The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), June 27, 1838

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(Correspondence of the Albany Argus)

Watertown, June 13, 1838

Dear Sir -- We have nothing of importance in regard to the affairs of the frontier, save the fact just communicated to me, that this morning , while the steamer Oneida was passing Wells' Island, Johnson,* with four men, appeared in his long-boat, constructed in such a manner as to equal the speed of the best steamboats. He and his men gave three cheers. It was attempted to return aboard the steamboat, but was supressed. Johnson then raised the flag of the Sir Robert Peel, and a second time gave three cheers, which was also attempted to be returned by some on board the steamboat, but was in like manner suppressed. Johnson then made off in his boat toward the head of the island. This occurred near the spot where the "Peel" was burnt.

Johnson's retreat being upon Canadian islands, and the speed of his boat surpassing everything on the lake or river, when seen, all efforts as yet to take him, have failed. He states that he will not be taken alive, and that his fastness, if not impregnable, will defy any force that can for some time be brought against it.

McLeod and Frey have been heard from on their way to Lewiston and the upper country.

Our militia, it cannot be expected, would be willing to go upon the Canadian ground, and attempt the arrest of these desperate men; but we are hourly in expectation of the arrival of some regular troops. Col. Cummings has arrived here, and is awaiting the arrival of the troops; and signifies his readiness to aid the civil officers in their efforts to arrest these men at all hazards.

It was very gratifying to learn that Judge Cushman had concluded to hold our circuit, as we have now rising of twenty prisoners in jail, awaiting their trial, besides many on bail, and are hourly expecting the arrest of more of the individuals concerned in the burning of the Peel.

We learn from another correspondent, that an effort was made on Friday evening week, to arrest McLeod. He was known to have passed up the Lake in disguise, stopping at Sackett's Harbor, Oswego, and Rochester. -- From the latter place he proceed by stage to Lockport. He was pursued to Lockport by three officers of the government; but the refugees at Lewiston had contrived to advise him by express of his danger, and he eluded their vigilance. The express was arrested, and admitted the fact.


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June 27, 1838
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Democratic Free Press (Detroit, MI), June 27, 1838