Gavin K. Watt
Fire and Desolation
The 1778 Campaign
as waged from Quebec and Niagara
against the American frontiers
A Service History and Master Roll of Major Edward Jessup's
Gavin was born in Toronto in 1937 and met his wife Gill Robinson in Sunday school when they were eight. They were married fourteen years later and have a family of three – two daughters and a son, all devoted historians.
When he retired as a packaging industry Sales and Marketing executive in 1989, he decided to pursue his plan for a second career – writing about Canadian military history. This was not as illogical as it might appear. In 1984 – while fathering a family, leading a sales force, heading a shooting club and a reenactment regiment – he republished Ernest Cruikshank’s regimental history of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, adding a master roll of the 1,500 men who had served and several images of related artifacts. This effort had involved many weekend visits to the Metro Toronto Research Library and Archives Ontario and the reading of scores of source books plus the assistance of many fellow researchers.
A wonderful benefit of reenacting was Gavin’s growing friendship with American historians who were every bit as passionate about their Revolution as Gavin was about their rebellion. Their assistance, and his natural inclination, prevented his books from exhibiting the jingoistic style of so many earlier accounts.
After retirement, his engineering and business training and years of writing sales and marketing reports paid off. Research continued apace which led to a series of books that have been acknowledged as well-researched and easy to read.
Currently, he is researching the Canadian Department’s complicated campaign of 1778 during which the purported massacres in the Wyoming Valley and Cherry Valley occurred, and the war raged in the Ohio and Illinois territories.