By Matthew Biddle:
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.
"The War of 1812: Volume 1" is
available now at select retail locations and historic sites throughout the
region, including Barnes & Noble, Talking
, Dog Ears Bookstore
the Buffalo & Erie County Historical
, and more. In addition to the regular quarterly Western New York Heritage
of Volume 1 can also be purchased for $10 through Western New York Heritage's
office or by calling 716-893-4011 or online at
495 Pine Ridge Heritage Blvd.
Cheektowaga, NY 14225