A few more miles, another day, another state (Ohio – 11), another national park (Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis – 9), and several more license plate jurisdictions spotted (Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, Louisiana, New Jersey, and South Carolina – 48 so far).
First off for the day we found a tiny cemetery in the middle of the farmlands east of Auburn, Indiana, Cosper cemetery. A year or so ago I would not have thought to stop here. However, in the past year, I had a break through on one brick wall in my family history research. I have known for about 10 years, not too long after I discovered who my father was, that one of my great grandmothers was Catherine Francis Miller. And I had some hints as to her parents, John Miller and Barbara Wappes. But that was the end of my information. Then through some connections through my online family trees I made contact with a cousin and found enough information to go back a bit more. Catherine’s father was Johnathon G Miller, and he was born in 1832 in Pennsylvania and died in 1922 in Idaho. Also, his parents were Eli Miller and Catharine Eva Whisler. They were both born in Pennsylvania, but later moved to Indiana and lived, died, and were buried, in De Kalb county Indiana. Today we found their gravesite and were able to stand in fields where they had lived.
As always with family history research, breaking through one brick wall always results in 2 or more new ones. Eli is my new brick wall and I need to find his ancestry so I can find where in Europe his family came from. For Catharine, I have 2 more generations of family in my tree and will need a future trip to Pennsylvania to have the experience of walking in the shadow of my ancestors in that place, and maybe to find information to break through another brick wall.
From Cosper we moved east and north toward Cleveland. But first a stop at a relatively unknown national park, Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis. A simple site with several plaques explaining the event to which the park is dedicated. One monument with 4 sides. Here is what each side of the monument says it is dedicated to:
side 1: In memory of the white settlers massacured1783-1794.
side 2 : To Chief Little Turtle and his brave Indian Warriors.
side 3: Dedicated to the Greenville Treaty, written in 1795 after the 1794 battle of Fallen Timbers, and which led to the opening of present day Ohio to white settlers.
side 4: To the pioneers of Ohio and the Great Northwest.
Without knowing much else about the events that took place here just think about the dedications on the 4 sides of that monument. Except for failing to mention that there had also been some Indian civilians massacred a bit earlier in the history of the area, this monument covers quite a bit: both sides in a conflict, the treaty which ended the conflict, and the expansion of our country as a result of that treaty.
It got me thinking about all of the national parks we have visited and the various reasons they have been protected as national treasures. Some for nature, some for beauty, some because of connection to a person central to our nation’s history, some celebrate an important period of time for our nation, some to celebrate a national achievement, and some to mark a place of national shame it is important we do not forget. Think of the Rosie the Riveter park for celebration and the Japanese internment for shame. Here at Fallen Timbers is one monument covering at least 3 of those reasons in one place. Without the preservation of this event with at least some honesty about why it is being preserved important parts of our history and lessons we should learn and relearn would be lost.
One final thought the place evoked is that I wondered what monuments might be preserved in the future about events taking place in our day. Will they be monuments to events of which we are proud or events of which we are ashamed and hope never to allow to happen again.