J O U R N A L

Canada West 1841–1867  (Upper Canada 1791–1841, Ontario, 1867–)

The Grand River Navigation Company Swindle

Upper Canada’s William Hamilton Merritt and David Thompson 1 are entrepreneurs and visionaries and they catch a bug. They catch “canal fever,” which, along with malaria, is running rampant on this continent in the 1830s. “Canal fever” is an unhealthy obsession with building canals – a pun on the mosquito-born illnesses that plague the navvies who do the… Read more …

The Markham Gang, 1845-46

“Gang members took an oath of secrecy. They vowed to support each other in any way possible. They pledged to provide alibis in case they were arrested, and to back each other in court. This was a homegrown, nineteenth century Canadian ‘Mafia,’ a ‘mob,’ one of the earliest known cases of organized crime in British… Read more …

United Empire Loyalists and late loyalists

The American Revolution blazes a hasty trail to British Québec and the blazing continues into Upper and Lower Canada until 1815. Two kinds of American folkways come to Upper and Lower Canada: first round (pro British) in 1784, and second round (pro American) in 1790.   Ruth McConnell says the immediate effect of the American Revolution… Read more …

Being Canajoharie – James Paxton

There is much to love in Paxton’s Joseph Brant and his world: 18th century Mohawk warrior and statesman (2008). Exceptional writing and heart-rending illustrations and even the book’s silky pages. More to love is Paxton’s thesis: Joseph Brant is an 18th century Mohawk warrior and Pine Tree Chief who understands as well as any modern Canadian the necessity of… Read more …

Sky Walker Tehawennihárhos: CHARTER

Canadian folkways lean on immigrants’ and Indigenous’ stories. “I can give her no greater power than she has already,’ said the woman; ‘Don’t you see how strong that is? How men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how well she has got through the world, barefooted as she is. She cannot receive any… Read more …

Trumpeting the books

Muriel Kuchison: Susan Minsos has written a most thoughtful, well-researched, descriptive, entertaining, pre-Confederation Canadian historical novel. In Charter, the third book in her Mohawk trilogy, she explores the struggle between the Indigenous peoples and the land-seeking settlers. She documents and contrasts the competing interests of the affluent, and often corrupt lives of those who are selling… Read more …

Late Loyalists and the Markham Gang of Ontario

From Wikipedia: “The Markham Gang was a notorious criminal organization located primarily in Ontario, Canada, in the middle of the 19th century. Evolving from organizations founded to support the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, the Markham Gang used its private communications network of couriers across what was then Canada West to build a criminal empire that spread into neighbouring states. Like the organization that spawned… Read more …