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The Islands: Island Stories: Kingston News: George Briggs

Kingston News: George Briggs

All excerpts from the Kingston News.
Thanks to Chris Morrell for finding these.

Thursday, March 17, 1864
The County Court and Quarter Sessions
Police Court
Mr. George BRIGGS of Wolfe Island was brought up at 3 o�clock in the afternoon before a bench of magistrates (his Worship the Mayor and Ald. MEAGHER) for the trial under the Mutiny Act, on a charge of enticing soldiers to desert. BRIGGS is charged on the disposition of Sergeant Peter MICTHELL, 47th Regiment with having assisted two men of that corps to desert on the 11th instant. The merit of the case was not gone into, and BRIGGS was remanded until Friday afternoon at three o�clock; the magistrates, acting on the advice of County Attorney, refusing to admit him to bail, which was freely offered. James O�REILLY, Esq., appeared on behalf of the accused.

Saturday, March 19, 1864
Police Court Friday
At three o�clock in the afternoon George BRIGGS was brought up on a charge of assisting soldiers to desert. J.J. BURROWS, Esq., County Attorney, appeared on behalf of the Crown, and James O�REILLY, Esq., for the prisoner. Three witnesses, Sergeant P. MITCHELL, 47th Regiment, Gunner Daniel COLLINS, Royal Artillery, and Private John DUNINE, 47th Regiment, were examined for the prosecution. The statement of the former was to the effect on that day of Mr. GILDERSLEEVES funeral he was standing at the corner of street near the Church when he saw the elder BRIGGS and the accused together. The prisoner was then dressed in a blue cloth coat, with wideawake hat. On the day in question an anonymous letter was received by one of the soldiers of the garrison saying that if he intended to desert not to deceive him, nut to meet him at the picket fence near the goal that evening about half-past six o�clock. The witness, with three others of the military police, went to the corner of Earl and Court streets in a cab. They remained in a cab and ordered the driver to walk up and down in front of the corner house, as if waiting for a passenger. At about half-past six o�clock, they saw two soldiers and two men in civilian�s cloths pass up Court street and turn the corner of the goal yard, when they were lost to sight. Shortly afterwards a sleigh and a span of horses passed up Court street towards the place where the four men had disappeared. There was a driver in the sleigh, and a man, whom the witness swore to as being BRIGGS, preceded the sleigh a short distance in the same dress he had seen him wear in the afternoon of that day. The two other witnesses fully corroborated this part of the evidence, and in particular as to the dress BRIGGS wore on the occasion, as well as his passing along before the horses with his head down, and his hat slouched over his forehead.

They followed the sleigh with the cab for a short distance, but owing to the celebrity with which the former traveled, could not overtake it.

Mr. O�REILLY subjected the witnesses to a severe cross-examination. There is still another witness for the prosecution to be examined and three or four for the defense, and in consequence of the lateness of the hour, the Court intending to adjourn at six o�clock, the prisoner was remanded until ten o�clock on Saturday morning, when the trial will again go on.

Monday, March 21, 1864
The Desertions � Examination of George Briggs
Police Court � Saturday � Before his Worship the Mayor and Alderman MEAGHER.
Before the trial of BRIGGS for assisting soldiers to desert was proceeded with, Mr. O�REILLY, counsel for the prisoner, objected to the jurisdiction of the Court and the trial of the prisoner under the Mutiny Act; that by the Imperial Act, 14 George III, chap. 83, passed in 1774, the criminal law of England is to continue in force in this Province � then the Province of Quebec � subject to such alterations and amendments as the Governor or Commander-in-Chief, with the advise of the Legislative Counsel of the Province, should cause to be made. By our own law and a statue of Upper Canada the criminal laws of England were introduced into this country and were in force here; that the Act of Union, 3 and 4 Victoria, chap. 35, conferred powers of both branches of the Legislature of the Province, with the consent of the her Majesty, to make laws for the welfare and good government of Canada � a fact which makes the Legislature of the country independent of Imperial Parliament; that since the union, the Parliament of Canada has legislated upon the misdemeanor charged against BRIGGS, and the first clause of the Act (page 936 Consolidated Statutes of Canada) only governs those engaged in her Majesty�s navel, military or departmental services as mentioned in the second clause of the Mutiny Act of 20th April 1863, and not any other of her Majesty�s subjects, being civilians, in this Province. He contended, therefore, that BRIGGS could not be convicted by two justices; they could only send him to trial, but could not try him themselves for the offense with which he was charged.

The first witness examined was gunner Patrick O�CONNELL, Royal Artillery, who testified to having received the anonymous letter previously referred to, and of having been delivered to him by a person named Curly McCRAE. The letter he gave to Sergeant BOOTH, Royal Artillery, who returned it to him. He afterwards handed it to a person named MULHALL who, after reading it, said that he knew the man who delivered the letter, and took it away with the intention of burning it. The letter desired him that, if he wished to go, not to deceive the writer � to go to a certain part of the goal wall and remain there till the horses came up � if they stopped he was to come from his hiding place and get in; if not, to wait till they returned. The letter further recommended that no belt be worn, and named the precise hour of half-past six as the time he should be there. Witness went to the place intimated, and proved to the fact of two soldiers of the 47th and two civilians having entered the sleigh, and swore distinctly to BRIGGS as being the driver on the occasion. He went close to the sleigh and asked BRIGGS if he would take him in, to which the driver answered, �No.�

Sergeant Wm. BOOTH, who was next examined, proved to having been in the cab on the night in question; they arrived opposite the entrance to Court street at about half-past six o�clock, and were there only about ten minutes when they saw a civilian run down court street and step behind the goal fence; then a 47th man in uniform; then another civilian� then another man of the 47th; then came the sleigh, drawn by two horses, and preceeded by BRIGGS, as proved b previous witnesses. The sleigh passed within 15 or 16 yards of the cab. Has been acquainted with BRIGGS for 18 months, and is sure that the man who proceeded the sleigh was BRIGGS. Saw the civilians and men of the 47th regiment enter the sleigh, when it drove rapidly off and proceeded down the street. The cabman did not drive as directed and could not overtake the sleigh. Two men of the 47th deserted on the night of the 10th and two on the 11th of March. In his cross-examination he proved directly as to BRIGGS being the man who preceeded the sleigh.
,br> Sergeant Reuben STAFFORD, 47th regiment, being examined, stated that two men of the 47th deserted on the night of the 10th (Drummer John POWER and Private Daniel WOODS), and that they had not yet returned to the regiment.

Sergeant James ORR, of company No. 2, 47th regiment, deposed to Mark MacNAMARA, a private of his company, having deserted on the night of the 10th inst., and that he had not since returned.

Sergeant Thomas FAY, of company No. 2, 47th regiment, deposed to private Luke LAMB of his company having deserted on the night of the 11th, and that he had not yet returned.

This closed the case for the prosecution.

George FULLER, the first witness for the defense sworn. Is driver of the Express to Cape Vincent. The Express left MAKINS� on the afternoon of the 11th about half-past four. Has to be at Cape Vincent at a quarter to seven. Knows BRIGGS. Saw BRIGGS that day, getting into his sleigh. Went specially to BRIGGS� house, to accommodate him. BRIGGS house is about four miles from Kingston, and one mile from DAWSON�S. Took about one hour to get to BRIGGS� house after leaving MAKINS�, having had to stop on Wolfe Island, to change the mail, and to take up the freight sleigh so as to consolidate the load. Went only as far as HINCKLEY�S, on the south side of Wolfe Island. The crossing to Cape Vincent was dangerous. Had to use an ice boat, and a small pony to make a circuit of 11 miles to get on the firm ice. It would take 20 minutes from HINCKLEY�S to the Cape.

Cross-examined � Had a light load. It took 10 minutes to change the mail. Remembered the day particularly as it rained hard, and his horse broke through the ice. The expressman Lance was with him on the sleigh. Had only three passengers. Did not see BRIGGS anymore that night. BRIGGS is considered a skillful pilot.

Issac WELLS, sworn. Lives on Wolfe Island. Recollects Friday the 11th of March. BRIGGS passed him about 5 o�clock going to Wolfe Island. Was with ROGERS on the freight sleigh, ahead, and BRIGGS was with FULLER on the express. The express sleigh passed then near Garden Island. It was raining and blowing hard at the time. It was dark at 7 o�clock. Wouldn�t dare to cross the ice that night.

Cross-examined. Has known BRIGGS since his infancy. BRIGGS passed him quite close. BRIGGS is a skillful man in navigating the ice. Is generally the first man to cross the ice in spring and fall. There were six besides witness on the freight sleigh.

James ROGERS, sworn. Lives on Wolfe Island. Knows BRIGGS, and recollects Friday, the 11th instant. It was raining. Saw BRIGGS crossing the ice in the express sleigh. Knows WELLS, who was with the prisoner. It was about 5 o�clock. Saw BRIGGS on the Island afterwards, near the concession road. Roads across the island were very bad. Couldn�t travel fast on the ice that night. Ice on the American channel was very bad. Had to bring passengers over by ice boat. The channel was partly open.

Cross-examined. We stopped at HINCKLEY�S. It would take half or three-quarters of an hour to cross to Cape Vincent. Did not know that BRIGGS was skillful in crossing the ice.

Lieut. PREVOST, 47th regiment, sworn. Is an officer of the 47th regiment in charge of lookout parties. Knows the ice at the canal. Te. passing through the canal would be searched a little south of the bridge.

Alexander McDONALD, sworn. Lives on Wolfe Island. Recollects Friday, the 11th March. Saw BRIGGS in ALLEN�S sleigh on the ice below Garden Island about a quarter to 5 o�clock. The ice was good to Wolfe Island.

Cross-examined. Has seen BRIGGS in employ nearly six months. Slept that night at his own house, on the senior BRIGGS farm. Didn�t see BRIGGS again until Sunday. BRIGGS went on foot when witness turned to drive back. Does not know what business BRIGGS took to Cape Vincent; only knew that BRIGGS stated that he was going there. Is sure of the night. The reason why he stopped the three-quarters of a mile from HINCKLEY�S was that he couldn�t trust his horses on the ice. BRIGGS had his states with him.

Gaston A. MARSDEN, sworn. Resides at Cape Vincent. Recollects Friday, the 11th of March. Saw BRIGGS on the evening of that day between the hours of 7 and 8 o�clock at his (Witness�) hotel, BRIGGS stopped there all night. Was there on the following morning. There is five minutes difference between the Kingston and Cape Vincent time. Don�t know that BRIGGS had his skates with him.

Cross-examined. It takes about two hours to go from Kingston to Cape Vincent. Has known BRIGGS five years. BRIGGS generally stops at his (Witness�) house. Is there often. Don�t know if BRIGGS ever brought soldiers to Cape Vincent.

Martin NILAND, sworn. Lives at Kingston. Has resided at Cape Vincent. Knows George BRIGGS. Saw him at the Cape Vincent House on Friday evening, the 11th instant.; between seven and eight o�clock. The house is kept by the last witness. Didn�t see BRIGGS come into the house. Drank with him there.

Cross-examined. Has lived on Cape Vincent. Is sure that it was on Friday he saw BRIGGS. Is perfectly sure the BRIGGS was the man he saw.

John SETTLE, sworn. Lives at Cape Vincent. Is a doctor � a surgeon. Knows George BRIGGS. Saw him at Cape Vincent on Friday night � a week ago last night. Saw him at the Cape Vincent House, between 7 and 8 o�clock. Boards there. Conversed with BRIGGS.

Patrick JOHNSTON, sworn. Lives at Cape Vincent. His friends live at Wolfe Island. Knows George BRIGGS. Saw him at the Cape Vincent House on the evening of the 11th March, between 7 and 8 o�clock. Saw him going in alone. Spoke to him.

Cross-examined. Has known BRIGGS 10 to 12 years. Has lived on Wolfe Island. It was dark..Was close enough to BRIGGS to know him. Saw his face.

Absolam BRIGGS, sworn. Is the father of George BRIGGS. Has crossed the ice for 35 years. Recollects Friday the 11th March. It was very stormy and dark that night, and rained heavily. The roads across Wolfe Island were bad. The ice was very poor between Cape Vincent and HINCKLEY�S point, a man could not cross on foot. Knows the place where REVIERE left his son. The course his son took was the course he would have taken had he been going by ice. Did not think that a team of horses could cross to Cape Vincent that night. If the accused was at the Court House at a quarter to 7 he couldn�t by any possibility be in Cape Vincent between 7 and 8 that night. Crossed the ice that night from Kingston to Wolfe Island. The traveling was bad. It took him two hours to go three miles, owing to the darkness of the night, and he had to cross the �crack� on his hands and knees.

Cross-examined. Left Kingston between 10 and 11, on foot. Considers his son very skillful on the ice.

The witnesses McDONALD and ROGERS having been recalled, testified to ice being very unsafe to cross on the night in question.

Lieut. PREVOST, 47th Regt., recalled. Was at Wolfe Island on the 11th March. Left there at 10 minutes past 5. Drove a horse and buggy. Drove across the �crack,� it didn�t appear dangerous. It took him 25 or 30 minutes to cross. Was on the Island a month. Knows the roads, and HINCKLEY�S. It would take an hour or an hour-and-a-half to drive from Kingston to HINCKLEY�S. If he were going in haste he would go by the concession road.

Cross-examined. Could see the track, as it was light. There was good sleighing on the concession roads at that time. Have lookout parties at the concession roads at DAWSON�S, HINCKLEY�s and BUSCH�S. Lookouts are usually placed at general thoroughfares.

Mr. O�REILLY stated to the Court that this was all the evidence he had to offer to-day. The trial was then adjourned until Monday morning at 10 o�clock.

J.J. BURROWS, Esq., County Attorney, assisted by W.G. DRAPER, Esq., for the Crown; Jas. O�REILLY, Esq., for the defense.

Wednesday, March 23, 1864
The Desertions � Examination of George BRIGGS
Police Court � Tuesday � The examination of George BRIGGS was resumed this morning at ten o�clock, before His Worship the Mayor and Alderman MEAGHER. W. G. DRAPER, Esq., for the Crown, James O�REILLY, Esq., for the defense.

Mr. O� REILLY said he had several witnesses to examine on a particular point for the defense; but, Mr. DRAPER objected to any further evidence for the defense, the counsel for the prisoner having intimated at the close of Monday�s setting that he had no more evidence to offer. The objections being noted, Mr. O�REILLY went on the with examination of his additional witnesses, and first called �

Donald McRAE, sworn, Resides in Kingston. Was brought up mere. Am a sailor. Recollect Friday, the 11th of March. Was at Mrs. WATSON�S and Mrs. WARD�S that evening. Was at Mrs. WATSON�S at half-past six, for about an hour. Was not at the Court House that night. Didn�t see BRIGGS that evening. Was not driving horses that evening. Has known George BRIGGS for six or seven years.

Cross-examined � Am confined in goal on a similar charge to that for which BRIGGS is being tried. Mrs. WARD sells grog. Often went there. Soldiers frequent her house. Mrs. WATSON does not sell liquor. Mrs. WARD lives on Queen St. blow Ross�s bakery. Was there on the 11th March. There were soldiers there. Was arrested on Friday evening inst. (18th). Am not yet tried.

James ECCLES, sworn. Lives on Wolfe Island Has lived there 27 years. Ferried for five or six years. Recollect Friday, 11th of March, perfectly well. Was on the south side of Wolfe Island that day drawing out tamarac poles. Was across the island that day, going and returning. The sleighing was very poor on the 5th concession - snow soft and full of holes. Left the south side of the Island at a quarter past four. Got home about dark. It was raining, and witness hurried all he could so as to go to the Presbyterian concert. Traveled six miles that evening. Lives on the north side. Knows �The Neck� at Hinckley�s. It would take a team two hours or two hours and a half to go from the Court House at Kingston to �The Neck� by the best and shortest route. From �The Neck� to Cape Vincent it would take BRIGGS half an hours to go on skates.

Cross examined � Worked his team hard all day. The pitch-holes were bad, other places quite bare. It took him from a quarter past four until dusk to reach home. The day was dark. The wind was from the east and it rained in the afternoon. Was over and hour and a half reaching home. It was not more than three miles round by the ice to Cape Vincent, going up. Using an ice boat, it would take passengers two and three-quarters to reach Cape Vincent, including all stoppages. The Express might go in two hours and a half. A good skater would go in fifteen minutes. BRIGGS could do it in that time. It would take from DAWSON�S on skates twenty or twenty-five minutes, with a fair wind to reach Cape Vincent. Had he been going to Cape Vincent that night would have gone by �The Neck.�

John BUSCH, sworn. � Lives on Wolfe Island. Has lived there 45 or 46 years. Has carried the mail. Recollects Friday, 11th of March. The crossing on the ice was bad at his place � above it was good. Crossing was safe opposite his house, one and a half miles about the narrow neck. A person by taking a good deal of time could cross on skates from witness� place. A man might cross half a mile below where witness lives � it would take two hours. From the narrow neck to Cape Vincent a man might go in half an hour � from PIKE�s to the lighthouse.

Cross-examined. Recollects the night of 11th March. It was past four when the stage arrived. Witness went to DAWSON�S in the stage. There was no delay at the �crack.

Richard DAVIS, sworn. Lives on second concession, Wolfe Island. Recollects the 11th March. Have carried the mails. Am acquainted with the route between Kingston and Cape Vincent. The roads on the island were generally bad on the day in question. It would have taken three hours for a team of horses and a sleigh, with five or six passengers, to go from Court-house to Cape Vincent that night. Driving at the very fastest, might get through in two hours.

This closed the additional evidence for the defense.

The first witnesses examined for the Crown was Wm. HENDERSON, sworn � Resides Wolfe Island. Am Uncle to the prisoner. Remembers the 11th March. Knows George FULLER. FULLER brought home his (Witness�) little girl from school in his sleigh that afternoon. FULLER was going towards HINCKLEY�S. The children leave school at four. It was about four when he saw FULLER. The school-house is about a quarter of a mile from his (Witness�) house. The day was wet. There was another man in the sleigh. George BRIGGS lives nearer to Kingston than he does.

Cross-examined. The school-house is a quarter of a mile from his (Witness�) house perhaps a little more or less. When his child got home he remarked to his wife that she was earlier than usual. Took the time from his own clock.

George MALONE, sen., sworn. Am Postmaster at Wolfe Island. Remembers the 11th March. The mail on that day was delivered at his post office (witness referred to a return he had made to the post office Inspector at Kingston.) at 3:40 p.m. Gets only one mail a day. A memorandum as to time is made immediately on receipt of the mail.

Cross-examined. Cannot say who received the mail on the 11th March. His son makes a note of the time in his absence, and witness makes out the Voucher from his son�s memorandum.

George MALONE, jr., sworn. Lives on Wolfe Island. Am the son of the last witness. Receives the mail occasionally. No one but himself and his father received the mail. Makes a memorandum of the time of arrival. Only one mail a day is received from Kingston. Could not say who brought the mail that night. The return shown contains a correct statement of the time that the mail was received.

Cross-examined. The mail does not arrive regularly. Some days an hour later than others. Is particular in noting the time of the mail�s arrival. Thinks that the mail was late on St. Patrick�s day. Sometimes he does not note down the time, but trusts to his memory until his father�s return.

Charles L. STEPHENS, sworn. Am clerk in the Post Office at Kingston. The mail for Wolfe Island was delivered to the carrier at half-past two o�clock on the 11th March � five minutes more or less. The handwriting in the return shown is that of Post Office clerk MAGURN.

Rev. George PORTEUS, sworn. Resides at Wolfe Island. Is minister of the Presbyterian church. Recollects the 11th March. Saw Mr. PREVOST on that day, when he got his sleigh in the ice at Fenwick�s slip. Has known George BRIGGS between three and four years. Saw him on the 11th March, one mile from his (Briggs�) house. It was between six and seven. BRIGGS drove a team of horses and sleigh. Thinks the horses were brown. Cannot tell the color of the sleigh. There was a man with BRIGGS. Believes him to have been a man in prisoner�s employ. Never heard his name. BRIGGS drove slowly. Passed within two or three yards of BRIGGS. Witness went directly home. When he got home the lamps were lit.

Cross-examined. It was about half-past five o�clock when Mr. PREVOST sleigh got into the ice. Had a mile to go after passing BRIGGS. Am a neighbor of his. It was not dark when witness got home. Stopped at the Post Office on Wolfe Island about three minutes before going home.

By Mr. DRAPER. Had it not been for the concert that evening witness would not have remembered the date.

Lieut. PREVOST, 47th Regiment re-called. It was about twenty-five minutes past five when he got into the ice at Fenwick�s.

This closed the evidence for the crown.

Mr. O�REILLY made a very strong and ingenious appeal on behalf of his client, and Mr. DRAPER summed up the case for the prosecution. The Court was then adjourned until ten o�clock on Wednesday morning, to afford time for the Magistrates to come to a decision in the matter.

March 24, 1864
Escape of George BRIGGS
The Magistrates had appointed one o�clock yesterday as the time when they would give their decision in the BRIGGS case, which has attracted so much attention for the past week. About a quarter of an hour before one, there was a bue-and-cry that BRIGGS had made his escape. Ontario street was in an uproar, in a few minutes, from one end to the other, and great excitement generally prevailed. Constables LYNN, MCDERMOTT and MILAN were on duty a the station house at the time. The prisoner�s lawyer had been in with him a short time before he got away. It was when the prisoner�s father had been permitted to go in to him with some apples he had just purchased for him that GRIGGS rushed out, tripping up one policeman who stood at the door, and rushing like a stag past the other who stood near him. Policemen LYNN and MILAN had been appointed to the charge of the door in admitting anyone to see the prisoner, and the neglecting to lock the door when the elder BRIGGS passed in, gave the prisoner a chance to escape. During the morning BRIGGS was stripped to his guernsey shirt, but he had both his coats on when he sallied out, evidently prepared for a rush. BRIGGS is supposed to be concealed somewhere in Ontario street. A couple of policemen started in immediate pursuit of him with a horse and sleigh towards Garden Island, and returned without finding any trace of him in that direction, although it was rumored that a sleigh was in waiting nearby, in which BRIGGS made his escape, which was quite the topic of yesterday. The city and military police are all on alert, and there is some hope of re-arresting the runaway.

March 25, 1864
Escape of BRIGGS �
It is said that George BRIGGS did not leave the city until after one o�clock on Thursday morning; if so, there being no word of his re-arrest, it is presumed that he is now safe in the land of greenbucks. From the manner of BRIGGS� escape it is quite clear that the magistrates acted perfectly right in not admitting him to bail, although so strongly urged to do so by BRIGGS friends.

The latest information, and which we believe to be reliable, is, that BRIGGS left the city by a strong bodyguard, at three o�clock yesterday (Thursday) morning, in his own sleigh, which had waited for him in the vicinity of Kinghorn�s wharf the greater part of the night; and that he crossed Simcoe Island, and reached Cape Vincent about daybreak. A salute is said to have been fired by his friends on his arrival. There is some talk of a supper having been given by him last night to his friends at Cape Vincent.

Saturday, April 9, 1864
The Arrest of Absalom BRIGGS
After the close of Police Court business yesterday morning, Mr. Absalom BRIGGS was arrested on a charge of assisting his son George BRIGGS to break goal. The case was briefly gone into before dr. Robinson, and Mr. BRIGGS was admitted to bail until Monday next, when the case will be proceeded with.

Tuesday, April 12, 1864
The case of Absolam BRIGGS, charged with assisting George BRIGGS to break goal, was further postponed until Wednesday morning.

Thursday, April 14, 1864
Police Court:
Absolam BRIGGS was arraigned on a charge of aiding George BRIGGS to escape from the custody the police. The charge was based on evidence taken at a private examination of the police force in the city by His Worship the Mayor shortly after the escape of George BRIGGS. The testimony then elicited was read over to the prisoner, who was then admitted to bail, himself in the sum of $200 and two sureties of $100 each, to appear at the next Assizes trial if required, J.J. BURROWS, County Attorney, appeared on behalf of the Crown and James O�REILLY for the prisoner.

Wednesday, April 20, 1864
Police Court:
Absolam BRIGGS appeared to answer the charge of assault; the case will not come until after the Assizes, owing to Mr. BRIGGS being compelled to attend at the Court a former charge.

Saturday, June 18, 1864

Absolam BRIGGS was yesterday arrested on Wolfe Island on the authority of a bench warrant, and brought over in irons to the Police Station. The accused is charged with assaulting sergeant RYDER, of the 47th Regt., one of the lookout party stationed at Wolfe Island, in a very treacherous manner. The lookout party as one of their duties kept a surveillance of BRIGGS� house, to endeavor to secure the arrest of BRIGGS� son who was recently convicted of enticing soldiers to desert, and escaped from custody of the police a few minutes before the judgment was to have been given by the convicting magistrates. A few evenings since, the lookout party were about to leave the island to rejoin their regiment in London, when BRIGGS took advantage of the occasion to have a little bit of revenge. Under the guise of friendship he approached the sergeant and expressed himself as entertaining no ill feelings towards the party, and offered his hand as if to prove his sincerity, when, by a sudden movement, while holding the sergeant�s hand, he caught him by the collar, and by a dextrous movement of the foot, tripped the soldier and then proceeded to kick and abuse him in a brutal manner.

Wednesday, June 20, 1864
Absolam BRIGGS on being arraigned on Saturday for an aggravated assault on Sergeant DARBY of the 47th regiment, military police, pleaded guilty.

Tuesday, June 21, 1864
County Court and Quarter Sessions
Mr. O�REILLY, Counsel for Absolam BRIGGS, put in an affidavit of the facts connected with his assault on Sergeant RYDER, 47th Regt. The affidavit affirms that RYDER struck BRIGGS first, and that he, BRIGGS, did not kick but simply struck RYDER with his fist in self-defense. The Judge in commenting on the assault said that it was most unwarranted and aggravated, from the un-English manner in which it was made. The sentence of the court was that Absolam BRIGGS pay a fine of $40, and that he be imprisoned for a period of two months. There was no trial in this case, BRIGGS, on his being arraigned, having lead guilty.

Friday, August 26, 1864
Attempted Assault on Kingston Policeman At Cape Vincent

A gentleman from this city, who was a passenger on the Pierrepont on that day, informs us that on Monday last Sergeant STACY, of the Kingston Police Force, happened to touch at Cape Vincent on his way home from and official trip to one of the adjacent American towns. It was necessary for him to do so to take the steamer Pierrepont for Kingston on her afternoon trip; and while waiting for the boat the fact became known to George BRIGGS and his gang, who immediately consulted, and, armed with bludgeons, made preparations for an assault. A friendly American, who had not lost all his humanity by the hardening process of the war, put Sergeant STACY on his guard; and it was so arranged that he got down to and on board the steamer without molestation. The crowd of rowdies, however, were at the dock, bludgeons and all, ready for the attack. It is said that the gang were very indignant at the manner in which Sergeant STACY slipped through their fingers; and not daring to enter the boat after he was once safe in the cabin, they vented their indignation in any amount of cursing and swearing on the dock as the steamer left.

Saturday, August 27, 1864
Arrest of Absolam BRIGGS
Absolam BRIGGS, one of a gang of �scalpers,� and the father of the notorious George BRIGGS, was arrested in the city today on a charge of violating the Foreign Enlistment Act. BRIGGS, it appears, has made overtones to a seafaring man named ROSE, living on Wolfe Island, advising him to join the American army, and promising him a thousand dollars bounty. ROSE gave his consent, and BRIGGS drove him in a wagon to the foot of the island, where a boat waiting to convey the two to Cape Vincent, the headquarters of the BRIGGS firm. As things narrowed down to this verge, with but the distance of the American channel to separate him from the scalper�s clutches, ROSE took second thought and declined, returning to his home. He subsequently gave information to the Kingston police, and our authorities determined to furnish the constable on Wolfe Island with a warrant and assist him in making an arrest whenever BRIGGS should again make his appearance in that portion of British territory. It was ascertained to-day, however, that Absolam BRIGGS was in the city; and the police promptly secured him, and he now lies confined in prison awaiting his examination before the Police Magistrate on Monday morning, when further particulars than we have sketched will no doubt be brought out. The police force ought to be complimented for this really important arrest.

Monday, August 29, 1864
Police Court:
Absalom BRIGGS was not brought before the court for examination. The police magistrate was informed that the witness ROSE had been abducted from his home on Wolfe Island on Saturday evening by some three or four men, and taken away by boat no one knows where. And further, that the notorious George BRIGGS paid a visit to ROSE�S house after ROSE had been carried off, apparently in ignorance of the fact, and with a loaded revolver in his hand searched every part of the house. The search being completed, he threatened Mrs. ROSE if she should give any testimony against his father and left the house.

No more of the story is known at this point.
Research continues.

George BRIGGS married Isabella GRANT and had at least three children; Anna Eliza, John and Absolam BRIGGS. George died in 1892 and is buried at Horne Cemetery on Wolfe Island.

The Islands: Island Stories: Kingston News: George Briggs
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