Though the Korean Conflict is often called America’s “Forgotten War,” there are a number of military campaigns that have likewise faded from popular memory. We don’t speak much of the Spanish-American War, the Mexican War or even the War of 1812, though that war did give us our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.
Some mention was made in the media regarding the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 last month, but I doubt many took notice. I took notice, though, because of an enigmatic photo in the Hosford family Bible. The bible was given to my great-great grandfather, William Hosford, by his mother when he enlisted in the Civil War. In the center are a few pages for pictures, and though many are unmarked, the first is of a stern-faced older man named Arad Hosford.
William Hosford was among the first settlers in Boone County, but as a result of his emigration, ties to the rest of his family were lost. But thanks to the work of Hosfords we’d never heard of, a family genealogy was compiled and through it we learned that Arad was William’s father. Born in 1795, Arad was one of 15 children and farmed near Williamstown, Massachusetts. He married a woman named Sophia and they had 11 children. Besides farming, Arad was a captain of the militia, dealt extensively in real estate and is remembered as having been “a progressive citizen” of Williamstown.
Arad was also a veteran of the War of 1812. Arad served in the regiment of Lieut. Colonel Thomas Longley and it is recorded that he took part in the “expedition to Dorchester [now part of Boston] on Sept. 11, 1814.” As a teenage private in the Massachusetts Militia, Arad would, according to an account from that time, have “never seen anything more like war than [an] annual parade.” But duty called and Arad joined 5,000 other militia men to defend Boston against an anticipated attack by the British who had already occupied parts of Maine (which was then aterritoryof Massachusetts). Perhaps because of their defensive preparations, the British attack never came.
Just three months later the Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the war andAradwent home. Most historians say the War of 1812 ended in a draw, though Americans at the time hailed it as a victorious “Second War of Independence.” Though the Capital had been burned and attempts to invade Canada repelled, America had for a second time stood up to Great Britain and earned both respect and an alliance that still binds our two nations today.