Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fort Meigs

Fort Meigs photo from Grave Addictions

Fort Meigs is located in Perrysburg, Ohio, now a suburb of 17,000 souls outside of Toledo in Wood County.

The fort was built along the Maumee River by Brigadier General William Henry Harrison in 1813, who named it for the Governor of Ohio, Return Jonathan Meigs. The garrison was home for over 2,000 troops, made up of U.S. regulars and militiamen from Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

It was constructed to halt the advance of the redcoats after their victory at Detroit and protect northwest Ohio and Indiana during the War of 1812. Fort Meigs is the largest log fort ever built in America, covering ten acres with seven blockhouses and five gun emplacements.

British and Canadian troops, along with Native Americans under the command of Tecumseh, attacked the fort twice, in May of 1813 and again in July. The Americans repulsed both of the onslaughts, and the British retreated from the area for good after September's Battle of Lake Erie turned the tide of war against them.

Having defeated the British, Harrison transferred all but 100 men from Fort Meigs and dismantled the fort. The site was preserved by the Hayes family who purchased the land to use as cattle pasture. In 1840, William Henry Harrison returned to the site to hold a rally during his successful run for the Presidency.

In 1908 the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Civil War veterans, held a reunion in Toledo,. To commemorate their arrival and to honor the memory of the soldiers who served at Fort Meigs, a monument was erected on the site.

The fort was reconstructed by the Ohio Historical Society starting in 1965 and was opened in 1974, recreating the stockade as it was during 1813. It's now a 65 acre park.

There are four unmarked cemeteries in the vicinity of the fort. The first is located near the Pennsylvania monument in front of the fort. The second is on the western side of the fort where a weeping willow tree is planted. The third is located on the eastern side of the outside wall.

These are military plots, the western one called Kentucky Hill to commemorate the fallen soldiers of that state who died in Dudley's Massacre, and another dedicated to the Pennsylvania soldiers that died during the battles.

One hundred and fifty to three hundred soldiers stationed at Fort Meigs are entombed below its palisades, along with the Pennsylvania and Kentucky Militias. To this day historians still don't know the exact number of soldiers buried at the site, but it could well be over five hundred bodies.

A fourth grave site is an Indian burial ground near the river. The use of the location well predates the War of 1812, and there are prehistoric Indian mounds on the grounds.

Visitors, volunteers, and reenactors have seen the apparitions of both American soldiers and Native American warriors. Many have seen what they thought was a re-enactor in full dress who would appear and just as quickly vanish before their eyes.

A number of unexplained occurrences center on the eastern end of the fort, including phantom sentries and the ghostly visage of a small girl peering out the second story window of Blockhouse #3.

Strange auras, cold spots, lights turning on and off, the sound of muskets and cannons firing, and the music of drums and fifes have also been reported. Others have heard footsteps, seen orbs of blue light, and translucent human forms while staying at the fort overnight.

The fort has so many ghost stories that it hosts a Ghost Walk during the last two weeks of October, known as the Garrison Ghost Walk.

if you want to know more, the Fort's paranormal history is mentioned in Ghosthunting Ohio by John B. Kachuba and Haunted Ohio V: 200 years of Ghosts by Chris Woodyard.


Anonymous said...

Awesome Information!

Unknown said...

I went on a field trip to Fort meigs in the 6 th grade and we went into one of the rooms that were directly underneath the battle field area and you could hear a rush of thousands of footsteps sounding like soldiers running towards each other!it was endless pounding of footsteps! Very creepy and scary there!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I wandered into Fort Meigs with my husband tonight. We stooped over to look at a cannon, then proceeded to walk on. A moment later I turned around and saw a young man standing beside the cannon peering at us. He had a grayish face and was wearing gray clothing. He didn't say anything. My husband didn't even see him. It was very strange. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Patrick Riley said...

I was camping as a re-enactor at Fort Meigs. I got up at 0300 to go to the bathroom. I passed what I thought was another re-enactor. He was wearing the pants and vest we wear without the jacket or hat. I nodded to him as we went around a traverse. As I turned nobody was there. Later that night I woke up and he was standing at the mouth of my tent looking at me. Our camp was near the Grand Battery.I later found out that my 5X grandfather fought at the battle and was attached to Captain Cushing's Battery located at the Grand Battery and died at the fort. I had been going to the fort for years without knowing he died there.