After the British
burned Manchester and Schlosser, they continued down the Niagara
River toward Tonawanda. Ahead of them were soldiers and civilians
who had escaped those areas and were heading south toward Black
Rock and Buffalo. After crossing the wooden bridge at Tonawanda
Creek, the Americans burned the bridge to prevent any further
advance by the British. This was as far south as the British advanced
until they crossed the river again and burned Black Rock and Buffalo
later in the month.
additional information has been provided by Donna Zellner Neal,
Director of the North Tonawanda History Museum.
The British and Native American forces were advancing from the
north in December 1813 after having destroyed Lewiston and everything
in their path. The only known permanent structures in what would
become North Tonawanda in later years were three log taverns along
the Niagara River shore, contructed by three brave settlers who
built their structures along the military road which ran from
Fort Tompkins in Buffalo to Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario.
Burger had acquired a large piece of property and constructed
his log tavern in 1809 where Keil Street would have connected
to the River once it was created as a street. He received compensation
from the Federal Government after the war for his losses but never
moved back. He is believed to have moved to the Finger Lakes area.
Slyke and Joshua Pettit constructed their log taverns in 1810,
Van Slyke’s where Sommer Street would have connected with
the River and Pettit’s where Wheatfield Street would have
connected with the River.
forces are said to have destroyed the military bridge crossing
Tonawanda Creek to slow down the advancing British forces on their
way to Fort Tompkins in Buffalo. The military bridge had been
constructed in 1801.
blockhouse on the south side of Tonawanda Creek was destroyed
by the advancing British forces on their way to Buffalo. The blockhouse
remained standing longer than expected because the crafty American
officer in command, with only a handful of soldiers (13 to be
exact), is said to have had them keep changing clothing. He sent
them in and out in an effort to convince the advancing forces
that he had more troops than he actually had.
John Sweeney Rural Cemetery, established in 1825 on part of the
James and John Sweeney property was the original Sweeney family
burial ground. It was named in honor of War of 1812 veteran John
Sweeney who had lost a leg in the War. The Sweeney brothers and
George Goundry were the first to purchase land in what is now
North Tonawanda following the War of 1812.
War of 1812 veterans buried in the Sweeney Cemetery, in addition
to John Sweeney himself, are: Timothy Lounsbury, Samuel Siminton,
Robert Simson, and Thaddeus Sturges.
North Tonawanda History Museum on-line at nthistorymuseum.org.