Windmill Point's primary contribution to Canadian history
took place prior to its use as a lighthouse.
As the name would suggest, the lighthouse was originally a
windmill, which was built in the 1820's. During the 1820's
and 1830's, the British colony of Canada was governed by a
small ruling elite. Reformers of the period began to demand
a more broadly based democratic form of government for
Canada. In 1837, these demands led to open rebellion on the
part of the reformers, who were soundly defeated. Some of
these reformers fled to the United States.
In 1838, the rebels and some American sympathizers gathered
arms on the American side of the St. Lawrence River, and on
November 12th landed 190 men in Prescott. The invaders took
control of the windmill and the surrounding buildings. The
invaders expected the local populace to come over to their
side, but this did not occur. In a matter of days the
windmill was besieged by 2000 British troops and local
militia, gathered in nearby Fort Wellington, with artillery
and naval support. The rebels surrendered on the 16th.
Eleven were executed, and 60 were exiled to Australia.
After the battle, the windmill served as a military post. In
1872, the windmill was converted to a lighthouse. The
lighthouse served until 1978. Today, Windmill Point and Fort
Wellington are preserved as historic sites by the Canadian Park
A Traveler's Guide to 100 Eastern Great Lakes Lighthouses, Penrose p. 62