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Violent LoyaltiesManliness, Migration, and the Irish in the Canadas, 1798-1841$
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Jane G.V. McGaughey

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621860

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621860.001.0001

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Shiners on the River

Shiners on the River

(p.133) 5 Shiners on the River
Violent Loyalties

Jane G.V. McGaughey

Liverpool University Press

This chapter investigates the activities of the Shiners, a notorious band of Irish Catholic lumberjacks in the Ottawa Valley who haunted the public imagination as the very worst representation of Irish male violence in the Canadas. Their criminal activities included rape, arson, assault, battery, and murder. They were led by Peter Aylen, an Irishman who had risen to the heights of economic and social power in the timber business. Aylen wanted to destroy his French Canadian and Orange rivals, and used his teams of lumbermen to achieve these aims on either side of the Ottawa River. The chapter recounts many of the Shiners’ worst crimes within a framework of gendered violence and uses contemporary comparisons with the Irish in Australia and the United States in order to place the Shiners’ infamy within a broader transnational context.

Keywords:   Shiners, lumberjacks, manliness, Catholicism, violence, crime, rape, Ottawa Valley, frontier, French Canadians

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