All of this historical fact from which we form our individual opinions and prejudices, is only the reflection of the lives and characters of those whose acts brought about the series of circumstances with which we have had to deal. Men of France, men of England, and men of America, each in turn, have served well under their respective flags at Old Fort Niagara. Each in his turn has contributed in one way or another to the happy state of affairs which we know today.
Perhaps the writer can best express his thoughts in this connection by the relation of a few lines of verse which came to him as he stopped beneath the old Lombardy poplar trees which have stood in the Old Fort for two hundred years:
To stand beneath these silent Lombardies,
The sentries of the passing centuries;
To gaze far out, across the azure deep
In quiet communion with them as they keep
Their endless vigil o’er this sacred soil;
To live with them again the tragedies,
The hopes, the fears, the gallant victories
That marked the tireless pace of those who sleep,
Who lived and fought and died — that we might reap
The harvest of their vision and their toil.
Source: Claud H. Hultzén, Sr. Old Fort Niagara: The Story of an Ancient Gateway to the West. Youngstown, NY: Old Fort Niagara Association, 1939.
N.B. An earlier version of this poem with an added first line: “I love” was presented in a paper to the 1936 annual meeting of the Old Fort Niagara Association. The paper, including the poem, was reproduced under the title Restoration of Old Fort Niagara in the journal New York History, vol. 18, no. 4 (October 1937)
Claud H. Hultzén was the executive vice-president of the Old Fort Niagara Association.