Monday, February 17, 2014

Malone: The War of 1812: Part 1

English: Main locations of the War of 1812 bet...
English: Main locations of the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom Fran├žais :. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unless otherwise noted, information about Malone and the War of 1812 came from: Seaver, Frederick, Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Malone: JB Lyons, 1918.

If it wasn't due to the appointment of General Wilkinson, an "imbecile" and "drunk" (pg. 590), the War of 1812 may have passed by Malone. It had no vast resources to plunder, not strategic location--but Wilkinson changed the situation.

Fort Covington, formerly known as French Mills, seemed to be the base of operations. A fort had been built where the Presbyterian church stands. It was called Fort Invincible, which became a misnomer.

One of the first battles, led by Captain Rufus Tilden in Ft. Covington, took place in late October when rumor had it that a couple of hundred of the enemy approached near Hogansburg. Four British were killed and about forty captured. Major Young bragged that the colors of the enemy had been captured and wanted to present them to the Governor seeing as they were the first captured in the war (593). According to a Canadian report, this turned out to be a private citizen's own flag used for his own residence!

One month later, Captain Tilden was captured on Nov. 23, 1812 when Fort Invincible was invaded.

Aside from these few skirmishes, the building an arsenal in Malone and two block houses in Chateaugay, no other 1812 activity happened here until Generals Wilkinson and Hampton arrived--except a little profiteering.

During the war of 1812, our population declined, in part in fear of the Indians, which is, in part, quite odd seeing as we quartered the British here. The Brits assured us there would be no pillaging or molesting of the populace. And with the exception of the attempt to burn the armory (our current YMCA), they apparently kept the agreement.

This war caused improvements of roads and in the end, brought in more residents and commerce. People knew how to earn a buck--and they did so in the usual way, they traded with the enemy and moral standards were lowered.




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