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Indiana Means:

Indiana's State Motto: The Crossroads of America - adopted in 1937

"Land of the Indians"  

Washington County History From the US Data Repository.

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A Descriptive History of Indiana

A written language is the most important aspect of any civilizations growth. Without a written language, ideas, inventions, and history are all eventually lost. Originally, a written language was how one civilization could eventually overpower others. Through better organization and conveyance of information, measurable progress could be realized. Since the invention of the written language only the computer can compare as an equally important invention.

First there was the Ice Age in Indiana. The earliest inhabitants of Indiana were the prehistoric Indians. They crossed the Bering Straight in 20,000 BC to 500 AD, but evidence shows they didn't actually live in Indiana until 7000 BC to 5000 BC. The Shell Mound Indians were here 500BC to 500 AD, the Adena Indians were here 500 AD to 900 AD. The Hopewell Indians occupied Indiana from 900 AD to 1300 AD, the Middle Mississippi Indians from 1300 AD to 1600 AD, and the Fort Ancient Indians from 1550 AD to 1700 AD. There was about 1,000,000 Indians living in the United States by 1700 AD.

 Indiana Eras and Timeline

The Shell Mound Indians usually camped near the White, Wabash or Ohio Rivers. They did not set up permanent homes, but moved around in search of food. They built mounds from the shellfish shells left after removing the meat and became known as the Shell Mound Indians.

 The Adena Indians built mounds too, but they lived in villages and huts and didn't move around. They built tools and were artisans.

The Hopewell Indians also built mounds, but they farmed gardens and hunted. They traveled too because items from Michigan, Colorado, and North Carolina have been found in their artifacts.

The Middle Mississippi Indians lived in south western Indiana and were experts in agriculture. They built large villages with Fort Like walls and built furniture for their homes. They are the Indians responsible for the Angel Mounds in Evansville. They also played flutes made of bone.

The Fort Ancient Indians lived in south eastern Indiana and were musical like the Middle Mississippi Indians. We don't know what really happened to any of these tribes. Over time they disappeared, probably becoming the modern Indians we know of today.

==# 1510 - The pocket watch is invented by Peter Henlein #==

The first written recordings of someone going to Indiana was by a Hispanic man, a Spaniard. This is also the first recorded history of a horse being in Indiana. In June 1541, Hernando DeSoto's army marched from Evansville, then called Aquixo, to Vincennes then called Casqui, and then to Terre Haute then known as Pacaha. Pacaha had a hand dug moat all the way around it and was enclosed in a fort. They spent about a month in Terre Haute trying to find their way north to the South Sea (the Pacific Ocean). They believed that Michigan Lake was the Pacific Ocean. They camped in Oaktown and Merom and crossed Busseron Creek just west of Carlisle; some of his men went all the way to Chicago.

More on Hernando DeSoto.

Desoto's Midwestern Trail


==# 1568 - Bottled beer invented in London #==

This was during the Christian Crusade era the Christians were brutal. They killed the Indians without remorse because of their beliefs; they believed that they were savages and killing them was not a sin. They were actually disappointed if they didn't get to kill the Indians. The Indians began to wear crosses to prevent the Spaniards from killing them instantly. Although the Indians didn't necessarily understand what a cross represented to the Christians, they knew it represented life to them.

==# 1593 - Galileo invents a water thermometer

==# 1608 - Hans Lippershey invents the first refracting telescope

==# 1668 - James Gregory invents the first reflecting telescope

==# 1679 - Denis Papin invents the  Pressure Cooker

Over 100 years later in 1679, Frenchmen Robert de La Salle sailed to New France (now Canada) and set up a trading post. He learned the language of the Indians and learned of a great river the Indians called Oh-ē-yo which meant "Beautiful River". This is the Ohio River running along the southern border of Indiana.

When news of his find got back to King Louis; the land in the Ohio Valley was claimed by France and La Salle was made a Knight.

At this time transportation by the Indians of Indiana was by foot and canoe, they had no horses when the white man settled here; they carried everything themselves. They made paths, called portages, between the waterways and carried their canoes from river to lake to stream etc., until they got to their destination.

A portage was generally about 2 feet wide since the Indians did not ride horses, pull sleds or wagons. The American Indians had not invented the wheel yet, all their travel was by foot and canoe, along waterways, portages, and animal trails. Necessity is the mother of invention and the American Indian didn't have a need for the wheel; they would have to build all new roads just to make the wheel useful.

Indiana Claimed By France

In 1682 Robert de La Salle came back to Canada and with the guidance of White Beaver, made his way through the portages and waterways of Indiana to the Mississippi River. He followed the river to the Gulf of Mexico and claimed all of the surrounding areas for France.

When La Salle explored Indiana the Iroquois was a fierce savage Indian tribe feared by even the other tribes. The British settlers called them "The Five Nations" as they were 5 tribes that had joined to gain power. Many of the tribes of Indiana fled due to the Iroquois destroying their villages time and time again.

La Salle wanted to set up trading posts for trading goods but the Iroquois raids made it unsafe. He wanted to build a fort and decided to get the Miami Indians and the Illinois Indians together to fight against the Iroquois.

 In May 1681, under an elm tree in South Bend, La Salle met with the Chiefs. The Indian Chiefs agreed to move back around the waterways and stand together, making it safe for La Salle to begin setting up his trading post.

The French and the Indians had a good relationship; the Indians did not mind as there were few Frenchmen around and they liked the trade the French offered.

Three French forts were built; Fort Miami in Fort Wayne, Fort Ouiatenon in Lafayette, and the largest of the three, Fort Vincennes. They were built to protect the waterways from Canada to Louisiana, as well as for trading.

By this time the British settlers east of the Appalachian Mountains wanted to see what was west of the Mountains. The British began moving in and trading with the Indians; they paid them twice as much as the French. Though the Indians liked the French better, they couldn't pass up the great deal.

The French didn't want the British settlers to move west and sent an army to build forts and roads in Pennsylvania. The British sent a young man named George Washington to tell the French to leave because the British claimed the land.

==# 1709 - Bartolomeo Cristofori invents the piano

==# 1712 - Thomas Newcomen patents the steam engine

==# 1722 - French C. Hopffer patents the fire extinguisher

==# 1724 - Gabriel Farenheit invents the mercury thermometer

==# 1752 - Benjamin Franklin invents the lightening rod

The French refused and in 1754, the French and Indian War ensued. The Indians fought with the French. Though the British gave better deals, they weren't as nice and didn't give extra gifts like the French had done.

==# 1755 - Samuel Johnson publishes the first English dictionary

In 1759 in the Battle of Quebec, Quebec fell into the hands of the British, both the French and British Generals were killed, and the war ended. Indiana would no longer be claimed by France.

Indiana Now Claimed by the British

In 1763 the French signed a treaty signing over all of Canada and all of the land east of the Mississippi River to the British. Indiana was now under British rule and not French rule.

Spain had helped the British in the war. France also signed over all of the land west of the Mississippi River to Spain.

The Indian Chief Pontiac was not happy about this; it was as if the Indians didn't exist or have any power. Pontiac felt disrespected and formed war parties to attack the now British occupied forts in Fort Wayne and Lafayette. He and his men attacked Fort Miami and Fort Ouiatenon and forced them to surrender. He sent out other war parties and was successful in other battles too, but he wasn't able to run the British off like he wanted.

Because of this the British drafted the Proclamation of 1763. It prevented new settlers from moving east into the Indiana Territory. This angered the settlers, but Pontiac was satisfied with how the British handled the situation and stopped the revolt.

In 1765 the British decided to tax the settlers to pay for what the British soldiers needed in the New World. They enacted the Stamp Tax of 1765 which they withdrew in 1766 due to it angering the settlers. The settlers had never paid a tax before and didn't want to start now.

==# 1767 - Joseph Priestly invents carbonated water

The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770 when a crowd shouted and threw snowballs at a British soldier outside the Custom House where England collected its taxes. When other soldiers showed up to help, one soldier, in his excitement, fired his gun. Other soldiers then fired their guns at the crowd. When silence returned, some Americans were killed and injured. This was the first battle between the British and the new Americans and is known as "The shot heard around the world".

The British knew things were not going well and withdrew all of the taxes, except one. The British decided to keep a 3 penny tax on tea. For 3 years people paid the tax even though they didn't like it.

In December of 1773 at what is known as the Boston Tea Party, several men dressed in Indian clothes dumped all of the tea from the ships into Boston Harbor.

The British were now determined to punish the colonist. They took away Massachusetts's self government, closed the Boston Harbor, and made them accommodate British soldiers in their homes.

There was open talk of a revolution amongst the colonist; none of the colonies were happy about what England was doing to Massachusetts. They knew that they would eventually be next.

The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, gun powder and muskets were then gathered and Companies of Americans began to drill in the villages, preparing for a revolution.

==# 1774 - George Louis Lesage patents the electric telegraph

==# 1775 - Alexander Cummings invents the first flush toilet

By 1775, settlers were moving into Kentucky and the British didn't like that either. The British gave the Indians guns to destroy the settlements; they did anything they could to help the Indians in their war against the settlers.

 Kentucky was given the name "Dark and Bloody Ground" due to all of the bloody Indian battles there.  The Indians in Indiana north of the Ohio River began to attack the new settlements too. They could see what was going on in Kentucky and knew who would be next.

A Virginian named George Rogers Clark wanted to see Kentucky become a county of Virginia, many of the Kentucky settlers were from there. He went to Virginia and explained how the Indians at Kaskaskia (Evansville) and Vincennes were being supplied guns by the British. Virginia was paying for the revolution as it was; they weren’t convinced by Clark and gave him no money.

Clark sent scouting parties to each of the forts and found that they were hardly manned by the British. He returned to Virginia and told them the situation. This time Virginia gave him enough money to carry out the attack.

Clark got about 170 men together and trained them on an island in the Ohio River near Jeffersonville Indiana.

Indiana Claimed by Virginia by George Rogers Clark

Clark and his men trekked on foot over 100 miles in 6 days until he reached Kaskaskia (Evansville). He caught the British by surprise and took the fort without firing a shot. That's when Clark discovered that the British had already deserted Fort Sackville in Vincennes; he sent men to capture it and had claimed both forts for the Americans within a days time.

Clark then began making friends with the Indians and asked for a Council of the Chiefs. He held out a white belt of peace and a bloody belt and asked the Chiefs to choose what they wanted. The Indians were impressed with Clark's bold approach and chose the white belt of peace, claiming they had been fooled by the lies of the British.

The British Claim Indiana Again

A British man, Henry Hamilton was in charge of the Indian attacks in Kentucky; he was determined to put Clark in his place.

Hamilton took 600 men and attacked Fort Sackville in Vincennes. Clark had left only 2 men there; they had to surrender the fort back to the British.

The rivers in Southern Indiana were over flowing and much of the area was swampy. Hamilton decided to stay in Vincennes.

George Rogers Clark Plans to Take Indiana Back

A fur trader named Francis Vigo arrived in Kaskaskia (Evansville) in late January, he met up with Clark and told him what had happened in Vincennes.

Vigo also told Clark that Hamilton planned to attack him there in Kaskaskia in the spring.

Clark had no money to finance an attack; many of his men had already gone home. He told Vigo what he had to do and Vigo decided to lend him some money. He got more supplies from another trader.

Clark figured that it was now or never, by spring the British troops would be well rested, strong, and ready to fight. His plan meant attacking in the dead of winter and catching them by surprise.

On February 5, 1779, Clark's army of 125 men started their march across Illinois and it was horrible. He didn't want to follow any of the usual trails to Vincennes. He had a boat with about 50 men go up the Mississippi River, to the Ohio River and then up the Wabash to meet him before it they got to Vincennes. On board the boat was food, ammunition and supplies.

The rivers and streams had overflowed, the ground was soft and muddy, and it was a cold February day. The men were hungry and they hadn't been able to find any game to shoot, they were getting discouraged.

They were near Vincennes when their food ran out. The men now just didn't have the energy to go on. But the worst problem was the boat full of supplies and food didn't show up.

Clark figured this was his only chance to capture the fort, and now he didn't even have the ammunition he needed. Clark decided he couldn't turn back.

The Wabash River had also overflowed and there was a long stretch of land between Clark and Fort Sackville, he borrowed some boats from some hunters and crossed the Wabash into Indiana.

The land on the other side in Indiana was swampy with water 4-5 feet deep. His men wanted to give up; Clark waded through the swampy water up to his chest and his men followed behind him.

On February 23, 1779 Clark was just a few miles from Vincennes, but his men could hardly walk they were so tired. About 2 miles outside of town they found dry land; he told the men that capturing Vincennes meant food. He figured that capturing the town would make capturing the fort easier.

He sent a message to the people of Vincennes that a large army was nearby and that all those friendly with the British should go to the fort, and anyone friendly with the Americans should stay in their house.

At dark Clark attacked Vincennes but nobody from town had joined the British troops in the fort. Clark captured the town since everybody was on his side; he now needed Fort Sackville.

Hamilton was shocked by the fact that Clark was in his face; he thought he was safe for quite a while yet. He was the one planning to do the attacking and this wasn't part of his plan.

Indiana is Forever American

The British troops could not match the Kentucky Sharpshooters accuracy and Hamilton surrendered Fort Sackville and his troops on February 15 1779.

Clark had once again captured Indiana for the Americans only this time it would remain a part of America.

==# 1780 - Benjamin Franklin invents the bi-focal eyeglasses

==# 1783 - Joseph Michel Montgolfier and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier invent the hot-air balloon

Virginia Gives Indiana to the United States

Prior to March of 1784, Virginia claimed the area north-west of the Ohio River where Indiana is now. Virginia gave the land to the United States, who named it the North-west Territory. The US appointed General Arthur St. Clair as the first governor.

The Ordinance of 1785 made it possible for settlers to buy land in the North-west Territory, but first the US had to buy the land from the Indians.

The Piankashaw Indians were friendly with the French settlers who lived in Knox County and had given them a large parcel of land. The French gave each new settler 400 acres. By 1787 the French had given away about 40,000 acres to 100 settlers.

==# 1787 - Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey gain statehood.

In 1787 Congress passed the Ordinance of 1787 that established these laws in the North-west Territory: There would be a governor, 3 judges and a secretary; No man could own another man; People could worship in any kind of church; And any area with enough people living in it could become a state.

Little Turtle Claims Indiana

The Indians gave no value to the Ordinance of 1787. As settlers came to Kentucky and the North-west Territory, the Indians only became angrier. Miami Chief Little Turtle of the Indiana Indians had planned an attack at the tribal council the prior year; now they intended to carry it out.

During this time period, the Cherokee claimed the land south of the Ohio River in Kentucky. The Piankashaw claimed south-western Indiana, the Delaware claimed central and south-central Indiana, and the Shawnee claimed south-eastern Indiana. The Miami tribe claimed land north-east of Indianapolis. The Kickapoo and Wea were north-east of Terre Haute, and the Pottawatomie claimed north-western Indiana near Michigan Lake.

In the first 7 years after the American revolution, the Indians killed 1,500 Kentucky settlers ( in the Cherokee Nation). Though President Washington warned them to stop the raids, they refused to stop until the settlers left. The Indians of Kentucky and Indiana were at war with the settlers.

The North-west Territory Governor, Arthur St. Clair, knew they would have to fight the Indians. He sent General Josiah Harmar and a small army to a Fort Wayne Indian village.

Little Turtle knew Harmar was coming and set a trap for him. He abandoned the village and when Harmar's men got there it was empty. They burned the village and the corn the Indians grew in the fields.

Four days later and after several village attacks, Little Turtle was ready along Eel River. At the next village attack, the Indians had once again abandoned the village. When the soldiers laid down their weapons to gather the spoils, the Miami sounded war cries and attacked them. The soldiers ran off in a hurry and the Indians killed every man who stayed to fight.

Little Turtle was a powerful man, commanding ten tribes in Indiana. Governor St. Clair decided to lead the attack on Little Turtle himself. When St. Clair's men camped out at Portland Indiana, they heard whooping war cries at dawn and found themselves being attacked by Little Turtle's men. St. Clair escaped, but about half of his men were killed. It became known as the St. Clair Massacre.

==# 1788 - South Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut gain statehood

==# 1789 - North Carolina gains statehood

==# 1790 - Rhode Island gains statehood

==# 1791 - The bicycle is invented in Scotland. Vermont gains statehood

==# 1792 - Kentucky gains statehood

Mad Anthony Wayne


Miami Chief Little Turtle

President Washington knew he needed a real warrior to fight the Indians and chose someone who had won against the British against all odds, Anthony Wayne or "Mad Anthony" as he was known. Wayne worked on building his army, while Washington made peace offerings to the Indians. Two years passed and all Washington got in return for his efforts were the scalps of the messengers he sent; the Indians wanted war.

The news of Mad Anthony had traveled back to the Indians. He was known as "the man who never sleeps" because of how many miles he could march his men in a short time. Wayne knew that Little Turtle and his 10 tribes were waiting on him; he gave them one last chance for peace.

When Little Turtle heard the offer he wanted to accept it. He tried to talk the Indians out of doing battle because he thought they would lose. The Indians called Little Turtle a coward and that his blood had turned to water. They named a Shawnee Indian, Bluejacket, their new Chief. They sent word to Mad Anthony Wayne that he would get his answer in 10 days.

The British fort of Miami was nearby, Wayne knew the Indians could get the help of the British in 10 days; he decided to attack now.

A tornado had torn down many trees in one area, and the Indians were waiting there. The Indians hid behind the fallen timbers; a battle is known as the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne charged his men straight into the fallen timbers and surprised the Indians. Many Indians were killed and an hour later they were running for the British Fort Miami. Wayne's men chased them. When the Indians got near the fort, the British saw what was happening and shut the gate to keep the Indians out. Good thing because Wayne was prepared to destroy the fort if they assisted the Indians.

The Indians went back to their villages and conceded that Little Turtle had been right; they named him Chief once again.

Little Turtle gathered together many of the great chiefs and they all traveled together to Fort Greenville to smoke the peace pipe with General Anthony Wayne.


The United States Purchases Indiana Land

On August 3, 1795 Little Turtle signed the Treaty of Greenville which specified what land belonged to the Indians and what land belonged to the United States. After signing the treaty, Little Turtle said "I have been the last to sign it, and I will be the last to break it." This made the Hoosier settlers move in much faster. Feeling it was safe to live in the North-west Territory.

After 1795 the Delaware and some Shawnee left their homes in Ohio and settled along the White River in south-central Indiana. They had gotten the Permission of the Miami Chief Little Turtle.

As the US purchased the Hoosier land, it was surveyed into squares with 6 mile sides, called a township. A township was then broken down into 36 sections with 1 mile sides. One section per township was to be set aside for schools. The government would sell no less than one section at a time, for no less than $1 an acre. Since each section contained 640 acres, most people couldn't afford to buy the property. Corporations began buying the large parcels, selling them to settlers in smaller parcels, for a profit.

==# 1796 - Edward Jenner creates small pox vaccine

People in the North-west Territory who had at least 50 acres had the right to vote for a delegate to represent them in Congress in 1798. When William Henry Harrison was elected as the delegate, he thought the 50 acre law was unfair to voters and devised a way for people to buy land and pay over time; it made him well known throughout the country.

==# 1798 - First soft drink invented

==# 1799 - Alessandro Volta invents the battery

==# 1799 - Louis Robert invents the fourdrineir machine for sheet paper making

Harrison passed a law that allowed settlers to buy 320 acres for $2 each, with the good part being they could pay for their land over time. When the first Indiana Land Office opened in Vincennes in 1804, you could buy as little as 160 acres, by 1820 the parcels became 80 acres.

The Indiana Territory was formed in 1800 with its capital in Vincennes along the Wabash River. The Indiana Territory was much larger than the state of Indiana, taking up most of what is now Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. Essentially, it was the area between the Mississippi River and the Ohio River.

Towns began to grow along rivers that flowed into the Ohio River; river travel was easier than going by land.

Alcohol was a major problem on the frontier; especially for the Indians. There were little distilleries everywhere and it was a good means of income. Many of the farmers turned the grain they could not sell into alcohol as a way of preserving the crop. The “moonshine” could be stored for much longer periods of time and transporting it was much easier.

The Indians had run up huge debts with the settlers and much of it was from the purchase of whiskey. This was a strong motivator for the Indians to sell their land; they needed to pay the debt they had built up. Whiskey was one of the tools the settlers used to get the Indian owned land. They gave the Indians anything they wanted until the Indians couldn’t possibly pay, and then they offered to buy the land and clear their debts.

==# 1803 - Ohio Gains Statehood

==# 1806 - Vincennes University built in Indiana Territory

William Henry Harrison Makes Indiana Bigger and Bigger

William Henry Harrison went on to become the first governor, he was appointed by President Adams. By 1809, Governor Harrison had made 8 treaties with the Indians that resulted in them selling millions of acres to the US Government. William Henry Harrison, the only Hoosier president, was later known as the US president who caught a cold on inaugural day and died a month later.

The Natives are Restless

Tecumseh (left) and his brother Tenskwatawa "The Prophet". The Prophet lost credibility when he told his warriors that they were bullet proof.

Prophet's Town was founded in May 1808, by two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (the Prophet). They left their native Ohio after being allowed to settle on Potawatomi and Kickapoo ruled lands. Prophet's Town was to be the capitol of the Indiana Indians. The brothers gathered other tribes to fight off the white man's settling in Indiana, they had already been pushed out of Ohio and didn't want to be pushed around any more.

==# 1810 - Peter Durand invents the tin can

The white population was getting worried about Prophet's Town and the activities of the two brothers. The town wasn't just a political capitol for the Indians, it had become a training ground for over 1,000 Indian warriors. William Henry Harrison sent 1,000 men to squash the Indians efforts while Tecumseh had gone south to gather more men to fight for his cause. Tecumseh had warned his brother not to do anything until he got back. On November 6, 1811 the men arrived at Prophet's Town but an agreement was made that there would be no violence until the next day. The Battle of Tippecanoe occurred November 7th, 1811.

Tenskwatawa got his people fired up despite Tecumseh's warning. He told the warriors that the white man's bullets would not hurt them. He lead his warriors to a rocky ledge west of the army campsite, and just before day break he gave the order to attack. Although they wounded 126 men, killed 37, and 25 later died of their injuries, the Indian's spirit was broken. The Indians were angry at Tenskwatawa "The Prophet", they stripped him of his power and threatened to kill him. Tecumseh returned 3 months later to find everything burned to the ground. With this he decided to rally the support of the British in Canada, he knew this was bigger than his warriors could tackle. Click here for "Words of Tenskwatawa" the Prophet.

Tenskwatawa was furious and performed a ritual of twenty stones; the twenty stones representing a generation. He put a curse on William Henry Harrison and the presidency, that every generation a president would die in office. William Henry Harrison became president in 1840 and died 30 days after his inauguration. Whether you believe in curses or not, but until Reagan, every president elected in a "0" year has died in office. President Reagan survived his assassination attempt and apparently broke the curse; or it was a seven generation curse?

The First Paddle Boat

In 1811, the paddle wheel boat "New Orleans" made its first appearance on the Ohio. The paddle boats made several trips up the Wabash River, making travel on what is now Indiana's western border, very good too.

The flat boats the settlers used could only float things down stream, so steamboats made getting to the Indiana Territory much easier; they were able to move upstream quickly.

==# 1812 - Louisiana becomes a state

Americans and British At Odds Again

About this time, the British were taking our American sailors and making them work for them on British ships. The US was getting upset with England again.

Some of the Native Americans of Indiana like Shawnee Chief Tecumseh didn't want to sell their land. He was not happy about treaties being signed that sold their land. Many other Indians from various tribes agreed with him and wanted to keep their land and run the settlers out.

The Miami Indian Chief Little Turtle, who ruled all of Indiana's tribes through a tribal council, knew there were too many white men to fight. Tecumseh knew that too so he rallied the support of the British in Canada. That gave Tecumseh more credibility with the Indians; with the British on their side they might stand a chance in fighting for their land.

America Declares War

Taking our sailors, the Pigeon Roost Massacre, the Indians and the British working together; to the Americans this was the final straw regarding the British. The President declared war on the British and the War of 1812 began.

Indiana was having enough trouble with getting people to settle in Indiana because they felt it was unsafe, but when the British decided to help Tecumseh fight the United States, it was a big fly in the President's soup.

Tecumseh was a big part of the War of 1812. He was in the fall of Detroit and was killed at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813, at the age of forty-five.

Tenskwatawa "The Prophet" was scorned by the Indians and renounced by Tecumseh.  The Prophet still had a small band of followers, who roamed with him through the Northwest and Canada during the War of 1812. In November 1834, he died in Wyandotte County, Kansas.

The Pigeon Roost Massacre scared people, some settlers even turned back and went east where the land wasn't being disputed. In order to apply for statehood Indiana had to have a population of at least 60,000 people. In 1800 there were only about 2,500 settlers; by 1815 there were almost 64,000. After the War of 1812, the Indiana Territory seemed like it was a much safer place to live and the settlers began to pour in. The War of 1812 established the United States northern border with Canada.

More on Pigeon Roost - Pigeon Roost Cemetery  - George Beck and Pigeon Roost

A New Capital for the Indiana Territory

In 1813, the Indiana Territory changed its capital from Vincennes to Corydon. So when Indiana became the 19th state in 1816, its capital was Corydon, but later it was moved to Indianapolis.

Indiana Becomes a State

In 1816 Indiana looked much different; Knox county and Washington county were next to each other. These two counties were the northern border to the Indian land, along with Jefferson, Franklin and Wayne Counties.

Indiana Map in 1816

There were 13 counties when Indiana was formed and most of what is now Indiana still belonged to the Indians. The settlers wanted these areas because of the water ways; the Wabash, the White, the Patoka, the Blue, and the Ohio Rivers; because of the travel advantages they offered by eventually leading into the Mississippi River.

Many of the original settlers of Indiana were Revolutionary War Soldiers. Revolutionary War Veterans received  600 acres as payment if they were a private. Essentially Virginia used the Indiana Territory as payment to the United States for the cost of the Revolution. Each state was expected to pay for the revolution and Virginia used its Indiana Territory as payment. The United States then used Indiana to pay its debt to its soldiers. For this reason, you can find many Revolutionary War Soldiers buried in the cemeteries of Indiana.

The first tribe of Indians to leave Indiana was the Delaware in 1820. They opened up central Indiana when they left and settlers moved in quickly. The next tribe to leave was the Pottawatomie who lived in north western Indiana.

==# 1817 - Mississippi gains statehood

==# 1818 - Illinois becomes a state.

==# 1819 - Alabama Becomes a state.

==# 1820 - Maine becomes a state

==# 1821 - Missouri gains statehood

==# 1824 - Joesph Aspdin patents portland cement

==# 1827 - John Walker invents matches.

==# 1829 - W.A. Burt invents a typewriter

==# 1830 - B. Thimonier invents a sewing machine

In April 1831, the steam engine paddleboat "Robert Hanna" actually traveled up the White River and made it all the way to Indianapolis. There were a few successful attempts after that but it was too full of debris and shallow at times to make it dependable travel. 

==# 1834 - Jacob Perkins invents a refrigeratior (ether ice Maker)

==# 1836 - Arkansas becomes a state

==# 1837 - Michigan gains statehood

Plans were made to dig 3 major waterway canals that would allow people to transport things from town to town through Indiana and into Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio; or vice-versa. The canal system was a financial failure for the state, but it continued to function until 1870.

In 1838 work began on a railroad from Madison to Indianapolis and in 1847 it was completed.

By 1840 the last big tribe, the Miami, sold all their land to the United States. This would now make creating the canals and railroads in northern Indiana possible.

==# 1845 - Texas and Florida become states

In 1846 soldiers took the Miami to land they were given in Kansas; it was a sad event for both the soldiers and the Indians. It was very hard for the Indians to leave the land they called home for generations, and it was difficult for the soldiers too as it was a very emotional event.

In 1847, Salem Indiana businessmen wanting to ship products to the Ohio River quickly, formed the New Albany and Salem Rail Road; it is considered one of the pioneer lines of the Midwest. It was chartered in 1847 in Providence (now Borden), Indiana. The company purchased the Crawfordsville and Wabash Railroad in 1852 which connected Crawfordsville with Lafayette. A 56-mile stretch between Gosport and Crawfordsville was completed in 1854. Lines were completed from New Albany to Salem on January 14, 1851, and from Michigan City to Lafayette in 1853. In 1859 it was reorganized as the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad.

The Erie & Wabash Canal and the Whitewater Canal were actually built.

The third canal was never built, but it was to connect the Wabash & Erie Canal with the Whitewater Canal, going through Indianapolis. Other canals planned would have connected this canal system to Lake Michigan.

The Erie and Wabash canals came from Toledo Ohio into Fort Wayne, on to Huntington, Wabash, Peru, Logansport, Delphi, Lafayette, Attica, Terre Haute, Worthington, Bloomfield, Washington, Rogers, Petersburg, and Evansville and to the Ohio River.

The Whitewater Canal ran from Hagerstown to Harrison and then to Lawrenceburg Indiana. Another branch crossed the Ohio River and went on to Cincinnati Ohio.

==# 1852 - The paper bag is invented

==# 1867 - The typewriter is invented


Indiana's First Major Road

There were a lot of little roads made in Indiana’s early history, but the first major road in Indiana was the Cumberland Road. It was part of the National Road built by the Federal Government. It took 10 years to complete and was first made of planks, and later it was graveled.


In 1839 the Cumberland Road finally went from Indiana's western border to the town of Terre Haute, through Indianapolis, to Indiana's eastern border to Richmond.

About the same time the Michigan Road was built; it ran north to south through Indianapolis. It went from Michigan City on Michigan Lake, to Madison along the Ohio River.

Covered wagons were the first traffic seen on Cumberland road. At one time there was a seemingly endless stream of settlers moving across Indiana. Wagons being pulled by oxen and horses, that lead the family cows behind and the dog running along side. You definitely wanted to watch your step on the Cumberland Road in the 1840's! 

Then was the era of the stagecoach, and being robbed along the road. It could take 3 or more days to cross the state and highwaymen would take what ever they could. Stagecoach travel was a big adventure and many passengers carried pistols.

The National Road came from Maryland and went to Indiana and was 30 feet wide; many of the people who settled in Indiana after 1839 would have used this road. Read more on the National Road Here

Some built one-time use boats called flat boats and floated their belongings down the Ohio River. Upon arrival they disassembled the boat and used the wood. These people didn't generally settle too far from the river because they lacked a way to transport things. Some though even floated their horses, wagons, and livestock down the Ohio River. Read more Indiana History at The Northern Indiana Center for History.

==# 1876 - The telephone is invented

==# 1879 - The light bulb is invented

==# 1889 - Matches are invented

==# 1897 - Aspirin is invented

==# 1902 - The flashlight is invented.

==# 1904 - The ice cream cone is invented.

==# 1913 - The zipper is invented.

==# 1920 - The band aid is invented.

==# 1927 - Television is invented.

==# 1930 - Cellophane tape is invented.

==# 1935 - The ballpoint pen is invented.

* Although an item may have been invented, it would be some time later that it would be in use by the general public.

Much of this information is in part derived from: Heartland of America, Living Indiana History, Published by David-Stewart Publishing Company, Inc. ©1965

Indiana Historical Bureau 

More Indiana History

Richness isn't felt in your pocket, it is felt in your heart.

James A. Miller


This information is the research of many people across the United States and may contain errors. It is presented as the best information to date. Like all of those whose work I have incorporated herein, my research is a work in progress and subject to change without notice. A special thanks to Marlene Ricci of CA, Dwayne Meyer of CA, Jacqueline Bean of TX, Debbie Dick of IN, Milus Miller of IL, Carol Hendricks Miller of IN, Clarence Miller of IN, and Harold Glen Miller of IN. There are numerous others too; many of which are unknown, but their findings and stories are still much appreciated. Much of this would not have been possible with out their information. Also this website includes historical facts gathered from Washington County History, Indiana History, Rowan County and Salisbury North Carolina Historical sources and other US Historical sources.

James A. Miller - Great -Great -Great -Great Grandson of Adam Miller and Hannah Sheets.

©2012 The Millers of Washington County

Last Updated 02/12/12 10:11:00 AM -0800