Niagara Gazette — By the time you read this, the British will be in control of Fort Niagara and a number of homes in the nearby village should be smoldering in the wake of a fiery assault.
That’s a huge stretch of anyone’s imagination, of course, since the entire scenario is a part of the 200th anniversary of the fort’s capture, Dec. 19, 1813, and burning of communities along the Niagara River, from Youngstown to Buffalo. The public was invited to witness the re-enactment but only if they were inside the fort grounds by 4:45 a.m. today.
Bob Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association, is delighted that so many re-enactors have volunteered to serve. For the record, about 130 of the ‘Brits’ are expected to arrive near Stella Niagara Education Park and proceed some four miles along Lower River Road to the battle scene. About 60 American troops will make an abortive effort to defend the fortress.
Other early morning events planned: a commemorative ceremony and symbolic flare lighting at 7:15 a.m. in Faulkner Park,Youngstown, and local restaurants have been encouraged to open as early as 6 a.m. to accommodate the participants and spectators. Two programs at 8:15 a.m. and 9 a.m. will be presented at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Main Street: a power point talk by the Niagara County Historical Society on the War of 1812, at 8;15 a.m., and a short video, “Niagara on Fire,” presented by the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., 1812 Bicentennial Committee.
Lewiston also has activities planned later in the day including the dedication of the Tuscarora Heroes Monument, Center Street and Portage Road, at 6:30 p.m.
A QUICK TRIP: Local history expert Paul Gromosiak notes that Old Fort Niagara’s collection includes a sleigh that Jane Porter used to flee from the attacking troops that night in 1813. Wife of Augustus Porter, a pioneer of Niagara, she quickly grabbed her belongings and headed to Canandaigua N.Y., where the family had other property. The restored sleigh is on display for a while at the fort’s visitors center.