Reading my Christmas gifts
- Good day, List:
One of the books I received for a gift at Christmas was Alvyn Austin, Elizabethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships,2009. It is privately published (reasons below), and is a thorough history of the township from its inception following the Revolutionary War to its incorporation into a larger political whole in 2001.
There is a wealth of information on the social life of the region prior to, during and shortly after the War of 1812. It is the kind of volume that becomes invaluable to those of us who are interested in the life behind the war.
Austin was originally commissioned by the local authorities to write the book, but they withdrew funding, probably because of his probing into some of the local mythology a little too critically. Austin continued with his research, and published it himself late this year. Now the authorities have a "cease and desist" order against him, so sales are stalled right now. Go figure. This is where "history" and "heritage" collide - a cautionary tale for those involved in government sponsored Bicentennial projects.
Anyway, the book is a fascinating read, and claims that the first shot of the war was fired at Elizabethtown with an attempt of some local lads to hijack some of the American trading boats in the area.
After the war the region held trials for "Aliens and Traitors" who had deserted to the US when war broke out. Over sixty properties, in Elizabethtown and neighbouring townships, were confiscated and resold, indicating that a fairly large minority of the population not only sympathised with the US, but also acted upon that sympathy.
Yr H & OS
PS: Some of you may know Austin from his days at Parks Canada.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]