In a display case in the visitor center at Fort Meigs is a simple log. It is easy to walk by without taking much notice. With a quick glance one might assume that it was perhaps a log from the old fort and keep walking. This, however, is a log with a story.
In June 1840 Ohioan William Henry Harrison was the Whig Party’s candidate for President of the United States. Harrison, a general in the War of 1812, returned to Fort Meigs where a large political rally was held in his honor. The gathering included orations, patriotic concerts, mock battles and the building of a log cabin, a major symbol of the Harrison campaign. Later that evening, Harrison’s political opponents torched the cabin and dumped the charred logs into the garrison well. The log remained in view well into the early 20th century. Archaeologists excavated this remnant of the Harrison cabin from the well at Fort Meigs in the early 1970s.
The log has been preserved at the site, but has remained uncataloged, unphotographed and its story largely unknown. During the course of inventory work at Fort Meigs the log was photographed. Its image will soon be online as part of the Fort Meigs Collection in our digital library, Ohio Memory. A record for the log is one of 139 new records for recently inventoried objects that will be added to our online collections catalog.
The log from the Harrison campaign cabin is just one example of the many unique and interesting objects that staff and interns have discovered during the course of the site inventory project. Since they began in May, over 30 staff members assisted by a dedicated group of interns have made fantastic progress. Current reports indicate that 41% of the collections at 18 sites have been found. Inventories for nine sites are complete:
- Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton
- Flint Ridge near Glenford
- Fort Ancient near Oregonia
- Fort Hill near Hillsboro
- Fort Laurens in Bolivar
- Newark Earthworks in Newark
- Serpent Mound in Adams County
- Wahkeena Preserve near Sugar Grove
- Schoenbrunn in Dennison
Inventories are in progress at five sites:
- Fort Meigs in Perrysburg
- Adena Mansion and Gardens in Chillicothe
- Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta
- National Road / Zane Grey Museum in Norwich
- Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor in Youngstown
A total of 8,330 objects have been inventoried and 6,497 have been photographed. All of this new data is being added to the online collections catalog and Ohio Memory.