Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 14, 1936 - George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes Dedicated

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 14, 1936 - George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes Dedicated
The excitement caused by the 150th anniversary of the American Revolution in 1926 created a wave of enthusiasm among Vincennes residents to commemorate George Rogers Clark's capture of Fort Sackville at Vincennes on February 25, 1779. Their efforts led to the creation of the largest National Memorial outside of Washington DC to be built along the banks of the Wabash River.
Exact Location of Fort Sackville Uncertain
After the Revolution, Vincennes continued to grow and the town spread over the site of the original fort. The Daughters of the American Revolution marked the spot where they believed the fort stood in 1905. Though no one knows the exact location, it is certain it was within the grounds of the current National Memorial.
The Dedication of the Memorial
After a major push by Vincennes residents, theCongress passed an act establising the George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission. President Calvin Coolige signed the bill on May 23, 1928. New York architect Frederic Charles Hirons designed the eighty foot tall, ninety foot diameter structure. Artist Ezra Winter painted the huge paintings inside the memorial, a task that occupied two and a half years. The memorial is a fitting monument to a man whose arduous task of ensured that the Northwest would become part of the new nation when Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
Dedication
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the Memorial on June 14, 1936. The National Park Service took over the site in 1966. For information contact:
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
401 S 2nd St
Vincennes, IN 47591
(812) 882-1776

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 13, 1842 - Martin Van Buren Stagecoach Upsets - Plainfield

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 13, 1842 - Martin Van Buren Stagecoach Upsets - Plainfield
Dirty politics did not originate in the modern age. An incident on June 13, 1842 is one example. On a hot June afternoon an Indiana resident played a dirty prank on former President Martin Van Buren in retaliation for his opposition to a Congressional bill that would have improved the National Road, current US 40.
Plainfield
Platted on February 27, 1840, Plainfield was located on the National Road. Established by Quakers migrating from North Carolina, Plainfield saw the first settlers filtering into the region after the Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818.
National Road
The National Road was the first road built by the Federal Government using federal funds. The road closely followed Braddock's Road at its eastern part.
Braddock's Road
The National, or Cumberland, Road began with the expedition of General Edward Braddock during the French and Indian War in 1755. Braddock had his troops construct a road that led from Virginia to Fort Duquesne at the source of the Ohio River. The purpose of the expedition was to conquer Fort Duquesne, later Fort Pitt and now Pittsburgh. George Washington took part in this expedition, which taught him military methods and strategies. Washington had improved an earlier Amerindian trail, called the Nemacolin's path, which Braddock's Road followed in part. Unfortunately, for General Braddock, a French and Indian force ambushed his army, killing Braddock and defeating the English. His soldiers buried him in the middle of the road and drove the army over it to keep the natives from finding and desecrating the body.
The National Road
Congress passed legislation, signed by Thomas Jefferson, in 1806 authorizing the road's construction. Construction at Cumberland, Maryland on the Potomac River began in 1811. By August 11, 1818, the road reached Wheeling, West Virginia on the Ohio River. The road follows the older Braddock Road in many places. Congress gradually extended the road west, reaching Indiana in 1829. The planned construction to St. Louis never occurred due to the government running out of money. US 40 follows the National Road for most of its route.
Overturning the Stagecoach
In 1842, the National Road was a mess. Stumps still dotted the road and huge mud holes made travel on the road perilous. Travelers on the road had to endure a bumpy, mud splashed ride as they wended their way along it. Congress had passed a bill that would have authorized improving the road. Van Buren had vetoed the bill. Plainfield residents were plainly annoyed by the act. Van Buren had lost the 1840 election and was stumping the country in a reelection bid. He had spent a week in Indianapolis, stumping for votes. The next stop on his itinerary was St. Louis. His route to St. Louis lay along that very National Road that he had opposed improving. He boarded the stagecoach in Indianapolis and traveled southwest, towards Plainfield, just outside the capital city. The stagecoach driver was sympathetic to Plainfield's sentiments. Knowing that there was an elm tree at the base of a hill whose roots extended out into the road, the driver played his trick. He allowed the stagecoach to gain speed as it descended the hill. The stagecoach's wheels struck the roots at just the right angle and overturned the coach. Van Buren tumbled out of the coach, landing in a hog wallow at the base of the hill. Van Buren, humbled by his lesson in road maintenance, retreated to a nearby tavern to empty his boots of hog swill and try to clean his starched white shirts. Van Buren lost the next election.
The elm tree became known as the Van Buren Elm. The tree has long since died. The Daughters of the American Revolution have placed a bronze marker on the site. The marker resides on a boulder in front of the Friends Meetinghouse just west of Plainfield on US 40.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 12, 1837 - Indianapolis Female Institute Established

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 12, 1837 - Indianapolis Female Institute Established
Until the Presbyterian Church established the Indianapolis Female Institute in 1837, there were few educational opportunities for girls in Indianapolis. There were numerous schools for boys, but since coeducational schools were unheard of, girls had few opportunities for higher education. James Blake, Isaac Coe and James M. Ray managed to get the Indiana General Assembly to issue them a charter for a girl's school in 1836. The school opened on June 12, 1837 with Mary J. and Harriet Axtell at its head. Harriet Axtell had been a teacher at the Geneva Female Seminary in New York. The school taught mathematics, natural history and history, and other subjects. The school was considered and excellent school and operated until 1847, when Harriet Axtell's health failed. The school closed shortly thereafter.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 09 1893, Cole Porter Born

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 09 1893, Cole Porter Born
Cole Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964)
The only son of Kate Cole and Sam Porter, Cole was a native of Peru, Indiana. His parents chose the name as a combination of his mother and father's name. From an early age, Cole's mother dominated the relationship, reducing his father, a pharmacist, to a minor role. Kate's father, one of the richest men in Indiana, also played a major role in the family. He had built the Porter's home on his farm, called Westleigh Farms.
Early Training in Music
Cole's mother encouraged his music. By six years old he was playing the violin and by eight he played the piano. He preferred the piano, composing his first songs by 1901, when he was eight. At fourteen, in an attempt to make him seem more talented than his peers, his influential mother managed to get his school records changed so it appeared he was a year younger than he really was. He attended Worcester Academy in Worchester, Massachusetts where he became the class valedictorian. He would return to Indiana rarely after his admittance to Worchester
Attendance at Yale and Harvard
He went to Yale, studying English, music and French. While at Yale he wrote over 300 songs. During his Yale years his homosexual proclivities surfaced, a trait that would influence his later life.  His grandfather disapproved of his musical studies, instead preferring that he study law. He sent him to Harvard Law School, where Cole struggled. Unknown to his grandfather, during his second year he switched to music. He would later abandon college and move to New York to pursue his musical career.
Marriage and Beginnings of Career
Porter moved to Paris at the outbreak of World War I to help with the war effort. He reportedly enlisted in the French Foreign Legion where he served in North Africa. During his time in Paris he threw lavish parties rife with drugs, bi-sexual activity and other scandalous behavior. In 1918 he met and married Linda Lee Thomas, a rich socialite from Louisville, Kentucky. The two would form a devoted union that would last until Linda's death in 1954. His first hit song appeared in 1919.
Career and Accident
Porter would spend the next seventeen years writing songs and producing hits. His music appeared on Broadway and in movies. He managed to ascend to the top tier of Broadway musicians, a rare honor. In 1937 he suffered a debilitating accident while riding a horse in New York. His horse slipped and rolled on his legs, crushing them. After recovering from the accident, though still productive, his work declined. He managed a comeback in the mid 1940's, but his mother's death in 1952 and his wife's in 1954 combined with complications from his leg injuries caused his work to come to a virtual standstill. Doctors amputated his right leg in 1958, after which he went into seclusion and never wrote again. He died in 1964 after producing over 800 musical compositions and creating a legacy in Broadway, Hollywood and beyond.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 8, 1839 - First Boat Reaches Brookville from Lawrenceburg - Whitewater Canal

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 8, 1839 - First Boat Reaches Brookville from Lawrenceburg - Whitewater Canal
Constructed as part of the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 signed by Governor Noah Noble on January 27, 1836, the Whitewater Canal was to form an integral part of southeastern and eastern Indiana's transportation system. The ambitious act, in concert with the Panic of 1837, bankrupted the state and brought a major political party to its knees.
Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836
The Internal Improvement Act was a too ambitious program of internal improvements that provided for the construction of canals and turnpikes. The ambitiousness of the program bankrupted the State of Indiana and caused the eventual demise and collapse of the Whig party, which favored the bill. The state assembly passed this bill that added ten million dollars to the state's budget at a time when its income was only about $65,000 annually.
Panic of 1837
This complex event created an economic depression that lasted from about 1837 until 1842. The multiple causes were questionable lending practices in the Western United States, restrictive lending policies enacted by Great Britain and falling agricultural prices. The period before 1837 had been a period of intense economic growth. During this time the prices of cotton and other commodities rose. Land prices also increased. The Bank of England noticed a decline in cash on hand in 1836. They raised interest rates in an attempt to attract more cash. When the Bank of England raised its interest, it forced banks in the United States and other nations to raise their rates. This, along with other events, caused land and cotton prices to fall. The chain of events this set off triggered a depression that caused profits, prices, and wages to fall and increased the unemployment rates. It was not until 1843 that the economies of the major countries rebounded.
Decline of the Whigs
The Whig party had pushed for the law and bore the brunt of the blame. During the following years, the Whig Party collapsed, leaving the Democratic Party in control for many years.
Whitewater Canal
The Whitewater Canal's construction lasted from 1836 to 1847. During this time, there were many starts, pauses as the State of Indiana ran out of money, and the various private companies charged with completing also ran into financial difficulties. After completion, it connected Hagerstown, Indiana with Cincinnati, Ohio seventy-six miles to the south. The canal provided a quick, convenient way for farmers to transport their goods to market in the cities. Before the canal a farmer would need several days travel over deeply rutted roads to take his goods to Cincinnati. The canal proved a difficult construction project. It dropped 491 feet over the distance and needed fifty-six locks and seven dams. Several aqueducts to carry the canal over waterways also needed construction. Portions of the canal operated until 1862. The Whitewater Valley Railroad runs a part of the canal as a tourist attraction between Connersville and Metamora Indiana. The train runs alongside the canal and at Metamora visitors can ride a canal boat. The town of Metamora has many small shops and museums. The State of Indiana maintains an operating gristmill in the town.
Ben Franklin Arrives
The first canal boat to arrive at Brookville from Lawrenceburg was the Ben Franklin, which arrived on June 8, 1839. General Elisha Long commanded the boat, owned by Long and Westerfeld.
For more information contact:
Whitewater Canal State Historic Site
19083 Clayborne St.
Metamora, In 47030, Usa
765-647-6512

Whitewater Valley Railroad
455 Market St,
Connersville, IN 47331
(765) 825-2054

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park

A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park
A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park
A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park

The ten lakes, nine connected by a channel, are the best reasons to visit Chain of Lakes State Park. Then, add a fabulous campground, comfortable family cabins and intriguing trails to the mix. These amenities total up to a wonderful vacation or get-away weekend in Indiana's lake country.
A Visit to Chain o' Lakes State Park will give the prospective visitor all the information they need to enjoy this wonderful Noble County Indiana State Park in northeastern Indian

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© Mossy Feet Books 2017


An Indiana History Story a Day - June

An Indiana History Story a Day - June
An Indiana History Story a Day - June

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. An Indiana History Story a Day –June like the Indiana Bicentennial History Series that preceded it, presents Indiana history in an easy to read “this day in history format” The thirty-one stories in the June edition include:
June 03, 1861 - First Major Civil War Battle Involving Indiana Troops
June 07, 1820 - Site of Indianapolis Chosen
June 17, 1863 - Hines Raid June 20, 1903 - The First Mile-A-Minute Track Lap - Indiana State Fairgrounds
June 27, 1859 - Railroad Bridge Collapse - Over 60 Killed

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© Paul R. Wonning 2017


Hoosier Dusty Files - June 07, 1820 - Site of Indianapolis Chosen

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 07, 1820 - Site of Indianapolis Chosen
On January 20, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly, meeting at Corydon, had selected ten men to serve as commissioners to search for a new capital for the state. These ten men were:
George Hunt - Wayne County
John Conner - Fayette County
Stephen Ludlow - Dearborn County
John Galleland - Switzerland County
Joseph Bartholomew - Clark County
Jesse B. Durham - Jackson County
John Tipton - Harrison County
Frederick Rapp - Posey County
William Prince - Gibson County
Thomas Emmerson - Knox County
William Prince had refused to serve on the committee, thus in late May, 1820 nine men set out from their various locations and traveled to William Conner's trading post on the White River in central Indiana. By May 28, all the men had arrived at Conner's and held a meeting. They chose John McCormick, a local man who had arrived at the site in February 1820. He and his brothers James and Samuel had built a double log cabin near the site the committee had chosen.
Choosing the Site
After the meeting, they began their survey of a favorable site. The survey would take ten days to complete. On June 7, 1820, the men met at McCormick's cabin to choose a site. From John Tipton's trip journal, we read his report of this location:
"Township 15 of Range 3 East at Sections 1 &12 East and West Fractions 2 East Fraction 11 and as much on the East side of West Fraction 3 as by a line Beginning on the South side of said Fraction and running North or parrellel with West line of said Fraction will make 4 Complete Sections in quantity."
First Arrivals in the New Capital
After adjourning, the men returned to their camp to eat their lunch while McCormick completed his report. Lunch done, they returned to McCormick's cabin to sign the document. The site was now the official seat of government of the State of Indiana. Just after the men signed it, a boat arrived on the banks of the river carrying a family intent on settling in the area. Thus, they became the first settlers in the new state capital. The next day, the men broke camp and returned to their respective homes.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
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© Paul Wonning

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 06, 1894 - Charles Francis Jenkins Demonstrates First "Motion Picture Projector Box" At Richmond

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 06, 1894 - Charles Francis Jenkins Demonstrates First "Motion Picture Projector Box" At Richmond
Charles Francis Jenkins projected the first documented public moving picture exhibition in history in a tiny upstairs storeroom. The demonstration took place in his cousin's jewelry store at 726 East Main Street in downtown Richmond, Indiana.
Charles Francis Jenkins (August 22, 1867 - June 6, 1934)
The son of Amasa Jenkins and Mary Ann Jenkins, Charles was a native of Dayton, Ohio. The family moved to Richmond, Indiana while Charles in 1869, while Charles was only two years old. He attended Earlham College and gained employment as a stenographer for the Federal Government in Washington D. C. in 1886.  During his boyhood, Charles showed a penchant for tinkering. He worked on farm equipment as a boy and invented a wagon jack.
Inventing the Motion Picture Projector Box
Thomas Edison had already demonstrated his motion picture machine, called the Kinetoscope, in 1891. Edison's machine ran a continuous loop of film with successive images, producing a blurred scene. Jenkins' Phantoscope differed by pausing each image about a tenth of a second. This allowed the observer to see it as a distinct image, with successive images producing an illusion of movement. Jenkins began working on his machine around 1890.
The Demonstration
Jenkins finished working on his machine in late winter of 1894 in Washington. He sent the machine to his parents in Richmond with a letter saying he was going to return home to show them something. He rode his bicycle the 700 miles from Washington to Richmond. Upon arrival, he invited his parents, family, friends and a reporter to view his demonstration. Since there was no electricity in the room to run his machine, Jenkins attracted a wire to a nearby trolley line and ran it into the room, using a bucket of water to reduce the voltage. He hung a bed sheet on the opposite wall from the machine. His mystified visitors entered the room to watch a movie he had created using a young vaudeville star named Annabelle to demonstrate a butterfly dance. The Richmond Palladium reviewed the demonstration in 1916, concluding that not only was it the first public exhibition of a moving picture, since Jenkins had hand colored each frame, it was also the first color movie.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
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© Paul Wonning

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 05, 1909 - National Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 05, 1909 - National Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was not an automobile race. The first race, held on June 5, 1909, was a hot air balloon race.
Planning the Race
Speedway President Carl Fisher had another interest that did not involve cars. It was aviation. He formed Aero Club of Indiana and worked to obtain his balloon pilot's license. He became the twenty-first person to earn that license. He and his partners had incurred a large financial obligation when the built the Speedway. Construction of the track had begun in April 1909, but it would be 1911 before the track would be ready or an automobile race. Fisher and his partners needed to generate revenue. Fisher, a balloon enthusiast, believed they could do that by holding the National Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race would provide cash infusion and create interest in their new racetrack before the first auto race.
Race Day
The weather in the days before the race had been stormy and mean. Race day, however, dawned bright and beautiful. 3500 paying customers crowded into the Speedway to watch the nine hot air balloons inflate as the crews readied them for the race. Another 40,000 spectators clogged the streets outside in a bid to watch the spectacle free. Fisher would race one balloon himself, one he had dubbed the Indiana.
The Race
Fisher and his racing partner George Bumbaugh took off in the Indiana, along with the eight other balloons. Fisher and Bumbaugh endured a harrowing flight, during which they discovered that someone had replaced their drinking water with oil. They had to descend low enough for people on the ground to give them some. Caught in turbulent weather upon resuming their flight, the balloon soared to a bone chilling 14,000 feet. The men managed to descend, but another updraft caught them and carried them up to 9000 feet. When they finally came down, they persuaded some farm workers to pull them down. They rested in a tree a short distance from the balloon, smoking cigars. Before nightfall, they ascended again, finally coming down for good on a farm near Tennessee City, Tennessee.
The Winner
It took six days for the committee to decide who won the race. Fisher and Bumbaugh in their Indiana had been in a close race with a balloon called University City. They finally decided University City won the race, having traveled to Alabama, a distance of 382 miles in a little more than twenty-four hours. Thus, the first race winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a balloon, not a car.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
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© Paul Wonning

Friday, June 2, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 2, 1883 - First Pro Team Plays Baseball Game Under Electric Lights - Fort Wayne

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 2, 1883 - First Pro Team Plays Baseball Game Under Electric Lights - Fort Wayne
The first night baseball game under lights had been played three years earlier in Boston between two amateur teams sponsored by department stores. Fort Wayne hosted the first recorded night game played by a professional team on June 2, 1883. A professional team from Quincy Illinois called the Quincy's played a local team called the Methodist College Church Nine. About 2000 fans watched a game won by Quincy 19 - 11 in seven innings.  The Jenney Electric Light Company set up seventeen arc lamps in League Park in Fort Wayne on wooden trestles. The lamps each provided 4000 candlepowers of light. The first major league game under lights would not take place until 1935, with the Cincinnati Reds hosting the Philadelphia Phillies.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
Facebook
@indianatreker
@MossyFeetBooks
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© Paul Wonning

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hoosier Dusty Files - June 01, 1763 - Capture of Fort Ouiatenon

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

June 01, 1763 - Capture of Fort Ouiatenon
Pontiac's plan to drive the British out of North America received an additional boost when a band of Wea, Kickapoo and Mascouten captured Fort Ouiatenon without firing a shot.
Fort Ouiatenon
The French, in their bid to control North America, built Fort Ouiatenon in 1717, making it the first European structure in what would become the State of Indiana. They named it Ouiatenon, a Wea word meaning "place of the whirlpool." The French encouraged the growth of the fort as a trading post for the local tribes. It soon became one of the more important trading posts in the region, perhaps having as many as 2000 - 3000 inhabitants. Its location, about eighteen miles below the mouth of the Tippecanoe River and about five miles south of the current city of Lafayette, was opposite a large Wea village on the banks of the Wabash River. French fur traders descended the Wabash River once a year to trade goods that the natives needed for the furs they had gathered. Many of these traders remained in the village, often described as the finest trading post in the upper country. The village inside the stockade consisted of a double row of ten houses, chapel, blacksmith shop and trading places. Outside the walls almost ninety houses stood.  During the approximately forty-year period of French occupation, the French and the natives coexisted in relative peace.
The French and Indian War Ends the Peace
The French and Indian War (1754 - 1763) ended this tranquil period. The French, as per terms of the Treaty of Paris, abandoned the fort when they departed North America at the wars conclusion. The British did not develop the same close relationship with the natives that the French had. The new policies of the British caused unrest among the natives. As a result of the policies developed by British General Jeffery Amherst, Pontiac began his rebellion.
Pontiac's Rebellion began because of British Major General Jeffrey Amherst's policies after the French defeat and abandonment of North America after the French and Indian War ended in 1763.
Jeffrey Amherst (January 29, 1717– August 3, 1797)
Born to Kentish lawyer Jeffrey Amherst and Elizabeth Kerrill Amherst near Sevenoaks, England, Jeffrey Amherst served as page to the Duke of Dorset as a young boy. He joined the Grenadier Guards in 1735 and saw extensive action during the War of the Austrian Succession. During the Seven Years War, he received an appointment as commander-in-chief of the British army in North America in the North American version, the French and Indian Wars. He played a prominent role in the battle to subdue Louisburg and Fort Ticonderoga. His greatest achievement during that war was his campaign to capture Montreal. This English victory ended the French presence in North America. As a reward for his achievements, he received the post of governor-general of British North America. He held this title until 1763.
Excerpted from the Author's books:
American History A Day at A Time - July
A Year of Colonial American Frontier History
Amherst's Policy Change Angers Amerindian Tribes
The French had a policy of bestowing generous gifts to the native tribes that inhabited their regions. By giving these gifts, they honored Amerindian traditions and thus showed them respect. The gifts included guns, knives, tobacco, and clothing. The gifts had deep symbolic meaning to the natives. When the British forced the French from Canada, they moved their troops in. Amherst did not try to hide the contempt he felt for the tribes. He cut back on the gifts and restricted the supply of gunpowder and ammunition. This enraged the natives as the weapons made it easier for the tribes to obtain the food they needed during their hunting forays. Additionally, intermarriage between the natives and British, which had been encouraged between the French, was discouraged between the natives and the British.
Pontiac or Obwandiyag (c. 1720 – April 20, 1769)
Historians know little about the Ottawa chief Pontiac. He first surfaced in history during 1763 when he led an uprising against the British. He managed to put together an alliance of various native tribes and lead a rebellion against the British known as Pontiac's Uprising or Pontiac's War.
The Alliance
On April 7, 1763, Pontiac held a great council on the Ecorse River in current Michigan. The tribes that attended included the Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Pottawatomie,  Huron, Miami, Wea, Kickapoo, Mascouten, Piankashaw, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee, Wyandot, and Mingo tribes. Pontiac urged the tribes to take united action to drive the British from the Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes regions. Fed by the exhortations of the Delaware prophet Neolin, who preached that unless the natives drove the British out, disease and famine would plague them, the natives were receptive to Pontiac's pleas for unity. He exhorted them to shun the white man's trade goods, alcohol and culture and return to traditional native values. An epidemic of smallpox and food shortages drove the natives to believe this message. During the council, Pontiac urged the native tribes to unite and drive the British out. Pontiac had a plan to achieve this grand vision.
The Plan
Pontiac drew up a plan that involved closely spaced, multiple attacks on the eleven British forts that existed in the region. Pontiac first struck against Fort Detroit on May 7, 1763. His plan to take the fort failed, however it succeeded at other locations. During the uprising, the natives managed to take nine out of the eleven British outposts in the region.
Fort Miami Taken
The first fort to fall was Fort Sandusky on Lake Erie on May 16. They captured Fort St. Joseph in Michigan on May 25. The third fort, Fort Miamis at the junction of the St. Mary's, St. Joseph's and Maumee Rivers fell on May 27. The natives induced the fort commander’s mistress, a native woman, to lure him out of the fort. The warriors killed him. The nine-man garrison surrendered after the death of the commander.
Capture of Fort Ouiatenon
Lieutenant Edward Jenkins occupied the fort in 1761 for the British. The British garrison of nine men occupied the fort until June 1, 1763. The natives took the fort by surprise by simply walking into the fort and taking the British soldiers prisoners. Only the intervention of the French occupying the village saved the British soldier’s lives.
The American Period
An American force commanded by Captain Leonard Helm captured the fort during the action initiated by George Rogers Clark in 1778 in the American Revolution. The British recaptured the fort in December, 1778, however the Americans again took the fort the following year. After the Revolution, the Americans did not use the fort. The natives took it over and used it to stage raids against the Americans. President George Washington ordered the fort destroyed. This was accomplished in May 1791. The fort has been restored and is the site of an annual festival called the Feast of the Hunters' Moon in October. To visit the restored fort and get information about the festival, contact:
Tippecanoe County Historical Association
1001 South Street
Lafayette, IN 47901
(765) 476-8411
General Information: mail@tippecanoehistory.org
Feast Information: feastinfo@tippecanoehistory.org
Library Information: library@tippecanoehistory.org
Visitors may visit a replica of Fort Ouiatenon constructed by Dr. Richard B. Wetherill in 1930. Archeologists have located the actual site of the fort about a mile downstream. The National Register of Historic Places has listed the actual location of the fort in 1970.  The eighteen-acre park is open on weekends from May through September.
Historic Fort Ouiatenon Park
3129 S River Rd
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 476-8411

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
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© Paul Wonning