While the communities of Lewiston, and Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston, Ontario, come to mind when the War of 1812 is mentioned, it was from the Village of Youngstown, located in the Town of Porter, that the first families fled the night of Dec. 18, 1813, when the British and their Native American allies attacked and captured Fort Niagara.
In anticipation of the coming bicentennial of the war and the founding of the town, the Town of Porter Historical Society announces a War of 1812 speakers series, which will begin on Monday, June 20, when Dr. Thomas Chambers, associate professor and chair of the history department, Niagara University, will speak on the "War of 1812: Causes and Consequences." The program will be held at the Youngstown Presbyterian Church, 100 Church St. Following a dinner at 6 p.m., (reservations required, call 745-1271), the presentation will begin at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
In addition to the speakers series, an 1812 village walk will be offered by the Town of Porter Historical Society beginning Aug. 10. Those attending will be able to listen to the stories of the burning of Newark (Niagara-on-the Lake) and the hamlet of Youngstown in the winter of 1813 as told by Catherine Young of Newark and Rebecca Swain and Agnes Greensitt of Youngstown.
Young, whose husband, John, was a merchant with property on both sides of the river, was forced from her home when troops burnt Newark on Dec. 10, 1813. In retaliation, British troops and their Native American allies crossed the Niagara River the night of Dec. 18, 1813, captured Fort Niagara and burnt Youngstown.
Swain, who was 15 years old at the time, resided in a log cabin about a mile from the fort. Hearing gunfire from the direction of the fort and knowing something was wrong, she and her family escaped to the east while their home was destroyed. Greensitt, a widow, whose husband, Robert Greensitt, had purchased a lot from John Young in March 1812, and constructed a tavern in the hamlet, escaped with her children when the tavern was burned by the British.
The walk begins at 6 p.m. at the Salt Battery, the former site of Greensitt's tavern and now the location of Constitution Park on Main Street in Youngstown.
For further information about the tours or to arrange a group tour, contact Karen Noonan at 745-1283 or[email protected]. All tours will begin promptly at 6 p.m.; there is no charge and tour groups are limited to 20 individuals.
To register for a tour, call the Town of Porter Historical Society office, 745-1271.