OSWEGO, NY – Col. Zebulon Pike’s brutal winter encampment at Plattsburgh, and stories of daily life in the North Country during the War of 1812, are among the topics to be presented at the third annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 5, 6 and 7, at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.
The symposium will feature1½ days of lectures by noted historians on different aspects of the War of 1812 and life in the frontier communities along the U.S. and Canadian border.
Noted War of 1812 archeologist Dr. Tim Abel will share the story of Col. Zebulon Pike’s 15th Regiment and the latest information on his archaeological investigations of Col. Pike’s encampment in Plattsburgh.
“After the 1812 campaign along Lake Champlain failed to gain a foothold in British territory, Gen. Henry Dearborn’s 1st Brigade of roughly 2,000 men, under the command of Colonel Zebulon Pike, went into winter quarters at Plattsburgh,” said Dr. Abel. “They occupied Plattsburgh for three short months, during which time over 200 men died of exposure and disease. The brigade marched out in the early spring of 1813 in three feet of snow, traveling 175 miles to Sackets Harbor, where they participated in the 1813 Niagara offensive. That summer, the British burned the encampment to the ground.”
The encampment was undisturbed for more than two centuries, hidden in a wooded area near the old Plattsburgh Air Force Base. In 2011, Dr. Abel’s archeological investigations confirmed this historic location and identified evidence of the early intact cantonment site of Pike’s 15th Regiment.
Dr. Abel will present his findings at the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Saturday morning, April 6. He has been involved in hundreds of survey, testing and excavation projects ranging from 10,000-year-old Native American sites to early 20th century farmsteads. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in anthropology from the University of Albany, owns a private consulting business, and is an adjunct professor on the faculties of SUNY Canton and Jefferson Community College.
Sackets Harbor native Constance “Connie” Brennan Barone will speak Sunday morning, April 7. Barone will share her research of narratives, memoirs and official documents to reveal how the War of 1812 touched the daily lives of people on the Northern Frontier.
She has been site manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site for ten years. Her 40-year career in the museum field began when she did summer work at the Sackets Harbor village museum. She remains very involved in sharing the rich cultural heritage of the Sackets Harbor community with local residents and visitors alike.
“During the War of 1812, people in Northern New York faced political, economic, and emotional turmoil, choices that impacted daily life,” said Barone. “Their lives were disrupted as US troops seized livestock and crops, destroyed property, and interrupted transportation, communications, and trade. During the war, they defended their homes, families and nation showing bravery, ingenuity, and spirit, so the country could survive its first test of democracy since the Revolutionary War.”
Paul Lear, Superintendent of the Fort Ontario state historic site, will moderate the symposium. The weekend kicks off Friday evening, April 5, with an informal reception and presentation of the original painting of the U.S Brig Oneida by Oswego artist Tim Ames.
Speakers on Saturday will include Dr. Abel, Dr. Peter Rindlisbacher, Dr. Gary Gibson, Jonathan Moore, Clayton Nans, Sandy Antal, and Dennis Connors. Sunday’s program will feature Constance Barone, Lt. Col. Michael McGurty, and Matthew MacVittie.
The symposium will conclude late Sunday morning with a speakers’ roundtable and discussion.
The Oswego War of 1812 Symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Old Fort Niagara Association, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, Alliance-NBT Bank, The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Pathfinder Bank, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, C & S Engineers, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, 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 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.
For a registration form, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/war-of-1812-symposium/
Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario. Contact Franshisca Cedillo at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Checks should be made payable to “Friends of Fort Ontario – 1812” and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 East Fourth Street, 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.