Friday, February 22, 2019

Some More on Joseph Willcocks-- Part 2: He Turns

In the second session of the 6th parliament, held 25 February to  13 March 1813, it still appeared that Willcocks was behind Upper Canada.  Merchant William Hamilton Merritt described Willcocks as a "zealous Loyalist."   An old friend said Willcocks was  actively recruiting for an Incorporated Militia.

However, things changed after the capture of York in April 1813 and the invasion of the Niagara Peninsula in May.  The military situation stabilized after the Battle of Stoney Creek on 5 June 1813.  Certain people in the colony caused the military to impose harsh measures on those who opposed the government.  This caused Willcocks to lose faith in and turn against his government.

Sometime in July 1813, Willcocks crossed the Niagara River and offered his services to the Americans.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Some More on Joseph Willcocks-- Part 1: Traitor?

From Biography--  Willcocks, Joseph 00  Volume V.

In the Fifth Parliament of Upper Canada, with the threat of war with the United States eminent, the colony's administrator, Isaac Brock, was determined to push through measures to put the colony on war-footing, but he was unsuccessful thanks to a coalition led by Joseph Willcocks.

An angry Brock dissolved the Parliament and moved to have a more pliant group elected.  Willcocks, however, was reelected and once again defeated Brock's efforts to prepare Upper Canada for war, though at this time, they were already at war.

There are those who say this opposition led to the traitorous things he did in the future.

Even after the invasion of Niagara by the Americans, Willcocks was still against certain British administrators, but for Upper Canada. Then, in August, Brock appointed Willcocks to secure an alliance with the Six Nations Indian tribes who lived in Upper Canada and he was successful  in the effort, despite being sick.

So What's So Traitorous About This?  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Joseph Willcocks-- Part 4: Ancaster Bloody Assize and Death

In the spring of 1814, fifteen Upper Canadians, including Joseph Willcocks, were charged with  high treason as part of the Ancaster Bloody Assize.  Eight of them were arrested and executed in July 1814.  Willcocks was not arrested.

But, on September  4, 1814, while leading a skirmish during the Siege of Fort Erie, he was fatally shot  in the chest.

His body, as well as that of Lieutenant Roosevelt, was buried initially in "the circle or open square of" Buffalo, New York.  Later, his body was reburied in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery in the 1830s, but his grave is unmarked.

Wonder Why They Wouldn't Bury Him In Canada?  --Brock-Perry

Joseph Willcocks-- Part 3: His Role In the Sack of Newark

Despite offering assistance and intelligence to the U.S. forces, Willcocks was never really trusted.  His associates, Abraham Markle and Benajah  Mallory vied for control of the Canadian Volunteers.

Probably Joseph Willcocks' greatest contribution to the War of 1812 was pushing for the sack and burning of Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) on December 10, 1813, in which three buildings were left standing.

This so infuriated and  inflamed public opinion on the Canadian side of the river that barely a week later, Canadian and British forces crossed the Niagara River into the United States and took Fort Niagara and then burned pretty much everything from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Joseph Willcocks-- Part 2: The Six Nations, Brock's Death and TurnsTraitor

In 1812, Isaac Brock enlisted Willcocks to assist in the ensuring of  the loyalty and participation of the Six Nations people (Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora Indian tribes) to Upper Canada and the Crown.    This he achieved despite being ill at the time.

But, for Willcocks, the death of Brock at Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812, marked the beginning of the end for his service to Canada.  He fought alongside the Six Nations warriors as part of Roger Sheaffes's retaking of the Redan Battery.

He was greatly distressed when, after the invasion of the Niagara Peninsula in 1813, that military rule and harsh measures against people expressing what were considered to be disloyal  opinions, Willcocks considered this to be an abandonment of democratic  principles.

In July 1813, he committed treason when he offered his services to the Americans, even though he was a sitting member of Upper Canada's Legislative Assembly.  He was given the rank of major in the American Army and raised a company of Canadian Volunteers which consisted of  recent immigrants from the United States.

They all fought on the American side and Willcocks was promoted to lieutenant colonel.  Robert Nelles  replaced him in the Legislative Assembly.


Monday, February 18, 2019

Joseph Willcocks-- Part 1: The Benedict Arnold of Upper Canada?

In the last post I mentioned that Joseph Willcocks and Stephen Champlin are buried in Buffalo, New York's Forest Lawn Cemetery with a lot of other notables.

I have also already written about Stephen Champlin and Joseph Willcocks, just click on their name labels below to see what I wrote.  But I haven;'t covered Willcocks as well a Champlin, so here goes.

From Wikipedia.


(1773- September 4, 1814)

Was a publisher, political figure and ultimately, a traitor to Upper Canada.

Born in Palmerstown, Ireland, and came to York, Upper Canada, at age 27.  Once there, he lived with a distant cousin and fell in love with that cousin's half-sister and there was a bit of family problems over that.  Forced to move out, he moved in with Chief Justice Henry Allcock which proved good for his career.

He became sheriff of the Home District and then got into politics.  But some question arose about that and he was removed.  After that he moved to Niagara and began publishing a newspaper and used that to get elected to Upper Canada's Parliament and was later jailed for contempt.

On release, he was later reelected and he and a group resisted the efforts of Isaac Brock, British administrator, to prepare for a possible war with the United States.

And, the war had not even begun yet.

An Interesting Character.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, February 15, 2019

Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY-- Part 2: The Founder of National Weather Service

Some more notable burials in the cemetery:

Brigadier General Albert Myer--  Founder of the National Weather Service

Ely Parker--  Civil War aide to General Grant.

Rick James--  musician

Barbara Franklin--  Mother of Aretha Franklin

War of 1812 Veterans:  Stephen Champlin, Navy officer and Joseph Willcocks

George M. Pierce--  Pierce-Arrow Automobiles.

Civil War Veterans:  Thomas A. Budd, Navy and Daniel Bidwell, Army

Some Interesting People.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY-- Part 1: President Millard Fillmore

I have been doing a lot of writing about War of 1812 soldier and West Point graduate Alexander John Williams who is buried here.  Whenever I have a place of burial, I like to go to the cemetery and look at the names of other people buried there.

And, Forest Lawn cemetery has a lot of interesting burials.

From Wikipedia.

Red Jacket--  Seneca Indian Chief who sided with U.S, during the War of 1812.

Millard Fillmore--  13th President of the United States

Willis Carrier--  inventor of modern air conditioning

Shirley Chisholm--  politician and first black woman elected to U.S. Congress

Frederick Cook--  American explorer.  Said he reached North Pole first.

More To Come.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The War of 1812 Forest Lawn Cemetery Monument

From Waymarking.

I looked all over to see if the Soldiers' Monument is still in Forest Lawn Cemetery and wasn't having much luck.  I did find that there was a Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the cemetery, but that one commemorates the Civil War.

But, I finally came across this and the accompanying picture matches the one from the 1860 drawing.  So, this must be the new name of the Soldiers' Monument.

The site says:  A Burial Monument  to War if 1812 soldiers, many in unmarked graves at this site.  The old burial site at Franklin Square was moved to Forest Lawn.

The monument notes 6  names of soldiers buried there.  Also the remains of 1158 persons buried  in this lot all of which were removed  from the old burial ground on the west side of  Delaware Street and Eagle Street in Buffalo, NY.

This lot at Forest Lawn Cemetery is designated Franklin Square, Section N City Lot 51.

Joseph Willcocks was buried at Franklin Square in an unmarked grave.  I assume  his remains  have been removed here with the rest of the soldiers and common citizens.

Alexander Williams' grave is by this monument.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 10: Inscription On His Gravestone

The inscription om Alexander Williams' tombstone reads:

"Sacred to the memory of  Captain Alexander John Williams, of the Twenty-first Regiment United States Artillery, son of General Jonathan and Marianne Williams, of the city of Philadelphia, who was killed in the night attack by the British on Fort Erie, August 14-15, 1814.

"In the midst of the conflict, a lighted port-fire in front of the enemy enabled them to direct their fire with great precision upon his company.

"He sprang forward, cut it off with his sword, and fell mortally wounded by a musket-ball.  He sacrificed himself to save his men.

"Born October 10, 1790.  Died August 15, 1814.   Fratri Dilecto."


Monday, February 11, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 9: The Soldiers' Monument at Forest Lawn Cemetery

" commemoration of the several officers of the United States Army who were engaged in the War of 1812; also of a celebrated Indian chief (Red Jacket), and to mark the spot where the remains of over one thousand persons, which were removed from the city, lie buried.

"Near the monument *and seen in the foreground (of the line drawing of the monument) on the right is a tomb of brick, bearing a recumbent slab of marble, over the grave if Captain Williams, who lost his life at Fort Erie.

"The inscription on it is historical and briefly biographical."


Alexander John Williams-- Part 8: Forest Lawn Cemetery and the Soldiers' Monument

Continuing with Fred Rickey's site.

This is an account from 1869 about the Soldiers' Monument and grave of Captain Williams at Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Accompanied by a drawing of the Soldiers' Monument.

"On the following morning [August 16, 1860] I rode out with Captain Champlin to a beautiful depository  of the dead in the suburbs of Buffalo, called Forest Lawn Cemetery.  The ground is pleasantly undulating, is much covered with trees of the primeval forest, and is a delightful resort during the heats of summer  for those who are not saddened by the sight of graves.

"There is an elevated open space, within ground  one hundred feet  square, slightly inclosed, stands a fine monument of marble, twenty-two feet in height, which was erected  by the corporate  authorities of Buffalo in the Autumn of 1852..."


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Alexander John Williams-- Part 7: USMA Facing Problems in 1811?

From Fred Rickey  Alexander  John Williams.

Son of Johnathan Williams, first Superintendent of USMA.  Brother of Henry J. Williams, who also attended West Point..

From Denton, 1964:  Eustice (Eustis) had been obstructing the Academy.   William Eustis was Secretary of War under Madison.  "Hence, by the end of 1811, there were only six cadets left at West Point, and no instruction was being given."

Jonathan Williams took his son Alexander  out of the Academy and sent him to Dartmouth while the Academy was dormant.

Fred Rickey believes this might not have been Alexander who was removed by his father, but his brother Henry.


Friday, February 8, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 6: A Highly Regarded Officer

So perished this brave and gallant officer, not yet twenty-four years old, sincerely lamented by his friends for his private worth, and deeply regretted by the whole army, with which he was a favorite.

Though ambitious of distinction, he was perfectly unassuming; with laudable spirit, he was indefatigable in the discharge of every duty; and by his intelligence, zeal, and exemplary deportment, won the esteem and applause, not only his subordinates, but of every superior in command.

**  Note.  he was the son of Jonathan Williams, the first Superintendent of the Military Academy and Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 5: Mortally Wounded Saving the Lives of His Men

Alexander Williams' had been on the lowlands of the Delaware River for a year (Fort Mifflin) and during that time he had contracted a dangerous fever yet he was so anxious to  share in the honors and perils of campaigning of 1814, and even though a convalescent, he applied and was accepted into the Niagara Army.

He joined just in time to take part in the defense of Fort Erie.  Here, his abilities were so conspicuous that he was selected for the important command of the old work before the assault was made on it.

Three times on the morning of August 15, 1814, he had repulsed the enemy.  As the fourth attack was being made, he perceived  a lighted port fire in front of the enemy, enabling them to direct  their fire with great precision.  Instantly, he sprang forward and cut it off with his sword, and in this act, fell mortally wounded.

He sacrificed his life to save those of his men.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 4: Father Was First Army Chief of Engineers, Jonathan Williams

Captain Alexander Williams was the oldest son of Colonel Johnathan Williams, the first Chief of Engineers on the U.S. Army.  He was born October 10, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   Entered the Military Academy as a Cadet, July 9, 1806, and was graduated from that institution, and promoted March 1, 1811, to 2nd Lieut. of Engineers.

He continued at duty at West Point until 1812, when he was ordered to superintend the construction of Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, and was promoted to 1st Lieut. July 1, 1812.

Believing that he would see more active service and be more rapidly advanced in rank in the Artillery during the now-declared war with Great Britain, he  asked for a transfer to that Corps, in which he was commissioned a Captain, March 17, 1813.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 3: On Niagara Frontier and Killed At Fort Erie

Served at West Point, 1811-1812.

In the War of 11812, served 1812 to 1814.   1st Lt. Corps of Engineers, July 1, 1812., Captain , 2nd Artillery, March 17, 1813.

In command at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, 1812-1814.

Campaign of 1814 in the Niagara Frontier (Command of three 18-pounder guns at Lundy's Lane.)

Engaged in defense of Fort Erie, Upper Canada.  Where, in hand-to-hand encounter, while repulsing the enemy's fourth desperate assault upon the bastion of the work, he was killed , August 15,  1814, aged 24.

He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.


Monday, February 4, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 2: First In Class of 1811

From For What They Gave On Saturday Afternoon.

Captain, 2nd Artillery, killed while being engaged in the Defense of Fort Erie, Upper Canada, where, in hand-to-hand encounter, while repulsing the enemy's fourth desperate attack upon the bastion of the work.

Born in Pennsylvania.  Appointed to USMA from Pennsylvania.

Alexander John Williams:  Born October 10, 1790, Philadelphia, PA.

Cadet of Military Academy May 5, 1805, to March 1, 1811, when he graduated First in his Class, and was promoted in the Army to Second Lieut., Corps of Engineers, March 1, 1811.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Alexander J. Williams-- Part 1: USMA Class if 1811, Killed in War of 1812

From Civil War In the East,   West Point Officers in the Civil War.

Rank of captain.

Killed in 1814 at the defense of Fort Erie, Upper Canada.


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Battery Hobart-- Part 4: A 6-Inch Armstrong Gun

Battery Hobart, names after the War of 1812 casualty Henry A Hobart, was part of the harbor defense for Portland, Maine.

It was originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery  mounting a single  6-inch M1898 Armstrong gun (40 caliber) mounted on a M1898 Pedestal carriage.

This was a two story battery with the gun mounted on the upper story and the magazine below.  Shells were moved from the lower story magazine to the gun loading platform by hand.  No shell or powder hoist was provided.

Electrical power was furnished by  the central power plant.

The gun and carriage were removed to Fort Kamehameha in Honolulu, Hawaii,  on 23 August 1913.

Fort Wiki  Historic U.S. and Canadian Forts has pictures and diagrams of it.

Fort Fisher had a 150-pdr. Armstrong gun during the Civil War (now at West Point).