Margaret St. John ......................War of 1812 - Table of Contents
The Early Buffalo Drawings of LeGrand St. John
Drawings reproduced with permission from the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
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LeGrand St. John (1864?-1870) was the 11th of 12 children born to Margaret Marsh (1768-1847) and Gamaliel St. John (1766-1813).
Margaret St. John is a well-known figure in Buffalo history because hers was the only surviving residence after the burning of Buffalo in the War of 1812.
LeGrand was an artist and inventor (he obtained patents for a steam heater and an improved propeller for boats).
The first 7 drawings above by LeGrand were donated to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society in 2005 by LeGrand's descendants The last two drawings were gifts from LeGrand to the Historical Society in 1862. Drawing #8 is missing. Much of the information about each drawing is culled from "The Enduring Legacies of the St. John, Sidway and Spaulding Families," by Christopher N. Brown and David F. Granville, published the Spring 2005 edition of Western New York Heritage.
Drawing #1: Courthouse
The Buffalo Courthouse in Lafayette Square was the original 1810 Niagara County Courthouse in the Village of Buffalo. It was built by Oziel Smith at the direction of Joseph Ellicott and stood in the center of a circular plot at the intersection of Broadway and Washington Street. The square two-story timber-frame wooden building was destroyed in the burning of Buffalo during the War of 1812.
Drawing #2: Jail
The stone jail which survived the burning of Buffalo because it was a masonry building is shown with its roof missing, indicating that it was a burned-out shell.
Drawing #3: Fleeing Citizens on Main Street
An overview of Main Street looking north from Tupper Street shows fleeing citizens turning back from enemy Indians (top) in the roadway. Unidentified log houses stand on opposite sides of the road. Note the zigzag rail fencing.
Drawing #4: Fleeing Citizens at Lake Erie
Fleeing citizens reach the Lake Erie shore south of the Village of Buffalo which can be seen burning on the high ground at right. Baggage and salvaged possessions have been abandoned in a pile by refugees lightening their load.
Drawing #5: St. John tavern and house
This is the only known representation of the large two-story New England-type tavern building which stood on the west side of Main Street at the present Court Street. Note the tavern sign at the top of a tall pole near the edge of the road. The small simpler building at the right is an accurate representation of the St. John building which survived. See also the drawing of the house in a 1912 book published by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
Drawing #6: Burned residences chimneys
A realistic view of the chimneys which remained standing within the foundations of the burned-out buildings.
Drawing #7: General Winfield Scott arrives with troops in 1814
The welcome arrival of regular army troops at the junction of Main and High streets in the spring of 1814.
Drawing #8 MISSING
Drawing #9: Oxen towing Walk-in-the-Water
Sheldon Thompson's "Horn Breeze" shows teams of oxen towing the Walk-in-the-Water against the current of the Niagara River, in the channel between the mainland and Squaw Island. The Walk-in-the-Water, the first steamboat on the upper Great Lakes, was built at Black Rock in 1818.
Drawing #10: 1825 reception for General Lafayette
The Buffalo reception for General Lafayette in front of the Eagle Tavern in 1825. A square cordon of soldiers holds back the crowd in front of a raised platform for dignitaries. A group of women is gathered in the center of the platform. Note Red Jacket at upper right with headdress and medal.