Monday, September 29, 2014

Fenian Uprising--Malone: Part 3

Fenian raids
Fenian raids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Fenians arrived in Malone expecting to find arms awaiting them. Wrong. The US government had confiscated most of them along the border. Thus, unarmed, the Fenians thought it best to not attack Canada in 1866.

Border agents seized a trainload of arms in Watertown. The Fenians recaptured them. Once more, in DeKalb, all the arms were confiscatedm and the Fenians were unable to get them back.

General Meade approached Malone with one-thousand regulars. On June 3, 1866, he ordered the Fenians to disband. Many desertions followed and all who applied for  transportation home were given it. Thus, Malone became a peaceful village once more.

Over twenty-thousand prisoners were captured in Canada and sentenced to be hung. Most were commuted to life imprisonment.

For four years, not much happened as far as the Fenian revolution. In the early spring of 1870, a second movement began. This time, they forwarded their arms months ahead of time. These supplies were hidden in the barns of sympathetic farmers. Chateuagay, Fort Covington and Hoagansburg were principle hiding places. Arms were then hauled to Trout River.

Malone was chosen as a principle invasion point. They would rush a troop into Canada. There they would wait for reinforcements. The troops who assembled in Malone did not camp here as they had in 1866. Instead they hurried off to Trout River

On May 25, 1870, they marched into Canada from the farm of George Lahey, a half mile south form Trout River. The Canadians were warned by spies, but no Canadian troop reached Huntingdon until May 26, so the place was undefended.

The Fenians advanced about three miles, and staked out a position on the Donnelly farm. Here they levied the farmers for food, raided stores and, in general, acting like invading armies.

Because their reinforcements failed to come. The Fenians retreated back to Leahy's farm on May. 26.

Next week: the conclusion of the Fenians in Malone. Do any of you have information regarding these raids you'd like to share?

All work for this article taken from:
Seaver, Fredrick. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Albany: JP Lyons, 1918.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fenian Uprising, Malone: Part 2

Canadian Home-Guard defending against Fenians ...
Canadian Home-Guard defending against Fenians in 1870. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Canadians worried about an attack by the Fenians from the States. As early as November 1865, they placed troops at the borders and kept them on duty. In March they asked for 10,000 volunteers to guard the border and got 14,000. Eventually, they let their guard down and the volunteers returned home.

Then on June 2, 1866, reports came to Huntingdon that trains loaded with Fenians headed for Malone. The Canadians quickly re-assembled. Unfortunately, they had no firearms. Had the Fenians advanced at this point, they would have met no resistance and possibly have succeeded.

The Trout River Highway became heavily guarded and the Canadians placed at a fortification built to defend the road. Heavy rains turned that road into a quagmire and conditions persisted that would make advancement by the Fenians improbable.

Canadian farmers moved their families to their hunting cabins and some families moved in with American friends across the frontier.

On the first days of June, about 2,500 Fenians poured into Malone by train under the command of General M.J. Heffenan and Generals Murphy and O'Rielly--Civil War veterans. The bulk of the troops camped at the Fairgrounds on Main Street.

They were poorly provisioned and depended upon the locals for food and supplies. The troops were relatively ungoverned, so they had free access to the town. The residents, at times, feared their looting and rioting, but it never happened.

The only event that created a problem occured when William C. Sylvester, N.J. McGillivray and Dr. MacIntosh, all from Canada, came to see what was happening. By their dress, the Fenians assumed they were spies.

Hundreds of crazed Fenians convened by the Miller House, which  stood where the Flanagan stands today, in order to attack these three men. The commanding officers had little control over their troops. They tried to mingle with the mob in order to rescue the innocent victims.

One, Dr. MacIntosh, unhurt, hid under a lounge in the office of the lawyer William Cantwell. Sylvester's injuries weren't severe. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about McGillivray who was hidden in the attic of the south tower of the train station. Eventually, they secreted him to Pearl Street to the home of Colonel Seaver. He was badly injured. Here, his wounds were tended until the he and Sylvester could be secreted out of Malone. I assume MacIntosh escaped prior to these men.

That was the only Fenian attack in 1866.

Tune in next week for the next installment.