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In February 2008 Paul Malo presented several articles in Thousand Islands Life on the Patriot War (1837-1838).  In our March 2008 Readers Exchange, Paul added some additional information.  In December, we reposted TI Life on a new website, with a new look designed by David O’Malley from Ottawa.  We did not repost the Patriot War material but do so  now.  We are pleased to present this material and we thank Paul for piecing it together.


"In 1837-38 Canada came as close to revolution as ever it would. The parliamentary régime had ceased to function in Lower Canada, as a movement (the 'patriots'), pushing in the direction of democracy and independence, ran into a stone wall of British intransigence." Written by Allen Greer, author of  The patriot’s and the People.

Kingston Jail, 7th Dec. 1838

    When you get this letter I am no more.— I have been informed that my execution will take place tomorrow.

    May God forgive them who brought me to this untimely death. I have made up my mind, and I forgive them.

    Today I have been promised a lawyer to draw up my will. I have appointed my Executor of said Will.—

    I wrote to you in my former letter about my body. If the British Government permit it, I wish it may be delivered to you to be buried on your farm.  I have no time to write long to you, because I have great need of communicating with my Creator, and prepare for his presence.

    The time has been very short that has been allowed.— My last wish to the Americans is that they may not think of revenging my death. Let no further blood be shed; and believe me from what I have seen, that all the stories that were told about the sufferings of the Canadian people, were untrue.

    Give my love to your sister, and tell her I think on her as on my mother. God reward her for all her kindness.

    I further beg you to take care of W. Johnson; so that he may find an honorable bread.   Farewell, my dear friend;

    God bless and protect you. S. VON SCHOULTZ.


Execution of Nicholas Von Schoultz

The warrant for the execution of this person arrived in town on Wednesday evening last, from the Seat of Government, addressed to the Sheriff of Midland District.  On Thursday the prisoner was removed from Fort Henry to the common jail, and from thence at 8 o'clock the morning he was taken to the glacis of Fort Henry, and then hanged.

From the Kingston (U. C.) Chronicle


Fort Henry, Dec. 1, 1838.

Dear Sir:—I take the liberty to address you some few lines, begging you to make publicly known the kind, civil treatment we have experienced from the officers and men belonging to the 83d Regiment so that if any member of that corps should travel in the United States, our friends there may show them our gratitude. We may fairly say that we owe our lives to them, because had they not protected us after we surrendered, the militia would surely have killed the greater number of us. The sheriff in whose keeping we are has treated us most kindly, and done every thing in his power to better the situation in which we were thrown by the miserable cowardice of General Birge, Bill Johnson, and their officers. If our prayers were heard, those base rascals.Would be delivered over to the British Government by our own; and we would then meet our own fate with perfect resignation.

When on Monday night the General did not come over or send us any reinforcement, and when none of the inhabitants or regulars did join us, the men, about 170 in number, begged me to take the command, and lead them back to the U. States. We had then not a single boat for use, and the British steamer Experiment kept up a vigilant look out on the river. I chose a strong position which would enable our men to defend themselves for some time against a superior enemy; during which time I was confident boats would be sent from the American shore to our assistance. None were procured, however, by the cowards. Tuesday morning we were attacked by land and water, at about 7 o'clock; the firing ceased at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when the British withdrew and left us in our position. We had about 30 killed and wounded. I had, during the night, sent a man across the river on a plank, asking for boats.—

Tuesday evening the General's adjutant came over telling me a schooner would be over to take us away. We carried our wounded down on the bank and waited with anxiety for the arrival of the vessel, but none arrived. Wednesday passed away, and the British began to surround us with considerable force, harassing our flanks continually. I think Thursday night a steamer from the American shore approached us, and we were informed by a couple of men sent ashore that it was to take us away. We again carried out our wounded, but some few rifle shots from the British frightened the cowards away, and we were again left to ourselves.

Friday at mid-day a parliamentary came from the British for the purpose of taking away the killed that remained on the field, and I delivered over to him the British wounded I had taken up, as I had no medical stores of any kind, and it would have been a base and unmanly policy to augment the sufferings of the wounded enemy.

One hour's cessation of hostilities was granted for burying our dead, but having no shovels, we could not do it—when the time was out the British steamers came down with heavy artillery, and the battle began. As I could get no one to take the defense of the house on our left flank, I went there myself with the men. As I had suspected, that house was most tremendously attacked. From the situation of the house I was not able to see how it went on in the other houses and the mill. We must have been surrounded by at least 2000 men and a detachment of the 83d regiment. My whole number of men, when this last battle began, was 108. I kept my position, though the roof crumbled to pieces over our heads, by the British fire from their artillery, until dark, when I was informed that all had surrendered. I also then surrendered. I was stripped to my shirt sleeves by the militia, in the first moment of anger and fury- Even my bonnet was taken away. I lost my watch, trunk, money, and the clothing I had on me.


Some of the prisoners from Cape Vincent have already got an answer to their letters; money and clothing have been sent to them thro' the hands of the sheriff, who has appointed a man here in the fort, who attends to us; he has opened an account book for them, and buys every thing they wish for. For my own part I am naked, though a kind hand at Cape Vincent, where I know no one, has sent me a shirt and a pair of socks, with my name marked on them. God bless the being who did it. I beg you to forward to me some money, when I can get a coat made here for me, and get some other things. Address the letter to the care of the Sheriff at Kingston, who will open it and give me credit for the money.


I beg you to have printed in several of the American papers, our acknowledgement of the kindness we have experienced from the Sheriff and the 83d Regiment. It is a consolation to have to deal with a brave and noble minded enemy. We are tried by a Court Marshal. I have had my trial—am prepared for death,

Yours truly,



[From the Kingston Chronicle of Saturday Last.]


The Court Martial holds its sittings daily, at Fort Henry, from 10 to 4 o'clock.

On Wednesday came on the trial of Daniel George of Jefferson County, said to have been paymaster of the pirates. The prosecution was closed on Thursday forenoon, when the prisoner requested until this morning to prepare his defence; which request was granted by the Court. The prisoner is assisted in his defence by John A. MacDonald, Esq. Barrister.

On Thursday the trial of Neils S. Von Shoultz, the leader of the brigands, came on, who pleaded guilty. He is a native of Poland, aged 31, of preposessing appearance. His father was a Major of a Regiment ol Cracow. The prisoner immigrated to the United States in 1836, and lived at Salina, in Onondaga County, N. Y.

Yesterday the trial of Dorethus Abbey was brought on. He is said to have held the rank of Colonel among the marauders. He is a native of Connecticut, but has lived for some time in Jefferson County.

We deem it proper to forbear publishing any of the evidence before the court, while the trials are pending.

Names of the Brigands taken in arms at the Windmill, near Prescott, from the 12th to he 16th Noveeber  inclusive.

Neils Skolteveky Von Schoultz—General.           Levi Chipman,
Dorethus Abbey, Col.                                            Peter Meyer,
Samson Wiley,                                                        Philip Conrad,
Luther Darby,                                                        Rouse Bennett,
George Van Amber,                                               William Denio,
Chauncey Burgee,                                                  John Bradley,
Pheris Miller,                                                          Hiram Hall,
John Elmore,                                                          Oliver Tucker,
Andrew Leeper,                                                     Daniel Liscum,
Hiram Barlow,                                                        Russel Phelps,
Henry Shaw,                                                           Asa H. Richardson
Lauton S. Peck,                                                      Lawrence Reilly,
Ethel Penny,                                                           Joel Peeler,
Jeremiah Winegar,                                                 Ira Polly,
John Cullinan,                                                        Dennis Swete,
J. H. Martin,                                                           Sylvanus Swete,
John Berry,                                                             Francois Gagnion,
Eli Clark,                                                                Oliver Lawton,
Charles Crossmon,                                                 Edward A. Wilson,
Orren W. Smith,                                                     Levi Putnam,
Daniel D. Heustis,                                                   Sylvester A. Lawton,
Thomas Baker,                                                       Garret Hicks,
Joseph Thompson,                                                 Robert G. Collins,
Paschal Cerventer,                                                 John G. Swanberg,
Joseph Stewart,                                                      Jacob Putnam,
John A. Brewster,                                                  Charles Horiz,
Charles S. Brown,                                                  Jacob Paddock,
Nelson Truax,                                                         William Reynolds,
Ernest Berentz,                                                       Charles Van Warner,       
Hosea C.Wilkie,                                                      James Ingles,
James Cummins,                                                    John Thomas,
David Dufield,                                                        John Graves,
Samuel Livingston,                                                 Riley Whitney,
Peter Cranker,                                                       Martin Woodruff,
Culver S. Clark,                                                     Christopher Buckley,
Patrick White,                                                        Solomon Reynolds,
John O’ Koinski,                                                    Jerry Griggs,
Andrew Richardson,                                             Nelson Griggs,
Cornelius Goodrich,                                               Edmund Holmes,
Chauncey Mathers,                                                Charles Woodruff,
Timothy P. Rawson,                                              Hiram Sharp,
David Gould,                                                          Joseph Drummond,
John M. Jones,                                                       Hunter C. Vaughan,
George T. Brown,                                                  Charles Smith,
Aaron Dresser,                                                       William Gates,
Justus Merriam         ,                                            Charles Watson,
Thomas Stockton,                                                  Joseph Norris,
William O’ Neill,                                                     Calvin Mathers,
William Stebbins,                                                   Charles Allen,
Lawrence Anderson,                                             Emmanuel Garrison,
Gaius Powers,                                                         Elon Fellows,
Hiram Loop,                                                           Andrew Smith,
Martin Van Slyke,                                                 Abner Townsend,
Lamson Mailhotte,                                                 Moses A. Dutcher,
Jean Baptiste Ruza,                                               Leonard Delino,
George Blondeau,                                                  Orland Blodget,
Joseph Letorre,                                                      Edgar Rodgers ,
John Thompson,                                                    Joseph Dodge,
Hugh Calhoun,                                                       Gideon Goodrich,
Henry Jentzen,                                                       Lyman L. Lewis.
John Cronkhite,                                                     Price Senter,
Samuel Austin,                                                       Simeon H. Webster,
James Pierce,                                                          Nathan Whiting,
David Houth,                                                          Daniel George,
Samuel Washburn,                                                Michael Friar,  
Truman Chapman,                                                                           134

With the exception of about 25 who are composed of Lower Canadians, Upper Canadians, Poles, Germans, English, Irish, and Scotch, are natives of Jefferson, Onondaga, Oswego, and St. Lawrence Counties in the State of New York.


List of Prisoners who are wounded and confined in the New Hospital.

Names.                        Ages.                  Where from.

1 Selah Evans,           35              Jefferson Co., N. Y.
2 John M[?]eau,        29              A native of L. C.
3 Geo. H. Kemble,,    19              Brownville, N. Y.
4 Jas. L. Snow,          21              Oswego Co., N. Y.
5. Giles Thomas,        34              Onondaga Co., N. Y.
6 Leander Curtis,      33              Ogdensburg N. Y.
7 Jacque Herod,        27              A native of Lorraine,
                                                      France, has been
                                                      only 5 months in
8 Hiram Coultman,   19              Jef. Co., N. Y.
9 Stepben S. White,   25              Lewis Co., N. Y.
10 Orson Rogers.       23              Jef. Co.. N. Y.
11 J. MrWheeiock,    22              do. do. [since dead]            
12 Loren F. Finney,  21              Watertown, Jef. Co.
13 Oliver Aubry or
         Aubre                20              St. Philip District of Montreral, L. C.
14 Frederick Mealo   27              Hanover, Germany.
15 ___Brownley,                          Badly wounded—since dead.
16,  Philip Alger         32              Benton, On. Co.,  N..Y.
17  Wm. Woolcott,     20              Mont. Co., N. Y.
18 Asa Priest,             42              Lonster Co., Massachusetts, last from                                                               Auburn, N. Y..
19 Bemas Woodbury,25             Cayuga Co., N. Y.
20 Andrew Moae,       26             Malta, Saratoga Co., N. Y.

"Having in July visited old Fort Henry at Kingston and been shown the very dungeons in which the victims of that insane movement had been confined and found traced upon the walls the names of some of the prisoners, whom I had known, and who had left those gloomy cells only to ascend the scaffold, my mind was ready to review the whole subject again...."

John A. Haddock

The Syracuse Standard, March 14, 1898

Oswego Palladium, December 12, 1838

As an indication how Von Schoultz impressed his captors and how they came to regard him, it is worthy of mention the officers of the British army stationed at Kingston after Von Schoultz conviction, which automatically carried with it a sentence of death, signed a petition addressed to the governor of Upper Canada requesting that executive clemency should be extended in this case.

Letter written the night before Von Schoultz execution

Dear Madam:  I was told that the three principal things for freedom – elective franchise, Congress and trial by jury, were not given to the Canadians:  that they most ardently desired them, and that the whole were ready to rise, but they wanted arms.  Everywhere in the United States societies were formed to procure the Canadian bretheren their arms.   It was also told me that the regular army there were also ready to join the patriots. The societies in the United States counted upon 150,000 members.   I went from Oswego with the intention of arriving at Ogdensburgh [sic], and there got information from General Birge, who they told me was the commander of the Eastern Division.  I was never permitted to land at Ogdensburgh[sic], but carried against my will to the Mill Point to which the general (a mighty great coward) never came.

Now many thanks to you for your kindness and also thanks to your husband.  God Almighty bless and yours is prayer of


Written the night before my execution the 8th of December 1838.

Oswego Palladium, December 12, 1838

As an indication how Von Schoultz impressed his captors and how they came to regard him, it is worthy of mention the officers of the British army stationed at Kingston after Von Schoultz conviction, which automatically carried with it a sentence of death, signed a petition addressed to the governor of Upper Canada requesting that executive clemency should be extended in this case.

No boats came to take away to safety the deluded youths, untrained and unskilled in warfare yet personally courageous and brave against overwhelming odds as the statistical record of the “battle” plainly indicate.   Without attempt at relief or rescue, they were callously abandoned to the fate of death—or  worse—by the cowardly leaders in whom they had placed their implicit trust.  Small wonder that Von Schoultz’s last words were largely given over to denunciation of those men, not for what they had done to him, but for what [they had done to] the boys….

Von Schoultz was ever mindful and considerate until the hangman’s noose choked off his pleas that the boys be spared and sent back to their homes, while their places on the gallows should be taken by those who had so foully betrayed them.

Oswego County During the "Patriot War” of 1837-41

Paper Given Before Oswego County Historical Society, February 15, 1944, by its president, E. M. Waterbury

Oswego Palladium, December 19, 1838

“He adjusted the rope to his own neck, drew his cap down over his face, put his hands in his pockets and ... bravely, notably expired on a tree.”

[Account of an Adams, N. Y. man who was present.]

Compiled by Paul Malo