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Title: Outpost in the Wilderness: Fort Wayne, 1706-1828
Author: Poinsatte, Charles
Language: English
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                       Outpost in the Wilderness:
                              Fort Wayne,

                           Charles Poinsatte

                        Allen County, Fort Wayne
                           Historical Society

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                               CHAPTER I
  The French and British Period                                    Page 1

                                CHAPTER II
  The Establishment of Fort Wayne—Government Outpost of Defense,
          Diplomacy, and Trade                                    Page 27

                               CHAPTER III
  The Impending Conflict                                          Page 50

                                CHAPTER IV
  The Siege of Fort Wayne                                         Page 63

                                CHAPTER V
  Evacuation of the Fort and the Increased Indian Trade           Page 79

                                CHAPTER VI
  Platting of Fort Wayne and the First Local Government           Page 94

                               CHAPTER VII
  The Treaty of 1826 and the Removal of the Indian Agency         Page 99

  Bibliography                                                   Page 106
  Index                                                          Page 111


There was a time when the writer of local history and the academic
professional were two different people; indeed, one is almost tempted to
say, they were two different species. Fortunately for both, this is no
longer true. Many academic historians now recognize local units as the
fundamental units of historical study, presenting hard data in
manageable quantities for precise conclusions. Charles R. Poinsatte was
among the first to recognize this and merge the academic and local
traditions of historical writing, the one supplying rigor and judgments
based on cosmopolitan learning, and the other supplying the vividness
and appeal of the familiar and relevant.

On the academic side, Charles R. Poinsatte got his undergraduate and
graduate education at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. Thomas
T. McAvoy schooled him to precision in judgment and exhaustiveness in
research. Poinsatte also had the good fortune to study under Aaron I.
Abell, a student of Arthur Schlesinger, Senior, whose 1933 book, _The
Rise of the City, 1878-1898_, initiated a new kind of American history.
Professor Abell first got Poinsatte interested in what is now called
urban history. In fact, however, Poinsatte’s career embodies still
another great tradition in American historiography, that of frontier
history as inspired by Frederick Jackson Turner. _Frontier Outpost_
describes the _site_ of an urban area to be, but it is not truly urban
history, as Dr. Poinsatte’s book, _Fort Wayne during the Canal Era,
1828-1855_ (Indiana Historical Bureau, 1969), was. Thus Dr. Poinsatte
writes in this book of Fort Wayne as an aspect principally of the
history of the Old Northwest.

Higher education at Notre Dame, acquaintance with a student of the elder
Schlesinger, and thoughts spurred by the Turner thesis are only part of
the story, of course. The area Dr. Poinsatte decided to study was Fort
Wayne and not Detroit or Chicago or Cincinnati. Here what Nathaniel
Hawthorne called “a sort of home-feeling with the past” worked its
magic. Born in Fort Wayne in 1925, Charles Poinsatte was stirred by the
names he heard as a boy, Little Turtle, Anthony Wayne, and George Rogers
Clarke. Some family property was part of the old Richardville estate,
and in his youth he explored an old Indian burial ground there. He has
never gotten over his fascination with those men, and now he examines
them with his academic tools.

Dr. Poinsatte has always been able to reconcile seemingly conflicting
movements in American historical writing. Urban history and frontier
history, he argues, are in many ways complementary, for frontier
historians can explain to urban historians why the entities they study
are located where they are and how they got their start. Likewise, local
history and history as most often written by academic professionals
benefit from cross-fertilization. Local history always needs to be
written from a broad perspective which keeps the local historian from
claiming unique status for developments which took place in many other
localities at the same time. Likewise, in-depth studies of certain
localities provide tests for the larger generalizations of academic
historians, generalizations that are too often based on unrepresentative
samplings of evidence from national elites and large cultural and
political centers like New York and Washington.

Still, one suspects it is the excitement of particular locality’s
history which accounts for Dr. Poinsatte’s work. It has already taken
him to England and France in search of the records and documents which
explain the early history of Fort Wayne. He intends to return to Europe
next year to explore still another aspect of history suggested by Fort
Wayne’s story, the lives of French military officers who fought in the
American Revolution. After that, he might consider a history of Fort
Wayne in the railroad era, from 1855 (where Dr. Poinsatte’s work on the
canal era ended) to the Progressive Era. Whatever the course of
Professor Poinsatte’s future studies, Fort Wayne’s citizens will look
forward to reading the results. He has already enriched our
understanding of ourselves beyond measure.

  September 4, 1975
  Fort Wayne, Indiana
  Mark E. Neely, Jr.


Early Fort Wayne played an important and definite role in the history of
the old Northwest. Its unique position as a portage site between the
Wabash and Maumee rivers made the Wabash route one of the natural
waterways from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi river and brought
Indians and fur traders to this spot at an early date. It is most likely
the oldest continuous site settled by white men in Indiana. During the
French, British, and American occupation of the region, forts were built
here as outposts of defense in the Indian country. Its strategic
importance was recognized in all the plans for military campaigns in the
area between the Great Lakes and the Ohio river for almost a century.
Here was located at a later date an important government Indian agency,
and to the town on certain days of the year flocked hundreds of Indian
traders. Fort Wayne was also situated in the heart of the rich
Maumee-Wabash fur producing region.

While giving a comprehensive background of the French and British
occupation of the site of Fort Wayne, I have stressed its importance in
the early days of American settlement. The gradual decline of the fur
trade, followed by the removal of the Indian agency in 1828 and the
opening of the area to white settlement by the Indian treaties of that
decade, all combined to usher in a new era in the history of Fort Wayne.
By the 1830’s the people of Fort Wayne were feverishly making plans for
the Wabash and Erie canal. This opened a new period in Fort Wayne’s
history which has been studied in my previous work.[1] Since then the
development of the city has been consistent and substantial.

From the modern growing city it is a far cry back to the time of the
Miami Indians and the old fort in the wilderness with its little
garrison of men puzzled at times, no doubt, to understand their choice
of a life of loneliness in an environment which gave little opportunity
for the refinements of life. The people of today are none too thoughtful
of their obligation to the pioneer soldier, trader and settler. It is my
hope that in addition to contributing to the annals of the Old
Northwest, this work may create a deeper appreciation of these early
builders. At the same time it has been my desire to treat all these
people objectively rather than in the fictitious way of the

Previous histories dealing with the early history of Fort Wayne, while
furnishing valuable material, have either been incomplete or inaccurate,
chiefly because many primary sources were not available to the writers
or were not known to exist. I have made extensive use of primary
material found in the Burton Collection at Detroit, the Chicago
Historical Library, and the Fort Wayne Public Library as well as in the
British Museum and the Public Records Office in London and the _Archives
des Colonies_ in Paris. Part of the European research was made possible
by a summer grant from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Acknowledgments are due to many individuals who have so kindly given
assistance, especially to the staffs of the various archives and
libraries which I have used in Chicago, Detroit, Paris, and London. Mr.
Albert Diserens, chief of the Indiana collection of the Fort Wayne
Public Library, aided me in every way. A special debt is due to the
officers and members of the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society
and in particular Mr. Fred Reynolds who assisted immeasurably in
arranging for the publication of this work. To the late Reverend Thomas
T. McAvoy of the University of Notre Dame I owe deep gratitude for first
encouraging me to study the history of my hometown.

While almost all early American cities which originated as military
outposts later changed their names—Cincinnati (Fort Washington). Chicago
(Fort Dearborn)—or simply dropped “fort” from their titles—Defiance,
Ohio—for some reason the citizens of Fort Wayne never followed this
common practice. The old “Fort Wayne” fell into ruins, but the name
survives. Undoubtedly few individuals have even wondered why, but I
believe, or would like to believe, that somehow the later citizens of
Fort Wayne wanted to retain an identity with the past—a past that is
worth knowing and remembering. It is to these citizens—past and present
and to my own family that I dedicate this book.

[1]_Fort Wayne during the Canal Era._

                               Chapter I
                     The French and British Period

To know the history of any town is to know the significance of its
geographical position. This is particularly true of the early history of
Fort Wayne (Known to the Indians as Kiskakon or Kekionga[1] and to the
French and English as Fort Miami). Therefore, it is necessary to explain
the significance of the site of Fort Wayne in an era of exploration and
trade when wilderness was king and waterways were the arteries of
communication. The story of Fort Wayne begins as the history of the
Maumee-Wabash portage. Located at the confluence of rivers, St. Joseph
and St. Mary’s, which together form the Maumee or Miami of Lake Erie,
Fort Wayne is situated at the northeast starting point of the seven mile
portage to the Little River, (see map on page 2) Twenty-two miles
southwest of Fort Wayne, the Little River joins the Wabash, which, in
turn, empties into the Ohio and then into the Mississippi. The
Maumee-Wabash portage was from the early seventeenth century until the
mid-nineteenth century a vital overland link that tied together the
great waterway systems of the St. Lawrence and Mississippi. In other
respects the site of Fort Wayne was at the “crossroads”. From this point
the traveler could journey northeast up the St. Joseph river into the
present state of Michigan, or turn southeast up the St. Mary’s river
into the central portion of the present state of Ohio. This, then, is
the significance of the words of Little Turtle, the great Miami chief,
who once called the site of Fort Wayne, “that glorious gate ... through
which all the good words of our chiefs had to pass from the north to the
south, and from the east to the west.”[2]

    [Illustration: Map]

Of the five great portage routes used by the French,[3] the
Maumee-Wabash was the last to be exploited, for, unlike the more
northern routes, it was along the line of “most resistance”. The
Iroquois warfare in this region and as far west as the Illinois country
made it virtually impossible for the French to use the routes extending
through southern Lake Erie. With the establishment of the French posts
along the lower Mississippi, however, the Maumee-Wabash portage gained
importance, as it proved to be the shortest route connecting the
settlements of New France (Canada) and Louisiana. The first white man to
use this portage may have been some unknown French “coureur de bois”,
pursuing his lawless life of adventure and fur-trading. There is some
claim that LaSalle used the Maumee-Wabash portage in his explorations of
1670 or later, but it is based, for the most part, on conjecture and is
still open to various interpretations.[4] In any event, LaSalle’s
description of the territory between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan
indicates a familiarity with the region, and it was he who first
directed the attention of the French to this portage by pointing out the
way to shorten the route to the lower Ohio river.[5] Whatever LaSalle’s
plans were for opening up this easy channel of communications[6] they
had to be abandoned because of the failure of the French to appease the
Iroquois. This powerful confederacy had all but annihilated the Erie
Indians earlier in the century and were now pressing their attacks upon
the western tribes south of Lake Michigan. Out of fear of the Iroquois
the area of Indiana was largely abandoned by the Miamis and other
related tribes. Therefore by the 1670’s, when LaSalle set out to achieve
his great objective, control of the Mississippi for the French, he found
it necessary “to go to the Illinois [river] through the lakes Huron and
Illinois [Lake Michigan] as the other routes which I have discovered by
the head of Lake Erie and by the southern shore of the same, have become
too hazardous by frequent encounters with the Iroquois who are always on
that shore.”[7] That this route had become “too dangerous” is indicated
by the letter of Jean de Lamberville to Count de Frontenac on Sept. 20,
1682, in which he expressed his fears that “an Iroquois army, twelve
hundred strong ... would completely annihilate the Miamis and their
neighbors the Siskakon [Kiskakon] and Ottawa tribes on the headwaters of
the Maumee.”[8]

The events which took place near the turn of the eighteenth century
completely altered the situation for the French in this region.
Differences between the Fox Indians, located west of Lake Michigan, and
the French alienated the former entirely. The result was to compel the
French to seek a more direct line of communication with the Mississippi
settlements than by the Wisconsin river-Lake Michigan route, and to
encourage them to promote the trade in the less remote posts. This new
policy was inaugurated by Cadillac’s plan to establish a post at
Detroit, which met with the Crown’s approval and was carried out in
1701. At the same time, the French were able to conclude a temporary
peace with the Iroquois and to induce the pro-French tribes of Miamis to
begin migrating eastward and to re-establish themselves at the
headwaters of the Wabash and Maumee rivers. This migration of the Miamis
was a gradual process and can be traced from northern Illinois and
southern Wisconsin around the head of Lake Michigan to their old
settlements on the Wabash, Maumee, and Miami rivers. The Miamis were
persuaded to move for a number of reasons—the hostility of the Fox
Indians, the advantages in trade and protection furnished by their
proximity to Detroit, and finally the abundance of fur, especially
beaver, to be found in the area south and southwest of Lake Erie. By
1712, the Miamis had taken possession of the entire Wabash valley,[9]
and the country as far eastward as the Big Miami river. Their principal
village, Kiskakon, was situated where the present city of Fort Wayne now
stands. Of the northern tribes the Miami confederacy was second only to
that of the Iroquois. Father Marquette paid them high tribute, while
LaSalle described them as “the most civilized of all nations of
Indians—neat of dress, splendid of bearing, haughty of manner, holding
all other tribes as inferiors.”[10]

Other tribes came to the Ohio valley about the same time. The Wyandots
established themselves along the southern shore of Lake Erie about 1701.
The Shawnee, a southern tribe, settled principally in the lower Scioto
valley around 1730, while the Delaware were to be found in the Muskingum
valley by 1750. A small group of Ottawas were located on the Auglaize
river, a tributary of the Maumee, about fifty miles northeast of
Kiskakon. The importance of this small tribe rests in their famous
chief, Pontiac, and his “conspiracy” against the English in 1763.
Altogether these tribes numbered about 15,000 people. For the most part,
they were friends of the French, although at times they expressed

Grasping the new importance of the Maumee-Wabash trade route after 1712,
the officials of New France were quick to suggest to the crown the
construction of a chain of posts from the head of the Maumee to the
mouth of the Wabash in order to protect this increasingly vital line of
communication between Canada and Louisiana, and, equally, important, to
counteract the English ever pressing closer to the Indians in the upper
Ohio valley.[11] The idea was not new, as LaSalle had suggested such a
policy to the home government previously, but the time was now ripe.
Economic reasons for establishing these posts were not lacking. Fear of
the English meant fear of their participation in the fur trade, which
was exceedingly valuable in this area. Wild life had increased
abundantly during the years of Iroquois warfare when the region was
practically uninhabited. A French memorialist, writing at this time,
pointed out that the New York traders, through the medium of the
Iroquois agents, secured between 80,000 and 100,000 beaver skins
annually from the area south and southwest of Lake Erie.[12] This almost
equalled the amount taken annually from the whole of the land north of
the Great Lakes. Cadillac, the founder of Detroit, reported in 1707 that
the Maumee valley was “the finest land under heaven—fishing and hunting
are most abundant there.”[13]

The revitalized village of Kiskakon became the location of one of the
earliest posts established in the French chain along the Maumee-Wabash
route, and was known as Post or Fort Miami. The exact year of the
founding of Port Miami by the French is uncertain. Although some writers
believe the post was established as early as 1680 or 1686,[14] there is
no evidence to support such suppositions. Some confusion seems to arise
from a misinterpretation of those French colonial documents which refer
to the Fort Miami built by LaSalle at the mouth of the St. Joseph river
of Lake Michigan, and not, as these writers believed, to the Fort Miami
at the headwaters of the Maumee. A careful reading of these documents is
necessary in each instance to determine which Fort Miami is meant. About
the same time that the eastward migration of the Miamis began 1697 Jean
Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes, was appointed attache to the
Miamis.[15] At first he was obviously at the Miami fort on the
southeastern shore of Lake Michigan, although, as the Miami village,
Kiskakon, grew in importance, Vincennes found it increasingly necessary
to visit the Miami village from 1702 to 1719. It is possible that in
1706 he built a small post primarily for trading purposes at
Kiskakon.[16] By 1715 a new element, the English fur trader had entered
the picture and Vincennes, as well as the French colonial government,
was convinced that it was no longer feasible to encourage the Indians to
migrate eastward. From Kiskakon, Vincennes reported to the royal
officials that the English of Carolina were having recourse to every
sort of expedient to persuade the Miamis to join them against the
French.[17] The increased English efforts to gain footholds in the
Wabash and Maumee valleys, determined Vincennes upon a course of action
approved by the Marques de Vaudreuil, governor of Canada. Vincennes’
plan called for the removal of the Miamis at the headwaters of the
Maumee to a new center on the St. Joseph river of Lake Michigan, near
the present city of South Bend.[18] It is possible that the plan might
have succeeded as Vincennes was “much loved” by the Miamis; however,
with his death at Kiskakon in 1719, the Miamis “resolved not to move to
the River St. Joseph, [but] to remain where they are”.[19] The Miamis
preserved for a long time the memory of Vincennes. Thirty years after
his death, Celeron de Bienville, while urging a group of Miamis to
return to Kiskakon, used the name of Vincennes to work upon their minds,
speaking of him as the one “whom you loved so much and who always
governed you, so that your affairs were prosperous.”[20]

On hearing of the Miamis’ decision, Governor de Vaudreuil resolved, with
the approval of the Council of Marine, to establish a strong post at the
headwaters of the Maumee. For this purpose he sent Captain Dubuisson,
the former commander at Detroit, who had already achieved success on one
occasion with the Miamis, to build the fortifications.[21] Finished in
May, 1722, the fort was located on the right bank of the St. Mary’s at a
latitude later given by Father Joseph Pierre de Bonnecamps (professor of
hydrography at the Jesuit college of Quebec who visited Fort Miami in
1749) as 41 degrees, 29 minutes. Other information Father de Bonnecamps
gives indicates that the fort was about one-half mile down the river
from the Maumee-Wabash portage road.[22] Writing the Council of Marine
on October 24, 1722, de Vaudreuil stated:

  The log fort Fort Miami which he Dubuisson had build is the finest in
  the upper country. It is a strong fort and safe from insult from the
  savages. This post which is of considerable worth ought to have a
  missionary. One could be sent there in 1724 if next year the council
  will send the four Jesuits which I ask.[23]

It is unlikely that the priest requested was ever stationed at Fort
Miami, as there is no indication from the _Jesuit Relations_ or other
sources of one being here, although it is possible that some
missionaries visited this spot on occasion.

Fort Miami proved of value to the French for various reasons. After its
construction, it soon became a military post of consequence, with a
garrison of twenty to thirty men.[24] It was the policy of the French to
locate their garrisons and trading posts wherever there existed a
sufficiently large village of friendly Indians or wherever the strategic
importance of a place itself made it necessary to erect a fort. Fort
Miami combined both of these advantages. Once the Miamis determined to
remain at Kiskakon, they would benefit the French not only by their fur
trade but would be a means of protection against hostile tribes and the
English. The strategic position for a fort at the Maumee-Wabash portage
was recognized even by the English as early as 1717.[25] Pouchet, a
French historian, writing shortly after the French and Indian War was of
the opinion that the French would have been wiser to have strengthened
their fortifications in the Miami region than establish their line of
defense in the upper Ohio.[26]

Perhaps Fort Miami’s greatest importance was as a center of French
activity among the Indians. Being at the principal village of the Miami
confederacy, this outpost was used as a counter-balance to the English
intrigue from New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas. It is
to be noted that Dubuisson was sent to Kiskakon “to counteract the
effect of all those Belts it [the Miami nation] was but too frequently
receiving and which, as they caused eight or ten Miami canoes to go this
year to trade at Orange, might finally induce all that nation to follow
their example.”[27]

In 1734, the Sieur de Noyelles was entrusted with the task of gathering
the scattered Miamis in their village, where they would be protected
from English intrigue. In this affair he was seconded by the Sieur
Darnaud who was in command at Fort Miami.[28] The French had good reason
to fear the English trader, who had strong economic advantages. The
goods furnished by the English in exchange for the furs of the Indians
were produced more cheaply than the French items. Also British virtual
control of the sea trade meant these goods were transported for less.
Finally rum one of the principal factors in the English trade was
produced in the colonies, while the French traders had to import brandy
from the mother country. As early as 1716, de Vandreuil reported to the
Council of Marine that the Iroquois were sending belts to the Miamis and
Ouiatenons, an allied tribe on the Wabash, to induce them to seek the
necessities of life at the English post on the “Oyo river”. Here the
Indians were offered merchandise “a half cheaper than among the
French.”[29] The following year the king replied through the Council
that he was well pleased to learn that M. de Vincennes, apparently at
Kiskakon, had prevented the Miamis and Ouiatenons from accepting the
belts of the English. His majesty hoped that the sending of scarlet
cloth would turn the savages away from the English trade.[30]

Other accounts show the wide-spread influence the French maintained from
Fort Miami. There were considerable outlays for the savages in food,
merchandise, and the repairing of arms. From here important chiefs were
sent to conferences in Detroit and Montreal, with interpreters and
guides and all expenses paid. One Miami chief, Cold Foot, was paid
handsomely for his loyalty in putting an end to a hostile movement.[31]
The expenses for messengers were especially numerous during the year’s
1748-1749, when English influence was particularly active. Between
December 25, 1747, and July 25, 1748, 1,894 livres were spent at Fort
Miami for presents for the Indians.[32] The high expenditures at Fort
Miami of those years, of which we have records, gives some indication of
the value the French ascribed to the post at the Maumee headwaters. Some
years the annual expenses for the Indians at Fort Miami almost equalled
those of Detroit.[33]

Fort Miami had its economic “raison d’etre” as the center of the
thriving fur trade of the surrounding region. The furs were brought
westward from the northwestern and central parts of the present state of
Ohio, as well as northward from the Wabash valley, and eastward from the
Illinois country. In his “Memoir of 1757”, Bougainville points out that
the Miami post, like many of the French posts, was one “removed from
free commerce”.[34] That is, Fort Miami was leased for a period of three
years to the commandant or “farmer” who secured exclusive rights to the
fur trade. The price of the lease was twelve hundred livres per year.
Moreover the farmer was charged with the cost of the presents to the
savages as well as the wages of the interpreters. There were
extraordinary expenses, however, that the government paid. For instance,
Sieur Charly, the farmer at Post Miami in 1747, collected 2,007 livres
for the use of twenty-four horses by a party of Indians being led to
Detroit for conferences.[34a] These expense accounts had to be approved
by the governor and the “intendant”, the financial representative of the
crown, who oftentimes scaled the figures down as they saw fit. An
example of a most drastic reduction is found in the case of a bill of
Sieur Charly for December, 1744. In this instance, Hocquart, the royal
intendant moderated the bill from 1,491 livres to 100 livres.[35]

In an ordinary year there issued from Fort Miami 250 to 300 packages of
furs. These furs were shipped by way of Detroit to Montreal, as Fort
Miami by its geographical position belonged politically and economically
within the colony of New France rather than Louisiana. Nevertheless, by
its proximity to the Wabash there was frequent communication and trade
with the Louisiana settlements, particularly Vincennes and those of the
Illinois country. For example, in 1749, 200 livres were paid at Fort
Miami to Jean Baptiste Riddey de Bosseron, “voyageur” who had just
returned from the Illinois country.[36] Grain and livestock were sent to
Fort Miami from the French settlements along the lower Wabash and Ohio
rivers. For this reason the price of corn, flour, and beef was generally
lower at Fort Miami than at Detroit and the northern posts such as

The Maumee-Wabash portage became the scene of increased activity as the
French and English rivalry in the upper Ohio country grew more tense
during the decade preceding 1756. From the year 1719 when ten canoes of
Miami Indians passed down the Maumee on their way to Albany, New York,
with furs and returned with firearms, ammunition, and trinkets, the
English endeavored to bring the Miamis under their influence. During the
1740’s, there was a notable expansion of English trade with the Indians
of this region. Twice—in 1739 and again in 1744—the French commander of
Detroit, M. de Longueuil, led strong expeditions along the Maumee-Wabash
against British traders on the White river near the center of the
present state of Indiana. While he succeeded in his immediate objective,
this display of military power no longer held the Indians in check. In
1747, the Wyandot chief, Sanosket, also known as Nicolas, under the
influence of the English led an uprising against the French. The Miamis
at Kiskakon believing that Detroit had been captured, set fire to Fort
Miami and captured the eight men within the stockade at the time.[38]
The temporary commander, Ensign Douville, was at Detroit when the
Indians committed the pillage. He had been sent to the Miamis in order
to invite them to a conference at Montreal, and two of their chiefs,
Cold Foot and Porc Epic had accompanied him as far as Detroit when they
received the news that the post had been taken.[39] Douville journeyed
on to Montreal alone, while Ensign Dubuisson hastened to Kiskakon with
the two chiefs and a force of some sixty men, “with a view to deprive
the enemy [the British] of the liberty of seizing a post of considerable
importance.”[40] Dubuisson found the fort and buildings only partially
destroyed, but he was able to do little more than hold his position,
without attempting to repair the place.

In the spring of 1748, Dubuisson returned to Detroit leaving Captain
Charles DeRaymond in charge of the post, which Father de Bonnecamps,
arriving the next year, described as being “in a very bad
condition”.[41] DeRaymond was probably the most colorful figure to
command Fort Miami during the French period. He had been one of the
chief proponents of the policy of destroying the English influence in
the Ohio, as he saw the danger of tolerating the English traders in the
Miami region. In a memoir he presented in 1745 he gives one of the best
analyses of the whole Ohio question from the French point of view.[42]
Writing from Fort Miami in 1747 to the crown, he pointed out that had
the growth of English influence been checked immediately, the uprising
under Nicolas could never have occurred.[43] Now in command of a
partially ruined fort, DeRaymond had good reason to fear further
trouble. Although the Miamis had given assurances of loyalty after the
arrival of Dubuisson, most of them under the leadership of a Miami
chief, “La Demoiselle” (so termed because of his fondness for dress and
ornaments) had moved to Pickawillany, an English trading post on
Loramie’s Creek at the start of the portage to the St. Mary’s river,
northwest of the present town of Piqua, Ohio.

The French, determined to make a strong impression on the savages of the
Ohio country, and to find out the true conditions existing there, sent
the veteran officer, Pierre Joseph Celoron Celoron, Sieur de Bienville,
with a force of 230 men down to the Great Miami river. Journeying up the
later river to its headwaters, Celoron stopped at the village of “La
Demoiselle” and urged the Miamis to return to Kiskakon. Celoron was
disappointed bitterly when the wily “La Demoiselle” would merely promise
to return to Kiskakon sometime in the future. Crossing the portage to
the St. Mary’s, Celoron’s expedition continued up that river to Fort
Miami. Here they stopped only long enough to buy provisions and canoes
to continue to Detroit.[44] Celoron and Father de Bonnecamps, the
chaplain and hydrographer of the expedition, found the energetic
DeRaymond dissatisfied with his “decaying” fort. Moreover, he “did not
approve the situation of the fort and maintained that it should be
placed on the bank of the St. Joseph, a scant league from the present
site.”[45] DeRaymond wished to show them the spot that he had selected
for the new fort and obtain their opinion of it, but Celoron was in
haste to depart. DeRaymond received some consolation from the fact that
Father de Bonnecamps, an expert, could trace a plan for the proposed

Early in the year 1750, DeRaymond completed the new fort on the left
bank of the St. Joseph. It stood on rather high ground (at the present
St. Joe Boulevard and Delaware Avenue), less than a mile from the
junction of the St. Joseph and St. Mary’s.[47] Chief Cold Foot, a
staunch friend of the French, occupied the discarded buildings of the
old fort, which became the center of an Indian settlement known as Cold
Foot Village. Half a mile to the south of the new fort, where the Maumee
turns in its course toward the east, lay the village of Kiskakon. Most
of its inhabitants had joined the English at Pickawillany. Writing to
Governor LaJonquiere in September, 1749, DeRaymond reported that the
attitude of all the nations was very bad and apparently was becoming
worse.[48] Again in 1751, he reported:

  My people [the French traders] are leaving me for Detroit. Nobody
  wants to stay here and have his throat cut. All of the tribes who go
  to the English at Pickawillany come back loaded with gifts. I am too
  weak to meet the danger. Instead of twenty men, I need five
  hundred.... The tribes here are leaguing together to kill all the
  French.... This I am told by Cold Foot, a great Miami chief, whom I
  think an honest man.... If the English stay in this country, we are
  lost. We must attack and drive them out.[49]

To add to the distress of the French, a smallpox epidemic in the winter
of 1751, carried away many of the inhabitants of Cold Foot’s Village,
including their good friend, Cold Foot, and his son.[50]

That not all of the French traders at Fort Miami were scurrying to
Detroit is evident from the fact that in the year 1750 one of the most
noted traders of the area, Joseph Drouet de Richerville, came to
Kiskakon.[51] Richerville was a scion of French nobility who either was
seeking a life of adventure or was engaged in the fur trade for the mere
sake of a livelihood, as the family wealth had dwindled. Shortly after
his arrival, Richerville married Tahcumwah, the daughter of the reigning
Miami chief, Aquenochqua, and sister of the future chief, Little Turtle.
Tahcumwah was later known as Marie Louisa,[52] apparently the name she
received in baptism. All who came in contact with her at a later date
speak of her as a clever and intelligent woman, and it was largely
through her efforts that her son, Jean Baptiste de Richerville, arose to
such high prominence as the last civil chief of the Miamis.[53]

The arrival of Joseph Drouet de Richerville at Fort Miami was an
isolated case, however, and what DeRaymond had said of the traders
leaving for Detroit remained true. In all likelihood, DeRaymond, despite
his zeal, was glad to be relieved in 1751 by a new commandant, Neyon De
Villiers. De Villiers had hardly assumed command when an English trader,
John Pathin, was captured within the fort itself. As France and England
were then at peace, Governor George Clinton of New York demanded an
explanation of the incident. The French governor, the Marquis de la
Jonquiere, replied sharply:

  The English, far from confining themselves within the limits of the
  King of Great Britain’s possessions, not satisfied with multiplying
  themselves more and more on Rock River ... have more than that
  proceeded within sight of Detroit, even unto the fort of the
  Miamis.... John Pathin, an inhabitant of Willensten, has been arrested
  in the French fort of the Miamis by M. de Villiers, commandant of that
  post ... he entered the fort of the Miamis to persuade the Indians who
  remained there, to unite with those who have fled to the beautiful
  river [the Ohio.] He has been taken in the French fort. Nothing more
  is necessary.[54]

A short time later, two men of de Villiers’ garrison were scalped by “La
Demoiselle’s savages.” Indeed the English seem to have laid claim to the
very fort itself, for on Mitchell’s “Map of North America”, drawn in
1755, Fort Miami is referred to as “the Fort usurped by the French”.[55]

In June, 1752, a French and Indian force, coming by way of the Maumee
and St. Mary’s rivers, fell on Pickawillany, completely destroying the
English post, so annoying to the French at Fort Miami. Four years later,
during the French and Indian War, Lieutenant Bellestre, the commandant
of Fort Miami, led a party of 25 French and 205 Indians from his post to
the head of the James River, where they captured a blockhouse and some
ten Virginia “Rangers”. After his release, one of the captives, Major
Smith, proposed to lead a force of 1,000 woodsmen and a sufficient
number of Indians across the Ohio and over the Shawnee trail from old
Pickawillany to Fort Miami and then on to Detroit.[56] Although nothing
came of Major Smith’s plans, the site of the future Fort Wayne was to
figure prominently in all the military campaigns north of the Ohio river
for the next half century, that is throughout the dramatic events marked
by Pontiac’s conspiracy, the American Revolution, the Indian wars, and
the War of 1812.

When de Vaudreuil, governor of Canada, capitulated at Montreal in 1760,
he issued orders for the surrender of the posts—Michilimackinac,
Detroit, Green Bay, St. Joseph, Ouiatenon, and Miami—as dependencies of
Canada.[57] On November 29, 1760, Detroit was surrendered to Major
Robert Rogers in command of the “Rangers”. Eight days later, Lieutenant
John Butler with a detachment of twenty men set out from Detroit to
receive the formal transfer of Fort Miami from the French commander,
thus bringing to an end French rule at the headwaters of the Maumee.[58]

Although of strategic importance, Fort Miami never became more than a
military outpost and trading center during the French period of
occupation. Father de Bonnecamps wrote in 1749 of the French village in
and around the fort, “The French there number twenty-two; all of them
... had the fever ... There were eight houses, or to speak more
correctly, eight miserable huts which only the desire of making money
render endurable.”[59] “The desire of making money” is of course a
reference to the fur trade, the only occupation, outside of the
military, of those French living there. The large Indian villages
surrounding the fort naturally brought the trader and soldier, but, at
the same time, this uncertain element of Indian friendship probably
excluded any sizable French settlement. Whatever the reasons we must
conclude that, unlike Vincennes, Fort Miami did not attract any type of
French settler, outside of those connected with the fur trade.

Lieutenant Butler of the “Rangers” had been chosen by Col. Henry Bouquot
to receive the surrender of Fort Miami since he could speak French and
seemed “very intelligent”. He had orders to hold the post, as it was of
great importance to Detroit and being at the “carrying place of nine
miles into the waters of the Ouabache Wabash ... it would prevent a
surprise in the Spring.”[60] Lieutenant Butler found the savages
destitute and sent a French trader to Fort Pitt for the necessary
supplies.[61] In the spring, Butler was relieved by Ensign Robert
Holmes, who was destined to become one of the first victims of the
Indian uprising of 1763, known as “Pontiac’s conspiracy”. Ironically,
Holmes was also one of the first to learn of the impending danger and
passed the information on to Major Gladwyn, the English commander at
Detroit, adding, however, “this affair is very timely stopt”.[62] A
month later he allowed himself to be lured from the fort by a false
request on the part of his Indian mistress to aid a sick Miami woman.
Holmes was instantly killed by the savages concealed nearby, and the
small garrison surrendered upon the demand of Jacques Godefroy and Money
Chene, two Frenchmen who were implicated with the Miamis in the scheme.
Godefroy, after leading another successful attack on Ouiatenon,
journeyed to Sandusky where he fell into the hands of Colonel
Brandstreet who had arrived from Niagara with a large force to quell the
uprising. Godefroy had been a prominent citizen of Detroit and had taken
the oath of allegiance to the British crown; consequently, he expected
death at the hands of the British. Instead he was given his freedom on
condition that he would guide and protect an English officer, Captain
Thomas Morris, who was being sent to the Illinois Indians by way of the
Maumee. Captain Morris, was a man of culture and literary tendencies.
Being such, he kept an excellent diary of experiences, which he was
later persuaded to publish.[63]

Almost any man would have failed in an attempt to go through hundreds of
miles of hostile Indian country, and Captain Morris was no exception.
Having journeyed up the Maumee as far as Kiskakon, Morris met such a
dangerous reception at this place that he was forced to turn back. In
fact he was fortunate to escape with his life, as the Indians intended
to burn him at the stake, and he was saved by the intercession of
Godefroy and the young chief Pecanne. Morris was also befriended within
the fort by two French traders, Capucin and L’Esperance and a Jewish
trader, Levi. L’Esperance concealed the English officer within his house
until it was safe for him to leave. Captain Morris, despite the
ill-treatment by the Indians, clearly saw the reason for their
dissatisfaction. He observed that the French policy, or custom, of
intermarriage with the Indians had been more beneficial than that of
English, as the Indians felt that they and the French were one people.
Moreover, he noted that the French prohibited, “the sale of spiritous
liquors to Indians under pain of not receiving absolution; none but a
bishop [could] absolve a person guilty of it.” He went on to point out,
“This prevented many mischiefs too frequent among the unfortunate tribes
of savages who are fallen to our lot.”[64]

The failure of Captain Morris to get past Kiskakon, demonstrated beyond
doubt that as long as the Indians at this spot were unfriendly, they
could prevent any intercourse with those tribes to the south and
southwest. Consequently, Colonel George Croghan, a famous English trader
in the Ohio valley, was sent to the Maumee-Wabash area to pacify the
tribes. Croghan was received with a display of enthusiasm by the Indians
at Kiskakon, who hoisted an English flag he had given them at Fort Pitt.
Croghan reported as follows:

  The Twightwee village [the English called the Miamis “twightwees”] is
  situated on both sides of a river called St. Joseph. This river where
  it falls into the Miami [Maumee] river about a quarter of a mile from
  this place is one hundred yards wide, on the east side of which stands
  a stockade fort, somewhat ruinous. The Indian village consists of
  about forty or fifty cabins, besides nine or ten French houses, a
  runaway colony from Detroit during the late Indian war; they were
  concerned in it, and being afraid of punishment came to this post,
  where ever since they have spirited up the Indians against the
  English. All the French residing here are a lazy indolent people, fond
  of breeding mischief ... and should by no means be suffered to remain
  here.... The country is pleasant, the soil rich and well watered.[65]

Croghan’s judgment of the French at Kiskakon seems rather harsh,
although his opinion of the French at Vincennes is no better. Apparently
in the eyes of the austere English and colonists, the more carefree life
of the French “habitants” of the western posts seemed to be an
indication of indolence on the latter’s part.[66] Furthermore, it is
difficult to explain why the same French people who had saved the life
of Captain Morris in the previous year would now be “spiriting up” the
Indians against the English, especially since Pontiac’s plans had
collapsed. On the other hand, it was not to be expected that these
French people would immediately cast aside all hostility toward their
recent enemies. By 1765, it is likely that these French traders, weary
of the warfare that had ruined their business, were ready to assume a
neutral attitude, while the Indians themselves grudgingly came to terms
with the English.

From the day Fort Miami fell to Pontiac’s Miami allies in 1763 until
General Anthony Wayne built the American fort on the side of the modern
city of Fort Wayne in 1794, there was no permanent[67] garrison
stationed at the headwaters of the Maumee. Over this period of
thirty-one years—during which time the American nation came into
being—the region of which we speak gradually became the rendezvous of a
defiant mixture of Indian warriors and lawless renegades of the
frontier, such as the Girties. It was also the home of a heterogeneous
population of English and French traders and their families, French
“engages”, and Miami, Delaware, and Shawnee tribes. In 1790, General
Harmar’s men counted seven distinct villages in the immediate area. All
together, they formed a considerable settlement or settlements, known
near the end of the Revolution as the Miami Towns, the Miami Villages,
or simply, Miamitown. In a sense such a place was the forerunner of the
lawless frontier towns of the next century.

In 1772, Sir William Johnson, in charge of Indian affairs in America,
pointed out to the British government the advisability of reoccupying
and strengthening the Miami post, as it was “a place of some
importance”.[68] Since the Indians were pacified, the home government
for the sake of economy, did not see fit to carry out his suggestion at
the time. A memorandum of the same year speaks of the “fort being
inhabited by Eight or Ten French families”.[69] A census, apparently
taken in 1769 by the English, lists the names of nine French families
living at Fort Miami.[70] These French residents were nearly all
traders, though some of them had been located here for many years. By
1772, most of them were willing to accept the friendship of their former
foes, the English—primarily for mercenary reasons. British policy kept
the colonists from occupying the land north of the Ohio, which meant the
preservation of the Indian fur trade. Moreover practically all their
furs were sold through the London market. Thus, with the outbreak of the
American Revolution, the French traders at Fort Miami felt they had more
to lose by being friendly with the American cause than their neighbors,
the French inhabitants of Vincennes and the Illinois settlements who
were primarily interested in farming.[71]

With the outbreak of the Revolution, British troops could not be spared
for the post at Miamitown, but it was placed under strict supervision by
Lieutenant-Governor Henry Hamilton at Detroit. Hamilton appointed
Jacques Lasselle, an officer in the Canadian militia, to the
super-intendency of this post as an agent of Indian affairs. Lasselle
arrived with his family in 1776 from Montreal.[72] His duties were to
see that the Indians maintained their active friendship for the British
cause and to check the passports of all persons going from Detroit to
the Wabash and lower Ohio.[73] None but those holding a license issued
by the British authorities were permitted to engage in trade.

The year that brought Lasselle to Miamitown gave also to the region
Peter LaFontaine and Charles (John?) Beaubien from Detroit.[74] Both
settled in the Spy Run area of modern Fort Wayne. In his marriage with a
Miami woman and the identification of his interests with those of the
Indians, LaFontaine declared his loyalty to the red men. LaFontaine’s
grandson, Francis LaFontaine, was the last chief of the Miamis to hold
any real authority over the tribe. To Charles Beaubien there attaches
greater interest. He was very active in the English cause and was a
favorite of both Hamilton and Major Arent S. DePeyster, who succeeded
Hamilton as Lieutenant-Governor of Detroit. From Miamitown, Beaubien,
with a young Frenchman named Lorimer and a band of some eighty Indians,
made a raid into Kentucky, where they captured an American party under
Daniel Boone at Blue Licks in 1778. In the same year he served as a
scout for Hamilton’s army, preceding it to Vincennes. DePeyster, in
1780, proposed to recall all the traders, but Beaubien, from Miamitown.
Because of his pro-British activities, Beaubien was cordially hated by
the people of Vincennes, who “wish[ed] to hang” him.[75]

On September, 26, 1778, Hamilton received from Beaubien at Miamitown the
first news that Colonel George Rogers Clark and his Virginians had taken
Vincennes.[76] Hamilton prepared for his ill-fated expedition to
Vincennes by ordering the militia to prepare the Maumee-Wabash portage
route and strengthen the defenses at Miamitown. Supplies, valued at
$50,000, were left there to be sent to Vincennes later. Concerning the
portage, Hamilton wrote:

  The waters were so uncommonly low that we should not have been able to
  have passed but that at the distance of four miles from the landing
  place the beavers had made a dam which kept up the water; these we cut
  through to give passage to our boats.... The beaver are never molested
  at that place by the traders or Aberigines, and soon repair their

Clark constantly thought the capture of Detroit to be his ultimate goal
in the northwest campaign. The first step in his proposed expedition was
to be the reduction of Miamitown; however, he was prevented from making
any move toward Miamitown and Detroit, as he lacked men and supplies.
While the subject was still fresh in the minds of the inhabitants along
the lower Ohio, another individual made his appearance to undertake what
even the daring Clark considered imprudent. This man was Augustus Mottin
de LaBalme, a lieutenant-colonel in the French cavalry who had come to
America to offer his services to the colonies. In July, 1777, he was
commissioned inspector general of cavalry by Congress, but feeling
himself slighted in not being placed in command of that division of the
army, he resigned in October and engaged in private business. Late in
the spring of 1780, he was sent west to arouse the French in Illinois.
The antipathy of the Indians and French toward the Virginians hindered
him a great deal and in order to accomplish his purpose, he abandoned
the Virginians and promised the French and Indians that royal troops of
France would soon be on the Mississippi.[78]

    [Illustration: Map carried by Colonel LaBalme at the time of his
    death. Courtesy British Library.]

At Vincennes and Kaskaskia he gathered a force to lead against
Miamitown, with the ultimate objective being Detroit. Four hundred men
were to have joined him at Ouiatenon, but as these reinforcements did
not appear, he was obliged to strike at Miamitown on November 3, 1780,
with but 103 men, before the news of the expedition reached there. The
initial blow was successful as the traders and Indians were taken by
surprise and barely had time to flee the village. The Lasselle family
was forced to escape by way of the Maumee, and in their haste, their
small daughter was drowned. LaBalme’s men fell to plundering the
traders’ goods and Indian villages, then retired to Aboite creek, a few
miles to the southwest. Beaubien and LaFontaine, whose goods had been
destroyed, incited the Indians to attack LaBalme, as the Indians,
learning the party was French, were not disposed at first to retaliate.
The red men, led by their famous war chief, Little Turtle, in his first
major engagement, completely defeated LaBalme’s force, all but a few
being either killed or captured. LaBalme himself was killed and his
personal papers, along with the news of the victory, were sent to
DePeyster at Detroit. Among these papers was the intelligence LaBalme
had gathered about Miamitown and its traders. The goods at Beaubiens’
store, which was “kept by Mr. LaFontaine, and old man” was valued at
50,000 livres. Another store, kept by Mr. Mouton, a partner of Beaubien,
was also valued at 50,000 livres. These goods were “equally well
disposed” to “Mr. Barthelemy [listed in the census of Fort Miami in
1769], Mr. Rivard, Mr. Lorrance, Mr. Gouin of Detroit, Mr. Lascelle
[Lasselle?], Mr. Pottevin, Mr. Paillet, Mr. Duplessy, & others ... & an
American called George, a partner of Israel [possibly the Jew, Levi, who
aided Captain Morris in 1764].”[79]

DePeyster was thoroughly alarmed upon learning of LaBalme’s expedition,
and he immediately dispatched the “Rangers” to Miamitown with orders to
cover the cannon there, until it was possible to send them to
Detroit.[80] Captain Thompson of the “Rangers” reported to DePeyster on
March 14, 1781, that he was taking immediate action to alter the old
fort. A false rumor that the French of Vincennes were heading for
Miamitown, brought the Indians flocking to their villages. Their spirit
was very high, and several times they asked Captain Thompson for
assistance “to go and destroy Post St. Vincent, as it is the only place
that gives them any uneasiness.”[81] Within a year, however, DePeyster
reported that the Miamis and other tribes in the area were growing
fearful of being too closely allied with the British.[82] It is possible
that they had received some information concerning Cornwallis’ surrender
at Yorktown.

The treaty of Paris in 1783, which formally brought to an end the
Revolutionary War, transferred the sovereignty of the land south of the
Great Lakes to the United States. Actually this transfer made little
impression on conditions at Miamitown, for, in truth, the Revolution in
the West closed only with the Jay and Greenville treaties. Great
Britain, in violation of the treaty of Paris, continued to hold Detroit
together with other posts along the southern shore of the Lakes. By this
means they maintained effective control of the fur trade of the
Northwest, and, thereby, to a great extent, influenced the Indians. Just
how much the British officials were responsible for the Indian warfare
from 1783 to 1794 is a debatable question. At times the action of the
British officials seems to have been a case of the right hand not
letting the left hand know what it was doing. Most present-day students
of the subject are inclined to acquit the British government of any
positive agency in the matter. They point out that the constant warfare
injured the fur trade of the area which was in a state of decline during
this period anyway.[83] Nor did the Indians need much encouragement to
take the warpath, as the ever-increasing tide of immigration coming down
the Ohio and across the mountains threatened to engulf them. But the
American settler did not reason this way; to him the English government
was responsible. Milo Quaife, historian of the Northwest, correctly

  The present day scholar, possessing sources of information denied to
  contemporaries and entire immunity from the gory scalping knife and
  tomahawk, may consider the subject calmly and philosophically; the
  American borderer’s opinions were based upon the acts of Great
  Britain’s agents in America and the visible facts of the situation on
  the frontier.[84]

A concrete example of the condition of the Indian fur trade and warfare
during this period and their connection with the British trader and his
government is given in the history of Miamitown between 1783 and 1794.
Strong evidence indicates that despite the general decline in the fur
trade, the region southwest of Detroit, and Miamitown especially, was
extremely important for the British fur trade. In 1790, the British
commander at Detroit, Major Smith, wrote to his superiors:

  How far the loss of the Miamis Country, to the protection of His
  Majesty, will effect this Post and its trade, is a matter it would be
  presumptive in me to comment on. I think it however my duty to observe
  that it is a considerable mart of Indian Commerce uniting in this

A month later Dorchester, Governor of Canada, warned the authorities in
London that the loss of Miamitown to the Americans would bring grave
hardships to the trade at Detroit.[86] In an earlier document he had
estimated that 2000 packs of furs were taken yearly from the Miami
region, bringing an income of some 24,000 pounds sterling. This far
exceeded any other area south of the Great Lakes, doubling in fact the
number of packs taken from the next most important area, that from
Detroit north to Lake Huron.[87]

In the heart of the Indian country, Miamitown was also the principal
point from which the Indian raiding parties harassed the frontier.
Twenty-six war parties left Miamitown in a period of six months during
1786.[88] There is a strong tradition and some evidence to show that a
secret society of Miami warriors of necessary courage and cunning met at
stated intervals at Miamitown for the purpose of burning a captive and
eating his flesh.[89] By its proximity to Detroit, Miamitown remained
within the British orbit of trade. The merchants at Miamitown formed a
loose association for their mutual benefit called the “Society of the
Miamis”.[90] Business was carried on not only with Detroit and other
English controlled stations, but also with Vincennes and the Illinois
settlements, until Indian warfare and the animosity of the American
settlers toward the traders made it virtually impossible to go to the
lower Wabash.

Low market prices, bad fur seasons, and almost constant warfare by the
Indians threatened to ruin the fur trade in the years immediately
following the Revolution. Many of the small companies failed and the
larger ones had difficulties. David Gray, a prominent trader at
Miamitown, was advised not to come to Detroit, as his creditor, William
Robertson, was awaiting Gray’s arrival.[91] The previous year, 1785, the
same Gray had been requested to aid in collecting a long-standing debt
from two of his fellow villagers, Rivard and LaBerche.[92] Larimier,
another trader at Miamitown, failed because he could not meet the claims
of his creditors.[93] There was constant danger that the British traders
might lose all the export trade of the region to the Spanish at New
Orleans. In 1787, the “Society” found it necessary to send “the
Grandmaster to Vincennes to keep the trade from going to New
Orleans.”[94] The Indians were also an uncertain quantity and at times
were hostile even to the traders. Chapeau, a member of the “Society”,
was killed by the Indians and George Ironside reluctantly told Gray at
Vincennes to send the goods to New Orleans rather than risk shipping
them up the Wabash.[95] Gray was repeatedly warned by Ironside to be
most cautious on his return trip to Miamitown as he was in danger of
losing his life. It is to the credit of the Miamitown traders that they
traded only sparingly in liquor with the Indians. Their reasons were not
altogether altruistic, however, as the price of liquor was exceptionally

The most candid description of the character of the trade at Miamitown
has been left to us by Henry Hay, who wrote in his journal of 1790:

  ... but few skins comes in, and almost every individual (except the
  engages) is an Indian trader, everyone tries to get what he can either
  by fowle play or otherwise—that is by traducing one another’s
  characters and merchandise. For instance by saying such a one has no
  Blankets another no strowde or is damned bad or he’ll cheat you & so
  on—in short I cannot term it in a better manner than calling it a
  Rascally Scrambling Trade &c &c.[96]

Henry Hay, the writer, was an English trader and partisan who sojourned
in Miamitown for a period of four months during the winter of 1789-90.
His day-by-day account, obviously not intended for publication, gives us
a cross section of life at Miamitown in all its aspects, both civilized
and savage. Hay seems to have been in the employee of William Robertson,
the Detroit merchant, although there is good reason to believe that he
was also employed by Major Murray, the English commander at Detroit. Set
off against the hard life of a trading post among Indian villages was
the characteristic vivacity and gaiety of the French atmosphere
prevalent in the town. The daily routine was by no means dull; drinking,
dancing, and parties formed a constant round of entertainment in which
the visitors gladly take part. Hay and John Kinzie (later the founder of
Chicago) played the flute and fiddle for parties and dances, as well as
for the ladies alone, and at Mass in the home of one of the oldest
residents, Barthelemy. Their religion was an intricate part of the lives
of the French inhabitants. During the four months Hay was at Miamitown,
Mass was celebrated at Barthelemy’s house by Father Louis Payet, a
missionary from Detroit. After playing at Mass on one occasion, Hay
wrote, “The French settlers of this place go to prayers of a Sunday,
morning and evening, ... the people are collected by the Ringing of
three cow bells, which three boys runs about thro’ the village, which
makes as much noise as twenty cows would.”[97]

Miamitown in 1790 had certain refinements not to be expected behind its
rough exterior. Afternoon coffee and lunch was served in the home of
Mrs. Adhemar on numerous occasions. Dinners were given in grand style.
For the parties the men and women dressed in their finest apparel. Mr.
Adhemar and Mr. DeSeleron made their appearance at a ball wearing very
fine fur caps, “adorned with a quantity of Black Ostridge Feathers” and
“Cockades made with white tinsell Ribbon, amasingly large.”[98] Less
refining was the constant drinking. At different times, Hay and his
companions became “infernally drunk”, “very drunk”, and “damned drunk”.
One affair was memorable in that none of the men became drunk, “which is
mostly the case in this place when they collect together”.[99] Dancing
was also a favorite pastime, so much so, that after dancing three nights
in succession, Hay found his feet too swollen to continue. It appeared
as if dancing was never enjoyed more by anyone than by these French
“habitants”. It became almost a passion; when they grew weary of the old
steps, new ones were devised. The almost annual springtime flood seems
to have been more severe than usual in the year 1790. But not even the
flood dampened the gaiety, for before the waters had subsided, the
ladies were taken for a row on the river to be serenaded by the flute
and fiddle. Not all was fun and frolic, however, as business was
transacted regularly by the traders.

In strange contrast to the minuet and “dance ronby” were the wild war
dances of the Indians across the river in celebration of a victorious
raid on the American settlements.[100] From the French village situated
on the St. Joseph river where it meets the St. Mary’s, Hay could easily
see these spectacles. Behind the traders’ houses, northward to Spy Run
Creek, lived the band of Miamis under LeGris, one of the most prominent
and intellectual chiefs of his time. Across the river, in the present
Lakeside area of Fort Wayne, was the principal village of the Miamis
under Pacan, who in his youth had saved Captain Morris.[101] Frequent
discussions were held by the traders with Pacan, LeGris, Blue Jacket,
and Little Turtle; LeGris and Little Turtle often ate and stayed at
Hay’s house. The three Girty brothers, the terrors of the frontier,
visited Miamitown on a number of occasions during Hay’s sojourn. James
and George Girty lived only three miles from Miamitown, and came more
often than their brother, Simon. It is noteworthy that Hay obligingly
wrote a letter for George Girty to Alexander McKee, the British Indian
agent, informing McKee that the Miamis had upbraided the Delawares by
“telling them that the Ground they occupied now is not theirs and that
... the Delawares answered, they were great fools to fight for lands
that was not theirs and consequently would not go to war against the
Americans any more.”[102] Girty asked McKee to check the Delaware

It is clear that the inhabitants of Miamitown were, for the most part,
English partisans. Hay could not venture his “carcass” among the “parcel
of renegards” [sic] at Vincennes.[103] When Antoine Lasselle did venture
southward and was captured by the Indians who thought him to be
sympathetic with the Americans, Major Murray intervened and the people
of the village certified that Lasselle was “a good loyalist” and “always
for supporting his King”.[104] When Lorraine, an inhabitant of Miamitown
for forty years, died and was buried, “the young Volunteers of the place
gave him three Vollies ... in Honor to his services rendered to the King
of Great Britain.”[105] Evidently the time Lorraine had aided Pontiac’s
Indians in capturing the British post at Ouiatenon was forgotten at this
late date. Not all of the traders at Miamitown were good loyalists,
however. James Abbott is described as being “one of our dis-affected
subjects.” He refused to obtain the necessary permit for trading and
spoke to the Indians of “Major Murray & Capt. McKee in so disrespectfull
a manner that they ... determined to send Strings of Wampum into Detroit
immediately to informe them of it.”[106]

On the first of April, 1790, Hay departed for Detroit, “much regretted
by every one in the village”.[107] Less than seven months later
Miamitown lay in ashes, ravaged by an American army which left 183 of
its men dead in the vicinity. There is nothing in Hay’s journal to
indicate that the French, English, or Indian occupants of the villages
anticipated the blow which was to be dealt them by Harmar’s army,
although they were fully aware of the movements which preceded the
coming of Harmar. “John Thompson [a prisoner] ... informed me their was
great talk of raising men to come against the Ind’s”, wrote Hay on March
24, 1790. “However”, he continued, “General St. Clair who is now at the
Big Miami [Cincinnati] with two boat loads of goods, means to call the
Indians together at a Council at Post Vincennes—But if the Indians do
not come to a settlement with them, they mean to fight them.”[107]

This and other councils were held. St. Clair, governor of the newly
created Northwest Territory, following Washington’s instructions,
offered peace to the Indians. Antoine Gamelin, a merchant from Vincennes
favorably known by the Indians, was sent with the Governor’s overtures
to the hostile Indians. The tribes along the Wabash would give Gamelin
no answer until he conferred with those at Miamitown. Here, the Indians,
as well as the traders, assembled to hear Gamelin’s speech. Their reply
was evasive and unsatisfactory, while their true attitude was revealed
by the burning of an American prisoner only three days after Gamelin’s

War was now inevitable, and during the five years of bloody conflict
that followed, Miamitown was the principal goal of the American forces.
As early as 1784, Washington had confided in his future Secretary of
War, Henry Knox, that the establishment of a strong post at Miamitown
was desirable for the welfare of the new nation in the West.[109] The
following year, Washington wrote to Richard Henry Lee for the benefit of
the Continental Congress, advocating a strong western policy. In his
letter Washington said:

  Would it not be worthy of the wisdom and the attention of congress to
  have the western waters well explored, the navigation of them fully
  ascertained, and accurately laid down, ... at least as far westerly as
  the Miamis running into the Ohio [the Great Miami] and Lake Erie [the
  Maumee] ... for I cannot forbear observing that the Miami village
  points to an important post for the Union.[110]

St. Clair, while in Philadelphia during 1790, talked to both Secretary
of War, Henry Knox and President Washington, and suggested that an
American fort be established on the site of Miamitown.[111] Writing to
Knox on November 26, 1790, St. Clair again urged that General Harmar in
the forthcoming campaign be empowered to carry out this plan, concluding
his argument by saying, “we [will] never have peace with the Western
Nations until we have a garrison there.”[112] Knox, after conferring
with Washington, rejected the idea. In doing so, he wrote to the
disappointed St. Clair, the following explanation:

  In contemplating the establishment of military posts northwest of the
  Ohio, to answer the purposes of awing the Indians residing on the
  Wabash, the west end of Lake Erie, St. Joseph’s, and the Illinois ...
  and, at the same time, exhibiting a respectable appearance to the
  British troops at Detroit and Niagara, the Miami village presents
  itself as superior to any other position. This opinion was given to me
  by the President in the year 1784, and has several times been held
  forth by me to Brigadier Harmar. But at the same time, it must be
  acknowledged that the measure would involve a much larger military
  establishment than perhaps the value of the object or disposition of
  the United States would admit, and that it would be so opposed to the
  inclinations of the Indians generally ... as to bring on inevitably an
  Indian war of some duration. In addition to which, it is supposed that
  the British garrison would find themselves so uneasy with such a force
  impending over them as not only to occasion a considerable
  reinforcement of their upper posts, but also fomenting ... the
  opposition of the Indians.[113]

It would appear that the government did not wish to offend Great
Britain, a policy which was not too strong perhaps, but one that kept
the young republic at peace at a crucial time in her history. The
proposed attack on Miamitown had to be under the guise of punishing the
Indians. To do this and retire was permissible, but the establishment of
an American fort there would have been considered by the British as a
dagger pointed at Detroit. Consequently, when Harmar finally moved from
Fort Washington with his army of 1,600 men, he had orders to destroy
Miamitown and, if possible, its Indian occupants. Harmar himself
promised that, in the event of a successful campaign, he would attend to
“the villanous traders”.[114] Interestingly the British officials at
Detroit and Canada believed that Harmar fully intended to build a fort
at Miamitown although they expressed surprise at the “imprudence” of
such action. Their spies, such as the Girties and Alexander McKee, kept
them well informed of the strength and movement of Harmar’s army. They
even noted Harmar’s tendency to be intoxicated.[115]

Forewarned by the British agents of the impending attack, the Indians
adopted a “scorched earth” policy. The traders were forced to give their
stores of ammunition to the Indians and were aided in fleeing with what
goods they could carry. What was not destroyed by the Indians at
Miamitown was burned by the Americans (20,000 bushels of corn, among
other things). In two major engagements, the first at Hellar’s Corners,
eight miles north of Miamitown, and the second, a three-pronged attack
within the heart of the village and on the banks of the Maumee and St.
Joseph rivers, the Indian forces, under Little Turtle, were
victorious.[116] Although their crops and towns were destroyed and the
trade ruined, the Indians were elated over their victories, and their
frontier raids continued.

Knox now felt that, despite possible British disapproval, the only means
of checking the Indians was to establish the fort at Miamitown for which
St. Clair had asked. To carry this out, the Secretary of War asked
Congress to increase the size of the army. The force contemplated for
the intended post was 1,000 to 1,200 men. St. Clair argued that a strong
fort at Miamitown “would curb the Wabash Indians, as well as the Ottawas
and Chippewas, and all other northern tribes”; that it would “more
effectually cover the line of frontier along the Ohio, than by a post
any other place whatever (excluding Detroit)”; and “would afford more
fully security to the territory of the United States northwest of the
Ohio.”[117] For an economy-minded Congress, he pointed out that “it
would assist in the reduction of the national debt, by holding out
security to people to purchase and settle the public lands.”[118]

General Knox still feared English hostility to this move, and he
instructed St. Clair to “make such intimations as may remove all such
disposition.” These intimations, however, were better to follow, than
precede, the possession of the post, unless circumstances dictated
otherwise, as it was “not the inclination of the United States to enter
into a contest with Great Britain.”[119]

St. Clair never reached Miamitown. Badly trained and inexperienced, his
army of 1,400 men suffered one of the most terrible defeats ever
inflicted on American forces. Five hundred and thirty-two men fell
before Little Turtle’s Indians on the site of Fort Recovery, Ohio. The
situation was now critical. The Indians now attacked the frontier with
impunity and another defeat might mean the complete alienation of the
West from the new union. At this crucial point, General Anthony Wayne,
hero of Stony Point in the Revolution, was appointed commander-in-chief
of the American army. It is not necessary to give in detail the long
months of preparation of Wayne’s “Legion” and the swift campaign which
was carried out in the Maumee valley. Wayne cut the Indian forces in two
by feinting toward Miamitown, then moving between it and the English
Fort Miami at the mouth of the Maumee. Before the various tribes could
reorganize fully, the “Legion” turned on the Indian forces to the east.
At Fallen Timbers, a short distance from Toledo, on August 20, 1794,
Wayne’s army met and defeated the red men. The Indian power in the
Northwest was for the time being shattered and Wayne moved down the
Maumee to complete his task, the construction, near the site of the old
Kiskakon, of a new American stronghold in the Northwest—Fort Wayne.

[1]“Kekionga” is said to mean “blackberry bush”, this plant being
    considered an emblem of antiquity because it sprang up on the sites
    of old villages. This theory rests on the statement of Barron, an
    old French trader of the area. However, the word “Kekionga” is more
    likely a corruption of Kiskakon. The Kiskakons or “cut tails” were
    the principal tribe of the Ottawas who lived on the Maumee at a very
    early time, for which reason this river was sometimes called the
    “Ottawa”. _Archeological American_, 1,278; “Relation of Sieur de
    Lamothe Cadillac, 1718” _Wisconsin Historical Collections_, XVI, p.

[2]From Little Turtle’s speech at the Treaty of Greenville, quoted in H.
    S. Knapp’s _History of the Maumee Valley_, p. 357.

[3]Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, IV, 224 lists the

  a. Green Bay, Lake Winnebago and Fox River to the Wisconsin River and
          to the Mississippi.
  b. From the upper end of Lake Michigan, the Chicago river, and a short
          portage to the Des Plaines, and Illinois rivers.
  c. The St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, a portage to the Kankakee and so
          to the Illinois river again.
  d. The St. Joseph river to the Wabash by a longer portage and then
          down to the Ohio and Mississippi.
  e. The Miami of Lake Erie, a portage to the Wabash and down as above.

[4]H. S. Knapp, _History of the Maumee Valley_, pp. 9-10; Justin Winsor,
    _Cartier to Frontenac_, p. 224; Elbert J. Benton, “The Wabash Trade
    Route in the Development of the Old Northwest” _John Hopkins
    University Studies in Historical and Political Science_, XXI, 12.

[5]Pierre Margry, _Decouvertes des francais dans L’Amerique
    Septentrionale_ II, 98.

[6]Justin Winsor, _Cartier to Frontenac_, p. 256.

[7]Pierre Margry, _op. cit._, II, 296; see also, Beverley Bond,
    _Foundations of Ohio_, pp. 70-8. Bond holds that the Maumee-Wabash
    route was the original one intended to be used by LaSalle who then
    decided to establish his communication by means of the upper Ohio;
    due to the Iroquois, however, he fell back upon the Maumee-Wabash
    route as the best means of reaching the Mississippi, but was forced
    to abandon this also to the Iroquois. Later Cadillac was to adopt
    LaSalle’s Lake Erie-Maumee-Wabash route.

[8]Logan Esarey, _History of Indiana_, p. 12.

[9]Elbert J. Benton, _op. cit._, p. 17.

[10]Otho Winger, _The Last of the Miamis_, p. 3.

[11]Pierre Margry, _op cit._, V, 359-62.

[12]Beverley Bond, _op. cit._, p. 76.

[13]Cadillac Papers, _Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collection,
    XXXIII_, 338.

[14]Charles Slocum, _History of the Maumee River Basin_, I, 86; H. S.
    Knapp, _op. cit._, p. 9; “Forts Miami and Fort Industry”, _Ohio
    Archaeological and Historical Society Publications_, XII, 120.

[15]_New York Colonial Documents_, IX, p. 676. This French officer was
    the elder Vincennes, the uncle of Francois Margane, Sieur de
    Vincennes. The younger Vincennes was the founder of the town of
    Vincennes on the lower Wabash.

[16]_Archives des Colonies_, c 11 117, 118, (Paris) Pierre Margry, _op.
    cit._, V, 178, 218, 225-8; 239-43; 256-8, 262-7; 271-3; 278;

[17]_New York Colonial Documents, Paris Documents_, IX, 891.

[18]Archives de la Province Quebec, Vaudreuil to Council of Marine, Oct.
    24, 1722.

[19]_New York Colonial Documents_, IX, 894.

[20]“Céloron Journal” _Wisconsin Historical Collections_, XVIII, 51.

[21]Archives de la Province Quebec, de Vaudreuil to Council of Marine,
    Oct. 24, 1722.

[22]_The Jesuits Relations_, ed. by Reuben G. Thwaites, LXIX, p. 189.

[23]Archives de la Province Quebec, de Vaudreuil to Council of Marine,
    Oct. 24, 1722.

[24]_Archives des Colonies_, c 11 117, 118.

[25]_Letters of Governor Spotswood_, II, 296.

[26]Norman Cadwell, _The French in the Mississippi Valley_, 1740-1750,
    p. 95.

[27]_New York Colonial Documents, Paris Documents_, IX, 894.

[28]_Wisconsin Historical Collections_, XVII, 211. Sieur Darnaud was in
    all likelihood Nicolas-Marie Renoud Davenne, born 1696, died 1743.

[29]_Indiana Historical Society Publications_, VII, 72. This post was a
    new settlement of the English from Carolina apparently on the upper
    Ohio River.

[30]_Ibid._, p. 72.

[31]_Archives des Colonies_, C 11 117, 118.

[32]_Archives de Colonies_, C 11 117, 118.


[34]_Wisconsin Historical Collections_, XVIII, 175.

[34a]_Archives des Colonies_, C 11 118.

[35]Norman Caldwell, _op. cit._, p. 41.

[36]_Ibid._, p. 31.

[37]_Ibid._, p. 41.

[38]_New York Colonial Documents, Paris Documents_, X, 140.

[39]_Wisconsin Historical Collections, XVII_, 486-7.

[40]_New York Colonial Documents, Paris Documents_, X, 150.

[41]_The Jesuit Relations_, ed. by Reuben G. Thwaites, LXIX, 189.

[42]Norman Caldwell, _op. cit._, p. 95.

[43]_Ibid._, p. 95.

[44]The journal kept by Celoron on this expedition may be found in
    Margry, _op. cit._, VI, 666 ff.

[45]_Jesuit Relations_, ed. by R. Thwaites, LXIX, 189.

[46]_Ibid._, p. 189.

[47]_Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications_, XII, 120.

[48]_Mississippi Valley Historical Review_, IX, 315.

[49]Francis Parkman, _Montcalm and Wolfe_, I, 87.

[50]Charles Slocum, _op. cit._, p. 99.

[51]Charles Lasselle, “Indian Traders of Indiana”, _Indiana Magazine of
    History_, II, Number 1, 4.

[52]_A Narrative of Life on the Frontier, Henry Hay’s Journal_, ed. by
    Milo Quaife, p. 261.

[53]_See below_, pp. [p 79-80.]

[54]Marquis de la Jonquiere to Governor Clinton, Aug. 10, 1751, _New
    York Colonial Documents_, VI, pp. 731-34.

[55]Mitchell’s map was the best known of contemporary maps of North
    America. A reproduction of this map may be found in the _Michigan
    Pioneer and Historical Collection_, XXXVI, 52-3.

[56]Beverley Bond, _op. cit._, pp. 153-154.

[57]For an interesting discussion of the French attempt during the peace
    negotiations at the end of the war to establish the Maumee and
    Wabash rivers as the new boundary between the two colonial empires,
    see Theodore Pease’s article, “Indiana in Contention between France
    and England” in the _Indiana Historical Bulletin_, XII.

[58]“Croghan’s Journal”, _Early Western Travels_, ed. by R. G. Thwaites,
    I, 122-23.

[59]_Jesuit Relations_, LXIX, 189.

[60]_Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections_, XIX, 47.

[61]_Ibid._, p. 47.

[62]Francis Parkman, _Conspiracy of Pontiac_, I, 189.

[63]The Journal of Captain Morris as quoted in his _Miscellanies in
    Prose and Verse_ has been reprinted in _Early Western Travels_, I,

[64]Captain Thomas Morris, _op. cit._, p. 312. This prohibition of the
    sale of liquor to the Indiana was not always as successful as Capt.
    Morris thought.

[65]“Croghan’s Journal”, _Western Travels_, I, 149-150.

[66]For the French philosopher Volney’s description of these French
    Creoles _See Below_, [p. 34.]

[67]After LaBalme’s raid, a British force was stationed at Fort Miami
    for four months, _See Below_, [p. 16.]

[68]_Illinois Historical_ XVI, 60.

[69]_Indiana Historical Society Publications_, II, 435.

[70]_Ibid._, p. 439-40. The following names are listed: Capuchin,
    Baptiste Campau, Nicholas Perct, Pierre Barthe, Bergerson,
    Berthelemy, Dorien, Francois Maisonville, Laurain.

[71]As it turned out the people of Vincennes suffered a great deal for
    their friendship with the American cause.

[72]Charles Lasselle, _loc. cit._, p. 4.

[73]Wallace A. Brice, _History of Fort Wayne_, p. 102.

[74]Charles Lasselle, _loc. cit._, p. 4.

[75]DePeyster to Haldimand, Nov. 16, 1780, and Haldimand to DePeyster,
    June 6, 1781, Haldimand Papers relating to Detroit, 1772-84, II,
    British Museum. After his release from captivity by the Americans,
    Colonel Hamilton accused Beaubien of treachery for not following
    Hamilton’s orders during the campaign, cf. Hamilton’s account of the
    ill fated expedition against Vincennes, Hamilton to Haldimand, July
    6, 1781, Haldimand Papers, II, British Museum.

[76]Hamilton to Haldimand, Sept. 26, 1778. _Michigan Pioneer
    Collections_, X, 449.

[77]Hamilton to Haldimand, July 6, 1781, Haldimand Papers, II, British

[78]_Michigan Pioneer Collections_, XIX, 699. For LaBalme’s dramatic
    speeches to the French, see the _Illinois Historical Collections_,
    II, p. xci. For other information concerning LaBalme, see the
    _Virginia State Papers_, I, p. 380. The complete papers of LaBalme
    were forwarded to the war ministry in London and together with the
    map carried by LaBalme at the time of his death are available in the
    Haldimand Papers, II, 13, British Museum (London).

[79]“LaBalme Papers”, _Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections_,
    XIX, 578-8.

[80]“Haldimand Papers”, _Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections_,
    XIX, 582.

[81]Capt. A. Thompson to DePeyster, Mar. 14, 1781, _Michigan Pioneer and
    Historical Collections_, XIX, 589-600.

[82]DePeyster to Haldimand, Apr. 22, 1782, Haldimand Papers, II, British

[83]Wayne Steven, “The Northwest Fur Trade” _University of Illinois
    Studies in Social Sciences_, XIV, p. 513.

[84]Milo Quaife, _op. cit._, p. 209.

[85]Major Smith to Dorchester, Oct. 16, 1790, Public Records Office,
    (Colonial Series) CO-42 73, London.

[86]Dorchester to Grenville, October 17, 1790, Public Records Office,
    (Colonial Series) CO-42 73.

[87]Dorchester to Grenville, May 31, 1790, Public Records Office,
    (Colonial Series) CO-42 73.

[88]Leonard Helderman, “Danger on the Wabash, Vincennes letters of
    1786-87” _Indiana Magazine of History_, XXXIV, 459.

[89]Logan Esarey, _op. cit._, I, 102.

[90]George Sharp to Paul Camelin, June 23, 1786, “Letters from
    Eighteenth Century Indiana Merchants” (the Lasselle Papers) ed. C.B.
    Coleman and published in the _Indiana Magazine of History_, V,

[91]George Leith to Gray, Apr. 3, 1786, _loc. cit._, V, 144-145.

[92]John MacPherson to Gray, March, 1785, _loc. cit._, V, 142-143.

[93]Ironside to Gray, Apr. 15, 1787, _loc. cit._, V, 151-152.

[94]Ironside to Gray, Mar. 15, 1787, _loc. cit._, V, 150.

[95]Ironside to Gray, Feb. 16, 1787, _loc. cit._, V, 149. George
    Ironside was a leading trader in the Maumee valley. He was born in
    1760 and died in 1830, at Amherstburg. For many years he was in the
    British Indian service. He was an M. A. of King’s College, Aberdeen
    and was known, even to the Americans, for his humanity and

[96]_A Narrative of Life on the Old Frontier, Henry Hay’s Journal from
    Detroit to the Mississippi River_, edited by M. M. Quaife, p. 224.

[97]_Ibid._, p. 221.

[98]_Ibid._, p. 241.

[99]_Ibid._, p. 240.

[100]_Ibid._, p. 260. Hay gives an interesting description of the
    “Natt”, the Indian symbol of war, carried about much like the
    Ancient Roman standards.

[101]_above_, [p. 23.]

[102]Quaife, _op. cit._, p. 226.

[103]_Ibid._, p. 245.

[104]_Ibid._, p. 237.

[105]_Ibid._, p. 258.

[106]_Ibid._, p. 245.

[107]_Ibid._, p. 261.

[108]_Indiana Historical Society Publications_, VII, 360.

^[109]“Gamelin’s Journal”, St. Clair Papers, II, pp. 155-160; _American
    State Papers_, Indian Affairs, I, P. 37.

[109]_St. Clair Papers_, ed. Wm. Smith, II, 181.

[110]_The Writings of George Washington_, ed. Jared Sparks, IX, 80-81.

[111]_St. Clair Papers_, II, 181.

[112]_Ibid._, 193.

[113]Knox to St. Clair, Sept. 14, 1790, _St. Clair Papers_, II, p. 181.

[114]_American State Papers, Indian Affairs_, I, p. 104-5.

[115]Dorchester to Grenville, Nov. 10, 1790, including dispatches from
    A. McKee and others, Public Record Office (Colonial Series) CO-42;
    73, London.

[116]For the accounts of the battles see Harmar’s report in _ASP, Indian
    Affairs_, I, pp. 104; also the “Military Journal of Major Ebenezer
    Denny” in _Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania_, VII,
    343-353. The heaviest action took place at Harmar’s ford at the end
    of Harmar Street. Here the regulars suffered severely while
    attempting to cross the Maumee in the face of the Indians’ fire.

[117]_ASP, Indian Affairs_, I, 112.

[118]_Ibid._, p. 112.

[119]“Knox’s Instructions to St. Clair”, _Michigan Pioneer and
    Historical Collections_, XXIV, 197-8.

                               Chapter II
     The Establishment of Fort Wayne—Government Outpost of Defense,
                          Diplomacy and Trade

Wayne’s victorious “Legion” arrived at Miamitown on the evening of
September 17, 1794. Lieutenant John Boyer, to whose journal we are
indebted for the best account of the conditions relating to the
construction of Fort Wayne, wrote on the day of the arrival:

  ... there are nearly five hundred acres of cleared land lying in one
  body on the rivers St. Joseph, St. Mary’s and Miami; there are fine
  points of land contiguous to those rivers adjoining the cleared land
  ... the land adjacent [is] fertile and well timbered, and from every
  appearance it has been one of the largest settlements made by the
  Indians in this country.[1]

On the following day, Wayne reconnoitered the ground and selected the
site for the new fort, an elevated position on the right bank of the
Maumee just below the confluence of the St. Mary’s and St. Joseph
rivers. The ground chosen approximates lots 11, 12, and 13 of the
present Taber addition on the northeast corner of East Berry and Clay

Wayne determined to build a strong fortification, much to the
disapproval of Lieutenant William Clark, who felt that a common picketed
one would be equally as difficult for the savages.[3] It is conceivable
that Wayne in building a strong fortification feared a future British
attack equally as much as he feared the Indians. Actual construction
began on September 24. The difficulties were many. The season was late,
and the fort had to be completed before winter came. The regulars had
been good fighters, but proved to be poor workers. All the severity of
the army code was required to keep them in line, one hundred lashes on
their bare backs being the usual punishment. The volunteers were
rebellious; for a while they were employed convoying the supplies from
Fort Defiance to Fort Wayne over the improved road Wayne had
constructed, but finally, when Wayne could no longer cope with the
Kentucky militiamen, they were sent home. Provisions were also scarce
and prices were high. Not infrequently the men were on half-rations,
while the horses died at the rate of five a day for lack of feed. A ten
gallon keg of whiskey cost eight dollars; a pint of salt, when it could
be obtained, brought six dollars.[4]

Despite these difficulties, Wayne seemed well-satisfied with the
construction of his new fort, which was capable of resisting 24 pound
guns. By October 17, he felt “free to pronounce them [Fort Wayne and
Fort Defiance] the most respectable now in the occupancy of the United
States, even in their present situation which is not quite perfect as
yet.”[5] Construction was pushed with all possible speed, and although
the fort was not quite completed, the day of dedication was set for
October 22, 1794, the fourth anniversary of Harmar’s defeat. Early that
morning, after firing fifteen rounds of cannon in honor of the fifteen
states in the Union, the flag was raised. Colonel Hamtramck then named
the new fortification, “Fort Wayne.”[6]

The “Legion” departed for Greenville on October 28, leaving
Lieutenant-Colonel John Francis Hamtramck in command of four infantry
companies and one artillery battery at Fort Wayne. Colonel Hamtramck is
described as being “a small Canadian Frenchman, an intelligent, capable,
and meritorious officer.”[7] After serving in the Revolution, Hamtramck
came to the West with Harmar, being in command at Vincennes when he
joined Wayne’s army. Although somewhat of a martinet, Hamtramck was
popular with his men and, from all accounts, one of the most efficient
officers in the army at that time.

It was fortunate that Wayne left a capable man in charge of Fort Wayne,
as Hamtramck’s difficulties proved to be many. There still remained a
great deal of work to be done in strengthening the fort, which was not
completed until the following spring. The garrison was plagued by an
epidemic of malaria fever during the first summer. This condition was
made worse by the lack of quinine or any medical supplies.[8] During the
winter, the men often went about in rags and tatters. Hamtramck was
forced to permit them to cut up their blankets and turn them into

Facing such difficulties, it is little wonder that Hamtramck complained
frequently to Generals Wayne and Wilkinson about the problems of
disciplining his rebellious men and caring for the destitute Indians who
were returning to their ruined villages. Concerning the soldiers
Hamtramck wrote, “I have flogged them until I am tired. The economic
allowance of one hundred lashes, allowed by the government, does not
appear a sufficient inducement for a rascal to act the part of an honest

Hamtramck was actively engaged at this time in discussions with the
chiefs, particularly Little Turtle, LeGris, and Richardville, concerning
the proposed peace negotiations to be held at Greenville the following
summer. In these matters, Hamtramck was aided immensely by the Lasselle
brothers, Antoine and Jacques.[10] Antoine had resided at Miamitown from
1771 until Harmer’s destruction of the village in 1790. He had fought on
the side of the Indians in the battle of Fallen Timbers and had been
captured by Wayne’s troops. Tried as a spy, he narrowly escaped the
gallows through Hamtramck’s intercession. Colonel John Johnston, Indian
factor at Fort Wayne, later described Antoine Lasselle as a man of wit
and drollery who “would often clasp his neck with both hands to show how
near he had been to hanging by order of Mad Anthony.”[11] After his
release, Antoine Lasselle with his brother Jacques returned to Fort
Wayne, apparently the first traders to do so. Here they furnished the
Americans with supplies and used their strong influence with the Miamis
to the good advantage of the American cause.

The Indians had asked that the forthcoming peace conference be held at
their old village, Kekionga, as Kiskakon had come to be called by that
time. Wayne insisted that the tribesmen come to Greenville, 79 miles
southeast of Fort Wayne. Resorting to the use of Indian symbolism, Wayne
argued, “It was there [Kekionga] that the hatchet was first raised, to
bury a bloody hatchet there would disturb the spirits of the unburied
dead.”[12] Wayne’s real reasons were less symbolic, but more practical.
The distance of bringing supplies to Fort Wayne would be much farther
than to Greenville, and at Greenville he would have his “Legion” ready
in case of trouble. In the spring the Indians going to Greenville came
by way of Fort Wayne, so overcrowding the post that Hamtramck’s garrison
had to go on half-rations to feed the delegates. Even this did not
suffice; emergency stores were depleted, while the liquor and tobacco
were so exhausted that Hamtramck had to buy additional supplies from
Antoine Lasselle.

At Greenville Wayne won the peace which Fallen Timbers had secured. In
respect to Fort Wayne, which remained an American island deep in Indian
Territory, the United States gained an area of six square miles around
the fort, free use of the Maumee-Wabash portage, and an area of two
square miles at the Wabash end of the portage. The Indians also promised
the United States the use of the roads leading to Fort Wayne from
Defiance to the northeast and Piqua to the southeast. Little Turtle,
Wayne’s keenest antagonist during the negotiations, debated long and
eloquently over these concessions at and around Fort Wayne. The great
Miami chief secured one compromise from the General, a reduction of the
land around the fort to be ceded to the United States. After this
concession by Wayne, Little Turtle addressed the council:

  These people [the French] were seen by our forefathers first at
  Detroit; afterwards we saw them at the Miami village—that glorious
  gate which your younger brothers had the happiness to own....
  Brothers, these people never told us they wished to purchase these
  lands from us.

  I now give you the true sentiments of your younger brothers with
  respect to the reservation at the Miami villages. We thank you kindly
  for contracting the limits you at first proposed. We wish you to take
  this six mile square on the side of the river where your fort now
  stands, as your younger brothers wish to inhabit that beloved spot
  again ... The next place you pointed to was the Little River, and said
  you wanted two miles square at that place. This is a request that our
  fathers, the French or British, never made us; it was always ours.
  This carrying place has heretofore proved in a great degree, the
  subsistence of your younger brothers. That place has brought us in the
  course of one day, the amount of one hundred dollars. Let us both own
  this place.[13]

To this Wayne replied:

  The Little Turtle observes, he never heard of any cession made at that
  place [Fort Wayne] to the French. I have traced the lines of two forts
  at that point ... and it is ever an established rule, among the
  Europeans, to reserve as much ground around their forts, as their
  cannon can command.[14]

Wayne could not grant Little Turtle’s request for joint-control of the
Maumee-Wabash portage since the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 guaranteed
to everyone free use of all important portages (Article V). Wayne proved
himself an economist and shrewd diplomat by arguing before the other
assembled tribes that the tolls garnered by the Miamis actually were
passed off to all the Indians in the form of higher prices for the
traders goods. At length, Little Turtle, speaking for four tribes
besides the Miamis, expressed himself as satisfied with the treaty, and
being the last to sign it, promised he would be the last to break
it.[15] This he never did, as he spent the last seventeen years of his
life at peace with the Americans.

In a farewell address to the conference, Little Turtle asked that the
United States government appoint Captain William Wells as resident
interpreter at Fort Wayne. William Wells, frontier scout and pioneer,
was one of the most romantic and mysterious figures in the early history
of the Northwest. A biography or even a sketch of his life has never
been written, although his story is intimately connected with that of
Fort Wayne and the Indiana Territory. Between 1794 and 1812, when he was
killed, Captain Wells was decidedly the most interesting white person in
the history of Fort Wayne. Little is known about him personally, except
that which we can obtain from letters written by him or those concerning
him. A member of prominent Kentucky family and the brother of Colonel
Samuel Wells of Louisville, William Wells had been kidnapped by a band
of Miamis when he was twelve year old. Taken to Miamitown, he was
adopted by the tribe of Little Turtle and was raised by the Indians, as
was the custom of that time. It is not surprising, consequently, that
the Frenchman, Count Volney described Wells as “tall and muscular, quick
in movement, and having the complexion of an Indian.”[16] It is
surprising, however, that Wells, having little or no education, in later
life showed in his letters a knowledge of the English language and
clarity of thought far superior to his white associates on the frontier.

Wells’ first wife was Anahquah, Little Turtle’s sister; and upon her
death, it is believed that Wells married Wahmangopath, the daughter of
the chief. By these marriages, Wells had the following children: Anne,
who was educated at the Catholic school at Bardstown, Kentucky, and who
later returned to Fort Wayne to marry Dr. William Turner; Mary, who
married James Wolcott; Rebecca, who married James Hackley at Fort Wayne;
Jane Turner, who married John H. Griggs, and William Wayne, who after
graduating from West Point, died at an early age. On March 7, 1809,
Wells married Mary Geiger, daughter of Colonel Frederick Geiger of
Kentucky, by whom he had three children, Samuel Geiger, Yelberton, and
Julia Ann.

Against Harmar’s and St. Clair’s armies, Wells fought willingly on the
side of the Indians. In 1794, however, he joined Wayne’s forces
apparently with Little Turtle’s approval. It is known that in the summer
of 1793, Wells paid a visit to his white relatives in Kentucky. Upon
returning through Vincennes, he met Col. Hamtramck, who employed him to
carry a message to Wayne.[17] In the message, Hamtramck suggested to
Wayne that Wells would prove invaluable as a scout, if the General saw
fit to give him a commission. Before accepting this offer, Wells
returned to Miamitown, and here secured Little Turtle’s consent. The
reason for Wells’ desertion of the Indian cause has never been clear.
Perhaps Hamtramck, later one of Wells’ staunchest friends, convinced him
that the American cause was to be successful. Possibly, as Quaife
suggests, it was due to a belated consciousness of his true race
identity and the pleadings of his white relatives while he was in
Kentucky.[18] The fact that Wells and Little Turtle remained intimate
afterward and that their viewpoints were always identical, indicates
there was no friction between them. It is known that Little Turtle did
not wish to give battle to Wayne at Fallen Timbers, and advised the
Indians to make peace. While only conjecture, it is not unreasonable to
assume that Wells foresaw the American success in the forthcoming
campaign and convinced the chief it was to the red man’s advantage to
make peace.

Wells was placed in command of Wayne’s scouts, and it was primarily
through his vigilance that Wayne’s forces were not surprised. At
Greenville, Wells served as an interpreter, a position of trust. Wayne
was willing to grant Little Turtle’s request to appoint Wells as
resident interpreter at Fort Wayne, and later wrote to the government
recommending Wells for the position, as well as authorizing the payment
of high rewards to this valuable scout.[19]

During the winter of 1795-96, Hamtramck found the food and supply
situation at Fort Wayne somewhat better, although there were about 90
children and old women entirely dependent on the garrison for their
subsistence. Until the British post at Detroit was transferred to the
United States, Fort Wayne was the headquarters for detachments at the
following western forts: Defiance, Sandusky, Adams, Recovery, Jefferson,
Loramie, Head of the Auglaise, and Michilimackinac. In June, 1796, Col.
Hamtramck was ordered to proceed to Detroit and take command of the
former British post there. After his departure, the force at Fort Wayne
never numbered more than 100 men. These men held an important position
along the first line of defense in the northwest. Other than
Michilimackinac, there were no posts to the north or northwest until Ft.
Dearborn was erected in 1803. The men at Fort Wayne acted as if they had
little realization of their responsibility. The majority of the enlisted
men of that day were drawn from the most turbulent elements of the east.
The soldier’s life was not a popular vocation. At this western outpost,
garrison life was more than harsh; it was extremely boring. The troops
at Fort Wayne had nothing to do in their leisure time, and usually
passed their days in drinking, fighting, and gambling.[20] In vain did
the officers have insubordinate men flogged at parade (not infrequently
the maximum penalty of 100 lashes was given), deprived them of their
whiskey rations, and put them to hard labor. When, in 1812, Congress
amended the articles of war to prohibit flogging, other substitute
punishments, hardly less severe and equally degrading, were devised. Men
were confined in small dark rooms, put astride spiked wooden horses,
forced to wear the wooden collar, ankle bolts, and irons. In the Orderly
Books for the Fort Wayne garrison, we repeatedly find non-commissioned
officers demoted to the ranks for misconduct or crimes of one nature or
another, only to be reinstated when their successors proved even more
incapable. Yet, when this wild, bored garrison was besieged during the
War of 1812, they successfully held the fort against a force six times
as strong.

Living within the fort were the wives and children of those married
officers and men who chose to bring their families to the wilderness
with them. In many respects these women shared the army life of their
husbands. They were governed by the same military regulations, even
receiving the same daily whiskey ration as did the men. The officers and
their families generally came from an older and more formal society and
carried into the rude barracks the manners and customs of the East. One
of the commanders, Col. Hunt, brought his family directly to Fort Wayne
from their Boston home. With this eastern culture was added a certain
punctilio, a natural consequence of military life. The officers’
families, together with those of government officials and more prominent
settlers, formed the elite of the American society at Fort Wayne. In
1807 Lieutenant Philip Ostrander, an officer at Fort Wayne, wrote to his
friend, George Hoffman, collector for the government at Michilimackinac:

  On my arrival at this post I was received with the utmost politeness
  by Captain Heald [the commandant] who continues to show me every
  flattering attention. Indeed, sir, by every officer ... at this place
  I have been treated with the utmost liberality and respect. The very
  day of my arrival, I was requested to dine with Captain Wells [the
  Indian agent] and today by Mr. Johnson, our present factor at this
  post. [Col. John Johnston, superintendent of the government “factory”]
  I do not mention these circumstances through vanity, but merely with
  intention of informing you that everyone endeavors to make my place of
  residence comfortable and happy.

  I could form no conception of what an agreeable situation this is,
  both as to the face of the country and the elegant situation of the
  fort. We are, however, destitute of one thing which would make the
  situation still more agreeable—that is, society. Mr. Johnson
  [Johnston], Captain Wells, J. Audrian [a trader], and the officers of
  the garrison compose our party. They tell me that the place is in
  general healthy, but, to tell the truth, I have seen a number of very
  sick people. Dr. Edwards had unfortunately started for Cincinnati an
  hour before my arrival.[21]

Dr. Edwards, who had recently been given authority to serve as a
merchant at the fort in addition to his duties as post surgeon,
evidently had gone to Cincinnati to obtain supplies. Judging from the
above letter and other sources, it must be concluded that the number of
sick at Fort Wayne was generally quite high. Before Dr. Edwards came
there were twenty-five men reported on the sick list, almost 35% of the
garrison. This may have been somewhat of an abnormal condition, however,
as his predecessor, a man named Dr. Elliot, was so incompetent, that Mr.
Johnston, the government factor, had to act as post surgeon.[22]

Colonel Hamtramck remained in command of Fort Wayne until June, 1796. In
March of that year he had been ordered to move down the Maumee with a
detachment from Fort Wayne in order to counteract a demonstration by the
British which was possibly intended to arouse the Indians to revolt.
While encamped on the Maumee, Hamtramck received a message from General
Wilkinson, directing him to receive the transfer of the British Post
Miami and then proceed to Detroit to take command of the former British
post, Fort Lernoult.

Colonel David Strong, Hamtramck’s successor at Fort Wayne, had, like
Hamtramck, served in the Revolution and in Wayne’s army. Prior to coming
to Fort Wayne he had been in command at Fort Greenville.[23] The
twenty-six months of Colonel Strong’s administration witnessed the
beginnings of the new Frenchtown at Fort Wayne. Located across the St.
Joseph from the site of the old Frenchtown, this new village was
situated where Kekionga or Kiskakon once stood in the present Lakeside
area of Fort Wayne. Most of the inhabitants were either former occupants
of Miamitown who returned to this new site after Wayne’s victory or
French-Canadians of the Detroit-River Raisin region. Volney, a native of
France who traveled in the United States during 1796, questioned the
Americans concerning these French “habitants” of the northwest. He was
told that they were a kind, hospitable, and sociable sort of people,
“but in ignorance and idleness they beat the Indians. They know nothing
of civil and domestic affairs; their women neither sew or spin or make
butter but pass their time in gossiping and tattle. The men hunt, fish,
roam in the woods, and bask in the sun.”[24]

In weighing the value of this characterization of the French
“habitants,” we must remember that Volney an intellectual coming from
the Paris of the Enlightenment naturally thought of these people as
crude and rustic, as indeed they must have appeared to him, but what is
more important neither Volney or the Americans appreciated that these
French Creoles way of life was different from theirs. The Creoles were
not as interested in the middle-class virtue of respectability nor in
the acquisition of much property.

Evidently the English-American opinion of the French people living in
the Northwest had not changed since the days of George Croghan and
earlier. Nor in all likelihood had the French “habitants” and traders
changed their manner of living to any great extent. Although they had
suffered a great deal financially and were less prosperous since the
American occupation of the territory, there is no reason to doubt that
these people lived as they did during Henry Hay’s sojourn at Miamitown,
independent and satisfied with life.

There is no way of determining the number of inhabitants living in
Frenchtown at this time. That the settlement was at least worthy of
notice is indicative from the Orderly Books for Fort Wayne. Mention is
made repeatedly of the town.[25] The soldiers and their wives were in
the habit of frequenting the town, which practice some officers
considered inimical to the garrison’s welfare. All military orders
published for the civilians living around Fort Wayne were made out in
French as well as English, and until the early 1820’s the majority of
the population of Fort Wayne were either French or of French-Indian

While most of these French inhabitants during these years remain
unknown, there are a few individuals whom we can identify. Besides
Antoine Lasselle, there was another member of the Lasselle family who
returned to Fort Wayne at an early date. This was Hyacinth Lasselle, the
nephew of Antoine Lasselle and the son of Jacques Lasselle. Hyacinth
Lasselle was only four years old when his family fled from Miamitown at
the advance of LaBalme’s force in 1780. After this he was placed in a
private school in Montreal. In May, 1795, he returned to Fort Wayne from
where he carried on trading activities until 1804 when he removed his
establishment to Vincennes. In appearance he was rather short, being
about five feet six inches tall, but at the same time very muscular. His
athletic prowess and the fact that he was born at Miamitown made him a
great favorite of the Miamis, who entered him in contests against the
champions of other tribes.

Other inhabitants of the former Miamitown who returned to the site of
Fort Wayne after the American Occupation were Antoine Rivard or Rivarrd
and Francis Minie. Rivard’s wife and daughter had entertained Henry Hay
quite often while the latter stayed at Miamitown. Included among the new
arrivals at Frenchtown were Charles and James Peltier, brothers who had
come here from Detroit around 1798. In 1804 the Peltiers secured
permission to sell supplies to the garrison at Fort Wayne. At a later
date, Charles Peltier was attacked and eaten by wolves within a few
miles of the fort. James Peltier married Angeline Chapeteau, an
attractive young girl who had come to Fort Wayne from Detroit with her
grandparents, Jean Baptiste Maloch and his wife. Jean Baptiste Maloch
had been a resident at Detroit before the time of Pontiac’s conspiracy,
and he was apparently considered to be a man of some wealth.[26] What
prompted him to bring his wife and granddaughter to Fort Wayne at this
late date in his life is unknown. Angeline Chapeteau, who was only
sixteen when she came to Fort Wayne, instantly became a favorite of the
Miamis, who called her “Golden Hair” and formally adopted her into their
tribe. Her sister Theresa Chapeteau married Francis Minie, while a
second sister married Charles Peltier. One of the most prosperous
traders at Fort Wayne prior to the war of 1812 was Louis Bourie. Not
only did he trade in furs himself, but he also kept pack horses and
large warehouse for the transportation and storage of the merchandise
and furs carried by way of the Maumee-Wabash portage. For these services
he collected a handsome profit. Two other traders who married Miami
women were Peter LaFontaine and Antoine Bondie.

To the west of the fort there came into being a collection of government
buildings and sutlers’ establishments, which in time resembled a small
village. These log buildings were located at the meeting place of two
roads, “Wayne’s trace” (this was the road connecting Fort Wayne with
Fort Washington, Cincinnati) and the old Maumee-Wabash portage path.[27]
This was the nucleus of the village that made up the plat of the
original town of Fort Wayne, when it was laid out in 1824. The sutlers,
who lived here, were traders who had been given permission by the
government to occupy choice locations near a military outpost and carry
on the trade deemed necessary for the garrison. These sutlers were
subject to the orders of the commander of the fort, who could dismiss
them upon a just provocation. It was also the commander’s duty to see to
it that the men were not overcharged and investigate any complaints
brought to him either by the sutlers or soldiers. For instance the
soldiers complained on one occasion that James Peltier was overcharging
them for his merchandise. After an investigation, the commander, Captain
Whipple, excused Peltier on the grounds that the cost of transportation
for the winter had risen to one hundred dollars a boatload.[28] The
sutlers brought their merchandise either by way of the Maumee from
Detroit and the East or by way of the St. Mary’s from Cincinnati and the
Ohio River.

The largest of the log buildings comprising the small village west of
the fort was the two-story council house. This was erected in 1804 by
the government to be used as a meeting place between the government
officials and the Indians. Around the village and along the banks across
the river were gardens and cultivated fields of vegetables and corn. One
of the better farms was owned by Colonel Hamtramck and William Wells.
Wells managed it and by 1800 had it well fenced. On the property were
several buildings, a good orchard, a number of livestock, plus the usual
corn fields. Several negro slaves whom Wells had brought from Kentucky
did most of the labor.[29] Apparently this farm did not always furnish a
dependable source of income, for in 1801, Wells reported to Hamtramck
that although he expected to harvest 350 bushels of corn for each of
them, he would not be able to sell it because of the overabundance of
corn raised that year around Fort Wayne.[30] The reason for this, Wells
maintained, was the fact that the military were competing in the corn
market. The officers of Fort Wayne were in the practice of having the
enlisted men farm the fields for wages.

In June, 1797, the newly appointed General of the United States Army,
James Wilkinson, stopped at Fort Wayne during his initial tour of
inspection of the western forts. Here he found conditions “truly
deplorable”. In his report he stated:

  “The army in this quarter presents a frightful picture of the
  scientific soldier; ignorance and licentiousness have been fostered,
  while intelligence and virtue have been persecuted and exiled; the
  consequences were that factions have been generated to sanction
  enormity, and it follows that all ideas of system, economy, order,
  subordination and discipline were banished, and that disorder, vice,
  absurdity, and abuse infected every member of the corps

Wilkinson was equally dissatisfied with conditions at Detroit. In fact
he found fault everywhere, for the General had a habit of exaggerating
ills so that he might gain more credit for employing successful
antidotes. He never doubted that his methods were correct, and his
solution for the problems at Fort Wayne and Detroit was relatively
simple. He merely exchanged garrisons and commandants between the two
posts. Colonel Hamtramck with the First Regiment was transferred to Fort
Wayne, and Colonel David Strong at Fort Wayne with the Second Regiment
was transferred to Detroit.[32]

Whether or not General Wilkinson achieved his purpose of bettering
conditions at Fort Wayne and Detroit by these transfers is not known. At
any rate Colonel Hamtramck did not remain long at Fort Wayne. In less
than a year he was ordered back to Detroit and there he remained in
command until his death in 1803. In April, 1798, a month before his
final departure from Fort Wayne, his son, John Francis, was born. As far
as it is known, this child was the first white person born within the

On May 16, 1798, Colonel Thomas Hunt arrived at Fort Wayne to take
command. Colonel Hunt had served with distinction in the Revolution.
Born in Massachusetts, he became a member of Captain’s Croft’s Company
of “minute men” at Lexington and Concord, in April, 1776. Later he
fought in the battles of Bunker Hill and Stoney Point. In 1793, he
returned to military service as a major with Wayne. Following the
western campaign and the building of Fort Wayne, he went to Detroit and
assisted Wayne in the formal transfer of the British post to the
Americans. He served then as commandant of Fort Defiance.[33] Following
the western campaign of Wayne, he had been given command of Fort
Defiance. With Colonel Hunt came his family to Fort Wayne directly from
their home in Boston.

While at Fort Wayne, Colonel Hunt often drew criticism for his
independent action. Nevertheless, it is apparent that he devoted his
energies to the betterment of conditions at Fort Wayne, for he undertook
the responsible task of building a new fort to take the place of Wayne’s
hastily constructed post which by 1800 was beginning to decay. The new
fort was located about three hundred feet north of the old structure and
enclosed the area of the present Old Fort Park in the city of Fort
Wayne. It seems very probable that the troops occupied the original fort
during the period of construction of the second fort, so there were two
American forts standing at the same time, separated by perhaps three
hundred feet of space. The new fort was reported to be “large and
substantial ... commanding a beautiful view of the river, as also an
extent of about four square miles of cleared land.”[34] Six log barracks
for the officers and men, a brick magazine, and smaller buildings were
grouped within the palisades around the parade ground.

Captain Thomas Pasteur, an officer in the Revolution and a member of
Wayne’s corps succeeded Colonel Hunt as commander in June, 1802. Pasteur
remained but a year at Fort Wayne during which time there was little
activity at the outpost. There is some indication from two letters
written at the time that Colonel Henry Burbeck was in command at Fort
Wayne in the spring of 1803, although the Fort Wayne Orderly Books give
no record of this.[35] If he did serve at Fort Wayne, his stay was no
longer than that of his successor, Major Zebulon Pike, who remained less
than two months. Major Pike was the father of the noted explorer of the
southwest, Zebulon M. Pike. The Major who was in poor health was given
command of Fort Wayne in the hope that the position would be an easy
one, as well as furnish an increase in his pay. The command did not meet
Pike’s expectations, since his nature was such that the constant
drunkenness of the men under him was more than he could stand. His rigid
attitude in regard to temperance was revealed in a letter to Colonel
Kingsbury while both were serving at Detroit. In it he declines an
invitation of the Colonel to attend an officers’ party at which he
believes some alcoholic drink would be served.[36]

Major Pike’s successor, Captain John Whipple, arrived at Fort Wayne in
September, 1803. A group of Quakers visiting Fort Wayne in 1804 reported
that Captain Whipple, “behaved with a freedom and gentility becoming a
well breed [sic] man.”[37] That he was a man of fair intellectual
talents is shown by the nature of the entries in the Fort Wayne Orderly
Books during his administration. In 1804, Captain Whipple journeyed to
Detroit to bring back his wife, the former Archange Pelletier, a
descendant of the oldest family of Detroit, Francois Pelletier having
preceded Cadillac to that spot by two years.

After serving almost four years at Fort Wayne, Captain Whipple resigned
on January 31, 1807 and in his stead Captain Nathan Heald was appointed
as commander. Captain Heald remained at Fort Wayne until May 16, 1810,
on which day he left to take command at Fort Dearborn (Chicago), being
in charge of that garrison on the day of the fateful massacre, August
15, 1812. During his stay at Fort Wayne, Captain Heald met the niece of
William Wells, Rebeckah Wells, whom he later married. Captain Heald was
replaced at Fort Wayne by Captain James Rhea, an unfortunate choice for
the troublesome days that were to come during the crucial first year of
the War of 1812.[38]

From the beginning of Colonel Hunt’s administration in 1798 to the end
of Captain Heald’s in 1810, the frontier was comparatively peaceful,
especially until 1807. In that year signs of the forthcoming Indian
difficulties began to appear, although the actual conflict did not break
out until 1811, with the battle of Tippecanoe. In August 1796, Winthrop
Sargent, the Secretary of the Northwest Territory, proclaimed the
organization of Wayne county, with Fort Wayne on its southern boundary.
This original Wayne county was divided into four townships, bearing the
names of Detroit, Mackinaw, Sargent, and Hamtramck, with the region of
Fort Wayne and the Maumee valley included in the latter. In October,
1799, William Henry Harrison was elected to represent the Northwest
Territory in Congress. This body, on the seventh of May, 1800, created
the Territory of Indiana, composed of all that part of the territory of
the United States west of a line beginning at the Ohio river opposite
the mouth of the Kentucky river and running northward to the straits of
Mackinac. Five days later William Henry Harrison was appointed governor
of the newly created territory. Vincennes in the southern part of the
territory, situated on the Wabash river, became the capital.

Up north, Fort Wayne, already an important post in the defense of the
Northwest Territory, also became a government outpost of diplomacy and
trade with the Indians. By 1798, the United States government had
established an Indian agency at Fort Wayne. The Office of Indian Affairs
was a division of the War Department from 1789 to 1849, and was under
the direction of the Secretary of War. The Indian agents were the
representatives of the department among the various tribes. This plan,
to have official representatives of the government stationed permanently
among the Indians, was adopted from that used by the English during
colonial times. Captain William Wells was the logical choice to be the
first Indian agent at Fort Wayne. The military and government officials
both felt that he was deserving of some reward for his outstanding
services during and after Wayne’s campaign in 1794-95. Above all he was
admirably suited for the position, being intimately acquainted with the
Indians of this region and being able to speak fluently five of the
Indian dialects. When Volney asked the inhabitants of Vincennes for aid
in compiling a dictionary of the Indian language, they recommended that
he consult William Wells, as Wells knew the Indian languages better than
any other man in the territory.[39]

Undoubtedly, Wells was anxious to secure the position for it paid a
handsome salary of $1,200 a year plus some expenses, which was rather
good in those days for a government employee. Moreover, the position
gave the agent the opportunity of arranging profitable private contracts
for services and goods for the Indians. With the purpose of obtaining
the appointment, Wells secured a letter of introduction from his friend,
Colonel Hamtramck, to the Secretary of War.[40] In all probability Wells
used this letter and other recommendations to good advantage when he
accompanied Little Turtle to Philadelphia in the winter of 1797. Upon
his return from Philadelphia, Wells wrote to Hamtramck that he “was
encouraged and hopeful.”[41] His hopes were well founded for in the
summer of 1798, Wells received the appointment as Indian agent at Fort

Four years later, Fort Wayne was selected as the location for one of the
Indian “factories” then being established by the national government. It
is somewhat difficult to make a distinction between the Indian agency
and Indian factory. Strictly speaking, the factory was the place where
goods were received, stored, and distributed, where trading was carried
on with the Indians by the government and payments of goods and
annuities made. The factor (the government representative in charge of
the factory), therefore, dealt primarily in financial and commercial
matters. On the other hand, an Indian agent was concerned with political
matters, such as the negotiations and treaties for the cession of lands
belonging to the Indians. It was his duty to see that the tribes
remained friendly to the United States and to report any grievances and
discontent. The distinction between the respective positions, however,
was one more in theory than in fact. That the agent’s and factor’s
duties would overlap is fairly obvious, even if they would have been
clearly defined and adhered to. Any political negotiation of the
government with the Indians called for payment in money and goods to the
Indians, often for a number of years, as well as at the time of the
treaty. One of the main causes of Indian dissatisfaction which the agent
had to meet was that caused by the poor quality of goods sometime
furnished at the Indian factories.

In theory, both the agent and the factor at Fort Wayne were responsible
to their immediate superior, Governor Harrison, as commander of military
forces and superintendent of Indian affairs in Indiana Territory.
However, those agents, such as Wells, who held their positions prior to
the creation of the territory continued to deal directly with the
Secretary of War as well as with the Governor. Benjamin Stickney, Wells’
successor as agent, refused to recognize Harrison’s authority over him.
The factor also received his orders from the Governor and the Secretary
of War. More directly he was under the Superintendent of Indian Trade,
an official answerable to both the Secretary of War and Congress. During
the years before the War of 1812, the post of Superintendent of Indian
Trade was held consecutively by William Irvine and John Mason. This lack
of central authority pertaining to the factories and agencies only
served to add to the confusion already created by the nature of the
positions. At a later date, the agent assumed the duties of the factor
and the latter term fell into disuse, but until the factory was
destroyed by the Indians at Fort Wayne, the two positions remained
separate and from the start, difficult to harmonize.

“Colonel” John Johnston served as the first Indian factor at Fort Wayne
from 1802 to 1811. Johnston, a prominent figure in the northwest, during
his lifetime served thirty-one years with the Department of Indian
Affairs. He was born in Ireland on March 22, 1775, and came to America
at the age of eleven. A few years later, while yet a youth, he undertook
the job of driving supply wagons to Wayne’s army. After receiving his
appointment as factor for Fort Wayne, Johnston married sixteen-year-old
Rachel Robinson at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, much against the desire of
the young girl’s parents. The Johnstons’ wedding trip consisted of the
journey by horseback through the wilderness to Fort Wayne. While living
at Fort Wayne, Colonel Johnston and his wife were noted for their stern
rectitude, which contrasted considerably with the type of life generally
found at this military outpost. In later life, Johnston, for his years
of government service, became known as “Colonel Johnston”. He is
described as “six feet and more in height, very erect, in his bearing
and he had a blond complexion inclined to ruddy.”[42]

Besides his duties as factor, Colonel Johnston occasionally served as
assistant surgeon at the fort. For his position as factor, Johnston
received a salary of $1,000 a year from the government and $365 for
subsistence. The latter amount was funded by the profits of the factory.
In 1810, William Oliver was appointed to the Fort Wayne factory to serve
as Johnston’s assistant. When Oliver resigned in 1812, Johnston secured
the position for his brother, Stephen Johnston.

As factor, Johnston aimed at being just to the Indians and loyal to his
government, a combination of purpose attended with many difficulties. In
a report to the Secretary of War, Johnston pointed out that the trading
houses with the northern Indians never produced any political effect in
favor of the Americans, as had been expected when they were established.
Rather, on the contrary, the Indians were led to believe that the object
was to make money; and in as much as the government goods were never
sold cheaper than those of the private traders, it was impossible to
produce a different impression.[43]

Johnston had trouble procuring the proper kinds of supplies to issue to
the Indians at Fort Wayne. The goods intended for the Indian trade were
rarely imported into the United States, there being no regular demand
for them. On the other hand, the British traders in Canada had agents in
England, long accustomed to this commerce, who sent out the very
articles needed. The supplies destined for the United States factories
went through many hands, and this offered countless opportunities to
defraud the Indians and the government. Often the goods came out of
season or were damaged. Johnston constantly urged that the trade either
be put in the hands of private traders who would be licensed by the
government, or, if the government thought it necessary to stay in the
business, an expert should be sent to England to do the purchasing of
the Indian articles. Typical of the goods used by the Indians are the
following items listed in Johnston’s record book, “blankets, strouds, [a
coarse Indian blanket] hat bands, head bands, Indian mats, kettles,
pans, rings, cloth of various color, wampum, broaches, scalping knives,
fish hooks, and tobacco.”[44] Johnston also complained that the military
were generally unfriendly to his trading post and even hindered his work
at times. Apparently this ill feeling was caused by the fact that the
soldiers did not consider it a part of their business to furnish
transportation for the furs and Indian goods or to erect the necessary
buildings for the trade at Fort Wayne.[45] On one occasion, the factor
lost in Lake Erie $2,300 worth of furs. Johnston claimed that the
accident came about through the carelessness of a drunken
non-commissioned officer, Joseph McMahan, although McMahan was excused
of all responsibility by a court martial.[46] The result of the trial
provoked Johnston so much that he protested to the Superintendent of
Indian Trade, but nothing could be done.

During the decade of its existence prior to the War of 1812, the Fort
Wayne factory was the most prosperous of all the trading houses
established by the United States government. A report submitted by the
Secretary of War to Congress showed that in the three years and ten
months preceding January 13, 1812, the Fort Wayne factory made a profit
of $10,502.77. This was by far the largest profit shown by any of the
ten factories then operated throughout the nation.[47] Another report
shows that the fur and peltries received from the Indians at the Fort
Wayne factory sold for $27,547.07.[48] While the government did only a
small fraction of the fur trading, this is a good indication that the
fur trade of the Maumee and Wabash valleys which led the French to
fortify the spot was still the principal economic asset of Fort Wayne.
Colonel Johnston’s account books suggest that the once abundant beaver
skins were becoming scarce. Instead of beaver, racoon and deer skins
were being shipped in great quantities.[49] These furs were carried by
way of Lake Erie to New York and Philadelphia, where they were sold at
auctions. Most of the furs obtained from the private traders were taken
to Detroit where they were purchased by the American Fur Company. Skins
were worth deer, $1.25; raccoon, $.50; bear, $3.00 to $5.00. These
values were nominal, as the price fluctuated and the furs were paid for
in goods which were passed off on the Indians for more than double the
initial cost and transportation.

In order to transport the skins, they were dried, compressed, and
secured in packs. Each pack weighed about 100 pounds. A pirogue or boat,
that was sufficiently large to carry forty packs, required the labor of
four men to manage it on its voyage. In favorable stages of the river,
such a vessel, under the management of skilled boatmen, was propelled by
poles fifteen or twenty miles a day, against the current. On the return
trips the pirogues were loaded with merchandise to be sold to the

Turning our attention once more to Indian treaties and their resulting
difficulties, important events centered about Fort Wayne between the
years 1800 and 1809. The year 1800 in which William Henry Harrison was
appointed the first governor of the Indiana Territory was one of peace
in the Great Lake region of the United States. The British had evacuated
the posts they had held in the northwest, according to the agreement in
the Jay treaty, and the Indians appeared content. At Fort Wayne, the
future appeared so calm that William Wells wrote to Hamtramck that he
expected the garrison to be withdrawn shortly.[50] However, the spark
that set off the flames of Indian warfare was soon to be ignited and
kept aglow by British intrigue. This spark was the never ending demand
for new lands by the western settlers, which resulted in the attempts of
the government to satisfy this demand by gaining new land cessions from
the Indians.

Governor Harrison, on assuming his office, proceeded promptly to enter
into treaty agreements with the Indians for the purchase of their large
tracts of land in what are now the states of Indiana and Illinois. This
was in accordance with President Jefferson’s objective, the acquisition
from the Indians of the whole territory east of the Mississippi.
Harrison sent word to the Indians to meet him at Fort Wayne in the
summer of 1803 for the first of his important treaty councils. By June 7
of that year, he completed his task, having secured from the Eel River
Miamis, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Wea tribes a large tract of
land around Vincennes, as well as the valuable salt spring on the Saline
Creek. This treaty had been brought to a successful conclusion for the
United States through a combination of Harrison’s shrewdness and
stubbornness in bargaining, the financial backing of the factory at Fort
Wayne, and the influence of Capt. Wells over Little Turtle. Although
Harrison and Johnston obtained the cooperation of Wells in gaining the
consent of the Indians, the agent, for the most part, strove against any
cession of lands by the Indians. Wells went so far as to instigate the
Indians to protest to the national government against a treaty Harrison
concluded with the Delawares and Piankashaws the following year.[51]

Between Colonel Johnston, the factor, and Wells, the agent, there was no
coordination of purpose or even good will. Outside of the fact that the
conflicting duties of their respective positions involved them in
quarrels, Wells and Johnston seemed to have been mutually antagonistic,
and each put the worst interpretation on the other’s actions when
writing to their superiors. Wells felt that Johnston’s policy of trying
to win an active alliance with the Indians for the United States in the
event of war with Great Britain was in effect evidence of Johnston’s
gullibility in dealing with the red men. Even after the battle of
Tippecanoe, Johnston gave arms and ammunition to the Indians who had
participated in the affair. Wells knew the Indians well, and realized
that in the event of war the best that could be expected would be that
they would remain neutral. On the other hand, Johnston felt that Wells
was completely unprincipled and could not be trusted.

Johnston’s opinion of Wells was shared by Governor Harrison, who
nevertheless realized the agent’s great ability in dealing with the
Indians. Harrison wrote of Wells on one occasion, “My knowledge of his
character induces me to believe that he will go any length and use any
means to carry a favorite point and much mischief may ensue from his
knowledge of the Indians, his cunning and perservance.”[52] In all
matters, Wells and Little Turtle were in agreement, and while the
latter’s influence with his fellow tribesmen had diminished considerably
with the rise of a new generation, he was still a force to be reckoned
with in any treaty negotiations. It is almost certain that neither Wells
or Little Turtle intended to arouse the Indians to war against the
advance of the tide of settlers, yet they were ready to oppose
Harrison’s objectives at the various treaty councils.

Although Harrison indicated in his correspondence with the Secretary of
War that he knew the reasons behind Wells’ action in opposing most of
the land cessions, the Governor’s letters do not definitely reveal what
he meant. In an indefinite manner, Harrison ascribed the reason for
Wells’ action to the agent’s attachment for Little Turtle, mingled with
a jealousy of the Governor. Harrison apparently felt that Wells had a
personal animosity toward him, and that Wells’ opposition was intended
to discredit him.[53] In one letter to the Secretary of War Harrison
suggested that Wells was profiting dishonestly from his position as
Indian agent at Fort Wayne. He wrote:

  I am really of the opinion that the Turtle, the Five Medals, and two
  or three others receive much the greater part of the annuities and
  provisions which are intended for and said to be given to the
  Potawatomies and Miamis and I am by no means certain that Wells
  himself does not largely participate. The fact is admitted that he
  makes more money than any other man in the Territory. Mr. Johnston
  told Col. Vigo that he [Wells] cleared last upwards of $6000. How he
  can do this honestly I am at a loss to know.[54]

Concerning the reason for Little Turtle’s opposition to further land
cessions on the part of the Indians, Harrison is more definite in his
convictions. In 1803, the Governor wrote of Little Turtle:

  “Conscious of his superiority of his Talents over the rest of his race
  and colour he sighs for a more conspicuous theatre to display them.
  Opportunities for exhibiting his eloquence occur too seldom to satisfy
  his vanity.... A chosen connexion among the neighbouring Tribes and a
  regular convention of their chiefs has been long the ruling wish of
  his heart and the object of numberless intrigues.”[55]

Assuming that Harrison was correct about Little Turtle’s ambition to
form an Indian confederation, it is interesting to observe that had the
Miami chief succeeded rather than Tecumseh, the league formed would have
been inclined toward peace rather than war with the United States.
Following the Treaty of Greenville Little Turtle often objected to
further cessions of land, yet, at the same time, he endeavored to induce
the red men to lay aside the tomahawk and scalping knife and take up the
peaceful tools of agriculture. This fact made him unacceptable to the
majority of Indians, as Harrison himself admitted at a later date. “It
was the rock upon which the popularity of Tecumseh was founded”, he
wrote, “and that upon which the influence of Little Turtle was

The truth of this assertion is made plain in the report of the visit of
two Quakers who, in response to an appeal by Little Turtle, came to Fort
Wayne in 1804 to attempt to introduce the best methods of agriculture
among the Indians. From the official report of Gerard T. Hopkins to his
church, the story as here reviewed has been obtained.[57] Mr. Hopkins
was accompanied by George Ellicott, also of the Society of Friends, and
Philip Dennis, a practical farmer who was engaged to serve as

The Quakers arrived at Fort Wayne on March 30 and were conducted to
Captain Whipple, then commandant of the fort, to whom they presented a
letter of introduction and recommendation from Henry Dearborn, Secretary
of War. This letter was a liberal commendation of the committee and
their motives. General Dearborn was personally acquainted with the
members of the committee, was in hearty sympathy with their mission, and
rode on horseback from Washington to Ellicott’s home, a distance of
forty miles to present the letter to the committee before leaving.

The Quakers were surprised to find that no attention was given, either
in the fort or the Indian village, to the proper observance of the
Sabbath day. The Friends were entertained by John Johnston, and there
the chiefs took supper with the mission committee. Under the guidance of
Captain Wells the following days, the Friends went over the lands most
suitable for cultivation, and at the same time observed the most
historic places and listened to the stories as told by Wells of the
Indian villages and of Harmar’s and St. Clair’s defeats.

The rides to the country included visits to large sugar camps and the
“prairie” between the St. Mary’s and Little River, the distance from one
to the other being but four miles in the then swampy land; and the
watershed ridge but five feet high with reports of canoes passing over
in highest stages of water. The subject of a canal through this ridge
was also mentioned. Indians were constantly coming and going, the women
carrying the burdens of packs of skins and bark boxes of maple sugar
each weighing about fifty pounds.

The next day Little Turtle and the other chiefs assembled at the home of
Captain Wells, and there arrangements were made for Dennis to remain
with the Indians and establish a farm. The attempt to educate the
Indians to till the soil was undertaken at a point on the Wabash river
about twenty miles southwest of Fort Wayne. After the departure of the
Quakers, Dennis continued his efforts but only one or, at the most, two
of the Indians could be induced to help him. After a year, Dennis
returned to Maryland, and as no one could be induced to take his place
the project was left in the hands of Wells, who had a contract to supply
the Indians with fence rails for the farms.

The Indians were in no mood to give their attention to the tilling of
the soil. Trouble of a subdued nature portended serious conflicts for
the future. On April 26, 1805, Harrison wrote to the Secretary of War
that he felt it was necessary for him to proceed to Fort Wayne to
investigate the complaints arising from the Indians threat. These
complaints centered chiefly around the treaty concluded with the
Delawares and Piankashaws in 1804. The Miamis maintained that they
should have shared in the benefits of the treaty as part owners of the
land sold, while the Delawares felt that they had not received enough in
the way of annuities for the land. Harrison suspected that these
complaints arose primarily through the instigation of Wells and Little
Turtle and had determined to investigate Wells’ activities as well as
the grievances.

Harrison, however, decided not to go personally to Fort Wayne,
explaining that it “would be a sacrifice of that dignity and authority
which is necessary to observe in all our transactions with the
Indians.”[58] In his stead, Harrison dispatched General John Gibson,
secretary of Indiana Territory and Colonel Francis Vigo,[59] who on
their arrival met strong opposition from Wells and Little Turtle. These
two, viewing the visit of Gibson and Vigo with evident suspicion,
addressed a letter to the former in which they demanded his credentials.
Lieutenant Brownson, in temporary command of Fort Wayne, remarked to the
Governor’s agents that he had heard Wells repeatedly say the Indians
were very much imposed on in the late treaty. In a private conversation
the Miami chief, Richardville, told Colonel Vigo that he was quite
surprised to hear an officer who had taken an oath to support the
Government of the United States, express himself in the manner Wells
had. Richardville also informed them that the Little Turtle, in the
presence of Wells, had produced a paper and requested Richardville to
sign it. Being a remonstrance in favor of Wells, Richardville refused to
sign it, saying, “if Mr. Wells had behaved well there was no occasion to
write to the president in his favour that he did not wish to interfere
in matters which belonged entirely to the White people, and that he, the
Little Turtle, had frequently wrote letters to the president, without
their being consulted or asked to sign them.”[60]

Vigo and Gibson were convinced that a certain Peter Audrian had
conspired with Wells and Little Turtle in the affair. Audrian was an
influential French trader at Detroit, who during his lifetime held the
governmental positions of judge, prothonotary, and land commissioner. At
this time he had an advantageous contract from Wells to furnish the log
rails for the farms of the Indians. In one year alone the Indians
purchased 63,000 rails from Audrian, many more than were actually

In their report to Governor Harrison, Gibson and Vigo concluded:

  “... no noise or clamor respecting the treaty last summer with the
  Delawares ... would have been made had it not been occasioned by the
  Little Turtle and Wells, the latter of whom seems more attentive to
  the Indians than the people of the United States.”[62]

In his report to the Secretary of War, Harrison added that Wells’
services were highly useful and that he discharged his duties on
occasions with great zeal and industry. Early in August, 1805, Wells,
accompanied by Little Turtle, came to Vincennes. “Both are here,” wrote
Harrison to Dearborn, “and I have received from each a positive
assurance of a friendly dispostion as well toward the government as
myself individually. With Captain Wells, I have had an explanation, and
have agreed to a general amnesty and act of oblivion for the past.”[63]

Notwithstanding this seemingly peaceful settlement of the difficulty,
the official relationship between Wells and the governor remained
strained, and we find Harrison as late as April 23, 1811, writing to the
new Secretary of War, Eustis:

  “Could I be allowed to dispose of Wells as I thought proper, my first
  wish would be to place him in the interiour of our settlement where he
  would never see and scarcely hear of an Indian. But as this is
  impossible, from his being located in such a manner at Fort Wayne,
  that he cannot be removed without a very considerable expense, my next
  wish is to get such an appointment as he could consider an object,
  where he might be used to advantage, but at the same time so limited
  as to prevent his doing mischief.”[64]

While Governor Harrison was doing his utmost to secure more territory
from the Indians, he did not wish the newly purchased lands to fall into
the hands of unscrupulous traders who used the bargaining power of
whiskey to rob the Indians of their furs. This was especially true of
the United States land around Fort Wayne, which was too distant from
Vincennes to be under his effective control. When, in 1805, Harrison
heard that it was intended to sell the government land around Fort Wayne
immediately, he objected strongly. “I am very certain,” he wrote to the
Secretary of War, “that the money which will be put into the Treasury by
the sale of it will not counterbalance the inconveniences which will
arise from having it settled with the description of people who will
naturally buy it.”[65] He then pointed out that Fort Wayne was too far
removed from any other settlement to entice American farmers to go
there, and in all probability, only Indian traders would buy the land
and would thus be out of the reach of the laws of the United States
regulating Indian trade and commerce. He conceded that the Fort Wayne
was fertile enough for farming and concluded by saying, “If the
immediate settlement of it is an object I think it would be better to
sell it by contract upon the condition that there would be within a
given time a certain number of American farmers upon it.”[66]

The government officials apparently accepted Harrison’s advice since the
proposal to sell the Fort Wayne lands was laid aside. It is fortunate
that this land was not sold, for it is unlikely that any farmers would
have been attracted to this remote spot in northern Indiana during the
forthcoming years of Indian difficulties on the frontier. If any
settlers had come, it is doubtful that they could have survived the War
of 1812. Consequently, Fort Wayne was destined to remain until the end
of that war primarily a government outpost of diplomacy, defense, and
trade, represented by the Indian agency, the military garrison, and the
government factory. There were a few farms of value, such as those of
Wells and the officers, but while the land was fertile, the market was
too distant for the crops to bring any considerable return. The
civilians living in the neighborhood were, for the most part, French
families who still found the fur trade profitable, along with a few
American traders and sutlers. None of these people held any title to the
lands they occupied.

[1]Lieut. John Boyer, “Daily Journal of Wayne’s Campaign,” _Michigan
    Pioneer and Historical Collections_, XXXIV, 554.

[2]T. B. Helm, _History of Allen County, Indiana_, p. 37.

[3]Lieut. William Clark, famous explorer of the great Northwest, was an
    officer in Wayne’s Legion at the time of the construction of Fort

[4]Lieut. Boyer, _loc. cit._, p. 556.

[5]Wayne to Knox, Oct. 17, 1794, quoted in Charles Slocum. _Op. cit._,
    p. 217.

[6]Lieut. Boyer, _loc. cit._, p. 561.

[7]Charles Slocum, _op. cit._, p. 221.

[8]Hamtramck to Wayne, Aug. 13, 1795, Hamtramck Papers, Burton
    Historical Collection.

[9]Hamtramck to Wayne, Dec. 5, 1794, _Michigan Pioneer and Historical
    Collections_, XXXLV, 734.

[10]Concerning Jacques Lasselle see _Above_, [p. 14.]

[11]Charlotte Reeve Conover, _Concerning the Forefathers_, p. 69.

[12]Harry Wildes, _Anthony Wayne_, p. 438.

[13]H. S. Knapp, _op. cit._, p. 357.

[14]_Ibid._, p. 357.

[15]Otho Winger, _The Last of the Miamis_, p. 8.

[16]Comte De Volney, _View of the Climate and Soil of the United States
    of America_, p. 413.

[17]Hamtramck to Wayne, July 18, 1793, Hamtramck Papers, Penn Historical
    Society, microfilm at Burton Historical Collection.

[18]Milo N. Quaife, _Chicago From Indian Wigwam to Modern City_, p. 122.

[19]Harry Wildes, _op. cit._, p. 435.

[20]_Indiana Historical Collections, XV, Fort Wayne Gateway of the West,
    Garrison Orderly Books, Indian Agency Account Book_, ed. Bert J.
    Griswold, p. 87 ff.

[21]Philip Ostrander to George Hoffman, Oct. 4, 1807, Kingsbury Papers,
    Chicago Historical Society Library.

[22]John Whipple to J. Kingsbury, Sept. 10, 1804, Kingsbury Papers,
    Chicago Historical Society Library.

[23]_Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections_, VIII, 445.

[24]Comte de Volney, _op. cit._, p. 332.

[25]_Fort Wayne Garrison Orderly Books_, _IHC_, XV, ed. B. J. Griswold,
    pp. 173-4, 150, 251, 255, 281-6.

[26]Francis Parkman, _The Conspiracy of Pontiac_, I, 260, 280.

[27]These two roads later came to be called Columbia and Barr streets.
    For a long time Wayne’s Trace was known as the “Bloody Path” because
    of Harmar’s and St. Clair’s defeats along this route.

[28]_IHC_, XV, _Fort Wayne Orderly Books_, ed. Griswold, pp. 201-2.

[29]Wells to Hamtramck, Oct. 29, 1801, Hamtramck Papers, Burton
    Historical Library.

[30]Although slavery was forbidden in the Indiana Territory by the
    Northwest Ordinance of 1787, government officials and army officers
    stationed at Fort Wayne occasionally kept one or two blacks as
    slaves. This practice existed at other posts and in the case of Fort
    Snelling, Minnesota led to the series of events behind the famous
    Dred Scott decision in 1857.

[31]Wilkinson to Major James Bruff, June 18, 1797, _American State
    Papers, Miscellaneous Affairs_, Vol. I, p. 586.

[32]General Orders, July 9, 1797, General Orders—General James
    Wilkinson, 1797-1808 War Department Archives, Old Records Division,
    Photostat in Burton Historical Collection.

[33]Frances B. Heitman, _Historical Register and Dictionary of the
    United States Army, from its organization September 29, 1789 to
    March 2, 1903_, I, 557.

[34]Gerard T. Hopkins, _A Mission to the Indians from the Committee of
    Baltimore Yearly Meeting to Fort Wayne in 1804_, p. 55.

[35]Dearborn to Col. Kingsbury, July 9, 1803, and Dearborn to Burbeck
    July 20, 1803, Kingsbury Papers, Chicago Historical Society Library.

[36]Pike to Kingsbury, June 29, 1803, Kingsbury Papers, Chicago
    Historical Society Library.

[37]Gerard T. Hopkins, _op. cit._, p. 60.

[38]_See below_, pp. [p 64-68.]

[39]Comte de Volney, _op. cit._, p. 401.

[40]Hamtramck to Wells; June 27, 1796, Hamtramck Papers, Burton
    Historical Collection.

[41]Wells to Hamtramck, March 15, 1797, Hamtramck Papers, Burton
    Historical Collection.

[42]Charlotte Reeve Conover, _Concerning the Forefathers, being a memoir
    ... of two pioneers, Colonel Robert Patterson and Colonel John
    Johnson_, p. 52.

[43]_ASP, Indian Affairs_, II, 82-5.

[44]_IHC, XV, Indian Agency Account Book_, ed. Bert Griswold, pp.

[45]Charlotte Reeve Conover, _op. cit._, p. 42; _ASP, Indian Affairs_,
    II, 84.

[46]_IHC_, XV, _Fort Wayne Orderly Books_, ed. Bert Griswold, pp. 268-9.

[47]_ASP, Indian Affairs_, I, 773.

[48]_Ibid._, p. 791.

[49]_IHC_, XV, _Indian Agency Account Book_, pp. 660, 650, 637, 618,

[50]Wells to Hamtramck, November 3, 1800, Hamtramck Papers, Burton
    Historical Collection.

[51]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[52]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[53]_Ibid._, p. 81.

[54]_Ibid._, pp. 148-9.

[55]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[56]Calvin Young, _Little Turtle_, p. 175.

[57]cf. Gerard T. Hopkins, _A Mission to the Indians from the Committee
    of Baltimore Yearly Meeting to Fort Wayne in 1804_.

[58]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[59]Francis Vigo was a Sardinian adventurer who came to America with a
    Spanish regiment. He was unstinting with his aid to George Rogers
    Clark before and after the capture of Vincennes by the Americans.
    Harrison considered Vigo as one of his most valuable assistants.

[60]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[61]Wells to Friends at Baltimore, May 10, 1805, quoted in Kathryn
    Troxel, “A Quaker Mission Among the Indians”, _Old Fort News_, VII,
    (1942) 11.

[62]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[63]_Ibid._, p. 161.

[64]_Ibid._, pp. 508-9.

[65]_Ibid._, p. 149.

[66]_Ibid._, p. 149.

                              Chapter III
                         The Impending Conflict

A dozen years had passed since the battle of Fallen Timbers and the
defeat suffered by the Indians at that time was growing dim in their
memories. English traders and military officials at Malden encouraged
the red men to strike once again the Americans who were fast turning
their hunting lands into farms and settlements. The occasion awaited
only a second Pontiac. That leader came in the person of Tecumseh, the
Shawnee. Tecumseh saw his race driven from their native land, their
morals debased, their independence destroyed, and their means of
subsistence cut off. He looked for the cause of these evils, and
believed he found it in the flood of white immigration.

With Tecumseh came his brother Elskwatwa, better known as “the Prophet”.
The Prophet prophesied the resurgence of the Indians, and although his
character was not as great as Tecumseh’s, for a time he overshadowed
Tecumseh. As Pontiac had conspired against the British, so Tecumseh and
the Prophet came to destroy the Americans. Unfortunately for the white
settlers on the frontier, their great scheme neared its climax
simultaneously with the outbreak of war between the United States and
Great Britain.

The small outpost at Fort Wayne was to play an important part in the
events preceding the conflict as well as in the war itself. Captain
Wells, through his close acquaintanceship with the Indians, kept well
informed of conditions. He was the first to notify the Secretary of War,
Dearborn, of the new danger emanating from the Prophet’s power.[1] In
June, 1807, Wells reported that a sort of religious madness had spread
among the Indians. A constant stream of warriors had passed Fort Wayne,
on the way to the Prophet during April and May; at least 1,500, he
estimated, had made the pilgrimage to Greenville, and many more were due
in August and September, after the Indian crops had ripened. A month
later he wrote to Governor Harrison:

  Two confidential Indians that I sent to that quarter [Mackinac] have
  returned today and say that all the Indians in that quarter believe in
  what the Prophet tells them.... I am also informed by a letter from
  Detroit that the inhabitants of that place are fortifying themselves.
  We are all alarmed at this place, myself excepted, as I can see no
  danger as yet at our doors. Something must be done. It cannot be done
  too soon.[2]

Wells had sized up the situation correctly. The threat was real and
dangerous, but not immediate. That winter he informed Harrison that
there was a very unusual assemblage of Potawatomis in the vicinity of
Fort Wayne; however, he added that he thought their intentions were
pacific. Harrison was not so certain of their friendly intentions and
requested Wells to send two or three chiefs to him that he might
ascertain their true purpose. The Secretary of War was even more alarmed
at the news, and he urged Harrison to visit Fort Wayne in order to find
out their real object. Dearborn also mistrusted Wells, who, he thought,
was “too attentive to pecuniary considerations.”[3]

Despite the reports of dissatisfaction with the conduct of Wells by his
superiors, Harrison and Dearborn, Congress, in 1808, in recognition of
his past services, granted him the right of pre-emption to one section
of land in the present Spy Run and Bloomingdale districts of Fort Wayne
at $1.25 an acre. It was in this section that Wells had already
established his farm. Wells died before he could pre-empt the land, but
his children took advantage of the government’s offer and entered the
property in 1823.

To Fort Wayne, in September, 1809, came Governor Harrison, in spite of
the threatening conditions of the community, to make what proved to be
his final treaty with the Indians in Indiana Territory. The scene that
was enacted was a memorable one. On the one side were arrayed the
Governor with his servant, his secretary, four Indian interpreters, and
the officers of the fort; on the other, the painted warriors of the
Miamis, the Potawatomis, the Delawares, and the Weas. On the third day
of the council, 892 warriors were present, on the day of actual signing
of the treaty, 1,390 were there.[4] Never before had such a large number
of Indians been assembled to meet a commissioner of the United States.
There were enough supplies on hand to meet this unexpected demand,
although the garrison lacked necessary provisions for some time

By adroit maneuvering and clever diplomacy, Governor Harrison secured
his objective. The agreement, signed on the 17th of September, added to
the domain of the United States an area of 2,900,000 acres, the greater
portion of which was situated north of the old Vincennes tract. For this
were exchanged the usual annuities to be paid to the Indians, a great
deal of these being in the form of domestic animals to be delivered at
Fort Wayne. Moreover, an armorer was to be employed at Fort Wayne for
the benefit of the Indians. The result of the treaty had little direct
effect on Fort Wayne, other than making it possible for the line of
civilization to move closer to it.

In connection with the treaty of Fort Wayne, the complex question of
Captain Wells arose once more to plague the Governor. On April 8, 1809,
prior to Harrison’s coming to Fort Wayne, Wells wrote to him in detail
concerning the activities of the Prophet. In the letter Wells offered
his assistance in forthcoming treaty negotiations.[5] Two weeks after
writing this letter, Wells was dismissed as Indian agent at Fort Wayne
by Secretary of War, Dearborn. This was shortly before the latter left
the War Department. Apparently General Dearborn believed that Wells did
not always use the public funds for the best interest of the government.
The surprising fact is that Harrison, supposedly the immediate superior
of Wells, first learned of the agent’s dismissal when he arrived at Fort
Wayne to negotiate the treaty. Harrison was surprised and also a little
angered at not being consulted in the matter.

Upon the governor’s arrival, Wells solicited Harrison’s intervention in
his behalf and again tendered his aid in bringing the contemplated
treaty to a successful conclusion. After the treaty was signed, and
while he was still at Fort Wayne, Harrison wrote to William Eustis,
Dearborn’s successor about the matter, saying that Wells had rendered
most essential services during the negotiations. Harrison then added:

  “He [Wells] professes himself to be unconscious of any crime which
  merits the treatment he has received. I think from his former services
  he deserves a hearing, and if his removal has been occasioned by
  misrepresentations, and a vacancy should occur in the Indian
  Department the government would find it to their account in placing
  him in it.”[6]

Back at Vincennes, two months later, Harrison wrote to Eustis in a
somewhat different tone. First he gave a detailed account of Wells’
career, mentioning his natural abilities as well as the defects in his
character. Harrison then said that since the treaty of Fort Wayne,
Wells’ conduct was so unfavorable that it did away with all favorable
impressions which his zeal for the treaty had created. However, he
concluded that it would be better to employ Wells in some position
within the Department than not to make use of him at all.[7]

Having heard that Wells might be reinstated in the Indian Department,
John Johnston, Wells’ bitterest enemy at Fort Wayne, wrote immediately
to Harrison saying:

  I think you will have to give up all idea of taking up —— [Johnston
  usually referred to Wells by a dash in the letter] again. He is too
  unprincipled to be employed anywhere, except as an interpreter, and
  under your own eye.... I could detail to you a thousand instances of
  his total disregard of everything that is held sacred by honest and
  honorable men. Admitting he was restored here again ... he would be
  useless to you and the government; for the latter never would put any
  confidence in his representations, and the public interest would
  thereby suffer. He has so long travelled in the crooked, miry paths of
  intrigue and deception, that he never could be made to retrace his
  steps, and pursue a straight, fair, and honorable course, such as
  might be creditable to himself and useful to his country. My opinion
  of him is made up from a long residence at this post, and an intimate
  knowledge of his character, both public and private ... the sooner all
  hope of his reestablishment is at an end, it will be the better, for
  he is becoming a pest here, and will move off if he finds he cannot be

Under Article 9 of the treaty of Fort Wayne, part of the land cession of
the Indians was valid only with the consent of the Kickapoo tribe. On
December 9, they signed a separate treaty and in it added another tract
this time subject to the consent of the Miamis. Johnston accused Wells
and Little Turtle of stirring up opposition among the Miamis against the
new cession of land.

Harrison’s displeasure with Wells became more intense when he learned
that a false story was circulated among the Indians around Fort Wayne
after the treaty, charging Harrison with buying the lands for his own
use and that of the people of Vincennes. What part Wells played in this
is not clear. Harrison believed him to be to a large extent responsible,
primarily by acting as an agent for William McIntosh, a Scotch Tory.
McIntosh was eager to prevent the settling of the new land, as he had
acquired title to it from the French at Vincennes.

The situation was made even more delicate and dangerous by the fact that
Tecumseh and the Prophet refused absolutely to recognize the validity of
the Fort Wayne treaty.

In October, the Indians were called to Fort Wayne on Harrison’s order,
in order that Johnston might stop the spread of false stories
circulating about the treaty. During the council, Johnston brought up
the question that he found was being agitated among the Indians, that is
petitioning for the removal of Governor Harrison, on the grounds of
misconduct in office. Johnston thought that Wells was the one
responsible for the petition, and told the Indians, “that whoever
advised them to it was a wicked bad man and not their friend.”[9] The
Owl, a Miami chief, maintained that all the mischief going on among them
had sprung from Wells and Little Turtle. Johnston also reported that
Wells had gone to Washington in an attempt to regain his old position as
Indian agent, and Johnston hoped that if Wells failed, he would leave
Fort Wayne.

Johnston’s report confirmed Harrison in his belief that Wells was acting
as an agent for William McIntosh, by spreading the false stories
concerning the governor’s relations with the tribes. The question of
Wells’ connection with McIntosh deserves some attention as the quarrel
between McIntosh and Harrison was more than one of mere personalities.
Their dispute was involved in that of the land speculators and Indian
traders on the one hand and the government authority, represented
primarily by the governor, on the other. Harrison did all in his power
to check the purchase of the Indian lands by speculators and traders. It
has been noted above that he prevented the sale of the Fort Wayne lands
owned by the government for fear of these lands being purchased by
unscrupulous traders. It is possible that Wells fell in line with
McIntosh in the latter’s quarrel with the governor. Johnston hints that
Wells was eager to trade with the Indians himself, and it is to be
remembered that Wells and Peter Audrian tried to prevent the execution
of the treaty with the Delawares in 1805.[10]

In the fall of 1810, Harrison brought a libel suit against William
McIntosh for slander in regard to the alleged misconduct in the treaty
negotiations and general mismanagement of the Indian affairs in the
territory on the part of the governor. The trial became a test between
the land speculators and Indian traders and Harrison. By the time the
trial was over, it included a complete examination of Harrison’s conduct
as territorial governor. Connected with the affair were the “Letters of
Decius”, a series of attacks on the governor by an Irish lawyer, Isaac
Darneille.[11] Considerable attention was directed to the trial
throughout the Northwest; the Cincinnati and Frankfort papers carried
lengthy accounts of it. The jury gave a verdict in favor of Harrison,
and granted him damages of four thousand dollars.

In respect to Wells, it is surprising to learn that he testified at the
trial in behalf of Harrison, stating that he found the governor’s manner
of dealing with the Indians in the councils at all times just. At first
glance, it would seem as though Harrison had been wrong in accusing
Wells of scheming with McIntosh, and it is possible that Harrison may
have been. However, such a contradiction of previous action is in
keeping with the pattern of Wells’ character and life. William Wells was
undoubtedly an intelligent and shrewd man, but with this ability was
combined a capacity for intrigue for his own benefit, which prevented
his superiors from relying on him and most of the Indians in his later
life from trusting in him. In trying to play the part of a “Talleyrand”
in Indian affairs, Wells failed miserably. Why he chose this manner of
accomplishing his purposes is unknown. Possibly his connection with both
the white and red races prompted him to believe himself a mediator, who,
incidentally, could profit by the differences between the two.

Wells had many enemies and a few friends among both races. If there is
any value in the observation, it is to be noted that most of his friends
were made in his early life, while his enemies were made after he became
Indian agent at Fort Wayne. Among the Indians, Little Turtle was Wells’
most intimate associate, although Five Medals, Blue Jacket, and many of
the older chiefs were also counted among his friends. Richardville, one
of the shrewdest of the Miamis, did not trust Wells. The Prophet and
Tecumseh, as well as Winamac and the White Loon hated Wells. Harrison
admitted shortly before Wells’ unexpected death that Wells deserved some
credit from the circumstance that the line that separated his friends
among the chiefs from his enemies was precisely the same as one Harrison
would have designated to separate the friends of the American cause from
its enemies.

Among Wells’ white friends were General Wayne, who valued his services
immensely, and Colonel Hamtramck, who was also Wells’ business
associate. Other commanders at Fort Wayne, notably Captain Heald thought
highly of him. On the other hand, his superiors—Harrison, Dearborn, and
Eustis—felt that he was unfaithful and not worthy of their trust, while
John Johnston despised him.

Considering all this, it is no wonder that Harrison wrote to the
Secretary of War in one of his last letters concerning William Wells:

  If my letters and opinions on the subject of Wells have appeared to
  you in any degree inconsistent and contradictory I can not say that
  they have not exhibited a faithful presentation of what has passed in
  my mind. You will do me justice in believing that this has not
  proceeded from fickleness of temper or any less worthy cause but from
  the contradictory impressions which a knowledge of his superior
  talents for an appointment in the Indian Department and the fear of
  his possessing dispositions which might in some degree prove
  dangerous, have made upon me. Without troubling you again with
  observations upon his character which I have before frequently made I
  will merely mention the conclusions which my mind has arrived at after
  much reflection. Could I be allowed to dispose of Wells as I thought
  proper my first wish would be to place him in the Interiour of our
  settlements where he would never see and scarely hear of an Indian.
  But as this is impossible from his being located in such a manner at
  Fort Wayne, that he cannot be removed without very considerable
  expence my next wish is to get him such an appointment as he could
  consider an object where he might be used to advantage but at the same
  time so limited as to prevent his doing mischief. I sincerely believe
  that he would now be faithful. His activities and talents need not be

Harrison still found Wells’ ability worth while and made use of this
despite the latter’s severance from the Indian department. In April,
Wells and John Conner were sent to the Prophet’s town to investigate the
murder of four white people in the neighborhood. Wells had a prolonged
conversation with Tecumseh during which the Shawnee openly declared his
intention to resist the white encroachments. In July, Tecumseh came to
Vincennes with a large body of Indians and once more protested strongly
against the agreements of the Fort Wayne treaty of 1809.

In the midst of this agitation, Captain Heald, the commander at Fort
Wayne, was transferred to the post at Fort Dearborn. Captain Heald was
followed shortly by his young bride, Rebekah Wells, the favorite niece
of William Wells. Arriving on May 15, 1810, Capt. James Rhea took over
the command of Fort Wayne. Rhea was a native of New Jersey, and had
received a commission in the army in 1791. He was promoted to first
lieutenant in 1800, and was commissioned a captain in 1807. He had
served with Wayne’s army and for a time was assigned to the command of
Fort Industry on the Maumee River. Shortly before coming to Fort Wayne,
Captain Rhea married Polly Forsyth, the 18 year old daughter of James
Forsyth, a wealthy Detroit merchant.[12]

Two days after his arrival at Fort Wayne, Captain Rhea wrote to his
superior, Colonel Kingsbury:

  ... I found Capt. Heald at this Place; he starts in the morning ... I
  am much pleased with my Command; I hope to be continued here ... at
  this Post every thing has been going on very correct; I mean to take
  the Tract of Capt. Heald as near as possible ... I have been very ill
  with Rheumatism Pains ever since I left you. I don’t know if ever I
  shall recover, I have not had a Night Sleep in two Weeks.[13]

The following month Captain Rhea reported that he was still suffering a
great deal from the rheumatic attacks; nevertheless during his first
year at Fort Wayne, the captain displayed the qualities of a good
commander. He made considerable repairs on the fort and carried out a
program of sanitation and land clearance. He knew of the impending
trouble with the Indians, but he failed, when the time came, to grasp
the opportunity of achieving recognition. At the critical moment,
Captain Rhea proved to be a weak character, given somewhat to alarmist
tendencies. During the siege of Fort Wayne, he displayed appalling
cowardice and a fondness for whiskey which proved his undoing. Whether
or not he sought to relieve his continued attacks of rheumatism by
alcohol can only be surmised, but his decline from the position taken in
his first garrison order at Fort Wayne to that of a slave of alcohol in
1812, forms a striking reversal. In his first order on May 20, 1810, he
noted the “abonimable [sic] practice” of drunkenness among the men, and
commented that he was “much hurt to see so much intoxication.”[14]

From the captain’s first quarterly report for the months of April, May,
and June, 1810, we have the following information in regard to the

  Officers: Captain, James Rhea; First Lieutenant, William Whistler;
  Second Lieutenant, Philip Ostrander; Composition of the Company;
  Native Americans, 36; Englishmen, 1; Irishmen, 11; Frenchmen 2; total,
  50. Strength of the Company: 1 captain, 2 subalterns, 3 sergeants, 2
  corporals, 3 musicians, 39 privates.[15]

Captain Rhea’s report for November was almost identical in regard to the
number of his men, but he added that the garrison was 31 men short of
its required strength of 81 men. He also felt that the arms of the
garrison were in bad condition, while on the other hand, the clothing of
the men was in good condition and the fort was regularly supplied with
provisions and ammunition. Captain Rhea reported the discipline of the
troops to be good, but actually it could have been no better than usual,
judging from the numerous court martials recorded in the garrison orders
during his command.[16]

During the summer of 1811, Fort Wayne became for the Indians the central
point between the Prophet’s Town on the Tippecanoe river and Malden, the
British post across from Detroit where arms and ammunition were
distributed to the red men. On August 11, 1811, John Shaw, the assistant
government agent at Fort Wayne, reported to the Secretary of War that
the situation in regard to the Prophet was growing serious, and many of
the neutral tribes were coming to him for advice.[17] To determine the
exact disposition of these neutral tribes, in particular the Miamis,
Delawares, and Potawatomis, Governor Harrison dispatched Toussaint
Dubois to Fort Wayne. In a council on the 4th of September, Dubois found
the Indians divided almost equally for and against the Prophet’s
schemes. After receiving Dubois’ report, Harrison instructed John
Johnston to separate the friendly Indians from the others and to place
them, if possible, in settlements on the White River, where they would
be safe from the contemplated attack of the American army on the
Prophet’s town.

With regular troops and militia, Governor Harrison advanced up the
Wabash in October towards the Prophet’s town on the Tippecanoe river.
Early in the morning of November 7, 1811, on the fields of Tippecanoe,
the Prophet’s forces attacked Harrison’s Army, but were driven back
after a hard fought battle. At Fort Wayne the first reports of the
engagement indicated that the Americans had suffered a severe defeat.
Until the correct information was received a week later, the garrison
and populace were in a state of great anxiety.

Two weeks after the battle, on the 22 of November, the period for the
annual meeting of the Indians to receive their annuities having arrived,
the tribes assembled at Fort Wayne in great numbers. Many of the chiefs
were fresh from Tippecanoe, but they claimed their annuities along with
peaceful tribes, saying that the Prophet alone was to blame for the
hostilities, and that he had been imprisoned by his own followers.
Although entirely untrue, these stories had the desired effect on John
Johnston, and he was thereby induced to grant the Indians their
annuities. Many of the tribes were sincere in seeking peace at this
time, but Johnston’s hasty action in granting the annuities provoked
Harrison, who heretofore had never criticized the factor’s decisions.

Shortly after this incident, Johnston was transferred to Piqua, Ohio, to
act as principal agent for the Shawnee tribe. His precipitate action in
regard to the annuities had nothing to do with the transfer, since
Johnston himself had applied for the change in positions, five months
before the battle of Tippecanoe, in order to be near his farm at Piqua,

Johnston’s successor, Major Benjamin Franklin Stickney was a singularly
brave man, but very eccentric and headstrong. A suggestion of his
eccentric character is found in the choice of names for his children.
The sons were styled, “One, Two, and Three” and the daughters bore the
names of states of the union. Benjamin Stickney had been in the
government service at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, prior to coming to Fort
Wayne. While at Fort Wayne, he and his family occupied the council
house, located just outside the stockade of the fort.

Stickney was rather cold and heartless in his attitude towards the
Indians. In 1815, testifying before a Senate committee, he stated:

  ... it is cheaper to reduce them [Indians] by meat and bread than by
  force of arms; and from the observations I have had the opportunity of
  making, three or four months full feeding on meat and bread ... will
  bring on disease, and in six or eight months great mortality ... I
  believe that more Indians might be killed with the expense of $100,000
  in this way than $1,000,000 expended in the support of armies to go
  against them.[18]

In December Tecumseh visited Fort Wayne. He had not been a participant
in the battle of Tippecanoe, as the conflict had been instigated by the
Prophet while Tecumseh was visiting the tribes along the Ohio river. The
outcome of the battle had ruined his plan of an Indian confederation,
but Tecumseh was still confident he could succeed with the help of the
British. At Fort Wayne he made bitter reproaches against Governor
Harrison; and at the same time demanded ammunition from Captain Rhea,
who refused. McAfee relates that Tecumseh “then said he would go to his
British father, who would not deny him. He appeared thoughtful a while,
and then gave the warwhoop and went off.”[19]

Such was the spirit in which Tecumseh left Fort Wayne. The year 1812
became a period of terror throughout the West. Fort Wayne, in the center
of the turmoil and uncertainty preceding the outbreak of the war, became
an excellent listening-post for the news passing between Malden and the
Indians along the Wabash. Harrison and the officials of the War
Department paid particular attention to the information gathered by
Wells, Stickney and John Shaw at Fort Wayne. On February 10, Wells
reported that two British emissaries passed Fort Wayne on their way to
the Prophet’s village. He added that the Potawatomis were ready to
strike the Americans at Fort Dearborn and Fort Wayne whenever war was
declared between the United States and Great Britain.[20]

On March 1, Wells wrote that Tecumseh had arrived on the Wabash and that
“he has determined to raise all the Indians he can, immediately, with an
intention, no doubt, to attack our frontiers.”[21] Writing to General
Hull, Benjamin Stickney came to the conclusion, somewhat belatedly, that
it was necessary to cut off all communication between the Indians within
the territory of the United States and Canada.[22] Stickney was also
extremely annoyed by the activities of Esidore Chaine, a clever agitator
employed by the British to maintain connections with the Indians in the
Fort Wayne area. Chaine had held several conferences with the Indians,
advising them to remain at peace with the Americans until war broke out
between Great Britain and the United States.

The last report of Tecumseh’s actions before the outbreak of the war
came from Wells at Fort Wayne. On June 17, Tecumseh stopped long enough
at Fort Wayne for Wells to find out that the chief was on his way to
Malden to receive from the British twelve horse loads of ammunition for
the use of his people at Tippecanoe. The following day, Congress
declared war against Great Britain. A week later the news arrived at
Fort Wayne and the other Northwestern posts.

Even at this hour the question of whether Harrison had full control over
the Indian factor at Fort Wayne or not remained unsettled. This time
Benjamin Stickney, rather than Wells, chose to display his independence
of the Governor. However, the matter did relate to Captain Wells, who at
the time intended to retire altogether from governmental service at Fort
Wayne and move to Kentucky. Having been informed of this by Colonel
Geiger, Wells’ father-in-law, and believing the presence of Wells at
Fort Wayne was necessary at this critical time, Governor Harrison wrote
to Benjamin Stickney, saying that Stickney should consider Wells under
his immediate orders and that he should employ Wells wherever possible
and beneficial for the government.

To this order Stickney replied:

  In all my instructions from the secretary of war ... he has not given
  me the least intimation that I was to consider myself under the
  direction of any other officer than himself. And as I received my
  appointment from the secretary of war by the approbation of the
  President it appears to be a dictate of common sense that I should
  consider his instructions as the rule of my conduct. And he has
  instructed me to have nothing to do with Wells and that Wells is to
  have nothing to do with Indian affairs at Fort Wayne. Nevertheless
  every communication from you shall be attended to by me with the
  greatest cheerfullness and conformed to as far as my instructions with
  the Department will permit.[23]

Stickney’s attitude provoked Harrison a great deal. The governor
immediately dispatched a lengthy letter to the Secretary of War in which
he brought up the entire question of his authority over the Indian
agents in Indiana Territory, and he urged the War Department to correct
any misconceptions relating to it. Reference was made by Harrison to the
incident of Wells acting independently in 1803 and the vindication of
Harrison’s authority over Wells at that time. Finally, Harrison
caustically observed that “it has been reserved for the ‘Common sense’
of Mr. Stickney to discover that no such obligation existed because he
derived his appointment immediately from you.”[24]

Truly the situation did call for the utmost vigilance from the members
of the Indian department and demanded harmony and concert in their
measures. If Stickney would have been permitted to stand upon ground
independent of the governor, their plans could have resulted in
contradiction that would have produced a discord fatal to the interests
of the nation. Harrison had directed Stickney to correspond regularly
with him concerning the trend of events at Fort Wayne and to send copies
of all such correspondence to the War Department in order that it might
be fully and immediately informed of the important happenings at Fort
Wayne. Harrison had also ordered Wells to send any messages directed to
him through Stickney. However, Wells naturally disregarded these
instructions whenever he wrote to Harrison concerning Stickney’s

Stickney was the subject matter of Wells’ last two letters to the
Governor. On July 22, Wells reported that the Prophet with one hundred
of his followers had been at Fort Wayne for ten days and planned to
leave that day. During this interval Major Stickney appeared to have
been completely beguiled by the Prophet’s declarations of neutrality.
Despite Tippecanoe and the fact that Tecumseh was already allied with
the British, Stickney allowed the Prophet to take the lead in the
councils with Indians and freely gave the Prophet ammunition and
supplies. On July 19, the Prophet received word from Tecumseh to send
the women and children west of the Mississippi and to unite the warriors
for a blow at Vincennes. In order to make better time the Prophet’s men
stole two riding horses from Wells’ farm and proceeded westward. To make
sure that Stickney would suspect nothing, the Prophet informed him of
the theft of the horses and dispatched two men on foot, supposedly to
find the thieves. According to Wells, Stickney swallowed this bait and
congratulated the Prophet on his honesty.[25]

Two weeks before his death at Fort Dearborn, Wells wrote to Harrison,
stating that Stickney, “does not consider himself under your constraint.
He declares publicly that you have no authority over him. Your speech to
the Indians has been here seven weeks and has never been communicated to
the Indians by the agent.”[26] Thus in his last letter, Wells had
completed the circle of contradiction and now stood with Harrison in an
attempt to uphold the governor’s authority over the agent at Fort Wayne.

To his credit, Harrison saw the importance of having Wells remain at
Fort Wayne during this crucial time. Concerning this, Harrison wrote to
the Secretary of War, “He [Wells] is ... able from his influence over a
few chiefs of great ability to effect more than any other person
particularly with regard to the _now_ all important point of obtaining

Three days after Harrison wrote this, Wells’ most intimate friend and
greatest of the chiefs, Little Turtle, died at Fort Wayne. The chief had
long suffered from the gout, and in order that he might have the
attendance of the post surgeon, he was brought from his village on the
Eel river to the home of Wells. Little Turtle was buried with full
military honors on Captain Wells’ farm, Captain Rhea and the officers of
the garrison being present.[28]

Within a period of two weeks after the death of Little Turtle, General
William Hull, governor of Michigan and commandant of a strong American
force at Detroit, sent an order to Fort Dearborn, instructing the
commander Captain Nathan Heald to evacuate the fort and transfer the
occupants of the lonely post to Fort Wayne. Hull also sent word of the
intended evacuation to Fort Wayne, ordering the officers there to
cooperate in the movement by rendering Captain Heald any information and
assistance in their power. Captain Wells, spurred by a desire to aid in
the evacuation and by the fact of his close relationship with Mrs.
Heald, organized a company of thirty friendly Miamis and with Corporal
W. K. Jordan from the garrison started for Fort Dearborn on August 8,
1812. Milo Quaife asserts that the arrival of Wells five days later
afforded the only ray of cheer and hope which came to the settlement in
this time of danger.[29] Preparations for departure were under way when
Wells arrived. Wells was downcast. To remain in the fort now meant death
from starvation as all the supplies except the little needed for the
journey had been destroyed or given to the Indians. The attempt to reach
Fort Wayne was the only alternative.

The story of the anguished departure from the fort on the morning of
August 15 and the subsequent massacre need not be related here. Suffice
it to say that Captain Wells was killed during the battle in an attempt
to save the women and children. The Indians paid their sincerest tribute
of respect to his bravery by cutting out his heart and eating it,
thinking thus to imbibe the qualities of its owner in life. Quaife
writes, “Wells was the real hero of the Chicago masacre, giving his life
voluntarily to save his friends.”[30] Thus, Captain Wells’ colorful
career was brought to a close. Paradoxically, he died while fighting
against the Indians, although in his first battles he had fought on
their side. In death as in life Wells remained an enigmatic figure, one
who deserves far more attention by those endeavoring to understand the
frontier with its curious mixture of romanticism and realism. Wells’
companion from Fort Wayne, Corporal Jordan, was captured by the Indians
but later made his escape, finally reaching the safety of Fort Wayne on
August 26 after seven days in the wilderness.

[1]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[2]_Ibid._, p. 242.

[3]_Ibid._, p. 285.

[4]Elmore Barce, “Harrison and the Treaty of Fort Wayne, Indiana”,
    _Indiana Magazine of History_, II, 361.

[5]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, p. 337.

[6]Harrison to Eustis, Oct. 3, 1809, this letter was copied by Capt.
    Heald and sent to Colonel Kingsbury. This copy is to be found in the
    Kingsbury Papers, Chicago Historical Society Library.

[7]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, pp.

[8]_Ibid._, p. 432.

[9]_Ibid._, p. 477.

[10]It must be remembered that the Indians were never completely passive
    to the surrender of their lands. This, Harrison often failed to take
    into account, when alleging instigation of the Indians by white men.

[11]_cf._ Henry Adams, _History of the United States_, VI, 107.

[11a]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey,
    pp. 508-9.

[12]Capt. Rhea to Col. Kingsbury, March 18, 1810, Kingsbury Papers,
    Chicago Historical Society Library.

[13]Capt. Rhea to Col. Kingsbury, May 17, 1810, Kingsbury Papers,
    Chicago Historical Society Library.

[14]_IHC_, XV, Fort Wayne Orderly Books, ed. B. J. Griswold, 302.

[15]Capt. Rhea to Col. Kingsbury, July 1, 1810, Kingsbury Papers, Misc.
    Letters, 1804-1813, Chicago Historical Society Library.

[16]_IHC_, XV, ed. B. J. Griswold, pp. 302-350 _passim_.

[17]_IHC_, VII, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[18]_American State Papers, Indian Affairs_, II, 84-5.

[19]McAfee, _History of the Late War in the Western Country_, p. 128.

[20]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, pp.

[21]_Ibid._, p. 27.

[22]_Ibid._, p. 53.

[23]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[24]_Ibid._, p. 69.

[25]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, pp.

[26]Wells to Harrison, July 30, 1812, Burton Historical Collection.

[27]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[28]What is believed to be the grave of Little Turtle was discovered in
    1912 at the home of Dr. George Gillie in the Spy Run section.

[29]M. M. Quaife, _Chicago and the Old Northwest, 1673-1835_, p. 225.

[30]_Ibid._, p. 217.

                               Chapter IV
                        The Siege of Fort Wayne

At last the savages had struck their long deferred blow. The little
garrison of eighty-five men at Fort Wayne received with alarm the first
account of the massacre at Fort Dearborn. The news was conveyed by one
of the friendly Miamis who had accompanied Wells to Fort Dearborn.
Unknown to the garrison at this date was the fact that Detroit—the
protecting center of the other northwestern posts—had been ingloriously
surrendered on August 16 to a British-Indian force by General William
Hull. Mackinac had already fallen to the British. Tecumseh and the
British now turned their attention to the reduction of Fort Wayne and
Fort Harrison (near Terre Haute, Indiana), as the principal remaining
obstacles to prevent them from driving the white inhabitants beyond the
Ohio river. After their success at Dearborn, a council was held by the
Indian tribes and British officers at the Potawatomie villages. Here it
was determined that the Potawatomies together with the Ottawas were to
be assisted in the proposed siege of Fort Wayne by a British force under
Major Muir. Meanwhile the Winnebagoes and Miamis would direct their
attention toward Fort Harrison.

When the people of Fort Wayne became aware of the gravity of their
situation, it was determined to send the women and children to a safe
refuge, the closest being Piqua, Ohio. In order to accomplish this,
Captain John Logan, a Shawnee Indian, was sent by John Johnston from
Piqua to conduct the group which numbered close to twenty-five. Among
Logan’s charges on the hundred-mile journey were Ann, Rebecca, and Mary
Wells, and the wives and children of Antoine Bondie, William Bailey, and
Stephen Johnston. This was but the first of many acts of heroism on the
part of the Shawnee brave, John Logan, during the war.[1]

None too soon were the women and children removed to a place of safety,
for in a short time about five hundred warriors began to gather quietly
about Fort Wayne, encamping in the forest and seeking to avoid open
evidence of hostility. Theirs was a waiting game, as the British had
promised troops and artillery within a period of twenty days.

Fortunately for the garrison and the people remaining near Fort Wayne,
the Indian plan to attack the fort was discovered beforehand in much the
same manner as Pontiac’s famous plan to capture Detroit had been
revealed to the British at an earlier date in history. On the night of
August 20, Metea, a Potawatomie chief, made his way under cover of
darkness to the cabin of Antoine Bondie outside of the fort enclosure
and there revealed to Bondie the plans of attack in order that Bondie
and his Indian wife might escape death. Antoine Bondie, a French trader,
was then about fifty years old and had lived with the Indians since he
was twelve near the vicinity of Fort Wayne. Metea naturally thought that
Bondie would join them and when the Frenchman did not decline the
chief’s offer, he suspected nothing.

However, Bondie accompanied by Charles Peltier, another French trader,
went to Benjamin Stickney the following morning and informed the agent
of the plot.[2] Stickney, who at a later date wrote his account of the
siege, gave himself most of the credit for the turn the events then
took.[3] At first, he relates, he was inclined to reject Bondie’s
information as false, since a mistake in a matter of so much importance
would have proved ruinous to his character and would have resulted in
his disgraceful ejection from office. However, he informed Captain Rhea
of the situation, and despite the fact that the Captain discredited
Bondie’s story on the grounds that the latter was untrustworthy,
Stickney determined to send an express to Harrison at Cincinnati and
another to Captain Taylor at Terre Haute informing them of the state of

Why Captain Rhea should have refused and Stickney should have hesitated
to believe that an attack was imminent even though they knew of the
massacre at Fort Dearborn is difficult to understand. It can be said in
their defense that when Bondie revealed to them the plot of the red men,
they had not yet heard of the surrender of Detroit; consequently, did
not realize their position was so precarious. Lt. Curtis in his account
of the siege of Fort Wayne states that many attempts were made to send
messages through to Detroit, but that they all failed.[4] Earlier in the
same day that Metea informed Bondie of the coming attack on Fort Wayne,
Captain Rhea expressed the rather naive belief that the Potawatomies
gathering about the fort intended to proceed to Piqua for a conference
with the U. S. commissioners, and requested Governor Meigs of Ohio to
send him instructions concerning the matter. At the same time Captain
Rhea asked for information in regard to General Hull’s movements at
Detroit, which indicated he knew nothing of the surrender.[5]

Four days later it was becoming increasingly apparent that the
information furnished by Antoine Bondie was no mere fiction. Stephen
Johnston, who served as a clerk at the Fort Wayne factory after the
departure of his older brother, described conditions surrounding the
fort in a letter written August 24, 1812, to his wife at Piqua:

  “We have about four hundred Indians here. Their intentions are very
  suspicious. I have moved all the public goods into the garrison, so
  that I am now unincumbered by the business, and if it were not for Mr.
  Stickney’s illness, and having to attend to his department, I would
  leave the place for the present, as the trading establishment is at an
  end for the time being.”[6]

On the 24 or 25 of August, Captain Rhea dispatched a message to General
Worthington and Governor Meigs of Ohio, stating that he expected the
fort to be attacked that night.[7] This was the last communication
received from the garrison prior to the start of the siege. It is
fortunate that these appeals for aid were sent by Benjamin Stickney and
Captain Rhea as they served to hasten Harrison’s army of relief in time
to save the fort. By August 28, Harrison, realizing the gravity of the
situation, wrote to the Secretary of War, “The relief of Fort Wayne will
be my first object.”[8]

Meanwhile at Fort Wayne, both parties wished to delay the final
conflict, the garrison in order to give time to Harrison to bring the
necessary relief, and the Indians, from daily expectation of the arrival
of the British force which had been promised them. Within the fort, the
situation was rendered highly embarrassing and hazardous by the
condition of Captain Rhea who began to drink heavily and was incapable
of handling any duties. It is evident also that ill-feeling between
Benjamin Stickney and the two lieutenants, Curtis and Ostrander, was not
lacking. In his account, Stickney wrote, “The commanding officer was
drunk nearly all the time, and the two lieutenants were inefficient men,
entirely unfit to hold commissions of any grade.”[9] This last statement
must be taken with some allowance, as Philip Ostrander was later made
temporary commander of Fort Wayne with Harrison’s approval, and Daniel
Curtis rose to the rank of captain after creditable service during the

By August 28, the post was definitely in a state of siege. About ten
o’clock that night Stephen Johnston, accompanied by Peter Oliver and a
recently discharged soldier set out for Piqua, as Johnston was eager to
join his wife there. When the three men had arrived at a point a short
distance south of the fort, near what was the Hanna homestead, they were
fired upon by the Indians. Johnston was killed instantly. The other two
men fled back to the fort. A reward of twenty dollars, offered by
Antoine Bondie the next day for the return of Johnston’s body to the
fort—a work performed by a young chief, White Racoon—revealed the fact
that Johnston had been scalped and tomahawked in a most brutal manner.

No further proof of the attitude of the Indians was needed; however the
next morning an Indian approached the fort and asked Stickney for a
white flag in order that some of the chiefs might come and speak with
him. The flag was granted under a promise of its being returned that
day, but the Indians kept it several days during which time they were
constantly plundering the gardens and cornfields and were killing and
carrying away the cattle and hogs. This they did right under the guns of
the fort, and comments Lt. Curtis, “we poor soldiers, either from
cowardice or some other agency in our captain, were not suffered to fire
a gun but obliged their repeated insults to pass with impunity.”[10]

On one occasion a party of soldiers left the fort to check the Indians.
For this the lieutenants were rebuked by Captain Rhea in an official
order.[11] Finally the Indians bearing the flag before themselves
approached the fort in large number, hoping evidently to be allowed to
enter in such force as to be able to overpower the occupants. But only a
few were admitted by Stickney, who designated thirteen chiefs who would
be welcomed. Each chief was disarmed on entering the stockade and the
party followed the agent to his quarters. At the request of Stickney the
troops were paraded during the council which followed. When the council
pipes were finished, Winamac addressing the agent disclaimed any part in
the death of Johnston. “But,” he added, “if my father wishes for war, I
am a man.”[12] With this expression he struck his hand upon a knife that
was concealed under his blanket. Stickney at the time did not understand
the language, but Antoine Bondie who was present and understood the
whole force of what was said, sprang to his feet and, striking his own
knife, shouted in Potawatomie, “I, too, am a man.”[13] His dramatic
action, together with the appearance of the soldiers, fully armed,
brought the plot to a finish. The Indians had hoped through the murder
of Stickney and the officers, to be able to control the situation within
the fort, even to the opening of the gates to allow the entrance of
their warriors. However, they filed back to their encampment

The garrison was cheered on September 1 by the arrival of William Oliver
who brought news of the approach of Harrison’s army. Oliver, who was
then twenty-five years of age, had been connected with the fort as a
sutler. While the Indians were gathering about the fort he was absent in
Cincinnati purchasing supplies, and there he learned of the state of
affairs at Fort Wayne. He enlisted with the Ohio troops and offered his
services to General Harrison with the proposition that the general allow
him to proceed from St. Mary’s, Ohio, to Fort Wayne with a small company
as an advance detachment of the army of relief. This he did, but when
the group of ninety-four men came within twenty-four miles of Fort
Wayne, they ascertained the size of the besieging forces to be larger
than they could safely meet in an open encounter. Oliver continued on,
however, with three Shawnees—Captain John Logan, Captain Johnny, and
Brighthorn. Well mounted and well armed, they eluded the vigilance of
the besiegers and succeeded in reaching the Maumee river at a point one
and a half miles east of the fort. Here they left their horses in order
to make a preliminary reconnoiter. The enemy was conferring on a
strategem for the capture of the garrison and had gathered on the west
and south sides of the fort. Returning to their horses, the four
messengers rode stealthily along the Maumee and up the bank to the east
wall of the fort. No member of the garrison was in sight. In despair,
they rode down the river bank and skirted the shore as they turned their
horses to the west to follow the St. Mary’s river. Then, in full view of
the Indians, they dashed up the river bank and made straight for the
north gate of the fort, at a moment when Winamac and four other chiefs
were rounding the northwest corner of the fort with a flag of truce to
hold another conference with the commandant. The sudden appearance of
the riders disconcerted the besiegers who believed them to be the
advance of a large relieving force. Winamac retired after a mere
handshake. Lt. Curtis later stated, “The safe arrival of Mr. Oliver at
that particular juncture may justly be considered most miraculous. One
hour sooner or one hour later would no doubt have been inevitable
destruction both to himself and escort.”[14]

Once within the fort Oliver announced the approach of Harrison’s army
and immediately dispatched a note to Harrison by John Logan and his
companions, who succeeded in evading the besiegers once again.

In the meantime Harrison’s force had reached Piqua on September 1. Here
he found the whole “country in dreadful alarm on account of the fall of
Detroit and Chicago and the supposed investiture of Fort Wayne by the
Indians.”[15] A body of 700 volunteers for the relief of Fort Wayne was
unwilling to go beyond Shane’s Crossing on the St. Mary’s without
reinforcements. On September 4, Harrison received information that a
British and Indian force was advancing toward Fort Wayne from Malden.
Actually, the British detachment under Major Muir did not leave Malden
until September 16, four days after the siege was abandoned by the
Indians. This delay by the British was occasioned by the temporary
armistice arranged between General George Prevost and General Dearborn.
Had the British sent support to the besieging Indians sooner, or had not
Harrison been so prompt in bringing relief, the outcome of the siege of
Fort Wayne might have been far different. As it was the garrison being
well supplied with provisions was able to withstand the attacks made by
the Indians.

Nevertheless, the situation at Fort Wayne was fairly critical from
September 3, to September 12. On September 3, Captain Rhea published his
final garrison order, saying, “It is earnestly hoped by the Commanding
Officer that for this night every man will be at his post,—relief is at
hand but means may be taken to cut us off from that relief. Should any
man be found inattentive to his duty, punishment ensues; For on this
night, our fame, our honor and every thing that is near & dear depends.
—be therefore Cautious and brave—“[16] For the following twenty-seven
days no entry was placed in the Orderly Book. The next morning, despite
his dramatic order, Captain Rhea, inwardly disheartened and apprehensive
of the doom of the garrison and its occupants, took to drink to bolster
his despairing nature.

On the same day the chiefs again approached the fort with a flag of
truce, and being asked whether they wished war or peace, Winemac
replied, “You know that Mackinaw is taken, Detroit is in the hands of
the British, and Chicago has fallen; and you must expect to fall next,
and that in a short time! Immediately”, Lt. Curtis continues, “our great
captain invited the savage over to his headquarters and after drinking
three glasses of wine with him rose from his seat and observed: ‘My good
friend, I love you; I will fight for you; I will die by your side. You
must save me!’ and then gave him a half dollar as a token of friendship,
inviting him at the same time to come and breakfast with him the next

Winamac failed to accept the Captain’s invitation to breakfast, but
instead sent five warriors who secreted themselves behind a small
building and shot two members of the garrison. From then on the siege
became active. That night the Indians made a general attack, but were
driven off by the four howitzers of the fort. Almost continuous firing
was kept up day and night until September 10; several times the
buildings were set on fire by flaming arrows, but the vigilance of the
garrison prevented a conflagration.

During this time, Captain Rhea continued “drunk as a fool, and perfectly
incapable of exercising rationality on any subject whatsoever, but was
constantly abusing and illtreating everyone that came in his
presence.”[18] The disorder and confusion he created among the men was
one of the greatest dangers of the siege. At one time Lieutenants Curtis
and Ostrander considered placing him under arrest in order to silence
his clamor. The captain would frequently talk of surrendering if the
Indian attacks grew stronger and particularly if they or the British
would bring up the cannon they had captured at Chicago. When Captain
Rhea was told by Lt. Ostrander that the largest piece at Chicago was a
three-pounder and that the first person in the garrison who should offer
to surrender at the approach of no heavier piece than a three-pounder
should instantly be shot, he remained silent on the subject.

Meanwhile, instead of waiting at Piqua for the arrival of General James
Winchester, who had been assigned to the command of the northwestern
army, Harrison issued the following call:

  Mounted Volunteers! I requested you, in my late address to rendezvous
  at Dayton on the 15th instant. I have now a more pressing call for
  your services! The British and Indians have invaded our country and
  are now besieging (perhaps have taken) Fort Wayne. Every friend to his
  country, who is able to do so, will join me as soon as possible, well
  mounted, with a good rifle and twenty or thirty days provisions.[19]

Although Harrison was eager to press forward, the army was detained at
Piqua for lack of flints and did not move until September 6. Two days
later it reached Girty’s Town, now St. Mary’s, Ohio. By that time the
army numbered 2,200 men, and the scouts sent out by the Indians returned
to their camp with the report that “Kentuck is coming as numerous as the

At Fort Wayne comparative calm had set in, according to Lt. Curtis’
account. “After the 10th we rested in tranquility, but could see large
bodies of Indians between that time and the 12th running in great haste
across the prairies and many without arms.”[21] On the night of the
11th, while still seventeen miles from Fort Wayne, Harrison wrote to the
Secretary of War that he fully expected a major engagement the following
day. The Indians were prepared to give battle at a swamp five miles
southeast of the fort, but finding Harrison’s army too strong to attack,
they kindled extensive fires to create the impression within the fort
that a battle had occurred. They hoped thereby to draw the troops out of
the fort, but his final ruse failed, and the Indians withdrew, some only
a few minutes before the arrival of Harrison’s advance guard.

The arrival of the army around three o’clock that afternoon was an
occasion of great joy to the troops and people who had taken refuge
within the fort. Harrison’s men encamped outside the walls of the fort
where, McAfee relates, “a few days previous there had been a handsome
little village; but it was now in ruins.”[22] The government factory had
been burned by the Indians as well as the large council house. Captain
Wells’ farm had been overrun and laid waste, while all the outlying
homes were destroyed. The corn which had been cultivated by the
villagers was nearly all gone and the remainder served as forage for
Harrison’s cavalry.

Fort Wayne was described by McAfee as:

  Delightfully situated on an eminence on the south bank of the Miami of
  the Lake [Maumee river] immediately below the formation that river by
  the junction of the St. Marys with the St. Josephs ... It is well
  constructed of block houses and picketting, but could not resist a
  British force, as there are several eminences on the south side, from
  which it could be commanded by a six or nine pounder.[23]

After referring to the proximity of the Wabash river to that of the St.
Mary’s, McAfee added, “A canal at some future day will unite these
rivers and thus render a town at Fort Wayne, as formerly, the most
considerable place in all that country.”[24]

From a military viewpoint, Fort Wayne had successfully withstood the
siege, but the destruction of the village and trade must be considered
as a major setback to the community. McAfee indicated this even though
he foresaw a more promising future. As late as 1821, Thomas Teas wrote
after visiting Fort Wayne, “The village before the late war was much
larger than at present.”[25] Many of the families who left Fort Wayne in
1812 never returned.

On the day following Harrison’s arrival, detachments, using Fort Wayne
as their base of operations, commenced the destruction of the Indian
villages of the entire region. The men who remained at Fort Wayne
proceeded to remove all the underbrush surrounding the fort. The land
was cleared on both sides of each river for a mile in every direction.

After arranging his camp, Harrison summoned the officers and agent of
the fort and there, from Lieutenants Curtis and Ostrander, with Benjamin
Stickney as a corroborative witness, heard the charges preferred against
Captain Rhea. Rhea was placed under arrest and after a careful
consideration of the charges, Harrison was in favor of having him
brought before a court martial. However, on account of his age and his
having a young family, Rhea was allowed to resign. He was given until
December 20 to return home, at which time his pay and emoluments ceased.

On September 18, General James Winchester arrived at Fort Wayne to take
command of the army. It was only after the troops had been promised that
Harrison would soon be re-appointed commander that they consented to
march toward Detroit under Winchester.

General Winchester chose to follow the usual route to Detroit by moving
down the north bank of the Maumee. The American army left Fort Wayne on
September 22. Meanwhile unaware that the siege of Fort Wayne had been
lifted, the British commander at Detroit, Colonel Proctor, dispatched
two hundred British regulars under Major Muir together with a thousand
Indians under Captain Elliot to assist in taking Fort Wayne. Having
brought their baggage and artillery up the Maumee as far as Fort
Defiance, the British discovered the approach of Winchester’s stronger
army. A hasty retreat on the part of the British followed. Their cannon
and heavy equipment were thrown into the river.

As pointed out previously the British had delayed sending this
expedition because of the temporary armistice. Had the force under Major
Muir reached Fort Wayne before Harrison’s army, it is likely that the
fort would have fallen, which would have rendered the recapture of
Detroit much more difficult. General Brock in writing to his superior,
Sir George Prevost, expressed the belief that Fort Wayne would surely
fall to Major Muir and added, “The Indians were likewise looking to us
for assistance. They heard of the Armistice with every mark of jealousy,
and had we refused joining them in the expedition it is impossible to
calculate the consequences.”[26] That the British troops were prepared
to batter down the palisades of Fort Wayne is shown by the official
report of Major Muir to Colonel Proctor. Some of his officers endeavored
to induce Major Muir to hold his position at Defiance and use their
cannon to prevent the advance of Winchester’s troops. “I told them”,
Major Muir wrote, “that the guns were brought for the purposes of
battering Fort Wayne, but would not answer to fight in the woods.”[27]
Colonel Proctor, in turn explaining the movement to General Brock,
wrote, “The delay occasioned by the armistice prevented the attainment
of the object of our expedition, which was destruction of Fort

After the departure of Captain Rhea, Lt. Philip Ostrander was left in
temporary charge of Fort Wayne for a period of nine weeks. During
October, Ostrander reported that over half the garrison was sick. For
these men there was no medicine, while all the men were destitute of
clothing and blankets. Concerning the Indian menace, the situation had
improved, but the danger from attack had not passed. Lt. Ostrander
issued a stern warning to his men not to leave the fort without

Word that the Indians were again collecting around Fort Wayne induced
Harrison to send Colonel Allen Trimble and five hundred mounted
volunteers to the fort. A battalion of Ohio infantry was also sent to
Fort Wayne with much needed provisions. While at Fort Wayne this group
collected firewood since the garrison was unable to do so with the
hostile Indians lurking in the woods.

On November 22, 1812, Captain Hugh Moore arrived at Fort Wayne to take
command of the post. Little is known about Captain Moore. He had been
with Harrison from the outbreak of the war. At Fort Wayne he served as
commander until the summer of 1813 when he was succeeded by Major Joseph
Jenkinson. Captain Moore’s first order was the appointment of Antoine
Bondie as issuing agent at the post. This was obviously in recognition
of Bondie’s service during the siege. This position enabled Bondie to
support his family, as his trading establishment was all but ruined.
Later Bondie was also appointed captain of the scouts which were sent
out occasionally from the fort.

On April 28, 1813, Captain Moore issued an order placing Lt. Philip
Ostrander under arrest and prohibiting any member of the garrison from
communicating with the younger officer. Lt. Ostrander was never brought
before a military court, but died on July 13, 1813, while still
imprisoned. There is no reason given for the arrest in the orderly book,
other than the statement, “circumstances have transpired within this
garrison of a most destructive, injurious and dangerous nature to the
service.”[30] Brice in his short history of Fort Wayne says: “Lieutenant
Ostrander ... who had unthoughtfully fired upon a flock of birds passing
over the fort, had been reprimanded by Captain Ray [Rhea], and because
of his refusal to be tried by courtmartial, was confined in a small room
in the garrison, where he subsequently died.”[31]

This account is rendered impossible from the fact that Ostrander acted
as commandant from the time of Rhea’s departure in disgrace, until the
arrival of Captain Moore. As late as January 5, 1813, Lt. Ostrander was
a member of a court martial, which found Alexander Scott guilty of
contemptuous conduct to one of the officers, possibly Ostrander himself.
After that date his name does not appear in the record until April 27,
1813, the day prior to his arrest, when the same Alexander Scott was
tried and acquitted on a charge of traducing Lt. Ostrander’s
character.[32] In what manner Scott supposedly slandered Lt. Ostrander
is not stated in the proceedings of the trial; however, it is possible
to surmise that there was some connection between the charge and Lt.
Ostrander’s arrest the following day.

During the year 1813, Fort Wayne became the natural center for supplies
used by the American armies operating in northern Ohio and eastern
Michigan. In May of that year, Harrison addressed the Secretary of War,

  “I am persuaded that a demonstration in the direction of Fort Wayne by
  a body of mounted men would be attended by very happy effects. I am
  not entirely at ease on the subject of the garrisons in that
  direction. The enemy, if they understood their business will certainly
  make an attempt to carry some of our weak posts where we have large
  deposits ... I have always been partial to the assembling a body of
  Troops in the Vicinity of Fort Wayne. It is in the immediate line of
  communication between the Indians of the Wabash, Illinois,
  Mississippi, and the South and West sides of Lake Michigan and

Following this logic, Harrison ordered Colonel Richard M. Johnson to
proceed to Fort Wayne and from thence to scour the northwestern
frontiers. After a difficult journey over the swollen St. Mary’s river
and flooded countryside, Johnson’s men reached Fort Wayne on June 7.
Grim excitement greeted their arrival. One of the ten flatboats bringing
provisions to Fort Wayne had struck on a bar within sight of the fort.
Before help could arrive, the three crewmen were killed by Indians
lurking near the fort. Johnson’s cavalry pursued the red men, but
nightfall and rain ended their endeavor.

Leaving their heavy baggage at Fort Wayne, the regiment moved across the
St. Mary’s and established their camp in the present Spy Run district of
Fort Wayne. After a day’s rest, Johnson’s men began a march two hundred
miles in the region to the northwest of Fort Wayne. They returned to the
fort on June 14. The result of this excursion was important, for never
before had this land been traversed by such a large body of white men.
The knowledge gained at this time, together with the information
published by Capt. McAfee, played a significant part in the development
of the northwestern part of Indiana.

After spending a few days at Fort Wayne, Johnson’s regiment proceeded
down the Maumee to join Harrison’s army, and aid in the recapture of
Detroit. On October 5, 1813, the British and Indian forces were routed
at the battle of the Thames by the American army under Harrison.
Tecumseh was killed in the battle, and in effect, the Indian power was
broken forever in the old Northwest. This battle, following closely upon
Perry’s victory on Lake Erie, brought the war to an unofficial close in
this region.

The danger of Indian hostilities at Fort Wayne was never again critical,
but the safety of the people about the fort was still menaced by
occasional attacks. Such a one occurred late in 1813, when Major Joseph
Jenkinson arrived to succeed Captain Hugh Moore as commander of Fort
Wayne. On the march from Newport, Kentucky, three companies of militia
which accompanied Major Jenkinson found it convenient, in the latter
part of their journey, to convey their supplies by flatboats on the St.
Mary’s river. At a sharp bend in the stream about a mile from the fort,
the Indians ambushed the last of the boats and killed the men who were
guiding it.

Major Jenkinson’s period of service at Fort Wayne was brief. His family
did not accompany him to the post, and after six months he chose to
return to Kentucky where he was appointed adjutant of the state militia.
The only existent letter of Major Jenkinson while he was stationed at
Fort Wayne, throws some light on the attitude of the local French people
toward slavery. The major, writing to his wife, complained that some of
the French men living near Fort Wayne had thoroughly “corrupted Ephraim
[the major’s slave] by their ideas”; so much so that it was necessary
“to cool the fellow off, by two very hard whippings.”[34]

In May, 1814, the command of Fort Wayne was given to Major John Whistler
of the First United States Infantry. Major Whistler was not a stranger
to Fort Wayne. As a lieutenant he had accompanied Wayne on his western
campaign, and was here to assist in the building of the original fort.
He remained as a special officer to oversee the maintenance of the forts
of the surrounding region. Later, his wife joined him at Fort Wayne, and
it was here that their son, George Washington Whistler was born in
1800.[35] Following Major John Whistler’s early service at Fort Wayne,
he was transferred to Detroit, and from thence to Chicago, where he
built Fort Dearborn and became its first commandant.

Major Whistler was chronically in debt. In fact, his financial outlook
was almost hopeless. With a salary, as a captain, of $40.00 a month, he
had a family of fifteen children to maintain. To make matters worse, the
visits of the government paymaster were highly irregular. On one
occasion, he wrote to a creditor that he had received no pay in a period
of more than two years. “I hope you will not think I complain against my
government for detaining my pay,” he added, “No, but necessity forces me
to make the real statement to satisfy my creditor.”[36] It is distinctly
to Major Whistler’s credit that even in the act of pressing for payment
his creditors frequently paused to express confidence in his honesty and
sympathy for his lot.

The year 1814, which marked the return of the Whistler family also marks
the re-establishment of family life in and about Fort Wayne. While the
Maloch and Peltier families remained at Fort Wayne throughout the war,
the other Fort Wayne families had taken refuge mainly in the more
settled areas along the Ohio river. Some of the families never did
return, but among those who did was the Louis Bourie family. Bourie as
early as 1786 maintained a profitable enterprise at the portage by
keeping pack-horses and a warehouse for the deposit and transportation
of merchandise and peltries. During the war, he moved to Detroit with
his wife and two children. Soon after his return to Fort Wayne in 1814,
Bourie was given a contract to provide bread for the soldiers, and in
1815, he built a bakery at the corner of the present Clinton and
Columbia streets. A short time later he established a general store and
erected a log residence adjoining the building.

George Hunt, who had served as a sutler prior to the war, also returned
to Fort Wayne in 1814. He was the son of Colonel Thomas Hunt, the third
commander at Fort Wayne. With George Hunt came his younger brother, John
Elliott Hunt.

Lt. Daniel Curtis, to whom we are indebted for the best account of the
siege, was still connected with the post in 1814. Other residents of the
fort in that year included Benjamin Stickney, who remained as Indian
agent; Benjamin Berry Kercheval and Peter Oliver, clerks of the agent;
Charles Peltier a fur trader; John P. Hedges, who had first visited the
fort in 1812 and who was now stationed at the fort as a storekeeper; Dr.
Daniel Smith, the post surgeon; Robert Forsythe, who later became a
paymaster in the United States army; and a French blacksmith,
Louisaneau, who had a government appointment to do work for the troops
as well as the Indians about the fort.

One of the new arrivals at Fort Wayne at this time was William
Suttenfield. Suttenfield had first visited Fort Wayne in 1811, at which
time he was in Colonel John Johnston’s employ, being in charge of a pack
train hauling military and Indian stores from Piqua, Ohio, to the fort.
In 1814, he brought his wife, formerly Laura Taylor, and his infant son,
William F. Suttenfield, to Fort Wayne by way of the St. Mary’s river,
the route used most frequently by travelers from southwestern Ohio.
Suttenfield was for many months after his arrival employed in bringing
provisions to the fort from Piqua and other points. He was short,
slender, and very active and agile. For these reasons he boasted that
the Indians could not catch him while he was bringing in supplies. Soon
after their arrival, the Suttenfields built a log house outside the
fort. This was the first home erected beyond the protecting walls of the
fort, following the siege. It stood near the river to the south of the

Mrs. Laura Suttenfield lived until 1886. Before her death, she left an
impressive description of a 4th of July celebration in 1814. The
isolation and quietude of Fort Wayne in that year is suggested by her

  The fort at that time contained sixty men of the regular army, all
  patriotic and anxious to celebrate one day in the year. They made
  three green bowers, 100 feet from the pickets of the fort ... one
  bower for the dinner table, one for the cooks and one for the music.
  Major Whistler had two German cooks and they prepared the dinner....
  Our dinner consisted of one fine turkey, a side of venison, boiled
  ham, vegetables in abundance, cranberries and green currents. As for
  dessert, we had none. Eggs were not known here for three years from
  that time. There were but three bottles of wine sent here from
  Cincinnati; but one was made use of. Then there were a few toasts,
  and, after three guns and music, they went into the fort and the
  ladies changed their dresses. Then Major Whistler called for the
  music, which consisted of one bass drum, two small ones, one fife,
  violin and flute. There was a long gallery in the fort; the musicians
  took their seats there.... A french four passed off very well for an
  hour. Then the gates of the fort were closed at sundown, which gave it
  a gloomy appearance. No children, no younger persons for amusement,
  all retired to their rooms. All was quiet and still. The sentinel on
  his lonely round would give us the hour of the night. In the morning
  we were aroused by the beating of the reveille.[37]

The lives of these residents of Fort Wayne in 1814 were never without
some fear of possible attack from the Indians, even though the danger
had diminished. That Major Whistler expected just such an attack is
evident by his letter of July 1 to Brigadier General Duncan McArthur, in
which he asked for additional men or permission to reconstruct the fort.
Said he “The Indians show a bad disposition to attend the Treaty [This
treaty was held at Greenville]. I have Received an Account from Mr.
Johnston that the Potawatomies and Taways and the Other Indians
Bordering on Lake Michigan are intending to join the British and take
Detroit, Malden and this Place this Moon.”[38]

The conduct of Chief Richardville had been especially annoying to Major
Whistler. At the outbreak of the war, Richardville hurriedly gathered
his effects and fled with his family to the British lines and there
remained, without taking an active part in the trouble, until 1814. When
he returned to his home six miles east of Fort Wayne, Major Whistler
invited him to a conference. He responded, but he appeared reluctant to
attend the conference at Greenville. Finally he came, in company with
Chief Chondonnai, a participant in the Fort Dearborn massacre, and
placed his signature to the treaty.

In May, 1815, Major Whistler again informed General McArthur of his
intention to rebuild the fort, provided he could receive permission from
the War Department. Permission was granted and in the fall of 1815,
Major Whistler directed the construction of the new fort to take the
place of the one erected by the troops of Colonel Hunt fifteen years
before. Thus it fell to the lot of the builder of the first Fort
Dearborn to become in turn the builder of the last Fort Wayne. Although
the troops were destined to remain in this fort only four more years,
parts of it remained standing until 1852, and for a long time after the
garrison evacuated it, the fort served the government agencies and some
of the citizens as a useful shelter.

The best source of information in regard to this last fort is in the
record of John W. Dawson, who, in 1858, gathered information from the
early settlers and wrote a series of articles for the local paper.[39]
According to Dawson, the fort enclosed an area about 150 feet square.
The pickets were ten feet high, and set in the ground, with block houses
at the southeast and northwest corners, which were two stories high. The
second floor projected and formed a bastion in each blockhouse where the
guns were rigged; that on the southeast corner commanding the south and
east sides of the fort, and that on the northwest corner, the north and
west sides. The officers’ quarters, commissary department and other
buildings located on different sides formed part of the walls, and in
the center stood the liberty pole from which the flag flew.

The plaza, in the enclosure was smooth and gravelly. The roofs of the
houses all declined within the stockade after the shed fashion, to
prevent the enemy from setting them on fire, and if fired, to protect
the men in putting it out. The rainwater was carried along by wooden
troughs, just below the surface of the ground to the flagstaff, and from
thence led by a sluiceway to the Maumee.

Dawson believed that when Major Whistler rebuilt the fort, he did not
include all of the ground covered by the fort built under Colonel Hunt’s
direction. This conviction is substantiated by the fact that before
building the new fort, Whistler expressed the opinion that the old fort
was too large for the number of troops he had to defend it.[40]

Writing to General McArthur on October 17, 1815, Major Whistler reported
that the new fort was almost completed. Only one section of the old fort
needed to be taken down and replaced by the new. Whistler expressed the
belief that the new fort was the most substantial in the West. “The
pickets”, he wrote, “were 12½ feet long and were put in sets of six,
with a cross-piece two feet from the top, set in and spiked, and a
trench dug 2½ feet deep, into which they were raised.”[41] The major
added that he was anxious to complete the work as he expected
difficulties with the Indians, who declared their intention to continue
the war against the United States. Benjamin Stickney, also writing from
Fort Wayne, expressed the same belief.[42]

However, the threatened outbreak of the Indians did not materialize.
British intrigue had come to an end, and the red men lacked another
leader as capable as Tecumseh. Many Indians continued to congregate at
Fort Wayne in the years following the War of 1812. They came for reasons
of trade or to receive their annuities or possibly from a feeling of
sympathy and attraction for the scenes of their old home and gathering
place, but aside from some petty quarrels among themselves, nothing
war-like was ever again manifested in the relations of the Indians and
whites at Fort Wayne.

[1]John Logan as a small child had been adopted by General Benjamin
    Logan of Kentucky. In 1813, Logan was killed while undertaking a
    most hazardous mission. “More firmness and consummate bravery has
    seldom appeared in the military theatre.”, wrote General Winchester
    in his report to Harrison.

[2]After the war, Bondie was rewarded by being appointed issuing
    commissary for the Fort Wayne garrison.

[3]Stickney’s account of the siege first appeared in the _Fort Wayne
    Times_, May 27, 1856.

[4]Daniel Curtis to Col. Kingsbury, Sept. 21, 1812, Kingsbury Papers,
    Chicago Historical Library. Curtis also wrote to a friend named
    James Cullen C. Witherell on Oct. 4, 1812, concerning the siege.
    This second letter is almost a copy of the one sent to Kingsbury and
    is found in the Indiana Historical Society Library.

[5]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[6]T. B. Helm, _History of Allen County, Indiana_, p. 39.

[7]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[8]_Ibid._, p. 99.

[9]_Fort Wayne Times_, May 27, 1856.

[10]Curtis to Kingsbury, Sept. 21, 1812, Chicago Historical Society

[11]_IHC_, XV, _Fort Wayne Garrison Orderly Books_, ed. Bert J.
    Griswold, p. 371.

[12]_Fort Wayne Times_, May 27, 1856.


[14]Benjamin Drake, _Life of Tecumseh and of his Brother and Prophet_,
    p. 50.

[15]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[16]_IHC_, XV, _Fort Wayne Garrison Orderly Books_, ed. Bert J.
    Griswold, pp. 371-2.

[17]Curtis to Kingsbury, Sept. 21, 1812, Kingsbury Papers, Chicago
    Historical Society Library.


[19]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[20]Robert McAfee, _History of the Late War_, p. 123.

[21]Lt. Curtis to Col. Kingsbury, Sept. 21, 1812, Kingsbury Papers,
    Chicago Historical Society Library.

[22]Robert McAfee, _op. cit._, p. 126.

[23]_Ibid._, p. 127.

[24]_Ibid._, p. 127.

[25]_Indiana as Seen by Early Travelers_, ed. Harlow Lindley, p. 243.

[26]Major Brock to Sir George Prevost, Sept. 18, 1812, _Michigan
    Historical Collections_, XV, 88.

[27]Major Muir to Colonel Procter, Sept. 29, 1812, _Michigan Historical
    Collections_, XV, 93.

[28]Colonel Proctor to General Brock, Oct. 5, 1812, _Michigan Historical
    Collections_, XV, 97.

[29]_IHC_, XV, _Fort Wayne Garrison Orderly Books_, ed. Bert J.
    Griswold, p. 373.

[30]_Ibid._, p. 390.

[31]Wallace Brice, _History of Fort Wayne_, p. 134.

[32]_IHC_, XV, _Fort Wayne Garrison Orderly Books_, ed. Bert J.
    Griswold, pp. 381 and 389.

[33]_IHC_, IX, _Harrison’s Messages and Letters_, ed. Logan Esarey, p.

[34]Major Jenkinson to Mrs. Jenkinson, March 14, 1814, Fort Wayne Public

[35]George Washington Whistler rose to fame in the topographical service
    of the government. His death occurred in Russia in 1849, while he
    was superintending the construction of the St. Petersburg to Moscow
    railroad. His son, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, became one of the
    most famous artists.

[36]M. M. Quaife, “Detroit Biographies: John Whistler”, _Burton
    Historical Collection Leaflet_, V (1926), p. 4.

[37]_Fort Wayne Times_, Oct. 17, 1869, Fort Wayne Public Library.

[38]Major Whistler to General McArthur, July 1, 1814, Burton Historical

[39]_Fort Wayne Times_, April 7 to April 15, 1858, Fort Wayne Public

[40]Whistler to McArthur, July 1, 1814, Burton Historical Collection.

[41]Whistler to McArthur, October 17, 1815, Burton Historical

[42]Stickney to Secretary of War, April 30, 1815, _Michigan Pioneer
    Collection_, XVI, p. 87.

                               Chapter V
         Evacuation of the Fort and the Increased Indian Trade

After peace came finally with the end of the struggles of 1812-15, the
scene around the fort was one of rare beauty. The extensive clearing
made by order of General Wayne in 1794, and again by General Harrison in
1812, was covered with waving grass. Circling this was the green forest,
pierced by three gates through which flowed the gleaming rivers. The
days of Indian warfare had come to an end, the day of white settlement
in numbers was yet in anticipation.

The first year of peace, 1816, brought to the troops and the few
families at Fort Wayne a well founded feeling of security and comfort.
This feeling of security and comfort was not based upon the standard of
today, for few could endure now in comfort the life typified by the
tallow dip and open fire, the ox-cart and the pirogue. The national
government realized the permanent return of peace, and already had
removed from the other western posts the troops stationed there for the
protection of the pioneers. But the time had not yet arrived when the
Washington authorities considered it wise to remove the military
garrison from Fort Wayne. The Indians still thronged here in large
numbers. Their periods of gathering to receive their annuities brought
hundreds to the little settlement and here, ofttimes, they remained for
several weeks.

Following the war, there was no settlement nearer than St. Mary’s in
Ohio, and between Fort Wayne and Fort Dearborn (Chicago) only one white
man, a fur trader named Joseph Bertrand, had ventured to establish his
abode near the site of the present city of South Bend, Indiana. Until
1818, all of northern Indiana was considered Indian territory.

However, this was not true in central and southern Indiana where
ever-increasing numbers of pioneers were settling. After the end of the
War of 1812 and the Napoleonic conflicts, a commercial depression hit
the eastern states, and multitudes sought new homes in the West. The
seaboard could no longer furnish the returned soldier nor the ruined
merchant with opportunities. This led to a rush of the people into the
new country beyond the mountains. The westward movement, in turn, gave
an immediate demand for highways of transportation.

Traffic over the rivers showed a steady increase over former years, and
the Maumee-Wabash portage once again became a busy pathway of commerce.
Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville, who was granted a license to trade at
Fort Wayne in 1815, nearly monopolized the carrying-trade over the
portage. Through this profitable business, and by the sale of the land
granted to him as chief of the Miamis in various treaties, Richardville
became the wealthiest Indian then living in American. In five treaties
he acquired over 44 sections of land and $31,800. It is known that he
had $200,000 in silver alone at the time of his death in 1841.[1]

The Miami chief established a place of business on the present Columbia
street in Fort Wayne and also one of his reserves was on the Wabash
river southwest of Fort Wayne.

In common with the people of the territory of Indiana, the citizens of
Fort Wayne rejoiced in the transformation of the territory into a state
on April 29, 1816. At the time of the creation of the state of Indiana,
all of northeastern Indiana was included in Knox county, of which
Vincennes was the seat of government. In 1818, Randolph county was
organized with Winchester as the county seat. Fort Wayne was included in
this latter subdivision.

The new governor, Jonathan Jennings, in his first message to the Indiana
legislature, urged a prompt consideration of the establishment of
internal improvements, and especially a canal to connect the Maumee and
Wabash—a waterway which would supplant the centuries-old portage at Fort
Wayne. Despite the enthusiasm of many proponents of the canal, the
difficulties were many and work was not to begin on it for sixteen

The westward movement of the settlers brought about the transfer of
Major Whistler from Fort Wayne to St. Louis in 1817. The government
authorities assigned to the command of Fort Wayne, Major Josiah N. Vose
of the Fifth United States Infantry Regiment, who was destined to be the
final commandant of the post at the head of the Maumee.[2] During a
period of about three months, from February 15 to May 31, 1817, before
Major Vose assumed his new duties, the garrison was under the command of
First Lieutenant Daniel Curtis, who had served with credit during the
siege of 1812 and whose lively account of his experiences has been

A significant characteristic of Major Vose was his strict adherence to
the observance of Sunday in a religious way. John Johnston, who knew
Major Vose well, said in a letter written in 1859, that he was the only
commandant of the fort who publicly professed Christianity. It was his
constant practice, according to Johnston, to assemble his men on Sunday,
read the Scriptures to them, and talk with them in a conversational
manner about religion. Colonel Johnston adds, “The conduct of such a man
and under such circumstances, can only be appreciated by persons
familiar with the allurements and temptations of military life.”[4]

With Major Vose came Dr. Trevitt, assigned to the post as surgeon’s mate
and Lieutenant James Clark. One of the first tasks undertaken under
Major Vose’s direction was the erection of a new council house to
replace the one burned during the siege. It was a two-story structure,
which in later years was used as a school house and as a residence. The
garrison in 1817 consisted of fifty-six men.

On October 6, 1818, the Miami nation ceded to the United States that
part of their land to the south and southwest of Fort Wayne. This
section of land lay between the Wabash near the mouth of the Racoon
Creek and St. Mary’s river as far north as the portage at Fort Wayne.
The treaty was concluded at St. Mary’s, Ohio, with Governor Jennings,
Lewis Cass, and Benjamin Parke, serving as commissioners of the United
States and Chief Richardville acting as principal spokesman for the
Miamis. This treaty, together with one concluded with the Wyandots the
previous year, gave to the United States complete ownership of the
territory south of the Maumee and Wabash rivers. Thus the way was opened
for travel and settlement in Indiana as far north as Fort Wayne.

According to the treaty of St. Mary’s, many sections of land near Fort
Wayne were reserved for individuals designated by the Miamis. These
individuals included the following: Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville,
Joseph Richardville (the chief’s son), Francis LaFontaine, the son of
George Hunt, Little Little Turtle, Josette Beaubien, Eliza C. Kercheval
(daughter of Benjamin Kercheval, sub-agent at Fort Wayne) John B.
Bourie, Ann Hackley (the daughter of William Wells), and the children of
Maria Christina DeRome and LaCros. A reading of these names indicates
the strong influence the early French traders had acquired over the
Miamis by intermarriage. As mentioned in an earlier chapter,
Richardville’s father, Joseph Drouet de Richerville was a French trader.

The granting of individual reserves to the chiefs and other men favored
by the Indians in the treaty of 1818 led to a dangerous innovation in
land and Indian policy which later permitted the traders to grab the
choice land sites before the government attained control of it. In the
later treaties the Indian traders and agents combined their resources to
secure the best sections of land through the consent of the Indians in
payment of actual or supposed debts.

The year 1819 witnessed an important and significant change at Fort
Wayne, the departure of the troops and the abandonment of the fort as a
military stronghold. The formal evacuation took place on April 19, 1819,
in pursuance of orders issued by the Secretary of War. The treaty of St.
Mary’s and the westward movement of the settlers had carried the
frontier beyond Fort Wayne. At the time of the departure of the troops,
the garrison consisted of Major Vose, one post surgeon, two captains,
one first lieutenant, five sergeants, four corporals, four musicians and
seventy-five artillerymen and privates—ninety-six men in all—in addition
to a group of women and children. Major Vose and his men went directly
to Detroit by way of the Maumee, in pirogues. They took from the fort
its equipment of heavy armament, including one six and one
twelve-pounder cannon. Fort Wayne was the last of the Indiana posts
maintained by the government and had served as an American fort for more
than a quarter of a century.

It is not surprising that the news of the evacuation came as a shock to
the few families and the traders who had built their log houses just
outside the fort. When the day of departure came, the few settlers who
comprised the village felt a loneliness as their sense of security gave
way for the moment to a realization of the coming days of isolation and
possible danger. In every direction stretched unbroken wilderness and
while the Indians had been subdued, the abundance of whiskey given them
by the traders made them at times a menace to the safety of the village.

The fort buildings, vacated by the military, now came under the control
of the civil authorities, represented by the Indian agent, Benjamin
Stickney. For a number of years thereafter the wooden fort with its
bastioned blockhouses, officers’ quarters, and barracks, housed such
civil, governmental, and private enterprises as the Indian agency, the
United States land office, and the first Protestant mission school.
Moreover, the opening of the barracks to the settlers not only made safe
and comfortable living quarters for those already located there, but
induced other settlers to choose this immediate region. Even at this
period, the shelter of the stockade brought a feeling of security, and
the fort was not without its convenient firearms and supply of
ammunition. For a considerable period all but those of stoutest heart
sought refuge within its walls with the coming of darkness.

Although the depression of 1819 in the Northwest checked the tide of
immigration temporarily, there were some travelers and homeseekers who
came to stamp their names upon the small settlement, which continued to
be known as Fort Wayne even after the evacuation of the troops. These
settlers included James Barnett, who was with Harrison’s army of relief
in 1812 and who returned in 1818 as a permanent resident and trader;
Paul Taber and his sons, Cyrus and Samuel, and his daughter, Lucy, all
of whom came in 1819; Francis Comparet, who came in 1819, and who in
1820, together with Alexis Coquillard and Benjamin B. Kercheval,
established a post for the American Fur Company at Fort Wayne; Dr.
William Turner, a former post surgeon, who returned to Fort Wayne in
1819 and later served for a short time as Indian agent; and James
Aveline who with his family came from Vincennes to Fort Wayne in
January, 1820.

Among these early settlers who found their way to Fort Wayne in 1819,
was Samuel Hanna, pioneer trader, judge, legislator, canal builder,
railroad enterpriser, and banker. In many respects, Samuel Hanna was to
become Fort Wayne’s most active citizen as the small community grew from
a mere village to a city during his lifetime. Born in Scott county,
Kentucky, in October, 1797, and later moving to Dayton, Ohio, with his
parents, he came to Fort Wayne from St. Mary’s Ohio, where he had been
engaged in supplying goods for the government during the Indian treaties
of 1818. He was twenty-two years old when he came to Fort Wayne. Hanna
built at once a log house on the site which later became the northwest
corner of Barr and Columbia streets. Here, having formed a partnership
with his brother-in-law, James Barnett, a trading post was opened. Many
of their goods which came from the east were purchased from Abbott
Lawrence at Boston; the shipments were made by water to New York, thence
up the Hudson river and across to Buffalo, and from there to Fort Wayne
by way of Lake Erie and the Maumee.

Upon the abandonment of the fort by the military, the government sent
James Riley, a civil engineer, to Fort Wayne to survey the lands around
the fort belonging to the United States, preparatory to the sale of a
portion of the military reservation to the settlers. Riley was a noted
author of that day, having published in 1817 _Riley’s Narrative_, a 554
page book on his experiences in Africa as a slave of the Arabs. His
prominence and the fact that he was well known in Washington because he
had spent several years there, lent weight to his recommendations
concerning the Fort Wayne lands.

On November 24, 1819, Riley wrote a letter from Fort Wayne to B.
Sanford, Esq., advising him that he had concluded his surveys for the
season but wanted:

  “... to examine for myself the practicality of so uniting the Wabash
  with the Maumee as to render intercourse by water between the Ohio
  river and Lake Erie safe and easy through this channel.... The little
  Wabash rises in an elevated swamp prairie six miles south of Fort
  Wayne, and joins the Wabash eighteen miles hence. Thus in high stages
  of water, a portage of only six miles carries merchandise from the
  level of the Maumee into the navigable waters of the Wabash (and vice

These observations by Riley on the possibility of a canal were
supplemented in the same letter by his early impression of Fort Wayne as
a future center of population. He stated to Mr. Sanford:

  The country around Fort Wayne is very fertile. The situation is
  commanding and healthful.... Here will arise a town of great
  importance, which must become a depot of immense trade. The fort is
  now only a small stockade; no troops are stationed here, and less than
  thirty dwelling houses occupied by French and American families form
  the whole settlement.[6]

Riley added that the departure of the soldiers had left this little band
of residents extremely lonely, but he predicted that as soon as the
lands were opened for sale the settlers would flock to this region. The
people living at Fort Wayne at this time had no right to the land and
were considered as “squatters” by the government officials.

Possibly the most interesting letter that James Riley wrote from Fort
Wayne was written near the close of the surveying season in 1820. It was
addressed to Edward Tiffin, Surveyor General. Riley had been in the
neighborhood of Fort Wayne, when a snow storm forced him to discontinue
his work temporarily. Taking advantage of his free time, Riley came to
Fort Wayne to witness the annual distribution of the annuities to the
Indians gathered there. After speaking highly of the natural advantages
of the site of Fort Wayne, Riley urged that the government land be
offered for sale as soon as possible, saying:

  There are now in its [Fort Wayne] immediate vicinity, more than 40
  families of ‘Squatters’ and traders, besides a great number of young
  men each with his _bundle_ or shop, of goods and trinkets; all of whom
  are depredating on the public lands, for timber for their numberous
  buildings, for fire-wood, &c. &c.; and as they have not interest in
  the soil, and little hope of being able to purchase the land when
  sold, a system of waste and destruction is going on, and is apparently
  entered into by all.[6a]

Riley then added another reason why the lands should be sold. He wrote:

  There are now assembled, as I should judge, at least one thousand
  persons from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and New York, whose object is
  stated to be that of trade with the Indians, in order to carry off
  some of their specie, paid them by the Government. They have brought
  whiskey in abundance, which they pretend to deposit with agent, until
  he shall have finished his business with the Indians, but yet contrive
  to deal out large quantities from their deposits in the woods, so that
  the savages are kept continually drunk, and unfit for any business.
  Horse-racing, drinking, gambling, and every kind of debauchery,
  extravagance and waste, are the order of the day, and night too; and
  in my opinion, the savages themselves are the most christianized, and
  least savage, of the two classes now congregated here. Here the whites
  set example to the Indians too indelicate to mention, and that cannot
  fail to produce in their minds disgust for the American character.[7]

Riley concluded by saying:

  The only means that occurs to my mind, of stopping this career of vice
  and immorality, is the speedy survey and sale of the lands from the
  mouth of the Maumee to this place; and from hence down and along the
  banks of the Wabash.... Thus, a cordon of hardy and respectable
  settlers ... would be formed along the Maumee and Wabash....  At
  present, there is no security to him who locates himself on the public
  lands, nor do I wish there should be; because every citizen ought to
  enjoy equal advantages. This place, if laid out as a town and sold by
  the government, would bring a large sum of money. The St. Mary’s has
  been covered with boats, every freshet, for several years past. This
  is a central spot, combining more natural advantages to build up and
  support a town of importance, as a place of deposit and trade ... than
  any point I have yet seen in the western country.[8]

This letter of Riley, which also contained a strong recommendation for
the careful survey of a canal route connecting the Wabash and the
Maumee, became a part of the official records of the surveyor-general’s
office, and through this channel found its way into the congressional
debates concerning the Wabash and Erie canal.

Lest James Riley’s severe arraignment of the white traders present
during the time of the annuity payments appear unjust, let us compare it
with the opinion of Reverend J. B. Finney, who visited the village
during the same period in the previous year. He writes:

  This was an awful scene for a sober man to look upon ... men and
  women, raving maniacs, singing, dancing, fighting, stabbing and
  tomahawking one another—and there were the rum-sellers watering their
  whiskey until it was not strong grog, and selling it for four dollars
  a gallon, their hired men gathering up all the skins and furs and
  their silver brooches ... and their guns, tomahawks and blankets, till
  they were literally stripped naked, and three or four were killed....
  The reader may set what estimates he pleases, or call him by what
  name; yet, if there were ever a greater robber, or a meaner thief, or
  a dirtier murderer than these rum sellers, he is yet to be seen.[9]

The laws for preventing the introduction of alcoholic drinks among the
Indians, though very severe, were ineffectual. A person might have
remained in the woods within five or six miles of Fort Wayne for a year
without being discovered by any government agent. It was the custom of
the traders to bring whiskey in kegs and hide it in the woods about half
a mile from the fort, a short time previous to the paying of the
annuity, and when the Indians came to the fort, to give information to
such of the Indians who could be confided in that there was whiskey to
be had at those places. As soon as the Indians received their money they
would go off to the appointed places.

Another reason that the Trade and Intercourse Act was so ineffectual at
Fort Wayne was the fact that it was almost impossible to bring any
offender to trial. The nearest court was at Winchester, Indiana, eighty
miles away. A few of the better traders of the region formed a society
to prohibit this illegal trade, but it soon dissolved when they found
that their regulations could be inforced only by action of the courts.
When John Hays, Indian agent at Fort Wayne reported that all the traders
were guilty of selling whiskey to the Indians, and asked for special
authority to deal with them as he saw fit, the government officials
replied that they did not believe such authority was necessary. No
action was taken.

But these conditions at Fort Wayne prevailed to a large extent only
during the periods of the annuity distributions. It is of interest,
then, to quote the words of a man who made a “between-times” visit to
the village. We find him in the person of Major Stephen H. Long, a
topographical engineer, who visited the village in 1823. Wrote Major

  At Fort Wayne we made a stay of three days, and to a person visiting
  the Indian country for the first time, this place offers many
  characteristic and singular features. The village is small—it has
  grown under the shelter of the fort.... The inhabitants are chiefly of
  Canadian origin, all more or less inbued with the Indian blood. The
  confusion of tongues, owing to the diversity of the Indian tribes
  which generally collect near a fort, make the traveler imagine himself
  in a real babel.[10]

From the fort, a cart track angled down to the river bank and
boatlanding, the bustling center of the town’s traffic in furs; and
three embryonic roads, boggy and stump filled, let respectively
northeast to Detroit, northwest to Fort Dearborn and Lake Michigan, and
southeast to Fort Recovery, Ohio. Thomas Scattergood Teas, who visited
the village in 1821, wrote

  The settlement at this place consisted of about thirty log cabins and
  two tolerably decent farm houses. The inhabitants are nearly all
  French-Canadians. The fort stands at the lower end of the village ...
  the barracks are occupied by the Indian agent, the Baptist missionary
  and some private families.[11]

The Baptist missionary, of whom Teas speaks, was the Reverend Isaac
McCoy who came with his wife and seven children to Fort Wayne on May 15,
1820, and stayed for over two years at the fort. McCoy wished to go
farther into the Indian country, but as he states, “necessity not choice
compelled us to consent to go to Fort Wayne.”[12] Despite the
predilection of some of the Indians for the Catholic faith as a result
of long contacts with French traders and past remembrances of the French
Jesuits, McCoy collected a fairly large number of Indian children for
his school at Fort Wayne.[13] The authorities at Fort Wayne afforded
McCoy every encouragement, although the Indian agent, John Hays, later
regretted the fact that he allowed McCoy to use the barracks for housing
the children. The forty half-civilized children racing around his
offices, nearly drove the agent to distraction, besides destroying a
great deal of government property.

Of the five instructors engaged from time to time to aid in teaching the
Indians, none remained over a period of three months. The McCoys found
the necessities of life very dear at Fort Wayne; flour was obtainable
only by long transportation and corn was also scarce. In the year 1821,
the mission was saved from closing by receipt from the United States
Government of four hundred and fifty dollars. This money was taken from
a fund of ten thousand dollars appropriated by Congress for civilizing
the Indians. Because of the steady demoralization of the Indians around
Fort Wayne brought about by the traders’ whiskey, McCoy decided to move
his mission in 1822. A new mission was established one hundred miles
northwest of Fort Wayne on the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan River.

A change in the management of the Indian agency at Fort Wayne took place
in 1819 when Benjamin F. Stickney was transferred to a post on the lower
Maumee and Dr. William Turner was named to succeed him. Stickney had
served for nine years, and during this time, like all agents, had made
many enemies. General Duncan McArthur writing from Chillicothe, Ohio, as
early as March, 1815, informed Secretary of War James Monroe, that
Colonel Lewis, a Shawnee chief had placed before him severe criticisms
of Stickney’s methods. “The Indians are generally displeased with Mr.
Stickney as an agent,” added General McArthur, “and several of them have
requested me to make it known to the president and solicit his removal.
He is certainly not well qualified to discharge the duties of an Indian

As a federal Indian agent, Stickney was responsible for the fate of
numerous whites and Indians. Among his duties at that time were the
licensing of traders and the settlement of their claims and disputes
with the tribes, enforcement of the intercourse regulations,
disbursement of annuities and gifts, and expenditure of funds for
improvements, and the punishment of unruly Indians. Tactful handling of
these problems and of numerous squabbles between the two races was an
invaluable factor in preventing bloodshed and preserving good relations.
Stickney was inclined to be too arrogant in dealing with the Indians,
and at times seemed to lack any humanitarian feeling toward those under
his care.

On April 20, 1818, Congress passed an act which consolidated the
agencies of Fort Wayne and Piqua, and John Johnston was appointed agent
for the agency thus formed. In effect this left Stickney out of the
service, but as it was impossible for Johnston to take care of the Fort
Wayne agency as well as that of Piqua, Stickney remained at Fort Wayne
as sub-agent.

Stickney continued to serve under this arrangement through the year
1818, though there appears to have developed a degree of friction
between the sub-agent and his superiors. Governor Lewis Cass of
Michigan, writing in January, 1819, to John Calhoun, Secretary of War,
said, “... circumstances have occurred at Fort Wayne which have had a
tendency to injure the usefulness of Mr. Stickney there.”[15] What these
circumstances were we do not know, other than a supposition that
Stickney might have made many powerful enemies among the traders at Fort
Wayne. This was quite likely due to the nature of the Indian trade and
the power of the agent. Lewis Cass was not one to disregard the
complaints of the traders, as he usually supported the large trading
companies, in particular Astor’s American Fur Company. As a perennial
political appointee, Cass found it worthwhile to have friends among
these influential traders, and as Stickney’s superior in the Indian
Department, Cass was in all likelihood inclined to support the traders
in any quarrel that might have developed. In commenting on the charges
brought against himself by some of the traders at Fort Wayne in 1824,
John Tipton, another agent, wrote to John Calhoun, “You will no doubt
recollect that Mr. Stickney while Agt here was harassed with charges and
all kinds of persecution.”[16]

Under these circumstances, which we can only surmise, Benjamin Stickney
left the agency in 1820 and moved to Toledo, where he later gained
prominence as a leader in the fight to keep that section of the country
under the government of the state of Ohio rather than the state of

Dr. William Turner, Stickney’s successor, had been stationed at Fort
Wayne between 1810-12 as garrison surgeon’s mate. On April 7, 1813, he
was promoted to surgeon in the Seventeenth Infantry. He resigned from
the army on January 31, 1815, returned to Fort Wayne as a private
citizen, and married Anne Wells, daughter to Captain William Wells. On
March 6, 1819, he was appointed agent for the Miami, Eel River, and
other Indians, and in 1820, assumed all of Stickney’s duties. Because of
ill health, Turner began to drink considerably, and within a year, on
May 24, 1820, Calhoun informed him of his removal from office in
consequence of “unsatisfactory conduct.”[17] However, the affairs of the
agency were not turned over to his successor, John Hays, until August,
1820. Turner died at Fort Wayne in 1821.

At a time when the story of Indian relations was a sordid and corrupt
one, revealing on the part of traders, agents, and officials of the
Indian administration a baseness and moral depravity that was unusual
even for the nineteenth century, John Hays stands out as one of the few
agents who could not be classed in such a group. Hays was born in New
York City in 1770. While a youth, he engaged in the Indian trade as a
clerk in a trading house in Canada. In 1793 he settled at Cahokia,
Illinois, where he held a number of government positions until his
appointment at Fort Wayne. Unfortunately for the Indians of this area,
Hays remained at Fort Wayne less than three years.

John Hays was never happy at Fort Wayne, despite his good work. He could
not bring his family here, as they were too numerous to move a great
distance, and the five hundred miles to Cahokia was also too far for
Hays to visit them. Furthermore, Hays became disgusted when he found
that by his own efforts, he was helpless in checking the traders from
furnishing the Indians whiskey. On one occasion the traders combined
against him to prevent the issuance of a presidential order curtailing
the amount of whiskey brought to Fort Wayne.

Hays also urged the appointment of a sub-agent to assist him in
controlling the situation, and the reestablishment of a military force
at Fort Wayne. “It is neither [at] Chicago, Green Bay, Prairie du Chien,
Falls of St. Anthony, Rock River, or any part of the Mississippi or even
Michilimakanac ... that in my opinion a Military force would be more
necessary.”[18] he wrote to John Calhoun. The opinion of Hays was not
one to be lightly put aside, as it was he, who on the strength of his
wide experience, furnished information on the routes for the armies and
the distribution of forces from Montreal to Michilimackinac during the
War of 1812.

Owing to the disapproval of his proposal by Governor Cass, head of the
Fort Wayne agency, none of Hays’ suggestions were adopted, however. Hays
was often at odds with Cass as to the manner of dealing with the
Indians. In one instance, Hays had been having particular trouble with
the Potawatomies under Metea. These Indians objected to traveling to
Detroit to receive their annuity rather than coming to Fort Wayne, which
was almost a hundred miles closer to their village, near the present
site of South Bend, Indiana. Hays, therefore, agreed that the next
payments should be made at Fort Wayne, but Cass ignored the agreement
and ordered the Indians to come to Detroit. After they arrived, Cass
reproached them for crossing into Canada to receive British gifts. Metea
bitingly replied that they would gladly give up the practice, if the
Americans gave out the annuities at Fort Wayne.

During his second year at Fort Wayne, Hays was obliged to reduce his
expenditures from $5,000 to less than $3,000 in line with a general
reduction of funds for the Indian Department. At the same time, he
needed money to repair the agency quarters within the fort, which were
fast decaying. Added to the decay was the destruction brought about by
Reverend Isaac McCoy’s Indian school children living within the fort.
The property of the agency at this time was listed as “public dwellings
inside the stockade, five dwelling houses outside the fort, one
blacksmith shop, one coal house, one root house, one stable, two
pastures, one timothy meadow, and one field all fenced.”[19]

While John Hays was Indian agent at Fort Wayne, Benjamin Berry Kercheval
served as his assistant at a salary of $500 a year. Kercheval was born
at Winchester, Virginia, April 9, 1793, and went to Detroit when he was
eighteen. Around 1818, Kercheval came to Fort Wayne and here served for
a time as an interpreter for Benjamin Stickney. Later he became a
representative of the American Fur Company, a position he held when he
was employed by Hays. Hays used Kercheval a great deal and trusted him
implicitly. In 1821, the birth of a daughter to Benjamin Kercheval and
his wife, formerly Maria Forsythe, was an event of such interest to the
Indians that they shortly adopted the child with solemn ceremonies as a
member of the Miami tribe.

The national government recognized the growing importance of Fort Wayne
in the establishment of a post office in 1820. Although Samuel Hanna was
in reality the first man to serve as postmaster at Fort Wayne, Kercheval
whose commission bore the date of February 4, was the first appointee of
President Monroe. Hanna established the office in his store, after
Kercheval evidently had declined to serve.

At this time there was one mail every two weeks from Cincinnati, and the
only newspaper to find its way to the pioneer village regularly was the
_Liberty Hall_ from Cincinnati. In 1822, in response to the demands of
the town, the government established regular routes between Fort Wayne
and Chicago, as well as the Ohio villages on the St. Mary’s.

The chief industry of the village in these early years continued to be
trade with the Indians, either for their furs and peltries or for their
annuity money. With the end of the Indian wars, the Miamis and
neighboring tribes once more found time for hunting and trapping. At the
same time the establishment of European peace in 1815, at the end of the
Napoleonic era, brought about a sharp rise in the price of furs. New and
powerful traders began to operate in the Maumee-Wabash area with many
coming to Fort Wayne as the central point of the region.

We have already noted the firm established by Samuel Hanna and his
brother-in-law, James Barnett in 1819. A year later the American Fur
Company, operating from Detroit and owned by John Jacob Astor,
established an important branch at Fort Wayne. Benjamin Kercheval,
Alexis Coquillard, and Francis Comparet were its first representatives.
Comparet and Coquillard, both came directly from Detroit for the purpose
of establishing the company’s branch house at Fort Wayne. Comparet
remained at Fort Wayne permanently, but Coquillard later established a
trading station on the St. Joseph river of Lake Michigan, on the site of
the city of South Bend, as an outpost of the company’s establishment at
Fort Wayne.

In 1822, the family of Alexander Ewing came to Fort Wayne from Troy,
Ohio. The Ewing family consisted of Alexander Ewing, an old Pennsylvania
trader, his wife, Charlotte, three daughters—Charlott, Lavina, and
Louisa—, and four sons—Charles, who became president judge of the
circuit court of Indiana, Alexander H., who later became a prosperous
Cincinnati merchant, and George W. and William G., who became associated
with their father in the trading establishment.

Alexander Ewing with his sons, George W. and William G., did business
under the name of “A. Ewing and Sons”. After the older Ewing’s death in
1826, the firm became “W. G. and G. W. Ewing.” The Ewings became known
for their real-estate and fur-trading operations, the latter on a scale
that made them rivals of the American Fur Company in the Great Lakes
region. At first the two firms were friendly toward each other, but a
trade war which eventually broke out between the two companies in 1828
resulted in the bankruptcy of the American Fur Company five year later.
The Ewings also found it profitable to advance goods to the Indians,
thereby presenting large claims against the annuity payments for the
Indians. The Ewings had branch houses in Logansport, Largro, and Peru,
and posts in Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota,
at the height of their business interests.

The year 1822 also brought to Fort Wayne the families of William Nesbit
Hood and his brother, Robert Hood, who came from Dayton, Ohio. The Hoods
also secured a license for trading with the Indians. Although successful
in their operations, they never entered into large scale trading such as
the Ewings, and later became involved in politics and real estate

Most of the traders at Fort Wayne seldom left town, but had a number of
men called “engages” in their service who accompanied the Indians in
their hunts, supplied them with goods in small quantities, and watched
them that they did not sell their furs to traders other than their
employers. The furs brought in consisted principally of deer and raccoon
skins. Bear, otter, and beaver were becoming scarce. In the
eighteen-thirties, when the beaver prices tumbled and the raccoon skins
became popular, the Maumee-Wabash region became for a few years the
center of interest of the American fur trade, as this area produced
large numbers of raccoons.

The skins when brought in were loosely rolled or tied, but they were
afterward made into packs which were three feet long and eighteen inches
wide after being subjected to a heavy pressure in a wedge press. The
values of the furs were nominal, as they were paid for in goods passed
off to the Indians for two or three times their actual worth. Moreover,
fur prices fluctuated greatly, depending upon the fashion.

On February 24, 1823, John Hays wrote to Calhoun tendering his
resignation as Indian agent at Fort Wayne, pointing out that he was too
far from his home at Cahokia, Illinois. After elaborating on the
benefits the Indians had received under his administration of the
agency, he strongly recommended that Benjamin B. Kercheval, his present
assistant, be appointed as his successor. Kercheval was an excellent man
for the position, but did not receive the appointment, as Hays had
allowed the news of his intended resignation to leak out before writing
to Calhoun. As the fears of British intrigue around Fort Wayne had
vanished after the War of 1812, the agency at Fort Wayne came to be
regarded as a political plum. The state delegation in Congress had been
exerting pressure on the president for some time to appoint citizens of
Indiana to positions in the state. Calhoun, early in 1822, had refused
to remove Hays in order that John Tipton, a native of Indiana, could be
appointed in his place. However, when the Indiana delegation heard of
Hay’s intended resignation, they carried the matter of their
recommendation of Tipton directly to President Monroe and secured his
approval before Calhoun had the opportunity to recommend Kercheval. When
Kercheval brought the news of his failure to Hays, the latter wrote to
Lewis Cass, “I never was more disappointed and mortified than on the
arrival of Mr. Kercheval. I certainly should not have resigned at this
moment, had I not thought Mr. Kercheval would be successfull.”[22]

Hays remained at Fort Wayne until June 5, 1823, and for a short time
both he and Tipton were present at the agency. John Tipton was a product
of the east Tennessee frontier, where he was born in 1786. When he was
seven, his father was killed by an Indian. In 1807, the Tipton family
moved to Harrison County, Indiana. Although he lacked any formal
education, Tipton’s dynamic qualities as a leader more than compensated
for his educational shortcomings. In later life, Tipton learned to read
and write, but it always remained a difficult task for him, judging by
his letters. In 1811, Tipton took part as a common soldier in the battle
of Tippecanoe. Afterward his advancement in the army was astonishingly
rapid, for in six years, he became a brigadier general. After the War of
1812, Tipton’s rise in the political field was equally as rapid and his
influence became statewide. The political positions he held were as
follows: justice of the peace, deputy sheriff, sheriff, member of the
state legislature, state commissioner, Indian agent at Fort Wayne, and
finally U. S. Senator.

In 1823, Tipton was glad to accept the position as Indian agent at Fort
Wayne for life at Corydon, his former home, had become unpleasantly
complicated by financial and domestic difficulties. His marriage to
Martha Shields had ended with a divorce in 1817. The salary of the
Indian agent was $1,200 a year, a fair income in those days. The
position also gave Tipton special advantages in the treaty negotiations
to secure choice sites of land either for his friends or for himself. It
was primarily through this means that Tipton was well on his way to
becoming one of the wealthiest men in the state at the time of his
death. Obviously Tipton’s financial and political success were closely
linked. In today’s society the public and private “conflict of interest”
in his career would be grist for many crusading journalists. However in
an age when the “Spoils System” would soon become acceptable and in a
small isolated frontier community where the agent had to deal constantly
with the same few individuals, his career should also be judged in
relation to the time and place. Tipton was not insensible to the needs
of the Indians under his care, but he usually decided on the issues with
his personal and political future in mind.

When Tipton received his appointment there were only 2,441 Miami,
Potawatomie and Eel River Indians left in the territory covered by the
Fort Wayne agency. In 1824, their annuities amounted to $17,300 for the
Miamis, $1,100 for the Eel River Indians, and $1,700 for the
Potawatomies. These annuities, which increased threefold during Tipton’s
administration, were a stake well worth effort of the traders. Moreover,
added to these annuities were the gifts and other contingencies which
the government furnished the Indians and had to buy from the traders.
The traders in the vicinity of Fort Wayne realized the fur trade was
declining, but they also knew the Indians sill needed their goods and
encouraged then to buy heavily on credit. The Indians recognized these
debts, some of which were artificial even, and before the annuities were
paid, the traders made sure they received their payments. What was left
for the Indians was either spent on whiskey or in buying more goods.
There was no limit to the greed of many of the traders. Finding the
annuities inadequate, they joined with the Indians in asking for
increased payments by the government and conspired to hold up treaty
agreements until demands were granted.

The outstanding incident of Tipton’s second year as agent was his
seizure of goods belonging to the powerful American Fur Company for
violation of the Intercourse Act on the part of two of their clerks at
Fort Wayne. Tipton’s action was upheld by a jury in the United States
district court, and the goods were declared forfeited. However, when the
case was carried to the United States Supreme Court, the judgement was
reversed, and the case was ordered back to the district court, where it
was finally dismissed.[23] Whatever the legal merits of the case, it was
clear that not even someone with Tipton’s political influence could
challenge the important traders, especially Astor’s American Fur

[1]_John Tipton Papers_ I, _IHC_, XXIV ed. Nellie Robertson and Dorothy
    Riker, p. 49.

[2]Major Vose was a native of Manchester, New Hampshire. He was
    commissioned a captain in the twenty-first infantry in 1812 and
    promoted to major during the war. In 1842, he received the
    commission of colonel. His death occurred at New Orleans Barracks,
    in Louisiana, in 1845.

[3]_Above_, pp. [p 66-69.]

[4]J. L. Williams, _Historical Sketch of the First Presbyterian Church,
    Fort Wayne, Indiana_, p. 12.

[5]Riley to Sanford, Nov. 24, 1819, quoted in Riley W. Willshire’s
    _Sequel to Riley’s Narrative_, pp. 401-404.

[6]_Ibid._, p. 403.

[6a]Riley to Tiffin, Nov. 14, 1820, quoted in T. B. Helm, _History of
    Wabash County_, p. 78.

[7]_Ibid._, p. 78.

[8]_Ibid._, p. 78.

[9]Rev. J. B. Finney, _Life Among the Indians_, p. 34.

[10]William H. Keating (comp) _Narrative of an Expedition to the Source
    of St. Peter’s River ... 1823 ... under the command of Stephen H.
    Long_, I: 81.

[11]“Journal of Thomas Scattergood Teas”, _Indiana as Seen by Early
    Travelers_, ed. Harlow Lindley, p. 98.

[12]Isaac McCoy, _History of Baptist Indian Missions_, p. 68.

[13]Chief Richardville, himself a staunch Catholic, sent his son to
    McCoy’s school. Later his son died a drunkard. After that
    Richardville would allow no school to be established for boys of his
    tribe unless they were instructed by a Catholic. See, _John Tipton
    Papers_, II: 134.

[14]Duncan McArthur to James Monroe, March 16, 1815, McArthur Papers,
    Burton Historical Collection.

[15]Lewis Cass to John Calhoun, January 7, 1819, _Michigan Pioneer and
    Historical Collection_, 28 91.

[16]_John Tipton Papers I, Indiana Historical Collection_, XXIV, ed.
    Nellie Armstrong Robertson and Dorothy Riker, p. 432.

[17]Calhoun to Turner, May 24, 1820, _Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV,
    ed. Nellie Armstrong Robertson and Dorothy Riker, pp. 535-6.

[18]Nellie A. Robertson “John Hays and the Fort Wayne Agency”, _Indiana
    Magazine of History_, 39: 230.

[19]Nellie A. Robertson, “John Hays and the Fort Wayne Agency”, _Indiana
    Magazine of History_, 39: 226.

[22]_John Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, ed. Nellie A. Robertson and
    Dorothy Riker, p. 303.

[23]_John Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, 434-5; 439-40; 782-3.

                               Chapter VI
         Platting of Fort Wayne and the First Local Government

While the traders, large and small alike, were thus successfully evading
any effective control over their operations, Fort Wayne was developing
from a frontier army post and portage center into a very prosperous
community. Its strategic location, the opening of a land office in 1822
and its selection as the county seat of Allen county brought many new
settlers to the area.

The land office was established at Fort Wayne by an act of Congress on
May 8, 1822.[1] The coming of Joseph Holman of Wayne county, appointed
by President Monroe to serve as the first register of the land office,
and Captain Samuel C. Vance of Dearborn county, as the receiver of the
public moneys, was the signal for great activity in securing the
choicest sites when the sale should open in the fall of 1823.

Register Holman and Captain Vance established their office in the old
fort where much of the clerical work of the business came under the
direct supervision of a young man who accompanied Captain Vance as his
assistant, Allen Hamilton. Hamilton later became one of the most
foremost merchants in the Fort Wayne area. He was born in Tyrone county,
Ireland in 1798 and came to America in 1817 to retrieve the family
wealth which had been lost by his father. In this he was quite
successful after arriving at Fort Wayne. As a trader, he became a good
friend of the Miamis, and in particular Chief Richardville. In this
manner he was generally able to obtain choice land sites from the
Indians in exchange for payment of their debts. He and Tipton later
became partners in buying and improving Indian lands for speculation. In
political affairs he was not so successful, later incurring the powerful
opposition of the Ewings by reason of his friendship with the American
Fur Company.

The act that set up the land office at Fort Wayne provided that all
public lands for which the Indian title had been extinguished and which
had not been granted to or secured for the use of any individual or
individuals or appropriated and reserved for any other purpose were to
be opened for sale. It was necessary to make some decision about the
fort and public buildings which had been used by the Indian agency since
the withdrawal of the garrison in 1819. Upon the recommendation of Lewis
Cass, the site of the fort and thirty acres additional were withheld
from the sale in order that the Indians assembling for councils or
annuity payments might have a place for encampment. The land speculators
were bitterly disappointed and made periodic efforts to secure part of
the valuable reserve. Tipton was one of the principal opponents of its
sale as long as the agency remained at Fort Wayne.[2]

On October 22, 1823—the thirty-third anniversary of Harmar’s defeat on
this same spot, and the twenty-ninth anniversary of the dedication of
the original fort—the government land sale was opened in the fort. John
T. Barr, a merchant of Baltimore, Maryland, and John McCorkle, an active
citizen of Piqua, Ohio, combined their resources and purchased the tract
which is known as the Original Plat.

Neither of these original proprietors of Fort Wayne chose to make his
home here. Nothing is known of the activities of John T. Barr in
Baltimore, beyond the showing of the Baltimore city directories of his
period, which refer to him as a merchant. More is known, however, of the
activities of John McCorkle. He was born at Piqua in 1791. As the owner
of a carding mill, gristmill and oil mill, he laid the foundation for a
prosperous future and became Piqua’s most enterprising citizen. In 1819,
together with John Hedges, he furnished supplies of beef and bread to
the Indians at Fort Wayne while they were awaiting their annuity
payments. Two years later he founded St. Mary’s, Ohio. He was actively
engaged in state and national politics in 1829, when he died at the age
of thirty-eight.

Barr and McCorkle came to the Fort Wayne land sale together, in a
bateau, which they propelled down the St. Mary’s river. For the original
tract, they paid twenty-six dollars per acre, in that year an
extravagant price for western land.[3] They took immediate steps to plat
the property and to offer it for sale in the form of business and
residence lots. A surveyor was employed to lay out the property which
today would include that part of Downtown Fort Wayne bounded on the
north by the Nickel Plate Railroad, on the east by Barr Street, on the
south by Washington Boulevard, and on the west by the alley between
Calhoun and Harrison streets. The plat consisted originally of 110 lots.
There were four north-and-south streets and five east-and-west streets.

Alexander Ewing secured eighty acres of ground immediately west of the
Barr and McCorkle tract. This later became known as “Ewing’s addition”.
The tract known as “Wells pre-emption”, lying between the forks of the
St. Mary’s and St. Joseph rivers, having been set aside by Congress for
Captain Wells as early as 1808, was purchased by his heirs at the
minimum price of $1.25 an acre.

The land offices were continued at Fort Wayne during the period of
twenty-one years. The positions connected with it were considered
excellent rewards for political service. Thus, with the inauguration of
Jackson in 1829 Holman and Vance were removed. Later appointees were
also appointed or removed according to the political fortune of their

While the proprietors of their newly purchased land were busy preparing
for the sale of lots, the state legislature on December 11, 1823, passed
an act creating the county of Allen, with jurisdiction over what is now
Wells, Adams, DeKalb, and Steuben counties and portions of Noble,
LaGrange, Huntington, and Whitley counties.[4] This area included
practically all of northwestern Indiana. The name of Allen county was
suggested by John Tipton, who was an ardent admirer of Colonel John
Allen, the gallant Kentuckian who, after aiding in the relief of Fort
Wayne in 1812, lost his life at the battle of the River Raisin in

Barr and McCorkle awaited the organization of the county government,
after which they proceeded with the work of securing returns on their
investments. At this time there were no streets beyond beaten paths and
driveways which had, by chance, come into accepted use whenever one man
chose to walk or drive over a route taken by another before him.
However, with the laying out of the streets for the future town, the
site assumed an air of order and enterprises. There was work for all.

The legislative act creating Allen county took effect April 1, 1824. Six
days previous to this date, four state commissioners arrived to select
the seat of government for the new county. Throughout the West the
various town promoters frequently fought vigorously to have _their_
community selected as county seat. This usually led to fierce rivalries
between neighboring towns. However in the case of Allen county, Fort
Wayne faced no competition due to its dominant position in location and
population, it being the only village of any size in northeastern
Indiana. These commissioners, in accordance with instructions from the
state legislature, held their session at the tavern of Alexander Ewing,
known as Washington Hall, and soon completed the formalities of their

The first election of county officers occurred on May 22. Previous to
this, Governor William Hendricks had named Allen Hamilton to serve as
sheriff of Allen county. The election of county officers was held in
accordance with the sheriff’s proclamation. Although partisan politics
did not enter into it, the race was a heated one, as indicated by the
attempt of the defeated candidates to contest the election.

The voters selected Samuel Hanna and Benjamin Cushman for associate
circuit court judges; Anthony Davis for clerk and recorder; and William
Rockhill, James Wyman, and Francis Comparet for county commissioners.
Alexander Ewing, a rival of Samuel Hanna, and Marshall K. Taylor, who
ran against Comparet, contested the election, claiming that there was an
unfair count of the ballots. However, they failed to prove their

At the first meeting of the commissioners, John Tipton was appointed to
the important post of county agent. The commissioners also fixed the
following figures to regulate the rates to be charged by tavernkeepers,
who were required to pay an annual license fee of $12.50 to conduct
their business: Dinner, breakfast, and supper 25 cents; keeping horse,
night and day, 50 cents; lodging per night 12½ cents; whiskey, per half
pint 12½ cents; brandy, per half pint, 50 cents; gin per half pint, 37½
cents; cider, per quart, 18 cents.

The board also decided upon the following rates for assessment on
personal property for the year of 1824: Male person, over the age of 21
years, 50 cents; horse or mule, 37½ cents; work oxen, 19 cents; gold
watch, $1; silver watch, 25 cents; pinchbeck watch, 25 cents; pleasure
carriage, four wheels, $1.50; pleasure carriage, two wheels, $1.00.[5]

Treasurer Holman reported that in 1824 the county was entitled to
$111.62 from taxes. The state at that time, and for a long period to
follow, paid a bounty on all wolf scalps taken; the certificates thus
issued were receivable for tax payments. For the first years, nearly all
the taxes of Allen county were paid off in these certificates, a clear
indication of the wild nature of the Fort Wayne area.

The first session of the Allen County circuit court was held beginning
August 9, 1824, at Ewing’s tavern, with Judges Cushman and Hanna
presiding. The records of the opening years of the county’s judicial
history reveal the fact that very few of the leading citizens escaped
indictment on charges of selling liquor illegally, larceny, assault and
battery, gambling, defamation of character, or trespassing, while the
civil and chancery cases were numerous from the beginning.[6]

The report of the first grand jury, which was received no doubt with
complacency by the community, would if duplicated at the present time
precipitate official investigations and loss of positions. But it
reflects the spirit of the time in early Fort Wayne. Both of the
associate judges were indicted for minor offenses. Of the nine
defendants charged with illegal sale of liquors, the large part were men
whose names are synonymous with the builders of early Fort Wayne. Six of
those accused of the illegal sale of liquor paid fines of three dollars,
while the remaining three drew fines of four dollars each. Apparently it
was well worth such small fines to be able to trade with the Indians,
and the practice continued.

The most important matter to come before the county commissioners in
1824 was the proposition of John T. Barr and John McCorkle in regard to
the town plat which they had laid out in August. The offer included a
grant to the county treasury of $500 cash and the donation to the county
of one square for the use of public buildings (the present Court House
square), one lot for a school building, and one lot for a church of no
particular denomination, but free to all. In addition to this, Barr and
McCorkle offered various other lots located throughout the plat to be
disposed of by the county.

The commissioners lost little time in accepting this offer, and the town
of Fort Wayne consisting of about sixteen square blocks came into
existence. The deed was made out to John Tipton, the county agent. The
first lots were sold September 18, 1824, under the direction of Tipton.
The buyers were Francis Comparet, William Barbee, William Suttenfield,
Edward Mitchel, Thomas Rue, Charles W. Ewing, Rees Goodwin, John J.
Griggs, Benjamin Kercheval, Christopher Vallequitte, Jean B.
Richardville, Alexander Ewing, William Murphy, Benjamin Archer, Moses
Scott, James Scott, William N. Hood, Jacob Everly, Walker and Davis,
Samuel Hanna, and Benjamin and Jacob Glossbruner.[7]

Some of these lots, in the heart of the present city, sold for $10.25;
the highest brought only $25. The entire thirty-six lots comprising this
original sale netted only $690.50, an average of less than $20. per lot.
Most of the purchasers made a down payment of half the purchase price.
After the sale of some of the remaining lots, Tipton resigned as county
agent on September 5, 1825, and Charles W. Ewing was appointed to fill
the vacancy.

With the selection of Fort Wayne as the county seat and the improvement
and sale of the public lands, new settlers began to arrive in 1824. One
of these was Hugh Hanna, the brother of Samuel Hanna, who established
the first cabinet and carpenter shop. The villagers were becoming
prosperous enough to build more permanent homes and furnish them with
better furniture. Chief Richardville and Samuel Hanna, following the
best tradition in the East, imported most of their household furnishings
from France.

Another indication that Fort Wayne was becoming a village for the more
permanent type of settler was the establishment of a small brick factory
north of the town by Benjamin Archer who also arrived in 1824. From the
products of his yards the first brick building at Fort Wayne was
constructed near the end of that year.

Other settlers of 1824 were Mrs. Peter Edsall and her nine children. At
Fort Wayne the family purchased a farm. Later her sons—Samuel, John
Simon, and William—became identified in the developments of the town,
establishing saw mills, laying plank roads, and finally contracting for
the construction of the first railroad to reach Fort Wayne. William
Stewart, Smalwood Noel, John Bruno, Charles and Francis Minie, Richard
Chobert, and Joseph Barron also came to the village in 1824. Most of
these people came from Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia by way of the Ohio
and St. Mary’s rivers. A few of them came from the Detroit region or
from New York state by way of Lake Erie and the Maumee river.

[1]_U. S. Statutes at Large_, 3: 701-2; 6:448.

[2]At a later date part of the reserve was taken over by the state in
    connection with the opening of the Wabash-Erie canal; the remaining
    twenty acres were purchased by Cyrus Taber and opened for sale in
    1835. It appears from John Tipton’s correspondence at the time that
    he and Allen Hamilton also had an interest in Taber’s purchase.

[3]_John Tipton Papers_, II, _IHC_, XXV, p. 18.

[4]_Revised Laws of Indiana, 1823-24_, p. 109. This legislative act took
    effect April 1, 1824.

[5]Treasurer’s Report for Allen County, 1824, Allen County Historical
    Society Archives.

[6]Judge Allen Zollars, “Bench and Bar of Allen County” quoted in
    Charles Slocum, _Valley of the Upper Maumee River_, II, p. 439.

[7]_Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, p. 405.

                              Chapter VII
        The Treaty of 1826 and the Removal of the Indian Agency

The year 1825 found the village of Fort Wayne had developed to a town of
nearly one hundred and fifty people—that is to say of persons considered
more or less permanently settled. The town was in the pathway of many
who traveled by way of the rivers, passing chiefly to the southwest; so
there was a closer business and social connection with the busy eastern
centers than had prevailed during the earlier years.

In many respects the growth of Fort Wayne was typical of what was
happening elsewhere in the West. The Indian country, opened to the
whites by the treaties between 1795 and 1818, was being speedily
settled. The “New Purchase” acquired from the Miami and Potawatomie in
1818 was carved into twenty-two counties and a flood of settlers rushed
in to take up the choice locations. In 1829 it was estimated that a
hundred thousand people were living in the New Purchase. In 1820, but
four years a state, Indiana boasted a population of 147,178 people, and
the next census revealed the addition of 195,853. In 1826, the northern
third of Indiana was held by less than three thousand Indians while the
southern two-thirds was settled by one hundred times as many whites.
Within a short time pressure of the whites, who lusted for the rich land
north of the Wabash-Maumee line, led to an inexorable demand for Indian

Fort Wayne as a central point along this line of the Maumee and Wabash
river, and at the edge of the white civilization, while touching the
Indian country, held a unique and paradoxical position. The traders and
land speculators at Fort Wayne—the Ewings, Hamilton, Hanna, Barnett,
Hood, Comparet, Coquillard, and others—were making a handsome profit in
their dealings with the Indians. As long as the Indian agency remained
at Fort Wayne, and as long as the Indians remained in this area and
received ever-better annuities, these men profited. Removal of the
Indians, as William G. Ewing pointed out, would deprive the area of many
thousands of dollars distributed annually. This money, he maintained,
contributed to the upbuilding of the area.[1]

However, it must be remembered that there was a factor, especially
important at Fort Wayne, which made the removal of the Indians very
desirable. The craze for internal improvements had struck throughout the
West in the eighteen-twenties. In Indiana the most-discussed and
most-promising project was the proposed Wabash and Erie Canal, for which
the portage at Fort Wayne was the focal point. Many of these traders at
Fort Wayne had through their astuteness in business with the Indians
acquired valuable property along the route of the proposed canal.
Nevertheless, the Indians still held the territory north of the Wabash
and Maumee, and their removal was necessary for the work to be able to
proceed. In the final analysis, it became a question of which interest
was more powerful, the Indian traders and fur companies or the larger
group of land speculators, town-site promoters, merchants, and settlers
of the Wabash and Maumee valleys. It was inevitable that the latter
group should win out, but at Fort Wayne the struggle was a bitter one.
Here we see some of the traders, such as Hanna, placed in the
paradoxical position of agitating for the removal of the Indians, while
at the same time eager to retain their trade. Others, in particular the
Ewings, opposed their removal. Both groups had acquired valuable
property along the proposed canal line, but those who sided with the
Ewings had more money invested in their trading operations with the
Indians and usually dealt in the fur trade also.[2]

Somewhere between both groups stood John Tipton, Indian agent. Tipton
never doubted that Indiana was destined to be a white man’s country. He
thoroughly agreed with the popular demand for internal improvements and
for the removal of the Indians. He himself was one of the major holders
of choice land, which he had acquired from the Indians and which he
hoped to develop. But as Indian agent he had to account for his acts to
the Washington officials as well as to opinion in Indiana. Moreover, he
was not callous to the sorry plight of the once powerful Miami and
Potawatomie, whose contact with the white traders had reduced them to
pitiful tribes. Then, too, Tipton could not openly flaunt the powerful
traders, who wanted the Indians to remain. Tipton’s position as Indian
agent was recognized as one of the best political appointments in
Indiana. His hold on his position depended on his ability to keep in the
good graces of the Indiana delegation in Congress, and this in turn
necessitated making as few enemies as possible. Moreover, Tipton
realized that the traders could prevent the negotiation of any treaty
and the cession of land by the Indians by reason of their powerful
influence with the chiefs. Failure to secure these cessions periodically
would ruin any Indian agent.

By 1826 Tipton was ready to act. He felt that the Miamis and
Potawatomies were sufficiently softened by their growing dependence on
government annuities and on the whiskey and other goods furnished by the
traders to be amenable to proposals for another land cession.
Accordingly, a commission of Tipton, Lewis Cass, and Governor James Ray
of Indiana was appointed to deal with the Indians.

By this time, the procedure in negotiating Indian treaties had become
fairly stereotyped. The Indians were gathered together by agents who
made glowing promises of good things to come. At the meeting place
preparations were made for feeding great numbers of people; traders were
encouraged to attend with attractive selections of goods, numerous
barrels of whiskey were imported; and every precaution was taken to
satisfy the appetites and desires of the Indians. At the proper time the
agent in charge assembled the braves, to whom he read a stilted and
pompous message from the Great White Father in which the Indians were
upbraided for their depredations, drunkenness, and other misconduct, and
reminded of the forbearance, generosity, and friendliness of the whites.
Then the Indians were asked what lands they would surrender and if they
would move farther west.

Neither the Miamis nor the Potawatomies wanted to leave their lands in
1826, but after food and whiskey had been consumed and goods given out
to the value of $61,588, they showed signs of weakening. However, it was
apparent that the commissioners could get nowhere unless they could
secure the support of the traders. The latter desired to have their
claims—sometimes two or three times the actual amount of credit they had
extended to the Indians—allowed and paid for out of the annuities. They
also wished to gain control of more desirable land through the treaty,
thus obtaining it without the land being put up at public auction as was
the legal requirement.

There had grown up in the administration of Indian affairs a way of
passing Indian lands to the whites without subjecting them to the land
laws of the United States. The proper legal procedure of land disposal
was for the Indians to cede land to the United States, whereupon it
became subject to the administration of the General Land Office. The
land would then be surveyed and sold at auction to the highest bidder.
The remaining land was sold for $1.25 an acre. This method was fair and
democratic. The nonstatutory method of land disposal worked in this way;
trader and Indian agents, who generally cooperated closely with one
another, would include in the Indian treaties provisions authorizing the
patenting of certain lands to the chiefs, half-breeds, or ordinary
members of the tribes. In turn these individuals conveyed their rights
to traders in payment of real or imaginary debts before the treaty was
signed or shortly thereafter. Although presidential approval for such
conveyances was necessary, in most cases the approval could be secured
easily, provided the agents would report that the Indians had received a
fair price for their land. As the agents were either under obligation to
the traders for support in treaty negotiations or were personally
interested in some of the reserves, they could usually be induced to
send in a favorable report even though the Indians might have bartered
their land away for some trinkets or a few drinks.

The Ewings, Hanna, Coquillard, Hamilton, Taber, Tipton, and Vermilya,
all acquired interests in individual reserves to the amount of thousands
of acres. All of these men were involved in the promotion of certain
projects (towns, roads, canals) for which their land was valuable.

Thus we see the traders were in full force at the treaty grounds in
1826, fighting for their interests. They worked through the chiefs and
headmen of the tribes to whom they gave gifts and loans. To take care of
the traders claims, present and prospective, it was necessary to
increase the annuities and agree to pay the Indian debts. In addition,
goods to the value of $41,259 were to be distributed to the Miamis for
two years following the treaty. For these stipulations the Indians
surrendered 976,000 acres, the main part of which was along the Wabash
and Maumee rivers. From this cession, the Miamis were permitted to
retain 81,800 acres for special groups and 13,920 for individual

The primary importance of this treaty, aside from the surrender of land
wanted by actual settlers, is that it opened the way for the
construction of the Wabash and Erie canal. The treaty of 1826 and the
enlarged annuities it provided also made the ultimate removal of the
Indians from this area even more difficult. The frontier community of
Fort Wayne could not be disdainful of payments of specie which ran as
high as $100,000 in some years. The payments of annuities, the
distribution of gifts bought from traders and the assumption of Indian
debts were followed by a period of prosperity for agents, traders, and
land speculators.

It is no wonder that when the people of Fort Wayne learned that Tipton
had applied to the government officials to move the Indian agency from
Fort Wayne, many protested vigorously. For a long time, Tipton had
desired to remove the agency to a more central location in the Indian
country. The exploitation of the Indians at Fort Wayne was reason
enough, but Tipton had to wait for a while as the opposition was too
strong. The attitude of the traders at the treaty of 1826 gave Tipton
plenty of excuse to push the project of removal once more. In a letter
written February 7, 1827, which eventually found its way onto the Senate
floor, Tipton listed seven reasons why the agency should be removed from
Fort Wayne.[4] Not only was the agency too remote from the Indians,
argued Tipton, but it was also too close to numerous grog shops and to
the traders who sold his wards whiskey, encouraged them to run up debts
which must later be deducted from annuities, and cheated them in a
hundred different ways. Tipton cited one case in which a white woman at
Fort Wayne had purchased a shawl from a drunk squaw for seven apples and
12½ cents. This shawl had cost the squaw $3.50.

Since the removal of the Indian agency would destroy their highly
lucrative business, the traders at Fort Wayne put aside petty quarrels
and joined in common defense to prevent it. John McCorkle, as a
principal owner of real estate at Fort Wayne, wrote to Representative
William McLean from Indiana:

  This settlement has been formed in consequence of the establishment of
  the agency at that place. Reserves were made for the use of the agent,
  thereby holding out a guarantee to the purchasers of public lands and
  property, that this agency would be continued at that place until the
  Indians should be removed from that country. Among others, I became a
  considerable purchaser of considerable public lands, for which I paid
  an extravagant price. One tract, near and adjoining the reservation
  for the agency, I paid $26 per acre for.... If a removal should take
  place, the Indians, as well as the inhabitants at Wayne, who have
  expended their all there, will be greatly disobliged.[5]

Judging from an earlier letter of McCorkle to Tipton, the former
believed that the agent had misled him at the time the Fort Wayne lands
were sold by the government. McCorkle sincerely believed that the agency
would remain at Fort Wayne when he purchased the original plat.[6] After
the agency was removed from Fort Wayne, McCorkle and Tipton became
bitter enemies.

Meanwhile some traders at Fort Wayne raised the old cry of mismanagement
and misuse of government funds and sought the dismissal of Tipton.
Tipton’s perennial enemies—Robert Hood, Benjamin Cushman, and Elisha
Harris—brought five charges of misconduct against Tipton before the
Secretary of War, James Barbour.[7]

In answering these charges Tipton wrote:

  Although it is improper for a man to speak of his neighbours faults
  and follies, yet both self defence and truth Justifies the assertion
  that a majority of the Citizens of this village are of the lowest
  order of society, such as discharged soldiers and dishonourable men.
  In this latter class is Robert Hood, Ben Cushman and Elisha B. Harris,
  who have fled from the offended laws of their Country elsewhere and
  have stopped here on account of the quantity of money annualy
  disbursed at this place. Their constant practice is to get money from
  the Indians by every artifice in their power ... we should not be
  surprised at the unexampled exertion made to oust me, when we reflect
  on fate of all my predecessors that Wells and Turner were dismissed,
  Stickney put out by address, and M. Hays almost compelled by the
  society here to resign. The superintendant knows me and is not wholy
  unacquainted with the character of a part of the inhabitants of this
  village.... He can satisfy you what kind of people I have to deal

Elisha Harris, one of the men who filed charges against Tipton, had a
very questionable record. He was indicted several times for stealing
horses from the Indians. The other men, Cushman and Hood, who filed the
charges against Tipton, were both elected judges of Allen county and
apparently had some standing in the community. Cushman was indicted once
for carrying concealed weapons, but he was never convicted on any
charge. Indeed there were few leading men in the county who escaped
being brought before the court. Subpoenas were served on the Ewings,
Suttenfield, and others. Nor was Tipton innocent of all charges. His
enemies could truthfully say that he had used his position as Indian
agent to gain control of some of the most valuable land in northern
Indiana, but this they would not do, as they would expose themselves

Despite the vigorous protests and charges leveled against him, Tipton
was able to accomplish his purpose, the removal of the Indian agency
from Fort Wayne. Through the controversy, Tipton was supported by Lewis
Cass, his immediate superior, who in this instance became convinced that
the welfare of the Indians and the greater convenience of Tipton
required removal. With Cass’ influence on his side, the transfer was
authorized on March 14, 1828.

Tipton had a personal interest in securing the removal of the agency to
a spot near the junction of the Wabash and Eel rivers. He and his
friends were able to lay out to the best advantage and to buy control of
the Indian reserves there. Shortly thereafter, Tipton and his associates
established the town of Logansport. The new town attracted many of those
traders whose prosperity depended on the Indian annuities, among them
being Cyrus Taber and one member of the Ewing firm, George W. Ewing.
Whiskey became as plentiful at Logansport as at Fort Wayne, and the
Indians were persuaded to overpurchase as often and defrauded as badly.
One can hardly see what benefit had been attained by the removal of the
agency to Logansport other than the enrichment of Tipton and his

Although the Indians failed to secure any benefits from the removal of
the agency, actually it produced a blessing in disguise for the village
of Fort Wayne. While the change was not immediately apparent, the
removal of the agency meant that the town would secure a higher type of
settler than before, and that its growth would depend more on its own
natural advantages and industry than on the artificial boom of the
annuity payments. Most important of all, the removal of the agency
turned the attention of the villagers to new enterprises. Chief among
these was the construction of the Wabash-Erie canal, which proved the
means by which Fort Wayne achieved a new and more permanent reason for
existence. The removal of the Indians in 1826 had made the land
available for the canal. Now the removal of the Indian agency indirectly
resulted in local enthusiasm for its construction.

On the other hand the agency played an important role in the early
development of Fort Wayne. While it was in existence here, the agency
attracted many men to this area, such as Hanna, Comparet, and the
Ewings, who later remained to build a city. The Indian agency also
contributed indirectly to the ultimate construction of the canal. Many
of the leading traders, in particular Samuel Hanna, had secured by means
of trading with the Indians the choice lands they hoped to develop
through the construction of the canal. Consequently, they vigorously
championed the Wabash-Erie canal program.

For a short time after the principal Indian agency had been removed, a
sub-agency was maintained at Fort Wayne with Samuel Lewis and Abel C.
Pepper in charge. When, on December 30, 1829, Pepper reported that the
public buildings were in such a state of decay that a hundred dollars
would be needed to repair them, the government officials determined to
discontinue even the sub-agency.[9] Thus early in 1830, Congress
authorized the sale of the public lands yet retained by the government
at Fort Wayne. This act sounded the death-knell of the old fort, which
was purchased by a land company from New Haven, Connecticut. The other
twenty acres were purchased by the county.

[1]_John Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, ed. Nellie Robertson and
    Dorothy Riker, p. 13.

[2]By the late 1820’s, a distinction must be made between the Indian
    trade and the fur trade. The latter was still valuable but an
    increasing number of furs were being trapped by whites, as the
    Indians of the area were becoming less industrious.

[3]C. Poinsatte, _Fort Wayne During the Canal Era_, p. 15.

[4]_John Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, ed. Nellie Robertson and
    Dorothy Riker, pp. 651-2.

[5]_John Tipton Papers_, II, _IHC_, XXV, 18.

[6]_John Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, 527.

[7]_Ibid._, pp. 631-3.

[8]_John Tipton Papers_, I, _IHC_, XXIV, 662-3.

[9]_John Tipton Papers_, II, _IHC_, XXV, 233.



  _Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society Archives_
    _Allen County Cemetery Inscriptions._ Ms compiled by the Mary
          Penrose Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
  Allen County Records and Archives, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Allen County Deed Books, A-J.
    Allen County Commissioners’ Records, 1824-1828.
    Allen County Court Records, 1824-1840.
    Allen County Treasurers’ Reports, 1824-1830.
  _Archives de la Province Quebec_, Quebec
    Vaudreuil Papers.
  _Archives des Colonies_, Paris
    Series B, C.
  British Museum, London
    Haldimand Papers, Department of Manuscripts
    LaBalme’s Papers, Department of Manuscripts
  Burton Historical Collection, Detroit, Michigan
    Gladwyn Papers
    Hamtramck Papers
    McArthur Papers
    Whistler Papers
    Wilkinson Records. Photostats of the General Orders of General James
          Wilkinson, 1797-1808 from the War Department Archives, Old
          Record Division, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington.
  Chicago Historical Society Library
    American Fur Company Letter Books, I and II.
    Johnson, William. _Notes on a Tour from Fort Wayne to Chicago,
          1809._ Ms
    Kingsbury Papers
    Miscellaneous Manuscripts and Letters, 1809-1812.
  Fort Wayne-Allen County Public Library
    Indiana Historical Collection: Clipping file, this includes a number
          of miscellaneous clippings from various sources pertaining to
          the history of Fort Wayne.
    Newspaper microfilm collection, Fort Wayne _Times_, 1856-58; 1869.
  Indiana State Library, Indianapolis
    Allen County Civil Order Book, 1824-1839.
    Map of the reservations at Fort Wayne, Indiana, surveyed June, 1803,
          by Thomas Freeman.
    Plan of Fort Wayne, Indiana, drawn by Major John Whistler.
  Public Records Office, London
    CO-42, Colonial Series, Portugal Street Office.


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  A. Ewing and Sons 90
  Abbott, James 20
  Agriculture 45
  Allen, John 96
  American Fur Co. 42, 82, 87, 92
  Anahquah 31
  Annuities 79, 84, 87, 92, 99, 102, 104
  Annuity Money 89
  Aquenochqua 10
  Archer, Benjamin 98
  Assessment Rates 97
  Astor, John 90
  Aveline, James 82

  Bailey, William 63
  Baptist Missionary 86
  Barbee, William 98
  Barnett, James 82, 83, 90
  Barr, John T. 95
  Barron, Joseph 98
  Battle of Tippecanoe 38
  Beaubien, Charles 14
  Beaubien, Josette 81
  Beaver 91
  Beaver Skins 4
  Beef 95
  Besiegers 67
  Bienville, Sieur De 9
  Bienville, Celeron De 5
  Bissot, Jean Baptiste 5
  Blacksmith 74
  Blacksmith Shop 89
  Blankets 71
  Blockhouse 76
  Blue Jacket 19, 54
  Boatmen 42
  Bondie, Antoine 63, 64, 66, 71
  Bonnecamps, Joseph Pierre De 5
  Boone, Daniel 15
  Boston 83
  Bougainville 7
  Bourie, John B. 81
  Bourie, Louis 35, 74
  Boyer, John 27
  Bread 95
  Brick Building 98
  Brick Factory 98
  Bruno, John 98
  Burbeck, Henry 37

  Cadillac 3
  Canada 89
  Canadian 86
  Canal 45, 80, 83
  Cannon 28, 71, 81
  Carpenter Shop 98
  Carrying-Trade 80
  Cart Track 86
  Cass, Lewis 81, 87, 91, 104
  Catholic Faith 86
  Cattle and Hogs 66
  Celoron, Pierre Joseph 9
  Cession of Lands 40
  Chapeau 18
  Chapeteau, Angeline 35
  Chene, Money 12
  Chief Chondonnai 75
  Chief Cold Foot 9
  Chief Richardville 75, 81, 94
  Chippewas 22
  Christianity 80
  Circuit Court 97
  Clark, George Rogers 15
  Clark, James 80
  Clark, William 27
  Clinton, George 10
  Coal House 89
  Columbia Street 80
  Comparet, Francis 82, 90, 96, 98
  Congress 59
  Congressional Debates 85
  Conner, John 55
  Coquillard, Alexis 82, 90
  Corn 8, 22, 69, 86
  Cornfields 65
  Council House 36, 80
  Council of Marine 6
  County Officers 96
  Credit 92
  Croghan, George 13, 34
  Curtis, Daniel 74, 80
  Cushman, Benjamin 96

  Dancing 18, 19
  Daniel Boone 15
  Darnaud 6
  Darneille, Isaac 54
  Davis, Anthony 96
  Dawson, John W. 76
  Debauchery 84
  Delawares 4, 13, 20, 43, 51
  Dennis, Philip 45
  DePeyster, Arent S. 14
  DeRaymond, Charles 8
  DeRome 81
  Detroit 3, 7, 20, 32, 61, 73, 98
  Dresses 75
  Drinking 19, 84
  Drunkenness 56, 101
  Dubuisson 5
  Duplessy 16

  Edsall, Mrs. Peter 98
  Eel River 88
  Eggs 75
  Election 96
  Ellicott, George 45
  Elskwatwa 50
  English Traders 8
  Erie Canal 100
  Evacuation 81
  Everly, Jacob 98
  Ewing, Alexander 90, 96, 98
  Ewing, Charles W. 98
  Ewing, George W. 104
  Ewing, William G. 99

  Fallen Timbers 23, 31, 50
  Fines 97
  Finney, J. B. 85
  Flagstaff 76
  Flaming Arrows 68
  Flatboats 72
  Flour 86
  Forsyth, James 56
  Forsyth, Polly 56
  Forsythe, Maria 89
  Forsythe, Robert 74
  Fort Dearborn 63, 64, 73, 79, 86
  Fort Dearborn Massacre 75
  Fort Defiance 37, 70
  Fort Harrison 63
  Fort Recovery 23, 86
  Fox Indians 3
  French 83
  French Families 14
  French Jesuits 86
  Frenchtown 34
  Friends 45
  Fur Companies 100
  Fur Prices 91
  Fur Trade 11, 17, 48, 100
  Fur Traders 74
  Fur Trading 42
  Furs 42, 86, 89

  Gambling 84
  Gamelin, Antoine 20
  Garrison 63, 67, 81
  Garrison Life 32
  General Store 74
  Gibson, John 46
  Girties 13
  Girty, George 19
  Girty, James 19
  Girty’s Town 69
  Glossbruner, Benjamin 98
  Glossbruner, Jacob 98
  Godefroy, Jacques 12
  Goodwin, Rees 98
  Gouin 16
  Gray, David 17
  Great Britain 43
  Great White Father 101
  Greenville 28, 29, 44, 75
  Griggs, John J. 98
  Grog Shops 102
  Guns 66

  Hackley, Ann 81
  Hamilton, Allen 94, 96
  Hamilton, Henry 14
  Hamtramck, John Francis 28
  Hanna, Hugh 98
  Hanna, Samuel 82, 89, 96, 98, 104
  Harmar 20, 28
  Harris, Elisha 103
  Harrison 40, 52, 60, 69, 70, 79
  Harrison, William H. 42
  Hay, Henry 18
  Hays, John 85, 86, 88, 91
  Heald 56
  Heald, Nathan 38
  Hedges, John 95
  Hedges, John P. 74
  Hendricks, William 96
  Hoffman, George 33
  Holman, Joseph 94
  Holmes, Robert 12
  Homeseekers 82
  Hood, Robert 90
  Hood, William 90
  Hood, William N. 98
  Hopkins, Gerard T. 45
  Horse-Racing 84
  Howitzers 68
  Hull, William 61
  Hunt, George 74, 81
  Hunt, John 74
  Hunt, Thomas 37, 74

  Illinois Country 8
  Immigration 82
  Indian Agency 39, 86, 102
  Indian Agent 82, 86, 87, 91, 100
  Indian Agents 39
  Indian Blood 86
  Indian Country 99
  Indian Crops 50
  Indian Debts 102
  Indian Dialects 39
  Indian Factor 40
  Indian Goods 41
  Indian Removal 99
  Indian School 89
  Indian Stores 74
  Indian Trade 79, 87
  Indian Traders 47, 54, 100
  Indian Treaties 82, 101
  Indian Villages 70
  Indiana Delegation 100
  Indiana Territory 30, 46, 59
  Indians 29, 41, 46, 58
  Intercourse Act 92
  Internal Improvements 100
  Ironside, George 18
  Iroquois 6
  Irvine, William 40

  Jay Treaty 42
  Jenkinson, Joseph 71
  Jennings, Jonathan 80
  Jew 16
  Johnson, Richard M. 72
  Johnson, William 14
  Johnston, John 40, 52, 57, 74, 80, 87
  Johnston, Stephen 41, 63, 65
  Jonquiere, Marquis De La 10
  Jordan, W. K. 61

  Kaskaskia 43
  Kekionga 1, 29, 34
  Kercheval, Benjamin 74, 81, 89, 98
  Kercheval, Benjamin B. 82, 91
  Kercheval, Eliza C. 81
  Kickapoo 43
  Kinzie, John 18

  LaBalme 15
  LaBerche 18
  LaCros 81
  Ladies 18
  LaFontaine, Francis 81
  LaFontaine, Peter 14
  Lamberville, Jean De 3
  Land Disposal 101
  Land Office 82, 94
  Land Sites 81
  Land Speculators 99, 100, 102
  Largro 90
  LaSalle 3
  Lasselle 16
  Lasselle Brothers 29
  Lasselle, Antoine 20, 34
  Lasselle, Hyacinth 34
  Lasselle, Jacques 14, 34
  Lawrence, Abbott 83
  LeGris 19, 28
  Lewis, Samuel 104
  License Fee 97
  Licensing of Traders 87
  Liquor 12, 18
  Little Turtle 1, 16, 19, 28, 30, 31, 39, 43, 44, 53, 61, 81
  Log Barracks 37
  Logan, John 63, 66
  Logansport 90, 104
  Long, Stephen H. 85
  Longueuil, M. De 8
  Lorimer 15
  Lorrance 16
  Louisaneau 74

  Maloch, Jean Baptiste 35
  Maple Sugar 45
  Married Officers 32
  Mason, John 40
  Maumee 80
  Maumee-Wabash Portage 1, 29
  McArthur, Duncan 75, 87
  McCorkle, John 95, 102
  McCoy, Isaac 86
  McIntosh, William 53
  McKee, Alexander 19
  Medicine 71
  Metea 63
  Miamis 13, 43, 63, 88, 99
  Miami Villages 30
  Michilimackinac 8
  Militia 57
  Militiamen 27
  Minie, Charles 98
  Minie, Francis 98
  Mission School 82
  Mitchel, Edward 98
  Montreal 35
  Moore, Hugh 71, 73
  Morris, Thomas 12
  Murphy, William 98
  Music 75

  Necessities of Life 86
  Negro Slaves 36
  Neutral Tribes 57
  New Fort 28, 76
  New Purchase 99
  Noel, Smalwood 98
  Northwest Territory 20, 39
  Noyelles, Sieur De 6

  Observance Sunday 80
  Officers’ Quarters 76
  Old Fort Park 37
  Oliver, Peter 65, 74
  Oliver, William 41, 66
  Orchard 36
  Orderly Books 34
  Ostrander 72
  Ostrander, Philip 33, 56, 65
  Otter 91
  Ouiatenons 7

  Pack Train 74
  Pack-Horses 74
  Paillet 16
  Parke, Benjamin 81
  Pasteur, Thomas 37
  Pathin, John 10
  Payet, Louis 19
  Paymaster 73
  Peace 79
  Pecanne 12
  Pelletier, Francois 38
  Peltier, Charles 35, 64, 74
  Peltier, James 35
  Peltries 74
  Pepper, Abel C. 104, 105
  Peru 90
  Piankashaw 43
  Pike, Zebulon M. 38
  Piqua, Ohio 57, 67, 87
  Pirogues 42, 81
  Pontiac 50
  Pontiac’s Conspiracy 12
  Portage 1, 35, 79
  Post Surgeon 74
  Potawatomie 51, 63, 66, 89, 99, 100
  Pottevin 16
  Prevost, George 70
  Prophet 50, 53, 58
  Provisions 27
  Public Lands 103

  Quakers 38, 45

  Raccoon Skins 91
  Rainwater 76
  Randolph County 80
  Religion 18
  Rhea, James 38, 55, 56
  Richardville 10, 28, 46, 79
  Richardville, Jean B. 98
  Richerville, Joseph Drouet De 81
  Riley, James 83
  Rivard 18
  Rivard, Antoine 35
  Robertson, William 18
  Robinson, Rachel 40
  Rockhill, William 96
  Rue, Thomas 98
  Rum-Sellers 85

  Sale of Lots 96
  Sanosket 8
  Sargent, Winthrop 38
  School 86
  School House 81
  Scott, Alexander 72
  Scott, James 98
  Scott, Moses 98
  Scriptures 80
  Settlement 82
  Settlers 100
  Shaw, John 58
  Shawnee 4, 13, 55
  Shields, Martha 92
  Siege 56, 67
  Skins 42
  Slavery 73
  Smith, Daniel 74
  Society of Friends 45
  South Bend 9
  Speculators 53
  Spoils System 92
  Spy Run 72
  Squatters 83
  St. Clair 21
  St. Mary’s, Ohio 69, 79, 81
  Stewart, William 98
  Stickney, Benjamin 40, 58, 64, 70, 76, 86
  Stickney, Benjamin F. 86
  Streets 96
  Strong, David 33, 37
  Sunday, Observance 80
  Supplies 72, 73
  Supply Wagons 40
  Supreme Court 92
  Surgeon 80, 86
  Surveys 83
  Sutlers 35, 74
  Suttenfield, Laura 75
  Suttenfield, William 74, 98
  Suttenfield, William F. 74

  Taber, Cyrus 104
  Taber, Paul 82
  Tahcumwah 10
  Tallow Dip 79
  Tavern Rates 97
  Taylor, Laura 74
  Taylor, Marshall K. 96
  Teas, Thomas 86
  Tecumseh 45, 50, 53, 58, 59, 73, 77
  Terre Haute 63
  Thames 73
  Thompson, John 20
  Tiffin, Edward 83
  Tippecanoe 43, 57, 59, 91
  Tipton, John 100
  Town Plat 97
  Traders 4, 18, 19, 22, 34, 35, 41, 81, 82, 84, 87, 88, 92, 94, 99,
  Trading Establishment 71
  Trading House 88
  Trading Post 41, 83
  Transportation 36
  Treaties 40, 99
  Treaty Grounds 102
  Troops 57, 63
  Turner, William 82, 86, 88

  Unscrupulous Traders 47

  Vallequitte, Christopher 98
  Vance, Samuel C. 94
  Vaudreuil, Marques De 5
  Vigo, Francis 46
  Villiers, Neyon De 10
  Vincennes 31, 35, 52, 60, 82
  Vincennes, Sieur De 5
  Vose, Josiah N. 80

  Wabash 80
  Wabash-Erie Canal 100, 104
  War Dances 19
  Warriors 63
  Warwhoop 58
  Washington 21
  Washington Hall 96
  Waterway 80
  Wayne, Anthony 13, 23, 27, 73, 79
  Weas 43, 51
  Well’s Family 31
  Wells, Anne 88
  Wells, Rebeckah 38
  Wells, Rebekah 55
  Wells, William 30, 36, 38, 55, 60, 81
  Western Forts 32
  Western Policy 21
  Western Posts 79
  Whipple, John 38
  Whiskey 47, 56, 82, 84, 85, 88, 92, 101, 102
  Whistler, George 73
  Whistler, John 73
  Whistler, William 56
  White Loon 54
  White Racoon 65
  Wilkinson 33
  Wilkinson, James 36
  Winamac 54, 66, 67, 68
  Winchester 80, 85
  Winchester, James 68, 70
  Wine 75
  Winnebagoes 63
  Wolf Scalps 97
  Wyandots 4, 8
  Wyman, James 96

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Corrected a few palpable typos.

—Crosslinked footnotes and references; for some footnotes, no references
  were found.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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