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February 13, 2017

Fort Ontario Launches History and Archaeology Conference

OSWEGO - The Fort Ontario History and Archaeology Conference makes its debut in the Port City on Friday, April 21 and continues through Sunday, April 23 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center at 26 East First Street in Oswego.

"We've shifted the focus on our annual conference away from an exclusive War of 1812 theme and expanded it to include more general discussions about warfare and the human condition during conflict in the U.S. and Canada," said Fort Ontario Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear. "Presentations will span the pre-colonial period through the mid-20th century and feature fresh perspectives and research by students, historians and archaeologists. Participants will also enjoy a variety of exhibits and book signings, as well as a student paper competition and a guided bus tour of regional French and Indian War sites."

The conference begins on Friday, April 21 with a meet-and-greet social, light refreshments, cash bar, and early registration from 6 to 9 p.m. The student paper competition starts at 6:30 p.m. and features 20-minute summaries of papers submitted by college students. A panel of esteemed historians will judge the competition and prizes will be awarded immediately following the presentations. All are welcome to attend this program to meet the historians and archaeologists of today and tomorrow.

Fort Ontario Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear opens the lecture and discussion program on Saturday at 9 a.m. The first presenter is French and Indian War Historian George Bray of Rochester, N.Y. who will speak about "Lieutenant-Colonel John Bradstreet's Raid on Frontenac, 1759." The discussion includes Bradstreet's use of Oswego and the ruins of Fort Ontario as his base for a crippling attack on the French supply base at Frontenac in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Archaeologist Dr. Joseph Diamond of the Anthropology Department at SUNY New Paltz will follow with his presentation, "An Archaeological Examination of Two 17th Century Stockades at Wildwyck, Kingston, N.Y., and Huguenot Street, New Paltz, N.Y."

Keynote speaker René Chartrand, an internationally acclaimed Canadian author and historian, will then deliver his address. Based on his book, "Montcalm's Crushing Blow: French and Indian Raids Along New York's Oswego River, 1756," the presentation describes the French capture and destruction of the three British forts of Oswego.

Following a break for lunch, Dr. Douglas Pippin, archaeologist and professor of anthropology at SUNY Oswego, will speak on "The British on Lake Ontario During the American Revolution: An Archaeological Perspective; Carleton Island, Fort Ontario, and Fort Niagara." Historian and author Anthony Gero of Auburn, N.Y. will then draw from his book "Black Soldiers of New York State, A Proud Legacy, 1750 to 1950" and include new information in his talk.

Dr. Richard Weyhing of the SUNY Oswego History Department will present "They Closed Their Eyes and Risked Death to Come Here: Menominee Warriors at the Siege of Oswego, 1756."

Esteemed Canadian historian and author Donald E. Graves wraps up the day's program with an invigorating talk entitled. "Drink, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and Sex: The Seamy Underbelly of the War of 1812."

At 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, conference attendees and knowledgeable guides will board coach buses to visit locations of French and Indian War activity from Oswego to Oneida Lake. During the French and Indian War, Oswego played a major role in three of the five campaigns leading to the end of French occupation of Canada, and Fort Ontario was the site of three battles.

Admission to the opening reception on Friday is free for all attendees. Pre-registration and payment is required for Saturday and Sunday activities. Registration for the two-day event is $50 for adults, $40 for students and includes lunch both days. Registration for Saturday's program is $30 for adults, $15 for students and includes lunch. Registration for the tour on Sunday is $25 for all and includes a box lunch.

Registration and credit card payment can be made online through the Friends of Fort Ontario Web site, www.historicfortontario.com, or by phone (315) 343-4711. Registration forms and check payments can also be mailed to Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 East Fourth Street, Oswego, N.Y. 13126. Checks should be made payable to "Friends of Fort Ontario."

Special room rates for conference attendees are available at the Best Western Hotel, 26 East First Street, Oswego. Please call the hotel at (315) 343-4040 and mention the Fort Ontario History and Archaeology Conference.

For a complete conference schedule and other details, visit the Friends of Fort Ontario Web site, the Fort Ontario History and Archaeology Conference Facebook page, or contact Paul Lear at (315) 343-4711 or paul.lear@parks.ny.gov.

For more about Oswego County's history or visitor information, call 315-349-8322 or go to visitoswegocounty.com.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 65 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call (518) 474-0456, visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

NEW CONFERENCE, NEW FOCUS, NEW PERSPECTIVES - Fort Ontario State Historic Site presents a new conference with a focus on Native American history, French and Indian War battles and campaigns, the archaeology of 17th and 18th century forts, the base side of soldiering during the War of 1812, and the African-American military experience. The Fort Ontario History and Archaeology Conference runs from Friday, April 21 to Sunday, April 23 at the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center on East First Street in Oswego. For registration and details, call (315) 343-4711; visit www.historicfortontario.com; or find "Fort Ontario Conference on History and Archaeology" on Facebook.

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