Hiram Sharp - Part III

Posted on August 25, 2014

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3 Hms Buffalo  Part Iii

Hiram Sharp – Part III - American Citizen, British Prisoner

One can imagine the depression felt by these remaining Patriots at their failure to bring Canada “American Style” freedom, especially when they, including Hiram, could see their home land in the near distance.* First these soldiers (Onondaga Hunters)+ were incarcerated at Fort Wellington, but were transferred to Fort Henry for the Court Martial proceedings from 10:00 to 4:00 each day. Four had been killed in the Battle of the Windmill – Nathan Coffin 17 of Salina, Ten Eyck Van Alstine 40 of Salina, Lorenzo West 24 of Clay and Moses Haynes 20 of Salina. Three young wounded prisoners were released including William Wolcott of Clay. Another group were tried and pardoned, except for Cornelius Goodrich of Salina who spent seven years in a Kingston jail. Probably the most important prisoner to be hanged was Nils S. Von Shoultz of Salina on 12/8/1918, a native of Poland who immigrated here in 1836. He is well known by his jailors for his letter writing telling of the kind treatment by the 83rd Regiment and the sheriff. Otherwise the militia would have killed them. He ends his letter with: “It is a consolation to deal with a brave and noble enemy. I have had my trial—am prepared for death.” Of interest, is the fact that the officers of the British army at Kingston held him in such regard that after his conviction, which held a mandatory death sentence, they addressed the governor of Upper Canada requesting that leniency be extended to him.** It didn’t happen. The second most important to be hanged was Martin Woodruff of Salina who was buried beside him also in a marked grave in a Kingston cemetery, a very unusual circumstance for executed convicts. A third prisoner, Lyman Leach (Lewis) of Salina was a neighbor of Martin Woodruff at South Bay on Oneida Lake. His father was an early settler of Cicero Center operating a tavern in a log building. Lyman was suspected of participating in the burning of THE ROBERT PEEL so does not have a marked grave. The fourth was Christopher Buckley of Salina and although he may not have a marked grave, a major thoroughfare bears his name, Buckley Road. The son of Russell Buckley, an Erie Canal Boatman, he was said to have taken the first load of salt from Salina to Utica. Christopher was a salt manufacturer as well as a Hunter senior officer and recruiter. He was hanged 1/4/1839. There was even talk of putting up a monument to Buckley, Von Shoultz and Woodruff in Syracuse but it never materialized. After many executions, there was the dilemma of what to do with the remaining prisoners – too many to be held indefinitely in Kingston. It was at this point that the policy evolved of pardoning some younger prisoners. Hiram and the others were moved around to various British locations having had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. It was decided to ship approximately 150 men charged with piratical invasion to the colony of Van Diemen’s Land as political prisoners. This Australian Island later came to be known as Tasmania. Among them were the local boys from Onondaga County. From Clay – Hiram Sharp and Michael Fraer. From Salina – Philip Alger, Hugh Calhoun, Gideon A. Goodrich, Nelson Griggs, Gary Griggs, Giles Thomas and Jacob Paddock. From Liverpool – Chauncey Matthews (Mathers) and Nathan Whiting. From Lysander – Calvin Matthews (Mathers). From Schroepples – Hiram Loop. They were shipped in three separate batches. The first ship, the MARQUIS OF HASTINGS, arrived in July 1839; The second, The CANTON, in January 1840. The third, the HMS BUFFALO, left Quebec on September 27, 1839 and arrived in Hobart Town on February 12, 1840. This was a voyage of over 16,000 miles.

To be continued

*Research material from Terrance Patterson, M.A., B.Ed.J.P. of Australia +SYRACUSE JOURNAL, March 20, 1929 **OSWEGO PALLADIUM, December 122, ,1838

Dorothy Heller, Historian

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