War of 1812 Symposium Draws Record Numbers
OSWEGO – Commemoration activities for the bicentennial of the War of 1812 continue as the American Foundry hosted the second annual Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium on Saturday, March 31.
“With a record attendance of nearly 200, we had another great turnout for this program,” said Paul Lear, site manager of Fort Ontario State Historic Site. “In fact, we received such an overwhelming response that we had to turn away another 30 or 40, unfortunately, because we were at capacity.”
Lear added, “Many people don’t realize it, but this area was a major theatre of action during the War of 1812 and there is a tremendous interest in that history. Many local and regional public historians were in attendance. Others came from as far away as Buffalo, the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and Canada to hear about the people who lived and fought here during the struggle for control of Lake Ontario and the subsequent preservation of American freedom.”
Speakers at the event included: Dr. John Grodzinski, assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada; Col. Clayton Nans, USMC (ret.); and Dr. Gary Gibson, noted historian and author.
Other presenters were Dr. Benjamin Ford, assistant professor in maritime and historical archaeology and preservation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and Darren Bonaparte, chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, creator of the Wampum Chronicles Web site, historical and cultural advisor and esteemed author.
Susan Gibson, Sackets Harbor native; and Beverly Sterling-Affinati and Anne Davis, of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 were also at hand with presentations. An exhibit of original War of 1812 artifacts by Continental Arms Collectors and the International War of 1812 Peace Garden Project were very popular with symposium attendees.
The distinguished line-up of speakers addressed a variety of topics, including military strategies and naval history, civilian life and fashion, and the Native American influence on the war as fighting broke out along the New York-Canadian border.
Supporters of this year’s War of 1812 Symposium included Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, and Fort Ontario State Historic Site with support from the Daughters of the War of 1812, City of Oswego, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Heritage Foundation, Oswego County Historical Society and Half-Shire Historical Society.
A record of the symposium will soon be available on DVD through the Friends of Fort Ontario. This 4-disc set will be sold for $23.50 and includes tax, shipping and handling. To order a copy, send an e-mail to Fort Ontario State Historic Site Manager Paul Lear at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oswego County War of 1812 Commemoration Committee is already planning for the 2013 Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium, tentatively scheduled for early next April.
For updates on this and other commemoration activities, to see a listing of local War of 1812 soldiers or to learn more about the history of Oswego County, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/.