In preparing a post on William Moore Johnson, of Montgomery County, I found this newspaper article from the 1883 Courier Journal that I thought appropriate to share on this Memorial Day. This is the first of such an article I have seen about a reunion of soldiers from the War of 1812, although I’ve seen many on Civil War reunions.
I think it fabulous that these men were so honored seventy-one years after they served. Love the fact that their ages were listed, the oldest being ninety-nine, ranging to the youngest at eighty-six. What stories must have been told at this event. From the article we find there is to be another in one year’s time. How many of these old gentleman will be left to take their places of honor?
The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Tuesday, June 19, 1883
The Veterans of the War of ’12 Meet and Fight Over the Battles For Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights
Paris, June 18 – The annual reunion of the old soldiers of 1812 was held in this city today. The court-house was thronged with the citizens to do honor to the visit of the veterans. Dr. J. G. Chinn, of Lexington, presided. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. French, of this city. Mr. Emmet M. Dickson, of the Board of Councilmen, in a short speech gracefully bade a welcome to the city’s guests. The Chairman, Dr. Chinn, made an appropriate response, and was followed by Dr. C. C. Graham, of Louisville, an old gentleman in his hundredth year, the oldest, and apparently the least feeble of all the members of the association. Dr. Graham, in the name of his comrades, thanked the citizens of Paris for the interest and veneration shown the defendants of our country in the second war with Great Britain. Interspersed through the exercises were a number of national and patriotic songs sung by a select choir of eight voices. But one member of the association, Peter Lashbrook, of Mason County, died during the past year. It was determined the association shall meet next year, although by some it was considered unadvisable on account of the small number of members and their extremely advanced age and feebleness. The veterans after the reunion dined at the Bourbon House in company with members of the City Council and a limited number of invited guests. But eight old soldiers were present: Dr. C. C. Graham, Louisville, ninety-nine years; Thomas Jones, Paris, ninety-one; Robert Campbell, Winchester, ninety; Gilead Evans, Nicholas County, eighty-nine; Dr. Perrin, Cynthiana, eighty-nine; Moore Johnson, Mt. Sterling, eighty-eight; S. M. Berry, Scott County, eighty-seven; Dr. J. G. Chinn, Lexington, eighty-six.
And what happened the next year, 1884? A short notice was put in the Interior Journal of Standford. “Only four of the veterans of the War of 1812 were present at the annual reunion at Paris Wednesday and their ages ranged from 87 to 91. It is likely that this is the last meeting they will ever have, as their number is dwindling very fast. Dr. Graham, the oldest of the veterans, was not present, but a letter from him regretting his inability to attend was read. A few more years and the old soldiers of 1812 will be but a memory.”