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The Story of the Lunar Rogue

Throughout March and April of 1814, Henry More Smith continued to astound the jailer and Sheriff Bates by regularly breaking loose of his chains and shackles. Strength of chain made no difference to the Lunar Rogue. Up to this point, the chain used was described as, “a large horse trace-chain”, but by mid-march they were using a timber chain and by April, Sheriff Bates had progressed to using an ox chain. It was all to no avail. Henry shed them all and often tied them back together with bits of cloth and wrapped them around himself again.

About this time, Henry began to braid straw. First he made a bread basket and then he went on to making straw people. Sheriff Bates says, “Sometimes he would make the likeness of a man, and sometimes that of a woman, and place them in postures singularly striking: at this he would amuse himself during the day, but spent the night in shouting and hallooing, and beating the floor with his chains.”

The Sheriff must have been disappointed when Henry’s trial, originally scheduled for April 20th, had to be postponed due to the fact that the St. John River was still full of ice. These conditions made it difficult for the Judge and the Attorney General to travel from Fredericton so a new date was set for May 4, 1814.

Beginning on April 30th, the Sheriff visited Henry every day trying to elicit a response by talking about his trial. The Sheriff reports, “…all was in vain. He gave the most decided indications of confirmed insanity; patted his hands, hallooed, sang with articulating, and continued to beat the floor with his chains the most of the night.”