Extra research for Season 4 – Episode 5 – Who Goes There?
The current Fort Henry, once referred to as the “Citadel of Upper Canada,” is the last of three forts built where the St. Lawrence River empties into Lake Ontario. The first fort was built during the War of 1812 to protect the dockyard on Point Frederick from a possible American attack and to monitor maritime traffic. It was named after Henry Hamilton, former Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec.
This fort was demolished and replaced with a larger fort between the years 1832-1836. From 1813-1870 British troops were deployed at Fort Henry and the Canadian Militia then garrisoned the Fort until 1891. As relations with the United States continued to improve, the need for defenses along the border ceased. The fort was abandoned by the military, and fell into disrepair until its restoration in 1936.
Fort Henry temporarily held prisoners of war (POWs) for the 1837–38 Rebellions, during World War I in Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914–20, and World War II the fort again served as a POW camp for German air force and navy personnel.
During the Rebellion of 1837, ninety Tyendinaga Mohawks volunteered their services to defend the Crown. Their help was instrumental in warding off any potential attack on the city of Kingston, Ontario. Consequently, the Fort Henry Guard Regimental Colours (seen above) bears a scroll that honours these brave warriors with the inscription “the Mohawks of Tyendinaga.”
Nils Von Schoultz, in the 1830s, led a doomed Canadian invasion. At his court martial he was defended by John A. MacDonald , Canada’s first Prime Minister. Despite MacDonald’s defense, Nils was found guilty and executed at Fort Henry 8 Dec 1838. Nils had married a young Scottish lady named Ann Campbell and had two children. He moved with his wife, her mother, and sister to Sweden. He travelled to England for his job and after becoming discouraged travelled to the United States without telling anyone where he was going. He applied for American citizenship and it is suggested that he courted a young woman named Emeline Field. He wrote to his wife only once promising to send money. This just may be the secret his spirit spoke of that he kept from his wife.
— Joanne Schiavoni
Photo credit: St. Lawrence Parks Commission. Regimental Colours.