A new historic marker, placed in honor of a famous War of 1812 heroine, will soon appear in the Village of Youngstown.
On Saturday, March 22, at 10 a.m., local officials, historians and history buffs will gather at Youngstown's Falkner Park to unveil the blue and gold plaque that honors the service of Betsy Doyle, a soldier's wife who assisted in the bombardment of Fort George in November 1812.
"This marker will raise Mrs. Doyle's visibility to the general public," said Catherine Emerson, Niagara County historian. "We're hoping the marker will encourage area residents and visitors to our region to learn more about her story."
Betsy Doyle was the wife of an American soldier stationed at Fort Niagara. When her husband was captured by the British during the Battle of Queenston in October 1812, Betsy stayed on at the fort serving as a laundress or a nurse. During a ferocious artillery bombardment between Fort Niagara and Fort George in November 1812, Doyle undertook the dangerous task of carrying red-hot cannonballs to an artillery piece on the roof of the French Castle.
While her story has long been a part of Niagara's folklore, Doyle's actual history remained obscure. Recent research discovered her service to the artillery was not only genuine, but that she stood sentry duty at the fort and led her family to safety by trudging across New York state after Fort Niagara was captured by the British in December 1813.
The new marker, which will stand along Main Street - not far from Betsy Doyle's home - is made possible by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. The Syracuse-based foundation funds a statewide historic marker program and believes historic markers play an important role in local historic preservation. In addition to instilling pride, historic markers educate the public and support historic tourism, thus providing economic benefits to the towns and villages where the markers are placed.
The project has been under development for two years and is a collaborative effort among Niagara County, The Village of Youngstown and Old Fort Niagara. The public is invited to attend.
Old Fort Niagara is located in Youngstown, 14 miles north of Niagara Falls via the Robert Moses Parkway North. The fort opens at 9 a.m. daily. Old Fort Niagara is a National Landmark and State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association (a not-for-profit organization), in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.