Return Jonathan Meigs, who was born in Middletown on Dec. 17, 1740, marched with a company of light infantry to the vicinity of Boston immediately after the battle of Lexington, and was assigned to duty under Col. Benedict Arnold with the rank of major. He accompanied the expedition through Maine to Canada, and was captured in the assault on Quebec, but was exchanged during the following year. He then devoted his energies toward raising a regiment, and in 1777 was promoted to colonel.
In May 1777, at the head of 170 Connecticut men, including surgeon Timothy Hosman and Capt. David Starr, Meigs attacked the British troops at Sag Harbor, Long Island, taking 90 prisoners, and destroying 12 vessels and much forage without the loss of a man. For this brilliant exploit, Congress voted to award him with a sword.
Colonel Meigs commanded a regiment under General Anthony Wayne at the storming of Stony Point and was honorably mentioned by Gen. George Washington!
Subsequently he served in various places until the close of the war. He was one of the earliest settlers in Ohio, going there in 1788, where he drew up a system of regulations for the first emigrants, that was posted on a large oak tree, near the Ohio and Muskingum rivers.
During 1803-1804, Meigs was chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. In 1805, he then had charge of the St. Charles district in Louisiana, with at the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the U.S. Army, and was judge of the Supreme Court until 1807.
Meigs was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court of Michigan in April 1807 and continued in that office until 1808, when he was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate from Ohio, serving from Jan. 6, 1809, until May 1, 1810. On the resignation of Postmaster General Gideon Granger in March 1814, President Madison invited Colonel Meigs to fill that place in the cabinet, and he continued in office under President Monroe until 1823.
Return Jonathan's brothers
Gules Meigs, a brother of Colonel R.J., lived and died in Middletown. In the Revolution, he was a captain of a militia, and went with his company to New London.
John Meigs, another brother, volunteered at the beginning of the Revolution, and served through the war. He was an adjutant in the regiment of Col. Webb, and for a time was acting brigade major. He was commissioned a lieutenant and soon afterward, a captain.
During a part of the war, he was stationed in Rhode Island, and for two years he was in the neighborhood of the Highlands. He removed to Hartford in 1797 and died there in 1826, at 73 years old.
Return Jonathans's son
Return Jonathon Jr., born in Middletown, was elected governor of Ohio in 1810, and held that office until 1814. During the war with Great Britain in 1812-1815, he did more than any other governor to aid the country during that conflict by the prompt organization of the militia, by garrisoning the forts and securing safety to the exposed settlements, and by the aid that he rendered to the army under Gen. William H. Harrison.
President Madison issued instructions to Gov. Meigs on April 6, 1812, to assemble the Militia at Dayton, Ohio, to be drilled and prepared to march to Detroit and by the end of the month more than the required number of men had been enrolled.
The President had commissioned Gov. Hull of Michigan as Brigadier General. General Hull arrived at Dayton, Ohio, on May 25, 1812, and left with his troops, June 1. According to the records in The Adjutant General's Department at Columbus, Ohio, furnished for this war were 1,759 officers.
Enlisted men were distributed as follows:
- First Regiment Infantry, 108 Companies
- Second Regiment Infantry, 85 Companies
- Third Regiment Infantry, 56 Companies
- Unassigned Infantry, 185 Companies
- Assigned to U. S. Infantry, 5 Companies
- Mounted Infantry, 25 Companies
- Cavalry, 13 Troops
- Artillery, 1 Battery
Fort Meigs State Memorial Perrysburg, Ohio
Gov. Meigs built the fort in 1813 to defend the Ohio Country against British invasion. Fort Meigs constitutes the largest wooden walled fortification in North America.
Today the fort stands rebuilt on its original location within a 65-acre wooded park. The 10-acre fort is enclosed by a stockade wall and contains seven blockhouses, five cannon batteries, and numerous interior eight-foot-high earthworks.
Fort Meigs battlefield is located in Perrysburg, Ohio. The site was built in 1813 to defend the Ohio Country against British invasion. Fort Meigs constitutes the largest wooden walled fortification in North America.
A reconstructed fort and museum help bring history alive with school tours and interactive displays, a number of re-enactments and special events take place here throughout the summer. Dedicated staff and volunteers allow Fort Meigs to bring fun and education to hundreds of visitors each year.
For information, see Connecticut Meigs Family.
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