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Fort Ferree

"I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another." - Thomas Jefferson

  • Why was it built?
  • Where was it built?
  • Who built it?

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and Great Britain from June 1812 until the spring of 1815, and was an important event in the history of Canada and the United States. There were several reasons why the United States felt the need to declare war. One reason being the delay by Great Britain in removing its troops still occupying the territory along the Great Lakes placed there during the Revolutionary War. Removal of these troops and relinquishing claim to the territory was part of the treaty following that war. Much of the land fighting during the War of 1812 occurred along the Canadian border. Travel by land through wilderness and Indian country was almost impossible; waterways were needed to transport troops, equipment, and supplies. Control of Lake Erie and its adjoining rivers was crucial to both sides. In order to secure and control our border area, the United States built a chain of small forts.

One such fort was Fort Ferree located in Upper Sandusky, Wyanot County, Ohio. It was built in late 1812 by the men of the 1st Regiment, 2nd Detachment, of the Pennsylvania militia lead by Colonel Joel Ferree under the command of General William Henry Harrison. It stood on a two acre bluff overlooking the Sandusky River; a square stockade with a blockhouse on three corners and one in the center. It was enclosed with log stakes topped with bayonets and surrounded by a ditch. A large spring inside the fort provided fresh drinking water. In all, about 500 men could be accommodated. A graveyard was located a short distance away. Fort Ferree, named in honor of Colonel Joel Ferree, served as a distribution point for food and supplies and for a short time General Harrison used this fort as his headquarters.

Colonel Ferree's regiment was mustered into service in Pittsburgh on October 2, 1812, and marched to Upper Sandusky where they erected the fort and remained there until January, 1813, when they proceeded to a rendezvous with General Harrison on the Miami River. They saw some combat but left for home on April 2nd. Colonel Ferree died en route in Zanesville, Ohio, on April 9, 1813. He had been sick for several weeks, but refused to leave and remained on duty until discharged from service with his regiment. It is believed he is buried in Zanesville although neither a marker nor records have ever been located.