May 10, 2019

Pirate Bill Johnston: The Book

In early May 2019, I signed a publishing agreement with a US publisher, Beacon Publish Group. They agreed to publish my biography of “Pirate” Bill Johnston. I don’t have a release date yet, but will let you Bill Johnston fans know.

The working title is

Chieftain of the Thousand Islands
The Life and Legend of Bill Johnston


I began researching Johnston in 1973—not to say I worked on it every year since. I have been active in building up my info since 2010.

The book goes far beyond the material on this blog. It provides detailed evidence of his spying and scouting work for the Americans in the War of 1812. It expands on the circumstances of his arrest in 1813. There are more stories about his "quiet" years between 1814 and 1838, and more about his long retirement years.

The contents show where other historians have gone wrong, why they are wrong and how they made their mistakes.




August 12, 2012

Bill Johnston: Common Historical Mistakes

The history of every legendary figure includes tall tales, deliberate embellishments, and apocrypha. Bill Johnston, the nineteenth-century, Thousand Islands folk hero is no exception. Commercial interests, journalistic excess, historical mistakes, and political propaganda have all contributed to myth and mis-fact. This post aims to correct the commonest errors. There are others.

August 10, 2012

Ada Burleigh Aids Bill Johnston in Hiding

The legend of Bill Johnston includes a cast of interesting supporting characters. In 1838, while Bill hid in the Thousand Islands from two armies searching for him, his niece Ada spent the summer aiding her family in a time of trouble. She consoled her aunt Ann Johnston and often helped her cousin Kate Johnston run supplies to the family fugitive.

January 1, 2012

Bill Johnston: 15. No Prison Can Hold Him

After Bill Johnston skipped bail in mid-April 1839, he returned to the Thousand Islands. As they had in the summer of 1838, the Canadian and US military launched joint patrols to find him.