Jean Rae Baxter presents
Battle on the Ice
Her presentation will focus on the Battle of Pelee Island, which is the subject of her latest historical novel, Battle on the Ice. This battle was fought off the southern tip of Pelee Island on March 3, 1838. It resulted in the routing of an illegal American army that had occupied the island for five days of looting and rampage. Although it holds an important spot in Canadian history, not many people in Canada know about it, and Baxter makes clear why they should. Baxter’s presentation is not just about the battle but about the events leading up to it and about its long-term results.
In 1838, Pelee Island’s name was “Point au Pelee Island.” In people’s minds, the association was clear. Point Pelee “points” to a chain of Lake Erie Islands, an archipelago, stretching all the way to mainland Ohio. Their importance to both Canada and the United States was much greater then than it is today.
Although Baxter was born in Toronto and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, “down home” was Essex County, where her ancestors had settled, some as Loyalists in the 1790’s following the American Revolution and some a century earlier, in the days of New France. Over the years, she has been a frequent visitor to Point Pelee. As a small child, she vacationed here in a cottage owned by her grandparents. Later, she came here to bird watch, and today, as well as giving a talk, she hopes to witness again the amazing migration of the Monarch butterflies, which she saw in September 2020, before Covid closed everything down.
Battle on the Ice is Baxter’s seventh historical novel. Her writing, noted for its careful research, has won awards in Canada and the United States. She was nominated for the 2022 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: the Pierre Berton Award.
Battle on the Ice took five years of research before Baxter started to write it. Published just two months ago, on June 24, 2023, it has already won critical acclaim, such as this endorsement:
“Once again, Jean Rae Baxter has brought our history to life. Dory (Theodore) Dickson’s journey reveals the tumultuous period of the Upper Canada Rebellion, including the extraordinary history of William Lyon Mackenzie’s ill-fated Republic of Canada and the struggle against the Family Compact. From Navy Island to Pelee Island, Battle on the Ice, is a thrilling tale populated by some of Canada’s most important 19 th century figures.”- Nathan Tidridge MSM FRCGS, Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada