Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oberlin's 1812 Harrison Military Road Marker Revisited Part 1

Back in 2012 – the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 – I did a blog post about a historical marker that used to be located just west of Oberlin city limits on what is now State Route 511. The marker commemorated a military supply road that was cut through the forest from Ashland to Oak Point by troops.

Unfortunately, the marker is now long gone.

Anyway, while doing some research at the Lorain Public Library recently, I was stopped by Joe Jeffries, MLS of the Adult Services Dept. who said he had something to show me. As it turns out, Mr. Jeffries had found a great clipping about the historical marker in the library's files. The clipping even included a rare photo of it.

Below is the content of the article which, according to the date scrawled on it, appeared in the Oberlin newspaper on Sept. 8, 1949.


Restore Commemorative Tablet

Pictured here beside the newly restored D.A.R. marker west of town on Route 10 are Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Edwards of Edgemeer Place, who were in charge of the restoration project. The bronze tablet was damaged several years ago when the boulder on which it is placed was knocked over, probably by a bulldozer clearing the roads of snow.

Originally erected in 1914 by Oberlin Chapter, now known as Nancy Wolcott Squire Chapter, D.A.R., the marker commemorated the crossing of Harrison Military Road which was cut through dense forest by Colonel Moonsinger from Oak Point to Ashland in 1813. The site was located by the late G. F. Wright, former Oberlin College professor and president of the Ohio State Historical Society

The greater part of the work restoring the damaged tablet and re-bolting the 50-pound bronze piece to the stone was done by Mr. Edwards, who reports that his efforts almost resulted in arrest. "One afternoon while I was working on the boulder with hammer and chisel, a police officer appeared on the scene," he related. It seems that a passer-by reported that someone was "tampering" with the marker, and the policeman came out to investigate. "But the officer didn't stay long – not even to help," said Mr. Edwards. Nevertheless, when the D.A.R. holds its first meeting of the season tomorrow, Mrs. Edwards will be able to report the successful completion of the project.

Special thanks to Joe Jeffries, MLS for sharing this article with me.


Anonymous said...

Really interesting. I know I must have been by the former site.

Anonymous said...

It was supposed to have been close to the road. The big mystery is where it was exactly, close to where the RR tracks use to be (the angle of the above picture does not look like it) or further down, or what?

Dan Brady said...

Tomorrow's post is my article about the monument from the Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette, in which its location was described from one source as 300 yards west of the railroad tracks. That puts it beyond the farms next to the tracks--but where?

Anonymous said...

So was the road they built, the current St Rt 511.. If so they could have floated supplies on Beaver Creek from Oberlin to Oak Point. Who knows what the flow of Beaver Creek was back then.

Drew Penfield said...

The road went north/south to Oak Point. It's described as having followed the edge of Beaver Creek. I have to wonder if the present Oak Point Road/North Lake Street was built over the old supply road. It's certainly plausible. Information on these supply roads appears to be virtually non-existent. I can't find any information on Col. Moonsinger on the internet or in any of the books on the War of 1812 that I've checked.