Filming At Backus PDF Print E-mail

Historical Footnote to the Filming at Backus September 6th & 7th 2003

by Bruce Whittaker

Undoubtedly many of you saw the camera crew working on a documentary about Haldimand-Norfolk at Backus during our weekend there. As you may also know some of our own men were involved in the filming. There is a picture on the Yahoo War of 1812 site taken by Paul Kelly of the IMUC of our own Steve Chadwick and some men of the IMUC re-enacting for the camera a part of the Norfolk Militia's action during the War of 1812.

Some of you may already be familiar with the incident at Nanticoke but for those of you who aren't and visitors to our web site I will give a brief description.

After the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813 there was little or no British presence in the western part of Upper Canada. This resulted in raiding parties sneaking across the border from Buffalo and looting and pillaging some of the isolated settlements. The Norfolk Militia were determined to put an end to these raids. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Bostwick the Norfolk Militia made a surprise attack on the raiders rendezvous point at the home of John Dunham located east of Nanticoke.

On November 13, 1813, the Norfolk Militia surrounded the house and demanded the occupants surrender. The raiders refused to surrender and after a brief fire fight three of the raiders and one brave man of the Norfolk Militia were dead. A few raiders managed to escape and the rest were captured and taken as prisoners to the Ancaster Mill and locked in the cellar. These men were put on trial for their lives in what has become known as the "Ancaster Assizes".

Although this skirmish at Nanticoke was small it did bolster the morale of the people of the district at what must have been a bleak time for them.

More information on Nanticoke can be found in "The Burning of Dover Mills and the Civilian Soldier of the War of 1812 and Beyond" by Harry B. Barrett and Bob Blakeley and "The Men of Norfolk" Produced for the 175th Anniversary of the Burning of Dover Mills May 20-21, 1989.