Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Major Amos Spafford

The Spafford Family (Amos Spafford and Olive Barlow) of Perrysburg, Ohio.  

A story about the escavations at the Amos Spafford farm here (full article here):
"The farm was destroyed, along with other family farms, when the British and Indians from Fort Malden, Canada, lead by Captain Peter Latouche Chambers and Shawnee chief Tecumseh, invaded the settlement in August 1812 after the fall of Detroit." 

A 23 January 1812 letter from Major Amos Spafford to Governor Return Jonathan Meigs (transcript here).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Charles Vasseur And Family

From the Ontario History, Volumes 1-4:

Vasseur, Charles, the grantee of Park lot No. 6, Tiny [Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada], in 1834.  He was born at St Maurice, Quebec, served with the "Voltigeurs," then went west with the Hudson's Bay Company.  He joined the British forces and was at the capture of Mackinaw in 1812. There were six brothers and all went to Mackinaw and followed the British to Drummond Island, thence to Penetanguishene. While at Mackinaw Charles married a young half-breed woman named Marguerite Langlade, a near relative of the famous Captain Langlade and cousin of the Langlades of Tiny.

More about the Vasseur family from The Northern Peninsula of Michigan:
Louis C. Vasseur. — A venerable and respected resident of Ontonagon, Louis C. Vasseur has lived in this section of the Upper Peninsula for more than forty consecutive years, during which time he has been an interested observer of the many wonderful changes that have taken place in the face of the country, watching with pride and satisfaction its growing prosperity. A son of the late Charles Vasseur, Jr., he was born, October 19, 1829, in the village of Pentanguishine, Simcoe county, province of Ontario, Canada, of French descent.
His grandfather, Charles Vasseur, Sr., was born, bred, educated and married in Paris, France. Emigrating to this country, he followed his trade of a silversmith in New York City for a time, but subsequently followed the pioneer's trail to the northwestern territory, locating at Green Bay, Wis., when there were but few white settlers west of the Ohio river. Establishing a trade with the Indians, he continued his residence there until his death. His oldest son remained in France, but two daughters came to this country with him and his wife, and their other son, Charles, Jr., was born at Green Bay, Wis. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CT Letters By Smith And Griswold

The letter from Lieut.-Gov. John Cotton Smith is a valuable missing link in the correspondence between State-authorities and the General Government, on the subject of Secretary of War Dearborn's requisition for troops of the militia of Connecticut, to be ordered into the service of the United States, on the breaking out of the War of 1812.

But more important and interesting, in the same connection, is the following draft of a letter written by Gov. Griswold, on the 4th of Aug., 1812, to Secretary Dearborn, which, it is believed, has never appeared in print, and was, perhaps, never sent.  Being found among the family-papers, it is put on record here as an additional tribute to his memory.


I have Griswolds in my family tree (the Governor is not in my direct line).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Oath Of Peter W. Ruttan

An affidavit by Peter W. Ruttan regarding his knowledge of Captain James Cotter, as well as their service in the War of 1812, was found in the among the papers in the below petition:

Upper Canada Land Petitions
"C," Bundle 5 
County of Prince Edward
22 April 1850

Peter W. Ruttan's oath stated that he was "...with the late Captain James Cotter of Sophiasburgh Township, Prince Edward County" and was "...on duty in the War of 1812."

Some background on the Ruttans (there may have been a Peter Ruttan, Jr. and Sr.) as well as a story about surviving the Hungry Year (1787) in rural Canada:

The Ruttans were descended from a Huguenot, who settled in America about 1734. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Henry's father and his "Uncle Peter took up arms for the King (3rd Battalion of the Jersey Volunteers). [The Loyalist family moved to Canada] At the best of times, it was hard to get provisions in any little hamlet... .   
For instance, if the people at Adolphustown needed to get a barrel of pork or to have a sack of grain ground, they had to go all the way to Kingston. But in "the Hungry Year" the soldiers in the garrison were put on an allowance of a biscuit a day, so it was vain to look for help in that quarter. At last, in desperation, Peter Ruttan, who had saved some money from the sale of his captain's commission, sent two men all the way to Albany, in New York State, for four bushels of Indian corn. It was a perilous journey through the trackless woods deep in snow; but they returned in safety with the precious grain, and upon this, the milk of their cow, and the roots and berries they could gather in the woods, the family of eight persons lived till harvest. [Source]

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Barney's Spring

The flight of Stansbury's troops left [Commodore] Barney unsupported in that direction, while a heavy column was hurled against Beale and his militia, on the right, with such force as to disperse them. The British light troops soon gained position on each flank, and Barney himself was severely wounded near a living fountain of water on the present estate of Mr. Rives, which is still known as Barney's Spring. [Source]

Commodore Barney was taken as a POW, but was immediately paroled by British General Ross.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prizes For The Benjamin Franklin

Source: Fold3

From A History Of American Privateers:

Notwithstanding the fact that the British maintained a rigorous blockade off Sandy Hook and in Long Island Sound in the course of the war, New York managed to send to sea fifty-five privateers. ...the Benjamin Franklin was one of the first to get to sea, leaving port about July 24, 1812, and returning August 24th, in which time she made seven prizes and twenty-eight prisoners. This privateer was a schooner carrying eight guns and one hundred and twenty men, under the command of Captain J. Ingersoll.

Jim's Photo Of A Tall Ship

In general, the conduct of American privateersmen on the high seas was most commendable. They showed themselves to be not only daring, but gentlemanly. When the schooner Industry, Captain Eenneaux, a prize to the privateer Benjamin Franklin, Captain Ingersol, of New York, reached that port, August 24, 1812, it was learned that the craft belonged to a widow whose only dependence was on the earnings of that vessel. Although the Industry had two thousand dollars' worth of goods aboard, the Americans restored her and her cargo to the widow. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Records Of The Adjutant General's Office From Richmond, Virginia

Could this source, the Adjutant General's Office in Richmond, Virginia, provide additional data about William Hinds' service and death during the War of 1812?  Wouldn't that be nice!

There are other dates, other than July 20, 1814, listed in the Mirlyn catalog for items housed at the Clements Library at the University of Michigan.

Title, Adjutant General's Office, Richmond, 20th July 1814: General Orders. Authors, Virginia. Adjutant General's Office, Claiborne W. Gooch, Moses Green ...

More about William Hinds and his service here, here, here and here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Near Florida's Prospect Bluff

From Explore Southern History:

The British envisioned using the river as an avenue for invading the United States during 
the War of 1812 and established two forts along the Apalachicola. Their massive post 
at Prospect Bluff was used as a supply and training base.

Jim's Photo Of The Area

Also see British at Prospect Bluff blog post and a Prospect Bluff video here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Biography Of Col. Richard M Johnson

The Authentic biography of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky was published in 1833.

Richard Mentor Johnson, the third son of Colonel Robert Johnson, was born in the autumn of 1780/1, in Kentucky, which was then a county in Virginia.  After some local schooling, Richard M. Johnson attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and then studied law.  He represented the citizens of Scott County, Kentucky, when he was quite young, and took his seat in the U.S. Congress in October of 1807.  While in Congress the whole country was in an uproar when the British frigate Leopard attacked frigate Chesapeake.

The other dispute referenced above occurred in 1802 when the Spanish Intendant closed the Port at New Orleans to the United States, in violation of a treaty.  War was anticipated, especially in the Western States.  Richard Johnson, at age 20, volunteered for military service and was elected to command a company.  The dispute was settled peacefully.
Richard M. Johnson, while still a member of Congress, offered to be an aid to General Harrison, who was then in charge of the Kentucky troops as well as his own Indiana soldiers, and also offered to recruit for the military.

Other posts relating to Richard Johnson here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lieutenant Joseph C. Eldridge

One of the essays in "THE WAR OF 1812: Writings from America's Second War of Independence" told of "The Death Of Joseph C. Eldridge...," a lieutenant with the 13th U.S. Infantry, who was ambushed by Chief Blackbird and other Ottawa warriors.  The Ottawas, from Michigan, "joined the British army during the siege of Fort George," and that is the vicinity where was killed.  An investigation conducted by Colonel William Claus, of Canada's Indian Department, ensued at the request of the Fort George commander after it was  reported that Eldridge was tortured and killed in captivity.  Chief Blackbird's response to Colonel Claus is included.

See my review of the book here.

Eldridge street in New York City is named after Lt. Eldridge.

On 20 March 1812, Eldridge wrote to Secretary of War Eustis accepting his appointment as a second lieutenant:


Friday, July 12, 2013

Joshua Howard Who Died In Detroit


From The Howard Family book:

JOSHUA HOWARD...was appointed ensign in the 9th regiment of infantry, joined the army at Pittsfield, and was actively engaged in the War of 1812. In 1818 he obtained an appropriation of ten thousand dollars to build an arsenal in Detroit, Mich.

He was actively engaged in the Mexican War, and for gallant conduct was made Brev. Colonel.  ...was appointed a paymaster in the U.S. army, and served to the close of the Civil War. His home was in Detroit, Mich. ; he d. there July 12, 1868.  He had twelve children.

Not a member of MY Howard family.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daniel Cruger's Objections

Source of Newark Burning Depiction

"Some time after reaching the seat of war, the general [McClure], understanding that certain orders directed him to burn the town of Newark [Niagara-on-the-Lake], in Canada, took the necessary steps to obey."

"Major Cruger and Mr. Spencer, however, dissented from the view of the order taken by General McClure, and objected to burning the town. About this time Mr. Spencer was called home by sickness in his family, and Mr Cruger stood alone in his opposition."

"The general, therefore, prepared to carry out his construction of the order, and Major Cruger was ordered to enter the town with a flag of truce, and inform the "inhabitants of the threatened conflagration."  He obeyed the order, entered the town with an orderly, and after giving the usual notice, he and his orderly assisted the inhabitants to remove their effects; and the town was soon in flames."
From the Lives of eminent lawyers and statesmen of the state of New York, with notes ...

The Olive Tree Genealogy website has residents' losses listed from the Newark burning incident.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Governor Trousdale's Service

Portrait of Governor William Trousdale

"When a call was made for volunteers for the Creek War, he [William Trousdale] at once left school and enlisted as a private in Captain [William] Edwards' company of mounted riflemen. He was elected third lieutenant and took part in the battles of Talladega and Tallashatchee [Tallushatchee]. He re-enlisted in 1814 in Captain Scurry's company and was at the capture of Pensacola and took part the battle of New Orleans."  From the American Historical Magazine and Tennessee Historical Society ..., Volume 7.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

U.S.S. General Pike

File:USS General Pike sail plan.jpg
Source of U.S.S. General Pike Drawing

Commodore Arthur Sinclair commanded the U.S.S. General Pike.

From the (Canadian) War of 1812 website:

 "...Commander William Mulcaster used HMS Royal George to cover his commodore, preventing Chauncey’s General Pike from making its killing strike and allowing Yeo time to recover and begin his mad dash toward the head of the lake."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Battle Of Malcolm's Mills

Information from Wikipedia:

The Battle of Malcolm's Mills was a brief skirmish during the War of 1812 in which a force of American cavalry overran and scattered a force of Canadian militia. The battle was fought on November 6, 1814, near the village of Oakland, in Brant County, Ontario. The skirmish was part of a series of battles fought by American Brigadier General Duncan McArthur on an extended raid into Upper Canada.

According to this source:

"It was also a mission launched with economic objectives, directed at the destruction of Upper Canadian infrastructure rather than one with strictly defined military objectives. As such it can be seen as a precursor to Sherman's 'March to the Sea' exactly 50 years later."

This blog has more.

Photos of the reenactors at the Battle of Malcolm's Mills.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Melee At Fort Macon

Mess Hall At Fort Macon

During the war of 1812 there were some 300 soldiers, mostly militia, at Fort Macon just opposite Beaufort.  On one occasion, when [Captain Otway] Burns was in port, some of them, having gotten into a row with citizens of the town while drunk, were being roughly handled. They called out the rest of their comrades to whom some of the officers very foolishly issued 12 rounds of ammunition per man. Captain Burns interposed and his exertions alone saved bloodshed. One of the soldiers, however, struck him, and Burns promptly knocked the man down. When this news reached the ears of the crew of the Snap Dragon, they came en masse to avenge the insult. It required all Burns eloquence to quiet his men, who very probably would have taken the fort and all the militia.  Source:  Captain Otway Burns, patriot, privateer and legislator ...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Captain McCall

From Pioneer sketches of Long Point settlement: ...

Lieut.-Col. Daniel McCall (1772-1848), third son of Donald, was born in the New Jersey home in 1772, and was twenty-four years old when the family came to the settlement. He married Jane Decew, of Sussex County, New Jersey, and settled on Lots 22 and 23, 6th concession of Charlotteville. This son of the old Highlander inherited much of his father's martial spirit. He served in the war of 1812 as captain of a company, and was at the battle of Fort Erie. He was at "Malcolm's Mill," with his company, and in justice to Captain McCall and his men be it said, they maintained their military integrity until all else had broken ranks and fled. In the sketch entitled "Grandfather's Tales of the War of 1812," an account is given of the part he played in the capture of the "Dickson bandits." Daniel McCall worked his way up in the Norfolk militia from corporal to lieutenant colonel.

Colonel McCall died in 1848 in his 77th year and his wife died two years afterwards in her 79th year. He left three sons, Duncan ,Daniel and William, and two daughters Elsie and Mary. 

Captain McCall served in the 1st Norfolk Regiment 2nd Flank Company.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Post Revolution, Not Yet Independent

It is worth noting that when Benjamin Franklin received the news of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown he remarked with foresight that the War of Revolution was won, but the War for Independence is yet to be fought. [Source]

A similar statement from Mr. Franklin here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sinclair Papers

Papers about Commodore Arthur Sinclair are imbedded in the papers of his descendant, the author, Upton Sinclair, housed at the Indiana University Archives.

Sinclair mss., 1814-1968, bulk 1878-1968
Papers, 1814-1968 , of Upton Beall Sinclair at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

"Also present are copies and transcripts of correspondence, 1814-1879, relating to Commodore Arthur Sinclair and to the Southworth family."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Story Of A Sailor And His Commodore Ancestor

Source of Arthur Sinclair's Portrait

A news article entitled Sailor finds War of 1812 ancestor's grave was published in the Army Times and described a sailor's search for Commodore Arthur Sinclair's grave.

"Sinclair, who served in the Great Lakes campaign against the British in the War of 1812, joined the Navy when he was about 12 years old."

Another version of the story can be found in the U.S. Naval Institute blog.

A biography of Arthur Sinclair, the grandson of Commodore Arthur Sinclair, mentioned that the Commodore commanded the United States sloop-of-war General Pike on Lake Ontario.

The Commodore was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Impetus For War


The great mass of the American people hungered for more territory, and they longed to humiliate England by driving her from the Valley of the St. Lawrence, and raising the stars and stripes over every stronghold from Fort Malden to Quebec. [Source]

Also see Aiming For The Conquest of Canada blog post.