|A Day in Indiana History - September|
William Conner (December 10, 1777 – August 28, 1855)
The son of Richard and Margaret Boyer Conner, William was a native of Lichtenau, Ohio. The British moved the family to Fort Detroit for protection during the Revolutionary War. He and his brother James moved into the central Indiana area in 1800. While children, he and his brother had lived in close association with the native tribes, so they were familiar with their customs. During this early period, William served in the Indiana militia, and acted as interpreter to the Amerindians for Governor William Henry Harrison. He also had six children with a Delaware woman named Mekingis, who was the daughter of a native chief, William Anderson. When the Delaware left Indiana for an area west of the Mississippi River in 1820, Mekingis took her six children along. There is disagreement among historians whether she and William were legally married. After his family departed, he married Elizabeth Chapman. The two had ten children together. Conner had built a trading post just south of present day Noblesville and built several trading routes from central Indiana to the Ohio River.
William Conner and his Delaware wife established a trading post and built a log cabin near the site that is now Noblesville. The commissioners that choose the site for Indianapolis met at the cabin on May 28, 1820. The cabin still exists at the Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement south of town at Fishers. Conner and Josiah Polk laid out the town of Noblesville in 1823, naming it for James Noble, an early Indiana United States Senator or Polk's fiancé Lavina Noble.
Portions of this article excerpted from the author's book:
Exploring Indiana's Historic Sites, Markers & Museums - Central Edition