April 03, 2013

Unsung Hero

The War of 1812 is filled with heroes who have become icons in the nations that they served. However, the war is also filled with veterans who simply performed their duty and have since been forgotten. One such veteran is interred at the Drummond Hill Cemetery in Niagara Falls.

Thomas Allison has the distinction of being the first white child born in St. Davids. His father moved from Yorkshire, England to the Niagara in 1790. His father served in the militia during the Battle of Queenston Heights and Thomas was present to see the American surrender. Upon his father’s death in December 1812, Thomas took up the fight by carrying despatches to British forces at Beaver Dams, and he witnessed the burning of Lewiston, both events happening in 1813.
 Allison family grave, Drummond Hill Cemetery
In 1814, Thomas was officially part of the militia when he participated in the first phase of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. During the fierce fighting, Thomas was redeployed to drive wagonloads of wounded to Niagara. Thomas did not end his military service with the War of 1812. During the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837, Thomas served with forces loyal to the crown and joined a team that delivered a mortar to Chippawa in order to bombard William Lyon Mackenzie who was holdup on Navy Island.

Thomas Allison’s feats may not sound too heroic at first, but it is important to note that Thomas was only 13 when he delivered dispatches through enemy territory at Beaver Dams. In 1814, the young Thomas was only 14 when he stood on the frontlines at Lundy’s Lane before delivering the dead and dying back to Niagara. As you think about this story, you can ask yourself; what was I doing at 13 years old?

On Saturday, April 6th, you can head to the St. Catharines Museum to see the opening of their new War of 1812 exhibit. They will have presentations and a play about domestic life in 1812. If you don’t want to see the exhibit, then you can head over to the Jordan Historical Museum to watch a play about a domestic servants’ personal story in Upper Canada during the War of 1812. Both events look great.

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