January 21, 2014
OSWEGO - The Oswego War of 1812 Symposium returns to the Port City for its fourth year. Once again, it includes a full commemoration weekend of this historic war that secured America's independence and earned the young nation worldwide respect. The event runs from Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.
Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear is the chairman of the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Bicentennial Steering Committee and will emcee the event, assisted by Jenny Emmons, curator at Fort Ontario State Historic Site.
"This region has been instrumental throughout American history, including a significant role as a major theatre of action during the War of 1812," said Lear. "The symposium features an illustrious group of speakers who will give the audience insights into the war and demonstrate the importance of the northern frontier throughout the campaign."
The symposium has grown significantly from its inception, and this year is no exception. A new component leads off the event as SUNY Oswego students take to the podium to participate in a presentation competition. From 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 4, attendees enjoy a variety of perspectives about the War of 1812 from these budding historians. An awards ceremony immediately follows, hosted by Dr. Gary Gibson, chairman of the student presentation committee and Dr. Richard Weyhing, professor with the SUNY Oswego History Department.
Early registration also takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, followed by a meet-and-greet social with cash bar.
On Saturday, the day begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Paul Lear and a presentation by author and historian Dianne Graves, "Alarm and Apprehension: Civilian and Women's Experiences along the St. Lawrence-Lake Ontario Corridor." Dr. John Grodzinski, assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada, presents, "Army vs. Navy: Lieutenant General Prevost, Commodore Yeo and the Unity of the British War Effort in the Canadas from 1813 to 1815."
Deborah Trupin, textile conservator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, offers "A Tale of Two Flags: How History, Ownership and Treatment Affected the Conservation of Two Early 19th-century American Flags," followed by Keith Herkalo, War of 1812 re-enactor and president of the Battle of Plattsburgh Association and Plattsburgh's War of 1812 Museum, with "Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain: Bathurst's Plan to End the War with the United States."
There will be a break for lunch, followed by Paul Lear's presentation, "An Objective of Lesser Proportions: the May 5-6, 1814 Battle of Oswego." Dr. Gary Gibson, noted naval historian and author, returns to the symposium with a new discussion, "Worthy of a Better Fate: the May 30, 1814 Battle of Sandy Creek." Historian Meredith MacVittie follows with "The War in Recent Memory: How Fraternal Organizations Helped Shape the Perception of the War of 1812," and Alexander Craig, award-winning author and historian closes out the day with his presentation, "Britons, Strike Home!: Amphibious Warfare During the War of 1812."
At 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dr. Timothy Abel, historian and adjunct professor of anthropology at both Jefferson Community College and SUNY Canton, opens the symposium with, "The Archaeology of Pike's Cantonment, Plattsburgh, Winter 1812-1813." Prominent author and military historian Donald Graves continues with his presentation, "Night Assault on Fort Erie, 16 August 1814: The Anatomy of a Military Disaster," followed by Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site Manager Constance Barone with her presentation, "Demise and Remembrance: Sackets Harbor and the War of 1812." Lt. Col. Michael McGurty (USAR ret.), superintendent of New Windsor Cantonment and Knox's Headquarters New York State Historic Sites, closes out the symposium with "The Tools and Drudges of the Regular Troops: The New York Militia in the War of 1812."
This year's seminar is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Pathfinder Bank, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, WCNY-TV, Dot Publishing, Oswego County Today, City of Oswego, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.
Registration for both days is $75 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID. The registration fee includes Saturday's lunch, refreshment breaks on Saturday and Sunday and workshop materials. One day registration is also available: $50 for Saturday, including lunch or $25 for Sunday. For students with a valid ID, one day rates are $23 for Saturday, including lunch or $12 for Sunday.
Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario. Contact Paul Lear at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Checks should be made payable to "Friends of Fort Ontario - 1812" and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, N.Y. 13126.
Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain's Quarters Hotel, 26 E. First St., Oswego. Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.
For more visitor information, go to visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.
Dr. Timothy Abel, historian and adjunct professor of anthropology at Jefferson Community College and SUNY Canton, returns to the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium with a presentation about the archaeology of Col. Pike's Cantonment. He is pictured here during an active discussion with a curious audience from last year's event.
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