Niagara Peninsula

The Niagara Peninsula is the portion of Golden Horseshoe, Southern Ontario, lying between the southwestern shore of Lake Ontario and the northeastern shore of Lake Erie. Technically an isthmus rather than a peninsula, it stretches from the Niagara River in the east to Hamilton, Ontario, in the west; the population of the peninsula is 1,000,000 people. The region directly across the Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York State is known as the Niagara Frontier; the broader Buffalo Niagara Region includes the Niagara Peninsula, the Niagara Frontier, the city of Buffalo, New York. The greater part of the peninsula is incorporated as the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Cities in the region include St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Port Colborne and Welland. Towns include Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham and Fort Erie, as well as the townships Wainfleet and West Lincoln; the remainder of the peninsula encompasses parts of the City of Haldimand County. The area was inhabited by a First Nations people called the "Neutrals", so named for their practice of trading goods such as flint arrowhead blanks with both of the feuding regional powers, the Wyandot and Iroquois.

The Neutrals were wiped out by the Iroquois c. 1650 as the latter sought to expand their fur-trapping territory as part of the Beaver Wars. From this point until the arrival of United Empire Loyalists following the American War of Independence, the region was only sporadically inhabited, as the Iroquois did not establish permanent settlements in the area; the Niagara Peninsula became one of the first areas settled in Upper Canada by British Loyalists in the late 18th century. The capital of the new colony was established with the founding of Niagara-on-the-Lake called Newark. Many English and Irish immigrants settled in the peninsula, but by the 1800s, Italian and German immigrants populated the peninsula and were the chief sources of immigrants followed by French and other Central Europeans. Following the agricultural period of European settlement, the Niagara area became an important industrial centre, with water-powered mills joined by hydro-electric power generation in Niagara Falls and electricity-intensive industry in both Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.

While agriculture – fruit farming along the shore of Lake Ontario – remains important to this day, it was joined in the 19th century by industrial developments. A succession of canals were built to connect the markets and mineral resources of the upper Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence Seaway. General Motors built a considerable presence in St. Catharines with auto plants and a foundry, a number of auto-parts manufacturers followed. Dry docks were built at Port Weller on Lake Ontario. Heavy industry has been diminishing for the past decade or more due to the slow-down of the North American automotive manufacturers. Thousands of jobs have been lost at long-time area employers such as General Motors, Thompson Products, Deere & Company, Dana Canada Corp, Port Weller Drydocks, Domtar Papers and Gallagher Thorold Paper; because of this, local municipalities have been forced to look at new and diversified opportunities to prevent an exodus of well trained staff. Hospitality and tourism has attracted numerous visitors to the area for more than 150 years thanks to Niagara Falls.

New development beginning during the mid-1990s has spun off an upscale hospitality boom throughout the whole Niagara Peninsula. Today, more than 10 million guests visit the peninsula annually to see the beauty of the Falls and the Niagara Parks. Ecotourism has become more popular with more people finding and exploring out of the way places such as the Niagara Escarpment, named a world Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1990. Another area of major tourism growth in the past thirty years has been the expansion of the grape and wine industry; the Niagara Peninsula is one of four recognized viticultural areas by the VQA in the Ontario wine industry. The many European-style wineries and vineyards have played a major role in attracting visitors seeking a unique cultural experience. Most of the local wineries offer full tours of their facilities with a few offering onsite dining featuring unique Canadian cuisine paired with their own VQA vintages, it is common for many of these wineries' world-class chefs to use fresh ingredients that are grown or acquired from local farms in season.

Some wineries feature live music and theatrical performances in the vineyard during the summer months. Visitors come during the coldest months of the year to watch some varieties of grapes being harvested and pressed outdoors in the vineyard as part of the process of creating the sweetest, among the most expensive, wine on earth – ice wine. A few Niagara Peninsula wineries have won the most prestigious international awards for their ice wine products, many of which are only available from the vintner. There is an official Wine Routes Guide for those that wish to self-drive while transportation companies offering wine tours operate out of major hotel and bed and breakfast establishments in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto. Another major attraction for the well travelled looking for cultural activities is the famous Shaw Festival Theater located in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. A resident repertory company of actors uses three theatres during a six-month season. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the location of Fort George, a British-built and -occupied fort during the War of 1812.

It is open during the summer months. Other key historical locations

Emma Sansom

Emma Sansom was an Alabama farmgirl noted for her bravery during the American Civil War, during which she helped Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest capture Union commander Abel Streight. Sansom was born on June 2, 1847, near Social Circle, Georgia, to Micajah and Levina Vann Sansom, a niece of Cherokee leader James Vann. Around 1852, she and her family moved to a farm just outside Alabama, her father died in 1858. In April 1863, Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was ordered into northern Alabama to pursue Union Colonel Abel Streight, who had orders to cut off the Confederate railroad near Chattanooga, Tennessee. On May 2, 1863, Streight prepared to cross Black Creek; because the creek was swollen due to rain, Streight realized that if he destroyed the bridge he could get a few hours respite from the pursuit of Forrest. Seeing the nearby Sansom farmhouse, he rode upon it and demanded some smoldering coal, which he could use to burn the bridge; when Forrest's men arrived at the site, they found the burned out bridge and came under fire from Streight's men.

Forrest asked whether there was another bridge across the creek. Emma Sansom 16 years old, told him that the nearest bridge was in Gadsden, 2 miles away. Forrest asked if there was a place where he could get across the creek. Emma told him that if one of his men would help saddle her horse, she would show him a place that she had seen cows cross the creek, that he might be able to cross there, he asked her to get on his horse behind him. As they started to leave, Emma's mother objected, but relented when Forrest assured her that he would bring the girl back safely. Emma directed Forrest to the spot where he could cross the river; some accounts of the skirmish indicate that the two came under fire from Union soldiers, who subsequently ceased fire when they realized that they had been firing on a teenage girl. After taking Emma back to her home, Forrest continued his pursuit of Streight, whom he was able to capture near Cedar Bluff on the following day. Emma's actions are noteworthy in that aiding Confederate forces could have subjected her and her family to prosecution from the Union Army.

Sansom married Christopher B. Johnson on October 29, 1864, moved to Texas in late 1876 or early 1877, she died August 9, 1900 in Upshur County, is buried in Little Mound Cemetery. The actual crossing site was 75 yards north of the point where modern Tuscaloosa Avenue crosses Black Creek in Gadsden. In 1907, a monument was constructed in Gadsden at the western end of the Broad Street bridge across the Coosa River in honor of her actions; when the residents of Alabama City, Alabama built a high school in 1929, they named it in her honor. With the consolidation of the three Gadsden city high schools at the end of the 2006 school year, General Forrest Middle School was closed and Emma Sansom High School became Emma Sansom Middle School. Alabama Department of Archives and History "Emma Sansom". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2009-04-13. Emma Sansom Marker, Social Circle, GA Emma Sansom article, Encyclopedia of Alabama Wyeth, John Allan. Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1908.

OCLC 14107191. Retrieved December 2, 2015. Monroe F. Cockrell research notes, W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama

Old Harford Road

Old Harford Road, one of the oldest continuously-used rights-of-way in central Maryland, United States, is a southwest-northeast thoroughfare in northeast Baltimore and eastern Baltimore County. Present-day Old Harford Road begins in the 6000 block of Harford Road in the Hamilton section of Baltimore City and continues nearly 5½ miles northeast through the Parkville and Carney areas of Baltimore County to near the Big Gunpowder Falls north of Cub Hill. Old Harford Road serves as an alternate route to both Harford Road and Perring Parkway, carries between 10,000 and 16,500 vehicles per day. Old Harford Road, like Harford County, was named for Henry Harford, the son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Lord Baltimore, the last Proprietary of Maryland prior to the American Revolutionary War. Old Harford Road follows a curving path along high land bordering streams that feed the upper Chesapeake Bay, including Chinquapin Run; this suggests its origin as an Indian trail that subsequently was adopted by settlers to convey farm products from northeastern Baltimore County, Harford County, southern Pennsylvania to the port of Baltimore in the late 18th century.

The name "Old Harford Road" appears on area maps dating to at least 1850. In particular, the 1850 J. C. Sidney map indicates that today's Satyr Hill Road, Cromwell Bridge Road north of Satyr Hill, Glen Arm Roads collectively were known as Old Harford Road. Four sections of the Sidney map, annotated to highlight the location of today's Old Harford Road with respect to area roads of today --- and to the Old Harford Road of 1850 --- are provided below. Nineteenth century deeds to two notable properties in the area, obtained by Baltimore County historian John W. McGrain, substantiate Sidney's depiction of Old Harford Road; the "Shanklin House", once located at present-day 8906 Satyr Hill Road, "Serendipity," on present-day Glen Arm Road, north of Glen View, are both listed as being located on "The Old Harford Road." The Shanklin House once served as a tavern, its 1845 deed notes that the property was located on "the well-traveled main road." Old Harford Road appears on Robert Taylor's 1857 map of Baltimore County.

The map depicts "Carroll's Factory," a woolen mill converted to a flour mill, where the road crossed the south bank of Gunpowder Falls. Some of the structures of this property remain extant as a private residence along Cub Hill Road, just east of today's Cromwell Bridge Road; the Old in Old Harford Road most dates to the period shortly after the completion of the Harford Turnpike by private road-building interests in 1816. Harford Turnpike, now known as Harford Road, was constructed as a more direct route between present-day Mt. Vista Road and what became the Hamilton section of Baltimore. Further evidence that today's Cromwell Bridge and Glen Arm Roads comprise part of the original Old Harford Road is provided by the 1829 edition of the Laws of the Maryland General Assembly. A complicating bit of information regarding the use of the moniker "Old," however, is provided by a genealogical reference to a tavern, said to have been located on Old Harford Road "near the Long Green Valley" around 1776.

Why the prefix "Old" would have been used at that early date is uncertain. If the reference is accurate, it could reflect that a displacement of the original Harford Road right-of-way had been made prior to the construction of the Harford Turnpike in 1816. While the name "Old Harford" may be traced with certainty to only the first third of the nineteenth century, the right-of-way itself is older. For example, the 1794 map of Maryland by Dennis Griffith depicts a thoroughfare extending northeast from the central part of Baltimore City into Harford County, Maryland; this road is distinct from nearby roads that evolved into parts of today's Belair Road, Philadelphia Road, York Road. The shape and orientation of the unnamed right-of-way, in part, bears close resemblance to today's Old Harford Road. Anthony Finley's 1824 map of Maryland, schematically depicts a route of travel extending north-northeast from Baltimore City to the Coopstown area of Harford County. Subsequent editions of his map and others show the route extending farther northeast to the Susquehanna River near McCall's Ferry, Pennsylvania.

In 1921, on the part of Old Harford Road that by that time had come to be known as Glen Arm Road, what is accepted to be the nation's first train-actuated railroad crossing signal was installed at the crossing of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad in the community of Glen Arm. The signal device was designed and installed by the short line railroad's noteworthy Superintendent of Signals, Charles Adler, Jr; the approach of a train activated a double stop sign that turned toward the road twenty seconds before the arrival of a train. Adler designed early traffic-actuated traffic lights for the City of Baltimore, invented the system of flashing warning lights used on aircraft. Development along the Old Harford Road of today and that of the past mirrored that which occurred along ot