Wadsworth, Perkins were instrumental in local War of 1812 efforts

by Sharon Myers Published:

The year 2012 is the bicentennial of the War of 1812. This is the twelfth and final in a series of columns that is publishing featuring local veterans who served in the war.

The two generals that were in charge of Divisions from Summit County were Elijah Wadsworth and Simon Perkins.

Elijah Wadsworth was born in Hartford, Conn., Nov. 4, 1747 and died Dec. 30, 1817. He volunteered, during the Revolutionary War. He was commissioned a lieutenant of the company of which Benjamin Tallmadge was captain. Wadsworth was a man of great energy. He came to Ohio and was part owner of the Western Reserve, making his residence at Canfield in 1802.

He was chosen to be Major General of the 4th Division Ohio Militia. The only reward he obtained for his services in the War of 1812 was a judgment against him for $25,551.02 for purchases he had made to subsist his troops. The judgment was dismissed in 1825 --long after his death. It is said that he was very embarrassed by personal debts contracted for the government in raising supplies for the troops.

During the War of 1812, Wadsworth established a camp at Old Portage for the protection of the settlers of the region. Before this, in 1811, a large body of Indians under the command of Chief George, or Onondago George, appeared on the Cuyahoga. That they were bent on trouble was evident from their surly actions. Chief George spent several days on the banks of the Cuyahoga shaking his tomahawk and scalping knife. A few days later they disappeared. It is said that they were plotting to take part in wiping out the white settlements of the Western Reserve.

While General Wadsworth was at Old Portage, General Perkins and his army were at Camp Avery, six miles below the mouth of the Huron River and Col. Croghan held Ft. Stephenson.

During the War of 1812 General Simon Perkins served as a brigadier general of militia and commanded about 400 men who performed scouting duties on the northwestern frontier.

He was co-founder of Akron and was born in Lisbon, Conn., Sept. 17, 1771. Simon learned to be a surveyor early in life and in 1795 he went to Oswego, N.Y. to survey land for about three years. He was employed by the Erie Land Company to be its land agent in Ohio, organized by General Moses Cleaveland and other members of the CT Land Company.

Perkins made his headquarters in Warren, Ohio, which was made the county seat of Trumbull Co. in 1799. Perkins was a land agent until 1831.

He was appointed the first postmaster of Warren in 1801 and held that position until 1829. He opened the Western Reserve Bank of Warren in 1813. It had 64 stockholders and a capital of $100,000. He set up a furnace at Youngstown for manufacturing iron and this company developed into Brier Hill Iron and Coal Co. He held a multitude of other positions and was Auditor of Trumbull Co. for a couple of years.

Perkins was one of the largest land owners in northern Ohio. He owned a lot of land in Summit County. He married Nancy Bishop and they had nine children. General Perkins died at Warren in 1844.

On Dec. 24, 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed in Belgium ending the war. By the terms of the treaty, all conquered territory was to be returned and commissions were planned to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada. The Great Lakes were opened to American expansion. News of the treaty took nearly two months to cross the Atlantic, thus the British attacked New Orleans and were decimated by an American force under General Andrew Jackson in a spectacular victory of the war. As the years slipped by most people forgot the causes of the war. The War of 1812 was a glorious triumph in which the nation had single-handedly defeated the conqueror of Napoleon and the Mistress of the Seas.

Since the end of the War of 1812, the United States, Canada and Great Britain have joined as allies in two world wars and continue to depend on each other. The United States and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world measuring 5,525 miles in length.

The William Wetmore Chapter hopes that you have enjoyed learning about the War of 1812 this past year. There will be many more ceremonies and observances over the next two years in observance of the Bicentennial of the War that ended the American Revolution.

Contact Sharon Myers, President, William Wetmore Chapter Daughters of 1812 330-794-5099.

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