Loyalist Refuge

When their side lost the Revolution, New Englanders who had backed Britain packed up, sailed north, and established the town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. It still flourishes.

When in 1783 it became clear that a band of American rebels had succeeded in their insurrection against King George, Robert Pagan and 443 of his neighbors in Castine, Maine, did the only thing loyal subjects of the Crown could do: they dismantled their houses and pubs, board by board and nail by nail, piled them onto schooners, and sailed for the northern Crown colonies. There, at the confluence of the St.Read more »

Benét And The Ensign From Alabama

THE BOOK reached me in Argentia, Newfoundland, where my squadron, VP-84, was on antisubmarine patrol. The inscription, “To Ev—this incontestable evidence of performance,” had a special impact, as my brother knew it would. Aircraft performance, along with flying ability and luck, are what a pilot lives by in war. But it was a different performance, the kind evident on every page of Stephen Vincent Benét’s John Brown’s Body , that my brother was referring to in his gift marking my twenty-sixth birthday.Read more »

Jack London

The Man Who Invented Himself

Jack London carved himself a special niche in the annals of American literature. Born in poverty in the first month of America’s centennial year, he spent his boyhood suffering the rejection of an unloving mother and much of his young manhood as a careless delinquent, a waterfront roisterer, and a road bum, quite as mindless of his own self-destruction as any modern youth who wastes himself with drugs and hitchhikes the interstates from nowhere to nowhere else. Read more »

The Siege Of Quebec, 1775–1776

The key to control of Canada was a city whose defenders doubted they could hold out for long once the American Rebels attacked

Sixteen years after General James Wolfe’s famous assault on Quebec, the city was subjected to another siege—and another storming—that, though less celebrated, was vitally important to Americans in the early months oj their revolution. Read more »

The Boy Artist Of Red River

Between the ages of fifteen and twenty, young Peter Rindisbacher captured on canvas the lives of Indians and white pioneers on the Manitoba—Minnesota frontier

On August 12, 1834, a twenty-eight-year-old Swiss-born youth named Peter Rindisbacher, who was just beginning to attract international attention with his colorful and realistic drawings of Indian life along the mid-western United States and central Canadian frontiers, died in St. Louis. In a brief obituary the Missouri Republican noted his passing: “Mr. Rindisbacher had talents which gave every assurance of future celebrity. … He possessed a keen sensibility and the most delicate perception of the beautiful.” Read more »

That Mess On The Prestile

From a way Down East came a stench of politics and potatoes, and news of a border incident that true patriots will long remember as

The traveller who leaves Maine on Route 6 and enters New Brunswick at Centreville encounters a curious monument beside the road only fifty feet inside the Canadian border. It is a large concrete slab, ten feet tall and tapering toward its flat, unadorned top. A plaque on its face bears the following inscription:

THIS INTERNATIONAL

MONUMENT Read more »

Father To The Six Nations

Only Sir William Johnson, living among them in feudal splendor, won and kept the confidence of the Iroquois.

Warraghiyagey, He-Who-Does-Much, was the name the Iroquois gave to this Mohawk Valley immigrant whom they came to love as a father and trust even beyond the grave. William Johnson justified and returned their love.

The Battle That Won An Empire

By a brilliant maneuver young James Wolfe conquered “impregnable” Quebec—and secured North America for the English-speaking peoples

“This will, some time hence, be a vast empire, the seat of power and learning. … Nature has refused them nothing, and there will grow a people out of our little spot, England, that will fill this vast space, and divide this great portion of the globe with the Spaniards, who are possessed of the other half.”

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First By Land

The river that disappointed him bears his name, but Alexander Mackenzie’s great achievement in slogging to the Pacific is now almost forgotten.

The most momentous event in the geographical history of the North American continent, aside from its discovery, was the first complete crossing of it from coast to coast—a feat that was three centuries in the doing. This epochal achievement first confirmed the guesses of civilized man about the breadth and structure of the continent and led directly to the opening up of the West. Yet millions of Americans—indeed, most of us—know neither the date it was done nor the name of the man who did it. Read more »

History Comes To The Plains

The old frontier began to die as the “medicine line” of the 49th Parallel was drawn

The Forty-ninth Parallel ran directly through my childhood, dividing me in two. In winter, in the town on the Whitemud, Saskatchewan, we were almost totally Canadian. The textbooks we used in school were published in Toronto and made by Canadians or Englishmen; the geography we studied was focussed upon the Dominion, though like our history it never came far enough west or close enough to the present to be of much use to us. The poetry we memorized seemed, as I recall it now, to run strongly toward warnings of disaster and fear of the dark and cold.Read more »