A war memorial commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Tuscarora aiding the citizens of Lewiston, NY during the war of 1812 was erected in one of the town’s public parks last month.
It was a cold winter night in 1813 when the British descended upon the small village of Lewiston, intent on murdering civilians and burning the town to the ground. During the massacre, men from the Tuscarora village atop the Escarpment created a diversion, blowing horns and giving the impression of a large American force ready to respond. Though the Tuscarora were actually outnumbered 30 to 1, they successfully frightened off the British and saved the lives of dozens of Leamington citizens.
Dubbed the Tuscarora Heroes Monument, it is the largest monument acknowledging the war of 1812 and possibly the only one giving thanks to First Nations contributions specifically. A ceremony for the unveiling included a passionate re-enactment of the actions of the heroic Tuscarora Nation.
The Historical Association of Lewiston worked together with local artist Susan Geissler to come up with the 7ft. tall bronze statues. The piece, which is now erected in Lewiston at the corner of Portage Road and Centre Street, features a fleeing woman clutching her infant child racing toward the open arms of two Tuscarora men aiding her escape.
Local children wrote letters and they were placed inside a time capsule that was placed at the monument which is to be opened in 2213. Commemorative coins, postage stamps and a commemorative book have also been produced by the Historical Association to honour the valiant Haudenosaunee mission.
Costs for the statues and landscaping surrounding the monument, around $400,000, were secured by the Historical Association of Lewiston through public and private funders.
Tuscarora Heroes Commemorative Coins are available for purchase through the Lewiston Museum. They can be reached by telephone at (716) 754-4214.
(Photo Courtesy of Historical Association of Lewiston Facebook page, Photo by John Sharpe)