Patriot War of 1837

The Canadian Rebellion

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John W. Little

Excerpt from "William Lyon Mackenzie's flight after the Battle of Windmill"
Newspaper clippings, Town of Orleans archives, La Fargeville, New York

John W Little of Cape Vincent New York was the Hunter Lodge Secretary, and underground Railway Depot Master in Cape Vincent New York. The following is an untold story of William Lyon Mackenzie's flight from Canada. Handed down among descendants of John W. Little. John W. Little was born in Scotland in 1807 he died 1892. His wife Elizabeth Filomila Dickey born 1814 died 1892.

Elizabeth Dickey Little, wife of lodge secretary, relates incidents as a participant. The original transcript was in the possession of Mrs. Harriet T Montague, her great-granddaughter at the time.

Mackenzie entered Canadian political strife as editor of the Colonial Advocate at York (Toronto) in the 1820s, bitterly attacking the dominance of United Empire Loyalists. Elected to the legislature five times, once by every vote of his district but one vote. He was each time expelled until seated by the how government. He became the first mayor of Toronto in 1834, and three years later engaged in the revolutionary preparations leading to armed encounter between the patriots and militia on December 5 1837.

The story of Mackenzie's flight after the Battle at Windmill as told by Elizabeth Dickey Little on her golden wedding anniversary to her grand daughter, Harriet Antoinette Terry, records an important incident in his stormy life not contained in most accounts on Mackenzie.

John W. Little the great grand father, a resident of cape Vincent was a member of the group of Americans who furnished arms and ammunition to the Canadian patriots and subsequently aided slaves to Canada. He was secretary of the Hunter Lodge and as such kept up correspondences with General Niles Szoltereky von Schultz the Polish military officer who commanded the patriot invaders at the Windmill flight and Mackenzie. Mrs. Little told her children that von Schultz writing was like a "copper plate engraving."

Of these writers she said " One who escaped from Canada came to the little home and was hidden in the partition when officers came." Von Schultz was condemned and hanged in the ditch of the moat at Fort Henry, Kingston, a fact that determines the fugitive as Mackenzie. The Carpenters were putting up a closet when the search was made, their presence aiding in concealing the liberator Mackenzie.

Next day Mackenzie donned the dress of Molly Brown Dickey Little, who was visiting at Cape Vincent and accompanied by Elizabeth Little and her thirteen month old baby, Mackenzie thus disguised, set out in a two seated carriage ostensibly for Henderson Harbor, former home of Molly Little. " Mackenzie left on way," Mrs. Little told her children without revealing the details of his leave taking.