Saint Albans, United Kingdom

City in NW Vermont, near Lake Champlain, 25 miN of Burlington. The region was French territory from the time of a grant in 1664 until Great Britain took possession in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian War. The town was chartered that year and organized in 1788. In the early 19th century it was anactive base for smuggling goods between the United States and Canada. On October 19, 1864, a group of approximately 25 Confederate soldiers, who had made their way to Canada, infiltrated the town. Announcing they were annexing it to the Confederate States, they robbed three banks of approximately $200,000, tried to burn the town, and killed one man. When they fled back to Canada, they were chased by a sheriff's posse, and all but five of them were captured and turned over to Canadian officials. A Canadian judge, however, released them, thus damaging U.S.-Canadian relations. In 1870 a group of Fenians, members of a secret order pledged to use force to secure Ireland 's independence from Great Britain, attempted to stage a raid on Canada from St. Albans. Many of them were arrested, including their leader, John O'Neil.