little garrison under Maj. Josiah H. Vose at Fort Wayne was
withdrawn April 19, 1819.1 They were the
last regular soldiers on frontier duty in the State. The westward
movement of settlers had carried the frontier beyond Indiana.
Fort Wayne was then a busy center of the fur trade. Often 1,000 men were collected there on Indian pay day. At such times horse-racing, gambling, drunkenness and debauchery were the order until the traders had all the
Indians' annuity money in their possession.
Robert S. Robertson, Valley of the Upper Maumee I, 184. The following paragraph from Rev. J. B. Finley, Life Among the Indians, 518, describes these scenes. The missionary was an eye witness: "This was an awful scene for a sober man to look upon. Here were encamped between two and three hundred Indians, and one-third if not one-half drunk; men and women, raving maniacs, singing, dancing, fighting, stabbing, and tomahawking one another—and there were the rumseller watering their whisky 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 trinkets, ear-bobs, arm-bands, half-moons, silver crosses, and
brooches—giving a gill of grog for a dozen of silver brooches—and their guns, tomahawks and blankets, till they were literally stripped naked, and three or four were killed or wounded. The reader may set what estimate he pleases, or call him by what name; yet if there was ever a greater robber, or a meaner thipf, or a dirtier murderer than these rumsellers, he is yet to be seen."
In 1823 John Tipton became the agent of the Miamis and Pottawattomies, with headquarters at Fort Wayne. As the settlements around the place increased the Indians fell back on the upper Wabash and Eel rivers. Partly that he
might be nearer the Indians and partly due to interest in land speculation, Mr. Tipton secured the removal of the Indian Agency, in the spring of 1828, to the mouth of Eel river, the present site of Logansport.
The Indian trade at that time was one of the most lucrative occupations in the State. The agent bought large numbers of cattle, hogs, and horses for the Indians. Droves of stock were gathered up and driven through the forests to
Fort Wayne or Logansport
By the law of 1819 the Indians of Indiana were granted annuities as follows: Weas, $3,000; Pottawattomies, $2,500; Delawares, $4,000; Miamis, $16,000; besides which there were specific gifts which often amounted to as much
as the annuities. Thus at this time, 1819, the Delawares, then preparing to go west, were given $13,000.
The annual assembly at the Treaty Grounds was the greatest commercial event of northern Indiana from 1820 to 1840. It corresponded with the New Orleans trade in the southern part of the State. At the treaties of October
20, 26 and 27, 1832, there were distributed goods to the value of $866,729.87. There were not less than fifty traders on the grounds. The bills of W. G. and G. W. Ewing footed up about $30,000. Joseph Holman, a member of the
First Constitutional Convention; Jonathan Jennings, our first governor; John W. Davis of Carlisle, long a member of Congress and at one time its speaker; Allen Hamilton, president of the Fort Wayne Branch of the State Bank;
Samuel Hanna, founder of Fort Wayne; Nicholas McCarty, a merchant of Indianapolis and later a Whig candidate for governor; Alexis Coquillard, founder of South Bend; Jordan Vigus, one of the founders of Logansport, were a few
of the better known traders and agents. It is hardly necessary to say these were the leading men of the northern part of the State. Many of them became wealthy in this business. It was said that the Ewing brothers became
At this time it is hardly possible to determine the profit made by the traders. Blankets sold at $8 and $10 each; red flannel at 57 cents; bleached shirting at 97 1/4 cents; tincups at 12 1/2 cents; red cotton handkerchiefs at 40 cents;
calico at 25 cents; silk vests at $4; coffee boilers at 75 cents; thread at $2 per pound; hats at $5; knives at 40 cents; powder at 40 cents. The quality of the goods cannot now be ascertained. The traders sold on credit to the
Indians and then presented their bills to the Indian agents who paid the annuities. This plan was tolerably satisfactory until the greedy traders presented bills which amounted to more than all the annuities. Then there was trouble among the traders.
At the October payment, 1836, the Ewing brothers and Captain Fitch presented claims for $34,000. As the payment of this would have taken all the money the other traders objected. The agent, Abel Pepper of Rising Sun,
was unable to settle this dispute. A committee then received all the claims, amounting to over $100,000, and prorated the annuity money. This wrong to the Indians was so plain that a government agent, J. W. Edmunds, was sent to investigate the claims. His report showed beyond a doubt that the Indians had been cheated out of practically all their money.
As long as the first
pioneers of our State lived they feared and hated the Indians. It
was difficult to tell
whether they feared or hated them most During the decade from 1830
to 1840 they gave a good exhibition of each.
From their own viewpoint they were amply justified in both. As an
example of the terror which an Indian uprising caused on the border there is nothing better
than Black Hawk's War.
Black Hawk was a popular leader of a band of Sauk Indians who lived on Rock river, in northwestern Illinois. His village was near the mouth of the river, down where it joined the Mississippi. The old warriors in this band were
kindred spirits who had served under Tecumseh in the War of 1812. They were known along the frontier as the "British Band," and their sympathy for the British was notorious. The Hawk had himself "touched the quill" as
the Indians called signing a treaty, in 1804 and again in 1816, when his tribe had ceded its land to the government.
But when the government surveyors and the settlers came in 1831 to occupy the land the grizzly old warrior's heart failed him. He had watched his women and children cultivate the village fields for half a century, and when, in
the spring of 1831, he returned from a winter's hunt in Iowa to find the squatters had pre-empted his fields and actually plowed up the graves of his ancestors, he could stand it no longer. He warned the intruders and then
started with his warriors across northern Indiana and southern Michigan to visit his British friend, the commander of Maiden. The British general advised him wrongly and the war followed.
All the border Indians were restless during that year. Early in the summer of 1831 a Miami hunting party killed a Pottawattomie war chief, as a result of which the Pottawattomies threatened war. They first demanded an indemnity of
$50,000 as blood money. If this was not forthcoming the Miamis were assured that the Pottawattomies would be on them in the spring "before the leaves were as big as squirrels' ears."
Gen. William Marshall was sent as agent to settle this difficulty; and in a grand council on the St. Joseph succeeded in doing so.
About this time a proclamation of Gov. John Reynolds of Illinois reached the Indiana border. The frontier settlements at this time were between the Wabash and the Illinois State line, west and northwest of Lafayette, with advance posts over the line in Illinois twenty to forty miles. When Black Hawk returned from his winter's hunt he warned the squatters to leave. The governor of Illinois took this warning for a declaration of war, and at once called out the Illinois State militia and notified the people that the Sauk and Pottawattomies were on the warpath. The governor meant the Prairie Pottawattomies of Illinois, but the Indiana settlers thought he meant the Indiana Pottawattomies, many of whom lived among the settlers west of the Wabash. A courier carried the report to Indian Agent Marshall at Logansport, who at once dispatched his runners in all directions to gather the scattered villages of Pottawattomies into Logansport till the war was over. He
did this to pacify the settlers and to save the Indians from the militia.
At midnight Sunday, May 21, 1832, Captain Newell of the Warren county militia, was called out of bed and told that the Indians were at Iroquois, near the State line, and approaching fast. He was told that all the settlements
west of Big Pine creek, in Warren county, had given way and Big Pine would break in the morning, if no aid appeared.
By eight o'clock Captain Newell was at the head of fifty mounted men, and by eleven o'clock had reached Parish's Grove, eighteen miles on his way. Here he met the throng of refugees from the Sugar Creek Settlements. The rabble
of refugees completely blocked the way. The settlers of upper Pine creek had abandoned their clearings. After Captain Newell had calmed the terror-stricken pioneers, he selected twenty-five of his best-mounted men and pressed
forward that same evening twenty miles farther, to Iroquois river, in Illinois. He passed scores of settlers fleeing for their lives. From these he heard that the Hickory Creek Settlements had all been abandoned and the people
were on their way to the Wabash. Several families were reported murdered on Fox river. The Fox River Settlement was seventy-five miles farther on, but Captain Newell decided to go ahead and try to reach it by morning. A few
miles further he met more refugees from Hickory creek, who assured him that not a person was left in the outlying settlement, and that it woul4 be useless to to on. The captain accordingly returned and began to quiet the people.
As soon fts Captain Newell received word of the outbreak, on Sunday night, he sent a mounted scout posthaste to Lafayette for aid. Another report reached Lafayette, also, about the same time as the courier, that the Illinois
militia, 275 in number, had been routed on Hickory creek, with the loss of over twenty-five men killed; that 200 militiaman were needed; that the settlers had all fled, some to Fort Chicago and others to the Wabash; that the whole
frontier was abandoned, and that houses were being: burned and families murdered.
A small party of militia scouts immediately set out from Lafayette for the scene of the depredation, and Gen. Jacob Walker called out the militia to rendezvous at Sugar Creek Grove in the western part of Benton county.
Meantime the scouts who set out from Lafayette at the first alarm returned and, on June 1, a committee of the best known men of the town sent out a statement to the effect that they had gone as far as Hickory creek, 100 miles north-
west of I^fayette, and had found no traces of Indian warfare. No damage had been done on Hickory creek. They reported, however, that Black Hawk, at the head of 500 warriors, was in arms and on the warpath, but was making his way toward the Mississippi.
The militia camp at Sugar Creek Grove was soon broken up. The returning: scouts made it certain that Black Hawk had his hands full and that there was no danger from that quarter. Word was received in a few days from
the deputy agent, M. G. Grover, at Logansport, that the Miamis, Pottawattomies, Chippewas, and Ottawas on the St. Joseph were all quiet. When this word came, General Walker disbanded his militia.
The alarm was not confined to Warren and Benton counties. The old Sac, or "Sauk," trail from Illinois to Maiden led through LaPorte county. The early settlers of Door Village were accustomed to seeing Sac, or "Sauk," warriors pass and repass on this trail. At times the Indians stole horses and committed other crimes. The settlers along the trail feared them.
In May the Indian agent at Chicago sent a courier to warn the pioneers of the Door Village (LaPorte) that the Sacs were on the war path. It is said that refugees from Door Village fled as fax as Cincinnati. The more resolute
gathered in the little village and set to work to build a stout stockade. As soon as this was completed they sent out spies to learn what they could of the Indian advance. In the meantime a good blockhouse was constructed. After
a few weeks the excitement wore off. There was ample reason for fear along: the frontier of the State. Had Black Hawk chosen to lead his warriors along the Sac Trail to his old British friends and allies at Maiden, there were not enough
troops or settlers along the way to have prevented him.
The refugees from the Portage Prairie, Terre Coupee, and other settlements west of South Bend brought the news of the Indian war to that town. Most of the refugees were so alarmed they would not stop in South Bend, but
hurried on to the east. As soon as the citizens were aroused they gathered together and, like the friends to the west, at the Door Village and on Portage Prairie, decided that safety lay in a blockhouse. Accordingly they built one
and confidently awaited the coming of Black Hawk's warriors.
As soon as General Walker received the first report of an Indian uprising from Captain Newell he sent a messenger to Indianapolis. The messenger reached the governor May 29, 1832, and requested him to call out the militia for
the Black Hawk War. The militia of Marion, Johnson, and Hendricks counties were accordingly called to meet at Indianapolis. These troops, the pick of the three counties, 160 in number, under Col. A. W. Russel, of the Fortyeighth
Regiment, reached Lafayette June 1-3. From Lafayette they crossed over into Illinois, marched to Chicago, back around the south end of Lake Michigan, then by way of the St. Joseph country to Indianapolis, without seeing any hostile Indians. When they arrived at home they were banquetted as heroes at Washington Hall and the Mansion House hotels. They received the name "The Bloody 300" as a result of their campaign.
At the same time when Governor Noah Noble called out the Marion, Johnson, and Hendricks county militia, he ordered a company of mounted volunteers from Putnam county to patrol the State line and watch for straggling bands
of Indians that might attempt inroads on the settlements. General Orr, accordingly, enrolled eighty-two men, armed with rifles, tomahawks and butcher-knives. The company established headquarters at Attica and stationed guards
along the State line. Patrols passed from one station to another every day and also reported daily to Attica. This was continued until August 10.
As soon as Senator John Tipton, who then represented Indiana in the United States Senate, heard that Black Hawk was on the war path, he proposed to call out 600 rangers to patrol the frontier till the war was ended. Con-
gress quickly passed the measure. Two of the companies were to be furnished by Indiana. One was raised by Major B. V. Beckes, of Vincennes, the other by Colonel Lemuel Ford, of Charlestown. Colonel Ford's rangers reached
Indianapolis July 28, 1832. At this place they were joined by a party from Rush county under Lieutenant Bissell. All were well mounted and well drilled. Nearly all the people of the town turned out to see them march away next morning
over the Michigan Road toward Logansport and Chicago, where they were to report to General Scott. They were enrolled for a year or less, furnished their own horses and weapons, and received $1.00 per day.
Captain Beckes also hastened to the frontier with his company, but Black Hawk's band was annihilated at Bad Axe August 2, and all the troops were soon discharged. One thousand Sauk Indians had entered Illinois in April, but by
the 3d of August not more than 150 were left alive. None had come nearer to Indiana than seventy-five miles. The scare had come from three sources. First, the Sauks had defeated a large army of militia—2,500—under Stillman, on
Rock river, and the agent at Chicago had sent the news to the settlements, with the added information that the warriors would devastate the settlements. Second, the pioneers knew the Pottawattomies were closely related to the Sauks.
Third, a large body of Sauk warriors had crossed northern Indiana just at the beginning of the war.
The excitement caused
by the Black Hawk War was the doom of the Indian population in
Indiana. Although the
Indians of Indiana were perfectly quiet and had nothing to do with
causing: the scare, the settlers seemed unable to
accustom themselves to their presence in the neighbor-hood.
As early as 1819 Congress had discussed plans for civilizing the Indians.10 A law of that year gave the President power to use $10,000 to pay the tuition of Indian children in mission schools. Several mission schools had been
established in the State and were said to have done good work. However, there was no well organized support back of the law and nothing on a considerable scale was accomplished.
In 1822 the system of government traders was abolished and a horde of irresponsible, depraved traders were turned into the Indian country. These small traders carried whisky to the Indian villages and traded it for furs.
They were, in fact, poorly disguised robbers.
Various missionaries and other friends of the Indians soon began to plead for help. Most of them agreed that it would be better to get the Indians beyond the frontier. It was a policy of the Jacksonian Democrats to get them out
of the way of the white settlers. The law of May 28, 1830, permitted any Indian tribe that dared to, to trade its land along the border for lands beyond the Mississippi.'8 The law of July 9,1832, Which provided for a complete reorganization
of the Indian service, also appropriated $20,000 to hold councils among the Indiana Indians in order to induce them to migrate beyond the Mississippi.
During the summer of 1888, and later, agents were busy along the upper Wabash and on Eel river gathering up parties of Indians and transporting them to the West A favorite plan was to give horses to a number of chiefs and pay
their way out to the new country on a tour of inspection. If necessary, these were then bribed to give a glowing report of the country they had seen. The Indians were by that means persuaded to emigrate."
The best illustration of the hatred which the Indiana settlers bore toward the Indians is their treatment of the Pottawattomies, whom they forcibly expelled from the State in the summer of 1838. The Pottawattomies originally hunted
over the region south of Lake Michigan, north of the Wabash, and west of the St. Joseph and St. Mary's rivers.
They were usually hostile to the Americans when war was on. They led in the Indian massacre at Fort Dearborn, and in the attack on Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison. Most of the warriors under the Prophet at Tippecanoe, as well as those who perpetrated the Pigeon Roost murders and harassed the White river border from Vallonia to the Wabash above Vincennes during the following years, were thought to be Pottawattomies. On the other hand, they had given the settlers the land for the Michigan Road—a body of land equal to a strip a mile wide from the Ohio to the lake. Few settlers penetrated their lake-region hunting grounds before 1830. Beginning as early as 1817, in a treaty at Fort Meigs, the government adopted the unfortunate policy of making special reservations for Indian chiefs who refused to join the tribe in selling land. As a result of this policy several bands of Pottawattomies had special reservations in Marshall and adjoining counties. The treaty of 1832 took from the tribe its tribal lands, leaving Chief Menominee a reservation around Twin Lakes and extending up to the present city of Plymouth. Down around Maxinkuckee, Chief Aubbeenaubee had a large reservation. Chief Benack and his village lived on a reservation in Tippecanoe township. In fact, Indians claimed and occupied the whole county except the strip of land given for the Michigan Road, a mile wide, stretching across the country north and south through Plymouth.
In 1834 a commission tried to buy the Indian land and succeeded in making a contract for most of it at fifty cents an acre. But on account of some individual reservations made in the treaty the government refused to ratify the purchase.
Col. Abel C. Pepper, of Lawrenceburg, then Indian agent, succeeded, in 1836, in buying the Indians out at $1 per acre, giving the Indians the privilege of remaining two years on the lands. The Indians asserted that this cession
was obtained by unfair means, but it seemed to have been accomplished as most others had been.
Anticipating: the land sale which was to take place when the Indian lease expired, August 5, 1838, squatters began to enter the country and settle on the Indian land. They expected to hold their land later by the right of pre-emption. The Indians began to show resentment as the time for their forced migration approached. They contended that the chiefs had no right to sell the lands, and went so far as to murder one of the chiefs who had "touched the quill."
General Morgan and Colonel Pepper were busy among them, trying to persuade them that in the west was a much better place for them. Councils were held at Plymouth and at Dixie Lake, but the red men were obdurate. Then Col.
Edward A. Hannegan, later a United States senator from Indiana, came from the post with a company of militia to see what effect that would have. It had none.
Pioneers had already squatted on the Indian lands. On August 5 these squatters demanded possession of the Indian huts and fields. Many of the Indians had been induced to plant corn. They were told that the government
would not sell their land till it was surveyed, and that could not be done during the summer of 1838.
The Indians refused to give possession and both parties resorted to violence. The fur traders in the region sided with the Indians and advised them to resist the squatters. The Catholic priest located at the Twin Lake Mission also advised them that the squatters had no right to demand their land, especially the crop of corn which was now raised.
A squatter named Waters, it seems, was especially persistent in demanding that the Indians give him possession of a quarter section of land he had laid claim to. About the middle of August some Indians battered down his cabin door with an ax. In return the squatters joined together and burned eight or ten wigwams.
The pioneers along the frontier were expecting trouble. It had been only a few years since the scare of the Black Hawk War. The Miamis had been sullen all the season. Stragglers from the transported tribes were returning from
the west and telling how their fellows had suffered from cold and hunger out on the plains. So when word was received that the Indians were committing acts of violence the government acted swiftly.
Colonel Pepper called all the warriors together in council at Twin Lakes, August 29. He could do nothing with them, however. The old men had tost control of the young bucks. All flatly refused to leave, saying that both they and the President had been deceived. While they were sitting in council John Tipton with the militia arrived. The government agents had been preparing all summer for the removal of the tribe, but perhaps would not have done it till the cool weather of the autumn.
As soon as Oekmel Pepper of Logansport had heard of the first Indian depredation—and he heard as soon as a courier from the squatters could reach him, August 26—he at once sent a dispatch by mounted courier to Governor
David Wallace asking for a good general and at least one hundred soldiers. He reported that the Pottawattomies on Yellow river were in arms and an outbreak was expected at any moment This message reached Governor
Wallace on the next day. The same day he received word the governor sent an order by courier to John Tipton of Logansport ordering him to muster the Cass and Miami county militia and proceed with all haste to the Scene of trouble.
Tipton lost no time in enrolling the militia. They left Logansport at one p. m. August 29. At ten o'clock that night they went into camp at Chippewa. Breaking camp at 3 a. m. they reached Twin Lakes as above noted and found Colonel Pepper and the Indians in council. Tipton at once stated his business, scolding the chiefs for the depredations. The Indians made no excuses fof the outbreaks and again refused to leave their homes. From the report it seems clear the whites were the aggressors and had done nearly all the damage. Tipton Wasted no words, but established a camp on an island in the lake and detained all the Indians present, about 200. As all the leaders were
present it was easy to control the rest All were disarmed as soon as found.
Squads of soldiers patrolled the country in all directions looking; for the Indians and driving them in. Many, fearing harm to those at council, came in to see what was wrong. By September 1 more than 700 were rounded up. All the Indian wigwams and cabins were destroyed. Their ponies and all their other property were brought into camp.
Early on the morning of September 4 Tipton commenced to load the thirteen army wagons in which their goods were to be moved. About 400 horses were found and kept on the island till ready to start. The procession left the Twin Lakes, September 4, and dragged its mournful way south over the Michigan Road through Chippewa, twenty-one miles distant, going into camp at sunset. Father Petti t, the missionary whom Bishop Brute had stationed there, had been allowed to gather the Indians into the little chapel and say a farewell mass before they started. The first day's march was excessively tiresome. No water could be found for drinking and the road was dusty. They traveled from 9 a. m. to sunset, the mounted guard prodding on the laggards.
Next day forty-one persons were unable to move. Others had to wait on the sick. Beef, flour, and bacon had been ordered from Logansport, forty-six miles distant, but only a little reached them.
On September 5 they reached Mud creek. Twenty guards deserted during the day, stealing Indian horses on which to get away. On September 6 the Indians marched seventeen miles reaching Logansport, about 800 strong. They waited near the town three days for the government agents to make better arrangements for traveling. One-half the militia were discharged and half were kept to accompany the Indians to the State line.
By this time the Indian children and old people were completely worn out. The children, especially, were dying in great numbers, not being used to such fare. Physicians from Logansport reached them on the 9th and reported three hundred unfit for travel. The march from this time was not so rapid. William Polke took a small detachment of troops and revisited the abandoned villages to see if any Indians had returned. Several children died during the stay at Logansport.
September 10, they started at 9 a. m. and skirted the north bank of the Wabash all day, reaching Winnamac's old village by 5 p. m. Food was very scarce. The priest was given permisison to say mass every evening. They left Winnamac's old village at 10 a. m., marched seventeen miles on the 11th, and camped at Pleasant Run at 5 p. m.
Next day they forded the Tippecanoe at 11 a. m. and passed the Battleground at 12 m. Here Tipton distributed to the Indians $6,000 worth of dry-goods, hoping by this means to raise their spirits somewhat.
Chief Wewissa's mother died on the 12th at the extreme age of 100. She had asked to be killed and buried with her fathers at the Mission and the chief had decided to humor her, but the white men would not permit it.
On September 13th they reached Lagrange on the Wabash, a short distance below Lafayette, marching eighteen miles. One hundred and sixty were under the care of Dr. Ritchie and son, the attending physicians. The physicians were almost entirely out of medicine. The children were dying at the rate of from three to five a day. On the 14th they reached Williamsport. On the 16th they reached Danville, 111. Heat and dust were getting worse. Large numbers of sick had to be left in the road. Horses were worn out and the guards were nearly all sick, and unable to proceed.
At Sandusky Point, on the 18th of September, Tipton turned the command over to Judge William Polke, who had been appointed by the national government to superintend the removal.
Judge Polke, Father Pettit, and an escort of fifteen men continued with the broken tribe to their destination on the Osage river, in Kansas.
The journey required about two months and cost the lives of one-fifth of the tribe.A few Indians remained in Indiana scattered on small reservations in various parts of the State. The larger numbers of these were on the lower Mississinewa, around Maxinkuckee Lake, and around the small lakes in Kosciusko county. As citizens they were no match in their business dealings with their white neighbors. They gradually parted with their lands and spent the proceeds. A few remain at present, respected and treated well by their white neighbors. They have taken on enough of the white man's thrift and culture to convince anyone that the whole tribe might, under more fortunate circumstances, have been saved to civilization.
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