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HAL explores 'Ambush at Devil's Hole'


Mon, Oct 11th 2021 04:40 pm

The Historical Association of Lewiston’s next program, “Ambush at Devil’s Hole: Massacre or Job Action,” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah Fellowship Hall, 915 Oneida St. Stephen Cocca is the guest speaker.

HAL said, “Job actions, labor disputes and strikes are nothing new in Western New York. With our long industrial history and strong association with being a ‘blue-collar town,’ we have taken pride in our working-class roots and built strong bonds with the many iconic companies and organizations over the last 150 years. While it is true that most of these labor-management relationships were born after the industrial explosion experienced in Western New York in the late 1800s and early 1900s, an incident that took place on the escarpment above Lewiston over 250 years ago may very well have been the first such action on the Niagara Frontier.”

Based upon research gathered during an Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) program at Niagara University in 2011 and published in the Western New York Heritage Magazine in the winter of 2012, the so-called “Massacre at Devil’s Hole,” as Cocca suggests in his program, may not have been intended as a military action but, instead, conceived as a job action. A peaceful demonstration by the Seneca Nation intended to press management (the British) for sustained employment and secure positions.

Cocca is a retired Gowanda Central School Middle School teacher where he taught social studies and English language arts. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and he and his wife, Vicki, live in Olean.

This community event is free and open to all, and refreshments will be served. Due to the pandemic, anybody not vaccinated must wear an appropriate face mask.

Hand sanitizer will be available.

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