Northwest Ohio played a pivotal role in the outcome of the War of 1812. Despite a name linking it to a single year, the War of 1812 lasted three years. Northwest Ohio was the site of major events of the war during 1813, including America’s naval victory in the Battle of Lake Erie.
It was on the lands of the so-called “Ohio Frontier” that the British downfall really began. Through Oct. 7, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and the Sidney Frohman Foundation are presenting “The War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier,” an examination the crucial battles and strategic importance of the Ohio Frontier. The Hayes Center is located at the corner of Hayes and Buckland in Fremont.
The exhibit, which includes Hayes Center holdings and the private collection of Lou Schultz , provides visual insights into the war’s battles fought on the “Ohio Frontier” –regions in Ohio, Michigan and Canada that border Lake Erie.
Through use of a timeline, the story of the War of 1812 is told chronologically, highlighting such battles as Hull’s Surrender (Detroit), River Raisin (Monroe, Mich.), Fort Meigs (Perrysburg), Fort Stephenson (Fremont), the Battle of Lake Erie and the Battle of Thames (Canada).
In 1812, British naval ships based in Canada regularly raided American ships. Their goal was to capture both supplies and men to bolster the British army in its war against Napoleon. As a result of the attacks, President James Madison declared war on the British. Hopes for a quick end to the conflict were raised when a month later, U.S. Army General William Hull defeated the British and captured the city of Sandwich (today Windsor, Ontario).
However, Hull’s victory quickly was followed by his surrender at Detroit. Emboldened by success, the British and their Native American allies headed south along the Sandusky River to continue attacks on the American army’s supply route. They met unexpected resistance at Fort Meigs and particularly Fort Stephenson, where Col. George Croghan – though vastly outnumbered – was victorious. Such victories were vital to the U.S. success – buying time for the completion of the American fleet and protecting critical staging areas for men and material (especially in Sandusky and Ottawa counties).
Hours for “The War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier” are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for senior age 60 and older and $3 for children ages 6-12.
For information call 800-998-PRES or visit www.rbhayes.org.
Other special exhibits and events planned in commemoration of the War of 1812 include:
The 15th annual tour of the Ohio Chautauqua will visit Rossford July 9-13. The weeklong living history celebration, which will feature the theme, “When Ohio Was the Western Frontier,” will pitch the tent at the Marina in Veteran’s Park.
Featured characters will include Johnny Appleseed; Iroquois leader Chief John Logan; Lewis and Clark expedition member York; frontier aristocrat Margaret Blennerhasset, and the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry. The evening events will begin with musical entertainment at 6:30 p.m., followed by performances at 7:30 p.m.
In addition there will be youth workshops at 10 a.m. and adult workshops at 2 p.m. at the Rossford Public Library, 720 Dixie Highway. All events are free.
Rossford was selected as one of the five host cities for the Ohio Chautauqua through a competitive process of the Ohio Humanities Council. Other locations include Lakewood, Madison, Bexley and Coshocton.
The Toledo Museum of Art will present, “Perry’s Victory: The Battle of Lake Erie,” Aug. 9 through Nov. 10 in Galleries 28 and 29.
The exhibit will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the largest naval battles of the War of 1812 in which nine U.S. vessels captured six ships of Great Britain's Royal Navy. One of the prominent works on view will be “Perry’s Victory on Lake Erie” by marine painter Thomas Birch – a work that depicts a critical moment just before the surrender of the British ships.
The show will include paintings, prints, sculpture, artifacts, letters and music. The naval engagement, led by Commander Oliver Hazard Perry, was a watershed moment in which the Americans reclaimed the lake and Perry became a national hero. A squadron of British ships had never before been captured; as Perry famously reported, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
Admission is free. Visit www.toledomusem.org for more information.
Toledo’s original celebrity, Peter Navarre – a skilled and courageous Indian Scout in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812 – will be honored in a two-day celebration Saturday and September Sept. 7 and 8.
The first celebration will be held from noon-4 p.m. at Navarre Park in Toledo. After opening remarks by local historian Larry Michaels at 12:15 p.m., there will be a reading of the Navarre Ohio Historical Plaque, presentation of a Peter Navarre gun to the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society and a welcome to Peter Navarre’s descendants.
From 12:45-4 p.m., re-enactors portraying Peter Navarre, Robert Navarre and Catherine Bordeau will be on hand greeting visitors. There will also be a Navarre Family Reunion in the shelterhouse; pioneer games and apple bobbing for children and historical displays.
On the following day, the celebration will continue from noon-4 p.m. at Toledo Botanical Garden, Elmer Drive, Toledo. Visitors can tour the Navarre Cabin, located on the garden grounds. Re-enactors will portray Peter Navarre and his wife, Catherine Bordeau. In addition, kids’ activities, the second edition of “Peter Navarre, War of 1812 Scout,” will be released.
For more information, contact Robyn Hage at 419-344-7615 or visit www.toledogarden.org.
Uncover the past – the colorful characters and grand figures who served at For Meigs. The fort, which is celebrating its bicentennial, was built in 1813 to defend Ohio during the War of 1812. Fort Meigs successfully withstood two sieges by a combined British, Canadian and Native American force.
Visitors can stop into the fort’s museum to see artifacts on display, or hear muskets crack and cannons roar at the numerous re-enactments and special events planned this year, including Independence Day celebration July 4; “Life in Early Ohio” Aug. 24-25, Garrison Ghost Walks Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26 and “The World at War: Miniature War Gaming Day” Nov. 2. Visit www.fortmeigs.org for more information.
From Aug. 29 through Sept. 2, a “Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial Celebration” will be held in Put-in-Bay and various locations.
The once-in-a-lifetime historic event, will feature more than a dozen Tall Ships, a re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie, festivals, food, music, historical re-enactors, crafts and more.
Visit www.ShoresandIslands.com/2013 for more information.