Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase (Orasmus Turner, 1849)


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Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase (Orasmus Turner, 1849).pdf


Embracing Some Account of the Ancient Remains ... and a History of Pioneer Settlement Under the Auspices of the Holland Company; Including Reminiscences of the War of 1812; the Origin, Progress and Completion of the Erie Canal, Etc., Etc., Etc

Tonawanda: Horatio Jones, the early mounds.

1812: Page 590 begins description of McClure's rashness in burning of Newark. Flight of the "motley throng" eastward down the Ridge Road to Forsyth's. Aid of the Tuscarora. Invalid Judge Cook at Lewiston shooting Indians from an ox sled. The following summer (British) Indians pillaged occasionally from occupied Fort Niagara. Sparrow Sage and a "female companion" abducted, he axes them (592).

(December 23rdish, 1813) Eighteen Mile Creek and destruction of Lake Road dwellings, Van Horn Mill (mansion not built for a few more years). "Seldom has there been a more peaceable and humane march of invaders through a conquered territory. " (593). Brought "fifteen or sixteen" men back to Niagara as prisoners.

Moves onto Black Rock landing, Buffalo's shoddy defense, the "disgraceful" spectacle of retreating soldiers passing fleeing families: "The rout, the hasty, panic stricken retreat, the unnecessary surrender ing of a frontier, and its then largest village, to the arms and the a torch of an invading foe, not formidable either in numbers or military prowess" (597). Still credits the behavior of the settlers in the aggregate.

"Before daylight, the citizens of Buffalo were fully apprised of the feeble and ill managed defence at Black Rock; of its prospect of failure. Tidings that all was hopeless, had reached them , and were confirmed by the hasty retreat of squads of militia, who were making palpable demonstrations of their innate love of life, in their eagerness to outstrip each other in the race that was taking them beyond the reach of danger" (Ibid).

Col Cyrenius Chapin's surrender and terms. (Chapin had been opposed to McClure's misdeed). Gave time for citizens to escape. British officers liquor be hidden to keep Indians from getting out of control. Lt. Riddle and the Williamsville 40 march on British, not knowing about the treaty, and provide rationale for British to resume burning. They contest the authority of Chapin to surrender, fire cannon? Chapin winds up prisoner and taken to Montreal.

The Buffalo Road filled with all manner of retreating humanity, descriptions of occasional rallies to fight. Pity, as invaders were marred by timidity and cowardice, did not deserve their spoils. Description of the gloom and privation throughout the Holland Purchase that followed, as the invaders hunkered down at Niagara.

Letters follow. "Twelve thousand souls" depopulated. Legislative aid. President Madison dispatched Gen. Cass to Niagara Frontier to describe scene. He writes a scathing report to the Sec of War:

"The fall of Niagara has been owing to the most criminal negligence. The force in it was fully competent to its defence. The commanding officer, Captain Leonard, it is confidently said, was at his own house, three miles from the fort, and all the other officers appear to have rested in as much security as though no enemy was near them . Captains Roge and Hampton, both of the 34th, had comp in the fort. Both of them were absent from it. Their conduct ought to be strictly investigated. I am also told that Major Wallace of the 5th , was in the fort. He escaped and is now at Erie." (604-5).

"From the most careful examination, I am satisfied that not more than six hundred and fifty men, of regulars, militia and Indians, landed at Black Rock. To oppose these we had from two thousand five hundred to three thousand militia. All except a very few of them, behaved in the most cowardly manner. They fled without discharging a musket."

Redemption in Sortie of Fort Erie.