The Ottawa County Historical Society is presenting a two day commemoration of the first battle on Ohio soil of the War of 1812.
It will be observed on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23, at the Wolcott Keeper’s House, 9999 E. Bayshore Road, Lakeside-Marblehead. The Keeper’s House is the 1820’s stone home of the first keeper of the Marblehead Light, Benajah Wolcott, on and around whose property this ‘Skirmish on the Peninsula,’ as it came to be called, took place. The activities will start with reveille at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and events will continue throughout both days. The Keeper's House is 2 1/2 miles southwest of the Marblehead Lighthouse on Bayshore Road.
Several dozen War of 1812 re-enactors will set up camp on the Keeper’s House grounds Friday afternoon, Sept. 21, and de-camp Sunday afternoon, Sept. 23. They will demonstrate drills, camp craft, and everyday history of the era. An off-site location, 0.7 miles west of the Keeper’s House at 9336 E. Bayshore Road, has been reserved to hold three skirmish reenactments, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Shuttle service, bleacher seating, portable toilets, and traffic control will be provided for the safety and comfort of participants and spectators. Visitors will be encouraged to interact with the re-enactors, to learn about both military and daily camp life of the time.
A distinguished group of speakers will present on the history of the event, the daily lives of the early Ohioans, and the lives and gifts of the Native Americans whose territory was in play. Humanities scholar Dr. Lorin Swinehart of Piqua, an adjunct professor at Ashland University, is a former ranger with the National Park service and author of many books and articles on U.S. and Native American topics. His talks at 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday will feature stories of the Skirmish based on a first person account by Joshua Giddings, who fought in the Skirmish as a 16-year-old and recorded it in his journal. Giddings later became a U.S. Representative and an early abolitionist. Swinehart will explore native American food, pharmaceuticals and medical practices on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Genot Picor, a member of the Wyandot/Huron Nation, also known as Winter Elk, will participate, sharing authentic music, story telling and the perspective of the Native Americans of that era. He will present Meet Etienne Brule at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and Talk with Tecumseh at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Brule is an interactive presentation about the Voyageurs who came early to the Great Lakes. Wolf Thomas, a prominent First Nations representative and PBS commentator, will present the Keynote Address at 4:30 p.m.on Saturday.
Representatives of the National Park Service, Perry International Peace Memorial, will also participate with talks and uniform and firearm demonstrations, and will interact with visitors.
Local and state officials and U.S. representative Marcy Kaptur have been invited to participate in a memorial service, wreath laying, and rededication at the Giddings Monument, Battlefield Park, just west of the Keeper’s House, at 2:p.m. on Saturday. An experienced re-enactor will portray Joshua Giddings at the memorial. In 1857, when Giddings served as a U.S. Representative, he came back and dedicated the monument to his fallen comrades.
A military church service will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the traditions of the frontier.
Local organizations are partnering to support the Ottawa County Historical Society’s Skirmish on the Peninsula event.
The Marblehead Bank, in partnership with the Marblehead Lions Club, will provide bleachers for the Skirmish reenactments. The First National Bank of Bellevue, Catawba Branch, is joining with the Port Clinton Rotary to provide fish and brat dinners from the Rotary food wagon. Ottawa County Commissioner Jim Sass is providing straw for bedding at each re-enactor’s campsite, and Dan’s Tree Service is providing seasoned hardwood for the camp fires. The OCHS was also recently awarded grants by the Ohio Humanities Council and Thrivent Financial in support of the event, the largest the Ottawa County Historical Society has undertaken.
Portable handicap accessible toilets will be provided for sanitation and the comfort of participants and visitors. Shuttle service will be provided between venues.
The Port Clinton Rotary food wagon will offer food for purchase Saturday and Sunday, starting with breakfast.