The Hanged Man’s Noose takes place in the small, historic town of Lount’s Landing. While Lount’s Landing is fictional, the man who it was named after—Samuel Lount—was very real.
Samuel Lount was a blacksmith and farmer who lived in the village of Holland Landing. He was also a member of a Quaker sect called the Children of Peace.
The Quakers were a strict pacifist group of Christians noted for their fair dealings with the First Nations and their strong stand against slavery. The Children of Peace, who were largely gathered into one village north of Toronto called Hope (now Sharon, Ontario), were deeply concerned with the plight of the poor, which they blamed on the capitalist market economy.
Poor harvests and economic depressions had caused widespread poverty for many families, while wealthy landowners prospered.
The village of Hope itself was located in the riding represented by William Lyon Mackenzie, and each time he won an election, large crowds of up to a thousand people escorted Mackenzie to the legislature.
In late November 1837, Lount, on behalf of Mackenzie, approached the Children of Peace to join in a political march on the legislative buildings. In a brief skirmish at Montgomery’s Tavern, two members of the Children of Peace were killed. Lount, referred to as Colonel Lount in legal documents of the time (although he had no military background) was captured and arrested.
In spite of a personal plea for mercy from Lount’s wife to the governor, he was hanged for treason on April 12, 1838, along with another supporter of the cause, Peter Matthews.
As the two men passed fellow prisoners on their way to the scaffold, Lount is reported to have said, “We die in a good cause; Canada will yet be free.”
Fearing a demonstration of sympathy and support for the Lount and Matthews–who many considered martyrs–the government refused to turn the bodies over to their families. Instead, the men were buried in Potter’s Field, a graveyard for paupers on Bloor Street in Toronto. The inscription bore only their names: Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews.