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Published: Thursday, 7/4/2013

Fort Meigs celebrates July 4th as it did 200 years ago

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Re-enactors march through the crowd during a Fourth of July event highlighted by a toast and 18-gun salute. Re-enactors march through the crowd during a Fourth of July event highlighted by a toast and 18-gun salute.
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Fort Meigs celebrated Independence Day similar to the way it was celebrated 200 years ago at the site, with an original toast from then and an 18-cannon salute.

On July 4, 1813, the fort was in the midst of war, but still General William Henry Harrison gave out an extra ration of whiskey and shot off two cannons 18 times for the 18 states in America at the time.

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"We'll also read off from the toast they did," Fort Meigs Director Rick Finch said. "We found the toast published in the Nile's Weekly Register."

It includes toasts to President George Washington, General Harrison, and the President at the time, James Madison.

"The day of our freedom was purchased by the blood of our fathers," Mr. Finch read from the toast. "By tradition, the officer's last toast always went to the ladies."

Mr. Finch said the Fourth of July event typically attracts 300 to 400 people to the fort, but he hoped to draw more.

The cannon salute and toasts were at 2 p.m., and the event included militia drills and games for children. There were also musket and cannon demonstrations.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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