"Compared to the wars with the Americans, it was but a small skirmish, but the battle for the Brockville courthouse and jail was both real and bloody. It all began in 1792 when the town of Johnstown was laid out in the heart of Loyalist country on the shore of the St. Lawrence. By decree of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe, the fledgling village became the capital of the newly formed Eastern District. Also by decree, each capital was required to have a courthouse and jail. Consequently, a new log jail and courthouse were built in the town site. Annual expenses for the jail, including heating, wages and food amounted to a mere twelve pounds. The log jail offered little in the way of security, however, lacking even a fence around the yard.
|This is a replica of|
"The Royal Coat of Arms" removed from
the District of Johnstown Court House
on September 10, 1810
resulting in a braw often referred to as
the "Battle of Johnstown Jail"
"In 1808, following a shift in the district boundaries, Johnstown no longer found itself in the centre of the district, and the district seat was moved to a mill site further west called Elizabethtown (now Brockville). The residents of the Johnstown area, however, knew that wherever the plaque that bore the British coat-of-arms sat, so sat the district seat, and refused to surrender their symbol of power. An equally determined mob from Elizabethtown descended on Johnstown to remove the plaque. A pitched battle took place resulting in broken limbs and bloody noses, until the victorious Elizabethtowners carried the coat-of-arms back to its new home."
Behind Bars: Inside Ontario's Heritage Gaols by Ron Brown