Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Expands and Offers Interactive Experience

OSWEGO – The third annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium has expanded its programming in a new location. Come to the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center on East First Street in Oswego to hear compelling stories about the war along the New York-Canadian border from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 7. There will be a meet-and-greet social with cash bar, a presentation of the painting of the U.S. Brig Oneida by Oswego artist Tim Ames, and early registration from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 5.

Ten speakers explore a variety of War of 1812 topics, including military training and battle analysis; maritime and military archeology; naval history; wartime society and commerce; espionage; and the art of war. Participants will also discover engaging exhibitors, living history demonstrators and historical authors who will present and sign their works.

Dr. Peter Rindlisbacher is an historical marine artist whose recent book, “War of 1812: Sea Battles on the Great Lakes,” will be unveiled at the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium. On Saturday, April 6, Bob Hilderley and Susan Hannah, representatives from the book’s publisher Quarry Press Heritage Books, will be at hand with a display of books and posters for the presentation.

According to Quarry Press, “The War of 1812 was a significant naval event as both British and American forces mounted relatively large fleets in a short period on the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts and on the Great Lakes and their tributaries. The paintings in this book portray the naval history of the War of 1812 and honor the remarkable grace of these watercraft and the intrepid sailors who manned them.”

Dr. Rindlisbacher opens the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium on Saturday, April 6 with his discussion, “In the Wake of the Few: Portraying 1812 Marine History on Canvas.” His presentation reveals the exciting challenges of re-creating historical maritime subjects 200 years later through the use of modern planning, research strategies, and various construction methods; citing a few of his own case studies as examples.

Many of Dr. Rindlisbacher’s works feature War of 1812 subjects. Throughout the U.S. and Canada, museums, historic sites and the military have purchased his oil paintings, and limited print editions of his work have sold at fundraisers for a variety of heritage groups. His images have also appeared on various book and magazine covers, as well as in a number of video productions for The History Channel and National Geographic, to name a few.

A self-taught artist, Dr. Rindlisbacher is also a model-maker, racing sailor, and replica longboat owner. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1992 and currently lives in Texas with his family.

Author Hope Irvin Marston will also be at hand during the symposium to offer signed copies of her latest work, “Sackets Harbor Powder Monkey: The War of 1812.” The book was meticulously researched to tell the tale of 11-year-old Rankin McMullin and his role as a powder boy aboard the U.S. Brig Oneida during the opening battle of the War of 1812 in Sackets Harbor. Written for children, it is an informative story for all ages.

“Our young hero Rankin is ready for action and this book shows the skirmish through his eyes,” said Marston. “The way the battle is fought and the unusual way that it ends is a surprise for both sides of the conflict.”

Marston continued, “All persons named and events portrayed in this book are real, making it an excellent resource for teachers as well.”

Marston is a retired junior high school librarian and the author of more than 30 children’s books as well as two books for adults. Her award-winning “My Little Book” picture book series includes “My Little Book of Manatees,” which was voted Best Picture Book of the Year in 2007 by the Adirondack Center for Writing, and “My Little Book of Bald Eagles” which received the Next Generation INDIE Book Award in the Best Children’s/Juvenile Non-Fiction category in 2010.

A native of central Pennsylvania, Marston now lives in Black River, New York with her husband where she writes picture books, photographic essays and junior biographies. She has been a book reviewer for Church Libraries for many years and enjoys reading, visiting schools, conducting writing workshops, cooking and walking her Bernese mountain dog.

Living history presenter Ted Schofield returns to the symposium this year. For one day only, Saturday, April 6, he and Bill Bamann will present a display dressed in the appropriate garments of the time. The exhibit also features period uniforms and clothing that a sailor aboard the U.S. Brig Oneida would have worn, along with the typical attire of a North Country militia man.

Local media will be present at the symposium as well. WCNY-TV will be at hand to interview speakers and participants about the War of 1812, including its significance to local history, its ties to modern-day warfare, and the importance of battlefields and cemeteries.

The symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Old Fort Niagara Association, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, NBT Bank, The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Pathfinder Bank, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, C & S Engineers, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, City of Oswego, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

Registration for both days is $75 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID. The registration fee includes Saturday’s lunch and workshop materials. One day registration is also available: $50 for Saturday, including lunch or $25 for Sunday. For students with a valid ID, one day rates are $23 for Saturday, including lunch or $12 for Sunday.

Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario. Contact Franshisca Cedillo at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Checks should be made payable to “Friends of Fort Ontario – 1812” and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 East Fourth Street, Oswego, N.Y. 13126.

Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, 26 East First Street, Oswego. Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.

For symposium details, visit www.fortontario.com. For visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322. To follow other War of 1812 commemoration activities or to learn more about the history of Oswego County, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/.