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Fort Shelby

Fort Shelby (1814 ca)

Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID: WHi-42230

War of 1812

In 1807 war fever between the United States and Great Britain began to simmer after the British frigate Leopold attacked the Chesapeake, killing 21 Americans. On June 19, 1812, during the administration of President James Madison, the United States declared war to end British harassment of American shipping and impressment of American seamen. In June 1814 the British captured Fort Shelby at Prairie du Chien in the only battle of the war fought in Wisconsin. On December 24, 1814, the two nations signed a peace treaty.
A number of Madisonians had connections to the War of 1812.

Lurania Hewitt Bird (1808 – February 8, 1879) was the daughter of a veteran of the War of 1812 and the granddaughter of a Revolutionary War soldier. At the time of her death she had lived in Madison longer than any other female settler, having come to the fledgling city in 1837. She was present at the first wedding, and often took in boarders in the early days. Her husband, Prosper Burgoyne Bird (1800 – August 6, 1851), was the older brother of Capitol commissioner Augustus Allen Bird. Prosper, his sons Prosper Jr. and Napoleon Bonaparte, and daughter Laurelia Adelia, all died of cholera within days of each other.

John Stoner (December 25, 1791 – January 11, 1872) was a cabinetmaker and served as a private in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812. He and his wife Magdeline (January 1, 1794 – January 27, 1863) arrived in Madison on September 6, 1837 with seven children; their son Madison was the first white male born in the city. Their original home was a $200 cabin in the middle of what is now North Hamilton Street near Fourth Lake. John was the first Dane County treasurer in 1839. In 1838 he entered land on Stoner’s Prairie in what is now Fitchburg, and for seventeen years “kept bach” on the farm while his family stayed in town so the children could go to school.

Isaac Barnard (September 27, 1787 – April 23, 1880) served in the 4th regiment of Vermont militia. He fought at the Battle of Pittsburgh. He and his wife Sarah followed their daughter Elizabeth to Madison. She was the wife of supreme court justice Timothy Brown.

David Jacquish (January 30, 1793 - April 6, 1875) came to Madison in the mid-1840s and bought the Hyer Hotel at 854 Jenifer Street (a Madison landmark), operating it for many years. He served in the 2nd regiment of Virginia militia, and was promoted to sergeant before the end of the war. A U. S. flag is depicted on his grave at Forest Hill Cemetery.

John McFarland (December 4, 1790 - April 29, 1863), a carpenter, served in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812. His daughter-in-law was a prominent singer who raised much money to support Madison soldiers during the Civil War.

Jemima Southard Everett (1795 – 1886) was married to an officer who served in the War of 1812. He was a distant cousin of Edward Everett, the great orator.

Mark Gajewski