Charles Dickens & the Ontario Jail Mystery Woman
^1861 England Census record of Charles Dickens’
household on Ancestry.ca
There have been reports that writer of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), was in a Kingston, Ontario Penitentiary in 1842 as a visitor. In his writings he seems to be enthralled with one particular prisoner:
“…there was a beautiful girl of twenty, who had been there nearly three years. She acted as bearer of secret dispatches for the self-styled Patriots on Navy Island, during the Canadian Insurrection: sometimes dressing as a girl, and carrying them in her stays; sometimes attiring herself as a boy, and secreting them in the lining of her hat. In the latter character she always rode as a boy would, which was nothing to her, for she could govern any horse that any man could ride, and could drive four-in-hand with the best whip in those parts.
Setting forth on one of her patriotic missions, she appropriated to herself the first horse she could lay her hands on; and this offence had brought her where I saw her. She had quite a lovely face, though, as the reader may suppose from this sketch of her history, there was a lurking devil in her bright eye, which looked out pretty sharply from between her prison bars.”
Are you related to this intriguing, spirited woman? We want to find out who this spirited mystery woman is. If you know or if you’re related please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love great stories. Dicken’s also said that the, “… men were employed as shoemakers, ropemakers, blacksmiths, tailors, carpenters, and stonecutters; and in building a new prison, which was pretty far advanced towards completion.” Perhaps your family history has these professions in it? Where did they learn their skills?