Ashland Estate's Living History Day Spotlights War Of 1812

Sep 25, 2014

This weekend one of Lexington's landmark properties will recreate wartime in America more than two hundred years ago.

Ashland the Henry Clay Estate is holding a Living History event to commemorate the Two Hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812, a conflict which according to curator Eric Brooks still wasn’t completely resolved even after Henry Clay helped broker the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve, 1814. 

"We have a substantial group of military folks coming in who will be demonstrating musket drills and firing, and we will have a Native American encampment for the first time this year, we have a first-person presenter who presents as one of Henry Clay's enslaved African Americans, a musician, we have a special tour of the house and a special exhibit featuring some really amazing artifacts," Brooks told WUKY.

Those artifacts include Clay's official negotiation table place-card and the blue wool diplomatic jacket that the Great Compromiser donned during the peace talks. 

Brooks says visitors will leave with a deeper appreciation for Kentucky’s role in the conflict.

"Kentucky contributed more men to the war than any, and every other state.  Of the casualties in the war six of every ten men who died in the war were Kentuckians, so by far and away this was this state's war," Brooks said.

As for reasons why Kentuckians participated in such large numbers?

"Henry Clay had a lot to do with it.   Being a Kentuckian, he was quite proud of his Kentuckians and motivated them to fight.  Kentuckians were on the western edge of the country at the time and were directly affected by some elements of what caused the war.  And, Kentuckians were just frontier-type folks who were willing to go to war to protect the country," Brooks added.

The Living History event takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there is an admission charge.  Additional information is available here.

This coat was worn by Henry Clay during the peace talks that eventually produced the Treaty of Ghent
Credit photo provided