A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Chickasaw & The Raid From Hell
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This image is one of the tragic realities of the Civil war...this image is not from Don's book but I really like the drama of this picture so I put it here! Thanks to the soldiers!Local author Don Davison is gearing up to release his new book "Raid From Hell" based on the infamous civil war raid of 1864 in St. Albans, Vermont that tied the politics and geography of Quebec's Eastern Townships to Vermont in a most extraordinary way. Not only is the well-known Knowlton author set to release his newly published book but the novel is now being turned into a new theatrical production and will be appearing onstage as a presentation of Knowlton Players starting on October 25th.

The St. Albans Raid took place on the fateful day of October 19, 1864 making this almost the anniversary of the event! It is one of the most celebrated incidents in Canadian/American border history and one that intrigued the author, Knowlton Resident Donald Davison, enough to cause him to devote many years to writing the book.

Considered by many to be the official northernmost engagement of the American Civil War, it involved more than twenty Confederate soldiers who, under the command of Bennett Young, a lieutenant, carried out a successful raid on three wealthy banks in St. Albans, Vermont. The raid was launched from Canadian soil in the Missisquoi County and the bandits took the peaceful town of St. Albans totally by surprise, and created an international furor which threatened to bring Britain into the American civil war on the side of the Confederacy. It also demonstrated to authorities in both Canada and the USA how vulnerable the common border was.

Even today it seems the border guards recall the shadows of the St. Albans Raid and perhaps hold a grudge because on my recent trip to Vermont I was practically treated as an ammunition smuggling horse thief as I crossed the border in my Pontiac Vibe! I can understand the need for border protection in 2007 and the Raid on St. Albans was probably one of the early examples of how easily ruthless bandits could exploit weak links in the defenses of North America.

Donald Davison -Author of Raid From HellBoth "Chickasaw" and "Raid From Hell" combine the historical realities of life in the the 1860's with a sprinkling of fictional possibility, crossing the documentary renditions of actual people with characters created from the imagination to add a sense of story and gaiety that a textbook rendition may not supply. The theatrical production "Chickasaw" instills music and movement into the characters from Davison's book and is sure to add a new dimension into the characters.


Donald Davison has launched his new website : www.raidfromhell.com which features excerpts and insights on his writing of the book "Raid From Hell" based on the St. Albans Raid. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has now listed Don's new book as one of the sources for historical information relating to the St. Albans Raid. see the wikipedia entry for the St. Albans Raid

Knowlton Players presents the world premiere of “Chickasaw”
Knowlton Players presents the world premiere of CHICKASAW, a new Canadian musical comedy, directed by Vesta Jorgensen, at Arts Knowlton, 9 Mont Echo Road, Knowlton, Quebec, October 25 through November 11, 2007. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 8:00 PM, and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 PM. Adults $15, Townshippers members $13, students $12, children $8.

Thursday, October 25, is a benefit for the BMP Hospital Foundation. Saturday, October 27, is a Gala Evening with a wine and munchies reception following the show, and an opportunity to meet the cast. Don’t be disappointed. Reserve early. Reservations: (450) 263-1061.

This spirited tale of love, larceny, war and patent medicines is played out against an historical incident that occurred during the American Civil War resulting in a political dilemma for the Canadian courts. The action takes place in Montreal and Frelighsburg, QC, as well as St. Albans, VT.

The story is adapted from the novel “RAID FROM HELL” by Don Davison. The stage play is by Roger de la Mare, with lyrics by Graham Hardman and music composed and directed by Donald Patriquin. Choreography is by Diane Cahill Yarmush, and costumes are by Linda Carey. John Rumsey, a destitute British solicitor, having been banished to Canada, ends up in Montreal.

At the urging of an old friend, Rumsey soon finds himself on the streets of St. Albans, Vermont, hawking a medicinal remedy said to be extracted from the Chickasaw Plum Tree. While he is there, Confederate soldiers arrive from Montreal where they had been planning a daring raid on the local banks of the small Vermont town. Following the robbery the bumbling Rebels flee to Canada for protection, taking Rumsey along as hostage, thereby complicating his budding romance with the widowed Minnie Green. Somehow everyone ends up in a Canadian courtroom presided over by a tipsy judge.

In the end, Rumsey’s Chickasaw Tonic proves to be a blessing in disguise. Original songs, as well as music from the Civil War period, add fun and poignancy to this swift-moving production, performed by a cast of twenty-four.

The Civil War raid is factual.
The romance is fictional.
The result is farcical.

Visit the web page of Don Davison, author of "Raid From Hell", at www.raidfromhell.com.

Chickasaw, the musical-comedy based on the book by Don Davison runs at the theatre in Lac Brome from October 25th to November 11th. See more in the Destination Knowlton Calendar

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