Category Archives: Fulton News

Oswego was at forefront of war 200 years ago this Monday

The battle – Notice gun and cannon fire going up the hill to Fort Ontario.
The battle – Notice gun and cannon fire going up the hill to Fort Ontario.

By Debra J. Groom

The Americans looked doomed from the start.

About 1,300 British troops stormed into Oswego May 5, 1814 – 200 years ago this Monday. They were met by a mere 300 Americans.

The British had 222 cannons and other weapons. The Americans had a lowly five cannon and their muskets.

The Battle of Oswego, May 5-6, one of the later battles in the War of 1812, did not go well for the young Americans again fighting the British just 38 years after the start of the Revolutionary War.

But they fought hard, fought valiantly. They did all they could to keep the British out of Oswego. Men died right at the flagpole inside Fort Ontario trying to keep the British away from the American flag.

Paul Lear, manager of the Fort Ontario State Historic Site and an expert on the battle, said while the Americans lost the battle, they did keep the British from attaining their goal.

“The British wanted two things,” Lear said. “They wanted to disrupt the flow of military parts and equipment to Sackets Harbor where the USS Superior and Mohawk were under construction. If they seized cannons, ropes, riggings and ammunition coming through the pipeline they could slow the ship construction and maintain their advantage on Lake Ontario.”

“They also needed food,” Lear said. “They were desperate for food.”

Earlier in the spring, some of the British military hierarchy thought perhaps the best target for an attack would be Sackets Harbor, the large U.S. military bastion on Lake Ontario (it was the U.S. Naval headquarters during the War of 1812) where much of the American shipbuilding was taking place.

4-30_OSbattledrummond
Drummond

But, after thinking about two earlier attacks of Sackets there that did not go well for the British, Commodore James Yeo and Maj. Gen. Gordon Drummond decided to bypass Sackets for Oswego – “an objective of lesser proportions,” said Lear, quoting Yeo and Drummond’s superior, Gen. George Prevost.

So the plan was to attack Oswego.

Lear said Oswego was important during the War of 1812 because shipments of food stuffs, military equipment and ship parts came through Oswego before heading to Sackets Harbor.

Shipments would come from New York City up the Hudson to Albany, over land to Schenectady, onto boats at the Mohawk River to Rome and then Wood Creek. The shipment then would move across Oneida Lake and down the river to Oswego Falls (now Fulton).

Then the material would be moved around the falls and rapids and then back onto the river to Oswego, where it would move onto Lake Ontario for the short trip north to Sackets.

Lear said the British knew attacking Oswego would allow them to cut off these shipments without being hit by a huge military presence like that at Sackets Harbor.

The village of Oswego at the time was the home to about 200 people, most involved in the forwarding or shipping trade, Lear said. “The best salt at the time came from Salina (outside Syracuse),” Lear said, noting Oswego was a prime spot for receiving salt before it was shipped elsewhere.

The village was split in two by the Oswego River – just like today’s city. But there was no Utica Street or Bridge Street bridges – to get from one side of the village to the other, people had to take a ferry.

There were only a couple hundred military men at Oswego at the time and the British knew this. Fort Ontario also was a mess, having fallen into near complete disrepair after being discarded in 1796.

A photo of an engraving showing the British ships in Oswego Harbor May 5, 1814. The smaller boats are carrying British to shore for the attack.
A photo of an engraving showing the British ships in Oswego Harbor May 5, 1814. The smaller boats are carrying British to shore for the attack.

Lear said U.S. Lt. Col. George Mitchell of the 3rd U.S. Artillery, who was in the Niagara Territory, was told to march with 300 men to Oswego to protect supplies and naval shipment being brought through the village. From April 23 through April 30, Mitchell and his men march from Batavia to Oswego.

Upon arrival, Mitchell finds the dilapidated Fort Ontario and five cannons. “He had almost nothing to work with,” Lear said.

On May 5, guards at Fort Ontario see a fleet of ships out in Oswego Harbor.

“The alarm guns go off. Mitchell sounds an alert for the militia to turn out,” Lear said. About 200 or so from surrounding areas such as Hannibal, Sterling and Scriba show up.

The British are getting ready to come ashore when they are hit with something all Oswegonians then and now are used to – a storm.

Lear said the storm actually was a blessing for Mitchell and the Americans. While the British waited in their ships for better weather, the Americans had time to hide much of the equipment, ship parts and food they knew the British wanted in the woods around the village.

Mitchell also set up a large grouping of tents on the west side of the village to give the illusion of more American troops being on hand than there really were.

But Mitchell knew that once the storm passed, the attack would begin in earnest. He was right. Yeo and Drummond loaded men onto smaller boats heading to the shore near where the Fort Ontario post cemetery is today.

Since the water is shallow, the boats had to stop off shore and the British soldiers and sailors had to jump in the water to head to shore. Lear said they tried to keep their weapons dry, but every once in a while they would step into a deeper pocket while walking to shore and go in over their heads.

“The lakeshore became a mass of sodden, red-coated Royal Marines and De Wattevilles (Swiss soldiers) and green-jacketed Glengarries (Canadian Scots) struggling ashore, streaming with water, shaking themselves, and checking their cartridge boxes to determine how much of their ammunition was ruined,” writes Robert Malcomson in his book “Lords of the Lake.”

“Mitchell brought 80 soldiers and 20 sailors down to engage the British line where he got off six or seven crisp volleys,” Lear said. “The other 100 men left the ditch and marched out to join Mitchell’s line when he was about halfway back up the slope, so he wouldn’t get flanked on the right or south side.”

Then the British begin firing back – at least those with guns that still worked.

As the British moved up the hill and closer to the fort, some Americans retreated to the woods.

Others keep fighting. British are coming from different directions and eventually Mitchell realizes the Americans are being overrun. He orders a retreat.

Lear said while the Americans were told to “defend the supplies and water route and not the fort and village,” the soldiers didn’t want the fort and flag to fall. A few Americans “nailed the flag to the pole and stayed by their guns,” Lear said.

“Royal Marine Lt. John Hewett and a burly sergeant were in the van of the raisers as they fought their way toward the lofty flag pole in the center of the fort,” Malcomson writes in “Lords of the Lake.” “Hewett leapt up to the foot rests and scaled the pole, drawing the fire of insulted Americans who succeeded in hitting him several times.”

“Unfazed, Hewett tore the massive Stars and Stripes flag from the nails that held it aloft and it fluttered to the ground to the cheers and huzzahs of his comrades,” Malcomson writes in his book.

Lear said one American, who already had been shot and was on the ground inside the fort, tried to stop Hewett only to be run through with a bayonet.

In all, the Battle of Oswego lasted a mere 16 minutes, Lear said. The Americans retreated, many to Oswego Falls, which is now Fulton. They took many wounded with them.

Lear said the most perplexing thing about the battle is trying to come up with an exact number of casualties. It seems everyone has different numbers. Lear said his research has found the Americans suffered 18 dead by May 30, many dying weeks after the battle from “horrible wounds.”

The British had 90 killed or wounded. They also captured some ship goods, equipment and food, but not the amount they thought they would find.

According to Malcomson’s book, Mitchell and Master Commandant Melancthon Taylor Woolsey thought the British would continue their surge down the Oswego River to Oswego Falls (Fulton) and then to Three Rivers where more goods were stored.

But the British got back on their ships after the Battle of Oswego and headed back to Kingston.

While the British had the upper hand in Oswego, they would meet their match at the end of May in Sandy Creek.

Woolsey’s troops, with help from militia and Oneida Indians, would ambush them there on May 30 in the Battle of Big Sandy Creek, keeping them from capturing any more goods on the way to Sacket’s Harbor.

For more information

To hear a brief talk about the Battle of Oswego, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhqJTmB2o28

To hear a brief talk about the Battle of Big Sandy Creek, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kawjMd2Ucj0

SUNY Oswego students raise money for CAC

Denvol Haye, president of Delta Kappa Kappa, left, and Eli Kim Swallow, a member of the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, right, present Melanie Proper, mental health counselor with the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County with the proceeds from the ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser.
Denvol Haye, president of Delta Kappa Kappa, left, and Eli Kim Swallow, a member of the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, right, present Melanie Proper, mental health counselor with the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County with the proceeds from the ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser.

Hundreds of SUNY Oswego students filled The Shed recently to show their support for the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Oswego County, based in Fulton.

Hosted by Delta Kappa Kappa Inc. (DKK), in collaboration with SUNY Oswego’s men’s varsity ice hockey team, the ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser was the culmination of a campaign created by SUNY Oswego students Denvol Haye, president of DKK, and Eli Kim Swallow, a forward on the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, to raise money for the CAC and to help raise awareness of child abuse in Oswego County.

The ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser, which was held April 12 at The Shed, 1 Washington Blvd. in Oswego, began in the afternoon and continued into the evening.

The ‘For the Kids’ fundraiser, which featured a barbecue, both a silent and chinese auction, music provided courtesy of WNYO, and a live performance from Zeta band, raised more than $2,500.

In addition to the event at The Shed, Haye and Swallow created an online donation page at indiegogo.com that received more than $1,000 in donations.

“We’re very pleased with the results of our ‘For the Kids’ campaign,” said Haye.  “In addition to SUNY students we had several groups of parents and families that joined us in the afternoon.  It was a great success.”

With more than $3,600 raised in support of the CAC, Haye said they are looking forward to planning next year’s ‘For the Kids’ campaign and are hoping it becomes an annual event.

“It was encouraging to see the support we received, from not only our fellow students, but from the community as well.  From the families that attended the event to the many businesses who donated items for our auctions, the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive,” said Haye.

Delta Kappa Kappa, a social fraternity whose general purpose is to foster the development of fellowship, scholarship, and leadership in young men, and the SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey team, each have a history of supporting nonprofit organizations in and around Oswego.

“We have a lot of respect for what the CAC does,” said Swallow. “With April being National Child Abuse Awareness Month, we felt it was a perfect time to help the CAC raise awareness of child abuse in our community and the many services that the CAC provides for children and their families who have suffered child abuse.”

Located at 301 Beech St., Fulton, with a satellite office at 4822 Salina St., Pulaski, the CAC of Oswego County is a nonprofit charitable organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, probation, medical providers, therapy providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children that are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call  592-4453.

Elks annual May Day celebration this weekend

Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr., center, presents a proclamation for May Day to Elks Exalted Ruler Ted Stoughtenger, left, and leading knight Debbie Caprin, right. The Fulton Elks are having their 63rd annual May Day Celebration and Bicycle Giveaway May 2 and 3 at the Elks Club, 57 Pierce Drive, Fulton, behind Cayuga Community College. The two-day event will include band entertainment both days. On Friday, there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, fried dough and pizza with midway rides beginning at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, there will be the crowning of the May Day king and queen at 11:30 a.m., a chicken barbecue, midway rides, concessions, games, dancing, food, entertainment and displays by the Drug Awareness Program, Fire Department, LoveMyParrots and more. There also will be  bicycle drawings every 45 minutes for children beginning at 1 p.m. Those registered must be present to win.
Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr., center, presents a proclamation for May Day to Elks Exalted Ruler Ted Stoughtenger, left, and leading knight Debbie Caprin, right. The Fulton Elks are having their 63rd annual May Day Celebration and Bicycle Giveaway May 2 and 3 at the Elks Club, 57 Pierce Drive, Fulton, behind Cayuga Community College. The two-day event will include band entertainment both days. On Friday, there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, fried dough and pizza with midway rides beginning at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, there will be the crowning of the May Day king and queen at 11:30 a.m., a chicken barbecue, midway rides, concessions, games, dancing, food, entertainment and displays by the Drug Awareness Program, Fire Department, LoveMyParrots and more. There also will be bicycle drawings every 45 minutes for children beginning at 1 p.m. Those registered must be present to win.

Police Report

From the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office:

Laurie J. Wakeman, 51, of 311 Lehigh Road, Pulaski, charged with grand larceny and welfare fraud, both felonies, following an investigation conducted by the Oswego County Department of Social Services in which she allegedly obtained services in the form of Medicaid with a value of over $1,000 due to not disclosing incomes received.

Wakeman was arraigned in Mexico town court and released on her own recognizance.

A 13-year-old Syracuse male, a 13-year-old Baldwinsville male and a 14-year-old Liverpool male are charged with Juvenile Delinquency for acts, if committed by an adult would constitute the charges of petit larceny, a misdemeanor and burglary, a felony.

Deputies said the youths entered the Scriba Town Park and illegally gaining entry to a building and ransacking it along with stealing a package of bracelets.

Michael J. Proud, 25, of 1168 County Route 20, Oswego, was charged with felony DWI (previous conviction in 10 years), and numerous traffic infractions following a traffic stop on State Route 481 in the town of Volney.

He was arraigned before Volney Town Justice James Aluzzi and will be back in court May 26.

Fulton Police Department:

Earl C. Dedeaux, 41, of West Second Street, Fulton, charged with assault second degree, a felony; strangulation second degree, a felony; attempt to commit rape first degree, a felony; and unlawful imprisonment first degree, a felony.

Police said on April 6 between the hours of 10 and 10:30 p.m. At 213 W. Second St., he attempted to forcibly engage in sexual intercourse with the victim. Police said while doing this, he grabbed and squeezed the victim’s throat causing her breathing to become restricted. Police said Dedeaux also slapped the victim across the face to prevent her from calling out for help.

Albert R. Mendez, 24, of East Broadway, Fulton, is charged with criminal contempt, a felony, and criminal mischief, a felony.

Police say on March 12, he broke a cell phone during a domestic dispute. Being with this victim also violated an order of protection signed by a state Supreme Court justice stating he should refrain from criminal mischief or any offenses against the victim.

Travis D.C. Hoskins, 18, of Emery Street and South 11th Street, Fulton, charged with a felony counts of burglary and criminal mischief.

Police say he intentionally damaged a residential steel door and casing by kicking it, resulting in about $400 of damage. Police say he also entered the residence and stayed inside.

Children celebrate Earth Day

Children from Noah’s Christian Nursery School took time out to learn about Earth Day. They celebrated Earth day with a visit to the library to learn more way they could honor, celebrate and protect their world. In their classrooms, the children planted grass and flowers. After visiting the library, the children walked to Veterans Park on South First Street to collect litter. Pictured are Addison Holden and Henry Jerred who found a large discarded box leaning against a utility pole. After cleaning up the litter, the children were treated with a trip to Burger King. Noah’s Christian Nursery School is a non-denominational preschool program located within the Fulton First United Methodist church (State Route 176). They are accepting fall registrations and have an open house scheduled for 6 to 7:45 p.m. May 1. For more information about the preschool, call the main office at 592-7347.
Children from Noah’s Christian Nursery School took time out to learn about Earth Day. They celebrated Earth day with a visit to the library to learn more way they could honor, celebrate and protect their world. In their classrooms, the children planted grass and flowers. After visiting the library, the children walked to Veterans Park on South First Street to collect litter. Pictured are Addison Holden and Henry Jerred who found a large discarded box leaning against a utility pole. After cleaning up the litter, the children were treated with a trip to Burger King. Noah’s Christian Nursery School is a non-denominational preschool program located within the Fulton First United Methodist church (State Route 176). They are accepting fall registrations and have an open house scheduled for 6 to 7:45 p.m. May 1. For more information about the preschool, call the main office at 592-7347.

Vendors sought for Arts Fest

CNY Arts Center is seeking vendors for the fourth annual Arts Fest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 14 in the Fulton Community Center Ice Rink on Broadway.

Registrations for vendor spots are open now. Vendors can register for a 10×10 spot with electricity at the festival. Food vendors are also actively sought.

The event brings artists and crafters together with handmade original art on display for sale along with food vendors, and hands on art.

New at this year’s event will be art demonstrations and sample art classes for all ages along with new outdoor entertainment. The annual CNY Arts Center community mural will also be completed at this year’s Arts Fest.

Previous murals have been created during Harborfest. The 2014 mural will use recycled bottle caps to create an Alice in Wonderland theme and festival attendees will help create the mural to be framed and displayed in a prominent Fulton location.

For online registration and more information  visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 592-3373.

Sign up Saturday for Fulton Kiwanis baseball

Fulton Kiwanis baseball will be holding sign-ups for the 2014 season from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday May 3 at the War Memorial.

Director Derek Lyons said Kiwanis baseball will be heading in a new direction this season. Lyons and his group of supporters will be striving to turn its Kiwanis baseball and softball programs into more of a learning experience.

Fulton varsity baseball and softball coaches will be used to help players learn the proper mechanics and throwing, catching, fielding and batting techniques. Lyons said games will still be held, but the program will focus more on skills development.

The 2014 Kiwanis baseball season will begin the week of June 30 and end the week of Aug. 4.

Participants can expect activities two nights a week, including a practice session of station work with varsity and junior varsity coaches.

Games will be played following the practice sessions and on another night of the week as well.

This season, Kiwanis will feature five different leagues. The T-Ball League (eligible to boys and girls ages 4-6), the Grasshopper Minor League (Coaches and Umpires pitch in this league which is eligible to boys ages 7-9) and the Grasshopper Major League (eligible for boys ages 10-12).

Girls softball will have two leagues as part of the Kiwanis baseball program once again this season. In the Minors, coaches and umpires pitch in this league to girls ages 7-9.

Girls ages 10-12 are eligible to participate in the Major League. In terms of participation eligibility, the ages indicated are based on how old a player is on June 24.