The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Upper Canada Herald (Kingston, ON), June 5, 1838

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Last Wednesday morning about one o'clock, as the Sir Robert Peel was taking in wood at an American Island called Well's Island, about 7 miles below French Creek, a gang of 25 or 30 armed pirates rushed on board, painted and disguised like Indians, drove out the Captain, passengers and crew, cast off the boat from the wharf, plundered her and set her on fire. She burnt to the water's edge, and then sank near the bank of the river. The wreck is partly out of water.

The Peel left Prescott on Tuesday evening having on board about 20 cabin passengers, including several ladies, and 40 or 50 on the deck. When the boat reached Well's Island, the man who had charge of the wood on the wharf told the Captain that a number of suspicious looking men were near, and intended mischief he thought, and he advised the Captain to start immediately. He paid no attention to the report, but sent his men on the wharf for wood as usual, and the pirates soon after rushed in, and forced every person ashore, not giving the passengers time either to complete dressing or to save their baggage. In consequence many of them lost a large amount of property. A Montreal man lost £500, Mr. Holditch of Port Robinson lost £1550. A packet of notes belonging to the Royal Bank of Upper Canada was also taken. Mr. R. Swain the mate of the Peel, was asleep in his berth on the promenade deck, and did not wake until all was in flames around him. On recovering from his surprise, he ran through the flames to the bowsprit, threw himself into the water, and swam ashore. Some of the passengers, hearing his cries, put off in a boat from the wharf to his assistance, and found him burnt in his face, hands and feet.

About four hours after the outrage, the Steamer Oneida arrived at Well's Island, on her downward trip, and the Captain, on learning what had occurred, offered to turn back and bring the passengers of the Peel to Kingston. This proposal was gladly embraced, and the passengers have published a card of thanks to the Captain of the Oneida, and also to the passengers on board of her for concurring in the arrangement though it took them back so far out of their course......

state prisoners brought to Fort Henry on Commodore Barrie.

Steamer Sir F. Head on Rice Lake meets stages from Cobourg and takes passengers on to Peterborough, where they board another stage to Mud Lake, where schooners take them on to Fenelon Falls. [Peterborough Sentinel]

p.3 Proclamation by Sir George Arthur on Burning of Peel.

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June 5, 1838
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Rick Neilson
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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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Upper Canada Herald (Kingston, ON), June 5, 1838