It started with a letter to Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa President, Mike Rowley, from Harold Nevenhoven at the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery in Brooklyn, Iowa. Nevenhoven had been given a link to our website listing the War of 1812 veterans who had lived in Iowa. He noted the name Christian Sowerwine was on our list of veterans, but did not have a proper headstone. Nevenhoven had ordered the headstone from the VA and now had it in his possession and was going to install it. Would the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa help with a proper dedication ceremony?
Rowley put a call out to the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War asking for assistance. It all came together on Saturday afternoon, May 27, 2017, at the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery.
Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa members Rowley, Alan Wenger (also representing the Sons of the American Revolution), Danny Krock and Dan Rittel (both also representing the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War) along with members of the Brooklyn American Legion Post conducted a proper dedication ceremony for Christian Sowerwine’s new headstone.
Christian Sowerwine was born July 7, 1793, in Rockingham County, Virginia. He served in the 4th regiment of the Virginia Militia. In about 1834 or 1835, Christian and his brother John moved to Indiana. Four of their children were probably born in Cross Roads, Delaware County, Indiana. Christian’s first wife, Maria Good, died January 1838, in Indiana leaving him with nine children to raise.
Christian married Catherine Semer July 4, 1839, in Henry County, Indiana. She brought along her step-son Michael and her three daughters into a household that already had nine children. Quickly three more sons were added to their brood. Catherine died in 1852 and is buried in Indiana. He and his family moved to Iowa in 1856. At Brooklyn he farmed north of Brooklyn and operated a blacksmith shop.
At the time of the Civil War the Sowerwines offered their services. John, Jacob, Isaac and George served with the Union Army along with son-in-law James Maddy. Daughter Sarah’s husband, Michael Miller, served with the Confederate Army. John Sowerwine proved disqualified because of a crippled arm. Nevertheless, he served as a guard in the San Francisco harbor during the period of hostilities. Jacob Sowerwine was killed in the Civil War May 1, 1863 in Port Gibson, MS.
General Society of the War of 1812 In The State Of Iowa President Mike Rowley joined with members of the State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries (SAPIC) at the signing of the Proclamation to declare May as “Cemetery Appreciation Month” by Iowa Governor and United States Ambassador to China nominee Terry Branstad.
President Rowley (far left in the photos) shared with the Governor the fact that members of the Iowa Society have documented nearly 900 veterans of the War of 1812 that are buried in the State of Iowa.
Photos by Chance McElhaney
On a beautiful July day, high a top a hill at the SAMS Cemetery in Jasper County, Iowa, it is clear enough to see the Principal Building in downtown Des Moines. Closer to the actual site members of the General Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa, Iowa Sons of the American Revolution, the Iowa Military Heritage Society, the Iowa Department of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and other volunteers combined the research they had done with a little manual labor and saw to it that yet another previously unmarked Civil War veteran’s grave was graced with a granite VA supplied stone.
Robert Gannon, a Vietnam veteran is the man behind the project and a transcript and audio version of an NPR story on the subject can be heard at:
Plans are well underway for a very special occasion on September 24th, 2016 in which the public is encouraged and invited to participate.
Our Iowa’s 1812 Veterans page has been updated with the most current (through Feb. 14, 2016) lists. These are the lists of War of 1812 veterans who lived or are buried in Iowa as compiled by our historian Ron Rittel.
The lists are also in a downloadable PDF format and are alphabetical by either the veteran’s name or the county in which they last lived (if known).
Each year members of the Iowa Military Heritage Society meet in the southern part of the state to hone their skills live firing weapons of all era’s. A few Iowa Society of the War of 1812 members also belong to the Iowa Military Heritage Society.
Members qualified with a flint lock weapon of the Revolutionary War era as well as muskets from the Civil War era at both 50 and 100 yards.
After the formal morning session attendees had the opportunity for training and practice with the M1 Garand rifle of WWII era.
Iowa Military Heritage Society members pictured above: (back row) Jim Braden, Dave Sample, Richard Grim, David Lamb, Ron Rittel, (front row) Jeff Rassmussen, Louie Zenti, Mike Rowley.
Shout out to Veronica Taylor and her helpers & students doing family tree research projects!
We received an email from Veronica back in January – I need to check up on the email more often. She writes:
As a peer mentor, I just wanted to say thanks for making your genealogy page – http://www.iowa1812.org/links/
With the middle of the school year upon us (can you believe it’s practically February?!), the kids have had some fun mid-term projects to do. A few of them are working on a family tree project. We’ve been looking for resources to cite and include, and your page has been a big help! Thanks again for making it!
We also wanted to pass along another page. It was actually the kids who found it!:
‘History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy’
It’s a fantastic reference guide. I’m sure you and your visitors would find it useful. Can you include it on your page? Let me know – I’d love to show my helpers! Encouragement goes such a long way with kids! I’ll actually be meeting with them tonight
Have a great weekend!
Thank you, Veronica! Glad your students are finding some our information and links useful. Sorry for not getting this posted sooner.
On July 5th, Members, David Lamb, Mike Rowley, Ron Rittel and Jim Braden of the GSW 1812 in the State of Iowa attended a ceremony at Red Oak Grove Presbyterian Church and Cemetery near Tipton, Iowa. They made special recognition to Isaac Carl a War of 1812 veteran buried there. Family members of Pvt Carl included 2 g-g-g-g-grand-daughters.
Photo below taken by Dana Lamb.
Left to right, Col Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard, David Lamb, Mike Rowley, Ron Rittel, Carl family member, Jim Braden, Carl family member, Frank Hannah and Richard Grim.
Congratulations to Mike Rowley and Tim Rowley!
Mike was elected President of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa at the Fall Meeting held in Des Moines this past weekend. In addition, Tim was elected Vice-President. They shall serve the 2014-2016 term.
Other officers remained the same:
- Secretary/Treasurer – Mike Rowley
- Registrar – Mike Rowley
- Historian – Ron Rittel
- Chaplain – Ron Sharp
- Chancellor – Lance Ehmcke