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The Story of the Lunar Rogue

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Henry More Smith, confined to Kingston Jail to await trial on a charge of horse stealing, was a model prisoner. Although still professing his innocence, he seemed resigned to his fate and spent his time reading piously from his bible.

Without complaint, he suffered greatly from a bruised and swollen side, which he claimed was the result of a severe blow he received during his capture and return to jail. Over the next few days he began to develop a hollow cough, bleeding and fever.

Public sympathy grew as Henry’s condition worsened. Over the next two weeks he suffered violent fever, chills, loss of appetite, bleeding and increasing weakness. The attending doctor could do little and finally advised, as Henry’s symptoms intensified, that there was no hope of recovery. Overcome with pain and seizures, unable to eat or drink, too weak to raise his head, and with his voice barely audible, Henry dictated his will. For their kind attention to him in his sickness, the magnanimous Henry left his remaining money to his jailer and all his clothes to the jailer’s son John.

On Sept. 24 1814, Henry lay near death. Throughout the day his condition worsened until finally, in the early evening, he was seized by a final agonizing convulsion. The jailer’s son, filled with compassion, ran out of the cell and down the hall to get a hot brick to place at Henry’s feet to comfort him. He was gone but a few minutes which was all it took for the Lunar Rogue to affect a miraculous recovery, leap from his deathbed, gather his possessions and make good his escape.