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Upper Mississippi Brigade articles; photo is UMB at Ft. Osage

Veterans of the 'First Forgotten Conflict'

Minnesota in the War of 1812

by David M. Grabitske

What follows is the text of a small exhibit I put together for the observance of Veteran's Day 2001 for the State Historic Preservation Office.

After an Unpopular War
For the men and women who struggled through 'Mr. Madison's War' 1812-1815, getting on with their lives was important. However, they could not forget what they had done and sacrificed. Showing that the democratic tradition had taken root, Marshall Durkee, a former enlisted man in the old Fourth Infantry, petitioned the 27th Congress for redress in 1842.

Durkee enlisted in 1809 for five years. He pointed out in his petition that he had done more for the government for much less than those who enlisted for the duration in the closing months of the war. In 1814 and 1815 enlistment bounties were considerably higher, in addition the government also gave land warrants. All Durkee wanted was for the government to provide land equally to all of its former soldiers, the difference in bounty notwithstanding. He was successful in his petition.

Anonymously in Minnesota
In the years after the war, many veterans and their families moved west. More than 1,000 American veterans moved to Minnesota, most arriving during the territorial period. Most veterans simply were following their grown children and trusting in their health and luck to get them through the frontier experience.

The majority of 1812 veterans living in Minnesota did not fight for America. Voyageurs and Dakota and Ojibwe men mostly sided with Great Britain. Voyageurs fought not for the King, but to protect their jobs, which they felt were threatened by Americans moving in from the south. Often the largest contingent among British forces, the Ojibwe took part in most of the battles in the Midwest, from Ohio to Wisconsin. Of the Dakota, only Red Wing refused to fight America, for he had a prescient vision that and Eagle and a Lion fought to no conclusion, and afterwards the Lion went home.

One 1812 veteran was Francis Bliss. He wore a headdress much like the one before you. He was an elite 'light' infantryman from Connecticut in the 25th Infantry, and was wounded at the hard-fought Battle of Chippawa, July 5, 1814. He followed his children to Minnesota in 1854, and quietly farmed land bought with a war patent near Raven's Creek, outside of Belle Plaine in Scott County.

The Pensioners of 1883
In 1883 the Senate made a list of pensioners on government rolls. In Minnesota there were about 120 men and widows drawing $8 per month as a result of the war. The veterans and widows lived throughout Minnesota, in little towns and on farms.
While most Minnesotans recall with pride their soldiers of the Civil War, the War with Spain, and the wars of the 20th Century, few recall the veterans who served during the 'Late War with Great Britain,' on either side.

Alphabetical List of Minnesota's War of 1812 Pensioners in 1883
NAME Wid./Sol. Since Post Office County
Adell, Anna W 01-1879 Buffalo Wright
Allen, Eliza W 01-1880 Saint Paul Ramsey
Allen, Jane W 05-1879 Lake City Wabasha
Asenath, Angell W 10-1878 Rockford Wright
Baker, Abigail W 11-1881 Faribault Rice
Bartlett, James W   Foster Big Stone
Barton, Lorenzo S 10-1879 Saint Charles Winona
Bean, Marian W 12-1880 Concord Dodge
Billings, Jarvis S 07-1878 Preston Fillmore
Blanchard, Sabrine W 03-1879 Dean Rice
Blanchard, Saviah W 04-1879 Stillwater Washington
Blasdell, Mary M. W 03-1879 Wayzata Hennepin
Bliss, Francis S   Belle Plaine Scott
Bontelle, Betsey K. W 01-1879 Bear Valley Wabasha
Bossnot, Ellen W 12-1880 Rush City Chisago
Botlein, Nancy W   Eyota Olmsted
Boyd, Mary J. W 03-1879 Saint Charles Winona
Boyer, Elizabeth W 07-1878 Frankford Mower
Bradbury, Abba L. W   Minneapolis Hennepin
Bradford, Mary W 12-1878 Big Lake Sherburne
Canine, Elizabeth W 05-1880 Stewart McLeod
Champlain, Tabitha D. W 09-1878 Moose Lake Carlton
Chester, Andrus S 12-1871 Rochester Olmsted
Churchill, Ruth W 12-1878 Rochester Olmsted
Churchill, Thebe H. W 04-1882 Stockton Winona
Clay, Betsey W   Winona Winona
Coats, Rebecca W   Shakopee Scott
Cone, Jane W 05-1879 Mankato Blue Earth
Conlee, Delilah W 11-1878 Saint Paul Ramsey
Cook, Richard S   Faribault Rice
Crane, Emily W   Sauk Centre Stearns
Cressy, Alvin S   Chatfield Fillmore
Culkins, Sarah W   Minneapolis Hennepin
Day, Alfred S 04-1879 Farmington Dakota
DeKay, Elizabeth W 01-1879 Hastings Dakota
Devoe, Ann Eliza W 11-1878 Winona Winona
Dibble, Philo S   Caledonia Houston
Doud, Mira W 02-1879 Winona Winona
Drew, James S   Currie Murray
Drew, Julia Ann W 03-1873 Minneapolis Hennepin
Durfee, Peter S 07-1878 Glencoe McLeod
Ellison, James S 12-1878 Bl'ming Prairie Steele
Erwin, Pruden Alba S   Waseca Waseca
Farnham, Abigail W 12-1878 Elk River Sherburne
Fifield, Joseph S 06-1880 Camden Lyon
Foot, Levi G. S   Frankford Mower
Forsyth, Maria R. W 01-1880 Saint Paul Ramsey
Foss, Elizabeth C. W 01-1879 Jordan Scott
Frederick, Catherine W   Sauk Centre Stearns
Frost, Abigail W 04-1879 Anoka Anoka
Furber, Mary W 09-1880 Claremont Dodge
Gaslin, Hannah W 05-1881 Saint Francis Anoka
Gates, Rachel W 01-1881 Forest City Meeker
Gilbert, Richard S 12-1879 Dundas Rice
Graham, Louisa A. W 02-1882 Mankato Blue Earth
Greely, Elizabeth H. W 03-1879 Minneapolis Hennepin
Gress, Elizabeth W 05-1879 Northfield Rice
Guerin, Mary W 02-1879 Saint Paul Ramsey
Hall, Samuel S 06-1878 Jackson Jackson
Harriman, Emeline L. W 03-1879 Lakefield Jackson
Hathfield, Elizabeth W 05-1879 Dundas Rice
Heath, Barbara W   Maine Prairie Stearns
Hitchcock, Clary W 12-1878 Pilot Mound Fillmore
Hitchcock, Manna S   Dodge Center Dodge
Hotchkiss, Mary W 03-1882 Rochester Olmsted
Jones, William S   Winona Winona
Judd, Chloe A. W 03-1881 Grove Lake Pope
Kennedy, Catharine W 03-1879 Minnesota City Winona
Kimball, Mary W 10-1878 Fergus Falls Otter Tail
Kimball, Mary W 09-1879 Smith Lake Wright
Kimball, Nancy W 01-1879 Waseca Waseca
Lane, Velona W 05-1879 Minneapolis Hennepin
Lee, Patty A. W 08-1879 Easton Faribault
May, Sally W 07-1878 Minneapolis Hennepin
McLane, Hester W   Saint Paul Ramsey
Miller, Anna W   Minneapolis Hennepin
Miller, Ebenezer S 09-1878 Janesville Waseca
Moore, Esther W   Minneapolis Hennepin
Moore, Roxanna H. W 05-1880 Saint Peter Nicollet
Nason, William S   Windom Cottonwood
Nickerson, Dornida W 01-1879 Elk River Sherburne
Nutt, William Jr. S 07-1878 Shingle Creek Hennepin
Paddock, Mary W 06-1878 Mankato Blue Earth
Paddock, William S 08-1878 Caledonia Houston
Parker, Nancy W   Champlin Hennepin
Parker, Sophia M. W   Clinton Falls Steele
Perkins, Thomas S   Pickwick Winona
Pettis, Catharine W 02-1878 Saint Peter Nicollet
Phillips, Fidelia W 11-1878 Dodge Center Dodge
Pratt, Sarah W 02-1880 Minneapolis Hennepin
Prescott, Daniel S 06-1880 Albert Lea Freeborn
Prouty, Caroline Matilda W 07-1879 Eyota Olmsted
Purington, Sarah G. W 01-1879 Owatonna Steele
Raymond, Austin S   Utica Winona
Redfield, Fanny W 03-1879 Howard Lake Wright
Rich, Esther W 07-1878 Barnum Carlton
Richardson, Mariah W 01-1881 New Auburn Sibley
Rodner, John S   Eagle Lake Blue Earth
Robinson, Emily W 08-1880 Minneapolis Hennepin
Robinson, Henry S 07-1878 Lansing Mower
Robinson, Russell S   Winona Winona
Rouse, Caroline A. W 09-1878 Lake City Wabasha
Rowlandson, Hilpa W 01-1881 Minneapolis Hennepin
Russell, Jane W 11-1879 Marion Olmsted
Salisbury, Martha W 04-1879 Saint Paul Ramsey
Selger, Catherine W 03-1880 Shakopee Scott
Smith, George W. S   Mankato Blue Earth
Somes, Mary W 10-1879 Elysian LeSueur
Soper, Sabina W 02-1879 Mankato Blue Earth
Sprague, Amanda W 07-1878 Minneapolis Hennepin
Sprague, Mary W 09-1882 Minneapolis Hennepin
Sweney, Mary M. W   Red Wing Goodhue
Tuman, Nancy W   Montevideo Chippewa
Tidd, Jane W 03-1880 Owatonna Steele
Tyler, Clarissa W 09-1878 Garden City Blue Earth
VanAllen, Benjamin S   Kasson Dodge
VanAlstein, Anna W 11-1878 Freeburgh Houston
Walker, Tyler S 06-1878 Whalen Fillmore
Warren, Henry S 11-1881 Garden City Blue Earth
Waugh, Fanny W   Red Wing Goodhue
Weston, William S 11-1878 Mankato Blue Earth
Wetherill, Mary Ann W 08-1879 Little Falls Morrison
Wheeler, Leonard W 11-1878 Etna Fillmore
Williams, Charles S   Chatfield Fillmore
Wise, Zenus P. S   LeSueur LeSueur
Woodworth, Norman S   Grand Meadow Mower
Young, Elizabeth W 03-1879 E. Chain Lakes Martin

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