Military Subjects:  War of 1812


The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 17: January 2012


Canadians Make Their Case at War of 1812 Symposium in Ogdensburg, New York

The Fort La Présentation Association’s fourth annual War of 1812 Symposium in Ogdensburg, NY April 27-28, 2012 marks a milestone in local War of 1812 bicentennial commemorations.

Eight expert speakers, four from Canada and four from the United States, are confirmed. They are coming from Ottawa, Kingston, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Plattsburgh, Potsdam and Chicago to present seminars on campaigns and battles, Indian allies, archaeology, artifact conservation, medical practices, research challenges and more.

The symposium will again be hosted by the Freight House Restaurant at 20 Market Street in Ogdensburg. The seminars will be held in the banquet hall. Other rooms will be used for book signings and exhibits from regional museums and heritage organizations.

“We intend the symposium to be welcoming and appealing to a broad public and are holding the line on fees,” said Barbara O’Keefe, President of the Fort La Présentation Association. “Students are offered a 50-percent discount because we believe the symposium has much to interest budding scholars in college and high school.”

The cost of the symposium remains the same as last year at a maximum of $110 to as low as $10 for the Friday evening meet-and-greet alone, and the discounts are extended. Members of Forsyth’s Rifles and the Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation will pay the same reduced rate as Fort Association members. Students will receive a 50 percent discount. However, they must pay a members full amount in advance and receive their cash discount on arrival at the symposium with photo ID.

“Efforts to organize the symposium and confirm an equal number of presenters from the United State and Canada began late last summer,” said O’Keefe. “This is a major undertaking, and we are so pleased the Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation took on the lion’s share organizing our 2012 symposium.”

The Canadian Friends are dedicated to educating the public while preserving and researching our shared history along the St. Lawrence River. In the true spirit of education, the seminars will appeal to a wide audience of educators, history buffs, re-enactors and the curious.

Two of the Canadians historians featured in the recent PBS production, “The War of 1812,” are giving seminars at the symposium. Four other historians who appeared in the production have presented at previous symposia.

Registration is online through PayPal or by mail with a check enclosed. Information is available at

For more information the media may contact:

Barbara O’Keefe, President, Fort La Présentation Association  315-393-3315 or  613-304-1736 (C)                                          

Michael Whittaker, President, Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation 613-773-1543 (W)

Seminars and Presenters

Canadian Presenters

Medical practices during the War of 1812

GREGORY BARAN, MD, a private practitioner and medical consultant in Kingston, Ontario since 1992, is the regimental surgeon for the re-enacted Regiment of Canadian Fencible Infantry and King’s Royal Regiment of New York. He regularly presents on War of 1812 medical practices at Upper Canada Village and continues to consult as a medical historian with various bicentennial projects and productions related to the War of 1812. Dr. Baran collects antique medical equipment.

the discovery, conservation and preservation of the US Schooners Hamilton and Scourge 

Nancy E. Binnie, MSc, is a Senior Conservation Scientist with Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, Ontario. Her career began in 1988, and she has had a long association with the wrecks of the Hamilton and Scourge in western Lake Ontario. An experienced scuba diver, her scientific interests have also taken her on the recovery of historic aircraft, such as the Fokker Universal from Lake Charron in northern Manitoba, and the search for Avro Arrow models in Lake Ontario. Ms. Binnie is the author or co-author of many papers related to artifact conservation and preservation.

The Battle of Queenston Heights and the role of Fort George in the War of 1812

RONALD J. DALE is the Superintendent of Niagara National Historic Sites, including Fort George and Brock's Monument, and is the 1812 Bicentennial Project Manager at Parks Canada. As an historian he is the author of The Invasion of Canada: Battles of the War of 1812, The Fall of New France: How the French lost a North American empire 1754-1763 and Niagara-on-the-Lake: Its Heritage and Its Festival. He resides in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. (Featured in the PBS War of 1812 production.)

Planning for and conducting of War in North America, 1808-1815

Major John Grodzinski is an assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. His doctoral thesis is The Constraints of Strategy: Lieutenant-General Sir George Prevost as Commander-in-Chief of British North America during the War of 1812. His MA discussed the War of 1812 on the Upper St Lawrence River. Since joining the army in 1983, he has held several appointments with his regiment, Lord Strathcona’s Horse, and various staff positions. Major Grodzinski conducts War of 1812 battlefield tours for the Canadian military. (Featured in the PBS War of 1812 production.)

American Presenters

Research leading to the discovery of Col. Zebulon Pike's encampment on the Saranac River

KEITH HERKALO is an 1812-era re-enactor and a founding member and current president of the Battle of Plattsburgh Association. As an amateur historian, his research is the catalyst behind the archaeological discovery of “Cantonment Saranac” and the location of the Grab Island graves. Mr. Heraklo edited The Journal of H.K. Averill, Sr.: An Account of the Battle of Plattsburgh and Early North Country Community and is the author of September 11th, 1814: The Battles of Plattsburgh. He is involved in restoration projects as the City Clerk for Plattsburgh.

The archaeology confirming the site of Col. Zebulon Pike's encampment on the Saranac River

Timothy J. Abel, PhD, has interests spanning the prehistoric and early historic archaeology of the Great Lakes. Since 2003, he has conducted more than a dozen projects related to the military and domestic archaeology of the War of 1812 in northern New York. Recently his archaeological investigations have produced conclusive evidence in Plattsburgh of the encampment named “Cantonment Saranac” by its commanding officer Col. Zebulon Pike. Dr. Abel is an instructor at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, New York.

Teaching the War of 1812 as a civil war

Melissane Schrems, PhD, is an assistant professor of history at St. Lawrence University in Potsdam, New York, where she is a member of the Native American Studies Advisory Board and teaches courses focused on Native American and Colonial American history. Dr. Schrems doctoral dissertation was on the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians on Cape Cod, and her minor fields were Native American history, the history of Colonial America and Comparative Slavery. She is on the board of the Fort La Présentation Association.

Abbé Piquet and the legacy of Indigenous/Mohawk alliances during the War of 1812

SCOTT STEVENS, PhD, is the Director of the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies in Chicago. His research interests concern the diplomatic and cultural strategies of resistance among North American Indians in the face of colonialism, as well as the political and aesthetic issues surrounding museums and the indigenous cultures they display. Dr. Stevens is currently working on a book-length research project entitled Indian Collectibles: Encounters, Appropriations, and Resistance in Native North America. He is a member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation.

Symposium Pricing Options

Friday Meet-&-Greet $10                              Student rebate $5


Meet-&-Greet, Seminars & Dinner $100      Student rebate $50 

Seminars & Dinner $90                                 Student rebate $45 


Meet-&-Greet, Seminars & Dinner $110

Seminars & Dinner $100

Other Options

Seminars only $80                                          Student rebate $40 

Dinner & Speaker only $35                           Student rebate $15

Dinner choices are prime rib or chicken masala or vegetarian pasta prima vera. 

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