2022 Veteran Honoree

2022 Voice from the Stone Honoree

Simon Shover – War of 1812 POW

Simon Shover was born in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1785.  His father and mother were Henry and Rosanna Shover.  Henry was a veteran of the War for Independence, or American Revolution.   Simon had three sisters – Elizabeth, Catharine and Barbara; and two brothers -  Frederick and Adam.  During the war of 1812 Adam served as a Lieutenant with the first company organized in Union County, with James Curry, the son of the founder of Union County as captain.  The family moved to Jerome Township about 1805, and settled on a farm just north of Big Darby Creek.   As a young man living in pre-Union County, Simon worked on the family farm.

In the summer of 1812, after war had been declared against England, Simon enlisted in Captain Angus Langham’s company in Chillicothe.   According to an advertisement for recruits, anyone enlisting would be expected to serve either a five year term or an eighteen month term, and he would receive a bounty of sixteen dollars.   The recruiting parties were looking for men of “Patriotism, Courage and Enterprise.”  Simon’s service during his eighteen months of service would certainly prove he had these qualities.  One way we know this is that he was made Orderly Sergeant of his company, a position of much responsibility.  

Langham’s company became part of the 19th Regiment of the regular army.  The lineage of this regiment continues to this day in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard.”  The regiment, along with a number of Kentucky volunteers, was assigned to the Northwest Army under command of General James Winchester.   This army replaced the one under General William Hull which had been captured at Fort Detroit in July, 1812.   General Winchester and his army were to meet with General William Henry Harrison and the rest of the American forces to recapture Detroit.

On January, 18, 1813, General Winchester sent a contingent to attack the British and their native allies at a place called Frenchtown, now Monroe, Michigan on the River Raisin.  The Americans drove the British from the town, and General Winchester brought up the rest of US forces.  He did not prepare them for a counter-attack though, and when the British and Indians attacked at dawn on January 22nd, the US forces were taken by surprise.   The regular US troops were overwhelmed quickly, and as they tried to surrender, many were killed and scalped.   Out of 400 men, 220 were killed, 147 were captured, and the rest escaped.  The Kentucky troops fought on in Frenchtown, refusing to surrender fearing they would be killed.  While they fought hard, their ammunition began to run low and eventually they were forced to surrender to the British.  Their wounded were kept in houses in the village.  The British commander promised the over 500 POW’s would be taken to a nearby British fort, and the wounded cared for.   Unfortunately, his Indian allies had other ideas.  On the 23rd, as the main group of POW’s was led away, anyone unable to keep up, mainly those with less serious wounds, was killed and scalped.  The Indians then set fire to the buildings which housed the more seriously wounded, and then began killing those that tried to escape.  Known as the ‘River Raisin Massacre’, it so horrified Americans as news spread, that it overshadowed the loss of the battle.  The rallying cry, “Remember the River Raisin!” would lead many more to enlist for the war, and would inspire similar calls in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!”, and in 1941, “Remember Pearl Harbor!”

Simon was captured at Frenchtown, and witnessed the massacre of POWs and the wounded by the Indians.  Showing his quick thinking, Simon claimed to have escaped death by jumping around and up on a log, flapping his arms and crowing like a rooster.  Apparently his captors thought this was amusing, and also that maybe he was a little insane.  So he was taken prisoner, and eventually paroled with the vow not to fight again until exchanged.  However, after his return to Jerome Township, he found most of his friends still fighting in the war, so he disregarded his parole and went back to join General Harrison’s army.  He continued to serve until the end of the war.

Unfortunately, his experiences in the war seem to have affected him with post-traumatic stress.   The DeBeers Union County history says he was “one of the most eccentric and reckless characters that lived in Union County.”  In addition, he may have been one of those veterans that has trouble re-adjusting to civilian life after what he went through in the war.  He was too fond of alcohol, and he was known for letting out “an Indian war whoop” in order to get money for a drink.  He would swim his horse across the Darby when the water level was very high.  Once he rode his horse into court and let out his Indian war cry at the top of his voice.   He was known for playing all kinds of tricks, but his humor and popularity usually kept him out of trouble.    Because of his drinking, he lost his property, and led a wandering life, relying on the charity of old friends.   He ended his days in the old County Infirmary that used to stand on Route 4, and when he died in 1863, he was buried in the cemetery on the property.  As no record shows he was moved to the Potter’s field at Oakdale cemetery, his remains are still buried somewhere on the land at Route 4 and County Home Road.   As sad ending for one of Union County’s courageous soldiers.  Simon was known to be brave and honorable, and was one of Union County’s most distinguished soldiers in the War of 1812.  His experience is a reminder that our Veterans sometimes need help, and how important the Veterans Service Office, and our other Veterans groups are to the well-being of these brave men and women.

Presented by Bo Johnstone – November 6, 2022

Researched by Sue Kinebaum – Reference Librarian at Marysville Public Library

Veteran First NameSimon
Veteran Last NameShover
Date of Birth1785
Highest RankLieutenant
Branch of ArmyYes
Unit(s)19th Regiment, Captain Angus Lanham's Co.
Active Service from Year1812
War of 1812Yes
KIA/DIS/POW When01/23/1813
KIA/DIS/POW WhereMonroe, Michigan
Township of residence entering serviceJerome
Township of current residence or at time of deathParis
Other CemeteryInfirmary Farm
Date of Death1863
Source 1Esther Carmany; Beers, Chapter II; Record 434; Beers, Jerome Township History, (273); Union Co. Cem. Rec., Vol. 2, p. 123
Notes 1taken prisoner at General Winchester's defeat; held captive by Indians and reportedly escaped death by "jumping on a log, flapping his arms and crowing like a rooster." (Beers, 273)
Notes 2son of Henry Shover, Revolutionary War; Shover family buried in Jerome Cemetery, Ash Section
Notes 32022 Voice From the Stone Honoree
Record AuthenticatedYes