About the Author

John Little

John Little is a partner in The Grass Roof Company, an award-winning, eco-friendly landscape design and management company that designs and builds green-roof buildings, designs and maintains school grounds and undertakes grounds maintenance work on behalf of local authorities. He has developed a broad reputation for his innovative green-roofed small buildings for schools, gardens and community use. His turf-roofed house won Daily Telegraph self-build house of the year in 1996.

Books by this Author
Borderland Religion

Borderland Religion

The Emergence of an English-Canadian Identity, 1792-1852
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook
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Loyalties in Conflict

Loyalties in Conflict

A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion,1812-1840
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
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Patrician Liberal

Patrician Liberal

The Public and Private Life of Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, 1829-1908
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
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Strength Training for Golfers

Strength Training for Golfers

A Proven Regimen to Improve Your Strength, Flexibility, Endurance, and Distance Off the Tee
edition:Paperback
tagged : golf, essays, history
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The Donnellys: Massacre, Trial, and Aftermath
Excerpt

 

At approximately 2:15 a.m. John Donnelly bolted from his sleep. He was certain he’d heard a noise. Less than ten seconds later he heard somebody pounding on the kitchen door of William’s house.

“Fire! Fire!” called a voice from outside in the darkness.

The pounding on the door resumed.

John reflexively was out of bed and on his feet. The calls came again, but this time from a different voice.

“Fire! Fire!”

“Open the door!”

The rapping on the door intensified. John decided to investigate the commotion, waking Martin Hogan as he jumped off the bed and walked across the bedroom floor of the guest room and through the door that led into William Donnelly’s bedroom. As it had been cold in the guest room, John still had his clothes on. His entry into the bedroom awakened his brother William, who now also heard the pounding on the door and sat up in his bed. As John walked into William’s room, he looked at his brother and asked, “Who’s hollering ‘fire’ and rapping at the door?” William watched as his brother turned to his right and opened the door that led into the kitchen.

Again, the voices came.

“Fire! Fire!”

“Will! Open the door!”

Having reached the kitchen door, John Donnelly now threw it open.

“Who’s there?” he asked.

In reply came a blast from a shotgun, augmented by the simultaneous discharge of a rifle. Thirty pieces of shot ripped through John’s upper torso, snapping ribs and shattering his collarbone in the process. The bullet from the rifle tore through his groin in an upward trajectory, ripping through his flesh front and back, and ultimately lodging itself in the window frame at the far end of the kitchen. The impact of the shots lifted John off his feet and sent him hurtling backwards several feet, where he hit the door frame to William and Nora’s room and then collapsed on his back, his head coming to rest against the door jam. A wad of paper from the shotgun blast slowly floated in from the open door and came to rest upon the kitchen floor. Everyone in the house was now awake.

“Oh, Will! Oh, Will! I’m shot!” John gasped. His breathing became laboured as he felt his life begin to ebb from his body. He then offered up a short and raspy prayer before the darkness descended upon him. “And may the Lord have mercy on my soul!”

Panic now spread amongst the occupants of the house.

“Martin! Get up!” he yelled. “John’s been shot!”

 

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The Donnellys: Powder Keg
Excerpt

 

It’s twelve o’clock on Saturday, November 14, 2014. My youngest son, Ben, and his South Muskoka Bears Major Midget hockey team have just finished their first game of a tournament in London, Ontario. They won their game and Ben scored a nice goal, so I’m happy. But the team’s next game isn’t until three o’clock that afternoon, so we’re going to be doing a lot of sitting around until an hour or so before the next game. Ben, understandably, wants to hang out with his friends on the team during this interval, which means he’s going to park himself at the arena. Consequently, I now find myself alone with three hours on my hands to fill. It occurs to me that I’m not that far from the Roman Line, maybe a thirty-minute drive. I’ve always wanted to go there, as somewhere on that stretch of roadway sits the property upon which the Donnelly story played out. The infamous Donnelly children were raised on that lot of land and four members of the family were murdered there on a cold February night in 1880.

Despite being taught nothing of this bit of southern Ontario history in school, when I first learned about the Donnellys, their story gripped me like few stories have (before or since). Indeed, some thirty years previously, during my second year of university, a roommate had invited me to spend a weekend at his parents’ home in Mitchell, Ontario. During the course of meeting his parents, we sat down at the family table to eat. Some small talk was exchanged and then I posed a question that I thought would be a good icebreaker: “How far away is Lucan?” His father, a lawyer in town, answered, “Oh, about half an hour. Not far. Are you interested in going to Lucan?” “Definitely!” I replied enthusiastically. “Why?” he asked. “I understand that’s where the Donnellys were killed,” I replied. Although my statement was wrong (i.e., the Donnellys were killed within their farmhouse on the Roman Line in Biddulph — not Lucan, which is about three and a quarter-miles to the northeast of the town), my enthusiasm was obvious. But then a look fell over the father’s face that immediately let me know I would not be going to Lucan. “We don’t talk about that here,” he said. And the table fell quiet until someone introduced a subject that was evidently far less contentious. I never forgot that, and the father’s attitude only served to further fan the flames of my nascent curiosity.

 

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The Max Golf Workout

The Max Golf Workout

A Proven Regimen to Improve Your Strength, Flexibility, Endurance, and Distance off the Tee
edition:Paperback
tagged : golf, essays, history
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The Tao of Wing Chun

The Tao of Wing Chun

The History and Principles of China’s Most Explosive Martial Art
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
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The Time-Saver's Workout

The Time-Saver's Workout

A Revolutionary New Fitness Plan that Dispels Myths and Optimizes Results
edition:Paperback
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Who Killed Tom Thomson?

Who Killed Tom Thomson?

The Truth about the Murder of One of the 20th Century's Most Famous Artists
edition:Hardcover
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