Young Historians Help Lexington Mark War of 1812 Bicentennial

May 18, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Some area high school students are anxious to see the results of their labor on display at the Lexington History Museum.  Members of the Henry Clay High School History Club, recognized last year as the top history club in the nation, did all of the research for a new exhibit marking the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Social Studies teacher Chris Snow says the assignment was "old hat" for some of his students.

“The museum approached us, we’ve worked with them a few times, we had a booth during the Equestrian Games that was connected with the museum where we showed off the artifacts, we’ve done a lot of stuff with them, took the kids over there, so…they knew that we were very active and we had a lot of good kids, and they asked if we would be willing to basically do all the research, collect images, collect all the ancillary stuff to the exhibit, they would supply the artifacts, we would supply everything else.”

Project Co-Director Taylor Atkins, a junior at Henry Clay, says the Bluegrass State played a considerable role in America’s last war against the British Empire.

“Kentucky had a lot of influence in the War of 1812.  They had the most men, they supplied the most gunpowder; 90% of the gunpowder used in the Battle of New Orleans was from Kentucky, from the Lexington area.  And then, big battles up in Michigan (involved) a lot of Kentucky soldiers.”

Snow says it's no exaggeration to call the War of 1812 a defining moment for the nation "because we survived another attack from England.  So when we came out of the war our nationalism was very high.  Kentucky was directly connected to this.  Henry Clay was one of the War Hawks who pushed us into this war.  We supplied a lot of the soldiers and the gunpowder and the fighting force of the war.  Back then Kentucky was known for its quality of fighters, so they always tried to draw as many soldiers out of Kentucky as possible.”

The War of 1812 exhibit will officially open with a reception Friday afternoon at 5 p.m.  Lexington Mayor Jim Gray will present the Henry Clay High School History Club with a proclamation recognizing the group's accomplishment.