Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Historical Highlights

Here’s a little more historical trivia about Association Island, where’ we’re camped. Before it was home to the GE association, and long before it was a campground, it was a French outpost. This was in 1756, so I guess the British got it from the French, and we got it from the British—twice.

Speaking of the War of 1812, Association Island is in Henderson Harbor, NY, which is just down the road a piece from Sackets Harbor, NY. Now, Sackets Harbor may sound familiar to history buffs and horse racing enthusiasts, but for two different reasons.


For history buffs, there were two battles at Sackets Harbor during the war of 1812 and there’s a battlefield in town to prove it. General Zebulon Pike, the guy Pike’s Peak was named for, was killed in one of those battles. He was buried in the Sackets Harbor Military Cemetery  and there’s a monument DSC_0481 there commemorating his death and the death of several others who died with him. The official history of the battles at Sackets Harbor doesn’t mention this, and neither does that source of all correct information, Wikipedia, but according to the AAA TourBook, in one of those battles “…five British battleships  were repelled by one US ship and a group of farmers on shore with a single cannon. The only British shot to land near  the farmers was loaded into [their] cannon and returned. It took down the mast of the British ship.”


The Military Cemetery contains quite a few tombstones labeled “Unknown Child” with no date of death or burial.

In addition, there are quite a few graves marked simply “U.S.” Soldier,” again with no date of death or burial. DSC_0484 I’m sure there is an explanation about these graves somewhere in the archives of Sackets Harbor, but for now I don’t have an explanation.

For horse racing fans, Sackets Harbor will be familiar because it’s home to the bunch of regular folks who own Sackatoga Stables, the racing stable that owns Funny Cide, the winner of the Kentucky Derby a few years ago.

Since we’re pretty close to the Canadian border, we decided to grab our passports and hop on a ferry to Kingston, Ontario. Actually, we DSC_0486 hopped on two ferries, just with the truck, not the trailer. This was a good thing because the first ferry was so small the truck barely fit, cross-wise. This ferry took us from Cape Vincent, NY, which is at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, to Wolfe Island, Ontario, which may just be the most boring border crossing in the US. Wolfe Island is the westernmost of the 1000 Islands and the largest. This little Ferry is run by NY State and cost us $15 for a 7 minute ride. Across the island is a ferry to Kingston, Ontario. This is a 15 minute ride on a bigger ferry run by the Canadian government, and its free. Let’s hear it for Democratic Socialism.

We had lunch in Kingston, drove around a bit, got lost a bit since the replacement GPS, much to my surprise, only has maps of the US, not Canada, then made our way to the Thousand Island International Bridge, and came back to the campground. Interestingly, the GPS woke as if from a deep sleep to tell us where to go once we crossed the border back in to the good ‘ol US of A.


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