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

Musket Fire

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.

Iowa Society of the War of 1912 Past President Louie Zenti

Iowa Society of the War of 1812 Past President Louie Zenti

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.

photo 2

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

Iowa Military Heritage Society

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.


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 (www.oldrosehillcemeteryassociation.org).  The website features original founding documents and cemetery history, announcements, current and vintage pictures, a list of veterans and a link to Findagrave.com 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.

Abel Galland Ceremony

Members of the Society of the War of 1812 were on hand this past Sunday (June 24, 2012) to help honor the memory of Abraham “Abel” Galland at a small pioneer cemetery in northwestern Shelby County, Iowa.

Amy (Furby) Galland & Abraham "Abel" Galland
Amy (Furby) Galland & Abraham “Abel” Galland

Abel Galland was born in the State of New Jersey.  He served in the War of 1812.  Abel came to Kanesville with the Mormons in 1846.  In the fall of 1846, Abel followed an Indian trail, northeast of Kanesville, now eastern Council Bluffs, parallel to the Mosquito Creek, to a location called “Six Bee Tree Grove” just north of the present day Manteno Park.  Since the pioneers, in place of sugar, used honey, trees in which bees store honey were highly prized.

In 1847, Abel returned to Kanesville with a wagon load of honey after the local people heard about the trees, honey and the opportunity for religious freedom, they followed him back to the Galland’s Grove area.

In 1848, Abel Galland and his son-in-law, William Jordan, built the first log cabin in Shelby County.  Abel died June 22, 1857.  Abel is buried in Gallands Grove. ~ Copied from the program for The Abel Galland Memorial Cemetery Unveiling

Volunteers headed by Ron Chamberlain of the Western Iowa Pioneer Cemetery Association (WIPCA) and others in the local area have spent countless hours in researching the location of this little cemetery – located in a field behind where early pioneer settlers came to worship – and working to find and mark graves, clean up the area and erect a fence and brick path.  Their hard work was “unveiled” on a hot Sunday afternoon to a large and happy crowd including direct descendant Roger Galland and his wife Virginia who traveled from Utah to attend the ceremony.

Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa members Mike Rowley, Danny Krock and Dan Rittel took part in the ceremonies and our member-of-the-year Ron Rittel was also in attendance and took some of these pictures.

Dan Rittel, also a member of WIPCA, acted as master of ceremonies.  Danny Krock and Mike Rowley (Rowley in War of 1812 uniform) stood with the honor guard from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, of which both Krock and Rowley are also members, for a veteran’s headstone dedication after the official unveiling of the cemetery by WIPCA.  Also present were honor guards from the following American Legion Posts: Defiance/Westphalia Post #707, Dunlap Post #224, Earling Post #615, Elk Horn Post #322, Panama Post #601, and Portsmouth Post #547.

For his part, Mike Rowley read the Proclamation from the City of Dunlap and short biographies of four veterans of the War of 1812 buried in Harrison County, Iowa, that was prepared by the Harrison County Genealogical Society.

The event was very well attended by local residents, representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Community of Christ Church and several members of the Crandall and Roundy families who had gathered that weekend for a large family reunion.  After the ceremonies, guests were treated to ice cream (provided by Blue Bunny) and cookies and lemonade or iced tea provided by WIPCA volunteers.

More pictures of the event can be seen on the Facebook page for the Abel Galland Memorial Cemetery.


Iowa Charter Received

Just two days before the 200th Anniversary of President James Madison’s signing of the Declaration of War against Great Britain, which occurred on June 18, 1812, the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa was honored as General Society President General Lawrence Casey presented our Charter in a joint meeting with the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

President General Casey & Iowa Society President Zenti

Ron Rittel was named Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa “Member of the Year” (our first!) for his countless hours of research and organization in attempting to track down as many War of 1812 veterans as possible who lived and are buried in the State of Iowa.  To date, we are aware of over 480 veterans buried here in Iowa.

Ron Rittel & President General Casey

The joint meeting with the Sons of the American Revolution was held on Saturday, June 16, at the Gold Star Museum on the grounds of the Iowa National Guard’s Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa.  Participating was Iowa SAR member Senator Charles Grassley who was kind enough to join us for a picture.

More pictures can be seen on our Facebook page by clicking here.  Thank you to Mary Rittel for the photography.

Ashbel Rowley

Two of the Iowa Society charter members  Mike Rowley and Tim Rowley (father and son) wanted to insure that the grave of  their War of 1812 ancestor, Ashbel Rowley (g-g-g-grandfather and g-g-g-g-grandfather) was properly marked by the 200th anniversry of the start of this conflict.
Ashbel Rowley
So on June 7th they made the 600 mile round trip from Des Moines, Iowa to Sugar Grove, Illinois and placed the 243 pound granite stone on the grave.
Mike & Tim Rowley
They conducted a brief ceremony with local relatives and reporters from the Daily Herald newspaper.  The Daily Herald has quite a nice write-up posted on their website [click here].

Harvey Harford

Now and then we get a picture sent to us of a headstone found in an Iowa cemetery marking the final resting place of a War of 1812 veteran.  It really isn’t all that surprising of a find – our society historian has documented well over 400 War of 1812 veterans buried here in the State of Iowa.  Many of these pictures are posted in our Facebook album.  Today, I received an email from Robert Shields of the Fairbank Iowa Historical Society with a photo and short story about Harvey Harford, a veteran of both the War of 1812 and the American Civil War.

Here is the story …

Along with 2012 being the 150 year anniversary of the Civil War it is also the 200 year anniversary of the start of the War of 1812. Surprisingly there are quite a few veterans of that war who later moved to Iowa. There is one that we found that lived in the Fairbank area. Harvey Harford. Harvey also served in the Civil War in the Virginia Infantry.

Harvey Harford was born in Orange County, New York, in 1796, he moved to Lake County, Illinois, in 1848, and to California in 1849 Harvey returned and located in this county in 1854. He married Miss Ann McManners, January 1, 1824; she was born in Rutland County, Vermont, in 1795. They have two children — Peter B., born Feb. 19, 1831 and Cynthia D., born June 24, 1834. He owns 166 acres of land, worth $30 per acre. Mr. Harford is one of the old heroes of the war of 1812, being a soldier under General Brown, of the United States force, in Capt. Marsh’s Company; even at his advanced age, he retains the bearing of a once brave and fearless soldier. Mrs. Harford died in 1877.  (Page 667, 1878 History of Fayette County, Iowa)

On 15 June 1855 John Steggall and Harvey Harford together bought 120 acres in Buchanan County and 240 acres in Fayette County. Harvey also served in the Civil War in the Virginia Infantry. (Page 667, 1878 History of Fayette County, Iowa)

On 3 January 1864 he enlisted in Company F 22nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry at camp Gauley West Virginia and mustered 23 January 1864 at the age of 68 years. Harvey mustered out in the spring of 1865.  (Iowa Civil War Soldier Burial Records)

Harvey died 2 October, 1880 and is buried in the Oren Township Cemetery, Lot 71.

Thank you, Robert, for the photo and research!

Iowa Cadet Honored by Iowa 1812 Society

Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa member Mike Rowley presented Cadet Joseph Berman of the University of Iowa Army ROTC program the GSW 1812 ROTC award medal on April 27, 2012 at the National Guard Amory in Iowa City, Iowa. The award was given in recognition of outstanding leadership qualities, military bearing and excellence, thus exemplifying the high ideals and principles which motivated and sustained the patriot ancestors of the members of the General Society of the War of 1812.

Cadet Berman

Mike Rowley is a man of many hats.  Not only does he represent the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa, but he is also an active member of the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Department of Iowa Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War among other organizations.  While in Iowa City, Mike made another presentation …

Cadet Haws

Cadet Daniel Haws of the University of Iowa Army ROTC program was awarded the Silver ROTC medal in recognition of outstanding leadership qualities, military bearing and excellence, thus exemplifying the high ideals and principles which motivated and sustained the patriot ancestors of the members of the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.