Christian Sowerwine

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?

Mike Rowley stands guard above the grave of Christian Sowerwine

Mike Rowley stands guard above the grave of Christian Sowerwine

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.

Alan Wenger, Mike Rowley and Dan Rittel act as Color Guard

Alan Wenger, Mike Rowley and Dan Rittel act as Color Guard

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.

Ceremony for Christian Sowerwine

Ceremony for Christian Sowerwine

 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.

Group photo of participants after the ceremony

Group photo of participants after the ceremony


Cemetery Appreciation Month

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

Veterans Day 2016

2016 Compatriots of the General Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in observance of what we now call Veteran’s Day, members of the General Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa observed 2 minutes of silence and performed at wreath laying ceremony at Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines Iowa.
Pictured is Mike Rowley, President of the General Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa.
Photo by Mary Rowley/Submitted by Mike Rowley

Adam Robison – Sams Cemetery

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.

Robison 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:

Iowa Cemetery Awakenings (IPR)

Plans are well underway for a very special occasion on September 24th, 2016 in which the public is encouraged and invited to participate.

Danny Krock, Mike Rowely, Bob Gannon & Jim Byal

Danny Krock, Mike Rowely, Bob Gannon & Jim Byal

Mike Rowley

1812 Veterans in Iowa

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.

Iowa’s 1812 Veterans

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).



Isaac Carl

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.

Isaac Carl

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.

Link to Isaac Carl on Find A Grave

Newsletter – Volume 1, Issue 5

The latest issue of The Federalist has been posted.

Volume 1, Issue 5

In Issue 5 you will find information about events of 1814; a political cartoon of the time; a .64 caliber flintlock pistol; an ancestor profile of Johnn Martin Granger; and other items of interest.

I should also point out that Issue 4 is also available, though I missed getting a note about it on the home page.

Volume 1, Issue 4

Issue 4 has information about actor Chris O’Donnell’s appearance on the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?”; a breastplate from the Glengarry Light Infantry; “The Soldier’s Life” from the Legion Magazine; and the 42nd documented Revolutionary War soldier to be buried in Iowa – Matrom Mathew Elmore

Working To Restore An Iowa Pioneer Cemetery

GSW1812 member Don E. Stout is passionate about restoring the Old Rose Hill Cemetery in Mahaska County, Iowa.  Many of the earliest pioneers and settlers in the county are among those buried there.  Don first became interested in the cemetery following the death of his mother and his retirement from the United States Postal Service in 2004.  Maintenance of the cemetery grounds had suffered for many years due to limited funding and a lack of younger volunteers to help with the physical work required.

Located near Rose Hill in rural Mahaska County, the cemetery fence lines had become overgrown with brambles, brush, and fallen trees.  Trash and old floral arrangements littered the perimeter of the cemetery.  The grounds had deteriorated to the point where the cemetery association was no longer able to sell new burial plots because of the overgrowth.  Don became a member of the Old Rose Hill Cemetery Association Board of Directors in 2009 and was elected President of the Association soon after.  He immediately set about recruiting several younger volunteers and Board members to help get the cemetery grounds back in shape.

To date, the fence lines have been cleared of brush and fallen trees.  Scrub trees that had grown up along the fences are being cleared in preparation for the repair of the existing fences.  Vegetation that had grown wild in the cemetery has been removed revealing new grave markers previously unseen.  Don has also undertaken several new Board of Director initiatives.  He drafted and worked to implement new Association By-Laws and General Cemetery Policies.  With the help of his son, Don, a new website for the cemetery was created (  The website features original founding documents and cemetery history, announcements, current and vintage pictures, a list of veterans and a link to where every burial in the cemetery and a picture of each headstone can be found.  Early on, Don had ensured that everyone known to be buried in the cemetery had a memorial and picture on Findagrave.

He recently completed an extensive genealogy research project for everyone buried in the cemetery to ensure there was basic birth, death and family information on their Findagrave memorial.

Don, whose parents, grandparents, gr-grandparents and gr-gr grandparents are all buried in Old Rose Hill Cemetery, continues to travel there several times a year from his home in West Des Moines to work with other volunteers.  He is a firm believer in the importance of remembering those that came before and the sacrifices they made to ensure the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy today.

Pictured above L-R are ORHC Association Board members and volunteers Tyson Stout, Barry Stout, Don D. Stout and Don E. Stout.  The men were in Old Rose Hill Cemetery to spend the day cutting trees and burning brush.  They are shown at the grave of their ancestors George Washington Stout and his wife Mary Moore Stout.  G.W. Stout settled in Mahaska County in 1855 after leaving his home in Union County, Ohio.