Dr. Reynolds attacked in Detroit by Dr. E. A. Theller

 

(Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles by historian/genealogist Debra Honor regarding the Belle Vue house and its history. Honor is a member of the Belle Vue Conservancy.)

By Debra Honor UE PLCGS

 

Robert and Thérèse Reynolds of Belle Vue, Amherstburg had five children, four boys and one girl, but only one son survived to adulthood. The fourth child was Robert Todd Reynolds who was born 21 February 1812. His family retreated to Burlington during the War of 1812, and returned to Amherstburg after the peace.

Robert Todd Reynolds went to Montreal for school at the newly opened McGill University where he graduated as a physician with the third graduating class in 1836. Returning home, Dr. Reynolds began his career as one of the doctors serving Fort Malden.

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Soon after his return, the country was again in turmoil with the Rebellion of 1837. There was much discontent and fear in this area. Not only was McKenzie causing problems, but “Patriots” from the United States were attacking across the river with the aim of harassing Britain.

One such group, led by Dr. E. A. Theller of Detroit, commandeered the Schooner Anne on January 9, 1838 and attacked Amherstburg, firing upon the fort and the town. The militia and soldiers returned fire disabling the helmsman which caused the Anne to run aground at Elliott’s Point. The militia captured the men on board including Dr. Theller. Dr. Reynolds was tasked with confiscating Dr. Theller’s personal property. Dr. Theller and two others were sent to Quebec where they were to be hanged but Dr. Theller escaped and returned to Detroit.

On Saturday, April 27, 1839, Dr. Reynolds, while visiting in Detroit, was assaulted by Dr. Theller who demanded the return of his personal property. The local paper, “The Detroit Advertiser” reported that Dr. Theller said he was robbed “of his watch, breast-pin and eighty-three dollars in money, besides various papers, at the time he was taken prisoner at the capture of the patriot schooner “Anne”.” The paper continued to report, “Dr. Reynolds is much respected and states that he was acting under the orders of the commanding officer.” A hearing of the case was to happen the next day in Detroit before a Justice of the Peace.

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