The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Ann of Detroit (Schooner), captured, Patriot war, 1 Jan 1838

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Detroit. Jan 11. 1838, Messrs Editors:
      The schooner Ann, commanded by Dr. E. A. Theller, of this city, in the patriot service, against the Royalists of Upper Canada, was yesterday captured near Maiden, while cruising near that port, for observation as to the situation of the Royalists. She had on board 17 men in all. The officers were Theller, Davis of London, and Dodge of Monroe, Davis is supposed to be mortally wounded. Dodge had his left eye shot out. These were the only persons injured. A heavy wind drove the vessel nearer the shore than was desired. She was fired upon and captured. She had two cannon on board, and about 300 muskets belonging to the Patriots at Bois Blanc Island near Malden, where the Patriots are encamped, numbering about 700.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      January 22, 1838

      . . . . .

      We copy the following from the Detroit Daily Advertiser of the 13th inst. The force assembled at Bois Blanc Island under " Gen." Sutherland was dispersed by Gove. Mason, who went in the steamboat ERIE, with about 100 citizen volunteers, for that purpose
      The persons taken in the schr ANN, captured by the British, said by the Detroit Post to have been "all massacared" appear to have been marched through the country to London, for safe keeping
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, January 23, 1838

      . . . . .
Since our first number was issued we have been in a state of excitement never before equalled in consequence of the threatening attitude assumed by the rebel blood-hounds and their associates, the loafers of Detroit.
      Ever since the dispersion of McKenzie and his brave, patriotic followers, the city of Detroit has been a common receptacle for the poor "oppressed" vagabonds. Every day we heard of numbers who, fearing the vengeance of the laws they had openly violated, passed through Windsor, and crossed the ferry there to that city, without the least attempt having been made by our magistrates to intercept them. We do not know how to account for this want of vigilance in the discharge of their duty, but can only attribute it to an apathetic indifference as to their ultimate fate, and an utter inability to have anticipated the consequences which subsequently ensued. Thus they continued to increase in strength from day to day, until their numbers became quite formidable. A Mons. Dufour, an emmissary from Montreal, made himself very busy in enlisting the feelings and exciting the sympathies of the generous mob sovereigns in behalf of this brigand crew; and such was the effect of his heart stirring appeals, that a public meeting was called, and hundreds of citizens assembled to listen to a melancholy narrative of their acute sufferings in the "glorious cause of liberty," (and knavery,) and which elicited the most agonising applause.
      The next thing we heard of was the formation of a volunteer corps under the auspices of the redoubtable Dr. Theller, which, together with the bona fide patriots, formed a band of desperadoes sufficient to intimidate the devil himself. These people elevated the tri-color, as the banner under which they intended, and presumptuously expected to erect a republican government, and to establish themselves on the properties of their conquered foes. Accordingly, in furtherance of these grand and most philanthropic views, they were regularly drilled with destructive weapons in their hands, in the face of the United States and State authorities ! - Donations of large amount were made by several rich, and of course, respectable citizens, to enable them to wage war against the inoffensive inhabitants of this town and its environs. The theatre was appropriated to their interests; benefits were got up two or three times per week, and, as the city papers intimated, from the enthusiasm with which their cause was taken up by the sovereigns, proved real bumpers ! These strong indications of the bias of public opinion in Detroit, and the determination manifested by all to aid the rebels to prosecute against us their unholy crusade, excited in us no small degree of astonishment and righteous indignation ! Several Gentlemen of Sandwich and Windsor went over to expostulate with those in authority on the conduct of the citizens, and in return were assured that it would all blow over, - that nothing of a belligerent character existed among them, - that the respectable portion of their population did not countenance the rebels' proceedings, and that, in fine, we might make ourselves perfectly easy, &c. Some officious individuals were so kind as to come over to this place in order to quiet our apprehensions, when they knew, - the treacherous villians !- that there existed in the heart of their own city a desperate band of ruffians, who were preparing their murderous instruments to deluge our peaceful firesides with the blood of parents and defenceless children ! Yes, these men were wonderfully solicitous that we should continue in a defenceless state, that the boasting radicals might have it in their power to say that they entered our towns and villages without opposition, and thereby induce the world to believe that we were willing and passive instruments in their hands, to assist in carrying into effect the subversion of our constitution and laws, and the establishment of a republican form of government ! But the almighty instructor of mankind, disposed the hearts of his servants to put no confidence in these pretended friends, whose lying lips were full of deceit, and guile and mischief lay under their tongue, but taught them, when danger threatens it is their duty to adopt means to avert it.
      When intimation was given that we were to act on the defensive, as we stated in our first number, hundreds flocked to this frontier with the fixed determination to save their country from the hands of the spoilers, or perish in the attempt.
      On the morning of January the sixth, between nine and ten o'clock, the Steam-Boat ERIE was seen to leave the dock at Detroit, crowded with people, with the ostensible intention of proceeding to Cleveland, but which we afterwards ascertained, only went to land a cargo of rebels and American volunteers at Gibralter, on the American side; she was immediately followed by a schooner rigged vessel, called the ANN, filled with armed men and mounting three pieces of cannon, and other munitions and appointments, for the express intention of commencing an attack upon our shore. The wind being against them, the vessel was towed by a small boat, the rowers being occasionally relieved by fresh hands from on board the vessel. In this way they proceeded down stream till they were out of sight. In the mean time we obtained information that the rebels had stolen the cannon, powder and ball from the United States' arsenal at Dearborn, about ten miles from Detroit, and five or six hundred small arms they feloniously abstracted from the city jail, where they had been placed for security ! This all occurred the day and night previous to their departure from the city; when the inhabitants were all asleep, we presume,- for surely, the "guardians of liberty throughout the world," would not have suffered their property thus to be seized upon, without making an effort to recover it, and severely punishing the rascally theives for their high-handed larceny ! No - No , -- they have too sincere a regard for their rights and interests, and too great a respect for their laws, to have suffered their infringement with impunity, it they had but been awake when the clandestine (!) act was committed. But at this moment of the year, when the steam-boats are all laid up, (except the ERIE and BRADY, which kind providence placed at the disposal of the rebels,) and business being rather dull, the inhabitants in order to economise victuals and fire wood, and to indulge in the comforts of a daylight snooze, knew nothing of the GRAND LARCENY, till twelve o'clock noon ! - when, with their characteristic alacrity and diligence, they dispatched the ferry-boat UNITED at three o'clock with two constables to re-take the people's property from the rebel-pirates. On approaching the schooner, the stolen guns were pointed towards the UNITED, and threatened it with instant destruction if they dared to attempt boarding her. The constables believing the "the better part of valor is discretion," turned about face and went home again. (No doubt they must have been -- considerably scart.)
      That same night, at twelve o'clock, about one hundred and fifty volunteers, headed by our respectable magistrate, John Price Esq., left Sandwich in the UNITED for Bois Blanc Island, where the rebels, it seems, purposed to establish a post, and elevate a standard of liberty, forsooth !
To which the disaffected on the main shore might fly for protection from us, their "ruthless oppressors." Had they succeeded in planting their vile rag upon our soil, instead of receiving any addition to their force from the disaffected, as they vainly imagined, they would have found themselves beset on all sides by thousands of the gentry and yeomanry of our land, who, we venture to say, are as loyal to their Queen and country as they are to their wives and children, and who to a man were ready to die in their defence.
Every subsequent day brought to this frontier, hundreds of gallant souls, who left their homes on the spur of the moment without making any provision against the inclemency of the season, but with the intrepidity of true British hearts, scorned bodily suffering when their country, their laws, and the lives of their fellow-subjects were in danger from the incursions of banditti and heartless, -- homeless plunderers !
      Away then ye American sympathisers with the ridiculous motion of imposing upon a free and loyal people, the detestable bonds of Republicanism ! We want none of your boasted self-eulogized Constitution. We want none of your fragile laws, and Sovreign Mob law breakers. We want no Governors who dare not fulfil their obligations to society. We want no administrators of Justice, who are afraid to execute its degrees, as was lately demonstrated in the farcical trial of the pompous self-styled General Sutherland, who, being born under a free and equal Government, was deemed a fit subject for free and equal clemency. We scorn a government which cannot enforce its own laws, and has not power to maintain its own treaties. Heaven deliver us from the licentiousness of such a Government as suffers its citizens to be shot down by mobs for the simple offence of expressing their opinions, and availing themselves of the Liberty of the Press, which their country guarantees to them ! But we have digressed. Wednesday morning Jan. 10th. at 5 o'clock A. M., an Express from Malden, arrived at this place, giving the gratifying intelligence of the capture of the Rebel Schooner. We issued an extra forthwith, containing this news, but were not informed so as to give the particulars, which we are now enabled to do.
      We were not a little amused last week, by seeing in the Detroit Morning Post, two letters signed by a person calling himself General Sutherland, who commands the Pirates and ruffians enlisted in the Quixotic expedition of giving what they miscall "independence" to Upper Canada. We knew that every syllable contained in those letters was false, and that they were the effusions of a lying braggart; and we feel ourselves almost degraded by condescending to notice the Brigand and his farrago of nonsense even so far; but there are men in this world, who believe anything however absurd, or however incredible; and with a view of informing such men of the true state of facts, we detail them precisely as they occurred at Bois Blanc and at Elliott Point, and the truth of our statement is confirmed by hundreds who were present and witnessed all that took place.
      At 3 o'clock in the afternoon of Monday the 8th instant, just as the Militia had been dismissed from their parade in the Garrison at Malden, an alarm was given by the sentries posted at Bois Blanc, that the Brigands, and Pirates, about 400 in number, were leaving Sugar Island in the schooner, scows and boats with the view of invading Bois Blanc instantly, and that they would reach the shore in half an hour. It is perhaps well to observe that Sugar Island belongs to Michigan, and that it had for some days past been the rendezvous of the Brigands. Bois Blanc is the British Island, and at the lower or southern end of it stands the Light-house. As soon as the alarm was given, the Militia and their Officers, aided by Captain Woodward's gallant Troops of Cavalry from the London District, (dismounted,) hurried to the boats and to a schooner then lying at the wharves in Amherstburg, and the Island was invested as expediously as possible by about 300 well armed men. They were stationed at three several points of the Island,, so as to command and watch the Brigand's movements and to annihilate or take them if they attempted to effect a landing. The Brigand forces were arrayed as follows:--
      The Schooner with a Sloop, which has since turned out to be the GEO. STRONG, apparently her tender, hovered about the lower end of the Island, at the distance of a mile below the Light-house, sometimes lying to, and sometimes apparently hugging our shore at Elliott's Point, (about two miles below Amherstburg,) as if inclined to land her men there. Their main body was seen being towed in scows, by two boats up the river towards Groos Isle, taking care not to come within musket shot of Bois Blanc. They fired two cannon shots of canister and grape at us, which did no injury. This was the first hostile shot fired on this frontier, and after that there was "no mistake" in their intentions. After waiting for the Pirates for about two hours, and perceiving that so far from attempting to attack us, they pulled in their scows far above Bois Blanc, and that the Schooner and her tender, apparently made sail for out shore at Elliott's Point. The Officers held a consultation together, and as it was deemed not improbable that the Brigand's object was to effect a landing on the main shore, and to take the town of Amherstburg, (which had not 100 effective men left to defend it,) orders were instantly given to quit Bois Blanc, and to return in boats to Amherstburg, with the least possible delay. The men were all landed in about an hour, leaving the Island undefended, (because a force could not be spared to remain there,) and everything was removed from the house of the Light-house keeper, Captain Hackett, except some trunks containing his and Mrs. Hackett's clothes. In an hour after the men had landed in the town, the Pirate Schooner sailed up the channel, (a good breeze favoring her,) between Bois Blanc and the town. Her consort lay under Bois Blanc Island. The Militia kept up a constant firing at her with their rifles, but as the distance was not less than 400 yards, it had but little effect. It was, however, afterwards ascertained that upon this occasion one man was killed, and several slightly wounded; she fired an occasional cannon shot, and she was fairly beaten off, and sailed as supposed for the scows and boats which had disappeared, and were conjectured to have returned to Sugar Island. (
      On the following morning, Tuesday the 9th, the Sloop was made to come to without a shot being fired, and she was made a prisoner of. The Pirate Schooner was seen at anchor near the upper end of Bois Blanc, and almost opposite the Kings Store. She cruised about for some hours, nevertheless taking care to keep out of the range of musketry or rifle shots, and occasionally firing grape, ball, and canister into the town. A large number of the Bandit were seen scampering about Bois Blanc, as if from curiosity. They quitted it in a few hours, and it is fair to admit that they did no injury whatever to the Light-house, or the residence of Captain Hackett, or to a schooner which lay ashore upon the Island. They however carried off the whole of Captain and Mrs. Hacketts wearing apparel, and also a valuable gold ring;-- and that was all the injury they did. Our people, of course, resumed possession of the Island on the following day, and brought the Schooner just mentioned to the wharf at Amherstburg; and we have had possession ever since.
      But to proceed. The Pirate Schooner had of course, been narrowly watched through the day, but at sundown she sailed slowly and steadily from the head of Bois Blanc, between that island and the town, hugging the Island as closely as she could for fear of our musketry and rifles, and firing about a dozen shots of ball, grape and canister, into the very heart of Amherstburg. The houses sustained but little damage, and the inhabitants none. Our men followed her, (first leaving a force of about 150 men to defend the upper part of the town near the King's Store, upon which a descent from the Brigand scows and boats was expected every minute,) and as she neared Elliot's Point, a rifle ball killed the helmsman, and the wind blowing very strong, the schooner came ashore. They were called on to surrender, and take their colors down - but they declined, or rejected to do so, and several shots were exchanged, and two of the Pirates killed after she had stranded. She was about eight or ten rods from the shore. Our men then plunged into the water and boarded her, and a jolly little man of the name of Lighton, climbed up the mast and pulled her colors down.
      The prisoners were brought on shore, and the wounded treated with ever kindness, humanity and consideration. Indeed we need only refer to the spontanious declaration of W. W. Dodge, who is by far the most respectable among them, as evidence of their treatment.
      The capture consisted of a schooner, called the " ANN" of Detroit - 21 prisoners, (most of them American citizens,) 3 pieces of cannon - and upwards of 200 stand of arms - and a large quantity of amunition, besides some stores and provisions.
      The Militia engaged in this capture were all Volunteers, and behaved most gallantly.
      Thus ended an expedition which was to have terminated in the plunder of our property, the massacre of our families, and the total subversion of our Constitution and Government. We can tell Mr. Sutherland and his crew, (who by this time are hungrily seeking what they can devour,) that if he wants to have another set-to, we are prepared with 1200 "gallant souls," as Mr. Bates called the Pirates, -- who are eager for something to do to keep them warm this cold weather.
      Western Herald & Farmer's Magazine (Sandwich, U. C. )
      Tuesday , January 33, 1838
      . . . . .
      Some twenty of the State prisoners at Toronto, have been moved to kingston, among them are Sutherland and Theller. Spencer, Sutherland's aid, and five or six of the crew of
the schooner ANN, captured at Malden, have been discharged.
      Cleveland Herald & Gazette
      Wednesday, June 13, 1838; 2:1
      . . . . .
Yesterday morning the schr. BROCK brought up from Amherstburgh, and landed at our wharf, the long nine-pounder, which was taken with the schooner 'ANN of Detroit,' two smaller guns, 200 stand of musket and accoutrements, and 20,000 rounds of ball cartridge. The BROCK left this, the same day for Amherstburgh, and will return shortly with more destructive implements; we do not say what kind - but will leave our sympathising neighbors opposite to guess.
      Western Herald
      Tuesday, October 30, 1838

Schooner ANN. Of 25.75 tons. Built Detroit, Mich., 1836 by W.H. Simmons. Owned by Shadrack Gillet, a Detroit Commission & Forwarding Merchant. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 53.0 x 13.4 x 4.10. No gallery; no figure-head; one deck; two masts. Former enrollment of Detroit surrendered by reason of new owners, dated May 24, 1836.
      Detroit Enrollment No. 13 of 1836
      dated May 24, 1836
      The GEORGE STRONG - - It appears that the robbery of this vessel amounted to the buying, by the British officers, of ten cords and a quarter of wood, and sundries. for which full payment was made. It also appears that she was a sort of tender to the piratical schooner Anne "
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Friday, February 2, 1838

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Reason: captured, Patriot war
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.08339 Longitude: -83.04985
William R. McNeil
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Ann of Detroit (Schooner), captured, Patriot war, 1 Jan 1838