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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - April 18, 2011

The April 2011 meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library on Monday, April 18, at 7:00 pm. This meeting was co-sponsored by the Edwardsville Public Library.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.

The following reports were presented.

Financial report for the month of March 2011, as follows:

In the Library

Elsie Wasser reported that the Society had received two new books, both in German and only one of them is translated. If you can read German, you may be in luck!


Do you have a family member that is interested in (or even obsessed with) genealogy? A membership in the Madison County Genealogical Society would be a very thoughtful gift. A gift card will be sent to the recipient of any gift membership.

The following memberships are available:
Individual/Family Annual Membership $20.00
Patron Annual Membership $30.00
Life Membership $250.00

Contact our Secretary, Barbara Hitch, at, about a gift membership.

April Meeting

On April 18, 2011, the regular meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the the Edwardsville Public Library. This meeting was co-sponsored by the Edwardsville Public Library.

A program titled A Step Back in Time was presented by Bill Wilson, Chairman of the Illinois War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and President of the Hill's Fort Society.

Bill started out by setting the world stage during this period. Between 1775 and 1815, England and France were at odds most of the time. France supported the U.S. during and after the Revolutionary War. The Napoleonic Wars broke out in 1802 and did not end until June of 1815. The U.S. wanted to trade with both France and England after the Revolutionary War and neither France nor England liked this.

In an attempt to stay out of the war between Britain and France the Embargo Act of 1807 came about. Both sides were attempting to get the U.S. to support only them and the Americans were trying to prevent that from happening. As a result of the embargo act, U.S. exports were reduced from $108 Million in1807 to only $22 Million in 1808. This act closed U.S. ports to all exports to Britain. It also restrained U.S. imports from Britain.

The War of 1812 was known by various other names: The Forty Years War, The Forgotten War, Madison's War, and The War that nobody won.

War was declared by President Madison on June 18, 1812, against Great Britain. There were four primary reasons the President was compelled to take this bold step:

  1. British Stranglehold on American Shipping.
    • Britain sank or captured ships entering or leaving U.S. with goods aboard.
    • Britain reworked, renamed, and used captured ships.
  2. Britain impressed 6000 American seamen between 1806 and 1812.
    • Former British seamen who had deserted to the American Navy and shipping industry.
    • Former British Seamen who had gained U.S. Citizenship.
    • American Seamen who spoke with a British accent or who did not have their papers with them aboard ship to prove their citizenship .
  3. Britain's Active opposition to the Americans settling in the Northwest Territory
    • The British wanted this area to be one sovereign territory belonging to and ruled by Native Americans.
    • British Attacks on American soil.
    • British paid Indian leaders and warriors in trade goods to make war on the Americans to discourage American settlement on the frontier.
  4. The American People's Honor
    • Britain treated the American people and the American government as though they were second class people and needed the iron fist of Britain to rule them. This did not sit well with most Americans.

Illinois Territory Military during the War of 1812

Illinois Territory's People

Significant Events during the War

Anti - American Native Leaders and Illinois Combatants
Although there were many who, from time to time, opposed the white settlers, the following three stood out in their opposition: Tecumseh, early organizer of opposition to the Americans; Main Poc, Potawatomi chief who angrily opposed Americans till his death in 1815; Tenskwatawa, Brother of Tecumseh, who organized many of the raids in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Although there were some conflicts where there was just one tribe involved, more often than not, the raids were made up of younger warriors from several tribes under the leadership of Tenskwatawa. This list includes the Potawatomi, Iroquois, Miami, Winnebago, Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandot, Kickapoo, Creek, Chippewa, Ottawa, Sauk and Fox, and others.

The War Ends
The Treaty of Ghent was signed in Belgium on December 24, 1814, which officially ended the war; however, the Battle of New Orleans was fought after this date on January 8, 1815, because neither side of the Continent had heard of the treaty. Even after Britain had withdrawn, many Indians continued to fight on with little success. Several treaties were signed in the following years, which involved western movements of many of these tribes and ended hostilities in the East.

Following this period there begun an era of goodwill between the United States, Britain, and Canada, which basically still exists today.

The War of 1812 Bicentennial Movement
Mr. Wilson also discussed the War of 1812 Bicentennial Movement. This group involves most of the United States east of the Mississippi plus Missouri, several of the Eastern Provinces of Canada, Great Britain, and, to some extent, France.

The Great Lakes Collaborative is made up of most of the states and provinces that border the Great Lakes: Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Quebec. Others, including Missouri, are expected to join in. This group met last on the first of October at Put-In Bay in Ohio.

The Illinois War Of 1812 Bicentennial Commission
The Commission is made up of officers, at-large members, and the Regional Directors. There are currently 26 members. The state of Illinois is broken up in to 13 regions. Each region has a director or co-directors. Some of the Northwestern Counties are not currently included because interest there is not expected. If, however, there is an interest outside our current area, this group will certainly be invited.

The Illinois War Of 1812 Bicentennial Commission is a registered Illinois Corporation. Our registration with the State of Illinois under the charitable trust and solicitation for charity acts has been accepted. Our Federal not-for- profit application (501c3) has been accepted. Proclamation, HR 102, to formally adopt our organization as the official State Commission, was adopted on April 12, 2011, by the Illinois State House of Representatives.

The goal of the Commission is to create awareness of the War of 1812 and its importance in our statehood development. We encourage any and all groups to get involved in educating our population on this subject. Our aim is to assist those in all our regions in developing programs and events, which lead to this goal.

The Commission is developing a list of generic programs that could be used in any region in the state, as well as programs that are specific to each region. Info sheets for each of these potential programs are being developed that will assist the planners in each region in their selection of programs for their area. An attempt will be made to incorporate any program that is thought up by any regional member.

Bill discussed briefly the forts and blockhouses in use during the war. Of the ninety plus forts and blockhouses he mentioned, only two were in the Northern part of Illinois. The majority of the forts and blockhouses, as well as the people of Illinois, during the War of 1812 were in Madison County.

This presentation was well received and generated much discussion.