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The area was first settled by United Empire Loyalists in 1784, who were granted land there by the Crown. The community of Adolphustown grew up around the landing place for these settlers, and a government wharf was built to facilitate shipping on Lake Ontario. In 1812, during the War of 1812 between Britain and America, an American naval squadron under Commodore Isaac Chauncey captured this port without firing a shot as part of his campaign against Kingston; it remained in American hands until its recapture by British forces later that year. Adolphustown is named after Prince Adolphus Frederick (1774–1850), Duke of Cambridge (the second son of King George III) who served as Commander-in-Chief North America from 1791 to 1795 with headquarters at Quebec City.