AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE?
Today, St. Davids is a picturesque village on the southern edge of the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. In 1814, it was a hamlet that had been settled by United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolution, located at the junction of Indian trails through the Niagara Peninsula. An Officer of Butler's Rangers, Major David Secord, was given a grant of land and made his home there. The village was named for him. In 1792, Gov. Simcoe authorized the formation of Five battalions of militia. Many men from the St. David's area were in the 1st battalion Lincoln militia.
War came in 1812! The Niagara Peninsula was a tempting target for the American invaders. Many battles were fought in the area, and St. Davids changed hands several times. It was here that Laura Secord, daughter of David Secord, made her historic twenty mile walk through uncharted bush, avoiding American patrols, on a hot June day in 1813 to warn the British and militia forces of an impending assault by invaders.
The U.S. forces were finally driven out of St. Davids on July 19, 1814. Before leaving, they burned the village, destroying some forty houses and other buildings. The village of Queenston was also destroyed. The American commander, Colonel Stone, was later dismissed for these disgraceful actions.
Sir George Prevost, commander of British forces in America, wrote to Admiral Cochrane, the British naval commander on the Atlantic coast, to describe these actions as dishonorable and asked for retribution to be inflicted against the enemy. In August 1814, British Naval forces occupied and burned Washington, D.C.!
After the war, St. Davids was quickly rebuilt. Several small industries were founded. Toward the end of the 19th century, the local economy shifted to fruit farming. Today, the economy appears to be moving towards the establishment of vineyards and wineries in place of fruit farming and to the expansion of the tourist industry. Ravine Winery has become widely known and respected.
We are happy to welcome visitors from all countries to our beautiful land.