Memorial to honor vets of War of 1812

ESCANABA – A unique patriot memorial dedication – honoring soldiers that served in the War of 1812 – will be held Saturday in the U.P. Steam & Gas Engine Antique Village of the U.P. State Fairgrounds.

The memorial pays homage to two soldiers who served in the War of 1812 and were given current U.P. State Fairgrounds property as bounty land, according to project coordinator Ann Jousma Miller. The dedication is just one of the many events planned this Saturday as part of the Esky 150 sesquicentennial celebrations.

Legislation signed on Sept. 18, 1850, allowed soldiers who served honorably during the war to apply for these bounty lands in unorganized territories as partial payment for their military service.

When the State of Michigan transferred the U.P. State Fairground land to Delta County in 2009, the title search revealed two young soldiers from the War of 1812, one from the Virginia militia and the other from the Louisiana militia, applied for and received the bounty lands, which they never saw.

“The 40 acres for one of the patriots is right where the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Village sits,” said Jousma Miller. “The other acreage was 80 acres and it was on the back side of the fairgrounds.”

A granite monument, which will be located in the Steam and Gas Engine Village Square to commemorate the soldiers, was made by Republic Memorials. The monument will include a photo engraved with information about the two soldiers and a depiction of what they looked like. Genealogy research of the soldiers was conducted by Diana Berrigan from the Family History Center in Escanaba. U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association volunteers have prepared the site for hosting the event.

The monument has been paid for by private donors and foundation contributions.

“What a fitting time when the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is right now, and the 150th anniversary of Escanaba is right now,” said Jousma Miller. “And both of those parcels of land were purchased by Nelson Ludington, who of course, was instrumental in helping to establish the Escanaba area.”

Charles Lindquist, president of the Delta County Historical Society, will dedicate the memorial at a 6 p.m. dedication ceremony Saturday in the Antique Village Square. The event is free and open to the public.

The Sons of the Civil War and a representative of the Michigan War of 1812 Society will also be present for the dedication. The Patriot Guard has been asked to stand Flag Line and the Governor’s Boy Scout Honor Guard from Mackinac Island have been invited to raise the flag and perform duel taps during the event.

State Sen. Tom Casperson, State Rep. Ed McBroom, Gov. Rick Snyder’s Northern Michigan Regional Director David Nyberg, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin have also been asked to attend the dedication.

“This is a unique and rare occasion,” stated Jousma Miller. “We are so honored to establish this lasting tribute as part of our community history.”

The U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association will open its Antique Village both Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of the Esky 150 Sesquicentennial celebrations.