Porter Historical Society 1812 village walkby jmaloni
Tour to feature "Women's Voices: A Different View of the War of 1812"
While the communities of Lewiston, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston, Ontario, come to mind when the War of 1812 is mentioned, it was from Youngstown, located in the Town of Porter, that the first families fled in the early morning of Dec. 19, 1813, when the British and 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 will offer an 1812 village walk on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Visitors that evening will listen to the stories of the burning of Newark, known today as Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the hamlet of Young's town - incorporated as the Village of Youngstown in 1854 - in the winter of 1813 as told by Catherine Young of Newark and Rebecca Swain and Agnes Greensitt of Youngstown.
According to the Historical Society, 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 crossed the Niagara River at Five Mile Meadows during the early morning hour of Dec. 19, 1813, captured Fort Niagara and burnt the hamlet of Young's town.
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 the Art of Peace Garden in Falkner Park at 6 p.m. on Main Street in Youngstown and then proceeds to the former site of Greensitt's tavern and the Salt Battery. The tour continues to the site of John Young's store on the bank of the Niagara River and then to the Swain homestead on River Road.
To register for a tour, call 745-1271. There is no charge, but donations can be made to the Town of Porter Historical Society. Tour groups are limited to 20 individuals. Those planning to attend should register beforehand to ensure there are sufficient tour guides.
For further information, call Karen Noonan at 716-745-1283 or 716-745-1271.