C. C. Wright 


Lt.-Col. Courtlandt M. Strange 


Brigadier D. R. Agnew 
Prof. C. A. Curtis 
Mr. Ronald Way 


Dr. R. A. Preston 


Dr. C. F. C. Stanley 


Mrs. W. Angus 
Professor F. W. Gibson 
Mr. H. H. Comery 
Mr. H. P. Gundy 
Brigadier G. Kitching 
Mr. j. H. Ritchie 




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