Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews - 1838
Hanged Following the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837
Samuel Lount (1791-1838) was a blacksmith and a surveyor’s assistant, and the father of 7 children.
Peter Mathews (1796-1838) was a farmer and militiaman in the Bay of Quinte area. After moving to Toronto he became very involved in local politics. He and his wife Hannah Major had 8 children.
Dissatisfied with the way the political system was working, Lount and Matthews became involved in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. The leader of the Rebellion was William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first Mayor.
The final fight of this short-lived rebellion was at the corner of Yonge and Carlton with the soldiers marching north, the rebels coming south. The rebels shot once and then the front row kneeled down so the next row could shoot. The army shot once and the rebels, thinking the first row was shot, turned around and ran. There were other unsuccessful skirmishes such as the one led by Peter Mathews at a bridge over the Don River during which a man was killed and the bridge set on fire.
The Rebellion over, Mackenzie fled to the United States. Lount and Matthews, who attempted to escape by separate routes, were captured and put on trial. They were convicted of treason and despite petitions for mercy and the fact that 15 children would be left fatherless, Lt. Governor Sir George Arthur and Chief Justice John Robinson felt that an example had to be made: they were hanged in the Courthouse Square (between the jail and the courthouse designed by John Ewart) at King and Church Street on April 12, 1838. It was quite a festive occasion with families picnicking and a band playing. There’s a donut shop there now.
They were first buried in Potter’s Field at Bloor and Yonge Streets, and re-interred – with William Lyon Mackenzie in attendance – at the Necropolis in November 1859.
The simple Potter’s Field’s tombstone has also been moved to the Necropolis. The large monument came later in 1893. The top of the distinctive monument appears to be broken, but is not. It was designed like that as a symbol of their lives cut short.