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War of 1812 descendant visits Ogdensburg

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Paul Sheaffe was impressed.

The Australian videographer and descendant of War of 1812 military man Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe made a side trip Tuesday from Ontario to see the Abbe Picquet Monument at the site of Lighthouse Point in Ogdensburg, the French settlement built in 1749.

And the site of the Battle of Ogdensburgh.

Stepping out of a minivan, camera in hand, he took in the scenery around him.

“We’re having a great time,” he said.

Mr. Sheaffe is the great-great-grandson of William Sheaffe, who was the nephew of Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe. Gen. Sheaffe was the commander of British, Canadian and Indian forces who drove out American troops in the Battle of Queenston Heights on Oct. 13, 1812.

Accompanied by members of his family, he has been on a three-week Canadian War of 1812 history tour. He is filming it all for a documentary for Australian television. The family will be in Queenston Heights next week for a 200th anniversary observance of the battle.

Traveling with Mr. Sheaffe are his daughters, Hannah Ruth, 11, and Sarah Grace, 15, his cousin, Stephen W. Sheaffe and his wife, Glenda.

“It’s really an honor to be here,” said Stephen W. Sheaffe, a Brisbane attorney who is proud to say he is the “history nut” of the family.

Sir Roger’s War of 1812 exploits were considerably removed from what happened here in what was then a village.

An American rifle company was ordered to Ogdensburg at the start of the war, occupying the remains of the fort. In August, they raided Gananoque, Ontario.

In September, British troops launched a naval attack on Ogdensburg. Gen. Jacob Brown and Capt. Benjamin Forsyth led the defense.

In February 1813, Capt. Forsyth led 300 men from Ogdensburg to Brockville, Upper Canada (Ontario) to release American prisoners and take over military stores. On Feb. 22, British troops under Lt. Col. “Red George” MacDonnell crossed the ice-covered St. Lawrence River from Prescott to capture Ogdensburg.

It was the Battle of Ogdensburgh.

It was also close enough to Sir Roger’s exploits for his descendants to want to drive over from Canada and check it out, to find out more.

And it’s all connected along both sides of the St. Lawrence River, Paul Sheaffe said.

“It’s all bits and pieces here,” he said.

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