Public Domain Super Heroes

Gray Champion

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Gray Champion
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Real Name


First Appearance

The New‐England Magazine, vol. 8, no. 1? (Jan. 1835)

Original Publisher

E. R. Broaders

Created by

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Gray Champion appeared in an 1835 eponymous short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. When a New England community of Colonial Puritans in Boston are confronted with soldiers of "James II, the bigoted successor to Charles the Voluptuous", they sent a "harsh and unprincipled soldier to take away our liberties and endanger our religion." This soldier was one Sir Edmund Andros, the Governor of Dominion of New England, the establishment of which lasted three years of 1686-1689.

During this engagement between Andros and the colonists, an individual in the crowd calls out, "Oh Lord of Hosts, provide a Champion for thy people!"

Whereupon The Gray Champion appears, the events described thusly; "Suddenly, there was seen the figure of an ancient man, who seemed to have emerged from among the people, and was walking by himself along the centre of the street, to confront the armed band. He wore the old Puritan dress, a dark cloak and a steeplecrowned hat, in the fashion of at least fifty years before, with a heavy sword upon his thigh, but a staff in his hand to assist the tremulous gait of age."

The conflict resolves without violence, suggested to be attributable to the presence of The Gray Champion. "But whether the oppressor were overawed by the appearance of the Gray Champion's look," or because of concern over crowd control, the story suggests the presence of the enigmatic figure played a strong role. After the danger is over, The Gray Champion disappears from sight.

The Gray Champion seems to be long-lived, returning 80-some years later at significant places during the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Boston Massacre being noted.

Powers and Abilities

The Gray Champion carries a large, imposing sword and a significant staff. He doesn't use these in the story. He has an imposing presence, seemingly supernatural. He appears and disappears with notable obscurity. The Gray Champion is more than 140-years-old.

Public domain literary appearance

“The Gray Champion,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The New‐England Magazine, vol. 8, no. 1?, Jan. 1835. (HathiTrust)

Reprinted in book form in Twice‐Told Tales, 1837. (Internet Archive)

See also

The Gray Champion @ Eldrich Press

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