War of 1812 heroine

Plaque dedication to be held for Celea Sampson ‘Widow’ Cole

OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder The Dunkirk Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum will be the site of a plaque dedication on Saturday at 2 p.m. honoring War of 1812 heroine Celea Sampson “Widow” Cole.

The State of New York Society, United States Daughters of 1812, will dedicate a new plaque in recognition of War of 1812 heroine, Celea Sampson “Widow” Cole on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Dunkirk Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum, 1 Lighthouse Point Drive N., Dunkirk.

Celea (Sampson) Cole was the wife of Seth Cole, first settler in the Dunkirk area and a Revolutionary War Soldier who had settled at the mouth of Canadaway Creek. Celea was widowed upon his death in 1810.

Widow Cole was known for the great courage she displayed during the War of 1812; serving as patrol, spreading the alarm among settlers, feeding the soldiers stationed near her home, as well as melting her pewter dishes and precious teapot to make bullets for their use.

The plaque which will be placed by the State of NY Society, U.S. Daughters of 1812 reads:

On Sept. 26, 1812 and from this site, some of the first shots of the War of 1812 were fired by local militia at armed soldiers from the British schooner Lady Prevost. When a small boat carrying the soldiers from the British ship was sighted rowing in pursuit of an American salt barge that had taken refuge at the mouth of Canadaway Creek, local citizen Celea Sampson “Widow” Cole rode her horse to the settlement of Canadaway (Fredonia) to secure reinforcements. Recognized as a War of 1812 heroine for her efforts to spread the alarm, the widow Cole reportedly also carried food and water to the militiamen and melted her pewter dishes to make bullets for their use during the attack. (Inscription details were researched by Mary Raye Casper, state historian and 4th vice president national).

In recognition of the significant impact made by widow Cole in both the Dunkirk and Fredonia areas in 1812, NY Daughters are inviting the public to join them on the grounds of the Lighthouse for this plaque dedication.

The State of NY Society would like to thank David Briska, Dunkirk Lighthouse; Loretta Hill, Newman Brothers; and Linda Blodgett, Titus Monuments; for their assistance with creation of and placement of the plaque.

The purposes of the National Society, United States Daughters of 1812 are to promote patriotism; to preserve and increase the knowledge of history of the American people, by the preservation of documents and relics, the marking of historic spots, the recording of family histories and traditions, the celebration of patriotic anniversaries, teaching and emphasizing the heroic deeds of the civil, military and naval life of those who molded the government between the close of the American Revolution and the close of the War of 1812, to urge Congress to compile and publish authentic records of men in civil, military and naval service from 1784-1815, inclusive.

Questions about the Dunkirk dedication and/or membership in the 1812 organization may be directed to Beverly Sterling-Affinati at harborsideservices@gmail.com. Mary Raye Casper resides in Marcellus, New York, and has been instrumental in moving the State of NY Society forward through each of its last three administrations.