LOCKPORT – The History Center of Niagara County will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 with a free program Thursday funded by a New York State Council on the Humanities grant.
Ann Marie Linnabery, the center’s assistant director and education coordinator, will present “The War of 1812 in Niagara County” at 7 p.m. at the center, 215 Niagara St. The program will be repeated at 11 a.m. June 22 at the Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St.
The presentation will highlight the significant role Niagara County played in this international conflict and some little-known incidents as well as the more recognized events.
Using historical images as well as recent photographs, Linnabery will trace war-related events that occurred in the county from 1812 to 1814, beginning with the Battle of Queenston Heights and continuing through the destruction of much of the Niagara Frontier.
One of the lesser known skirmishes occurred at what is now known as Molyneaux Corners, at the corner of Route 104, North Ridge Road and Plank Road, in the Town of Cambria, Linnabery said.
“After the British and their Native American allies burned Lewiston in December of 1813, people fled along Route 104 east toward Orleans County,” she said.
“When they got to Gaines, in Orleans County, they told the people there what had happened, and the Gaines Militia gathered and walked to Niagara County. When they got to the area around what is now Molyneaux Corners, there was a tavern there, and they heard noise inside. They weren’t sure what to expect.”
“One of the militia went in and confronted the British soldiers and Native allies he found inside, and there was some shooting,” she said.
“From what I’ve read, two British soldiers and two Natives were killed, but no Americans. In fact, those two British soldiers were the first to be buried in Molyneaux Cemetery, which is just a little west of where the tavern was on Route 104. It’s called Molyneaux Corners because just before this all happened, the property had been sold to William Molyneaux. He later built a large hotel and tavern on the site, and it lasted about 100 years, burning down around 1927.”
Linnabery said the center would like to get a marker at the site some day. “We are still looking for an original letter or diary or newspaper article as a primary source of information,” she said.
Linnabery said she has relied on help from Old Fort Niagara, the Historical Association of Lewiston and the Cambria Historical Society for the project. She has 25 years of experience in the museum field, with a master’s degree in history from the University at Buffalo.
She also is working on a map of sites throughout Niagara County that are marked because of their connection to the War of 1812. She hopes it will be available by the June 22 presentation.
Light refreshments will be served following the program. For more information, call 716-434-7433.