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BOOK - London Ontario's Unrepentant Confederates, the Ku Klux Klan and a RENDITION on WELLINGTON STREET
By Ron W. Shaw
Published by Global Heritage Press, Ottawa, 2018
Immediately following the American Civil War, a wave of unrepentant Confederate families who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution flowed into Canada between 1865 and 1870. Many of those took up residence across southwestern Ontario, including in the city of London. They were joined by men, soon followed by their families, who were fleeing arrest as American President Ulysses S. Grant moved to destroy the Ku Klux Klan. This book tells the story of London’s refugee Confederates, KKK fugitives and, in particular, of one man for whom even London proved within reach of a U.S. Deputy Marshal.
Two of the Confederate States’ most prominent families, the Mazycks and Manigaults, fled into exile at London, Ontario, Canada, where their homes soon became the terminus of a new sort of ‘Underground Railroad’. Ku Klux Klan fugitives, wanted for murder and mayhem, arrived at their doors seeking sanctuary under the British flag.
Welcomed by their countrymen and the people of London, these hunted men found employment, established businesses, and passed the next decade undisturbed. That they could do so was the surprising outcome of the rendition of one of the first Klansmen to reach the city.
In June 1872, Dr. James Rufus Bratton was kidnapped in front of his Wellington Street boarding house and transported back to the United States in chains. Within days a firestorm of protest raced from London City Council, to Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, through the British Foreign Office and on to Washington DC. In less than two weeks Bratton was back in London; restored to freedom with all charges of murder, assault and civil rights violations withdrawn.
The ‘Bratton Affair’ demonstrated a long-standing sympathy among Londoners, and Canadians generally, for the Confederate cause. It also revealed the young Dominion’s sensitivity in matters of sovereignty and its continued dependence on the muscle of Great Britain in foreign affairs.
For unrepentant Southerners it confirmed that Canada was a safe haven.
6 X 9"
Softcover or digital format (searchable pdf)
Published by Global Heritage Press, Carleton Place, 2018
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About the author: Ron W. Shaw
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