Old Fort Niagara will host a living history weekend on August 20th and 21st, exploring daily life during fort’s history when men, women and children went about their daily tasks, working to survive at an isolated frontier outpost. [Read more…] about Life at Old Fort Niagara Living History Weekend
Old Fort Niagara
The British held Fort Niagara throughout the American War for Independence. They used the forts strategic position to launch raids against the frontiers of New York and Pennsylvania, hoping to deprive George Washington’s army of much needed soldiers and supplies.
The French and Indian War was George Washington’s first military command and the first time large European armies fought on American soil. Native Americans fought on both sides and often influenced the outcome of military campaigns. When the war was over in 1763, half a continent changed hands and the stage was set for the American Revolution.
Fort Niagara began the war as a French outpost. Constructed in 1726, the fort remained in French hands until the fifth year of the French and Indian War. Because the fort guarded the strategic Great Lakes water route to the west, the British set their sights on capturing the fort in 1759.
A British expedition, mustered near Schenectady, advanced across New York during June. By July 6th, 2,500 British and New York soldiers and almost 1,000 Haudenosaunee allies landed where Four Mile Creek State Park stands today. [Read more…] about French and Indian War Encampment at Fort Niagara July 2-3
A British soldier serving at Fort Niagara during the 18th century got one holiday a year: the King’s Birthday.
To celebrate, the fort’s garrison was turned out in new uniforms and powdered hair. At noon, the artillery fired a “Royal Salute” followed by three volleys of musketry. [Read more…] about King’s Birthday Event at Old Fort Niagara June 4th
Old Fort Niagara will present its annual “Soldiers through the Ages” event, a timeline of military history spanning four centuries, on Memorial Day weekend, May 28th and 29th. [Read more…] about Soldiers Through The Ages: A Special Event at Old Fort Niagara
In December 1813, during the War of 1812, there was a human catastrophe as a result of the burning of the Niagara Frontier. Only one home was spared along the 37-mile-long border and upwards of 6,000 refugees fled into the snowy forests heading for the Genesee River and safety.
Richard V. Barbuto’s book New York’s War of 1812: Politics Society and Combat (University of Oklahoma Press, 2021), looks back to the War of 1812, from the beleaguered Fort McHenry to the burning White House to an embattled New Orleans. [Read more…] about 1813: Fall of Fort Niagara & Burning the Niagara Frontier
Old Fort Niagara will celebrate National Laundry Day with a program on how laundry was processed in the eighteenth century, on Saturday, April 16th.
Living history interpreters will demonstrate laundry techniques over an open fire and discuss textiles and their production. Visitors will learn how clothing was repaired and how military tailors ensured that uniforms fit the soldiers in the garrison. [Read more…] about National Laundry Day at Old Fort Niagara
At the beginning of the Civil War, Fort Niagara was garrisoned by elements of the Seventh United States Infantry Regiment. This unit was captured by Confederates in New Mexico in July of 1861 and sent to northern border posts on parole the following winter. Later, the Union strengthened Fort Niagara by adding massive brick walls that remain a prominent feature of the fort today.
Abraham Lincoln’s portrait graces the United States Five Dollar bill. Local residents can celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th by enjoying deeply discounted admission to Old Fort Niagara. Visitors who bring one for each member of their party can purchase fort tickets for a fraction of the regular cost, while enjoying special programs about local history during Lincoln’s time. [Read more…] about Old Fort Niagara Offering Special Discounts for Lincoln’s Birthday
The following captivity narrative was related by Robert Brice and includes an account of the September 1781 “Dietz Massacre” that took place a few miles south of the Village of Berne, Albany County, NY. This story was taken down from Robert Brice when he was still living by Josiah Priest and published in his Stories of the Revolution in 1836 as “The Captive Boys of Rensselaerville – John and Robert Brice.” This version has been lightly edited for easier reading, but has retained much of the tone and style, including the use of disparaging terms to refer to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people who took part in these events. Additional details and background about this event can be found here. New York Almanack is presenting this story to illustrate historical attitudes about these events from a victim’s perspective.
The Brices had migrated from their native country of Scotland in the year 1774 and settled in a new place, southwest of the city of Albany. At this place, a few families had chosen a residence, which was then called Van Rensselaer’s Patent, but now Rensselaerville. Here the newcomers erected a few log houses. [Read more…] about The Captive Boys of Rensselaerville: John and Robert Brice
This event will focus on how people survived in 18th century New York during the winter months. [Read more…] about 18th Century Winter Survival Skills Focus of Old Fort Niagara Event