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Rial McArthur

February 12, 2012

The year 2012 is the bicentennial of the War of 1812. This is the second in a series of columns that the Stow Sentry is publishing featuring local veterans who served in the war.

The War of 1812 was an obscure war. Most people might remember the Battle of New Orleans -- thanks to the song by Johnny Horton, or maybe the burning of the White House, or perhaps the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the Battle at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, but that's about all many people remember about the war.

This was America's second and last war against Great Britain and it echoed the ideology and issues of the American Revolution. It was the second and last time that America was the underdog in a war and the second and last time that the nation tried to conquer Canada.

The War of 1812 was an important turning point, a great watershed in the history of the young republic. It ushered in the Era of Good Feelings and marked the end of the Federalist Party. It promoted a national self-confidence.

Summit County veteran Col. Rial McArthur was born in 1783 in Vermont and came to Ohio as a surveyor with the CT Land Co. He kept a general store in Middlebury and had a flouring mill on State Road in Northampton. He also had a distillery in Tallmadge.

He was captain of an independent rifle company in the War of 1812, under Gen. Elijah Wadsworth at Old Portage, attached to Ohio's 4th Division. Most of his men were from the Tallmadge area. His company was the pride of the settlement, and they were first ordered to Cleveland, then Old Portage, and finally the Huron River where General Simon Perkins was in command. McArthur was promoted to major and then to colonel of the Militia.

It's been said that he aided in building two boats for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. He died Aug. 24, 1871, of general disability. He was a highly honored Mason. He was also a justice of the peace. He was a good mathematician and a good penman. He was elected auditor for Portage County (Summit County was formed from Portage, Medina and Stark Counties in 1840.) He was said to be an honest and upright man. He married Almira Sprague and they had eight children. He is buried in Harrington Cemetery.

Contact Sharon Myers, president of William Wetmore Chapter Daughters of 1812, at 330-794-5099.

 

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