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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada

Owen Sullivan who was one of the best known 
counterfeiters in early New York and New England

Comments/contributions regarding this or any urban legend are welcome at:




I am looking for information on Owen Sullivan who was one of the best known counterfeiters in early New York and New England. Reportedly, Sullivan was first convicted for counterfeiting in Louisbourg before coming to Boston in 1748 or 1749. I do not know the date of his conviction in Louisbourg or any other details. Apparently it would have happened about the time of the New England capture of the fortress in 1745. He may have been a soldier in the French service there or one of the New Englanders who captured it and remained there for some reason. Can you help me? I am involved in the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society and am interested in writing a story for our newsletter regarding his connections with Connecticut. thanks --

Neil Hogan

Dear Eric Krause,

I got your name and email address off of the website for the Louisbourg Institute at the University College of Cape Breton. I am a New York-based writer currently researching a book on the lives of three counterfeiters in early American history. One of my subjects, Owen Sullivan, claimed in a posthumously published autobiography to have lived in Louisbourg from 1746-1748, first as an armorer in the New England militia regiment, and then as a silversmith. He may also have been convicted for counterfeiting during his time in Louisbourg. I am trying to find any record of his stay in Louisbourg, which if it exists at all, most likely would be found in the legal record in the form of a conviction.

What complicates the matter further is that Sullivan was known by a range of alternate spellings and aliases, including Owen Syllavan, Owen Syllivan, John Livingston, etc. I would be grateful for any advice or insight you could shed on this topic, and could of course pay whatever research fees would be required. I will not be able to travel to Louisbourg at the moment, but may be able to in August.

Thank you for your help.

Ben Tarnoff