The end of the War of 1812 came in 1814. While the British kept the Americans from taking British territories, the war left much hardship, damage and loss for the people loyal to Britain.
George Ward suffered great losses to his property, business and personal being. Ward himself was captured and repeatedly attacked as a dispatch rider for the British army. The enemy attempted to hang Ward three times and failed.
George Ward’s tavern and home were burned to the ground. His apple orchards were scorched and destroyed. With some compensation from the government, he rebuilt from nothing and replanted his orchard and fields.
The traveler’s stop on Longwoods Road continued and business expanded as more settlers arrived. The Longwoods Road gradually widened and travel became easier.
Written by Rosemary Cranney, Becky Clarke and Ken Willis
The twisted rope represents the personal trauma and hardship George Ward suffered during the War of 1812. During the war, George Ward returned home to see his family and ensure that they were safe. Upon arriving, George Ward was captured by the Americans and repeatedly questioned.
The American forces wanted George Ward to reveal the position of the British army in the area in order to gain the advantage. Instead, Ward remained loyal and revealed no information to the American army. After holding him, the enemy attempted to hang George Ward three times, “until the life was almost extinct,‟ as stated in government records.
George Ward’s ingenuity allowed him to escape and return to the British army. However, his property, home and tavern were burned to the ground in retaliation.
Story by Rosemary Cranney
Mrs George Ward’s story about the Traitor Tree:
My husband George was worried sick about us. It was early March 1814 and he knew the Americans were coming from the West. We were here at the inn at Ward’s Landing and he was fulfilling his militia duty with the British company in Delaware – to the east. Neither Colonel Stewart nor Captain Wilson would give George permission to return to Wardsville to look after us. When it turned cold he headed home without permission. He spent an uncomfortably long time hanging from the Traitor Tree after he was overtaken by Lt. Gill of the Michigan Mounted Rangers near Strathburn.
My George, a tough old soldier and British patriot, held his tongue. The Americans took him back to their abattis at Twenty Mile Creek and hanged him again for further questioning. On the morning of the Battle of the Longwoods, March 4, he was released and he walked to the Edwards farm at the Big Bend. Ward asked Mathews to take his horse and warn the British but Mathews refused. The battle started at 5 p.m. and the Edwards could hear the battle from the Big Bend.
Alas, William Caldwell saw him leaving the American compound and assumed he was playing both sides. The British accused George of being a traitor! The accusation stuck. He lost his army pension and spent the rest of his life writing letters to the authorities requesting a fair trial. At the age of 94, George died in 1837 with a cloud still over his head.”
Written by Mary Simpson