Fort Henry, Kingston Ontario
There are no markers at Fort Henry covering the prisoners held here. However on the night of July 29, 1838, fifteen rebels sentenced to transport to penal colonies in Australia, Van Diemen's Land and elsewhere escaped Three were captured and returned to Fort Henry. Most escapees made their way to the U.S.
Among them was John Montgomery, owner of the famed Montgomery’s Tavern, a meeting place for the rebels before their descent on Toronto. He had been found guilty of high treason, but the jury recommended mercy. In his final address to the court before sentence was passed, he said: " I have not had a fair trial. There are witnesses here who have sworn my life away...These perjurers will never die a natural death; and when you, sir, and the jury shall have died and perished in hell's flames, John Montgomery will yet be living on Yonge Street”. The prisoners were confined to the "leather workers's shop" in the northwest corner of the fort. Friendly guards provided the means for their escape. Montgomery fell into the drop ditch in front of the No. 2 Reverse Fires in the northeast corner while making his exit and broke his leg. He hobbled along with help from his comrades until they finally found a boat that took them to Long Island. They re-embarked and made it to the U. S. shore where they were taken to Cape Vincent. Eventually Montgomery opened a boarding house and grocery in Rochester, remaining there until he was pardoned in 1843, when he returned to Toronto and later set up shop on the site of the old tavern on Upper Yonge St. He died within a few weeks of his 96th birthday while living in Barrie. Those charged as giving false witness in his trial had died, as also Chief Justice Robinson, the judge and the Crown prosecutor. His prophesy that he would outlive them ply his trade when they were all dead was realized. This incredible story has long been obscured in official accounts. ( Charles Lindsey The Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie (Vol. 2 Appendix H.); Edward G. Guillet The Life and Times of the Patriots. Ch. X11)