GREENVILLE — A Dublin, Ohio, historian and author will be visiting Greenville Saturday.
David R. Johnson will be at Readmore’s Hallmark Store, 524 South Broadway, Saturday, October 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to talk with fellow history buffs and sign copies of his book.
Johnson says his book, “Fort Amanda – A Historical Redress (1790-1814),” has been 43 years in the making.
The Ohio History Connection website says Fort Amanda was a major supply depot for the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. It was one of a series of fortifications extending north from Piqua, Ohio, to Fort Meigs in present-day Perrysburg. It was built in the fall of 1812 under orders from General (and future U.S. President) William Henry Harrison. It was enlarged to almost double its original size in the spring of 1813.
The site of the fort, no longer standing, is in Logan Township, Auglaize County, about 60 miles northeast of Greenville.
Johnson said, “A ‘redress’ is defined as a ‘remedy to set things right.’ That is the purpose of this book. Much of what has been written about Fort Amanda during the past 100 years has been a repeat of what others had written before; namely, that Col. Thomas Poage built the fort and named it for his wife, Amanda; that a Captain at the fort was murdered by Indians while gathering grapes in a nearby tree; and that war records were destroyed when the British burned government buildings in Washington, D.C. in 1814.”
“None of those claims are true,” he asserted.
“In the early 1970s, armed with new information, I began a study of Fort Amanda that has spanned 40 years,” Johnson said. “While the goal of this book is to ‘redress,’ the story of Fort Amanda, it’s also meant to inform, challenge and inspire others who have a passion for history and who find identifying and honoring the ordinary men and women who made that history, not only personally satisfying, but who also a patriotic duty.”
While the book primarily about the construction of the fort in 1812-1813, the information within begins in 1790 and briefly covers the three campaigns leading up to Amanda’s construction. Johnson added the word “redress” because much of what was written about the fort in the past and has come to be accepted as fact is in fact, incorrect.
The 8 x 10 book is 380 pages in length with pictures, maps, charts on almost every page.
Johnson said when people write about war, they sometimes forget “the other half of the team: the wives and mothers back home.”
“In relation to Amanda, there were wives and mothers at home with 5 or 6 kids to care for, plus tending to the family farm or business all the while struggling through cholera and measles epidemics. So if we’re going to honor heroes, lets not forget the ones at home as well.”
Johnson said he included the wives maiden names as well as the GPS coordinates where these men and women are buried in the book’s genealogy section.
“If you use Google Earth, you can type in the GPS coordinate and zoom down on their burial sites. Some are buried in fields, under parking lots, alongside roads and just four years ago I found the grave of Lt. Joseph Davis, second in command at Amanda, buried behind a storage building in Clermont County. And yes, if you want lots and lots of details, I even tell you where I think the toilets were located,” he added.
The book’s table of contents can be seen at Johnson’s blog at www.fortamanda1812.blogspot.com/
“Much of the information in the book is new and some somewhat controversial,” he said. “I’ve included a few new theories hoping that the book will not only inform and inspire, but will challenge others to look at my theories and ‘pick up the gauntlet’ to either prove or disprove, which in the end, will make the story of the fort and the area much more what I call ‘pure.’”
Though it is satisfying for an author to sell his works, Johnson said the goal of this book is not to make money.
“The fun about doing this isn’t selling books, but to educate,” he said.
He looks forward to meeting and talking with people in Greenville during his stop.
“There is so much history in Greenville, but people don’t know about it,” he explained. “The problem is getting all of us people interested in history together to share information. The kids just aren’t aware. Maybe we can rejuvenate a passion from our history.”
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