C. W. (Charles W.) Evers.

Dedication of Fort Meigs monument, September 1, 1908. Together with brief description of the two sieges of Fort Meigs in 1813 online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryC. W. (Charles W.) EversDedication of Fort Meigs monument, September 1, 1908. Together with brief description of the two sieges of Fort Meigs in 1813 → online text (page 1 of 3)
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FORT MEIGS MONUMENT.
Comp It m e n ts of

THE MAUfvlEE VAU.EY PIONEEff

AND Historical a-^^ ^ "•■■■^^•'



DEDICATION



OF



FORT MEIGS MONUMENT



SEPTEMBER 1, 1908.



Description of the Monument — What It Commemorates —

Historic Spots to be Seen from the Shaft Treaty of

1817 The Elm Dudley's Disaster- Fort

Miami British Batteries - Burial

Grounds, Etc., Etc..

TOGETHER WITH

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE TWO SIEGES OF
FORT MEIGS IN 1813.



Compiled and Prepared by C. W. Evers,
Bowling Green, Ohio.



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FORT MEIGS AND ITS ENVIRONS.

ICxiiIiiiiatiou.s: — a, grand battery, commantled by Captain Daniel Gush-
ing; b, mo'tai' battery; e, i, o, minor batteries; g, battery commanded at the
second siege by Colonel Gaines: c. magazines. The tolack squares on the
lines of the fort represent the position of the block houses. The dotted
lines show the traverses, or walls of earth thrown up. The longest, the
grand traverse, had a base of twen'ty feet, was twelve in height, and about
nine hundred in length. The traverses running lengthwise of the- fort, were
raised as a protection against the batteries on the opposite side of
tlie river, and those run^ning cross'wise were to defend tliem from
tlie British batteries on this side. The British batteries on tlie north side
of the river were named as follows: a, Queen's; b. Sailors': d. King's: and
c. Mortar. The fort stood upon high ground, on the margin of the bank,
elevated about sixty feet above the Maumee. Tlie surface is nearly level,
and is covered by a green swai'd. The outline of the fort is now well defined,
and tlie grand traverse yet rises six or eight feet from the surrounding
ground.

XOTE: — The Toledo Blade of June 3, 1908, has the Larwill profile of the
tort whioli differs somewhat in the fact that more traverse, earthworks,
are sliown next to the present public road. The historical reports by Wood
and others show that these latter works were made during the siege to meet
military emergencies; also that between the two sieges; the fort was re-
duced in dimensions, being too large for proper defense by so limited a
number of troops. Howe's Ohio, has a map very similar, in fact a copy
of the Larwill profile, which we reproduce. It is not on so large a scale
nor does it show so much of the surrounding landscape as that given in
the Blade.



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INTRODUCTORY.



"Yes Stranger, I would like to get a bit of information
nboiit tliis monument; why it was placed here; what events it
commemorates and such other details of the historic sur-
roundings as are obtainable. I have been only a casual read-
er of our history, and am soi-ry to say my memory is a little
rusty, but I am very much interested to learn more right
now. ' '

The above was the request and expression of a man,
who, with his wife, had alighted on a recent day from an
electric car and was surveying the Fort Meigs monument as
the workmen were yet giving the shaft its finishing touches.
His inquiry and comments were those of the thousands of
others who will visit this spot as time passes. It is to satis-
factorily answer such natural and proper inquiries that the
following pages have been written, or compiled from trust-
worthy sources.

POINTS OF INTEREST.

MAUMEE TREATY IN 1817.

Standing at the pedestal of the monument and facing
the river we look across to the town of Maumee where the
memorable treaty of 1817 was made by which the United
States acquired the title to the land of Northwestern Ohio,
except that part consisting of the United States Reserve,
which had been previously acquired by Wayne 's treaty, and
from which eighteen counties were afterwards formed.

Of all the great treaties made with the Indians from
1795 down to 1817 this was by far the most important to
Northwestern Ohio. Duncan McArthur and Lewis Cass, as
the authorized agents of the United States, met seven In-
dian tribes, comprising about 7,000 there assembled.

Some stout opposition to selling it was made. One
Indian named Mesh-ke-mau, who prided himself on being a



Bi'itisli siil)j(>('t, was full of wrath and angoi-. TTo raved and
liiaii(lisli('(l his toiiialiawk over Gen. Cass, who ordered him
taken oiil. whicli was done by several othei' Indians.

.\iu()iii>' the Indian warriors wlio wei'e present was
Ottnso, said to he Ji son of Pontiae, a most ehxiueiit chief,
vei-y intelligent, and (|nite the eqnal of Tecnmseh in mental
(|iialilies, and at the time of his death the last of his family,
and the last war chief of liis nation remainiiig on the
Maiimee river.

There was also present at this conneil an old Indian
woman, said to ])e a grandniece or widow of tlie renowned
Pontiae. She was held in great veneration by the Indians.
She was then very old, and bent with age, her hair perfectly
white, and no chief would sign the treaty nntil she had first
consented, and made her mark by tonching her fingers to
the ])en. When the treaty was agreed npon, the head chiefs
and warriors sat round the inner circle, she having a place
among them. The remaining Indians with the women and
(aiiildren formed a crowd outside. The chiefs sat on seats
])uilt under the roof of the council house, which was open on
all sides. I'lie wlioU^ assemhl}' ke[)t silent. The chiefs
bowed tlieii- heads and cast their eyes to the ground, and
waited patiently for the old woman until she arose. After
the treaty had been read to all in her ju'csence, she went
r<)i-ward and louclicd the pen to the treaty, following which
they all signed it.

IXDIAX K\M AXl) THE BIG RIFLE.

Also in front aci'oss the rix'cr is the site where stood the
great elm that concealed the Indian shai'itsliootei' who so
ann()yc(| the l^\)i-t Meigs gari'ison.

hilling llie siege of Koi't Meigs the Indians were \'ery
bold and tronhlesonie in a|»|ti'oacliing iindei' cover of every
tviH' sluiii|i or oilier slicllcr, as near as they dai'ed, and from
which they kept up a I'lisilade of bullets into the fort, by
which means they caused iniicli annoyance to the Americans,



and some fatal casualties. Some, bolder than others, climb-
ed into the tree tops at a distance and fired into the fort at
random.

It was told at the time tliat one particularly trouble-
some "buck" fired from a lofty elm on the north bank of the
Mamnee and directly o])]iosite the fort. This Indian, when
the soldiers fired at, or noticed him, would act very defiant
and perpetrate all sorts of i:)antomime insults.

Finally some officer remembered that a tremendous
rifle, so large and heavy that no soldier could carry it on the
march was lying somewhere about Gen. Harrison's liead-
o,uarters. No one seemed to know just how or why it was
there, for it was regarded as an utterly impractical and use-
less piece. But in desperation it was dragged out, a bullet
mold improvised and a marksman bold enough to aim it and
fire at the Indian in the big ehn. At the second or third shot
the Indian tumbled out and was seen there no more. It is
not told how the man fared who held the gun. He doubtless
had at least a lame shoulder.

Harrison afterwards gave the gun to one of his scouts,
and later one of the Minors had it. In 1865 Jared Cothrell,
who kept the Mad Anthony saloon at Fort Wayne, had it
standing back of his bar. The muzzle reached two-thirds to
the ceiling, and its bore would nearly admit a broom handle.
Its shoulder breech was cushioned with soft leather and
green baize cloth. It was a prodigious gun, and not many
men would care to fire it under a full charge of powder and
ball. It is now in the relic room of some Indiana historical
society, perhaps at Indianapolis.

The old historic elm at Maumee blew down in a storm
many years ago, but its site is still pointed out. Also other
elms are there and doubtless served as lookout perches for
Indian marksmen. All agencies of that oft repeated episod<»
in the war are gone except General Harrison's big gun.
THE BRITISH BATTERIES.

liniiieditelv facing us, across the river on the Iiiiili



8

haiik is the site wliere tlie Britisli batteries wei'e i)laeed aud
which Colonel Dudley failed to destroy.

THE OLD COURT HOUSE.
P^iirther to the right across the river is tlie old court
house wliere (Miiel' .Iiistice Waite, in his youthful daj^s, made
his maiden speech, aud near by was his home. Here, too, is
the site where the fiercest conflict was waged in the Dudley
disaster.

FORT MIAMI.

Down the river two miles at tlie village of jMiami may
be seen Ihe embankments of the old Fort Miami, held by
Gen. Proctor during the siege of Fort Meigs in 1813. This,
too, was the tirst jjoint on which a flag was erected in this
valley — in fact in Ohio — by the French in 1G79-80, which
was continued for some time as a trading post, and which
was afterward occupied by the British with INlajor Camp-
bell in command, during Wayne's victory in 1704.

THE OLD WELL.

Now glance your eye to the right in the east end of the
fort aud but a few ste|)S from where you stand is the prin-
cipal well (lug during the seige, and from wliicli the camp
was suitplied with w^ater, thus avoiding the necessity of ex-
posing their lives in carrying water from the river. The
well was about 60 feet deep. It is marked by a post dis-
liiictly visible. That post extends to the bottom of the well,
and lliis is its histoi'y: On the night i)revions to the great
cch'hiation of 1840, some of the young men of Perrsyburg
ol' Ihe Democratic ])ersuasion in a spirit of mischief went to
the fort, secured the flag pole, about 00 feet long, which was
to l)e raised the rollowing morning, and plunged it into the
Well, wlici'c it has rcnialncd I'or more than ()8 years.

THE KENTUCKY BURIAL GROUND.
East of us on the hill, to the right of the road, may be
seen the home of Michael Hayes, during his life-time — a
bri(;k building erected by Mai'shall Key of Kentucky more



than fifty years ago. Between tlie east end oi' tlie fort and
the Hayes brick house, np the sloping- hill, on a little grassy
platean, is the Kentucky burial gi'oiuid. Tliere are the
sunken graves of forty or fil'ty of Dudley's slaughtered
soldiers. Their bodies were biouglit across the river by
Harrison's men after T'roctor liad left. Michael Hayes de-
serves great credit foi- the care and prolcctioii he gave this
spot as long as he lived.

THE BATTERY BEYOND THE RAVINE.

To the east of the Hayes house, across the electric car
track, and next to the Perryslmrg cemetery, yet ])lainly vis-
ible, is the site of the British battery captured by (\)l()uel
Miller under Gen. Harrison's direction. In this capluic
the Petersburg, Virginia, battalion behaved most gallantly.

THE PITTSBURG BLUES.
Right back of us and aliout 70 steps beyond the road is
the burial plat of the Pittsburg I)lues, emV)racing sonic
forty or fifty graves.

THE GARRISON DEAD.

To our left at the west end of the fort is the cemetery
of those \d\o were killed and died in Fort ]\Ieigs during the
siege, and known as the Garrison Cemetery.

LIEUTS. M'CULLOUGH AND WALKER.

Immediately to our left, within the fort, are the graves
of Lieutenants McCullough and Walker. The former was
killed in the fort while in conversation with Gen. Harrison
and the latter lost his life in a skirmish with the Indians.

THE SPAFFORD GRANT.

As you look to the west, or up-river side, the first
ground the eye rests upon beyond the fort ruins and front-
ing the river, is what is known as the S])afford Grant of
160 acres. It was the first deeded land in Wood county.
The title was made to Major Amos Spatford, then D. S.
collector of customs for the ]\riami district, by a special act



10

of Cong-ross in tlie year 1817. Major Spafford was also
postmaster when tlie war of 1812 broke up the settlement,
lie was the tirst to liold civil office in the whole Maiimee
\allcy as well as the lirst ix'i-iiiaiient settler and land-owner
in Wood county, lie and his wife were buried on the corner
of the tract at the angle of the two roads just beyond the
fort. There is no mark at their graves, but steps have been
taken looking to a fitting tablet there.

BUTTONWOOD ISLAND.

Still al)ove tiiis, over a mile, in the river is Buttonwood
island, where the Indians were assembled in 18oo, where
ail were vaccinated and made read}'^ for deportment to the
far west by the government.

THE GALLOWS.
Down in the valley between the Bowling Green Rail-
way and the foot hill is where the execution took i)lace of
George Porter (the first execution in Wood C-ounty) for the
murder of Isaac Richardson, at Rush-de-l)oo in 1817. (See
Knapp's History, p. 300.)

TURKEY FOOT ROCK.

Away lo our left a])out two miles, across and up the
river, may l)e seen Pres(iue Isle hill, where is Turkey Foot
Rock, now the onl>' monument in commemoration of
Wayne's battle in 171)4.

POUT l)KiM)SiT.
Still I'lirther up the i"iver, on the north side, one mile
a])Ove W'aterville, is liiishde boo, the I'ocky point on the
ri\'er where Wayne camjiiMl llie uiglil before his baltle. He
called this Camp Deposit. Hard by is a concrete rail-
road bridge, said to be the longest but one in the country.

FACTS TO 1>.E l^EMEMBERED.

The const ruction of l'\)i't Meigs began Febi-uai\\ L*, ISl.'!.
The liist siege of I'^oi't Meigs began .\pril Ll7, IS)."!, and
lasted 14 (hiys.



11

Tlio second sicoo lK\i;;ni .Inly 2(1, ISl,'!, and lasted five
days. Most of the army supjtlies were l)i-oii<^iit to the fort
on i)aek liorses, l)eeaiise of the had i-oads.

Tlie ordnanee and military stores weic removed from
Fort Meii>s and the ])ost a1)aiid()ned l)y the iiovernment in
1815.

THE HYDRAULIC DITCMT.

The ditch noticed down tlie slope toward the river was
no part of the defensive works of tlie fort. It was used
many years ago to bring' water from a dam four miles or
so 11]) the river, which fni'nished mill i)ower in Perrysburg,
and was later abandoned.

Many visitors fail to comprehend the full dimensions
of the original fort proper. It embraced as first constructed
about ten acres. Between the two sieges, its dimensions
were cut down to suit a smaller garrison. The outlines, in
places, are nearly obliterated, but the commission plan to
indicate the outlines, l)astions, block houses, etc., by plain
markers. The profile maps are quite a lielp to the stranger.

The l)lock-houses and other buildings were often made
use of by the new settlers coming into the country, nntil
they could find homes and get permanently located. In this
way the fort at times was found a great convenience. But
gradually the buildings fell into decay, or, through careless-
ness took fire and were burned and destroyed.

The picture of the fort, rear view, shows what appears
to be a border of some sort strung along the fort palisades
on the ground. At first view it appears to be barrels lying-
end to end; l)ut it is told that hollow sycamore logs were
sawed in sections, filled with rocks, headed iii» and so ])laced
that by cutting a rope by which each was attached inside
the fort, that the logs would start rolling down the steep
slope or bank at high s])eed, knocking down everything in
their course. This was a precaution against a massed at-
tack on the rear of the fortification.

The fort was cut down to smaller dinunsions between
the two sieges to make it suitable for defense by a less num-
ber of troops.



12

THE MONUMENT AND ITS HISTORY.



The iiionuiiH'iit. a modest, well iJi-oportioncd, plain,
granite slial't Si* feet liigli, is symbolie of the patriotic spirit
of the peoph' of today and their deep and lasting love and
gratitude I'oi' the liai'dy nieii oi' 1812-1."!.

The ground upon which it stands, iiielnding the Tort
pi-oper, excepting a point at the east end, cut olT li>- a imhlic
road — also a strip on the south side, taken many years ago
as a ])nl)lie highway, hut including the burial ]ilace of the
I^ittshurg Blues (some forty or more in number), about
70 ste))s south of the road — was purcliased by the State of
Ohio, thi'ough an act of the General Assembly, in March,
1906. ^riie act authorized the expenditure of $25,000 for
the i)urchase of the grounds and erection of i iuonument;
also provided for the ap])ointment of a commisison by the
(lo\'ernor. J. L. Pray of Toledo, C. W. Shoemaker of
W'aterville, and J. B. Wilson of Bowling Green, were ap-
l)oiuted July 23, lOOG, by Governor Harris. Mr. Wilson was
elected chairman and W. Corlett, of Waterville, appointed
Seci'ctai'y of the P)oard.

The ground, on Kiver Tracts 65 and 66, comprising 36
aci-es, was purchased of the Hayes heirs June 12, 1907, for
the sum of $10,800. The conti'act for the monument was
let in September, 1907, the i)i-ice being $14,000. This is one
instance, at least, where a commission did not exceed the
appro|)i-iati()n.

I^'ebrnary 25, 1908, a law was enacted ])r()viding I'oi- the
care and piotection of the moiunnent and gi'ounds. \)y this
law a iiei'Mianent commission of li\'e niemhei's was pro\'ided.
The (loscrnoi' names the commisison, the tci'm of ollice be-
ing (i\'e years. The law also cari'ies with it an appi'opria-
tion of $5,000, to can'y into effect such iniproxcnients as are
iieeessai'y in the way ol' fences, shade t I'ces, landscape woi'k'.



13

etc.; also a cottage for the care U\kcv of tlic property, if tlie
commission deem it advisable.

Governor Harris appointed as merabei's of this per-
inaneiit comiuissioii for the first year tlic rollowiiii;' iiaiiicd
gentlemen: D. K. Hollenbeck, Perrysbnrg; A. L. Pray, To-
ledo; William Corlett and C. W. Shoemaker, Waterville;
J. B. Wilson, Bowling Green.

It may be proper here, in this connection, as a matter
of information, to say that aside from tlie ])nrcliase of
gronnd made here by the state, that the Manmee Valley
Pioneer and Historical Association owns abont eight and
one-half acres adjoining the state's xmrchase, on the east
and including the Kentucky burial ground; also the little
point of the fort fortification that extends east of the road
leading to the bridge.

Kentucky has had a bill before its legislature for an
appropriation for a memorial of some kind for the graves
of her dead whose ashes repose there. Some of her leading
men took a lively interest in the matter, when a committee
of the Association called on them at Frankfort two years
ago, and gave assurance that Kentucky would see that the
graves of her dead should be properly marked. But some
of the leaders suggestively inquired why Ohio, too, had not
done something for her dead at Fort Meigs. That ([uestion
has since been answered by Ohio, in the fine shaft she has
raised on the fort grounds. And now it is confidently lio])ed
that not only Kentucky, but Pennsylvania, and possibly
Virginia — all of whom have burials there — will see that
fitting memorial tal)lets will nuirk the resting places of their
soldier dead.

It is fitting, too, that a woi'd of connnendation be
spoken for the unselfish and devoted work of the ^launiee
Valley Pioneer and Historical Association to reclaim and
preserve these historic grounds and care for the gi-aves of
those wlio perished in defense of their country. -

Some of its members have for vears lent their influ-



14

t'lKM' and |)uf foi'lli tlicii' l)('s1 ('ITorts in tliis work, at pe-
cuniary loss and ol'tcn under llic luosi disc()urai»'ini>' circiun-
stanccs. And now. thai tiu'ir indomilable efforts are likely
1o !)(' crowned with success, no one has more reason to re-
joice than lh(»se failhl'nl and indefatigaliU^^ ohl workers, wlio
for so many years have devoted themselves to this labor of
"|)ati"iotism and love.

Without these efforts Fort Afeigs would never have had
a inonnnient. and the hundreds of graves thereabouts would
have reniainecl unmarked in the ])asture fields as they have
l)een in the scores of years ])ast. All honor to the Pioneer
Association and their co-workers, as well as to those of the
Ohio Assembly, through wliose patriotic action tliis tardy
act of justice to our heroic dead was made possible.

Especial appreciation is accorded Governor A. L. Har-
ris, himself an ex-soldier, for his kindly interest, helpful
advice and judicious suggestions in aiding the commission
to economically and successfully bring about the purchase
and make the construction of the monument possible.

'I'lie ]\raumee Valley Pioneer Association was organ-
ized in 18r)4. Its first President was General John E. Plunt.
It has held annual reunions since that time and embraced
in its nieinliei'sliiii many of the leading citizens of the Mau-
mee \'alley. \\ has kept alive and stimulated the interest
in social and ])atriotic advancement.

As the years rolled by, it was found that to accomplish
more practical results, money was needed to purchase sites,
etc. So in 1!)()"2 the Manuu'e A'alley Pioneei- and Historical
Association was incori)orated under the laws of Ohio, and
uudei- which stock subscri])tions could be received. It was
under this plan made possible to buy the Kentucky burial
.iii'onml. It was under this business like method that most
of the I'eal |»i-ogress has been made and so nuicli has been
accomplished.

'I'liis corporation is still in splendid working order, not
for .i;ain or jirolit ( for not an ol'licer receives a dollar for his



15

services), ])iit to aid in every way ])ossil»le to preserve and
mark the liistorie spots in tlie Manniee N'.-illcy and to mark
the Imrial places of tlie soldiers who laid (h)\\ ii their lives in
rechiimiiii;' the hind I'l-oiii savai^ery and from the ride of
kings in Europe.

As snch, may not this Association claim, withcmt over-
stei)ping the bounds of modesty, this tine monument over-
looking- Fort Meigs and the graves of its dead, as one of
its i)roud achievements? But there is much yet to do. Still,
with the aid Ohio has already given, the Association ex-
pects to be able to accomplish very much in the future. AVitli
these unselfish and worthy motives the Association is cer-
tainly entitled to public confidence and substantial su}»i)ort.



SHORT ORDER. SKETCH.



Fort Meigs, in tlie year 1813, lay in the track of war.
The United States in June, 1812, had, for good cause, de-
clared war against England. She planned to invade Can-
ada. One division of her army was to strike from Detroit.
That division, composed of Ohio militia and United States
regulars less than 3,000 in all, was put under command of
an old Revolutionary officer. Gen. William Hull. That
army, starting from Dayton, made direct for Detroit. Short-
ly after leaving Urbana, in what is now Champaign county,
they had passed all white settlements. They were on
grounds yet owned by the Indians — uninhabited by whites,
until they struck the embryo settlement on the Mauniee—
in the Twelve Mile Square Reserve, bought of the tribes
17 years before at Wayne's Greenville treaty. That little
army cleft its way through unbroken forests and swamps
day by day, passing through what is now Findlay, where
they built a stockade; still northward, passing through the
present corporate limits of Bowling Green about where the
track of the T. & 0. C. railroad lies to Ridge street, when



16

they veered a little to tlie west, striking tlie ridge on the
west side of the Perrysburg- road nearly two miles north of
liowliiig (ii-oen. That ridge, near what was then a fine
meadow of wild grass pi'airie, was a favorite t»ami)ing place
for the aniiN' (lining the war and afterwards for the early
settlers.

Kee])ing this course north by a few degrees west, Hnll
struck the ]\ranmee at a ravine abont a quarter of a mile up-
river from the south end of the present Waterville wagon
bridge. Passing down the river below the high banks, he
rested his ai-my two or three days at what was then known


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Online LibraryC. W. (Charles W.) EversDedication of Fort Meigs monument, September 1, 1908. Together with brief description of the two sieges of Fort Meigs in 1813 → online text (page 1 of 3)