This article was found pasted into a scrapbook entitled, “1838 Patriot War.” The scrapbook is located at the Flower Memorial Library Genealogy Department at Watertown, New York. This article, one of a series written by L. N. Fuller, was copyrighted in 1923 by the Brockway Company, Publishers of the Watertown Daily Times. The series appeared in the Watertown Daily Times in March, April, and May of 1923. John B. Johnson, Jr., Editor/Co-Publisher of the Watertown Daily Times has granted me permission to incorporate these pieces on my website. I feel very honored to have been given this permission. (Shirley Farone)

Jefferson County Men
Are Hanged At Kingston


Patriot Leaders Pay Penalty On the Scaffold -- Prisoners Seek
Help From Watertown Friends -- Transported to Van
Dieman’s Land -- Prison Life in Fort Henry.




(Copyright, 1923, by the Brockway Company, Publishers of the Watertown Daily Times.)

Chapter XVII.


When the Patriots arrived in Kingston they were tied together with ropes, and with Von Schoultz* at the head, they were paraded through the streets, subjected to jeers and insults from the crowds. Von Schoultz* was struck with a club during this march. The wounded were sent to the hospital and the others were placed in the prison of Fort Henry.

On Monday, the sheriff informed the men that one in each room would be allowed to write to friends. Captain Heustis wrote to Bernard Bagley of Watertown informing him of their condition and telling him of the need of clothing and money. In a few days Mr. Bagley sent $300 which had been collected from friends and at various times other amounts were sent, amounting in all to about $700. John Fine of Ogdensburg, accompanied by Charles G. Myers, went to Kingston and after considerable difficulty managed to see the prisoners, but not until the colonel in command took the responsibility for letting the prisoners be seen.

The prisoners were supplied with food through a contractor and at best much of it was unfit to eat, especially the bread. The prisoners submitted a sample of it to the commandant of the fort and better fare was thereafter provided. After a few days Colonel Von Schoultz* was brought before a court-martial. He admitted his guilt and declared that he was fighting in the cause of liberty. His trial was a farce and he was condemned to death. The officers of the 83rd British regulars who witnessed his heroism on the field of battle, implored the governor of Upper Canada to spare his life, but it was useless. Von Schoultz* met his fate with the same quiet heroism that had marked all his actions.

Four days after the execution of Von Schoultz*, Colonel Abbey, of Pamelia, and Daniel George of Lyme were led to the scaffold. A few days later Colonel Woodruff of Onondaga county suffered a similar fate. On Dec. 22, Joel Peeler of Rutland and Sylvanus Sweet of Alexandria were marched to the gallows. Peeler, a farmer of Rutland, left a widow and six children with no means of support. On Jan. 4, Christopher Buckley of Onondaga County, Sylvester Lawton of Lyme, Russell Phelps of Lyme paid the extreme penalty. Anderson was so ill that he had to be carried to the gallows. On Feb. 11 Leman Leach of Onondaga county was hanged.

The other prisoners felt that each day was to be the last. The Canadian governor was determined on a policy of blood and iron and nothing would stay his hand. An endeavor was made to have the minors of the prisoners pardoned. The trials were in a military court and through the intercession of Judge Jones of the queen’s bench, a pardon was granted to six of the boys, providing they would use their influence to prevent further aggressions. From time to time others among the minors were released until all were allowed to return home. At various times between December and May others were pardoned or released without trial until there were but 60 left in captivity.

July 4 found the Patriots still in prison. They managed to make a flag out of some handkerchiefs and this rude banner of their own country they hung on the walls of the bastile. Some lemonade was made and in it were drunk toasts to liberty and the spirit of ‘76.

Numerous meetings were held throughout Jefferson county. The result of the Prescott affair had been a decided change in sentiment in Northern New York toward these border raids. Public sympathy turned sharply against that section of Canada, which was seeking to overthrow the British rule. This change was marked by the tone of the resolutions which were passed in which any attempts to disturb the friendly relations existing between the United States and Canada were deplored. The resolutions expressed sympathy for the prisoners who were held at Kingston and money was raised for their relief, but their acts were termed those of folly and rashness.

Despite the testimony of some who wrote their experiences during the Patriot war, the treatment of the prisoners at Kingston was humane and fair. The Jeffersonian published a letter written by Martin Van Slyke after he had been pardoned in which he said that there was no complaint as to the treatment that had been received. In this letter he urged his friends to abstain from any further acts of war. Colonel Von Schoultz in a letter written just before his death said that he had been grossly deceived, that there was no evidence of British misrule in Canada and that they were a happy and contented people.

An interesting item appeared in the Jeffersonian in February, 1839, stating that the Ellis painting of “Windmill Point” would be exhibited at the American hotel for 25 cents admittance.

In September, 1839, the prisoners remaining at Fort Henry were told that they were to be removed. They were shackled together and were transported by boat to Quebec where they were taken on board the ship Buffalo. There were on board a total of 141 prisoners who had been taken in various skirmishes and on the morning of Sept. 29 the ship started under sealed orders. They were soon out on the broad Atlantic and then it became known that their destination was that dreaded penal settlement of Great Britain, Van Dieman’s land. An attempt was made to mutiny and seize the boat but the plot was betrayed and more strict measures were taken to secure the prisoners, they being confined below decks several days. It was not until Feb. 14, 1840 that the destination was reached, a voyage of 140 days from Quebec.

It was a sad experience for these Jefferson county men who were firm in their belief that never again would they see their homes. They had been sentenced to death on the gallows, but the sentence had been commuted to a living death, banishment for life in that most dreaded penal colony in the world. Many tales had come to them of the cruelties that were practised (sic) by the British government in treating those who were so unfortunate as to be sent to this penal colony.


*Note (dated Sept. 22, 2003) from a descendant follows:

The following letter, in part, was received from Otto Lindberg on September 22, 2003. Otto’s letter pertains to Nils Gustaf von Schultz, who, as I understand it, was executed at Fort Henry in Kingston, along with several men from Jefferson County, N. Y., including Joel Peeler and Sylvanus Sweet:

“My interest in the patriot wars is certainly of genealogic nature as I'm one of Nils Gustaf von Schultz's many decendants. His life's story is truly fascinating and has been thoroughly researched by my mother’s aunt, the late Ella Pipping of Helsinki, Finland who wrote and published his biography* some 40 years ago.

“In short, NGvS was a Swedish subject born in Finland (at that time part of Sweden), he received a military education in Sweden but resigned his commission as lieutenant and started a tour which via Poland (where he participated in the uprising against Russia) took him to the French foreign legion. After leaving the foreign legion he united with his mother and sister in Italy where the sister, a very talented singer, was on a concert tour at the time. In Italy he met Mrs. Campbell one of whose two daughters he married. They settled in Sweden and NGvS (Nils Gustaf von Schultz) tried his luck in agriculture with meagre results. He left his family (wife and two daughters) to try to find buyers for his crops in his in-laws’ native Scotland, but never returned. From Scotland he ventured to North America where he, as far as we know, had some success in the salt industry (Salinas, NY). As far as we know he was also engaged to be married in NY and possibly also to another lady in one of the southern states. He kept no contact with his family. The deserted wife moved to Finland where she and her two daughters were provided for by relatives of NGvS.....................”

Otto Lindberg

*Otto wrote, “In the English version of the book about NGvS (E. Pipping: This creature of Fancy; Macdonald & Co London, 1971) there is picture of NGvS’s grave which according to the text is located in St. Mary's Cemetery, Ontario.” He did not state the location of St. Mary’s Cemetery. Mr. Lindberg stated that the above-mentioned book is available from

Otto’s snailmail address is: PB 340, 00029 HUS, Finland

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