When young Dory Dickson leaves his home to seek work, his father advises him to avoid the border towns, where Patriots meet to plan rebellion. It is a winter of discontent, Upper and Lower Canada both on the verge of civil war. Despite his father’s warning, Dory walks straight into trouble at his first stop, when at the tavern in Chippawa he meets the Patriot recruiter Duncan Fraser, who is raising an army to overthrow the Government of Upper Canada, toss out the Family Compact and establish the Republic of Canada. On nearby Navy Island, in the middle of the Niagara River, rebellion leader William Lyon Mackenzie has an army of 400 men training for an invasion. Dory does not take sides. Unaware that he is being used, he is thrust into a role that he did not choose, fraught with danger and betrayal wherever he turns.
Battle On The Ice
When fourteen-year-old Dory (Theodore) Dickson leaves his home on the Heights of Niagara, he is his family’s only hope to save their farm. The fall harvest has failed, the horse has died, and Dory must earn enough money before spring planting time to buy a horse to pull the plough.
It is late December, 1837, when he begins his search for work. His father warns him to avoid border towns where Patriots meet to plan rebellion. Despite this warning, he walks right into trouble at his first stop along the way, when in Chippawa he meets Duncan Fraser, the Patriot recruiter who is raising an army to overthrow the Government of Upper Canada, toss out the Family Compact, and establish the Republic of Canada.
Dory does not take sides. He does not want to be involved in anybody’s plots or schemes. Given an assignment to carry an innocent (or so he believes) gift of a treasured loom and spinning wheel bequeathed to a woman living at the western end of Lake Erie’s north shore, he sets out on a sled drawn by Labelle, a trusty mare of the true Canadian breed. The loom and spinning wheel are protected by a tarpaulin lashed down to protect them from winter weather. Over the next two months, Dory meets an interesting array of people, including the fortune hunter Peter Dash, the beautiful but spoiled heiress Laura, the flirtatious maid Vera, and the quiet book-loving Anna. He learns, to his shock and dismay, that he has been transporting not a loom and spinning wheel but a load of muskets to equip Patriot insurgents and American sympathizers planning an invasion of Pelee Island. Along the way he encounters betrayal and danger, witnesses the crucial Battle on the Ice in which American invaders are driven off Pelee Island, exposes the villainy of Peter Dash, and finally earns a greater reward than he had expected.