I have always enjoyed history, and began studying it from a young age. My father gave me two Civil War history books for my 11th birthday, and soon after this I purchased a biography of an American World War 1 fighter ace on my own – I still have all three book to this day, by the way – and I was off and running. From then on it was a rare day that I did not spend at least an hour every day reading something about history.
I first became interested in the military history of this area through somewhat of a chance event. In the early 1990s I had to make a road trip to Indianapolis, Indiana from around Convoy, Ohio. As I was consulting the atlas to check the route, I noticed a ‘Battle of Mississinewa’ on the map around Marion, Indiana. Being a life-long student of history and having studied the Civil War in some depth, I knew there had been no Civil War battles that far north. I decided to make a slight detour and check out the battle site. I found this battle to be a cavalry raid conducted during the War of 1812! My interest was piqued and I began to ask other questions. Why was there a ‘Fort Adams’ in Mercer County? Why was ‘Fort Jennings’ built in the middle of the Great Black Swamp? What is ‘Old Fort?’ Most importantly, why would Ohio spend money to reconstruct War of 1812-era ‘Fort Meigs’ in Toledo during the 1970s? It must be pretty important for some reason!
In continuing my research, I was amazed to find that there existed a lot of information about individual American military battles between 1790 to 1818. However, there did not seem to be a flowing narrative that pulled all this information together under any particular theme. I was talking to my kids about this one day, and they said, “Well, Dad: you know a lot about this stuff – why don’t YOU write the book?” I thought to myself, “Yeah, why not?” and that’s how this book on The Trans-Appalachian Wars got started.