April 23, 2014
OSWEGO – More than 250 people gathered to enjoy a weekend of history talks, exhibits and literature at the fourth annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium on April 4, 5, and 6. Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen opened the symposium at the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center on East First Street in Oswego.
“We had a terrific turnout for this program, which included a local audience as well as people traveling in from neighboring regions for the weekend,” said Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear, chairman of the event. “The audience was thoroughly engaged in the presentations and everyone walked away with a lot of new information about military strategies and civilian life in the Northern frontier as well as insights to the past from remembrances and modern recovery efforts.”
Twelve speakers from across the U.S. and Canada explored a variety of War of 1812 topics, including battle analysis and military archeology; amphibious warfare and soldiers; British strategy and division; flag conservancy; the war’s effect on soldiers and society; and remembering and memorializing the war. Participants also discovered engaging exhibits, living history demonstrators and historical authors who presented and signed their works.
A new component to this year’s event was the student competition on Friday night. Mary Katherine Clerkin, a senior at SUNY Oswego, took home first prize for best student presentation for her program about soldiers’ rations during the War of 1812. Megan Winnick, also a senior at SUNY Oswego earned second place with her talk about the War of 1812’s Battle of Sodus; and Chad Cook, a SUNY Oswego senior, brought in third place with his discussion about the role of the Iroquois in the war. The competition was judged by symposium presenters Dr. John Grodzinski, assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada; Dianne Graves, historian and author; Meredith MacVittie, historian; and Dr. Timothy Abel, historian and adjunct professor of anthropology at both Jefferson Community College and SUNY Canton.
“The student papers were a brilliant addition to the program,” said Dr. Grodzinski. “They are a great way to encourage the next generation of historians to undertake scholarly research on the War of 1812.”
The symposium was sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, 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.
To follow this and other War of 1812 commemoration activities, or to learn more about the history of Oswego County, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info or visit www.fortontario.com. For visitor information, contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322 or go to www.visitoswegocounty.com.
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