Tag Archives: the last duel

Alternate Ending to The Last Duel?

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At 6 am on June 13th, 1833 both Lyon and Wilson went to the clearing now known as The Last Duel Park in Perth, Ontario. There the duel was fought standing sixty feet apart with Robert Lyon ending up the clear loser after the second attempt. His lifeless body was carried back to the Radenhurst house.

Wilson was shut away in the Perth jail for three months until his case could be heard in the courts of Brockville. He acted as his own lawyer, and his passionate defence resulted in his acquittal. Wilson made the jury see how desperate and lonely he was to commit such a crime of passion.

Robert Lyon on the other hand was buried in the Last Duel Cemetery, where his tombstone still stands today. John Wilson, the winner of the duel, eventually married Elizabeth Hughes, but alas, it was not a happy union–Would You Duel Anything For Love?

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An Alternate Ending to The Last Duel- Pure Fiction– by Linda Seccaspina

What can I say– I had a few moments LOL

After the duel Elizabeth Hughes married John Wilson at midnight. Those that viewed the ceremony watched the prisoner and his bride clasp their hands tightly through the bars of his cell.  Each night Elizabeth would sneak up to the walls of the jail under the cover of darkness, clambering on to her uncle’s shoulders  reaching out to her sweetheart inside. There was never any more mention of Robert Lyon, who some swore could still hear the whispers of his tears and his heart still breaking for young Elizabeth.

The bride persisted in kissing and crying over the groom’s hand through that small window reported the Perth Courier in 1883– until her brother reminded her that she weighed 135lbs, and soon she would cry herself to her own death.


And so Elizabeth Hughes was now the wife of  John Wilson, the man accused of attempting to kill his rival for her affections. The duo believed that Robert would not be accused of killing the unfortunate victim since the others had fled after the duel. Elizabeth was now the only witness to the whole event. By marrying, she wouldn’t be able to testify against her husband in court.

 

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The town constable in Perth, got wind of the secret wedding ceremony. He was so disgusted at being outwitted, he took to his bed where he remained in a coma until his death. John Wilson was released and The Perth Courier reported that Wilson’s former fiance Joanna Lees brought up a challenge to the now Mrs. Wilson. Lees said that young Elizabeth had stolen her finance and a  duel must be fought between the two of them in the same field that Robert lost his life. By this time Elizabeth was less enamoured with her husband and told Ms. Lees that there would be no duel, as now her marriage in life was like a duel in the midst of a battle.

The End

 

 

Would You Duel Anything For Love?

Would You Duel Anything For Love?

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Photo from the play “The Last Deadman” based on The Last Duel from Barndoor Productions in Perth, Ontario

Valentine’s Day falls on the 14th of February, so I thought I would re-tell a local story of those who expressed their undying love for each other. The tale I am about to tell you still gives me chills up and down my spine, because the last fatal duel in Canada which occurred in 1833 in Perth, was a result of this romantic tale. The love affair began with many lonely poems John Wilson sent to Elizabeth Hughes in 1833, even though the scoundrel was already engaged to another woman at the time.

Unfortunately, this love story went out of control with more twists and turns than a modern day soap opera. The official story says the two men from Perth were both in love with Miss Hughes at the same time. John Wilson and Robert Lyon were both young, handsome and smart. They were also law students interning under prestigious, prominent Perth lawyers. Wilson, age 20, was a Law Clerk for Mr. James Boulton, and Lyon, age 22, was working at Mr. Radenhurst’s office.

Both Mr.Wilson and Mr. Lyon were sent to Bytown on business and while there, Wilson overheard Lyon speak contemptuously of Miss Elizabeth Hughes. Miss Hughes, was a governess in a local school kept by Mrs. Ackland, with whom she had travelled with from England. According to idle gossip, Elizabeth apparently let certain gentlemen “have the milk for free, without buying the cow”. Of course, we have no idea if this hearsay is true, but she was indeed noted many times as being Lyon’s lover.

Meanwhile, still in Bytown, Wilson was furious with Lyon, and wrote a letter to the wife of his employer, Mrs. Boulton. Of course, she just happened to mention the “dirty laundry” about Miss Hughes to several people in town. The buzz about Miss Hughes’s character eventually circulated around Perth, and when Elizabeth found out she was furious. The day Lyon returned from his business trip, Elizabeth “terminated his dance card” immediately.

Back in those days people thought nothing of hurling insults, hauling out swords, or even carrying pistols in order to prove a point in the name of love. Some say Henri LaLievre, a friend of Lyon, had feelings for Miss Hughes, but that she didn’t want to have anything to do with him. Of course LaLievre blamed this on John Wilson. Another rumour was that Robert Lyon was sweet on Miss Hughes, but after she showed him the door, he too immediately blamed Wilson.

Meanwhile back in downtown Perth, there was a vicious round of “he said” “she said” going on.  In order to prove a point, the two agreed that the only way to settle the matter was over pistols at dawn.
Rumour has it that the duel between Lyon and Wilson was planned after spending an evening consuming a few too many alcoholic beverages. Or, maybe it was thought of after Lyon met Wilson in front of the Perth Court House and slapped his face.  But, when the morning of the duel was upon them, both men were less enthused about the idea than they had been in the midst of their heated argument from a few nights before. The love of a lady be damned — these two men had been longtime companions, and now they were going to meet and fire shots at each other.
At 6 am on June 13th, 1833, both Lyon and Wilson went to the clearing now known as The Last Duel Park in Perth, Ontario. The duel was fought standing sixty feet apart with Robert Lyon ending up the clear loser after the second attempt prompted by their friend LeLievre. Lyon’s wounded body was carried back to the foyer at Inge Va on Craig Street where he died from his wounds. He was later buried in the Last Duel Cemetery, where his tombstone still stands today. The pistol set from the fatal duel can still be seen at Matheson House – The Perth Museum .

It was said that Lyon’s friend Le Lievre fled, but Wilson and his second, Samuel Robertson gave themselves up and were thrown into the Perth gaol until the assizes at Brockville. Wilson was shut away in the Perth jail for three months until his case could be heard in the courts of Brockville. He acted as his own lawyer, and his passionate defense resulted in his acquittal. Wilson made the jury see how desperate and lonely he was to commit such a crime of passion.

Upon his release, he went immediately to the house of his fiance Joanna Lees. There I would like to think that Mum, Dad, and Joanna quoted a  few Taylor Swift lyrics to Wilson in the vein of: “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”.

With Joanna Lees now out of the picture, Wilson eventually married Elizabeth Hughes two years later, but alas, it was not a happy union. They had three children together and Wilson became a judge and a member of Parliament until he died in 1869.

A word to the wise is that Valentines Day is no different than any other day of your life because love shouldn’t be as complicated as it is. I bet these three historical figures meant to behave, but somehow there were just too many other options. Or were there?

Have you read my 

Alternate Ending to The Last Duel?

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Photo from Perth Remembered

DID YOU KNOW

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Last Duel Park, Perth will be the site of Outlandish Canada’s planned Battle of Culloden reenactment in the afternoon on Sunday July 31, 2016.

“The Park owes its name to infamous last fatal and most publicized duel to take place in Canada where, in 1833, law students Robert Lyon and John Wilson duelled over the honour of Miss Elizabeth Hughes.

Have you read my 

Alternate Ending to The Last Duel?