Lander on it’s fourth name since 1830
What we know as Lander in Farmington Township is on its fourth name.
The land was first cleared by Aaron Scranton around the year 1830. As a result — and who could blame him? — he called the place Scranton’s Corners.
Lander didn’t make the map — literally, the postal service map — until a post office was established there in 1853.
At that point, the place was called Beech Woods and Obed Ovatt, a Baptist pastor was the first postmaster (in the 19th century, the office of postmaster was far more significant in the life of the community than it is now).
The name was charged to Farmington but, for post office consideration, there was already one of those in Fayette County.
That is how the inhabitants — with their fourth chance — settled on Lander.
And that name was in honor of General Frederick W. Lander , a Civil war general, transcontinental explorer and poet.
He was employed by the U.S. government to chart out a route for a pacific railroad and also laid out a wagon route to Oregon.
His early Civil War service was highlighted by secret missions, including at least one at the behest of President Abraham Lincoln. He then shifted into combat duties, rising to the rank of brigadier general in the first year of the war.
He died of pneumonia in 1862 and Lincoln attended his funeral.
Here’s part of a poem he wrote about the embarrassing Union defeat at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff:
Aye, deem us proud, for we are more
Than proud of all our mighty dead;
Proud of the bleak and rock-bound shore,
A crowned oppressor cannot tread.
Old State — some souls are rudely sped —
This record for thy Twentieth Corps —
Imprisoned, wounded, dying, dead,
It only asks, “Has Sparta more?”