Tag Archives: celebrity connections

Elisha Cragun at the Battle of New Orleans

Last year, we introduced you to Elisha Cragun, Donny and Marie Osmond’s 4th great-grandfather. A veteran of the War of 1812, he served under Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans, which was a decisive US victory over British forces.

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Elisha Cragun, 1786-1847

The battle occurred December 23, 1814 – January 8, 1815, and became the most lop sided US victory of the war. In late 1814, the British planned to invade New Orleans from the Gulf of Mexico, and they had their eyes on the prize. Capturing the city would have helped them control the sea access to the Mississippi River, the water highway of the United States.

Under command of Andrew Jackson, a force of only 4,732 men faced 11,000 British. The British forces withdrew, and on February 4, 1815, the fleet, with all of the British troops aboard, set sail toward Alabama. The victory certainly gave an enormous boost to the U.S. personnel, and helped to propel Jackson into the White House as President fourteen years later.

Elisha Cragun survived this engagement, and the remainder of the war. He passed away in 1847.



Donny and Marie Osmond Share Two War of 1812 Ancestors

donny and marie war of 1812 promo

Two ancestors in the family tree of Donny and Marie Osmond served in the War of 1812! They are: Samuel Beeler (1757-1840) who served in the military from Ohio, and Elisha Cragun (1786-1847) who served with General Andrew Jackson’s Battle of New Orleans.

Here is one of the more interesting aspects of this find: Samuel Beeler’s grandson, Jacob Beeler, and Elisha Cragun’s daughter, Mary Martha Cragun, married each other in the year 1838. Samuel Beeler is the 5th Great-Grandfather and Elisha Cragun is the 4th Great-Grandfather of Donny and Marie Osmond.

Samuel Beeler (1757-1840)

Samuel Beeler was a Colonel at the Battle of Tippecanoe with the United States forces led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory. In 1803 he had moved from Kentucky to Ohio, and it was from there that he participated in the War of 1812. Samuel and his wife, Mary Graves, were the parents of five children. William, their second son, married Margaret Hughes in 1809. It is their son, Jacob Beeler, who married the daughter of Donny and Marie’s other War of 1812 soldier, Mary Martha Cragun, daughter of Elisha Cragun.

Elisha Cragun (1786-1847)

Elisha Cragun was the son of Patrick Cragun, who was born in Ireland. Elisha and his family always kept following the frontier. As new lands were opened for settlement, they moved into them and developed farms, bringing civilization along with them. However, it is said that Elisha’s entry into Indiana was delayed because of his service in the War of 1812. He did have two brothers, John and Isaac, who also served in that war. Both Elisha and his brother, John Cragun, served with the troops of General Andrew Jackson.

See the chart below to identify each generation of Donny and Marie’s ancestors who descend from the War of 1812 veterans, Samuel Beeler and Elisha Cragun. What pride and gratitude they must feel for each of them!

donny marie osmond family tree

Actor Chris O’Donnell’s War of 1812 Ancestor Featured on WDYTYA

chris odonnell who do you think you are?

On a recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC, actor Chris O’Donnell discovers that he has a War of 1812 ancestor, George McNeir who was his 4th great-grandfather. McNeir served as a Lieutenant with the Sea Fencibles during the famous Bombardment of Fort McHenry, Maryland.

As O’Donnell learned, McNeir fought valiantly during this famous battle in September 1814 which ended an attempted land assault by the British. The battle is better known as the event when the words to the Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem, were penned by Francis Scott Key.

Help Others Find Their War of 1812 Ancestors

Do you have War of 1812 ancestors or know others with a possible connection? One way of finding out is to research the War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files slowly being made available on Fold3.

The War of 1812 pension consists of approximately 180,000 pension and bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on service between 1812 and 1815. The 180,000 files contain of approximately 7.2 million individual pages of these there are already more than 765,000 images online at Fold3.com/1812pensions. These rich documents contain details of your ancestors such as affidavits, statements from witnesses, widow’s maiden name, acres granted, marriage date, service data and more.

Your Help Needed NOW!

Many of these records are old and in poor condition. They must be rescued by being digitized so future generations of researchers can discover War of 1812 ancestors similar to the one in Chris O’Donnell’s amazing story.

You can help others learn more about their own ancestors in the War of 1812 Pension Files by making a donation via Preserve the Pensions. Click here to donate today!