Thursday, August 29, 2013

Commodore Stephen Cassin

The outstanding actions of Commodore Cassin took place in the Battle of Lake Champlain.


See links from Wikipedia and FindAGrave.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Albert Gallatin Plaque At Homestead

More about Albert Gallatin here*.

*Mr. Gallatin was appointed as the Secretary of the Treasury by President Jefferson.  He served from 1801 until 1813. "After he left the Treasury Department, Gallatin became involved in the negotiations which led to the Treaty of Ghent, bringing the War of 1812 to a close. To reward him for this service, he was appointed Minister to France in 1815...". [Source: History Central]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Claims At The River Raisin

Frenchtown (Now Monroe, Michigan) At The River Raisin

Testimony, given in 1816, recounted in the Message From The President of the United States, to Both Houses of Congress..... .  Names mentioned were Laurent De Russy, Colonel Lewis, Medard Couture, Jean Baptiste Couture, Peter Audrain, and Colonel John Anderson.  Also mentioned was "a place called Frenchtown."


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Loyalist Sons, Robinson And Merritt


"During the war two young native Canadians, the sons of U.E. Loyalists, took a prominent part, and both were present at the surrender of Detroit, one as captain on the staff of General Brock, and the other of a similar rank in the cavalry. The latter fought with General Brock at Queenston Heights, and subsequently at Lundy's Lane, when he was made a prisoner and transported into the interior of the State of New York, where he remained until peace had been proclaimed. The A.D.C. was...Sir John Beverley Robinson, and the prisoner on parole the late Honorable William Hamilton Merritt*." [Source]

*War had no terrors for him [William Hamilton Merritt] and he decided to do what he could to repel the army that was threatening to invade Canada. From his earliest days he had been a fine horseman, and shortly before war was declared had been given a lieutenant's commission in the militia. He at once got into the saddle and until the battle of Lundy's Lane was one of the most distinguished cavalry leaders in Canada. [Source]

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Captivity: An American Privateer

A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts was written in 1815. The author, Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), told of a surgeon on an American privateer who was captured by the British and who was at Melville Island, Halifax, then Chatham (in England) and Dartmoor Prison.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Native American And British Influence At The Close Of The Revolutionary War

From History of the Late War in the Western Country:

At the close of the American revolution, many persons in England entertained an opinion that the American colonies were not irretrievably lost to the mother country. They hoped that Great Britain would be able, at some favor able moment, to regain the sovereignty of these States; and in this hope it is highly probable the British ministry participated

From calculations and sentiments like these, as well as from the irritation caused by the failure of their arms,
may have proceeded their unjustifiable conduct on the interior frontiers of the new States. The military posts of Niagara, Detroit, and Mackinaw were detained under various pretences, for many years, in violation of the treaty of peace.

The Indian tribes on our borders were at the same time supplied with munitions of war, and instigated to commit depredations and hostilities on the frontiers of Kentucky, and the settlements northwest of the Ohio.

Although this interference with the Indians was not an obvious and ostensible cause of the war, yet it may fairly be considered as a very efficient cause. Much of that resentment against the British, which prevailed so strongly in the western States, the principal advocates for the war, may fairly be attributed to this source.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Almon Gibbs And Chloe Spafford

Jim's Photo Of Fort Meigs (Reconstruction)

"...the fort [Fort Meigs], which had been in charge of Lieut. Almon Gibbs and about forty men, was abandoned. For the convenience of the fort and any stray settlers, Gibbs had, the previous year, May 9, 1814, been appointed postmaster and the office was named Fort Meigs. When Major Spafford left in 1813, Miami post office was discontinued. After the fort was abandoned in 1815-16, Gibbs quit the army, crossed to the other side of the river, and went into trade, taking the post office with him." [Source]

From A register of officers and agents, civil, military, and naval in the service of the United States ...

The City of Maumee, Ohio's website mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs and the house they owned at 209 W. Harrison Street, as follows:

One of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture is this two-story home.  The house is thought to have been completed by Chloe Spafford Gilbert Gibbs, of the pioneer Spafford family and widow of Almon Gibbs, a quartermaster at Fort Meigs in 1814, who, in partnership with Horatio Conant, operated a retail business below East Harrison Street and was prominent among the early founders of Maumee.  

Following the war, Almon Gibbs, a native of New York, was the postmaster at Fort Meigs, Ohio (now Perrysburg, Ohio).

This website has a picture of the envelope addressed to Cyrenus Gibbs of Harperfield, New York, from Almon Gibbs.

Gibbs was also a prominent Mason in the area.

Chloe Spafford, who married 1st Stephen (or Leister) Gilbert, briefly taught school in Cleveland, Ohio.  The story of Mr. Gilbert's drowning death in 1808 can be found here.  


Amos Spafford's daughter, Chloe, married 2nd Almon Gibbs (see Amos Spafford post here).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Uniforms And All

Jim's Photo

From George Rogers Clark Selected Papers at The...Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conferences (links below are mine):

"[In the pre-war era] Hull modeled his militia — uniforms and all — after the well-disciplined units he knew from his New England home. The [Michigan] territorial militia men fell far short of his expectations. Colonel John Anderson*...found it necessary to arrest most of his "French" officers to prod them into procuring uniforms. 'The more I exercise [the soldiers]," he complained, "the less they learn.'" [*Another reference to Col. Anderson here]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daniel Dobbins, Great Lakes Mariner

Per Wikipedia:  Daniel Dobbins (1776 - 1856) was "a sailing master in the United States Navy and captain in the United States Revenue Cutter Service. He fought in the War of 1812 and was in charge of the building of the ships* at Erie, Pennsylvania...".   *Building The Fleet In The Wilderness

Jim's Photo Of Mackinac Island In The Distance

Captain Dobbins was at Mackinac Island on board his vessel, the Salina, July 16, 1812, when he learned that war had been declared.  He was made a prisoner of war the same day by the British forces there. With sixty other Americans Captain Dobbins was asked to take the oath of allegiance to the British government and swear not to take up arms against Britain. This Dobbins refused to do. Among the British officials there was a petty officer by the name of Wilmoth, who knew Dobbins, with the result that he was allowed to depart with his vessel as a cartel, to take his fellow prisoners to Malden. [Source]


The Buffalo [New York] History Museum has the Daniel Dobbins Collected papers.

See the US Brig Niagara sailing past Dobbins Landing in Erie, PA, on YouTube and an historical profile of Captain Daniel Dobbins here on YouTube.

A biography of Captain Dobbins can be found here, in the Encyclopedia of the War of 1812.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Canadian Colonel Titus Williams

"...Titus was born in Long Island in 1790, and came over with his father [Jonathan Williams]. Four years before the war of 1812, Titus received an ensign's commission in the 2nd Regiment of Norfolk militia, and as soon as war was declared, he was made lieutenant... . He was second in command of the 100 volunteers from this county who accompanied Brock to Detroit...his rank was then raised to that of captain."

"Shortly afterwards he was ordered to the defence of Fort Erie... . When the attack came, the Canadians were forced to retire for their numbers were far inferior to those of the American force. However on his way back to Chippawa, Capt. Williams succeeded in surprising and taking prisoners thirty Americans under Capt. King." From Papers and Records, Volumes 2-4.


"The captives were forwarded from one place to another, Schlosser, Fort Niagara, Batavia, Geneva, Albany, Pittsfield, Mass., and, finally, Philadelphia."

"...they were liberated on the 18th of May 1814, and arrived in Upper Canada July 25th, 1814. On his return he was appointed adjutant and fought at Lundy's Lane."

His eyesight was restored in Buffalo, New York, in 1855, according to a testimonial.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mrs. Dodemead's British Piece

Soon after the surrender of 1812, British officers were sent round to disarm the citizens. One of them came to the door of Mrs Dodemead [in Detroit], who had in her care a little, old, dried-up, bedridden woman from Canada, whom she had kindly provided with a home. "Madam," said the officer, as Mrs. Dodemead opened the door, "I am ordered by Colonel Proctor to disarm the citizens, and take all guns to the fort. Have you any in your house?"

Mrs. Dodemead replied that she had "one British piece." "Follow me," she said, and leading the officer up stairs, she threw open a bedroom door, and pointing to the old lady said, "There, sir, is a British piece, all that I have. Seize her!" The officer turned on his heel, made a spring, hit the top, the middle, and the lower stair in his flight, and never called on Mrs. Dodemead again.  [Source]

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Captain Gordon's Potomac Raid

Portrait of Captain Gordon - Source

The Canadian site War of 1812, a biography of naval commander Captain James Alexander Gordon (1782 - 1869), and included the following:

"In 1814, Gordon’s talents helped the British naval effort against the Americans during the War of 1812. He led a daring and successful expedition up the Potomac River from August to September. His raid on Alexandria and attack on Fort Washington were meant to divert American eyes away from General Robert Ross’s attack on Washington."

"Of the many expeditions up the bays and rivers of the United States during the late war, none equaled in brilliancy of execution that up the Potomac to Alexandria. This service was intrusted to Captain James Alexander Gordon, of the 38-gun frigate, Seahorse...". "On the 17th [August] at 9 h l5 m A.M., the squadron got under way from the anchorage at the entrance of the Potomac, and, without the aid of pilots, began ascending the intricate channel of the river leading to the capital of the United States." [Source]

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tradition Has It That A Table Cloth Was Hull's Flag Of Truce In Detroit

After the fire he [John Dodemead] built a large hotel or boarding house on Jefferson Avenue where Shelby Street cuts through. It was a favorite resort of the soldiers, and court was frequently held there. 

Representative Of A Tavern Taproom

After Mr. Dodemead's death in 1812, his wife continued to run the house. There is a tradition in the family that when Hull sought to surrender Detroit he snatched a table cloth from Jane Dodemead's table to use as a flag of truce.  [From Governor and judges journal: proceedings of the Land board of Detroit]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Fate Of The Simmons Family


On the 14th of March 1810, John Simmons enlisted in Captain Whistler's Company, First Regiment, United States Infantry, afterward commanded by Captain Nathan Heald, and was assigned to duty at Fort Dearborn on the site of the city of Chicago.

Such was the [vulnerable] condition of Fort Dearborn on the seventh day of August, 1812, when Captain Heald received the order from Gen. Hull [to evacuate], who had reported to the war department on July 29th that he would send "at once."  Why, therefore, Captain Heald faltered for seven days is a serious question. The inexplicable delay gave the Indians an opportunity to collect their warriors from the Pottawatomie villages in the vicinity.

When the attack was made, Corporal John Simmons, from his position near the great cottonwood known as the Massacre Tree, loaded and fired as rapidly as possible... .  Finally covered with wounds he fell to rise no more. 

 No sooner had Mrs Simmons seen her husband fall...[when the enemy] struck his bloody weapon into the heads of every child within killing them instantly [including young David Simmons].

Mrs. Simmons discovered that the delight...of the [enemy] was much enhanced by tormenting their prisoners... . She therefore summoned all her marvelous fortitude to prevent any expression of the anguish which was crushing her great soul [and continued her stoicism during her entire captivity of eight months].

The story of other survivors here and another victim here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Peter B. Porter Papers

A description of the Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the PETER B. PORTER PAPERS in the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society:

The manuscripts reproduced in the thirteen rolls of this microfilm publication comprise the papers of Peter B. Porter (1773-1844) and of his grandson, Peter A. Porter (1853-1925). The bulk of the collection is the papers of Peter B. Porter covering the period from 1810 to 1844.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Major General Thomas Posey

The Port Folio included a biography of General Thomas Posey who was born 9 July 1750 in Virginia.  In Dunmore's War, Posey served under Colonel Andrew Lewis as a quartermaster. In the Revolutionary War, Posey was appointed captain and raised a regiment.  Captain Posey was later assigned to Colonel Daniel Morgan's rifle regiment.

During the Revolutionary War Thomas Posey's first wife died, leaving one son, John Posey.  He married 2nd the widowed Mrs. Thornton, who was the mother of Thornton Posey.

"...General Posey turned his attention to the Orleans Territory...and finally made a purchase in the Attacapas and removed thither with part of his family. He was in that county in 1812 when hostilities with Great Britain were about to commence and set a brilliant example of patriotism to his countrymen by raising a volunteer company at Baton Rouge of which he accepted the command for a short time with the rank of Captain." [Source: The Port Folio]

Posey was appointed to the position of Senator and headed to Washington, D.C., where he stayed until he was appointed Governor of the Indiana Territory on 3 March 1813, where he remained until Indiana gained statehood.

He died at Shawneetown, Territory of Illinois, on 19 March 1818.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Henry's Secret Pre-War Mission

A newspaper article posted online by Penn State, is entitled "A Concise History Of Henry's Mission, Interspersed With Remarks."  The article, featuring Captain John Henry, mentioned that he worked towards "procuring the office of Judge Advocate in Canada, or Consul in the U.States."

Henry corresponded with the Canadian Governor, Sir James Craig, and advocated community activism with the hope that New England would join Canada in an alliance.  "To effect this, Gov. Craig, in Jan. 1809, offered to capt. Henry a secret mission to the U.S. to collect information...".

In February of 1812, disenchanted with his Canadian employers, John Henry turned "...states evidence..." and disclosed the operation to the United States government. "He knew that no one would ascribe his disclosure of treason to pure motives...".

Sir James Craig's instructions to Mr. John Henry:


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Receipt For Transporting British Prisoners From Northumberland County, Virginia

A War of 1812 document [excerpted below], dated 21 April 1813, online at the Library of Virginia's "Virginia Memory:"

Account of Expenses in Conveying British Prisoners to Richmond.

Description The account consists of receipts and a report, which detail the costs incurred while transporting British prisoners of war from Northumberland County to the city of Richmond.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Robert McCready, Pennsylvania Militiaman

Mr. [Robert] McCready was married soon after making his location on the tract mentioned, and he became a school-teacher here, as he had been in York County. He taught school in Richard Wells' fort, which was one of the earliest schools in all the region west of the Monongahela.

He was elected county commissioner in 1797; was adjutant in the militia for many years, and served in that capacity under Col. John Vance, in what was called the "Lisbon campaign," in 1812. He was a large, fine-looking officer, with an unusually powerful voice, well adapted for military command. 

He died Aug. 10, 1846, at the age of ninety-four years, his death being immediately caused by a cancer on his right hand.  [Source]

Arming To Attack Ft. Bowyer

In the summer of 1814, the British brig Orpheus debarked 22,000 stand of arms, with munitions of war and officers, in the Bay of Apalachicola, Florida, for the purpose of arming the Creek Indians, seduced from the peace they had just made with the United States, and enlisting them to renew hostilities ; who were embodied, armed, and, in British uniform, drilled in Pensacola by Captain Woodbine, of the marines. [Source]

In the summer of 1814 the British brig Orpheus landed troops at Apalachicola Bay in Florida and aroused the Creeks to join in an intended attack upon Fort Bowyer

Friday, August 9, 2013

Colonel Thomas Talbot

Source (Colonel Talbot)

From the biography of Colonel Thomas Talbot (1771 - 1853):

During the war Talbot carried out routine duties as commander of the 1st Middlesex Militia and supervisor of all the militia regiments in the London District.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

John McMahan Fain

Lucinda Fain married James V. A. Woods [an Acklin descendant]; she was the daughter of War of 1812 Colonel John McMahan Fain and his wife, Mary A. Bicknell.  A family tree named John's parents as William and Sallie (McMahan) Fain; William's parents were Nicholas and Elizabeth (Taylor) Fain [also the parents of John Fain who was killed on August 8, 1788].  

Sanctified Trial: The Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain, a Confederate Woman .., by Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain, mentioned that "In 1782 Nicholas and his son Captain John Fain...obtained land grants in eastern Tennessee."  "John was killed by Indians in Tennessee on August 8, 1788...". 

Lucinda's father? Questionable, since there were other (related) men named John Fain.  Perhaps the one mentioned here (same as the one referenced below)?


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Illinois Military Records Wiki

The Illinois Wiki is a helpful tool for research.  See the Wiki article, Illinois in the War of 1812, for information concerning military records, histories, links, etc., including the fact that "during the War of 1812, the Illinois Territory furnished 1,303 infantry men, 1,005 cavalry men, and 49 men in miscellaneous troops for a total of 2,357."

For more about the Illinois Territory in the War of 1812, here's a post about pre-war conditions.  The Battle of Fort Dearborn (present day Chicago) was a famous incident in Illinois on August 15th.  And of course, check out the Wiki.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

General George McClure's Burn

General George McClure (1777 - 1851)

Military records concerning U.S. General George McClure were found in the British Military and Naval records (index) (also here through here) in the Library and Archives Canada.

McClure, George, Brig'r Genl. U.S.A.
G.O. To retain command of troops in Forts Niagara & George; returns of prisoners, provisions &c.; restrictions on persons coming within lines of the Army; & c.
Adjt. Genl's Office, Hd. Qrs. Newark, 2-11-1813.

THE WAR OF 1812: Writings from America's Second War of Independence (see review here) had a chapter entitled Cyrenius Chapin to the Buffalo Gazette , subtitled "The Case Against George McClure: Niagara Frontier, December 1813."

In December, General McClure abandoned Fort George in the face of advancing British troops, after ordering the fort and the neighboring Canadian town of Newark to be burned.  The British captured Fort Niagara and retaliated by burning towns in New York.  

A quote from The War Of  "A spirited resistance, led in part by Lieutenant Colonel Cyrenius Chapin, defended Buffalo, but dissolved when the colonel was captured.  Six months later, upon his release from a Montreal jail, Chapin published the following indictment of McClure's command in the June 13 edition of the Buffalo Gazette."

Monday, August 5, 2013

19th Light Dragoons


The war in which the regiment was about to engage was one in which cavalry could play only a subordinate part. The country in which they were to operate was a vast expanse of forest and swamp, with a few sparsely inhabited clearings. The chief mode of communication was by boat. The war was one to be fought out by small bodies of men, far from their supports wielding the axe and the oar as much as the rifle; forage was hard to get, and there was little place for mounted men. Under these conditions, the 19th Light Dragoons were only engaged in small detachments, never more than a squadron, seldom more than a troop. Their duties were of a most harassing kind, on outpost and reconnaissance duty.  [Source]

Sunday, August 4, 2013

War And New York's Harbor


"At that time [when the War of 1812 was declared] there were in the port of New York the most effective part of the United States Navy...".  "The anchors were heaved, and the stars and stripes vigorously flying at the masthead of each, led by Commodore Rodgers' vessel, the President, they sailed down the bay in search of the enemy."

"The first steam ferryboat between Jersey City and New York commenced to run in July, 1812. It was announced that on July 24th a corps of flying artillery crossed in the boat from Powles' Hook (Jersey City) at four trips. The first brought four pieces of artillery, six-pounders and limbers, four ammunition wagons, twenty-seven horses and forty soldiers, besides other passengers."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jacob Barker, Financier In The War

Jacob Barker (1778-1871), a wealthy man with power and influence, was fast friends with John Armstrong (among other famous persons) who was a Secretary of War during the War of 1812.  This information was confirmed per his biography, the Incidents in the life of Jacob Barker, of New Orleans, Louisiana: with historical facts, his financial transactions with the government and his course on important political questions, from 1800 to 1855.  One chapter was even entitled Defence of General John Armstrong.

Jacob Barker's background:

"Doctor Benjamin Franklin and Jacob Barker both descended from John Folger and Meribah Gibbs; Peter, their only child,...married Mary Morrell...".  Their daughter, Abiah, was Franklin's mother and John Folger (Abiah's brother) was the ancestor of Jacob Barker.  Nantucket and early speculation in trade were part of Mr. Barker's early years.  On August 27, 1801, he married Elizabeth Hazard."

Financing the War of 1812:

"At the commencement of hostilities in June, 1812, I [Barker] had an immense amount of property at sea and could not form a correct opinion how my affairs would wind up. Although I sustained extensive losses, I still obtained a large amount safe back, which placed my affairs in a favorable train, so that in the March following, when Mr. Gallatin advertised for the sixteen million loan, I was enabled to lend him twenty-five thousand dollars and prevailed on many of my friends also to furnish him with considerable sums."

Apparently loaning money to the Government was not without political intrigue and personal ruin, as described in the book.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Laura Secord's Family

Family members of heroine Laura Secord.

From The Ingersolls of Hampshire : a genealogical history of the family from their settlement in America, in the line of John Ingersoll of Westfield, Mass.:

Thomas [Ingersoll's, Laura Secord's father]...eldest son, Major Charles Ingersoll, was an officer in the British army during the War of 1812... 

From History of Great Barrington: (Berkshire County,) Massachusetts:

Major [Thomas] Ingersoll was afterwards (after his first marriage) twice married; ...and second to Mrs. Sarah Backus, a daughter of Lieutenant Gamaliel Whiting, and sister of the late General John Whiting.

By his third marriage (to Sarah Whiting Backus), Major [Thomas] Ingersoll had eight children... . Colonel Charles Ingersoll...was an officer in the British Canadian army throughout the war of 1812 and afterwards held various public offices.  He was a member of the Canadian Parliament...and died of the cholera in August 1832.

From Family record of the name of Dingwall Fordyce in Aberdeenshire...:
Her (Laura Secord's) brother, Charles Ingersoll, lay badly wounded at the same time, at her sister-in-law's at the mill at St. David's, but recovered to fight again. He became one of the most prominent citizens of Woodstock.

Charles F. Ingersoll married Anna Maria Merritt.

Laura Secord's father, Thomas, married a Backus widow; Backus is an ancestral name.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Post-War Problems In Major Chunn's Command

Major John T. Chunn was a Commandant at Fort Harrison.

There was no trouble with hostile Indians during the time of Major Chunn's command of the Fort. But in 1816 there was a scare. Reports came to the Fort of depredations by the Indians in Michigan and Northern Indiana, and the Fort was thronged with refugees. An autograph letter from Major Chunn to Mr. Gilbert, dated September 8, 1816, indicated possible danger, but no attack was made. During the succeeding years, 1817 and 1818, 1819 and 1820, even after the Fort had been abandoned by the garrison, there were these scares about the Indians. [Source]

A private under Major Chunn's command was Willis Copelan.  A page from Mr. Copelan's pension application file detailing his injury incurred with a keel boat on the Mississippi River bank:

Source:  Fold3

"While he was actually in the service aforesaid [a private in Brevt. Maj. John T. Chunn's company of the 3rd Regiment]...on the 15th of June being engaged in condeling a keel boat on the bank of the Mississippi near a place called St. Genevieve in the Territory of Missouri he received a fracture in his right thigh bone by falling from the top to the bottom of the Mississippi bank on a log.... ". 1 August 1817