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Morning ceremony honoring Tuscaroras set for Dec. 19

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Mon, Dec 9th 2019 01:55 pm

Local officials, Native Americans and volunteers will assemble for a brief remembrance ceremony at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at the Tuscarora Heroes Monument at the corner of Center Street and Portage Road in Lewiston. The public is invited to attend and is welcomed to partake in a Dutch-treat fellowship breakfast at Syros Restaurant immediately after the ceremony.

The gathering will mark the 206th anniversary of the Tuscarora actions that saved the lives of dozens of local citizens during the War of 1812 British invasion.

Tuscarora Heroes Monument was dedicated on the 200th anniversary of the attack, on Dec. 19, 2013. It is the largest War of 1812 bicentennial monument project in the nation. The larger-than-life-size bronze sculptures depict two Tuscarora natives rescuing a white woman and her baby.

On Dec. 19, 1813, the Tuscaroras, who were allied with the U.S., bluffed the British into thinking they were walking into a trap. Despite being outnumbered 30 to 1, the Tuscaroras were able to stall the British advance long enough to allow local residents to escape east down Ridge Road. One of the survivors of the attack, Isaac Cooke, wrote at the time, “We would have all been murdered had the Tuscaroras not been there.”

Despite the help from the Tuscaroras, about a dozen local residents were killed.

Historical Association of Lewiston volunteer Lee Simonson will tell the story of an often-overlooked local patriot, Reuben Lewis, who had recently settled in Lewiston with his wife and four young children. When the early morning attack ensued, he told a neighbor to take his wife and children, and that he would stay and fight. He was killed defending the U.S., and his newly adopted hometown, as the British ransacked Lewiston.

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