Fort Armstrong Gazette

November 2007


President’s Message by Jean McNary

The reenactment time is almost here (December 29 and 30) and the Dade Battlefield Board and Dade Battlefield State Historic Park have been busy getting ready for the 172nd Anniversary of the Dade’s Battle. The young man that Frank Laumer procured to play the bugle in period dress last year, Nick Blackwell, has agreed to come back and help us again.  We are thrilled to have him.  We will have some special guests on Sunday. Lt. Col. Drew Moores will be attending along with a small group from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Col. Moores has been Frank’s contact for the last couple of years and has helped bring the buglers to the reenactment.  We are grateful to Frank for arranging this for us each year and for Col. Moores’ assistance as we remember, through this event, those who have fallen and those who are still in peril.

Please take note of the article by Jerry Morris about a special project the Dade Battlefield Society would like to accomplish.

Please note that the December Board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. December 11, 2007 in the Dade Lodge at the park.

Please travel safely and we will see you at the reenactment.

Ransom Clark’s Marker   by Jerry Morris

In July, I received an email from Steve Abolt.  He had been in New York and had gone by
Ransom Clark’s grave to pay his respects.  He wrote that the little flag was bent over and in bad shape, that he picked it up, dusted it off and straightened it out as best he could and placed it back on the grave.  Steve also mentioned that there should be a marker put up to tell people about Ransom Clark.  I told Jean about the email and that I would look into the marker.  I could not get the picture of Steve standing there, with all his military dignity, at the grave, cleaning up that flag.  I went to work on the flag first.  I found some flags online.  I needed someone to take charge of placing them on the grave.  I asked Frank Laumer for some help.  He contacted Harry Clark, a relative of Ransom Clark’s brother that lives nearby.  He volunteered to replace the flag as needed.  Each of us offered to pay for the flags so it was decided our three families would share in the cost.  I had 100 best quality flags sent to Harry Clark.  There should always be a good flag on Ransom’s grave, if you happen to go by to pay your respects.

Next, I went to work on the historical marker.  I got prices from several places and found the cheapest one in Ohio, a marker 20” X 36”, with 100 words, delivered with the mounting pole, for $1,280.00.  The highest price was in N.Y., $2,100.00, for the same one.  I asked Frank to come up with the wording for the marker and he has sent it to me.

Since, by N. Y. State law, we must place the marker on the cemetery property, the City Commission of York has given permission for a marker to be placed by the entrance facing the road.  I think this is a very worthwhile project and have tried to find funding for it to no avail.  The State of N. Y. has no funding.  York has none.  I have searched the internet and found no full or partial grants.  The only way I see to fund the marker is from the members of the Dade Battlefield Society.  Our president, Jean McNary, has brought it before the Board of Directors and they have agreed to start a special marker fund to which we can donate.  The money will be kept in escrow for the marker. Also, she tells me we will ask for donations at the reenactment this year.  A donation of $5.00 from 250 people will do it!  If you cannot attend the reenactment, you can send a check to the Dade Battlefield Society, Inc. and make a notation that it is for Ransom Clark’s marker. 

Reenactment Meals

T & J Barbeque will be providing the meals during the reenactment this year.  They will serve breakfast and Saturday dinner in Dade’s Lodge.  Lunch will be served to reenactors and participants from T & J’s set-up in the picnic area.

Menu:  Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, grits, toast, bacon, coffee or tea
            Lunch:  Pork sandwich plate (includes macaroni salad and baked beans) and drink.
            Dinner: Chicken Pileu
You must have your meal tickets to exchange for the meals.  There is no change in the cost if you need an extra meal ticket package - $20.00 for the 5 meals.

No Meals Served Friday Night

Since T & J Barbeque will be busy serving reenactor meals this year, they will be unable to set up and serve on Friday night as they have the past 2 years.  This was helpful as many reenactors came in late.  We thank them for that service to all of us.

A Sympathetic Soldier Remembers  
     Reprinted from the “Renegator” with the permission of Rick Obermeyer

Several U. S. Army officers wrote down sympathetic impressions of their enemies, the Florida Seminole:

“Anyone who has ever visited their beautiful villages, and seen their orange groves, and their neat yards filled with various kinds of fruit trees, and has enjoyed this warm delightful climate, would not be surprised at the reluctance of the Indians to exchange  Florida for the cold country of Arkansas.  I never pass an Indian village, but that I think of what Jumper said in a part of the Treaty ‘Talk’ at Fort Moultrie when the first treaty was made.  He said, ‘It is hard to leave our homes, to leave our yards where our children have played before us.’”

“Before the war he lived near the Wahoo Swamp, where he cultivated a small tract of land and owned several hundred head of cattle, and a number of ponies.  He and his family were driven from their homes, and for the last two years have lived like all the other Indians in swamps and hammocks, half naked and half starved.  Wearied with this kind of life in his declining years, he at last concluded to come in and go to Arkansas that he might spend the remainder of his days in peace.  I parted with him in regret, and shall ever remember him as a brave, devoted patriot, and an injured, unhappy Indian.” (from an 1838 letter by Lt. William Chapman, U.S. Army. From “A West Point Graduate in the Second Seminole War: William Warren Chapman and the view from Fort Foster.” Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. LXVII (Apr. 1990): pp. 447-475.)


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