Elijah Wadsworth (4 November 1747 in Hartford, Connecticut – 30 December 1817 in Canfield, Ohio) was a captain in the American Revolutionary War and a major general in the War of 1812. He was a prominent military officer, Ohio pioneer, local organizer and leader, and wealthy land speculator.
Elijah Wadsworth was a member of the wealthy and prominent Wadsworth family of Connecticut and a descendant of one of the Founders of Hartford, Connecticut, William Wadsworth. Elijah was the son of Joseph Wadsworth, III and Elizabeth Cook. His father was the grandson of Captain Joseph Wadsworth of Charter Oak fame. His son Frederick Wadsworth later became the Mayor of [Akron, Elijah Wadsworth the last politically active descendant of Llywelyn the Great in the male line, II Dracul (Dracul : the dragon) and his wife, Princess Cneajna of Moldavia.
Elijah was a resident of Litchfield, Connecticut at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. He immediately volunteered after news of the Battle of Bunker Hill. He served as a lieutenant in Captain Benjamin Tallmadge's company during the war. He was also in command of the guard who held Major John André upon his arrest and trial. He served with zeal throughout the entire war, having earned the rank of captain. The home that Elijah had built in Litchfield was later purchased by Dr. Lyman Beecher and was the birthplace of Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Ohio land speculator
He was a part owner of lands of the "Connecticut Western Reserve" in Ohio, he being a member of the Connecticut Land Company. He moved to Ohio in 1799 to survey his lands and lived at the village of Warren, Ohio for some time. He moved to a portion of his properties at Canfield, Ohio in October 1802 and made his permanent home there. He owned the largest share of the lands that became Medina County, Ohio. Though he never lived there, the city of Wadsworth, Ohio was named in his honor.
He was heavily involved in organizing the local government of that area and in the creation of its post offices, schools and militia. He was the Postmaster at Canfield for several years. In 1803 Elijah was elected Master of the Erie Lodge of the Free Masons. His house was the first Wood-frame house built in Ohio. He was chosen Major General of the 4th Division of the State militia on January 7, 1804. He served in this capacity when the War of 1812 broke out.
War of 1812
Under General Wadsworth's command the military infrastructure of Northeast Ohio was built. He recruited and organized the 3000-man militia and was responsible for the defense of one third of the state of Ohio. He ordered several forts and blockhouses built for the protection of its citizens. He ordered roads to be built and networked between them. He procured the munitions and supplies necessary for the maintenance of the militia. He commanded at the "Battle of the Peninsula" on September 10, 1812, at the mouth of the Huron River. He had to resign his position in February 1814, before the war was seen through, due to his age and failing health.
He died at his home in Canfield, Ohio on December 30, 1817 at the age of 70.
In honor of General Elijah Hill Wadsworth's service during the War of 1812, a group of Daughters of the War of 1812 created a new chapter #472 of the United States Daughters of the War of 1812 with General Wadworth's name. This chapter holds regular meetings to this day in the Canfield/Poland area in honor of General Wadsworth and all veterans of the War of 1812.
- "History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio", Volume 1, By Joseph Green Butler, American Hist. Soc., Chicago, 1921
- "Lossing's Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812", By Benson John Lossing
- "A History of the City of Cleveland: its Settlement, Rise, and Progress, 1796 ..." By James Harrison Kennedy
- "Roster of Ohio soldiers in the War of 1812, By Adjutant General of Ohio", By Adjutant General's Dept., Heritage Books Inc., 1995