After I was done digging into the past On The Trail of Loyalists, pardon the pun. I unearthed some characters that left behind a legacy beyond honour and Old Glory.
Who Done it?
George Frederick Street, born 21 July, 1787 in Burton, N.B. to a British land granted immigrant. He was a lawyer, politician a judge, an educator and a public servant. He was well-respected in the community and his father served with the British Forces in the 13 colonies, but he was never part of the inner circle of the politically connected Loyalist’s.
George Ludlow Wetmore, born 26 Dec, 1795 in Gagetown, N.B., He was a second generation Loyalist, his father was the attorney general of New Brunswick. He was well-connected with the Loyalist elite and had a promising future..
Both joined into partnership of their father’s law offices and were in competition for cases.
What Started it?
Lawyer George Street, sent the sheriff with an arrest order, for a man named Jacob Smith Sr, but it was supposed to have been issued for Jacob Smith Jr. The senior Jacob Smith, mad as a hatter, charged the sheriff with false arrest and imprisonment and hired lawyer George Ludlow Wetmore, to represent him at the York County Court house in Fredericton.
During the trial it was unquestionably a case of mistake identity and the case was not defend-able.
So what Happened Next?
George Ludlow Wetmore, who was acting for the plaintiff, verbally insulted the ethic and integrity of his peer, saying he should be charged with “unprofessional misconduct.” George Street was so offend, they nearly came to blows outside the courtroom. George Wetmore’s father, The Hon. Thomas Wetmore-the Attorney General, broke up the fight between the barristers and the matter was thought to be over.
Wetmore was still smoldering mad all evening about the public humiliation and the insult to his good name, that he came up with a solution. By 11 am the next morning, he had arranged his “Second” John Winslow, to go to Street’s home with a summons to meet for a duel. Despite it being illegal, George Street agreed; as long is it was close by and hastily completed.
Wetmore’s friend-Winslow, tried to convince George Street to apologize to Wetmore, but he refused and so the duel was set for 6 am Tuesday morning, in the apple orchard on the Segee farm, in New Maryland.
Both men brought a “second” George Street, brought Lt Richard Davis, and George Wetmore was accompanied by John Francis Wentworth Winslow. The pistols were selected and loaded, the paces counted out and rules reiterated. Both Wetmore and Street, were to keep their pistols pointing towards the ground until the signal to fire.
Davis shouted and two rounds cracked the silence. When the smoked cleared neither man had been hit. Street-had purposely shot at the ground, knowing Wetmore had three children, and his wife was pregnant with their fourth child. Wetmore’s shot had narrowly missed Street’s head. The “seconds” declared it over and asked Wetmore to abandon the duel. Wetmore was stubborn and insisted a second shot was necessary to satisfy his anger.
“Fire” was again shouted and this time, Wetmore came away with a shot to his elbow, that ricocheted up and penetrated his temple. He crumpled to the ground. Street ran to the fallen man and cradled him. Wetmore was still alive and Street sent Winslow to get help at the Segee farm-house. Mr Segee came and brought Wetmore into his house and sent his son for a doctor. Street, Davis and Winslow set out at a hard gallop for the Maine border.
George Ludlow Wetmore, succumbed to the fatal shot and was laid to rest in the Old Burial Grounds in Fredericton.
The trio returning four-month later to stand trail for murder. Judge Saunder presided over the trial.(Please read My Fredericton, New Brunswick. and On The Trail of Loyalists for more on the loyalist of Fredericton.) Farmer Segee swore he didn’t see the event or persons involved and the jury acquitted them.
In 1933 Dr. George Frederick Clark, passed away and upon sorting out his estate, there tucked away in a bureau, where two brass plated pistols. One was scratched with the name Segee. They have been linked to the duel.
The only acknowledgement of the duel is the sign on the highway. No plaque or tourist locations is land-marked. I went to the burial ground but I couldn’t find George Wetmore’s headstone, either it is unmarked or fallen over and buried in the snow, I did find his father’s, Hon. Thomas Wetmore. I shall return to look in better weather. His named is listed at the front of burial ground on the interpretive board listing interns.
His wife lived to be ninety-four and his son Andrew Rainsford Wetmore, became premier of New Brunswick during confederation in 1867. Please see In Honour of Canada’s 150th If you like a Confederation history.
I was unable to find where George Frederick Street’s resided or where he was buried. He died in London in 1855. He lived the rest of his life with moderate successes in law and politics.
The best place to get a feel for the duel is at Wetmore-Street Pub. 530 New Maryland Highway 101. I want to thank my server Maggie, the bartender and Jill, for answering my question, giving me directions and letting me take pictures in the pub of the mural and pictures on their wall.
Cheer to them, and Happy Holidays from Maritime Mac