April 11, 1929 - Watertown Daily Times

Reprinted with Permission
of the
Watertown Daily Times


The Patriot War of 1837 to 1838 is especially interwoven with the history of northern New York and yet the Jefferson County Historical society has never had any memento or document connected with the affair. On Tuesday the first document was received when Rodney Whitney and family of Evans Mills gave to the society the pardon which had been issued to Mr. Whitney's father, Riley Whitney, who had been imprisoned on the Island of Van Dieman's Land.

According to the document, Riley Whitney had been tried at Upper Canada in 1838, convicted of feloniously invading the province and was sentenced to death. This sentence was commuted to transportation for life. For seven years he was imprisoned on the Island of Van Dieman's land which is now known as Tasmania. By order of Queen Victoria on March 1, 1845, he was pardoned of the crime and one July 16, 1845, Sir John Eardley Wilmot, baronet, and lieutenant governor of the Island of Van Dieman's land, issued the pardon according to the queen's mandate.

On the back of the pardon is also contained a description of the features of the prisoner and his signataure. His height is stated to be five foot three inches, he was 35 years of age, his headlong, his hair black, his visage long and his forehead high. His eyebrows were black, his eyes hazel and his nose small, while under the remarks, it is stated that there was a mole on his left cheek.

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