by Joshua Maloni
Lee Simonson calls it "one of the greatest untold stories in American history. The volunteer Historical Association of Lewiston board member is speaking of the War of 1812 and, specifically, the efforts of the Tuscarora people in helping Lewiston residents escape the British attack.
"Believe it or not," Simonson says, "Lewiston has never officially thanked the Tuscaroras or, for the matter, neither has the United States of America.
"That is about to change."
In observance of the War of 1812, HAL plans to unveil an eight-foot tall bronze monument on Dec. 19, 2013, the 200th anniversary of the siege of Lewiston. The monument will be called "Tuscarora Heroes." Youngstown artist Susan Geissler designed the project, estimated to cost between $350,000 and $400,000.
HAL's other plans include a "Battle of Queenston Heights Re-enactment," to mark the war's first major battle, which took place on Oct. 13, 1812; an homage to "mudball heroes," which recalls the time when Lewiston teens shot mud balls at a British warship; and community projects. Local retailers are encouraged to fly a 15-star, 15-stripe 1812 U.S. flag.
To make these plans a reality, Simonson says HAL will utilize a fundraising and marketing campaign similar to the one used in establishing the Freedom Crossing monument now situated on Water Street. He expects funding will come both from private sources and Greenway money.
Simonson has also recently penned a book, aptly titled "Tuscarora Heroes," which consists of all the names of the Tuscarora men who took part in the rescue efforts. That publication is now available for purchase.
For more information, call 754-4214 or visit www.historiclewiston.org.