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Captain Amos Lusk of Hudson
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Amos Lusk

Editor's note: The Hudson Library and Historical Society is commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with a series of profiles of Hudson men who served in the war, written by Hudson Library and Historical Society Archivist Gwendolyn Mayer.

The summer of 1812 was a stress filled time for Hudson, Ohio. As the War of 1812 raged on, the town of less than 500 residents anxiously awaited news of the American surrender at Fort Detroit to the British.

The War of 1812 had arisen due to the rising tensions between the two nations over the frequent impressments of American sailors, interference with overseas trade and the strong belief the British were encouraging Native American attacks on American frontier settlements.

In early June of 1812, Congress voted its first declaration of war, and the conflict officially began June 18 when President James Madison signed the measure into law.

In response, Hudson formed a local militia company and commenced military training.

With the fall of Fort Detroit, there was great concern that the British and their ally Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee nation, would advance into Ohio and the Western Reserve. Several Hudson residents had served during the American Revolution and were willing to do so again for their country. More than 60 men from Hudson under the command of 39-year-old Captain Amos Lusk prepared for battle.

Capt. Lusk, the father of nine children, had moved to Hudson in 1801 with his wife Mary and set up a homestead, farming in the northern part of town.

Lusk can perhaps best be remembered as the future father-in-law of Abolitionist John Brown.

Lusk's second oldest daughter, Dianthe, married Brown in 1820, well after her father's death. Unfortunately, little is known of Lusk's temperament and his death predates photography's development so there are no known images of him.

Lusk's militia unit was attached to Ohio's 4th division under the command of General Elijah Wadsworth and later under Brigadier General Simon Perkins. The Hudson militia signed up for three months of service (many ultimately served beyond the initial time period) and equipped themselves at their own expense.

During the fall of 1812, Lusk and his men were directed to help guard the frontier from British and Indian attacks. During this time there were skirmishes with both British naval vessels and Indian War parties.

Capt. Lusk and his men eventually marched to Camp Avery near modern day Huron, Ohio. On Sept. 28, 1812, the Indians raided a frontier settlement in what is known as Danbury Township, Ottawa County.

At the Battle of Marblehead Peninsula, as this was later called, Lusk and his men participated in the fighting. Muskets were fired, a canoe chase ensued, and men were engaged in fierce hand to hand combat. Some men were wounded and died, although none from Hudson.

The Rev. Joseph Badger, a Congregational minister formerly from Hudson, wrote in his journal, "I found sick and wounded both badly situated; got help, and made the block house comfortable and provided bunks and regular attendants." He went on to state, "I was appointed Chaplin to the brigade and Postmaster for the Army."

In November of 1812 the soldiers were ordered to march through the swamps to Fremont, Ohio, to defend Fort Stephenson. Many men became ill. Shortly thereafter command of the troops was transferred to Brigadier General Perkins.

During January and February of 1813 members of the Hudson militia assisted in the building of Fort Meigs, which was situated on the banks of the Maumee River, located in Perrysburg, Ohio. Fort Meigs would soon withstand an attack by British forces under the command of Brigadier General William Proctor aided by Tecumseh.

Lusk's military unit was involved in the protection of two of the most important forts in Ohio during the war -- Meigs and Stephenson. Although Lusk himself did not live to participate in either battle, his company was present during these conflicts.

Unfortunately, like so many others, Capt. Lusk contracted the highly contagious "spotted fever" otherwise known as typhus and died on May 24, 1813.

During the War of 1812, an epidemic of typhus which is a bacterial infection caused by lice and fleas, swept throughout military units killing countless numbers of soldiers. This devastating disease was only later controlled with the development of a vaccine during World War II. Capt. Lusk is buried in Chapel Street Cemetery in Hudson.

 

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