References to Sylvanus Sweet's Days and Hours Before His Execution

P. 224 of "The Life and Times of the Rev. Anson Green, D.D. - Part 4 by Anson Green


For some time past McKenzie, Thellar, and other refuges, have been stirring up the baser sort, on the other side of the line, to invade Canada and on the 12th November, 400 silly, misled dupes were towed down the St. Lawrence to a stone windmill, opposite Ogdensburg. Here they were attacked by our soldiers, when some were killed, some ran away, and 162 were taken prisoners and conveyed to Fort Henry for courtmartial. Captain Beach, a member of the Court, desired me to go and preach to those miserable captives, which I did, taking for my text these words--"Turn ye to the strongholds, ye prisoners of hope." I never preached to a more attentive and solemn assembly; still there were two God-forsaken looking men who lay upon the floor regardless of what I was saying! (These were afterwards condemned and executed.) Several had been hung before I reached Kingston. Sylvanus Sweet and Joel Peeler had been sentenced. These I visited in their gloomy cells. They were deeply penitent and fervent in prayers. Sweet had been brought up a Baptist, and consequently had not been baptized; but when he obtained pardon he desired me to baptize him by sprinkling, thinking himself happy in having fallen into such hands, as his own minister would not could (sic) immerse him in his dismal cell. I was with them on Saturday morning before daybreak, rode with them to the gallows, commending them to God in prayer, and then advised them to put their hands in their breeches pockets and stand erect on the dreadful drop. They died without a struggle. Woodruff, who had been accompanied by a priest, crouched so low as to nearly straighten his rope, and hence be hung dangling and struggling for nearly twenty minutes before death came to his relief! I spent the week with these disconsolate boys, and was pleased to learn from Mr. Draper, the Judge Advocate, that but few others would expiate their guilt on the gallows. I then left for my meeting in Wilton.........

Return to Shirley Farone's Homepage

Index of All Patriot War Articles