Revolutionist; born in Canada
, in 1780; was an American spy on the Canada
frontier during the War
He was living at Clayton, N. Y.
, on the bank of the St. Lawrence
, when the “patriot” war in Canada
broke out in 1837.
Being a bold and adventurous man, and cordially hating the British
was easily persuaded by the American
sympathizers in the movement to join in the strife.
The leaders regarded him as a valuable assistant, for he was thoroughly acquainted with the whole region of the Thousand Islands
, in the St. Lawrence
, from Kingston
He was employed to capture the steamboat Robert Peel
, that carried passengers and the mail between Prescott
, and also to seize the Great Britain
, another steamer, for the use of the “patriots.”
With a desperate band, Johnston
rushed on board of the Peel
Island, not far below Clayton
, on the night of May 29, 1838.
They were armed with muskets and bayonets and painted like Indians
, and appeared with a shout, “Remember the Carolina
!” —a vessel which some persons from Canada
had cut loose at Schlosser
(on Niagara River
), set on fire, and sent blazing over Niagara
The passengers and baggage of the Peel
were put on shore and the vessel was burned, because her captors could not manage her. Governor Marcy
, of New York, declared Johnston
an outlaw, and offered a reward of $500 for his person.
The governor of Canada
) offered $5,000 for the conviction of any person concerned in the “infamous outrage.”
, in a proclamation issued from “Fort Watson,” declared himself the leader of the band; that his companions were nearly all Englishmen; and that his headquarters were on an island within the jurisdiction of the United States
. Fort Watson was a myth.
It was wherever Johnston
was seated among the Thousand Islands
, where for a long time he was concealed, going from one island to another to avoid arrest.
His (laughter, a handsome maiden of eighteen years, who was an expert rower, went to his retreat at night with food.
At length he was arrested, tried at Syracuse
on a charge of violating the neutrality laws, and acquitted.
Again arrested and put in jail, he managed to escape, when a reward of $200 was offered for him. He gave himself up at Albany
, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to one year's imprisonment in the jail there and to pay a fine of $250. His faithful daughter, who had acquired the title of “The Heroine of the Thousand
Islands,” hastened to Albany
and shared the prison with her father.
He procured a key that would unlock his prison-door.
His daughter departed and waited for him at Rome
He left the jail, walked 40 miles the first night, and soon joined her. They went home, and Johnston
was not molested afterwards.
The “patriots” urged him to engage in the struggle again.
He had had enough of it. They sent him the commission of a commodore, dated at “Windsor
, U. C., Sept. 5, 1839,” and signed “H. S. Hand
of the Northwestern Army
, on Patriot Service in Upper Canada
On that commission was the device seen in the engraving—the American
eagle carrying off the British
The maple-leaf is an emblem of Canada
He refused to serve, and remained quietly at home.
appointed him light-house keeper on Rock Island
, in the St. Lawrence
, in sight of the place where the Peel