For Kathy Hall, the specter of a war fought 200 years ago stays close to her heart. Her ancestor, Capt. James C. Price, lost his life while commanding a group of Jessamine County soldiers at the Battle of Frenchtown, the deadliest conflict of the War of 1812.
“My mother was a Price,” Hall said. “James Price was my grandfather times four. His militia group was known as the Jessamine Blues. Their uniforms were distinctive, blue with light facings.”
Hall said the Jessamine Blues were sent up to Michigan, near the Raisin River, where they fought the British and Indians.
“Some call it The Battle of Frenchtown and some say The Battle at River Raisin,” Hall said. “There’s a letter he wrote to his wife, Susan, on the night before the battle that’s printed in Young’s History of Jessamine County. He knew his chances of survival were slim.”
Like most of the men from Kentucky, Price was left in an unmarked grave in Michigan.
Duty and patriotism ran deep in the Price family. James had been born while his father, Col. William Price, was away from home fighting in the Revolutionary War.
Some of that same sense of duty and patriotism was evident Saturday, June 16, at the Jessamine County Historical Society War of 1812 anniversary luncheon, held at the Ludwig House.
Event organizer Ernestine Hamm feels that the significance of the War of 1812 issomewhat overlooked.
“It’s often referred to as ‘The Second War for Independence,’” Hamm said. “It doesn’t get as much attention as the Revolutionary War or the Civil War, but our national anthem was inspired by one of the battles.”
Hamm’s research has found evidence of approximately 600 soldiers from Jessamine County who served in the War of 1812.
“Most of them were killed in battle,” Hamm said. “But some made it back and are buried here.”
With a small grant from the Jessamine County Fiscal Court, the historical society has plans to place six markers for War of 1812 soldiers on unmarked graves scattered throughout the county that are for the most part in small overgrown and forgotten family cemeteries.
Stones for veterans James Lusk and George Chrisman have already been delivered, but there is much manual labor still to be done in clearing the old cemeteries of trees, briars and brambles.
“When we get a new member in the historical society, one of the first questions we ask is ‘Can you run a chainsaw,’” Hamm said.
Hamm said anyone interested in learning more about the Jessamine County Historical Society can come to one of the weekly meetings held from 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays in Farmers Square at 216 N. Main St., Nicholasville.