COLUMN: War of 1812 to be discussed

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By DONNA MASON, Guest Columnist

The Second War for Independence played a great part in the settlement of Perry County. A reward for being a soldier in the War of 1812 was a bounty of land. Many families of those who received bounty land in Perry County still live here. Some of those family names are Weatherholt, Cunningham, Frakes, Connor, Alvey, Murphy, Weedman and many others who settled in Perry County and are buried here.

Why a Second War for Independence? America, as a young republic, was never accepted as a nation by the powerful nations in Europe, and mainly, the British. For years America had proclaimed her rights in vain. Her sailors were being impressed on the high seas and agriculture prices were low as the British imposed many trade restrictions on the new country. It was feared, and rightly so, that the British encouraged the Indians to join them in the dispute at the Canadian border. Many land-hungry “War Hawks” openly longed for land in Canada.
By the second year of the War of 1812, the summer of 1814, it seemed as if the United States was on the point of collapse. The treasury was empty, human cost was high, trade was almost nonexistent and the English army was approaching the young nation’s capital. Many feared America could not survive any longer. What seemed like the final blow to Americans was the British burning of the White House.

This shock aroused a dormant country. The victorious battles at Baltimore and Fort McHenry began a turning point, pride returned and the resolve to stay “America” was again this young nation’s goal. Andrew Jackson’s victory at New Orleans was the final victory in a war that often seemed impossible to win.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Feb. 14, 1815, President Madison announced “Peace.” Church bells rang and cannons boomed as Americans celebrated a new sense of national identity. America was again at peace, her people unified, her economy mending, her army and navy burning with pride and her position safe in the family of nations.

Soldiers of the War of 1812 are ancestors who should always be remembered for their part in keeping America independent. Members of the Jonathan Jennings Chapter of the Daughters of the War of 1812 are assisting all who want to find that ancestor, or honor that ancestor by adding them to the archives of the soldiers of the War of 1812. Please join us at the Tell City Library at 11 a.m. Oct. 15 in the quest to honor Perry County soldiers of the War of 1812. For more information call Lena Joyal at 547-0061 or me at (270) 922-0294.

Mason is state and chapter registrar for the Daughters of the War of 1812.