Other communities make plans for Be-centennial of War of 1812

Route could be reality; SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO’S CONECTIONS TO WAR OF 1812 WOULD BE HIGHLIGHTED;
Sarnia Observer (ON) 
Mon 10 Nov 2008 
Page: A2 
Section: News 
Byline: BY OBSERVER STAFF;

A historical route marking southwestern Ontario’s role in the War of 1812 could become a reality.

Chatham-Kent council approved the idea in principle at a recent meeting.

And there are calls for Sarnia- Lambton to get involved as well.

Chatham-Kent heritage coordinator Dave Benson said the area has much to offer, not just for educational purposes, but also for shopping and entertainment.

“We want a whole parcel of things that can be brought together,” he said.

The proposed route would run along the Thames River from Lighthouse Cove to Bothwell.

Benson said there is a lot of natural beauty to take advantage of.

“It is probably one of the prettiest drives in southern Ontario,” he said.

Council will also consider a supplementary budget request to a limit of $20,000 to help fund a co-ordinator position during next year’s budget deliberations.

This co-ordinator would liaise with different stakeholders and other groups, as well as develop a master plan with cost estimates.

Benson said he hopes the concept will be ready for possible government grants.

Sarnia-Lambton has a couple of connections to the war.

A battle between the British ship ‘Nancy’ and American forces took place on the St. Clair River near Port Huron.

And a local boy who is buried in east Lambton played a key role in saving Canada.

Samuel Smith was serving in the Canadian militia unit at Queenston Heights when the Americans launched a sneak attack across the Niagara River on the night of Oct. 13, 1812.

“He was a 17-year-old sentry on duty when he spotted the Americans massing for an attack,” according to Ralph Ferguson, a former Lambton-Kent- Middlesex MP with a strong interest in history. “He sounded the alarm and the attack was repulsed.”

Smith, who was born in Ancaster, moved to Lambton after that, becoming a well known explorer, surveyor, businessman and politician.

He was responsible for laying roads, right-of-ways, lots and concessions throughout Sombra, Dawn-Euphemia, Brooke and Lambton Shores.

Later, he went into politics, representing Euphemia Township on a regional body that pre-dated Lambton County council.

Today, he rests in a small Dawn-Euphemia cemetery, where the inscription on his tombstone notes he was the man who sounded the alarm at Queenston Heights.

Mayor Bill Bilton of Dawn- Euphemia said, “It would be nice if we could (get tourists to visit Smith’s grave). “If it’s not too remote of a location (it may be possible). There would be no trouble signing it.”

The mayor said he would look into the situation to see if the grave is easily accessible.

Sarnia Coun. Dave Boushy says a plaque commemorating the Nancy’s fight could be erected under the Blue Water Bridge or on Sarnia Bay.

“I think it would be good,” he said. “It could be done at very little cost and it would be informative. We need all the attention we can get.”

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