Monday, December 7, 2015

Sara Ann and Fort George, Part l

Americans landing at Fort George.
This story is about a young ghost that haunts Fort George located at Niagara-on-the-Lake * in Ontario, Canada.

The Americans destroyed this fort during the War of 1812.

America began this war with Canada after being provoked. The British Royal Navy had taken to forcefully “press-ganging” American sailors into service with their fleet. The British were undermanned at the time because of the Napoleonic Wars, which were raging across Europe.

The British were also trying to prevent the U.S. from trading with France.

Also, the British were arming Native American tribes that were standing in the way of American expansion. During this time, American extended from the Mississippi basin to the Great Lakes.

In one battle in the spring of 1813, an American fleet appeared at the mouth of the Niagara River. These warships bombarded Niagara-on-the-Lake with cannonballs. Two days later they sent hundreds of rowboats ashore at Lake Ontario close to Fort George.

The Canadians and British were outnumbered 10 to l so they could not hold back the Americans. They were forced to retreat, and U.S. troops took control of the town.

American Patriots who were loyal to King George lll during the Revolutionary War, populated Niagara-on-the-Lake, so its residents held a robust anti-American sentiment already.

Many of these Patriots lost their property and were ostracized after the Revolutionary War so most of them then headed north to the Niagara region.

Fort George played a vital role as the Americans attacked Niagara-on-the-Lake, but it was ultimately destroyed during the fighting.

A depiction of Fort George
in 1812.
The U.S. hoped this conquest would help them gain control of Upper Canada but their defeat at the Battle of Stoney Creek, later that June, halted their ambitions.

When winter arrived the Americans finding themselves vulnerable to attack had no choice but to retreat back to the American side of the Niagara River.

But before they did this, on December 10, 1813, they burned Niagara-on-the-Lake to the ground. Which left the residents out in the freezing cold.

Part of Fort George today.
Within a decade this town was rebuilt and is today a thriving tourist area. Fort George was restored in more recent years and is today a National Historical site that offers tours.

It contains several buildings including barracks, officer’s quarters, and craftsmen shops. Many witnesses feel this fort’s Palisades and earthen parapets are haunted.

In fact, the fort is considered one of Canada’s most haunted.

There have been many sightings of ethereal soldiers standing guard along the parapets. Witnesses have heard drum rolls across the grounds, and phantom gunfire is also heard rumbling.

But by far the fort’s most active ghost is not a soldier but rather a young girl who was the daughter of one of the families that lived at Fort George.

*  The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has had many names over the past 200 years. It was first named Butlersburg, then New Niagara, West Niagara, Lenox and then Newark. It wasn’t until the late 19th century it was called Niagara-on-the-Lake.

In Part ll of Sara Ann and Fort George sightings of this young ghost is shared.

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