Historian to lecture on War of 1812

By Monica Jimenez
Posted Oct 18, 2012
Courtesy photo

Suffolk University professor and history department chairman Robert Allison will speak about the War of 1812 at Bemis Hall in Lincoln on Sunday, Oct. 21.

A lecture on the War 1812, marking the bicentennial of the war, will be held at Bemis Hall in Lincoln Sunday, Oct. 21. The lecturer is Suffolk University professor and history department chairman Robert Allison.

Allison’s lecture will focus on the war’s history and effect on New Englanders as well as the country. Attendees will enjoy Allison’s articulate, engaging speaking style and relevant subject matter, according to Lincoln Historical Society member Jason Felsch.

“We thought it was a fresh and timely topic that has been celebrated a lot in Greater Boston this past summer. It’s one conflict in Lincoln that has not received as much attention as the other elements of our history,” said Felsch, who coordinates the society’s programs. “The fact is, we know about Revolutionary War veterans and veterans from the 20th century, but the Lincoln veterans who fought in the War of 1812 were a challenge to survey.”

Member Peggy Boyers led the Historical Society’s research into the lives of the Lincoln residents who fought in the War of 1812, uncovering information about 11 of those 15 Lincoln soldiers, including one James Miller.

After capturing an important enemy battery during the Battle of Lundy’s Lane near Niagara Falls in 1814, Miller became a national hero as well as Lincoln’s second brigadier general in a generation. He later served at Tippecanoe with General William Henry Harrison, became governor of Arkansas until 1825, and served as Salem’s tax collector, for which he was featured in Nathanial Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.”

Knowing a town’s history adds something to the experience of living in it, according to Historical Society Co-chairman Beth Ries.

“It gives you a greater appreciation and a sense of where people are coming from,” said Ries, who has learned much Lincoln history since becoming co-chairman more than a year ago. She added, “Preserving the history of the town is relevant to the town’s interest.”

The Historical Society is becoming more active in its mission to preserve local history and promote awareness of it among community members, Ries said

The society celebrated its 15th anniversary last year. This past year, Historical Society events have included lectures and a recent community hike, according to Felsch.

“I think we have a role to play in the community. Its history brings forth a lot of different aspects in Lincoln: Cultural, historical, political,” Felsch said. “I think it helps people have a sense of community.”

Upcoming Historical Society projects include the release of a book about Lincoln’s Revolutionary War veterans, the update of the library’s war memorial book (naming veterans of the Revolutionary War as well as the War of 1812, Civil War and World Wars I and II), and a December collaboration with the Cemetery Commission.

“The town of Lincoln has grown over the years. We’re at a moment of transition, with a lot of new people coming to town,” Felsch said. “I think people are very eager to learn more about its history, to really enjoy and appreciate the rich history there is to learn in Lincoln.”

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