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Oakwood Cemetery commemorates War of 1812

by jmaloni
Wed, Jul 11th 2012 07:00 am

Historic congressional presentation, "Stunters Rest Tour," nature walk, tree planting

The historic Oakwood Cemetery, the second oldest cemetery in Western New York, commemorates the War of 1812 in conjunction with the Main Street Business and Professional Association's second annual Garden Walk on July 14.

The Oakwood Cemetery event is sponsored by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission in regards to its "cross-border" cemetery program (partnering with the Drummond Hill Cemetery, 6110 Lundy's Lane, Niagara Falls, Ont.).

This is an opportunity for the public to be on hand for a historic Congressional presentation, enjoy the "Stunters Rest Tour," participate in a nature walk, observe a special tree planting, and support the future plans of Oakwood Cemetery.

Event Schedule

On Saturday, July 12, Oakwood Cemetery will be open to the public to enjoy.

  • 9 a.m.: Gates open
  • 9:15 a.m.: Welcome ceremony - Larry Steele, OC administrator
  • 9:25 a.m.: Congressional Medal of Honor presentation regarding Gen. Porter - Warren Baltes, Buffalo
  • 9:45 a.m.: 1812 Re-enactors
  • 10 a.m.:  "Stunters Rest Tour," guided, with re-enactors - Michele Kratts
  • 11 a.m.:  Nature tour - John Farfaglia, Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  • 11:45 a.m.:  Maple tree planting

And, Drummond Hill Cemetery will be open to the public to enjoy:

  • 2 until 3 p.m.: Guided tour - Sherman Zavitz, local Niagara Falls, Ont., historian
  • 3 until 4 p.m.: Visit - historic battle field hotel tour

Congressional Medal of Honor Presentation

As the victor at the Battles of Chippewa, Erie and Niagara, Maj. Gen. Peter Buell Porter was recognized as a hero in the War of 1812 and, therefore, awarded a Congressional Gold Medal on Nov. 3, 1814.

In order to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, a majority vote in both houses of the U.S. Congress is required. The award is emblematic of a Presidential Medal of Honor in that it also requires the majority vote of Congress. However, Congress bestows it instead of the president.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the only medal wherein families of the awardees may order bronze replicas. In the presentation on July 14, Warren Baltes will present a bronze replica to Oakwood Cemetery in honor of Porter, who is buried there.

The re-enactors are a group of three men who will be dressed as militia of 1812. They will fire their muskets on the grounds of the cemetery to honor all the 1812 veterans buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

"Stunters Rest" Guided Tour

Visit some of Niagara's most colorful characters who preformed stunts at Niagara Falls. Oakwood Cemetery's "Where the Stunters Rest" tour will take you to meet Annie Edson Taylor face to face. Join her and visit Carlisle Graham, Capt. Matthew Webb and Francis Abbott (the Hermit of Niagara). Learn of their adventures, and capture the excitement they caused. Docent: Michelle Kratts.

Nature Walk with John Farfaglia, horticultural educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension

Identify tree species - in particular, deciduous shade trees. Brochures to be provided and a Q-and-A period will be available. The tour is a fairly easy walk of approximately 40 to 45 minutes along the cemetery lanes.

Maple tree planting

Symbolizes the cross-border connection between the Oakwood Cemetery on the U.S. side and Drummond Hill Cemetery on the Canadian side.


Honeymoon Sweets of Niagara is offering a new line of chocolate to honor Niagara Falls stunters of the past. "Niagara Daredevil Chocolates" is the sweet concoction of local candy maker Mary Ann Hess. The unique, handmade chocolates can be purchased by at the event or by calling Oakwood Cemetery at 716-284-5131 or by going to Mary Ann's website. A portion of the proceeds to benefit Oakwood Cemetery; Heart, Love and Soul Food Pantry; and the Lions Club of Niagara.

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