Woodstock, ON – Two-hundred years ago, the brave settlers of Oxford on the Thames, near present-day Ingersoll, Ontario, found their homes, their livelihoods and their lives in jeopardy.
This Aug. 16 and 17, during the Oxford at War 1814 commemoration, the Centreville Pond & Conservation Area Committee is providing everyone a free opportunity to step back into the War of 1812 and relive the events that shaped the history of our country and our community.
By the summer of 1814, war with the Americans had lasted two years. The great leaders, Major-General Isaac Brock and Chief Tecumseh, had sacrificed their lives in defending what is now Southwestern Ontario from American invaders.
With the British regulars stationed at key points across Canada, defence of the small community of the Oxford on the Thames fell to local militia who tended to their farms when they weren’t engaging in drills and practices.
In command of Southwestern Ontario, American troops and their sympathizers engaged in a “scorched earth” campaign, burning homes and crops and destroying anything of value to the British.
The traitorous Andrew Westbrook saw an opportunity to settle old scores with some of the local inhabitants and to secure financial and status gain. The citizens of Oxford on the Thames were caught, literally, in the crossfire in April, August and November, 1814. Many took up arms to defend their homes, families and friends. It is a story set in Oxford County but could be told about all of Southwestern Ontario.
On the weekend of Aug. 16 and 17, 2014, Oxford at War 1814, visitors can step into the recreated settlement appearing much as it did before being torched by invaders.
Settlers, militia and other folks portrayed by actors, will meet and speak with visitors, helping them experience what it was like to live in those turbulent times. Re-enactors will bring to life the three separate American attacks on Oxford on the Thames.
The Oxford Militia’s encampment, Indian trails through the woods, period food, drink and dance in Martin Tavern, music, art, crafts and more are part of this once in a lifetime commemoration. Perhaps someone will finally dig up the King’s stolen gold, rumoured to be buried on Indian Hill! For updates on our preparations for the event visit our website www.oxfordatwar1814.com.
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For more information, please contact:
Oxford at War 1814