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"It's All in the Detail"
Less known Personalities of 18th Century Great Lakes Military History Continue to be Discovered:

Dr. Todd E. Harburn

The study of early British and French military history of the Great Lakes region encompasses a wide range of topics, all of which are essentially connected with the struggle for control of the fur trade empire during the French and Indian War (1756-63), subsequent Pontiac Indian Uprising (1763-64), and even the later American Revolution (1775-83). Scholars, historians (both professional and amateur), researchers, archaeologists, living history re-enactors, students and others continue to uncover a magnitude of previously "unknown" information relating details of not only military strategies and civil governmental policy but socioeconomic and racial issues, clothing documentation (military and civilian), and settlement patterns and the archaeological evidence of the same to name a few of these integrated aspects. This diverse range is readily evident to interested readers of the period with such various examples as the current on-going French Michilimackinac Research Project for interpretation of original French documents relating to that colonial site by the Mackinac State Historic Parks, the recent exciting (and long sought) discovery of the site of the French-British fort of St. Joseph at Niles, MI by Support the Fort, Inc. and Western Michigan University archaeologists, the recent publication several books including a cartographic collection and study of Fort Detroit by the Clements Library, and even by meticulously researched depiction of real events in paintings by current nationally known historical artists.

Yet perhaps, most intriguing to some readers, students and re-enactors of this era is the uncovering of information about the people who actually lived during this time and were involved and even responsible for the events that shape our present heritage. Biographies, articles, sketches and genealogical studies on both the most well-known and influential personalities of the period as well as the oft unknown and/or "common" everyday military leaders and inhabitants of the period provide further insight into the times and events in which these people found themselves involved and the understanding of our rich, diverse heritage. Behind-the-scenes and scant pieces of information, some of it often discovered by accident provide the minutest yet interesting details.

The current 225th Commemorations of the American Revolution and as well as those planned for the upcoming 250th of the French and Indian War and to be closely followed by Pontiac's Uprising thereafter, have stimulated even more interest in the historical background of various participants involved in all regions of our nation, the Great Lakes area being no exception. In preceding years there have been many excellent publications with biographic information on British military officers involved in the Great Lakes region during these eras such as Patrick Sinclair, Arent Schuyler De Peyster, Henry Hamilton, and more recently Robert Rogers, all examples of the more well-known and "larger" personalities. However, other recent studies on such lesser-known military people such as French officers Pierre Pouchot, Jacques Legarduer de Saint-Pierre and British officers John Caldwell, George Etherington, John Jamet and Francis Schlosser have appeared. This latter group of individuals (there are of course, many other examples too numerous to mention), while perhaps less significant and less recognized by readers of the periods involved, nonetheless, played important roles during the struggle for the Great Lakes region. Their stories, in a variety of books and other publications, have been brought to the forefront, after several years of meticulous research by historians and authors and all add colorful detail to help interpret and further the 18th Century knowledge and heritage of the Great Lakes region to interested readers of these eras. 2

It is only fitting that during the coming 250th anniversary of these important events, we recognize the dedication and sacrifices of those on all sides of this conflict.

Examples of Todd Harburn's Work
Click image for larger view. Click title for more information.

Vignette No. 2
British Garrison


March 15-16, 2008
March 21-22, 2009

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