FORT JENNINGS — Last week they were searching for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains in Detroit. This week a team from Ohio State University was searching to find the remains of War of 1812 soldiers buried in Fort Jennings.
Using ground-penetrating radar, the OSU volunteers came back for a third time to help find the 12 soldiers who are buried.
Local historian Julia Wiley brought the team to Fort Jennings.
“(Officials) put up a monument in 1978 with the intention of placing it as close to where the soldiers may have been buried using what records they had,” Wiley said. “We feel it’s time to complete the work. The idea is to commemorate these soldiers.”
Fort Jennings was part of a chain of forts spanning Northwest Ohio during the War of 1812. Hundreds of soldiers passed through this fort. Records indicate about a dozen solders died and were buried in Fort Jennings.
Making connections through her work with the Ohio Bicentennial of the War of 1812, Wiley made contact with the OSU team known as Friends of Anthropology Case Team, a group of archaeologists, biologists and anthropologists from Ohio State University.
“We do a lot of service projects like this,” said Adam Kolatorowicz. He is overseeing the Fort Jennings search.
This is the third time the OSU team has come to Fort Jennings. The first visit was in September 2012, when they brought cadaver dogs for the search. Nothing was found at that time. Last December, they returned for ground-penetrating radar surveys and discovered some anomalies.
Logan Miller, who operates the radar equipment, said the machine shoots radar straight down into the ground and records the findings in a computer. The team did the survey in 20-by-20-meter squares. The data is fed into a computer program that compiles the information and shows the shapes of the anomalies.
After studying the data, the team will report to the village. If there is cause to believe something may have been found, the site could be excavated.
“We do a lot of work assisting law enforcement,” Kolatorwicz said. “If bones are found at a construction site, we are called in to determine if they are human bones.”
He said they have also assisted families at cemeteries to determine exactly where people are buried. Their most recent project was a medical and death investigation of bones found in a field.
Wiley said this project is an off-shoot of last year’s three-day War of 1812 bicentennial celebration in Fort Jennings. The village is planning to host another three-day event in August that will include a battle reenactment.
War of 1812 investigation