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Hoisington Becomes a Hero Again

During the War of 1812, Job Hoisington became a Buffalonian of legend. As we approach the 200th anniversary, the Kleinhans Community Association saw it fitting to honor this hero of local lore with a historic marker, commemorating his heroic battle deeds.
To those who may not know who Hoisinton was, Chris Brown President of the Kleinhans Community Association explained, “There was a lot written about him, but unfortunately, it was written 150-200 years ago.”
Hoisington was a member of the U.S. Army Buffalo militia, joining at the ripe age of 50. He was an expert marksman and prior to moving to Buffalo was the captain of the Vergennes militia of Vermont for twenty years. He fought alongside the Seneca tribe of Native Americans, Buffalo militia, and regular American forces against the British in the First Battle of Black Rock on July 11, 1813.
Later, on December 30, 1813, Hoisington received word that the British had landed and were marching with their Native American allies along the Niagara River. When the alarm was given, he made sure his family members were safe, then joined his militia company under Lieutenant John Seeley. They met the British and their allies and at first held their ground, but sadly, 2,000 of the new army recruits fled, leaving only a few hundred militia men to face over 1,000 disciplined British troops and Native Americans.
As the company realized they were outnumbered and flanked, they made the decision to retreat. When they reached what would become the intersection of Porter and Plymouth Avenue, Hoisington held back. Though his companions urged him to go with them, he stayed to shoot at the oncoming troops. No one ever saw Hoisington alive again. His remains were discovered some time after the battle, the exact time of which is unclear.
Brown says, “Even though Job Hoisington has been forgotten over the years, he’s going to be remembered over the next year or so.” As well as becoming the subject of a historic marker, Hoisington will also be the subject of a novel about local ghosts. That’s because Hoisington was initially buried in 1814 at Cold Spring Burying Ground, but in 1850 his remains had to moved. His remains were exhumed and to be moved to the then-new Forest Lawn Cemetery. At some point, Hoisington’s skull was stolen and it has never been recovered. Some claim to still see him walking around, looking for it.
The Kleinhans Community Association hopes that this dedication of the historic marker will serve as an example in the future, as more markers are planned to commemorate the War of 1812. Luckily for the association, Karpeles Manuscript Museum at Porter Hall has agreed to be the caretaker of the marker. Often times, markers are the subject of graffiti or theft but under the museum’s watchful eye, the marker will be kept clean and safe.
The dedication of the marker will take place on Saturday morning, May 24 at 10:30. A reception at the museum will follow at 11 with refreshments and the reading of an epic poem written about Hoisington. Also available at the museum will be a detailed narrative of the story of Job Hoisington (with illustrations by local artist Don Mayer) included in the KCA-produced book Historic Plymouth Avenue and Kleinhans Music Hall. At noon there will be a one hour walking tour of Porter Avenue and Symphony Circle beginning at the museum. If that isn’t enough, Dr. Karpeles is creating a special exhibit of War of 1812 documents to coincide with the dedication. The event is free and open to the public.

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