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June 1999


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"A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Wayne Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 28 May 1999 11:56:09 -0400
"A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
TEXT/PLAIN (87 lines)
Aside from newspaper articles from the time (I can provide references, if
you would like), perhaps the best source of information on this topic, as
well as a recounting of what happened to the main participants following
the 'War' is Augustus N. Hand's article, "Local Indidents of the Papineau
Rebellion,' in New York History: Quarterly Journal of the New York State
Historical Association, Vol XV, No. 4 (October 1934), pp. 376-387. This
contains an excellent description of the raid on the Elizabethtown Armory
by local sypathizers. Basically, many locals were at least sypathetic, if
not opening supportive, while the political autorities (President Van
Buren, NY and Vermont Governors) were determined to maintain neutrality.

But the involvement began even before hostilities broke out. The year
before, secret 'cells' of supporters were formed on the US side all along
the border from Buffalo to Vermont. Called Hunters Lodges, these groups of
armed supporters were organized in anticipation of open rebellion. There
purpose was to spring into action when the conflict erupted. Several
articles deal with the subject including:

"No Borders Here: Reactions of Northern New York's Champlain Valley to the
rebellions in Lower Canada," by Julie A. Davies. In 'The Antiquarian,'
1992, pp. 22-24.

"The Patriot War," by Clarence J. Webster. In "North Coutry Life" Spring
1950 (vol. 4, no. 2), pp. 19+

And, especially good for hunters lodges as well as the Battle of the
Windmill fought opposite Ogdensburg near Prescot, Ontario, is, "The
Patriot Game:New Yorkers and the Canadian Rebellion of 1837-1838," by
Stuart D. Scott. In "New York History," Vo. 68, no. 3 (July 1987), pp. 261
- 295. Scott also traces what happened to the American sympathizers who
fought at and were captured at the windmill - some were hung, some exiled
to Australia.

For a description of the going on around Buffalo, try: "The Canadian
Rebellion and the American Public," by Douglas Frank. In "Niagara
Frontier," Vol. 16, no. 4 (winter 1969), pp. 96-104.

For a first hand account of one American's involvment, try Plattsburgh
native George W. Palmer's article, "An American's role in the Papineau
Revolt." In "North Country Life," Volume 16, no. 3 (summer 1962), pp. 12 -

For a good description of the Battle of the Windmill, try: "The Day the
Yankees invaded Canada," by Ethel M. Comins. In "North Country Life," Vol.
15, no. 1 (Winter 1961), pp. 17-20.

There are more than one hundred references to newspaper articles from NNY
papers in our index and references to other journal articles and
pamphlets. It is interesting to note that this interest in supporting
Canadian independence (or convincing Canadians that they should join the
US and quit Britain) began during the Revolution and continued until after
the Fenians movement of the 1860's.

One other note: some authors feel that the economic downturn in the US
that coincided with the revolt added to a willingness by Americans to
participate in the hostilities. It also led to their later opposition as
the dispute created additional economic disruption that added to their

Sorry for the length of this reply. Hope it is of interest.
Wayne Miller
Plattsburgh State

On Wed, 26 May 1999, William MacKay wrote:

> Wayne Miller's fine response about pro-American Quebecers evokes a
> [geographically] related question:
> What are the best sources for information about North Country responses to
> the 1837 Patriot uprising in Canada ? [Some county histories include
> tantalizing chapters, but I don't know of any longer treatments.]
> Thanks in advance.
> Bill Mac Kay

Wayne L. Miller                         Special Collections Librarian
Feinberg Library                        2 Draper Avenue
518-564-5206                            Plattsburgh, NY 12901
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        "I wonder what will happen today!"  -Maggie Muggins-
"Not even God can change history...which is why he tolerates historians."