Can you keep up? The War of 1812 and the keynote address

I’ve never listened to a keynote speech as engaging and fun as the one delivered at the Ohio Local History Alliance meeting in Columbus in early October!

Even more amazing than a fun and lively keynote speech was the topic – the War of 1812. How can that possibly be engaging, fun, and even humorous at times? In the hands of a passionate history professor, it was a great – and educational- trip!

Historian Larry Nelson roared through the craziness of the war fought in Ohio and other sites 200 years ago. Nelson is an adjunct professor of history at Bowling Green State University Firelands branch. His name-dropping enthusiasm had me sitting straight up, waiting for more as he guided the crowd through most importantly the different perspectives (Canadian, American, British, French and Native American) and the different battles that ultimately created the International Boundary, which is the longest international boundary and is the peaceful border between Canada and the United States.

No war is ever funny. People die and lives are forever changed.

History can be humorous with perspective though.

Jackson County, Ohio can even claim a wee bit of involvement in what is called “America’s second Revolutionary War” as the county namesake, Andrew Jackson rose to prominence through his actions in the Battle of New Orleans in January ( which by the way happened after the signing of the terms of peace, the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814).

This was a brutal war with no clear cut winners, only one decisive loser – America’s native people.

This is when Tecumseh died and Native Americans lost millions of acres of territory.

And another loss was at The Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, which was the only time the British Army was ever defeated.

So let the name-dropping begin following Nelson’s lead and my note-taking. I hope you can keep up but I encourage and challenge you to research it all:

(I highly recommend purchasing the Official National Park Service Handbook of The War of 1812. I bought it at the Perry Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-In-Bay this summer. It’s very worthwhile! Larry Nelson’s four books about the War of 1812 would be remarkable Christmas gifts for history buffs!)

Ok, here we go with a decidedly Ohio bias (since we do have an international monument and at least two state-recognized sites):

William Hull – James Winchester–“Remember the Raisin”-William Henry Harrison – Kentucky soldiers march north through Ohio – Cassius Clay (the man Mohammad Ali was named after originally)- Dudley’s loss of 700 men – Tecumseh –Welsh soldiers-Fort Meigs –Fort Stephenson – George Croghan, nephew of George Rogers Clark & of William Clark (Lewis&Clark fame) – the good ladies of Chillicothe gave Croghan a medal and William Henry Harrison a pair of women’s petticoats-Oliver Hazard Perry – Old Betsy cannon- Robert Lucas- Amos Stoddard-E. Darby Woods-West Point-Statue of Liberty .

And so the conclusion – the winner of the War of 1812?

It depends on your perspective and your study of history. Good luck!

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