Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Elisha Gates - Not the Only Volunteer

Elisha Gates (1789-1863)
     After the Raisin River Massacre, Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby called for 1500 volunteers to avenge the deaths of the Kentuckians.  On July 31, 1813 over twice as many volunteers showed up near Cincinnati, Ohio.  Some Kentuckian showed up with knives and no guns.  Some were on foot and others on horseback.  
     Governor Shelby had a big task ahead to organize, arm, and feed over three thousand men.  The first few weeks of August 1813 were spent in southern Ohio organizing the army.  The task of organizing and outfitting the militia actual consumed a significant portion of the scheduled enlistment period.
     Elisha Gates became a Private in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia1. He was assigned to serve in Captain Presley C. Smith's Company, commanded by Colonel James Simrall.

1. Clift, G. Glenn. Kentucky Soldiers of the War of 1812. Frankfort, Kentucky: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, 1891

Monday, July 29, 2013

Elisha Gates - Answering the Call

     Elisha Gates' tombstone indicates that he was born on June 3, 1789. But the earliest known records are a collection of papers in the Maryland, Probate and Guardianship Files.1
      These records state that Elisha and his sister, Elizabeth were orphaned around 1800.  Their parents are shown to be James T. and Mary Gates.  The estate maintained ownership of the Plantation Anchovy Hills containing at least 150 acres in Maryland.  By 1806 it appears that Joshua Mudd is their guardian and they are living in Kentucky.  
     In any case Elisha was in Kentucky when the call from Governor Shelby went out for volunteers to avenge the Massacre at the River Raisin. He gathered up his rifle and horse and answered the call. 
     Below is one of the 47 pages in the Guardianship File of Elisha and his sister.

1. "Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 July 2013), Elisha Gates, 01 Jan 1800

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Remember the River Raisin

From the Library of Congress1
    One cause of the War of 1812 was the need for land.  As American settlers moved west the Native-American tribes were being squeezed out.  The frontiersmen needed land and a method for transporting goods to market.  The fight was for land and control of the waterways.
     A major battle in the war was fought in the northwest in what is current day Michigan. The battle was near Frenchtown, along the north bank of the River Raisin. This is now River Raisin National Battlefield Park, part of the National Park System.  (
     Between January 18 and January 23, 1813 three hundred ninety-seven Americans, many from Kentucky were killed.  Some of those killed were massacred some time after being captured by the Indians.  As a result a battle cry went out and was heard all over the frontier.  "Remember the Raisin." 
    On July 13, 1813 Governor Issac Shelby of Kentucky put out a call for fifteen-hundred volunteers to march north in order to avenge the deaths of fellow Kentuckians.  He called for these volunteers to meet at Newport, Kentucky on July 31st.  Newport lay just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
     One of those who answered the call was Elisha Gates, my ggg-grandfather.  

1. Lewis, Samuel. Library of Congress, "A correct map of the seat of war." Last modified 1812.  Accessed July 28, 2013.