Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fort Niagara June 24

I made the best rhubarb jam today! It was true what I was told at Murphy's Orchard; their rhubarb is great for making jam. It thickened up nicely after boiling it with a little sugar and orange juice- and the final product is so pretty,a nice rosy red. I guess I should also mention it tastes delicious. So if you are looking to plant rhubarb, purchase the variety called "strawberry rhubarb". I was also told it will produce rhubarb all summer. Today we did some touring of churches and cemeteries in Wolcottsville and Lockport New York, researching my family tree. So I will write further on where we spent the day yesterday after we left Niagara University. We visited Fort Niagara. There was a lot to see at this fort as its history spans 300 years. In the colonial years this fort was vitally important to any country as it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the rest of the continent. The French first established a post here in the 16OOs. In 1726 they erected a permanent fortress with the construction of a "French Castle". They initially called it a place of peace for the sake of the Iroquois Indians who traded there with them. In reality it was a strong citadel with garrets built on the top floor through which they could fire guns. During the War of 1812 earthen ramparts were constructed atop the building with cannons pointed at Fort George in Canada. To summarize its history: after the French held the fort, Britain gained it in the French and Indian War of 1759, they were forced to give it up to the United States by treaty in 1796, then Britain won it back in 1813. It was ceded to the US a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812. That was the fort's last armed conflict,and it served thereafter as a peaceful army post. It has served as a barracks and training station for army units throughout both World Wars. Quite a lot of history there. I will post a picture of the French Castle, the basic structure still stands,but it has undergone restoration. Also,while we were there, reenactments of historic battles were done for the benefit of us tourists.

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