In the saga of Fort Niagara, the heroism of Betsy Doyle looms large. During the War of 1812, there was an artillerist by the name of Andrew Doyle stationed at Fort Niagara. His wife, Betsy, and their four children also lived at the fort. In October of 1812, Andrew was captured by the British at the Battle of Queenston Heights: Born in Canada, Andrew was treated as a traitor and shipped back to England, where he was held in Dartmoor Prison until the end of the war.

Betsy, however, was still at Fort Niagara when, on November 12 of 1812, the fort was trading cannon fire with the British at Fort George, across the Niagara River. At least one gun was hauled up to the top of the French Castle, in order to have enough elevation to effectively drop shot into Fort George. Some of the American artillerists were killed or injured, so Betsy repeatedly contrived to carry hot shot from ovens in the Bake House all the way up three floors to the roof of the Maison. At least one hot shot from Fort Niagara managed to hit the roof of Fort George's Powder Magazine at some point during the war, which I would like to think was one of Betsy's.

You will perhaps note that, on the lower of the two plaques pictured here, the courageous woman in question is called Fanny Doyle. No official records existed detailing Mrs. Doyle's info, and it was only fairly recently that her name was decided to have been Betsy. In another 50 years or so, perhaps there'll be another plaque, calling her Dominique Doyle.