Camp Dodge Memorial Day 2017

On Memorial Day 2017, Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa President, Mike Rowley, and the Iowa Color Guard greeted nearly 3000 visitors to Camp Dodge, the State Headquarters for the Iowa National Guard.
Each year on Memorial Day the Camp opens the Gold Star Museum to the public and serves as the location to broadcast the popular Van & Bonnie show on WHO Radio from 5:00am-9:00am.
Governor Kim Reynolds & Mike Rowley at Camp Dodge

Governor Kim Reynolds & Mike Rowley at the Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge

This year President Rowley was honored to stand with newly installed Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to support the men, women and families of those who have served and sacrificed for all generations.

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

Old Fort Madison – Remembering the Fallen

There is a Memorial Day weekend event planned at Old Fort Madison as posted on

Remembering the Fallen: Old Fort Madison’s Bicentennial Memorial Dedication

10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Join the staff and volunteers of Old Fort Madison for a living history weekend dedicated to remembering those that gave their lives at Fort Madison between 1808 and 1813. Re-enactors representing both sides of the War of 1812 will be demonstrating their weapons, drill, clothing, equipment and living conditions. On May 28, there will be a memorial and interpretive sign dedication at the replica site in Riverview Park, as well as a display of artifacts (including an original uniform) uncovered by the Office of the State Archaeologist of Iowa and walking interpretive tour of the original site. Old Fort Madison is located in Riverview Park, Fort Madison, Iowa.

Sounds interesting!

Fort Madison April Events

An interesting article by our good friend Eugene Watkins at the Old Fort Madison historical site was posted on the website of the Fort Madison Daily Democrat:  FM saw early stages of War of 1812.

Old Fort Madison will commemorate these events and the spring Sac and Fox rendezvous on April 13-15, with trader and Indian encampments, as well as skirmishing, military drills and cooking and blacksmithing demonstrations throughout the weekend.

The Old Fort’s site manager, Dr. Eugene Watkins, will also give a lecture at 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 14, on Fort Madison and the early stages of the War of 1812 in the Officers’ mess area.

Also on Saturday, April 14, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., the Old Fort will provide a lantern tour of the fort, in which visitors will be guided through different scenarios recreating events of the first siege.

Regular admission prices apply.

The Southeast Iowa Military History Association is also planning a pancakes and biscuits and gravy breakfast on Saturday, April 14, beginning at 7 a.m., in front of the gift shop building, to raise money for the purchase of clothing and equipment for the Old Fort’s staff and volunteers. The cost will be $4 for adults and $2 for children 14 and under.

For more information on a visit or to participant as a reenactor, contact Dr. Watkins at (319)-372-7700, ext. 275.

Bicentennial Medal

The General Society of the War of 1812 has a War of 1812 Bicentennial Medal now available for purchase.

As can be seen in the photo, the design features the Seal of the General Society of the War of 1812.  The medals are available to both members of the society and the general public for $50 each, though discounts may be available for multiple quantities.

For more information or to order, contact Quartermaster General John Dickie at the address listed on the General Society’s Merchandise page.

Silver 1812 Bicentennial Canada Dollar

If you’ve been following our website since the beginning, then you probably have seen the post about the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins the US Mint is issuing this year to commemorate the War of 1812 and the origin of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Well, the Royal Canadian Mint is also issuing a commemorative silver dollar coin this year with a War of 1812 theme.

“Honouring the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with this special collector coin pays tribute to some of our greatest national heroes and a crucial moment on the road to Canadian nationhood,” said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint.  “The Government of Canada encourages Canadians to take the unprecedented opportunity in 2012 to learn more about our history and take pride in our traditions”.

Designed by accomplished military artist Ardell Bourgeois of British Columbia, the 2012 Proof Silver Dollar which celebrates the bicentennial of the War of 1812, features a British Sergeant, a Voltigeur Canadien, and an Iroquois warrior united in the defence of their border against an approaching invader.  Behind them is a map showing part of the Great Lakes and Southwestern Ontario, where United States forces sparked the conflict by invading the territory of the future city of Windsor, Ontario on July 12, 1812.

If you are interested you can read more about Canada’s 99.99% silver content War of 1812 collector coin in their news release posted on their website:

Royal Canadian Mint Celebrates Bicentennial of the War of 1812
with New 2012 Proof Silver Dollar Collector Coin