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Old Fort Niagara to dedicate marker at battle’s actual location

YOUNGSTOWN – A special ceremony to dedicate the new Battle of La Belle Famille historic marker and honor Brian Leigh Dunnigan, former executive director of Old Fort Niagara, will be held at 2 p.m. next Sunday at the corner of Lockport and Main Streets in Youngstown.

The public is invited to attend the event, which is sponsored by Old Fort Niagara, the Niagara County Historian’s Office, the Town of Porter Historical Society, William G. Pomeroy Foundation, and Youngstown Heritage Tours and Tourism Committee.

The date July 24, 2016, will mark 257 years since the Battle of La Belle Famille was fought in what is now known as Youngstown. This brief and bloody battle occurred during the French and Indian War and helped the British capture Fort Niagara from the French during a 19-day siege.

Until recently, a historical marker cited the battle’s location about one mile south of Lockport Street on River Road. Through extensive research, historians determined that this location was inaccurate and that, instead, the battle happened near where the blinking traffic light now stands in the village. This is where the new historic plaque will be located.

Dunnigan, who was executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association from 1979-1996, was instrumental in researching the Battle of La Belle Famille and worked toward correcting the marker’s location. For this, and for his many contributions to the association and his lifelong commitment to historical scholarship and education, Old Fort Niagara will honor him at the ceremony.

In addition, the Plymouth Fife and Drum Corps will perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday. This student ensemble, ages 12 to 18, hails from Plymouth, Mich.

The performance of the drum corps is included in regular admission to the fort – $12 for adults, $8 for children age 6 and up, free for children 5 and under. A daily summer program continues through Aug. 12 at the fort. The fort will host the Soldiers of the American Revolution re-enactment Aug. 13-14 and the War of 1812 Encampment re-enactment Sept. 3-4.