It has been a little bit over a year now since we began the restoration process at the historic Forsyth Tavern and a very limited number of people have been able to see the work that we have done so far.
Beaver Dams Ruin Land
Forsyth First Settler
Wild Animals In Abundance
Tavern Erected in 1806
Indian Invasion Repulsed
Brave Women Rewarded
Romance Named Hamlet
Beach Family Arrives
The Steadman’s Settle
Haner’s Commodious Loghouse
The Carleton Family
Col. Sutherland Arrives
The First Sawmill
Carlton’s First Cidermill
Capen and Sabins Arrive
The First Physician Arrives
Adam’s Blacksmith Shop
Mrs. Taylor’s Sudden Death
Talbert Opens Tavern
Cleared Parker Farm
Freer Antecedents Settle
Crocker Homestead Built
Fowler Traded Farms
Samuel Adams Arrives
Freeman Builds Sawmill
Tailor in 1819
Beasts Drive Gunn Away
First Negro Arrives
Physicians were Numerous
Cooley Migrated West
First School Opened
Methodist Church in 1825
Brick Church Built 1858
Early School Life
Black Famine in 1816
Stage Coach Days
Plows and Harrows
One Horse Wagon
Boot and Shoe Industry
The proposition was favorable considered by two of the commissioners, but previous to their final decision, Wm. Brittan died, and the remaining two differed in their opinion as to the location, so it became necessary to appoint another commission, which occurred in 1822. When they were qualified, and ready to act in their official capacity the Erie canal had been surveyed and its location determined upon. Therefore they selected Lockport. The wisdom of their choice has made itself manifest as years continue to multiply.
Beaver Dams Ruin Land.
Forsyth First Settler.
John Forsyth sojourned in Genesee County. N. Y., two years. There he became acquainted with and married Miss Mary Ganson, a young lady connected with a family of prominence in that county, many of whom have since help responsible and honored positions in Western New York.
Wild Animals In Abundance.
Tavern Erected in 1806.
Indian Invasion Repulsed.
Brave Women Rewarded.
Romance Named Hamlet.
Some winters just don’t want to go away and 1816 was one of those. The 1815 -1816 winter in the northeastern United States was milder and dryer than usual. As spring approached however, the weather turned colder and frosts were widespread. Farmers anticipating planting crops were frustrated throughout April and May. By the first week of June milder weather had returned and farmers rushed to get their crops sown. The relief was short-lived. On June 6th a storm brought freezing temperatures and snow. Crops planted only a week earlier were lost to frost. A few days later, milder weather returned for the rest of the month. Again crops were planted in the hope that the frosts were over. This was not to be. Cold weather and frost returned again in July. With temperatures in the 40s during the day, people began to worry about famine. Crop losses affected not only humans but livestock as well. Another warm spell in later July allayed fears but by August 6th, another round of winter weather arrived. What vegetation had survived the previous episodes was now destroyed. Once again another warm period followed but it was too little, too late. A killing frost came in late September, two weeks before usual. Then the winter started again.
Repercussions of what people called “eighteen hundred and froze to death” were widespread. The overall harvest was half of what it normally should be and only half was edible, leaving people and livestock only a quarter of the crop yield to consume. Crop prices rose while livestock prices dropped as farmers sold off livestock they could not feed. The prices remained in this pattern throughout 1817 and did not return to normal until after 1820. The opening of short sections of the Erie Canal helped stabilize prices. By the 1820s prosperity had returned to the area.
In 1816 Western New York was still very much a wilderness. Most of the information on that summer comes from accounts in New England newspapers and correspondence. However, in the 1849 “History of the Holland Land Purchase,” Oramus Turner wrote of Western New York, “In 1816 and 1817, the seasons were unpropitious (unfavorable)…after a long period of gloom and depression, struggling against formidable difficulties, the courage of the new settlers was revived.”
What caused the summer of 1816 to be so unusual? At the time there was much speculation about why the skies were wreaking havoc. It was later determined that volcanic eruptions in Indonesia between 1812 and 1815 spewed so much dust into the atmosphere that it affected weather conditions for several years around the world. The eruption of Tambora in 1815 is believed to be the worst ever recorded in human history resulting in that memorable year without a summer.
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094
April 15th 2018
November 18th 1789 - November 12th 1879
Warren's Store and Grange Hall
A cargo of ferocious animals will pass the great rapids and the falls of NIAGARA 8th September, 1827, at 3 o’clock
The Michigan has long braved the billows of Erie with success, as a merchant vessel; but having been condemned by her owners as unfit to sail longer proudly “above” her present proprietors, together with several publick spirited friends, have have appointed her to convey a cargo of Living Animals of the Forests, which surround the Upper Lakes, through the white tossing, and the deep rolling rapids of the Niagara, and down its grand precipice, into the basin “below”.
The greatest exertions are making to procure Animals of the most ferocious kind, such as Panthers, Wild Cats, Bears, and Wolves; but in lieu of some of these, which it may be impossible to obtain, a few vicious of worthless Dogs, such as may process considerable strength and activity, and perhaps a few of the toughest of the Lesser Animals, will be added to, and compose, the cargo.
Capt. James Rough, of Black Rock, the oldest navigator of the Upper Lakes, has generously volunteered his services to manage the enterprise, in which he will be seconded by Mr. Leri Allen, male of the Steamboat Niagara—the publick may rest assured that they will select none but capable assistants. The manager will proceed seasonably with experiments, to ascertain the most practicable and eligible point, from which to detach the Michigan for the Rapids.
It is intended to have the Michigan fitted up in the style in which she is to make splendid but perilous descent, at Black Rock, where she now lies. She will be dressed as a Pirate; besides her Menagerie of Wild Animals, and probably some tame ones, it is proposed to place a Crew (in effigy) at proper stations on board. The Animals will be caged or otherwise secured and placed on board the “Condemned Vessel”, on the morning of the 7th, at the Ferry, where the curious can examine her with her ‘cargo’ during the day, at a trifling expense. On the morning of the 8th, the Michigan will be towed from her position at Black Rock, to the foot of Navy Island, by the Steamboat Chippewa, from whence she will be conducted by the Manager to her last moorings. Passage can be obtained in the Michigan from Black Rock to Navy Island, at half a Dollar each.
Should the Vessel take her course through the deepest of the Rapids, it is confidently beliebed that she will reach the Horse Shoe, unbroken: if so, she will perform her voyage, to the water in the Gulf beneath, which is of great depth and buoyancy, entire; but what her fate may be, the trial will decide. Should the Animals be young and hardy, and possessed of great muscular powers, and joining their fate with that of the Vessel, remain on board until she reaches the waters below, there is great probability that many of them, will have performed the terrible jaunt unhurt!
Such as may survive, and be retaken, will be sent to the Museums at New York and Montreal, and some perhaps to London.
It may be proper to observe, that several Steamboats are expected to be in readiness at Buffalo, together with numerous Coachers, for the conveyance of Passengers down, on the morning of the 8th. Coaches will leave Buffalo, at 2 o’clock on the afternoon of the 7th, for the Falls on both sides of the River, for the convenience of those who may be desirous of securing accommodations at the Falls on the 8th. Ample means for the conveyance of Visitors will be provided at Tonawanda, at Lockport, at Lewiston, at Queenston, and at Fort George, to either side.
October 13, 1812, an invasion into Canada was launched from Lewiston, setting the tone for the brutal war of 1812.
December, 1812, the British and their allies invade Lewiston. The dead were thrown into houses and the village was burned. Those who were able to flee ran from a legion of raiders and would be dead had the Tuscarora Nation not stalled the invaders in their pursuit.
They halted their escape just long enough to warn the Widow Forsyth and beg her to follow them to the depot in Orleans... but she chose to stay.
As the ruins of Lewiston were covered in snow and the livestock of her neighbors starved in the cold winter's nights, the Widow Forsyth and her two children remained.
Her Tavern became an outpost where she took on the company of Sargent Ezra Warren and from there her kitchen supplied the garrison at Hardscrabble.
Her town and her county were nothing more than ghost towns for two years and she and her children lived and farmed until reinforcements would be sent to retake Lewiston. Youngstown would not be reclaimed until the war had ended and it would take years more to rebuild the desolated villages of Niagara.
Mary and her family remained in the tavern and steadfast as she was, she is buried there as well.
This is our War of 1812 story.
If we caught your interest, come visit us and we will tell you more.
This was the news story that many people probably remember and which the Yousey family must know better than any. To some the barn complex truly was lost that day. As we strive to save it even today we still hear people say that it is a lost cause but not everything is so easily lost in fire. For those who have not seen what that fire did to our barns, here is your sneak peak at the inside.
We are making every effort to ensure that this complex of barns dating back to 1808 are safe and standing for many years to come and hope that these burned portions allow them to remain even longer still. In Japanese burning wood as a stylized preservation technique is known as shou-sugi-ban and the idea is that not only is harder to burn again but it also keeps the rot and pests away.
It also has a sort of beauty when you stand inside the middle of the high vaulted 1898 barn and are surrounded by this immense structure that has survived so much and for so long. We hope that we can share it with you all one day soon but before then we have much fundraising and engineering to do to insure that when the Forsyth Tavern reopens it doors, it and everyone that visits it are safe.
A Repairer of Ruin
We know that Fred M Ackerson was the District Attorney for Niagara Niagara County from 1908 - 1917 and was also a Scottish Mason. What we don't know is who glued his advertisements on the barn wall and why.
Another thing that we know is that both Chas. F. and E. E. Warren used the same barn for their businesses and proudly tested their ink stamps on the same wall and luckily those have endured the years better than their choices in art and advertisement.
Chas is presumably Charles F. Warren who lived from 1856 - 1930 and E. is probably Elmer Warren 1881 - 1947.
If anyone has any information and can shed some light on this little mystery we would love to hear what you have found.
1800 And Froze To Death
Animals Over The Falls
Behind The Walls
Captian John Ganson
Come And Get Your Drunken Pigs
DeWitt Clinton Visits Tavern
Early Settlement Of Warren's Corners
Ezra Warren Becomes A Temperance Leader
Ezra Warren's Obituary And Life
Former Tavern Keeper Gave Name To Warrens Corners
Landmark Preservation Needed
Mary And The Invasion Of Lewiston
Tavern As County Seat
War Of 1812
Warren's Store And Grange Hall