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Vermont's Captain Thunderbolt: A Mysterious Schoolteacher With A Secret Past

 

In the early 1820s, a well-dressed gentleman arrived in the Vermont town of Brookline, becoming the community's schoolmaster and, later, a country doctor. Over the years, however, townspeople whispered their skepticism that the person they called Dr. Known as John Wilson, he may have been a notorious Scottish highwayman who terrorized the Irish countryside.

Captain Thunderbolt

Beginning in the 1810s, highways in Scotland, Ireland and England were besieged by highwaymen, robbers who terrorized commuters in the countryside. The two most infamous highwaymen are Captain Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, a.k.a. John Doherty and Michael Martin. The pair had a code of ethics that set them apart from typical thieves: like Robin Hood, the Captain robbed only wealthy travelers, never killed anyone, was polite and courteous, and refused to steal from women. . By 1819, the fuzz was hot on their trail, so Doherty and Martin disguised themselves as Quakers and made their way to Dublin, where Martin intercepted a ship bound for New York City, while Doherty drove to the West Indies. where he intended to drop. Captain Thunderbolt personified and go straight. It appears that he briefly went to the West Indies, then to Canada, and then, perhaps, to Vermont.

In America, Michael Martin continued his crime life, but he was soon captured and sentenced to death. At the end of his execution, Martin wrote a confession, detailing his adventures with Doherty and his companion in great detail, including his height, appearance, the injuries he suffered, education as a physician, and the West Indies. Possible locations included. The confession did not help Martin, but it was printed in a pamphlet by a local publisher and circulated around New England. It was read by many people... including people from Brookline, Vermont.


A Mysterious Stranger

As Michael Martin placed the people in New England, a mysterious stranger came to Brookline. He told the people there that he was originally from Scotland (who had been investigated because he had spoken with a fat pimp), had spent some time in the West Indies, and worked as a doctor. was trained. Dr. John Wilson introduced himself and offered to serve as the community's schoolmaster.

He soon ordered the construction of a strange, round schoolhouse on top of a small hill, with windows around it so that he could look towards his school from any direction. It was never clear why such a feature was necessary, and it wasn't the only strange thing about Wilson. He walked with a limp, although he apparently tried to hide it, and wore a scarf around his neck at all times, even in hot weather. After Martin's confession spread throughout the city, the people of Brookline began to fantasize about their mysterious newcomer. Wilson was reluctant to talk about his past, which only added to the mystery, but he scoffed at Martin's confession.

Still, Wilson was never followed by an angry mob. He lived in Brookline for nearly three decades, but after his death in 1847, an examination of his body revealed bruises on his neck and leg, consistent with the injuries described by Martin and his belongings with an English pistol. A set of . firearms. However, most of the evidence linking Wilson to Captain Thunderbolt was circumstantial. The people of Brookline will probably never know if they sheltered a notorious outlaw for nearly 30 years, but that schoolhouse certainly brings in a lot of tourists.

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