The Cleveland Grays
There were two main reasons for the militia formation of the Cleveland Grays. In 1836 Cleveland was significantly growing as a commercial center with an abundance of traffic flowing through the canal. More than 56,000 tons of freight arrived via the Ohio Canal and as the population and commercial activity increased, so did the crime rate. The militia formed to provide support to the law enforcement authorities, help preserve local order, and protect private property. The second reason for the formation was to provide a first line of defense for the city in the event that the fighting in Canada's Rebellions of 1837 spilled over the border and into the United States. The same event of Canada’s Rebellion of 1837, is what lead Cleveland’s citizenry to form an independent military company. The revolt against British rule broke out in the fall of 1837 and for over a year it continued from the Niagara region west to Detroit. The attacks entrenched on Pelee Island in Lake Erie had been brought almost to within gunshot of Cleveland. In this event the newspapers called for action and for the establishment of an independent volunteer militia company. The concerned citizens of Cleveland along with Timothy Ingraham formed together to establish an independent company known as the City Guards, which later became the Cleveland Grays. The socio-economic makeup of the Grays reflected the composition of the city’s middle and upper classes. The average age was between thirty and forty years old and the majority of the members were born in New England and were Protestants. The Cleveland Grays had many upper class members in the years before the Civil War; some were proprietors of their own businesses or worked in family-owned businesses. Many worked in miscellaneous commercial enterprises, some were tradesman, printers, lawyers, clerks, boatmen, and even physicians. Many of these men would go on to serve the community as volunteer fire members, stand in...
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