OSWEGO – Come to the fourth annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium next weekend at the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center on East First Street in Oswego. Hear true stories about the war along the New York-Canadian border from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 5 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 6. The event opens on Friday, April 4 with a student presentation competition, a meet-and-greet social with cash bar, and early registration from 6 to 9 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, a dozen presenters will explore 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.
On Sunday, April 6, Constance Barone, site manager of the Sackets Harbor State Historic Site, presents her engaging paper, “Demise and Remembrance: Sackets Harbor and the War of 1812,” which describes the memorialization of military soldiers.
“After the second Battle of Sackets Harbor, General Jacob Brown informed retreating forces that the dead would be properly buried,” said Barone. “He said that ‘Americans will be distinguished for their humanity and bravery.’ Now, two centuries later, closure has come to pass.”
Barone added, “Whether soldiers were friend or foe, regular military officers or volunteer farmer militia, their sacrifices and hardships deserve to be recognized. We will address military deaths and burials as well as the means of commemorating these fallen heroes.”
Sackets Harbor native Constance “Connie” Brennan Barone has been manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site for 12 years. Her career in the museum field began 45 years ago when she worked at the Sackets Harbor Village Museum over the summer. She remains very involved in sharing the rich cultural heritage of the Sackets Harbor community with local residents and visitors alike.
Another historian will look at how we remember war itself. Meredith MacVittie of Philadelphia, PA makes her first appearance at the podium to discuss, “The War in Recent Memory: How Fraternal Organizations Helped Shape the Perception of the War of 1812.”
“History is written by the victors, or, in the case of the War of 1812, by whichever side believes they have won,” said MacVittie. “This produces an interesting dilemma for historians and helps shape how we remember history.”
MacVittie added, “Fraternal organizations of veterans, such as the Society of the War of 1812, also help shape our context of war and influence post-war attitudes and American patriotism. We will address perceived myths and realities as we examine their formation and purpose, as well as the various aspects of war that they choose to address and the ways that they choose to memorialize events. ”
A native of Western New York, MacVittie earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ithaca College and her master’s degree in history from California State University, Northridge, CA. Her research has included the history of American society and culture, gender relations, and media. She has presented at the annual conferences of both the Western Association of Women Historians and the Southwestern Social Studies Association.
Paul Lear, superintendent of the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, will moderate the symposium. In addition to Barone and MacVittie, the distinguished panel of speakers includes Donald and Dianne Graves, Alexander Craig, Dr. John Grodzinski, Dr. Timothy Abel, Lt. Col. Michael McGurty, NYNG (ret.), Dr. Gary Gibson, Deborah L. Trupin, Keith Herkalo, and Paul Lear.
Symposium participants will also discover engaging exhibitors, living history demonstrators and historical authors who will present and sign their works. Living history presenters Ted Schofield, Bill Bamman and Ford Best return to the symposium this year with displays and dressed in the appropriate garments of the time. The exhibits feature period uniforms and clothing that a sailor aboard the U.S. Brig Oneida would have worn, along with the typical attire of a North Country militia man.
The symposium is 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.
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. SUNY Oswego students who register with Dr. Richard Weyhing in the school’s history department by Friday, March 28 will have their admission covered. For details, contact the professor at [email protected]
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.
For a complete schedule and registration form, go to www.fortontario.com or http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/war-of-1812-symposium.
Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, 26 E. First St., Oswego. Call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.
For more visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.