Peter Matthews (rebel)
Peter Matthews (1789 - April 12, 1838) was a farmer and soldier who participated in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837.
He was born in the Bay of Quinte region of Upper Canada around 1789, the son of United Empire Loyalists. In 1799, the family moved to Pickering Township. Peter served with Isaac Brock as a sergeant in the local militia during the War of 1812. In 1837, Matthews was active in the political union movement pressuring the British government to grant reforms, and in December of that year, was persuaded to lead a group from Pickering Township to join William Lyon Mackenzie's uprising.
Matthews' group of 60 men arrived at Montgomery's Tavern on December 6 and, on the following day, were assigned to create a diversion on the bridge over the Don River. They killed one man and set fire to the bridge and some nearby houses before they were driven off by the government forces.
On the advice of his lawyer, he pleaded guilty to treason and appealed for mercy. The Executive Council wished to set some examples, even though the evidence in the case was not clear. Matthews and Samuel Lount were hanged in the courtyard of the new King Street Gaol on April 12, 1838.