The War of 1812: Important Figures - Page Banner

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Ahyouwaighs (John Brant)

 

Ahyouwaighs, a Mohawk leader, supported the British throughout the War of 1812, participating in the Battle of Queenston Heights and encouraging other members of the Six Nations from along Grand River to fight the American invaders.

Thumbnail image of Ahyouwaighs (John Brant)
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Lieutenant Robert Barclay

Union Jack

A Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Barclay was posted to the naval base at Fort Malden to command the naval forces on Lake Erie. His command was defeated by the American flotilla at the Battle of Lake Erie in August 1813. Severely outgunned, and badly wounded in the battle, Barclay was exonerated after the war in a court martial called to examine the causes of the defeat.

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George Theodore Berthon

 

Berthon (1806-1892) originally from Vienna, was a portraitist who created many works on commission from the Government of Ontario to commemorate the major figures in the history of the province. He did portraits of Brock, Prevost and Drummond based on photographs of portraits done during the subject's lifetime in the possession of their families or galleries.

Photo: George Theodore Berthone
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Lieutenant-Colonel C. G. Boerstler

Star and Stripes

American officer, he surrendered his command to Colonel Fitzgibbon at the Battle of Beaver Dams.

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Major General Sir Isaac Brock

Union Jack

Brock was the senior British officer in Upper Canada when the war started. His capture of Detroit, with the support of Tecumseh, boosted Upper Canadian morale at a critical point in the conflict. His death at Queenston Heights was an equally potent symbol for patriotic memories.

Portrait: Major General Sir Isaac Brock
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John Brant

 

See Ahyouwaighs

 


General Jacob Brown

Star and Stripes

A senior American officer, Brown was the leading figure in the American invasion of the Niagara area in 1814.

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Thomas Burrowes

 

A military engineer and painter, Thomas Burrowes has left many images of the Rideau Canal and St. Lawrence River as they appeared just a few years after the War of 1812. To learn more about the Thomas Burrowes fonds (C 1) at the Archives of Ontario click here, or to see more of his watercolours search under "Burrowes" in our Visual Database.

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Corn Planter

 

Seneca leader, served with the United States during the War of 1812 in the Niagara area.

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Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane

Union Jack

British admiral who commanded naval operations against the Atlantic coast of the United States in 1814.

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Brigadier General E. A. Cruickshank

 

Canadian militia officer and historian, Cruickshank was a prolific writer on the War of 1812 and a leading participant in organizations like The Lundy’s Lane Historical Society in preserving the memory of the War of 1812. His papers are available at the Library and Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.

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General H. Dearborn

Star and Stripes

At the beginning of the war General Dearborn was the senior American military commander. He directed operations against York and Fort George in 1813, but was eventually superseded in command by General Wilkinson.

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Colonel Charles-Michel de Salaberry

Union Jack

Colonel de Salaberry commanded the Canadian Voltigeurs during the War of 1812 and led them at the Battle of Châteauguay.

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General Gordon Drummond

Union Jack

Drummond assumed command of British forces in Upper Canada at the end of 1813. He was wounded at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane and directed the unsuccessful siege of Fort Erie.

Portrait: General Gordon Drummond
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Colonel James Fitzgibbon

Union Jack

A British officer, Fitzgibbon was in command of the British troops at Beaver Dams and accepted the American surrender.

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Nathan Ford

 

Nathan Ford was a local official in the Ogdensburg area of New York State on the St. Lawrence River. His wartime correspondence provides many details on the life of civilians and the smuggling trade between the U.S. and Canada during wartime. For more information about Ford, consult the Ford family fonds (F 483).

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M. O. Hammond

 

Journalist and amateur photographer, Hammond left many images of battlefields and monuments relating to the War of 1812 taken during the early 20th century. For more information about Hammond, consult the M. O. Hammond fonds (F 1075). or to see more of his photographs search under "Hammond" in our Visual Database.

Photo: M. O. Hammond
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General William H. Harrison

Star and Stripes

Harrison was a territorial governor and militia officer who developed an early reputation in campaigns against First Nations. He was the commander of the U.S. forces at the Battle of Moraviantown. He was later elected President of the United States, but died shortly after assuming office.

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General William Hull

Star and Stripes

American officer and veteran of the War of Independence, Hull surrendered to Brock at Detroit in 1812.

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C. W. Jefferys

 

A well know Canadian artist who created many images of historical scenes, including the War of 1812, in the early 20th century. Some of his artwork is included in the Government of Ontario Art Collection.

Photo: C. W. Jefferys
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William Kirby

 

Author and historian, Kirby was involved in The Lundy’s Lane Historical Society in the preservation of the memory of the War of 1812. For more information about Kirby, consult the William Kirby fonds (F 1076).

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President James Madison

Star and Stripes

Madison became President in 1808 and signed the Declaration of War against Great Britain in June 1812. Re-elected that same year, Madison in turn signed the peace treaty that restored the pre-war situation.

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General George McClure

Star and Stripes

An American officer, McClure was in command of the Niagara area during the 1813 occupation. When he ordered the evacuation of the region in December 1813, he ordered the destruction of Fort George and the Village of Niagara.

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William Hamilton Merritt

Union Jack

Businessman, politician and militia officer during the War of 1812, Merritt served in the Provincial Dragoons and was captured by the Americans at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. After the war he was the leading figure in the development of the Welland Canal, along with numerous other development projects. For more information about Merritt, consult the William Hamilton Merritt family fonds (F 662).

Photo: Portrait of elderly William Hamilton Merritt
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Napoleon

 

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and the leader of that country in the war with Great Britain.

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Mildred Peel

 

Canadian artist, she prepared a portrait of Laura Secord.

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Captain Oliver H. Perry

Star and Stripes

American naval officer, Perry was in command of the American squadron on Lake Erie at the Battle of Put In Bay, he is best known for the message sent after the victory, “We have met the enemy and they are ours”.

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General Z. Pike

Star and Stripes

American officer, Pike was in command of the landing party at the first attack on York in 1813. He was killed in the explosion that destroyed the powder magazine at the fort.

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General Sir George Prevost

Union Jack

Prevost served as the senior British military commander in Upper and Lower Canada during the War of 1812. He took a cautious approach to military affairs. The two offensives he led ended unsuccessfully at Sacket’s Harbour in 1813 and Plattsburg in 1814. He faced a court martial after the war in relation to the retreat from Plattsburg but died before any hearing.

Portriat: General Sir George Prevost
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General Proctor

Union Jack

Proctor served as the senior officer in the Detroit area in 1813. He attempted to maintain Brock’s offensive against American posts in the area but was eventually forced to evacuate the frontier and was defeated at the Battle of Moraviantown.

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The Prophet

 

See Tens-Kwau-Ta-Waw

 


Red Jacket

 

A Seneca leader, he supported the United States and participated in several of the battles in the Niagara area in 1814.

Thumbnail image of Red Jacket
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General Phinias Rial

Union Jack

Rial assumed command in the Niagara area from General Vincent in late 1813. He was in command of British forces when they were defeated at the Battle of Chippewa. He was second in command under Drummond at Lundy’s Lane, but was wounded and captured in that action, ending his participation in the war.

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Thomas Ridout

Union Jack

Thomas Ridout was a surveyor and landowner in the Niagara area. During the war he served in the Commissariat or supply department. He has left a large number of letters relating to his experiences during the war. For more information about Ridout, consult the Thomas Ridout family fonds (F 43).

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John Beverley Robinson

Union Jack

Upper Canadian militia officer and acting Attorney General through most of the War of 1812, Robinson oversaw the prosecution of those accused of treason at the Ancaster trials in 1814. For more information about Robinson, consult the John Beverley Robinson family fonds (F 44).

Photo: Portrait of John Beverly Robinson
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General Winfield Scott

Star and Stripes

Scott began the war as a colonel and eventually rose to command a brigade at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. He was later the commander of U.S. forces during the War with Mexico and in the early stages of the American Civil War, nearly 50 years after the War of 1812.

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Laura Secord

 

Laura Secord, a resident of Queenston, provided a warning to Colonel Fitzgibbon of the American advance on Beaver Dams, leading to the surrender of the American forces when met by First Nations, militia and British regulars.

Painting: Laura Secord
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General Roger H. Sheaffe

Union Jack

At the beginning of the War Sheaffe was second in command to Brock in Upper Canada. He assumed command on the latter’s death and defeated the American forces. His defeat at the Battle of York the next year led to his loss of command and transfer away from Upper Canada.

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Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe

 

The wife of Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Simcoe was one of the earliest artists to depict the scenery of Upper Canada. Mrs. Simcoe's only son, Francis, was killed in 1812 while an officer in Wellington's army in Spain. For more information about Simcoe, visit our online exhibit, Travels with Elizabeth Simcoe, or consult the Simcoe family fonds (F 47).

To learn more about Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, click here.

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Joel Stone

Union Jack

A businessman and militia officer in the Gananoque area on the St. Lawrence, Stone served through the war in the forwarding of supplies and defending the border. For more information about Stone, consult the Joel Stone family fonds (F 536).

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Bishop John Strachan

 

Strachan was a leading supporter of the British connection during the war and worked to promote patriotism and support for militiamen and their families suffering losses during the conflict. For more information about Strachan, consult the John Strachan fonds (F 983).

Lithograph: Bishop John Strachan
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Tecumseh

 

Shawnee leader, ally to the British. His support was instrumental in the capture of Detroit from the United States in the opening months of the war. His death at the Battle of Moraviantown equalled Brock’s as a symbol of the defence of Upper Canada.

Photo: Bust of Tecumseh
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Tens-Kwau-Ta-Waw

 

The Prophet, was Tecumseh's half brother and was active in organizing the First Nations against the Americans.

Print: The Prophet
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General John Vincent

Union Jack

General Vincent was in command of the Niagara area when the United States attacked in the spring of 1813. He was defeated at the Battle of Fort George but was able to rebound and establish the new lines at Burlington. He directed the campaign during the summer and fall that eventually forced American forces to abandon the Niagara area in December 1813. Vincent was replaced by General Rial late in the year due to illness.

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Sir Arthur Wellesley (Lord Wellington)

Union Jack

British officer, Lord Wellington led the British war effort against Napoleon in Portugal and Spain.

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Joseph Wilcocks

Star and Stripes

An Upper Canadian businessman and politician, Wilcocks joined the American forces and actively served against the British during the war. He was killed at the American sortie from Fort Erie in 1814.

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General James Wilkinson

Star and Stripes

Wilkinson assumed the senior command in the U.S. army in 1813. His failure to continue the offensive against Montreal after the Battle of Chrysler’s Farm threw away the remaining American military advantages that year.

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General James Winchester

Star and Stripes

An American officer, Winchester led the first attempt to recapture Detroit from the British in 1813. He was defeated by a combined force of British and First Nations and forced to surrender at the Battle of Frenchtown.

 
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