Friday, May 6, 2011

Laughery Creek




Laughery Creek at Friendship Indiana
Laughery Creek at Friendship Indiana
Laughery Creek
Laughery Creek is about ninety miles long, beginning in Ripley County. As it exits Ripley County, it forms the boundary of Ohio and Dearborn Counties. Laughery Creek receives its name from Revolutionary War Colonel Archibald Lochry, who died with many of his company along the banks of the creek on August 24, 1781. Laughery Creek drains the majority of Ripley County. Its source is southeast of Napoleon, in the northwest corner of the County, and exits the county near Friendship, in the southeast corner. The Laughery Creek valley serves as the basin for Versailles Lake in Versailles State Park. The Busching Covered Bridge spans Laughery Creek just south of the Park. It is still an active bridge.

A Visit to Aurora and Lawrenceburg, Indiana
A Visit to Aurora and Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Laughery Creek in Ripley County
 Laughery Creek passes close to the Ripley County Towns of Napoleon, Osgood, Versailles and Friendship. The majority of the Laughery Creek valley in Ripley County is heavily forested and provides excellent farmland on the flat bottomlands that border its banks. Its major tributary, Little Laughery, flows from Batesville, Indiana in the north. The junction of the two Laugheries is just southeast of Ballstown, Indiana on Indiana State Road 229. Other tributaries of Laughery Creek in Ripley County include Plum Creek and Ripley Creek.
Laughery Creek - Creekside Trail - Versailles State Park
Laughery Creek - Creekside Trail - Versailles State Park

Laughery Creek in Dearborn County
Length - About 25 miles
Laughery Creek enters Dearborn County from Ripley County about 1.75 miles southeast of Friendship, Indiana and exits into the Ohio River near Aurora, Indiana. Riverview Cemetery is on the east bank of Laughery Creek. It is the approximate scene of "Lochrey's Massacre." The cemetery is located on East Laughery Creek Road, just off Indiana State Road 56.
An historic bridge, a triple-intersection Pratt truss, also known as the Triple Whipple Bridge, crosses Laughery Creek near its junction with the Ohio River. The bridge was constructed in 1878. It was restored in 2008.
Scenic and Quiet Drive along Laughery
Interested visitors will find a nice creek side drive along Laughery Creek that begins at East Laughery Road. To take the drive, go west out of Aurora on Indiana State Road 56 about 2.3 miles from its intersection with US Route 50 in Aurora. Turn right on East Laughery Road. Riverview Cemetery, the site of Lochry's Massacre described below, is on the left as you turn.  Continue driving. You will be in a pretty, remote and wild area. The terrain is a mix of farmland and forest. This is a back road, but is paved.  You may exit the drive after driving about 5 miles to Laughery Creek Road’s intersection with Cole Road. Turn right. Drive about 2.3 miles to US Route 50. Turn right and drive about 2.7 miles to get back to Indiana State Road 56 in downtown Aurora. Total drive - Ten miles, about half an hour.
Continue the Laughery Creek Road Trip
If you wish to continue on, keep driving on Laughery Creek Road until it intersects Huesman Road. Laughery Creek Road ends at this point. Continue straight on Huesman. Do not turn right. Huesman intersects with Indiana State Road 262. A left turn will take you back to Indiana State Road 56 at Rising Sun. Turn left to return to Aurora, although Rising Sun offers its own attractions. If you wish to continue your trek along the beautiful Laughery Creek Valley, turn left on Hartford Pike Road just after SR 262 crosses Laughery Creek. Hartford Pike Road offers a scenic, quite drive, a lot of it along the creek, to Indiana State Road 56 just outside Aurora. Turn left to return to Aurora.
Archibald Lochry (April 15, 1733— August 24, 1781)
The son of Irish immigrants Jeremiah Loughery and Mary Murphy, Archibald was native to Octorarro Settlement, Ireland. The family migrated to York County, Pennsylvania sometime in the late 1730's. At maturity, Archibald became a powerful man, acquiring land and holding several political posts. He gained his first military experience during the latter stages of the French and Indian War when he enlisted on July 18, 1763.
Revolutionary War
In 1781, Lochry received an appointment to serve as colonel in the militia and given authority to recruit 200 men to launch attacks against the native tribes that were attacking the Pennsylvania frontier as part of the hostilities of the Revolutionary War. Since many were reluctant to leave their homes defenseless during a time of conflict, Lochry was only able to recruit 107 men. The company was ready to move by July 1781. Lochry had agreed to join an expedition led by General George Rogers Clark of Virginia on an expedition that was to move down the Ohio River and recruit men in Kentucky. From there they would either move against Fort Detroit or attack Delaware and Shawnee tribes deep in the heart of Indian country in current Indiana and Ohio. These tribes were harassing the Pennsylvania frontier.
The Campaign
Clark departed down the Ohio first from Wheeling. Initially, the two groups were to leave Wheeling together. However, Clark had a bad problem with desertion. His soldiers were reluctant to leave their homes for extended periods, leaving their families undefended, deserted in large numbers. This drove Clark to try to move further west faster than anticipated in the hopes of cutting down on desertions. Lochry arrived at Wheeling on August 8, only to find that Clark had already left. Lochry's men built boats and departed Wheeling after spending a few days building the boats they needed. While there, Lochry sent a canoe downstream with a message to Clark relating that they were low on supplies for both men, horses, and would follow Clark as soon as they could. This message did not reach General Clark. Forces led by George Girty and Chief Joseph Brandt intercepted the messages and began immediately to assemble a force to attack Lochry.
Lochry's Massacre
After departing Wheeling, Lochry kept his boats to the middle of the Ohio River to prevent attack from the shore. Girty and Brandt shadowed the force onshore as it made its way downriver. After several days of travel, Lochry had to go ashore to allow the horses to graze and obtain food for his men. They landed near the mouth of present day Laughery Creek. They killed a buffalo and prepared to cook it while the horses grazed. Meanwhile, danger gathered in the woodland surrounding them. The numbers Brandt and Girty had to attack are not certain, somewhere between 150 and 500 warriors attacked Lochry's force, catching them by surprise. In the short battle that followed, the natives forced Lochry to surrender. About thirty-seven died in the attack, including Lochry, who was reportedly tomahawked as he sat on a log after the surrender. The remainder of the prisoners were marched up trails by the Miami River. The natives ransomed some, killed some and adopted others. Only around twenty-five survived the attack.
Aftermath
Lochry Massacre Site - Riverview Cemetery - Aurora Indiana
Lochry Massacre Site - Riverview Cemetery - Aurora Indiana

Clark's proposed attack against Detroit died with Lochry's Massacre. Lacking the manpower to carry it out, he abandoned the plan. His capture of Vincennes in 1779 would not be repeated at Detroit.

A government clerk on the first documents misspelled the name ‘Laughery’, and the name has remained unchanged. Riverview Cemetery, the approximate location of the battle near Aurora, contains a monument to Lochry and his men, and a list of the soldiers who took part in the battle.

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2 comments:

  1. […] as early as 1796. An engagement of the Revolutionary War took place on the banks of nearby Laughery Creek. On August 24, 1781 Joseph Brant, a leader of the Mohawk Indians, intercepted Colonel Archibald […]

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