Hudson in the War of 1812

An artist’s rendering of the battle at Fort McHenry (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The War of 1812, often called America’s “second war of independence,” was fought between the United States and Great Britain from 1812 until 1815. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain citing a multitude of grievances including trade restrictions that Great Britain tried to enforce on the United States, Great Britain’s acts of “impressing” or enlisting American sailors by force, and British support of Native American attacks on Americans in the frontier. The war was fought on land and at sea with both sides winning victories. In fact, it was the American victory at Fort McHenry in Baltimore that inspired Frances Scott Key to pen the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner.” By 1814 the conflict had become a drain on both nations and on December 24, 1814, the United States and Great Britain signed The Treaty of Ghent, which concluded the war.

Sixty-two men from Hudson, Ohio, participated in the war. Most of the men from Hudson involved in the war were part of Major George Darrow’s Battalion, which was attached to the 4th division, 4th brigade and were led by Captain Amos Lusk. Lusk moved to Hudson in 1801 with his wife Mary and set up a homestead farming in the northern part of the town. Lusk can perhaps be best remembered as the father-in-law of abolitionist John Brown. Lusk’s second oldest daughter Dianthe married Brown in 1820.

When General Hull surrendered to the British at Detroit in August of 1812, there was a great panic and fear of invasion to this area and through out that Autumn many men enlisted in order to defend against the local native population and/or the British. Darrow’s battalion was ordered to Cleveland and then to Old Portage. Later, the unit was charged with building a road to Camp Huron and later still, they were ordered to assist in the building of Fort Meigs. The militia unit served several three-month enlistments and received little acclaim or recognition.

During the fall of 1812, Lusk and his men were directed to help guard the frontier from British and Indian attacks. During this time there were skirmishes with both British naval vessels and Indian War parties. Capt. Lusk and his men eventually marched to Camp Avery near modern day Huron, Ohio. On Sept. 28, 1812, the Indians raided a frontier settlement in what is known as Danbury Township, Ottawa County. At the Battle of Marblehead Peninsula, as this was later called, Lusk and his men participated in the fighting. Muskets were fired, a canoe chase ensued, and men were engaged in fierce hand to hand combat. Some men were wounded and died, although none from Hudson.

Defense of northern Ohio was complicated by the Black Swamp in the Northwestern part of the state there is no good time to traverse a swamp filled with mosquitoes. In the winter, wind and cold hastened frostbite for the soldiers. There were many who suffered disease and died. Mortality rates for this war were 2,260 and total deaths were over 20,000. Lusk himself succumbed to spotted fever in 1813.

Among these sixty-two men, a few stories stand out, including that of England-born John L. Chapman (1782-1866). Chapman was an expert gunner and actually fought against the United States in the battle of Lake Erie during the War. He enlisted in the British Navy and served on the RMS Queen Charlotte. Chapman was captured during the battle and marched overland to Chillicothe, where he was imprisoned. Upon his release he walked to Cleveland and eventually settled in Hudson, Ohio. He went on to a career in stone masonry and assisted in constructing several buildings now on Western Reserve Academy’s campus. In 1843 he surrendered his allegiance to Britain and became a full American citizen.

Private Abiah Lindley was another interesting War of 1812 soldier who enlisted August 1812 and served to March 1813. Abiah was one of a group of young men who marched away with the unit mustered by Captain Amos Lusk. He was believed to be seventeen years old when he enlisted. According to a local family descendant, Abiah’s greatest fame during the war was through a particular circumstance: One day when hiking on a mission from one camp to another, he became tired and crawled into the top of a tree to rest. While dozing he heard voices below and recognized British officers making plans for a campaign. After the British had left, Lindley raced to his camp and notified his commanding officer. The information he gave was instrumental in defeating the British in a battle a few days later. Sadly, Lindley died of consumption at the young age of twenty-three.

Dr. Jonathan Metcalf, ca. 1860. Hudson Library & Historical Society photograph collection (P.04.00.01296)

Two Hudsonite brothers fought together in the War of 1812 and one had the unfortunate experience of being mistaken for a British officer. Dr. Jonathan Metcalf (1787-1869) and Horace Metcalf (1791-1865), originally from Lebanon, Connecticut, had grand ambitions of settling in the new Western territory. Jonathan traveled west to Pittsburgh, Canada, and Painseville searching for a suitable town. He settled on Hudson after a chance encounter with David Hudson, who lobbied for his hometown. Horace ventured from Connecticut to the western wilderness of Hudson, Ohio, arriving after a journey of six weeks with $110 in his pocket and the clothes on his back. Being entitled to a land grant of 160 acres in the Illinois territory, he sold it and used the proceeds to buy land in Hudson. The Metcalf brothers settled in the town of Hudson just as the conflict with Great Britain was escalating into war. The young Metcalfs had seen their father’s example of service in the Revolutionary War. While Dr. Metcalf had taken an oath to prevent disease and minister to the suffering, he felt a calling to aid the efforts of our soldiers in defense of their freedom. Both brothers quickly volunteered with a militia unit under fellow Hudsonite Captain Amos Lusk.

When word of General Hull’s surrender to the British forces arrived in Hudson in August of 1812 there were fears that British and Indian soldiers had made their way into the local area. In response, Lusk’s unit paraded on the town’s Green multiple times and made preparations for eminent battle. Lusk needed a rider to go to Warren, Ohio, to receive orders from the commanding officer and Dr. Jonathan Metcalf volunteered. After an arduous journey by horse and across waterways, Metcalf arrived at the camp. Sentries at the camp perceived Metcalf to be a British officer in disguise and captured him as a prisoner of war. Once the misidentification was investigated and Metcalf’s true identity clarified he was released and sent back to Hudson with orders for the militia unit to join General Wadsworth’s command and for Metcalf to travel with them as the militia’s surgeon.

Hudson War of 1812 Soldiers

AuterAaron3/10/1872Capt. McArthurPrivateFranklin County,OH
BadgerJoseph Rev.1846Harrison, at Fort MeigsWood County, OH
BentlyGeorge17905/2/1876Capt. John UlpSergeantMarkillie
BishopDavidGoshen, CT.HudsonCapt. Amos LuskPrivateHudson
BishopJoseph G.5/3/17893/20/1862Capt. Amos LuskDrummerMarkillie
BrownJohn5/9/180012/2/1859Army SupplierJohn Brown Farm and Grave site
BrownOwen17715/8/1856Army SupplierChapel
BunnellWilliam9-20-179411-3-1875Capt. Daniel StuttonPrivateDraper
BurhamWilliam179410/21/1879Darrow St
ChamberlainAmos17931861Capt. Amos LuskCorporalMarkillie
ChamberlainJacob179012-24-1876Isaac Pancake Co. Ross Co.PrivateMarkillie
ChapmanJohn17881866Capt. James O'DellPrivateMarkillie?
CroyRichard17862/9/1852Capt. Amos LuskPrivateChapel
DarrowGeorge17771860Darrow's Odd BattilionCorporalDarrow St
DraperAsa17904/12/1858Capt. Amos LuskPrivateChapel
EllsworthElijah/Elisha11/22/17859-13-1859Capt. Amos LuskPrivateMarkillie
EllsworthJohn4/26/17953/6/1848Capt. Charles AbelDraper
ForemanDavidCapt. William WilsonChapel
GallowayJohn17911842Capt. Timothy BishopO'Brien
GallowayRobertCapt. William Fisher; PA MilitiaO'Brien
GaylordDaniel C179712/11/1858Chapel
HolcombGeorge Washington8-13-17769-28-1841Capt. Amos LuskLieutenantChapel
HolcombTimothy2-25-17692-20-1816Capt. Amos LuskCorporalChapel
HooverNathaniel D.Ohio MilitiaChapel
HudsonMilo L.10/15/179111/6/1838Capt. Amos LuskCorporalChapel
JohnsonDanielCapt. Amos LuskPrivate
KingHiram178710/19/1846Capt. Amos LuskEnsignMarkillie
LindleyAbiahCapt. Amos LuskPrivateHudson; Lindley Farm
LindleyIchabodCapt. Amos LuskPrivateHudson; Lindley Farm
LindleyJesseCapt. Amos LuskPrivate ScoutHudson; Lindley Farm
LucasErzaRENICKS REGIMENT (1812), OHIO MILITIA. Ross Co.Corporal
LuskAmos17735/24/1813Capt. Amos LuskCaptainChapel
MetcalfHorace5/17/179110/30/1865Capt. Amos LuskChapel
MetcalfJonathan Dr.6/17877/30/1869Major Darrow's Odd BattalionSurgeon-MateMarkillie
MillsOliver Dr.17771861Delanne Mills Co. from Fortage CountyM.D.Hudson
MorrisRobert17899/27/1877Capt. Jacob Fudge (Mounted)O'Brien
OviattBenjamin01-30-17792-27-1848Capt. Amos LuskPrivateHudson
OviattHeman17751854Capt. Amos LuskPrivateHudson; northfield
OviattJohn5/5/17678/2/1827Capt. Amos LuskPrivate / CaptainChapel
OzmanIsaac17851866Capt. Timothy BishopSergeantFairview-Boston
PeaseEbenezer1788Capt. Amos LuskPrivateHudson
PorterSimeon Arba17849/12/1852Capt. Luther HotchkilMarkillie
PostZina17741865Capt. Amos LuskPrivateMarkillie
RoswellAmbrose1791, in Canada10/1/1877Capt. Dickerson & Odells Co. 23rd U.S. InfMaple Lawn, already marked
SingletaryUriah Johnson17901840Capt. William HudsonPrivateLawler cemetary, Kalahazoo Michigan
StarrJosiah1787Darrow's Odd BattilionDrum MajorDarrow St
SteeleAlexander4-6-179011-28-1857Capt. Amos LuskPrivateO'Brien
SteeleIsaac17659/16/1850Capt. Amos LuskO'Brien
StoneNathaniel17868-30-1861Capt. Amos LuskSergeantDraper
ThompsonAbraham10/26/17627/30/1828Capt. McDonoughChapel
ThompsonCharlesDarrow St
ThompsonMillsDarrow St
ThompsonMoses Dr.1/22/17761858Surgen Major George Darrow's Odd BattalionSurgeonChapel
TownIsrael17911859Pliny Adams' Regiment, New York MilitiaEnsignChapel
WelchJohnCapt. William Stoaks Co. from Harrison Co.PrivateChapel
WicksZephaniah1840Ohio MilitiaPlainview (Portage)
WilcoxEber4/12/178312/8/1870CT MilitiaCaptainMarkillie
WilliamsW.P.17991854Capt. David MusselmanPrivateDraper
WrightThomas3/1/17793/21/1854Capt. Daniel MusselmanDraper

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