February 4, 2014
OSWEGO, NY – Audiences will have the opportunity to hear two of Canada’s foremost historians, author Dianne Graves and her husband, military historian Donald E. Graves, speak about civilian life during the War of 1812 and the British assault of Fort Erie at the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Saturday, April 5. The fourth annual symposium takes place April 4, 5 and 6 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.
Author and consultant Dianne Graves will speak about what the War of 1812 meant to people living in the St. Lawrence-Lake Ontario region on both sides of the border between 1812 and 1815. Graves conducted years of research in diaries, records, memoirs and correspondence to examine the ordeals, tragedies and triumphs of women in early 19th century North America, including events such as cross-border raids, the British attacks on Sackets Harbor in 1813 and Oswego in 1814, and the American 1813 offensives against York and Montreal.
In her presentation, “Alarm and Apprehension: Civilian and Women’s Experiences along the St. Lawrence – Lake Ontario Corridor,” from 9:10 to 9:50 a.m. Saturday, April 5, Graves will discuss how hostilities impacted the close relations and everyday lives of ordinary people, and highlight some of the realities created by the changing circumstances of the war.
She is also the author of “In the Midst of Alarms: The Untold Story of Women and the War of 1812,” “Crown of Life: The World of John McCrae,” the biography of the young man who wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields,” and “Redcoats and River Pirates,” an historical novel for young readers set on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in the 1830s. She has consulted for a number of heritage and film projects.
A native of Kent, England, Dianne Graves studied modern languages before embarking on a public relations career in the fields of international education and travel. Dianne and her husband, military historian Donald E. Graves, live in the Mississippi River Valley of Upper Canada. Dianne continues to write and research, and works with her husband on a variety of historical and heritage projects.
Later in the afternoon, from 2:10 to 2:50 p.m. Saturday, April 5, military historian Donald E. Graves will recount the fascinating circumstances of the night assault on Fort Erie. “Donald E. Graves is considered Canada’s foremost expert on the War of 1812,” said Paul Lear, Superintendent of Fort Ontario State Historic Site and chairman of the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium. “He has authored or co-authored at least a dozen books and articles, and has worked as a historian for Parks Canada, Canada’s National Historic Sites Service, the National Archives of Canada, and the National Defence Directorate of History.”
In his lecture, “Night Assault on Fort Erie, 15 August 1814: The Anatomy of a Military Disaster,” Graves will recount one of the most disastrous defeats suffered by the British army during the War of 1812. “Long overshadowed by other military actions during the period, notably the capture of Washington, the assault on Fort Erie was a desperate, hard-fought military operation between two equally-matched opponents,” said Graves. “The result was the second highest British casualty list of the war.” The lecture is based on Graves’ latest book, entitled “And All Their Glory Past: Fort Erie, Plattsburgh and the Last Battles in the North, 1814,” published in October 2013. Donald E. Graves studied history at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and Carleton University in Ottawa. He is a member of the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s Advisory Committee on the Bi-Centennial of the War of 1812, and is the only non-American member of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Scholarly Advisory Committee on Revolutionary and War of 1812 Battlefields, and the only non-British member of the Heritage Advisory Board of the Royal Armories of Britain. The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 5 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 6. Oswego State University students will present research papers at the opening of the symposium, Friday evening, April 4.
For a complete schedule and to register, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/war-of-1812-symposium/. 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.
Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario. Contact 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 Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, N.Y. 13126.
Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, 26 E. First St., Oswego. Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.
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. For visitor information, go to visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.
Donald E. and Dianne Graves will share their research and historical analysis of the War of 1812 Saturday, April 5, at the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium. Dianne will discuss the lives of civilians along the St. Lawrence River - Lake Ontario frontier during the war, while Donald will recount the ill-fated British attack on Fort Erie. The Graves are among Canada’s foremost historians of the War of 1812. For information go to visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/war-of-1812-symposium.
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