The Ottawa County Historical Society Keeper’s House will sponsor a War of 1812 military encampment and bicentennial activities on Sept. 22 and 23 at the Wolcott Keeper’s Cottage at 9999 East Bayshore Road, Marblehead. The event will commemorate the first battle fought on Ohio soil during the War of 1812.
Activities will include skirmishes in period uniforms, music, food and beverages, and speakers who will describe the circumstances of the battle and the roles of Tecumseh and Native American peoples in the War of 1812. Speakers will also discuss Native American food and medicines. There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. on Saturday the 22nd to honor the sacrifices of the fallen.
The First Skirmish, also known as the Battle of the Peninsula, was a two-day skirmish between local state militia and a force of Native Americans. Several fierce battles took place between US and British troops and their Native American allies, as well as the pivotal Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813, which changed the history of the world and the map of North America forever.
Compared to other arenas of the war, the fighting on Marblehead may seem inconsequential, but brave men on both sides suffered grievous wounds and lost their lives for what they believed to be just causes.
Up until the confrontation on September 29, the militia and the Native Americans had been engaged in a protracted cat and mouse game. Everything changed that morning when the militia walked into a carefully laid ambush.
Native Americans suddenly rose up from deep grass and let loose a well coordinated fusillade of musket and rifle fire, killing a local farmer named Valentine Ramsdell, who had been acting as guide, and severely wounding another soldier. While the battle ended with no clear-cut victor, forty Native Americans and eight militiamen had lost their lives by the time it was over.
To learn more about the First Skirmish, the War of 1812, and Native American history and culture, visit the Marblehead Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage Sept. 22 and 23.
For more information regarding September’s scheduled activities, check the website www.thekeepershouse.org.