Nicholas Headington in the War of 1812

USS Constitution (aka “Old Ironsides”). War of 1812 U.S. war ship. (2009 photo by author)

Last week I finally finished a project that had been on my To-Do List for some time. I completed my application to the United States Daughters of 1812 (U.S.D. 1812). It wasn’t like I had to go out and do a lot of research to complete the application. I had all the documentation right here at home. I just needed to sit down, gather and copy all the needed proofs and fill out the application.

My 5th great-grandfather, Nicholas Headington, served in the War of 1812. As far as I know he is the only ancestor I have that served in that war. According to the military marker at the foot of his grave he was in Gorsuch’s Company, the 2nd Maryland Militia.

Other sources give a little more information about his service. One tells that he was a Private in Captain Gorsuch’s Co., Randall’s Batallion of Riflemen, 2nd Regiment. [1]

In another source Nicholas is named among the Baltimore Citizens Serving in the 2nd Regiment from 14 October- 1 December 1814, Baltimore County, residence; Camp Hampstead, discharge. The officers were Benjamin Gorsuch, Captain, 32 miles from residence to Camp Hampstead; Ephraim Cook, 1st Lieutenant, 32 mi.; Nathan Gorsuch, 2nd Lieutenant, 26 mi.; George W. Johnson, 3rd Lieutenant, joined  & promoted Nov. 20, 26 mi.; Nicholas Dorsey, 2st Sergeant, 26 mi.; John Cresswill, Sergeant, 26 mi.; John Frizzell, Sergeant, 30 mi.; John Lewis, Sergeant, 12 mi.; James Cresswell, Sergeant, 26 mi.; George Clift, Corporal, 22 mi.; Levin Buckingham, Corporal, 25 mi.; Benjamin Lynch, Corporal, 11 mi.; and John O. Stinchcomb, Corporal, 11 mi.  The roster continues with a long list of over 80 Privates, including Nicholas Headington. It did not state how far away Nicholas was from the camp.  There were a number of desertions and absentees. Some names of interest among the privates are Laban Headington, George Frizzell and William Philips. [2]

Moorshead Magazines Ltd., publishers of Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy and History Magazine, has also published Tracing Your War of 1812 Ancestors. It is a reference publication in their Tracing Your Ancestors series.

The magazine has an interesting article on Militia Service.  According to the author, the militia was the main defense of the country at that time and soldiers in the War of 1812 were more likely to have been in the militia than in the Army. Militia companies were commanded by a captain and had several officers. They consisted of men from the same district in a county. Units were often known by their commanders’ names and men were permitted to hire substitutes.

I decided to apply to the U.S.D. 1812 this year, the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Even though Nicholas Headington had already been proved for the U.S.D. 1812 the closest common ancestor was Nicholas himself. So I had to submit proof all the way back to Nicholas as well proof of his military service.  It wasn’t all that difficult because I had proved this family for Settlers and Builders of Ohio, a lineage society of the Ohio Genealogical Society.

I was pleased that the U.S.D. 1812 has an application form that can be completed in Word or PDF. That way I didn’t have to search for my old pica typewriter in the back room of the basement. I completed my application in PDF with no problems.

My lineage from Nicholas Headington and his wife Ruth Phillips:
Their son William Headington & Mary Ann Cottrell
Their daughter Elvira Headington & Daniel Reid
Their son William Reid & Emily Bryan
Their daughter Pearl Reid & Phillip Brewster
Their daughter Gertrude Brewster & Carl Miller (my grandparents)

At one time there was a U.S.D. 1812 chapter named after my ancestor. The Nicholas Headington Chapter National Society United States Daughters of 1812 was established in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1908. In fact it was the first chapter established in the state of Arkansas. The Arkansas State Society U.S.D . 1812 was organized in 1906. Unfortunately The Nicholas Headington Chapter is no longer in existence.

Membership in the U.S.D. 1812 is not limited to an ancestor’s service in the War of 1812. Membership is available to women age eighteen and over who can prove that they are lineal descendants of an ancestor who rendered civil, military, or naval service to our country, rendered material aid to the U.S. Army or Navy, or who participated in the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the period of 1784-1815.

Service may be, but not limited to the following:

  • Those who signed the Oath of Allegiance or the Loyalty Test.
  • All state, county and town officials and also jurors.
  •  A member of the Continental or Federal Congress, or a member of a State Assembly or Legislature of one of the first eighteen states.
  •  A delegate to the convention which framed The Constitution of the United States.
  •  A member of a State Convention which ratified The Constitution of the United States.
  • An elector of one of the first four Presidents of the United States.
  • A legislative, executive or judicial officer of the United States of America, including such appointive officers as Treaty Commissioners, Territorial Officers, etc.

Military or Naval Service in any of the following insurrections or wars:

  • Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, 1784-1787.
  • Shay’s Rebellion, Massachusetts, 1786-1787.
  • Wars with Indians, 1784-1815.
  • Whiskey Insurrection, Pennsylvania, 1794.
  • War with France (Undeclared), 1798-1800.
  • Sabine Expedition, Louisiana, 1806.
  • Attack of British warship Leopard upon the United States frigate Chesapeake.
  • Embargo troubles, Lake Champlain, 1808.
  • Engagement between United States frigate President and the British ship Little Belt.
  • Expedition against Lafitte Pirates, 1814.
  • Wars with the Barbary Powers, 1801-5 and 1815.
  • War with Great Britain, 1812-1815.
  • The Creek War, 4 October 1814 to 24 January 1815.
  • Lafitte Aides to General Andrew Jackson.
  •  Local or state militia service, 1784-1815, or giving material aid to the Army and Navy.
  • Member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-6.

A forever stamp with the image of the USS Constitution was issued on 18 August 2012 to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, is oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. The ship received its nickname during the War of 1812.

Now I wait and see if my United States Daughters of 1812 application will be approved.

[1] William M. Marine, The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812-1815, (Baltimore, Maryland: Society of the War of 1812, 1913), 318

[2] F. Edward Wright, Maryland Militia War of 1812, Volume 2, Baltimore, (No place: privately printed, 1979), 88.  


  1. Thank for sharing this post. This is something i would like to do as well, and you make a great point about doing it during the bicentinnial. Now if only i could prove the serive on either my two guys….

    1. Thanks! I enjoy lineage societies. Completing an application will indicate very quickly where more research is needed. You find where proof is lacking and you also find the discrepancies in your research findings. And finally there is the satisfaction of having it verified and approved by another. I hope you find the information to prove your ancestors. Karen

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