Historical Society of St. Catharines

Celebrating the history of St. Catharines and its vicinity

Archive for the ‘War of 1812’ Category

Meeting Schedule – February to June 2014

Posted by dsharron on March 22, 2014

Meetings – 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:00).  Unless otherwise noted, all meetings will be held at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario. Free admission.  Doors open at 7:00.  Guests are welcome.

Lecture Program – February to June 2014

Programs Subject to Change

Thursday, February 27, 2014: Autos and Auto People of St. Catharines – a 5-part presentation by five Society members.

Thursday, March 27, 2014: Presentation by Roger Bradshaw – A Photographic Journey of Canadian War Memorials, Battlefield Sites and Cemeteries throughout Europe.

Thursday, April 24, 2014: Lecture, Annual Meeting and Elections. Presentation by Brian Narhi, Society Vice President – The Parnell and Read Families: An illustrated talk based upon personal papers of Fred Parnell who was the Historical Society’s first president.

Thursday, May 22, 2014: Presentation by Mike Babiski – History of Diving in St. Catharines and Niagara including artefacts display.

Thursday, June 26, 2014: Presentation by Sheridan Alder – The Ability to Support Herself: British Army wives and Families on the Brink of 1812.

Advertisements

Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, Niagara, Sports, War of 1812 | Leave a Comment »

Roster of Speakers for the 2011-2012 Season

Posted by dsharron on September 1, 2011

Meetings – 7:30 p.m. – all held at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario unless otherwise noted. Free admission.  Doors open at 7:00.  Guests are welcome.

Thursday, September 22, 2011 – Lecture: Anne McPherson, who is a direct descendant of the McCordick Family, will tell us about the McCordick family and the McCordick business. The McCordick leather works remained active in St. Catharines for many years … do you remember it?

Thursday, October 27, 2011 – Lecture: Dr. Wesley B. Turner, noted WAR of 1812 author and researcher, will provide insights into the life of Sir Isaac Brock the subject of his newly published book “The Astonishing General, the life and legacy of Sir Isaac Brock“

Thursday, November 24, 2011 – Show and Tell – an opportunity for members and guests to bring along their own item of interest and spend 3-5 minutes telling us about it … this fun evening has proven to be very entertaining in the past and is followed by a Christmas Social. (Members are encouraged to bring a small contribution to the bake table!) There will also be a book sales table for that little Christmas gift purchase.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 – Lecture: David Hemmings will bring John McFarland to life in his lecture titled: “The House of John McFarland, Niagara’s Timber Trader.” The lecture covers shipbuilding, boat repairs, prisoners in 2 wars, Fort Niagara, 2800 acres of timbered land, farms in Niagara and Thorold/Port Robinson, tea trading, his family, Keefer Mansion and various other houses and of course the newly refurbished McFarland House on the Niagara Parkway.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 – Lecture: Brian Nahri will present a unique lecture using actual diaries of two local black families, Talbot and Mills, to tell their story. This program coincides with February being Black History month.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 – Lecture: Janis Barlow will share with us her collection of information on the Kiwanis Horse Show, this once famous horse show that will surely bring back memories to those who once attended this event.

Thursday, April 26, 2012
7:30 p.m. – ANNUAL Meeting – presentation of annual reports and elections. (note: elections this year will be for up to 6 Directors only as the executive positions do not expire until 2013. If any member is interested in standing for a directorship, please advise any executive member).

8:00 p.m. (estimate) – Lecture: Alun Hughes – his lectures are always well attended and very “animated” …. stay tuned for the title!

Thursday, May 24, 2012
6:30 p.m. – Oille Fountain Potting Ceremony will take place at the Oille Fountain on the corner of James Street and King Street.

7:30 p.m. – note: this will take place at the Downtown Centennial Library – Mills Room. Lecture: “Oille and Water; the rest of the story” – Dr. Lucius S. Oille – his life, career and legacy. Long time Society members John Burtniak, Dennis Gannon and Bill Stevens will be collaborating on this presentation.

Thursday, June 28, 2012
6:30 p.m. – Celebration of William Hamilton Merritt’s Birthday 219 years ago on July 3, 1793 – a brief ceremony will take place at the National Historic Plaque outside the museum’s canal side entrance, followed by serving of birthday cake!

7:30 p.m. – Lecture: John McKenty, author of a book titled Canada Cycle & Motor, The CCM Story will tell us about the Welland Vale Manufacturing Company, which merged with five bicycle operations to form CCM in 1899. As the Greater Circle Route passes by the museum, if you have a CCM bicycle, why not bike to the meeting (or bring it along) and show it to us!

Program is subject to change without notice.

For further information on Society gatherings, click on “Special Events”.  Check back often for future presentations.

* Note: the St. Catharines Museum will generously open its traveling exhibit gallery for viewing a half hour before each meeting at no cost to the Society.

Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, Special Events, St. Catharines, War of 1812, William Hamilton Merritt | Leave a Comment »

Fall Meetings 2011

Posted by dsharron on August 25, 2011

Meetings – 7:30 p.m. – all held at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario. Free admission.  Doors open at 7:00.  Guests are welcome.

Thursday, September 22 – Anne McPherson will be speaking about the McCordick and Smith families of St. Catharines.

Thursday, October 27 – Dr. Wesley Turner will talk about his new book, The Astonishing General: The life and legacy of Sir Isaac Brock.

Thursday, November 24 – “Show and Tell” and Christmas Social.  Everyone is invited to bring and show an item of historical interest (preferably a local item).  Anyone wishing to bring treats for the social afterward are encouraged to do so.

For further information on Society gatherings, click on “Special Events”.  Check back often for future presentations.

* Note: the St. Catharines Museum will generously open its traveling exhibit gallery for viewing a half hour before each meeting at no cost to the Society.

 

Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, St. Catharines, War of 1812 | 1 Comment »

Society Fall Programmes

Posted by dsharron on August 11, 2010

Meetings – 7:30 p.m. – all held at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario. Free admission.  Doors open at 7:00.  Guests are welcome.

Thursday, September 23 – Linda Bramble, a noted oenologist, will be presenting “How We Got Here From There” -the beginning of Prohibition in Ontario in 1927 and the development of Niagara’s wine industry.

Thursday, October 28 – Tom Malcomson of George Brown University and a military historian, will present a unique view of how the Brock Monument was designed.  The talk is entitled: “Dueling Columns: Horatio Nelson vs. Isaac Brock, Parallel Monuments a World Apart.”

Thursday, November 25 – “Show and Tell” night.  The evening will be open for the display and presentation of artifacts or records that are not just related to Niagara but from all over the world.

For further information on Society gatherings, click on “Special Events”.  Check back often for future presentations.

* Note: the St. Catharines Museum will generously open its traveling exhibit gallery for viewing a half hour before each meeting at no cost to the Society.

Posted in Meetings, Niagara, War of 1812 | Leave a Comment »

Future Meetings of the Historical Society

Posted by dsharron on March 5, 2010

Meetings – 7:30 p.m. – all held at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canal Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario. Free admission.  Doors open at 7:00.  Guests are welcome.

March 25 – “History of St. John’s Anglican Church in Port Dalhousie” by Brian Leyton – Society Member – Come out and learn about the heritage of this well established church, its congregation and its connection to the community in this “fire-side” style presentation.   

April 22 – Annual General Meeting and presentation: “Brock Monument Restoration” – by Peter Martin, Military Co-ordinator at Fort George.  Mr. Martin will present a slide show and talk on the restoration of Brock’s Monument in preparation for the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
 
May 27 – “History of Local Mills and their Packaging Techniques” – by Nina Stahlschmidt, local quilter and author. A presentation and “trunk show” on local mills and their forms of packaging – from wooden barrels, to cloth bags, to paper. Nina will have many bags and quilts to show and invites members/guests to bring along any of their own bags to show and share.

For further information on Society gatherings, click on “Special Events”.  Check back often for future presentations.

* Note: the St. Catharines Museum will generously open its traveling exhibit gallery for viewing a half hour before each meeting at no cost to the Society.

Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, St. Catharines, War of 1812 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Meeting Recap: The Myth of Laura Secord by Alun Hughes

Posted by dsharron on March 26, 2009

On February 26, Professor Alun Hughes of Brock University methodically retraced the famous and heroic trek of Laura Secord using primary evidence in an effort to remove the myth and to uncover what most likely happened on that historic night.

A quick retelling of the classic story: on 21 June 1813 in Queenston, Laura learned of the American’s plans to surprise attack the British forces at Beaverdams.  The next day Secord set out on foot to warn Lieutenant FitzGibbon all the while taking a harsh route through forests and swampland to avoid being detected by the American pickets.  After her harrowing journey, Secord came across a First Nation’s encampment.  These British allies took Laura to FitzGibbon at John DeCew’s house where she relayed the information.  On 23 June, the British and First Nation forces ambushed the Americans at Beaverdams and were victorious.  The story of Laura’s journey became mythologized over time and she has been honoured in countless means such as statues, monuments, postage stamps, books, plays and more.

Alun asked two questions:  1) Did Laura Secord’s walk make a difference?  2) What route did she actually take?

Question 1: In 1932, W. Stewart Wallace wrote The Story of Laura Secord: A Study in Historical Evidence in which he looked at all of the contemporary reports, histories and newspapers.  There was no mention of Secord’s acts.  The only evidence of Secord’s efforts came from Laura herself.  In 1837, Laura made a petition to run a ferry and outlined her heroic efforts.  In 1839, FitzGibbon verified Secord’s petition in a open statement.  Secord made another petition for a pension after her husband died.  Again, she states her key role in the outcome of the Battle of Beaverdam.  Wallace did not buy Secord’s statements as her need for money in both cases was seen as a motive to embellish.  When other resources started to use Secord as part of the War of 1812 narrative, details became erroneous and Laura’s role became increasingly important and detailed.  To Wallace, Secord could not complete the walk as recounted because the timing of the episode did not work out.

However, in 1934, new evidence surfaced verifying Secord’s story.  In the 1820s, James Secord, Laura’s husband, made a petition for land and used FitzGibbon as proof that she left Queenston on June 22.  He made a second petition to manage the Brock Monument that included an even more detailed account from FitzGibbon further verifying Laura’s importance to the events that transpired from June 21 to June 23.

Ultimately, we will never truly know if Laura Secord’s walk made a difference to the Battle of Beaverdams.  However, there can be no doubt that she did the walk at considerable risk and with the most noble intentions.

Question 2:  There have been a number of inaccurate maps of Laura Secord’s route created over the years.  One such map was created by Jacob Cotton in 1917.  Cotton was commissioned by J. Ross Robertson to paint the Decew House, Laura Secord’s home and other landmarks in Niagara including a map of Secord’s route.  Cotton used the verified statements by Secord and FitzGibbons as sources.  Essentially, Cotton’s route resembled most of the others.

Professor Hughes (a cartographer and historian) taking into account the landscape and history, recreated the route as follows:

• Secord left Queenston towards St. David to see her brother Charles Ingersol who was ill
• Towards Homer she went through the swamp – not true; more likely followed the First Nation’s trail south of the Swamp
• At Homer, she crossed the 10 Mile Creek over the bridge
• In St. Catharines, we went along Queenston St. and St. Paul to cross 12 Mile Creek over the bridge
• She moved down Pelham Road toward the Village of Power Glen where she would have passed the Tourney house (family friends)
•  Crossed the 12 Mile Creek again before climbing the Niagara Escarpment
•    Arriving in John DeCew’s field, she encountered the First Nations who lead her to the DeCew house.

Conclusion on the route according to Alun Hughes:  If this new route is correct, Laura Secord travelled approximately 15 miles on foot – from sunrise at about 4:30 a.m. to nautical twilight around 9:30 p.m.  Total 17 hours.

Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, St. Catharines, War of 1812 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Historic Timeline of the War of 1812

Posted by dsharron on March 2, 2009

Along the Niagara Frontier (with particular interest to Grantham Township)

 

1812

 

June 18 – United States President James Madison signs Declaration of War against Great Britain

 

July 12 – American forces under Brig.-Gen. William Hull cross Detroit River and invade Upper Canada at Sandwich

 

August 16 – British forces under Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock capture Fort Detroit

 

August 24Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock returns to Fort George (Niagara), Upper Canada after capture of Detroit

 Brock shot at Queenston

October 9 – American forces capture British brigs Caledonia and Detroit (subsequently destroyed) in the Niagara River, off Fort Erie, Upper Canada

 

October 13 – Major artillery duel between Fort Niagara (below Youngstown), New York and Fort George

 

October 13 – Battle of Queenston Heights, Upper Canada

Brock shot at Queenston

 

 

October 13 – Death of Maj.-Gen. Isaac Brock and Lieut.-Col. John Macdonell at Battle of Queenston Heights

 

October 16 – Funerals held for Brock and Macdonell at Fort George

 

November 10 – American Navy under command of Commodore Isaac Chauncey gains control of Lake Ontario 

 

November 28 – 30 – American forces under Brig.-Gen. Alexander Smyth invade Upper Canada across the Niagara River at Fort Erie

 

November 28 – Battle of Frenchman’s Creek, near Fort Erie

 

1813

 

January 9 – British Declaration of War against the United States

 

March 17 – 18 – Artillery duel between Black Rock, New York and Fort Erie

 

April 27 – Battle and surrender of Town of York, Upper Canada to U.S. Maj.-Gen. Henry Dearborn; American forces take control of the Great Lakes and subsequently burn Town of York

 

May 25 – 27 – Artillery barrage on Fort George and capture by American forces

 

May 27 – British forces under Brig.-Gen. John Vincent abandon Fort George; retreat along lakeshore westward toward Burlington Heights, Upper Canada (passing through Grantham Township, Upper Canada)

 

June 6 – Battle of Stoney Creek, Upper Canada

 

June 8 – Engagement at Forty Mile Creek (Grimsby), Upper Canada; American forces retreat to Fort George, passing through Grantham Township

 

June 9 – American forces burn Fort Erie and withdraw their forces from Fort Erie, Chippawa and Queenston to Fort George

 

June 22 – Laura Secord leaves her home in Queenston and walks to DeCew House, Thorold, Upper Canada to warn British forces of an American attack

 

June 24 – Battle of Beaver Dams (“fight in the Beechwoods”), Thorold

 

July 5 – British forces under Col. John Clark of the 2nd Lincoln Militia from Chippawa raid Fort Schlosser, on Niagara River, north of Buffalo, New York

 

July 8 – Action at Butler’s Farm at Two Mile Creek, Niagara, Upper Canada

 

July 11 – British forces under Lieut.-Col. Cecil Bisshopp and Col. Clark Raid Black Rock, New York

 

July – British General John Vincent establishes his headquarters in George Adams’ home in Grantham Township (near the bridge over the Twelve Mile Creek near the village of St. Catharines)

 

July 29 – Action at Burlington Beach, Upper Canada

 

July 31 – American forces raid and occupy Town of York for a second time

 

August 7 -10 – U.S. fleet battles British fleet on Lake Ontario

 

August 8USS Hamilton and USS Scourge sink in a storm on Lake Ontario off Twelve Mile Creek

 

August 24 – Action at Fort George

 

September 10 – Naval Battle of Lake Erie

 

September 28 – Burlington Races (Naval encounter) at Burlington, Upper Canada

 

October 19 – American forces destroy and pillage George Adam’s home, distillery and bake house in Grantham Township (near the bridge over the Twelve Mile Creek near the village of St. Catharines)

 

December 10 – American Forces under Brig.-Gen. George McClure evacuate Fort George and burn Niagara, Upper Canada and retreat to Fort Niagara

 

December 12 – British forces re-occupy Fort George

 

December 19British forces capture Fort Niagara

 

December 19 – 21 – British forces burn Lewiston, Youngstown and Manchester (Niagara Falls), New York

 

December 22 – British forces take Fort Schlosser

 

December 29 – 31 – British forces burn Buffalo and Black Rock

 

1814

 

May 23 to June 21 – Treason Trials underway in Ancaster, Upper Canada

 

July 3 – American forces under Maj.-Gen. Jacob Brown invade Upper Canada and capture Fort Erie

 

July 5 – Battle of Chippawa, Upper Canada

 

July 18 – American forces burn the hamlet of St David’s, Upper Canada

 

July 20 – Eight of the Traitors found guilty at the Ancaster Assizes are hanged on Burlington Heights

 

July 23 – British 104th under Lieut.-Gen. Gordon Drummond arrive at Twelve Mile Creek from Town of York

 

July 25 – Battle of Lundy’s Lane, (Niagara Falls), Upper Canada

 

July 26 – American forces burn Bridgewater Mills (Burch’s Mills, above Niagara Falls), Upper Canada

 

August 3 – British forces cross Niagara River and engage American forces at Conjocta Creek/Black Rock, New York and are repulsed, returning to Upper Canada

 

August 4 – British forces under Lieut.-Gen. Drummond begin the siege of Fort Erie; the casualties of this siege result in Fort Erie becoming the bloodiest battlefield in Canada

 

August 12USS Somers and USS Ohio captured in Lake Erie/Niagara River off Fort Erie

 

August 14 – British forces assault on Snake Hill Battery (Fort Erie), Upper Canada

 

August 15 – British forces under Lieut.-Gen. Drummond fail in assault on Fort Erie

 

August 25 – British forces burn Washington, D.C.

 

September 17 – American forces from Fort Erie launch a successful sortie against Drummond’s batteries

 

September 21 – British forces end siege of Fort Erie and retreat to Chippawa

 

October 15 – Skirmish at Chippawa

 

October 19 – Battle of Cook’s Mills (near Welland) on Lyons CreekUpper Canada

 

November 5 – American forces evacuate Fort Erie, destroy what remains of fort and return to Buffalo

 

November 15 – British forces re-occupy Fort Erie after American withdrawal

 

December 24 – Treaty of Ghent (Belgium) signed to end the War of 1812

 

1815

 

February 16 – U.S. Senate approves Treaty of Ghent; 17th President Madison ratifies Treaty and it is proclaimed on 18th. War of 1812 officially ends

 

May 22 – American forces re-occupy Fort Niagara

Posted in Grantham, Niagara, War of 1812 | Leave a Comment »

February 26: Alun Hughes Revisits the History of Laura Secord

Posted by dsharron on February 17, 2009

“The Myth of Laura Secord: Seeking the Truth Beneath the Chocolate Coating” by Alun Hughes

Meeting between Secord and Fitzgibbon

Meeting between Secord and Fitzgibbon

 

Time / Place: Thursday, 26 February 2009, 7:30 P.M., Burgoyne Room of the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3 (the Welland Canals Centre), 1932 Welland Canals Parkway (formerly Government Road). Wheelchair accessible. Free admission.  All interested persons welcome.

 

The Museum’s traveling exhibit gallery will be open for viewing a half hour before the meeting.

 

We hope to see you there.

Posted in Historical Society, Meetings, War of 1812 | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »