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Old 04-07-2009, 08:04 PM   #1
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Default Captain Lightfoot!!!!

gee...the day started out that I wasn't thinking anything Gordon Lightfoot -listening to any of his music and thought I'd not be on the board here today . (nice try anyway, now get out of my head already Gordon hehe j/k).

So today I spent several hours volunteering in preparation for our historical society's annual book sale. This is my 13th (or 14th) year doing this. This year and last year -I've been mainly in charge of organizing the children's book section and after handling who knows...maybe a couple of thousand kids books today -I took a break to look around to see what else we had coming in.

A paperback -"A Book of New England Legend and Folk Lore", caught my eye and I opened it up around the middle and my eyes immediately saw "Lightfoot" on the page that was open!! I didn't have the time to spend reading any further and decided to bring the book home to look at.

ok so if Captain Lightfoot happens to have been an ancester of Gordon's - there may be a little issue with Gordon's family tree....and Gordon's 'real' last name would be the same as his beloved guitar, "Martin".

Very unlikely that Gordon is a descendant of "Captain Lightfoot" though apparently Captain Lightfoot had spent some time in Canada!!! So...maybe. Turns out though that Captain Lightfoot was executed, and this story doesn't mention if he had children...let me explain, here's some excerpts and a synopsis of the story (entitled, "The Last Of The Highwaymen"):

"Michael Martin, alias Captain Lightfoot, after a checkered career in Ireland, his native country, and in Scotland [hmmmm, could be where he came up with "Captain Lightfoot"], as a highway robber, became in 1819 a fugitive to America. He first landed at Salem [Massachusetts], where he obtained employment as a farm-laborer. But a life of honest toil not being so congenial to him as that of a bandit, he again took his old occupation on the road, this time making Canada the scene of his exploits.

After committing many robberies there and in Vermont and New Hampshire, and always eluding capture, Martin at length arrived in Boston. He at once began his bold operation upon the highway; but here his usual good luck deserted him."

As the story continues...Martin, masked and on horse and pistol in hand, robbed a local Mayor on a not well travelled highway in the Boston area. "Hotly pursued" -Martin fled and was found in Springfield -then taken to a jail in East Cambridge. In court, he was convicted and sentenced to hang.

"...the courtroom was thronged with curious spectators. Throughout the proceedings the prisoner was perfectly cool. As the pupil of the celebrated Thunderbolt, he had a reputation to maintain; and when the judge, putting on the black cap, pronounced the awful sentence of death, he dryly observed: "Well, that's the worst you can do for me."
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:57 PM   #2
Brian 57
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Utica NY USA
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Default Re: Captain Lightfoot!!!!

Interesting! There was a 1974 movie called "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" with Clint Eastwood (John "Thunderbolt" Doherty) and Jeff Bridges (Lightfoot) about a gang that used a military cannon to breach a vault and steal a lot of money. Also, in the book (and movie) "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing" the the main female character, who was kidnapped by train robbers, rode a horse named "Captain Lightfoot". I didn't understand the references before now. Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Captain Lightfoot!!!!

Originally Posted by Brian 57 View Post
Interesting! There was a 1974 movie called "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" with Clint Eastwood (John "Thunderbolt" Doherty) and Jeff Bridges (Lightfoot) about a gang that used a military cannon to breach a vault and steal a lot of money. Also, in the book (and movie) "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing" the the main female character, who was kidnapped by train robbers, rode a horse named "Captain Lightfoot". I didn't understand the references before now. Thanks!
Well hey I found the 1955 movie, "Captain Lightfoot" in a google search:

Rock Hudson played Michael Martin (Captain Lightfoot)
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Captain Lightfoot!!!!

And looks like Thunderbolt was also in New England...found this on a Vermont website:

And a nice little story about the round schoolhouse as an example of Scottish architecture:

I also found a passenger listing for a ship that arrived in Port Adelaide in 1852 that includes a Captain W. Lightfoot (who died 2 months later) so there was a real Captain Lightfoot

And still more Captain Lightfoots came up in the same search: 3 Lightfoot brothers from GA, who along with their 3 sisters -were adopted my an aunt and uncle (Cody) in Alabama. All 3 served during the Civil War. Looks like all 3 or at least 2 became Captains...and one, James had succeeded Captain Gordon (and the latter 1st, than the former became Colonels).

James Lightfoot married Mary Elizabeth Gordon (Colonel Gordon's daughter) in November of 1852. So there we have it, Gordon Lightfoot.
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:15 PM   #5
Auburn Annie
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Default Re: Captain Lightfoot!!!!

We had our own Lightfoot here in Auburn, the first black (described as "colored") police officer on the force, hired in 1881. See http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb....ot/page21.html for biography and photo.

He was on the force for about 10 years (the police chief at the time of his hiring quit in protest) but after a while, as the papers put it in his obituary, the "novelty" wore off and he was considered a good officer. He was a big man; for his first arrest he had to throw a drunk over his shoulder and carry him to jail. Eventually he was fired for sleeping on the job but he bounced back, becoming an insurance agent. He married twice, losing his first wife to cancer while he was on the force, and remarrying a year or so later. He dropped dead in a local store at age 49 from a heart attack.

I love looking through old newspapers. It's amazing the amount of personal detail that used to be published.

From various issues of the Weekly Auburnian:

Death of Mrs. George B. Lightfoot. (March 3 1892)

Mrs. George B. Lightfoot, wife of Policeman Lightfoot, died Sunday at the home of Dr. Susan G. Otis in South Street, after a long and painful illness.

For months she had been a sufferer and a few weeks ago submitted to a very delicate surgical operation, by Dr. C O. Baker, a cystic fallopian tube and suppurating ovary having been removed. She has lingered since, but she was too weak to withstand the effects of the operation and death was the result.

Mrs. Lightfoot was a genial, warm-hearted woman who made friends rapidly and had a happy faculty of retaining them after she made them. Her husband will have the sympathy of a host of friends in his affliction. The funeral will take place from her late residence, 8 Jefferson Street, Wednesday at 2 p.m. Rev. F. D. Penney will officiate.

Mrs. Lightfoot's Funeral.
The funeral of Agnes, wife of Policeman George B. Lightfoot was largely attended from the family residence, 8 Jefferson Street, yesterday afternoon.

Rev. F. D. Penney, pastor of the Second Baptist church, conducted the services at the house, paying a high tribute to the deceased. A quartette composed of Mrs. Frank A. Skilton, Miss Mollie Scott, Clarence Goodrich and George P. Healy sang several hymns.

The police force turned out in a body, the bearers being selected from among them. The floral tributes were numerous and beautiful, among them being a pillow from the police force, a wreath from Mrs. Joseph Mellor, a crescent marked "sister" from Miss Julia A. Lightfoot, a basket from Miss Theresa Lightfoot, a heart marked "Sister Agnes" from Mr. and Mrs. John W. Pike, a bunch of callas from Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Hickok, a bouquet from Mrs. Dr. Jenkins, cut flowers from George Barber, Mrs. C. N. Nelson, Mrs. T. H. Garrett, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Keyes. The remains were placed in the vault at Fort Hill.

George B. Lightfoot wishes to return his sincere thanks to the members of the police force, to the physicians who did all in their power to save his wife's life and to all neighbors and friends who sent flowers or in any way assisted him in his bereavement.

Tillman—Lightfoot (spring 1893, date uncertain)

George B. Lightfoot was married last Wednesday afternoon at 4:30o'clock to Miss A. A. C. Tillman by Rev. Mocton of the Presbyterian church of Hamilton, at the home of the bride's uncle, C. B. Campbell, 241 Hunter Street, Hamilton, Ont.

The bride was attired in a traveling gown of green and carried calla lilies. A wedding breakfast was served at the home of Mr. Campbell. The bride is an accomplished musician being especially proficient on the piano.

Mr. and Mrs. Lightfoot reached this city, Thursday evening, and will shortly take up their residence in Mr. Lightfoot's new home, 27 Lewis Street, which he has recently purchased and refurnished.

Mr. and Mrs. Lightfoot were tendered a reception at his residence in Jefferson Street on their arrival here and will have the best wishes of friends for continued prosperity.

Last edited by Auburn Annie; 04-08-2009 at 02:58 PM.
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