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Joseph Wilcocks

Joseph Wilcocks, villified in Upper Canada as a traitor, and temporarily honoured in the United States as a hero, died in the siege of Fort Erie, September 4th, 1814. He had been born in Ireland near Dublin, to middle class English parents. Arriving in Canada in 1800, he served in many offices including sheriff of the Home District and was eventually elected to the lower house to represent the region of West York. Entrusted by Brock as an emmesary, he went to the Grand River Natives in September of 1814 to help bring them on side to fight against the United States. Having been successful in this endeavour, he served with distinction and courage at the Battle of Queenston Heights, but fled across the border after the death of Brock and the appointment of the extremely unpopular Genearl Shaffe as Brock's successor. Once in the U.S., he offered his services to the American army and was given a commission as Major, elected by his men, and raised a force of "Canadian Volunteers" who served in the conflict under the American flag. He fought courageously in the bloodiest battle of the war, the Battle of Queenston Heights and was guilty of burning Newark, a community where he had lived and published his newspaper, which was the first newspaper in Upper Canada.