January 20, 2014
Washington State Society U.S. Daughters of 1812
Commemorates the Bicentennial of the War of 1812
By Honoring Veterans of that War Who Died in Washington Territory
Project Coordinated by Linda Rae Lind, Washington State President, U.S.D. 1812
Linda Rae Lind (Mrs. John) of Bremerton, WA holds a B.A. Degree in General Speech Communication from WWU. Serving as Washington State President of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 since 2006, Linda has led a research team in identifying veterans of the War of 1812 who died in Washington State for placement on a Bicentennial Monument to be erected in Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle in June 2012.
What happened to the Veterans of the War of 1812 who died in Washington Territory?
In 2006 the National Society U.S.D. 1812 challenged all of the state societies to choose a special project for the upcoming Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and host a commemorative event. Since no battles of that war occurred in Washington, the only realistic project was to identify veterans of that war who died here.
Who were the Veterans of the War of 1812 who died in Washington?
I directed this question to the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs and they had no record of Veterans of the War of 1812 who died in our state. However, they did want a copy of the list should one be created. Next we wrote to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office in Olympia and requested that a Commission be established to identify these veterans and honor them. The reply from the Secretary of State’s Office stated that since Washington was not even a territory during the War of 1812 there were no reasonable grounds to establish a commission. However, they did offer the assistance of the State Archives for research. They also referred us to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma but we received a similar rebuff from them. It became apparent that it was up to the members of the U.S.D. 1812 to do the research and host a Bicentennial event without the participation of the State of Washington. With the help of member, Marilyn Morrison, and her husband, Homer, both seasoned researchers, we began looking for the veterans. Our first plan was to place U.S.D. 1812 bronze veteran’s markers on the graves of the 1812ers. Not long into our research we discovered that many of the graves were lost to time. So we decided to erect a single monument naming these veterans, their units of service and the counties where they died.
Where to start looking?
We started with what we had which was records from the U.S.D. 1812 society. William Rutledge of Tumwater had been marked by the state society in 1977 and we had his data. We wrote to the librarian at the national society and requested records of any other veterans buried here. While waiting for that reply the Morrison’s found John Denny and Asa Coombs, dovetailing with records which later arrived from the U.S.D. 1812. Marilyn had stumbled (literally) onto the headstone of Asa Coombs, which had inscribed on it, “War of 1812.” Hutson Martin’s record was also found in the U.S.D. 1812 library.
How did we create a systematic search?
We knew that Washington Territory (originally part of Oregon Territory) was opened to settlement around 1840. We also knew that we were looking for pioneers born before 1800 to have been of the right age to have served in the War of 1812. So we set out to create a list of pioneer men with the life spans ranging from 1775 to 1885 and to check them against military, pension and bounty land records. Oregon Trail rosters, county and local histories as well as genealogical websites became our targeted resources for collecting the names.
Who made the list?
Homer Morrison searched The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, and found Jacob Ebey, Walter Crockett, and Turner R. Roundtree noted as veterans of the War of 1812. Finding their actual service records, however, turned out to be very difficult. In the end, Bounty Land Records verified Ebey and Roundtree. Crockett’s name was misspelled as Walton Crockett on his service record which was found by searching in the unit listed by Bancroft (Floyd’s of Virginia.) Jacob Ebey had a distant cousin of the same name who served from Franklin County, PA. Our Jacob Ebey was living in Franklin County, OH during the war. Ebey also had variant spellings. A volunteer researcher at NARA in Washington, DC, Harold McClendon, finally located the correct record in the Un-indexed Bounty Land Applications along with a letter from the Treasury Department explaining the various spellings of Ebey’s name. This was re-confirmed on a Bounty Land record located at the Bureau of Land Management.
We are forever grateful for the Clark County Genealogical Society for noting in their book, Clark County Pioneers, A Centennial Salute, those early pioneers who served in the War of 1812. They listed Butler Emery Marble, Hutson Martin, and Peter J. Stice. However, finding their graves still eludes us. Both Martin and Stice had pension records. Marble’s descendant, Brad DeCody Marble, placed much useful military information on findagrave.com.
After Marilyn introduced me to the abstracts of the Washington Territory Donation Land Claims (DLC’s), I noted all the men born before 1800 and checked them against various online military records. Marilyn also checked these names against the Index to War of 1812 Pension Files, transcribed by Virgil D. White and found entries for Levi Gates along with Jeremiah Mabie. Squire Bozorth had a DLC and his record was found in the Report of the Adjutant General, Kentucky Soldiers in the War of 1812 on donslist.net. Homer checked many online obituaries posted on the Washington State Library site and found that Henry Harmon’s obit related his service in the War of 1812, as well as John Denny’s. I located a service record for Harmon in the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 on Ancestry.com. Marilyn spent much time trying to locate the grave of Henry Harmon whose body had been moved twice due to the expansion of Seattle. His headstone was finally located by a volunteer who probed the Harmon plot at Lake View Cemetery. William M. Stewart was found in the List of Pensioners on the Rolls, Jan. 1, 1883 and then reconfirmed by a member (Sabra White) whose late husband descended from him. Sabra provided additional family information to us.
Early into our research we found secondary sources naming George Washington Bush as a veteran of the War of 1812. A service record was finally located by using the Military Records Search Request form from the State of Tennessee, and from that query I received a copy of Tennesseans in the War of 1812, p. 104, for George Bush. This information was then shared with the Bob Moore of the National Park Service that hosts a site about George Washington Bush. Mr. Moore agreed that this may be the proof of Bush’s service as a “waiter” which was a common title for a person of color during the time period. Additional records were obtained from NARA using Form 86 Military Service Records, via the online form. Additional research by Homer led us to believe that George Bush’s middle name of “Washington” could not be proven without a doubt, thus we decided to leave the middle name/middle initial off of the monument.
Finally there was the “Grave in the Middle of the Road”. Even though he was one of our first finds he stands as a reminder that sometimes the Hand of Providence guides us in unusual ways. While looking for the grave of a deceased classmate from Longview on the usgenweb site for Cowlitz County, I found the grave of Abel Ostrander whose life span was 1777-1859. I noticed he was from Ulster County, NY, where some of my ancestors once lived and my interest was piqued. I checked the U.S. Census records for 1810 and 1820 and there was only one Abel Ostrander listed in that place. A county history of Ulster County also confirmed that. After trying other military records, through Heritage Quest Online hosted by my local public library, I found Abel Ostrander listed in the book Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York, 1783-1821, Vol II, p.1517 as having served in 1814 as a Lieutenant in the New York militia. His grave remains in the middle of a driveway off of Pleasant Hill Road in Kelso, WA.
Who didn’t make the cut?
More than 100 pioneers were checked on the Washington State Digital Archives site to determine their ages and 40 of those required serious study. Nine notebooks of research and hundreds of hours of labor have resulted in the current list of 16 men planned to be placed on the Bicentennial Monument which is to be erected in Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle and dedicated on June 23, 2012. We left space for two more names just in case we find additional veterans in the future.
Besides the Internet, where did we look?
Public Libraries in Seattle, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Tacoma, and Olympia; The Fiske Library, Seattle; The Seattle Genealogical Society Library; NARA Seattle Branch; Washington State Archives and the Puget Sound Regional Branch in Bellevue; Washington State Library, UW Library; Yakima Valley Genealogical Society Library; Oregon Historical Society Library, Portland and numerous cemeteries.
Places we could not erect the monument: The Veterans Museum in Chehalis, Tacoma War Memorial Park, Tahoma National Cemetery, and the Washington State Capitol Campus. All of these sites had unique complications. We are grateful Washelli Cemetery has allowed us to place our monument there.
Alphabetical List of the Veterans of the War of 1812 Who Died in Washington Territory
Veteran - Cemetery/Town or County - Life Span - Military Service
Bozorth, Squire - IOOF, Woodland - 1792-1853 - KY Militia
Bush, George - Bush/Union, Tumwater - 1789/90-1863 - TN Militia
Coombs, Asa - Lake View, Seattle - 1796-1888 - MA Militia
Crockett, Walter - Sunnyside, Coupeville - 1786-1869 - VA Militia
Denny, John - Lake View, Seattle 1793-1875 - KY Militia
Ebey, Jacob - Sunnyside, Coupeville 1793-1862 - OH Militia
Gates, Levi - Body not found - Probate Lewis County - 1790-1879 - MA Militia
Harmon, Henry - Lake View, Seattle - 1791-1866 - U.S. Army
Mabie, Jeremiah - Masonic, Tumwater - 1795-1875 - NY Militia
Marble, Butler Emery - Ft. Vancouver Military Cemetery - 1794-1866 - U.S. Army
Martin, Hutson - Unknown, Probate Clark Co. - 1783-1862 - OH Militia
Ostrander, Abel - Pleasant Hill Road, Kelso - 1777-1859 - NY Militia
Roundtree, Turner R. - Original Boistfort Cemetery, Boistfort - 1795-1868 - KY Militia
Rutledge, William - Bush/Union, Tumwater - 1794-1872 - PA Militia
Stewart, William M. - Woodlawn Abbey, Sumner - 1794-1885 - OH Militia
Stice, Peter J., Sr. - Washougal Memorial Cemetery - 1787-1877 - U.S. Army