Monday, August 20, 2012

War of 1812 Road Trip . . . Day 1

Kind readers, the Fife clan has just returned from the first leg of our Tour of the War of 1812.  Hopefully, over the next couple of years we will flesh out this trip with excursions to Canada and finally ending in New Orleans.  However, first off, we have much to relate about this trip.  There will be multiple blog entries . . . each of the 8 days of the trip that pertain to the War of 1812 (be it physical sites or peripheral oddments), and then there will be some entries that relate some of the other non-1812 sites we visited.  This was an action packed trip.  We learned much, and hopefully you will as well.  

Grouseland . . . the home of William Henry Harrison in Vincennes, In.  This Federal-style house was built while Harrison served as the Indiana Territorial Governor.  This area encompassed what today makes up Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota and Michigan.  Once Harrison became commander of the Army of the northwest during the War of 1812, he did not return to live there.  The home did stay in the family for a bit before serving as a private residence, hotel, and finally as a barn.  In the upper part of the back end of the house are obvious cracks still visible from the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-1812.  As with so many fancy-pants homes, photography was not allowed inside.

Harrison used Grouseland as a place to have meet and greets with the Native Americans from whom he swindled a good bit of land.  However, one man would have none of it.  The great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh visited Harrison a couple of times, but refused to enter the house.  The actual site they met is in the background near the buildings in what is now a gravel parking lot . . . a dramatic setting for their memorable confrontation.

Attack at the Narrows (September 15, 1812) . . . historical marker located in present day Fairbanks, In.  Actual location of battle site is located nearby in an area of ravines called "the narrows."

Siege of Fort Harrison (September 4 - September 15, 1812) . . . site of the first significant land battle won by US forces.  The smaller Battle of Monguagon in Michigan took place on August 9, 1812.  We will revisit that site in a future entry.  The actual site of Fort Harrison is located on the property of a country club.  

Armiesburg . . . historical marker in Armiesburg, In.  Harrison and Hopkins had encampments here at one point or another . . . hence the name.  Surely this is evidence of just how thorough we are!

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