Just over two hundred years ago, the War of 1812 was well underway, and the Battle of Queenston Heights raged atop the Niagara Escarpment. By the time the battle ended, the American army was forced to retreat, and the British claimed another in a string of early successes. Today, the influence of the events of 1812-14 can still be felt across the region. Queenston Heights is a beautiful park in Ontario, while other important local locations, including Old Fort Niagara, still welcome visitors daily.
To mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the past 200 years of peace between the United States, Canada and Great Britain, Western New York Heritage Press is publishing a series of three commemorative annuals, the first volume of which was released on October 12. “A lot of people don’t know much about the War of 1812,” says executive editor Douglas DeCroix, “but it had a tremendous impact on the history of the United States, Canada and the Native peoples on both sides of the border.”
Volume 1 will explore the causes of the war, as well as local battles and skirmishes during its first year, including the Battle of Queenston Heights and a skirmish in Chautauqua County that many consider to be the war’s first clash.
The next two volumes will focus on the years 1813 and 1814 when they are published in 2013 and 2014, respectively. “We are extremely grateful to the Baird Foundation and Dual Printing for their generous support of this first volume,” DeCroix says. “It is gorgeous, and we are looking forward to the next two.”
In Volume 1, readers can expect to find contributions from local experts like Erie County historian Douglas Kohler; Ron Dale, the War of 1812 Bicentennial planner at Parks Canada; and historian John W. Percy, while Niagara County historian Catherine Emerson presents new research on local heroine Betsy Doyle, who loaded red hot cannons amidst heavy fire at Fort Niagara. Future volumes will feature more work from local authorities, as well as that of internationally recognized scholars, such as Canadian Donald Graves and Americans Richard Barbuto and Thomas Chambers, among others.
Since premiering its first issue of the quarterly Western New York Heritage magazine in 1997, the not-for-profit organization has strived to preserve the history, art and architecture of the region in order to foster a pride of place in Buffalo and all of Western New York. With this new publication, Western New York Heritage Press will examine the war, its impact on our region and why it deserves to be remembered 200 years later, all in the visually stunning style readers have come to expect from the quarterly.