Near the end of the 1850s, the lives of three apparently unconnected men ended miserably. The first was Thomas Hill, editor of The Loyalist newspaper, founder of the Orange Lodge in Fredericton, political firebrand, and in one notable instance a playwright. He was to die in friendless poverty and be buried in an unmarked grave. The second was Henry W. Preston, who brought his theatrical troupe into Fredericton in December, 1844, after almost two decades of touring from the Carolinas to Newfoundland, a sad saga of ever dwindling dreams. He ended his drunken days by jumping from a ferry landing in Albany, New York. The last was the wandering English actor Charles Freer, who had known some modest glory across the Atlantic but in 1845 fond himself working the New Brunswick stages for the franctic Preston. At the point of starvation, Freer would commit suicide in a tavern near London Bridge. Three failures, perhaps. But three lives which had a vivid meeting in New Brunswick during the 1840s, when politics, the theatre, and the strange quirks of personal character culminated in slander, scandal, and the wildest riot in the history of the New Brunswick stage.