Wayne Post
  • Historically speaking — A peek at Palmyra’s past

  • General John Swift, founder of Palmyra died in July 12, 1814. The General was fatally shot at Fort George located in the upper Niagara River area in Canada.

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  • General John Swift, founder of Palmyra died in July 12, 1814. The General was fatally shot at Fort George located in the upper Niagara River area in Canada. General John Swift was making his home and a home for his family in Palmyra, New York. War was the last thing on the mind of these young soldiers and this young country. Palmyra’s first lawyer Major William H. Cuyler had already left his business and answered the call to join the War of 1812. He died at Black Rock just south and east of Fort Erie. Many call this war unnecessary and determine that the young United States of America was planning to take over Canada.    
    None the less it happened and the reason for fighting was felt to be a poor reason at best. The American Army and Navy were a bit beaten down and unprepared certainly not prepared for the British. The British had been fighting France and Napoleon who was defeated in Europe in 1814. This meant the British could focus all their efforts and experienced military in Canada. Once again Palmyra’s men were called to duty leaving their families and community to fend for themselves and create a frontier life.   
    The battles in New York State were focused along the shores of Lake Ontario. The community of Pultneyville, Sackets Harbor, home to some of the American fleet, Sodus Point, and Oswego. Genera l Swift was called to fight in this area before he went to Canada.    
    This year as our first year of the Pirates of the Erie Canal the Lois McClure  will be docked on Aug. 11 at the Port of Palmyra aka the Palmyra Marina with tours that day 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday evening after the tours are complete, come to the Alling Coverlet for a program by Art Cohn Captain of the tugboat Churchill and an integral part of the Lois McClure programs at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. The program is at 7:30 p.m. and will end about 9 p.m. This boat trip is based on the War of 1812.     
    Historic Palmyra’s Pirates of the Erie Canal will be arriving with events and activities on Aug. 9 with the Goonies  (a pirate movie) at the Village Park and for the adults and children with adults a Ghost Walk is scheduled by Historic Palmyra on Aug. 9. The movie is no charge and the walk will begin at the Phelps Store take 2 hours and is $10 per person no discount prices. If you haven’t been on one of these ghost walks it is pretty amazing. Bring flashlights, tape recorders and a camera if you have one.
    Also on the week of Pirates will be the Historic Palmyra Archaeological dig camp. This will happen on Aug. 6 through 8 for three days from noon to 3 p.m. All supplies will be furnished and the price will be $15 per child or $5 per day. We have space for about 8 more students from 8-15 years. The dig will take place on the historic Wm Phelps General Store and home property and the Palmyra Historical Museum Property. Remember the digging is being done near Pirate Whitley’s building which was just across the street on Market Street. It is no longer there but we can certainly hope for a doubloon or two. All finds must remain at the museum. A walk on the Erie Canal will be for the first hour and you might find a fossil or two. Lots of fun and it will be educational.    
    Page 2 of 2 - Call 597-6981 for reservations.