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D32c DAWSON, Jckn w 


a I BR. A FLY 



luijvois mm'M sumey 

Gharcoal Sheiches' 
of Old ofimes 


^Ori Iflfayne 

John tT SDwy^o 







Reprinted from the OLD FORT NEWS 

January-March, 1^9. 

Published by the 

Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society. 

Permission granted by the Society 


Prepared by the Staff of the 

Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County 



^(yaid d Jnudeei- oil 

Wolter Hanouer 


Wmir mm 

iA rf ■ 

Wilme. E. Bodoker, Tfeoiucec B. F. Goyer, Projident Mrs. WilliomC. Roslellor, Jr. 


One of a histocicol series, this pamphlet is published under the direction of 

the governing Boards of the Public Library of Fort Woyne and Allen County. 

^ubuc J-^ iUa^iu ^oa^a lot^LLm Couniif 

The members o( this Board include the members of the Boord of Trustees of 

Gerald W. Morschi 

Mrs. Frank Dulir 

Mrs. Charles Reynolds 

^33 c 


JOHN W. DAWSON, 1820-1877 

John W. Dawson, Fort Wayne lawyer, newspaperman, and politician, 
was born in Cambridge City, Indiana on October 21, 1820. His elementary 
education was completed in the public schools of Cambridge City where he 
lived with his parents before moving to a farm near Guilford, Indiana. In 
1838, young Dawson left his father's farm and went to Fort Wayne. He at- 
tended school and later became a clerk in the office of Colonel John Spencer, 
his brother-in-law, who was Receiver of Public Moneys. 

After a short trip to Iowa in the spring of 1840, he returned to Indi- 
ana and studied for two years at Wabash College. Choosing a legal profes- 
sion, John read law with his brother-in-law, Thomas Johnson. He remained 
in Fort Wayne until he was admitted to the bar in 1843 and then began his 
practice in Augusta. However, on the death of Thomas Johnson, he returned 
to Fort Wayne to take charge of Johnson's law firm. 

In 1847, John Dawson continued his law studies at Transylvania Col- 
lege in Kentucky, but poor health forced him to terminate his studies. Re- 
turning to Fort Wayne in 1853, he leased the Fort Wayne TIMES with T. H. 
Hood. The partnership was of short duration, in the following year Dawson 
became the sole owner. The DAWSON TIMES held progressive views on 
many current issues of the day, but was conservative on the controversial 
slavery problem. The paper gained influence, and its editor entered the 
political arena. Although nominated for the office of Secretary of State by 
the People's Party, Dawson failed to win the election. On November 4, 
1855, John Dawson and Amanda M. Thorton were married in the Second 
Presbyterian Church. 

Shortly after Lincoln's inauguration, John W. Dawson was appointed 
Governor of the Utah Territory. His term of office was short-lived, how- 
ever; six months after his arrival in Salt Lake City he was the victim of a 
violent physical attack. False rumor, his personal temperament, and 
Mormon opposition to the Federal policy of abolition of polygamy were all 
factors resulting in the attack. Dawson returned to Fort Wayne, but never 
completely recovered from the effects of the unfortunate incident. He died 
September 10, 1877. 


The following articles titled CHARCOAL SKETCHES OF OLD TIMES 
IN FORT WAYNE were published in the Fort Wayne DAILY SENTINEL by 
John W. Dawson in the year 1872. Except for the omission of number X 
and minor deletions throughout most of the other articles, they are repro- 
duced as Mr. Dawson first published them. 

Mr. Dawson obviously was a very temperate man. He apparently 
never ceased nor slackened in his denunciation of the use of rum. His fre- 
quent references to the "Black Beast" of intemperance and the "blighting 
mildew of inebriety" reflect his personal attitude toward the use of liquor. 
Although there may be much truth in what he has to say relative to the use 
of strong drink, his personal opinions and observations do not seem rele- 
vant nor pertinent to the general reader of articles of this nature. This, 
as well as his frequent and somewhat lengthy quotations from the Bible and 
literature, accounts for the aforementioned deletions throughout his sketches 
and the omission of article X. 

CHARCOAL SKETCHES have been presented as Mr. Dawson wrote 
them, although, some of the facts are not in complete agreement with the 
writings of other early Fort Wayne historians. 



I - VII General History (No titles) 19 

VIII The Social Aspect of Fort Wayne, 1838 24 

IX Recollections of Hon, Charles W. Ewing 27 

X Captain William Wells 29 

XI The Flagpole 34 

XII Early Masonic History- -Wayne Lodge, No. 25. F. A. M. . 36 

XIII The Siege of Fort Wayne- -Antoine Bondie, a French 

Trader--Me-te-a, a Potawatomi Chief 40 

XIV Me-te-a, Potawatomi Chief 45 

XV Imprisonment for Debt--Jail Bounds--Appraisement Laws . 48 

XVI An Indian Murder--A Miami Kills an Ottawa, 1824-- 

Oqua-nox-as, an Ottawa Chief, Demands Reparation . . 52 
XVII The First Marriage in Fort Wayne- -Doctor Edwards 

to Miss Hunt, 1803 54 

XVIII Incidents in the Life of Judge William Polk 57 

XIX Recollections of Counselor Cooper 59 

XX The Names of Our Rivers and Creeks — Their Origin 

and Meaning 63 

XXI Marais de Peage, Commonly Called Prairie du Parsh, 

in Aboite Township 66 

Number I 



Fort Wayne, Friday, March 8, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

By John W. Dawson 

Many subjects of interest are presented when we push time back a 
third of a century and glance at the place where we lived during that period. 
The men who appeared on the stage of action were outstanding. The busi- 
ness, social conditions, political events, physical aspects of the country — 
its settlement and general improvement — all add distinction to a place. 

On March 6, 1838 I took up my residence in Fort Wayne. I was a 
youth of eighteen and a half years — with less than five dollars in my pocket 
— fresh from the farm on which I was born, in a Southern county of the 
State. I had industrious habits, good raising, and a fair rudimental educa- 
tion in the English studies. On that day I commenced to "do for myself." 
Like many young men, I was entranced with the beauties of the world, and 
beguiled by them. I thought I was much more master of the situation than I 
really was. Time has corrected many of those joyous and sanguine hopes. 
The emotions of that day were quite in advance of my judgment, and I have 
lived to find those emotions give way to the maturity of sober judgment, 
and happy dreams to sad and bitter realities. This, however, is the expe- 
rience of all men. These pleasant dreams go from us unwittingly, and we 
never find anything in life to compensate for them. 

On that day, now thirty-four years ago, I arrived here. It may be 
well to give the physical aspect of the country and some details from the 
time I left Piqua, Ohio, en route, on the first Sunday of March, 1838. 
Leaving Troy, Miami County, Ohio, I soon reached Piqua, which was the 
frontier town of northwest Ohio — the head of canal navigation and a place 
of much business importance. It was through this place that all the com- 
merce from Dayton was carried to Fort Wayne. From it a tri-weekly mail 
was carried to Fort Wayne on horseback, reaching the post Tuesdays, 
Thursdays, and Saturdays. The winter had been one of an unusual fall of 
snow. It had been good sleighing for a month before I left Dearborn County, 
and remained good till about the middle of March. It was only during good 
sleighing that teamsters, pleasure seekers, and friends, could rapidly 
travel over the road to Fort Wayne. It was now used very largely for these 

I was on horseback and my outfit, as usual then, was contained in 
a pair of portmanteau. I had read much, and heard more of the Indian 
character- -their warfare and barbarity. The region from Piqua to Fort 
Wayne had been famous ground for warlike incidents --Indian treaties and 
thrilling stories. Having never before been twenty-five miles from home, 
nor even slept three consecutive nights away, I naturally felt a great ti- 

March 8, 1872 

midity in entering on this "bloody ground." Even a name terrified me. I 
quaked on reaching the forks of the road, three miles this side of Piqua, at 
the foot of a bluff, where Colonel John Johnson's farm was situated, when I 
saw a hand with the forefinger pointing to the north, and before it, painted 
in capitals, the letters Waugh pau Konnetta. That savage name must cer- 
tainly be the very jaws of death, and I at the point of entering in! This town 
now has been toned down by civilization to Wapakoneta, the seat of justice 
of Auglaize County. As I left the guideboard behind, every thing I saw — 
the woods, rude houses, the streams as nature had adorned them- -tended 
to inspire fear. Even the old double-log tavern, called the "Eight-Mile 
House, " with its huge signboard and device of a buck's head and huge ant- 
lers, quite in keeping with the natural aspects of the country. This "Eight- 
Mile House" stood just where the Bellefontaine railway crosses the turn- 
pike — then a corduroy road. Just ahead at the second crossing of the Lar- 
amie was historic ground that had been so for nearly a century. It was 
once called Laramie's Store, or brick-house (now a town named Berlin), 
and referred to as a point designating the boundary line, both in a treaty at 
Fort Harmar, on the Ohio River, January 21, 1785--again in a Very dis- 
tinguished manner referred to as the boundary of lands eastward thereof, 
treated for by General Wayne on the part of the United States, and the Wy- 
andotts, Shawnees, Ottawas, Potawatomi, Miami, Eel River and other 
tribes of Indians, concluded at Greenville, Ohio, August 3, 1795. A por- 
tage, or right of transportation, was allowed by the Indians to the people 
of the United States, by land or water, from this point at Laramie's Store, 
to the St. Mary's River, thence down to Fort Wayne, and thence by the 
Maumee to Lake Erie, and from the same place a portage across to Au- 
glaize, down it to the Maumee, at Fort Defiance, thence to the Lake, and 
again from the same place to the Sandusky River. The Indians here re- 
served six miles square. It was therefore, a noted place, though the rude 
hewn-log house and surrounding trading houses stood there in 1838, there 
were no Indians. The place had been cleared very early of its timber, and 
outside the limits of the arable land then used, the new undergrowth told 
plainly that the ax was then no longer used. A gentleman named Farrow 
had lived long at this point and his name will recall to many pioneers the 
times in which he lived there. To young men who were attracted by "cali- 
co, " it was a perfect haven of rest, for the Misses Farrows' personal 
charms were certainly not to be depreciated by any one. 

A good dinner at Laramie's old store — then kept by a Mr. Defreed 
who had lately married one of the Farrows — gave the rider and horse fresh 
courage to push on towards St. Mary's (then the seat of justice of Mercer 
County). It was celebrated for its Indian treaties in 1818, at which all the 
country south of the Wabash up to the mouth of Little River, to its head, 
and the six miles square at Fort Wayne, reserved by the Indians in the 
Treaty of Greenville — was then purchased from the Indians. This Treaty 
of October 1818, was made by General Lewis Cass--then Governor of 
Michigan Territory — and Governor Jennings of Indiana, on the part of the 
United States and the Indians by their chiefs. This purchase included all 

even a name will terrify 

March 8, 1872 

the central part of Indiana — and was surveyed about 1819 — after which set- 
tlement flowed in. The Legislature in 1819 organized the most of this ter- 
ritory into counties, and having fixed the boundaries of Randolph County, 
as it is now; all to the north not then being organized attached it to Randolph 
for Civil purposes. It was in August 1820 that the Board of Justices (County 
Commissioners) of Randolph County, erected all the Territory north of 
Randolph to the Michigan line, into a township, and named it "Wayne Town- 
ship, " and at the same time fixed a place of holding the election at the 
house of Dr. William Turner at this place, now the city of Fort Wayne — 
hence the name of Wayne Township, Allen County. 

Number II 



Fort Wayne, Monday, March 11, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

Coming back from my description let me proceed from Laramie's 
Store to St. Mary's. The country between those points was extremely low. 
A little colony of German Catholics had settled in the swamp, and laid off 
a town, which was then known by the name Stallotown, in honor of their 
pastor, who soon after died of the cholera. It was a hard-looking place. 
A string of rude log houses along either side of the road seemed in the 
water, and much lower than the road which had been laid with logs trans- 
versely with a little dirt thrown on them. These people wore wooden shoes 
--women with stuffed caps and short quilted petticoats--sent my mind back 
to New Amsterdam, (New York), two hundred years before, to the days of 
the Von Runkles and Von Twillers. To me it was a new order of things. 
I could find no one to understand my English, nor could I understand their 
German. Verily I thought I had got into Germany. I followed the road — I 
could do that in English — hoping to find some one with whom I could con- 
verse. This place is now Bremen, one of the best parts of Shelby County, 
Ohio. It was night when I passed that celebrated stopping place — "Hat- 
horne's" two miles to the southeast of St. Mary's. This landlord "Jonny 
Hathorne" was a wild Irishman, a teamster, and noted for his hospitality. 
His name, like his place and home, has lost its distinction. He is dead. 
His good wife also is, and of his children I know nothing except the wife of 
Philip C. Cooke, residing in Washington Township. 

Reaching St. Mary's, I found the best "Inn" of the place. A set of 
jovial rustics were congregated there, some of whom seemed of excellent 
antecedents. Among these Colonel Pickerel subjected me to a rigid exam- 
ination and found who my kindred were in Fort Wayne. Later he was of 
much service to me. 

It is not out of place here to say, that though the old-fashioned tav- 
erns --or as the English call them "inns" — are gone out of use; their use- 
fulness is not forgotten by the pioneers . . . 

It was this Colonel John Pickerel who imparted to me much valuable 
information in regard to the men and incidents of the times, as well as to 
matter relating to the geography of the country. This I have now, at the 
end of thirty-four years, not forgotten. He, however, died over a quarter 
of a century ago. 

On the morning of March 5, 1838, having left the hamlet of St. 
Mary's, I passed over the plateau of ground on which it was located- -then 
stripped of all timber, no undergrowth having appeared- -and soon entered 
the wild and forbidding forest just ahead and on the hither side of that ter- 

March 11, 1872 

rible "Black Swamp, " equal in danger to the famed Hyrcanian forest. In 
five miles the cabin of the widow of a Mr. Wise, was passed, the only house 
or sign of life between St. Mary's and Bonafield, twelve miles apart. Over 
this terrible swamp nature had then frozen a splendid bridge. It was to me 
a great relief, for had I then found it, as I often did afterwards, deep in 
mud and water, a sea around, in winter ice and frost, and in summer mos- 
quitoes, snakes, etc. , and all along covered with evidences of broken ve- 
hicles and stalled teams — I say, had I then found it as I did after attrition 
with the world and the experience of years had driven away much of my 
boyish fears — I should have retraced my steps. . . But I passed to Bona- 
field's — now Neptune--and partook of some refreshments with some rustic 
teamsters who tarried there. I went on, passing Ruel Robuck's, long known 
as the oasis in the desert, where the weary found rest. I have often passed 
there since, but though the brook runs by his door and all natural objects 
are the same, yet the kind Ruel "is not." He sleeps. I soon reached Shane's 
Prairie, and took an excellent repast at the old, red-frame house, with the 
host Judge Hays, one of the pioneers of Mercer County. On this prairie 
and around its margin were some sturdy settlers, and some had done well 
in worldly goods. It was by Fort Wayners called the "Settlement," as it 
was for a great many years the first evidence of white civilization to be 
found southeast of Fort Wayne toward the St. Mary's. On this prairie, 
some of our old citizens first saw the light of day, and they can tell details. 
It was called Shane's Prairie from Anthony Chens — pronounced Shane — who 
was a French Indian, and lived there on the St. Mary's River. He was a 
great friend of the whites, and while in the battle of River Raisin was en- 
abled to have some certain information as to who it was that killed the great 
war chief Tecumseh, who fell at that conflict, and whose death broke the 
Indian combination. 

Willshire was soon reached — then the seat of justice of Van Wert 
County — a town laid off in 1819 by Captain James Riley of Arabian memory, 
and who there built a mill at a rapid in the river called the "Devil's Race 
Ground." It was the nucleus of a small settlement, but it was so geograph- 
ically situated that it has never assumed the consequence which the fertility 
of the county justified. It was this Captain Riley who surveyed and sub- 
divided all the lands around this city, and part of the county, under contract 
of the United States. The town was named after Willshire, the friend of 
Captain Riley, who redeemed him from captivity at Magadore . . . 

Passing Willshire, and the old red brick tavern on the north side of 
the river, then kept by Amos Comptor, who soon afterwards removed here, 
and is remembered by our old men, I began to look for a place to stop over 
night. Before I found It, I was about eight miles on the road to Fort Wayne. 
At a house of a pioneer named Smith, I endured a night. By the hospitality 
of a lady who, with her husband, was migrating to this region, I did not 
retire to the floor hungry. On the morrow, taking advantage of the early 
rising for breakfast, and hoping to find a barber shop, I prepare myself to 
appear to my brothers and sisters in Fort Wayne in good plight. I was 
disappointed. That was a paper town — a cabin or two, no barn, no barber 

March 11, 1872 

shop, "no nothing." Feeding my horse in a sugar kettle, fastened to a 
stump, I declined to wait for breakfast, and thus move forward with no 
hopes of a meal until I reached my new home- -nor did I get one before. 

I shall describe Fort Wayne as I saw it just thirty-four years ago in 
the next. 

Number III 



Fort Wayne, Thursday, March 14, 1872 Page 3, CoL 5-6 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

At the close of the preceding narrative I was nearing Fort Wayne, 
on a fair day March 6, 1838. It was on the "New Piqua Road" over which I 
traveled. It led out from Calhoun Street directly south one mile, then in a 
southeasterly direction, and up the north side of the St. Mary's River, on 
the tableland, as it is now traveled. It was called "New" to distinguish it 
from the "Old Piqua Road, " which followed the road that General Wayne 
opened on his retiring from this place, in November, 1794, after he had 
built and named the Fort. That was called "Wayne Trace, " and passed out 
from the Fort just to the west of Judge Hanna's late residence, crossed the 
"Five Mile Prairie" where the present road crosses it, and crossing Mer- 
riams' Creek, near where Judge Coleman lived, passed, as near as I can 
now recollect, about where the village of Massillon now stands, in Madison 
Township. It did not touch the St. Mary's River until it reached Shane's 
Crossing, where a stockade called Fort Adams once stood. 

The country along this New Piqua Road was settled very little, and 
was regarded- -that is the tableland- -as exceedingly thin, promising very 
little return to the farmers. Time has shown what industry can do to aid 
practical agriculture. A few settlers were there, and I think I can name 
most of them: Philo Whitcomb, just east of where Middletown is now; Jesse 
Heaton, and Nelson McLain, to the west a short distance from the same 
village. A small German settlement at or near where Hesse Cassel is 
now, and a family or two at Merriams' Creek, or "Eight Mile"--a creek 
which should not lose its proper name — taken from a very worthy family 
who settled there over forty years ago; a family or two about four miles 
out, and one or two nearer town. 

The first glimpse of Fort Wayne was had from an elevated part of 
the road, about one hundred twenty rods south of the Railway depot. The 
spire of the old Court House, and that of the old Catholic Church which 
stood where the Cathedral now is built, were seen. All other buildings 
were hidden from view by the high ground yet to be noticed at the intersec- 
tion of Douglas Avenue with Calhoun Street. There was scarcely a house 
south of Lewis Street. What few there were could only be called cabins hid 
in deep woods, save the Brackenridge house, as it stands yet, and an old 
frame back from the southwest comer of Lewis and Calhoun in which Colo- 
nel Spencer lived for many years. All was wild, save a few small fields 
of the Hamilton property. 

Before proceeding to sketch incidents of more general interest, I 
shall, for the especial notice of the old settlers of Fort Wayne and Allen 
County first give a sketch of the town as it appeared then. This is sug- 


March 14, 1872 

gested by a "Bird's-eye view, " taken by Mr. Palmetery in 1854, and which 
many now have in frame — to preserve the memory of the place as it was 
then. Mine will be merely descriptive of the place as it was sixteen years 
before that. These will show, when compared with the present aspect of 
the city, how rapid has been our advance, from a hamlet of less than two 
thousand people, governed by a Board of Trustees, and giving a vote includ- 
ing the township of Wayne, not exceeding three hundred. 

This old Catholic Church, and the pastor's house just behind it, was 
all the improvement then on the Church property. The Church was not 
completed for want of funds. Here I cannot forget to make honorable men- 
tion of two gentlemen, long since dead, whose munificence toward the 
Church was great. These gentlemen were Captain John B. Bourie and Mr. 
Francis Comparet . . . 

On neither side of Calhoun Street, from this church to the north side 
of Wayne, was there a house. A post-and-rail-fence, open at many places, 
ran on the west side of Calhoun from Lewis to Wayne. The year before, it 
had been the east boundary of a cultivated field, the western boundary of 
which was Shawnee Run, which took its rise out about where the Bass 
Foundry now is, and drained all that region, as also that region known as 
the additions of Lewis, Hamilton, Baker, Wilt, Brackenridge, Ewing's 
Grove and Spencer. Then it entered the old town plat near the corner of 
Spencer's Addition, passed obliquely to the northeast until it crossed Berry 
Street at the intersection of Harrison; then down it, and under the canal 
basin into the St. Mary's River at Lee's Ford, where the Bloomingdale 
bridge crosses. It is the unfortunate toleration of the obstruction of this 
natural outlet of the surface water of this run, which now has caused the 
necessity for an immense sewer from Lewis Street, under Clay Street, to 
the Maumee River, to discharge what otherwise would have gone along the 
natural channel without damage to property. From Lewis on the south to 
Wayne on the north, on both sides, was called Hanna's Addition, but shortly 
before that was laid out. There were no buildings- in the western part of 
this addition, save one, which was on the west margin of the Run, where 
Jefferson Street crosses it. The eastern part of this addition having been 
very early stripped of its timber for building the Fort, and for other pur- 
poses later, was little fitted for agriculture. At the date of platting, it was 
covered with a thick undergrowth of white oak. The parts occupied by 
streets having been chopped off high stumps, many of them were left to in- 
terrupt safe and speedy travel. Perhaps there were a half-dozen small 
houses then lately built at different parts of this addition east. Its distance 
then, from the business part of town, seemed to offer more reasons against 
eligibility for building sites than anything else; but in later years, the ex- 
treme hardness of the soil- -notwithstanding the fine elevation of the ground 
--has offered much more objection; and this is perhaps the main reason 
why this part of the city has not improved so rapidly, as the western part — 
which, though much lower and flatter — is a better and livelier soil. 

Number IV 
Fort Wayne, Friday, March 15, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

The town of Fort Wayne was then almost entirely embraced in the 
space occupied by the Old Plat, consisting of 118 lots (and was located on 
the north fraction of southeast quarter of Section 2, Township 30, North 
Range 12 East. It was laid off by Barr and McCorkle, original purchasers, 
in May 1824. The "County Addition" was laid off in 1830. The western 
twenty acres of the original forty acres, Military Reservation — which twenty 
acres the Congress of the United States authorized the Associate Judges of 
Allen County to enter for the county at $1.25 per acre — and the balance of 
the forty acres, set apart for Canal land, was bought and laid out into forty 
lots and called Taber's Addition. On this last addition there were not a 
half-dozen houses. The remaining part of the town as platted was mostly 
on paper. There were not a dozen houses in it. It was called for many 
years "Ewingtown, " being Ewing's Addition on the west half of southwest 
quarter of Section 2, township and range above named. 

The few houses in Ewingtown were in the thicket: Dr. Lewis Bee- 
cher's. Captain Ben Smith's, and Colonel Alexander Ewing's old house as 
it now stands at the canal bridge on Ewing Street. A plain old-fashioned 
wooden paling marked the place where his remains were interred just east 
of the house in the swamp. A large unfinished dilapidated Methodist Church 
stood near the corner of Ewing and Main streets. 

What is now Rockhill's Addition was then a cultivated field, owned 
by 'Squire Rockhill. He lived then in a small house on the south bank of the 
Wabash and Erie Canal, just north of where the Rockhill House is now. 

Thus it will be seen that the space bounded on the north by Water 
Street, east by Lafayette Street, south by Wayne Street, west by Harrison 
Street — sixteen squares- -constituted Fort Wayne as a wooden town. The 
buildings were of an inferior sort, unpainted, generally one-story high, 
some of logs, more of frame work, just five of brick, the streets bad, 
many lots destroyed by standing water, and well-water on Columbia Street 
not very palatable. Nearly all the trading was done at the east end of Co- 
lumbia Street. However, Captain Bourie and John B. Peltier had a fine store 
northwest of Calhoun and Columbia streets; Taylor, Freeman & Company, 
another on the northwest corner; Captain Ben Smith, a grocery, as then 
called--a saloon now — on the southeast corner; and on the northeast corner 
was the old "Mansion House." It was then kept by Colonel Joseph H. Mc- 
Maken, whose name I mention with pleasure, as he was an honest man, and 
long an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court. To the west of the northwest 
corner, as just designated, on the north side were some few frame dwell- 
ings. At the Canal Basin stood the old Masonic Hall, which was then used 


March 15, 1872 

for dwelling apartments and for the publication of the Fort Wayne SENTI- 
NEL, then in its fifth volume. The venerable Thomas Tigar was its editor 
and proprietor. On the opposite side of the street were the tannery of Paige 
& Fry, the "Franklin House, " kept by Mills & Taylor, and the residence of 
Francis Comparet, the spot where the American House now stands. 

I will only mention a few places on Columbia Street. Going east 
from the Mansion House corner, was a grocery, kept, I think, by William 
Henderson, where Mr. Henry Sharp lately had a hat shop, and a large brick 
house on the alley, called the "Post House," after the owner, James Post, 
long since dead. Across the alley, John E. Hill kept a dry goods store, 
where is now Morgan & Beach's splendid building. Next, in a low frame, 
Captain Henry Rudisill, now deceased, kept the Post Office, where the 
venerable Captain Oliver Fairfield, now of Decatur, was a faithful clerk, 
tying the twine and saving the scraps of paper quite in contrast with the 
economy of office clerks of this day. Next door Dr. Merchant W. Huxford 
kept a drugstore, and a good one, too. On the corner below, was the long 
established trading house of Allen Hamilton & Company, the firm being 
Allen H., Cyrus Taber and Thomas Hamilton, the latter only surviving. 
On the corner east was then being built Barnettand Hamm's big brick, which 
was soon finished, and was the largest building then in northern Indiana, a 
building which served for a court house, clerk's office, law offices, and 
printing offices, for years. The latter until it was burnt, in March 1860, 
and in which was consumed the TIMES office which I then owned, edited and 
published. The little brick now at the side of the new building, which was 
built on the same site, was then standing as it does now. It was the resi- 
dence of William H. Coombs, Esq., then a young lawyer, and still here in 
the practice. He and one other survive those who then were resident prac- 
titioners. A few unimportant buildings from that to the corner, east, where 
Barnett and Hanna had a trading house, and did a large business. Among 
the business omitted in this space, was the firm of Wright and Dubois. 
On the opposite corner east, was a long log building, called the Suttenfield 
House, after the distinguished Colonel William Suttenfield. At the canal 
basin was a boatyard, where all the boatbuilding of this region was done by 
James W. Deneal. Then or soon after, he had in his employ, a gentleman 
noted for his fiddleistic talent, and who a few years later turning up, on the 
Pacific coast, became Governor of Oregon, Captain John W. Whitaker. 
From this boatyard the common road ran down along the canal and across 
the old Fort ground, between the old well and the only building of the Fort 
then standing. This building stood on the west side of the vacant ground, 
as it stands now, and was two-story, and had been changed from a shed to 
a conical roof. It had been originally used for officers' quarters. A bro- 
ken pole stood in the centre of the parade ground, on which the Federal 
flag had originally been hoisted. The pickets which had enclosed the ground 
had nearly all been removed, yet the line where they stood was marked. 
A post of the gateway at the southwest corner of the stockade just behind 
the present residence of O. W. Jefferds, on the alley between Berry and 
Wayne streets — was standing. These pickets and the logs which had com- 


March 15, 1872 

posed the other buildings within the pickets, had all been removed by peo- 
ple for building purposes. This perhaps would not have been, had not the 
ground and buildings been invaded by the location and construction of the 
Wabash and Erie Canal — which from the basin at Comparet's warehouse 
westward to Logansport, had been completed for a couple of years. The 
eastern part was then in the process of construction, and was not completed 
to Toledo till five years later. 


Number V 



Fort Wayne, Saturday, March 16, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

In continuation of my "Charcoal Sketches, " I will begin standing on 
the parade ground of the "old Fort, " on the morning of March 7, 1838, 
where I was invited to go by my brother, Honorable Reuben J. Dawson, 
who, from a residence of six years then past, was enabled, from informa- 
tion derived from living witnesses and from other accurate sources, to im- 
part to me much information relative to places of note, and natural objects 
around hereabouts. 

Looking to the east, the stream of the Maumee River lay below, and 
could be seen locked up in ice for three-fourths of a mile. It was this 
stretch of the stream which the guns on the bastion at the southeast corner 
of the Fort were intended to command against the approach of the enemy by 
that river. The ford where General Harmar's army crossed, on October 
17, 1790, and the ground where, on the 22nd following, the disastrous battle 
took place between the forces under him and the Indians, led by the famous 
war chief "Little Turtle, "called "Harmar's Defeat, "was pointed out. This 
was the exact point between Maumee and St. Joseph, where the "Omee 
Towns" were situated, which were burnt at the approach of the army. 
Through this very spot the Maumee Avenue Turnpike now runs. 

The "Old Apple Tree" standing in the centre of the ground of con- 
flict, was then pointed out to me. Of it I had read some, but heard more. 
I was then in sight of the old tree itself, which had been planted so long be- 
fore that Time seemed old. It was old when the fall of Quebec decided the 
alternations between two different civilizations which had for more than a 
century been carried on, and from that day when the French flag ceased to 
float on the Heights of Abraham, it rightfully ceased to be unfurled at this 
point. That of the British succeeded, and again in time the American. So 
this old tree has been subject to the flags of three nations. It was old when 
were heard the sound of the guns and the clash of the war club that put to 
death the little English garrison near by, which fell by French treachery in 
May, 1763, during Pontiac's conspiracy. It was a fruitbearing patriarch 
when the American Revolution gave such an unparalleled impetus to Anglo 
American supremacy. It was old when its roots were bathed by the blood 
of our fallen soldiers at Harmar's Defeat, and when "Fort Wayne" was 
built. Its branches were distinguished for their greatness in 1812, when 
General Harrison raised the siege and relieved the imperiled garrison, and 
its trunk then measured nine feet in circumference. For fifty years the 
plowshare invigorated its growth, and it gave forth its annual fruit for more 
than a century and a quarter. It has seen Indian orgies when human vic- 
tims were roasted and eaten at its base. There they had their Moloch, and 


March 16, 1872 

with these sacrifices they appeased this heathen God. It saw the Miamis 
reach their zenith, and adopting the habits of the whites they fell from their 
estate. A hundred and fifteen years after it was planted, the remnant of 
this tribe was pushed before the tide of civilization, westward of the Mis- 
souri. After all these changes and when a city of 20,000 inhabitants had 
grown at its foot, it refused to blossom in the springtime. The trunk and 
barren boughs fell from the canker of age. Its stump may yet be seen but 
soon no vestige will be left. I know of no representation of it extant, save 
that taken by Benson J. Lossing, the historian, who while I was editing the 
TIMES, some nine years ago, took some notes from me, and made a cray- 
on sketch which I think is in his late published book. 

To the north of the Fort, the junction of the St. Mary's and St. Jo- 
seph was seen. The neck of ground at that point pushed down more than 
two feet below where the waters now unite. The ground in the junction 
seemed in better view than now, as then the whole margin of the river was 
cleared of brush and trees, and the bottom land under good cultivation, as 
I found, at seed time. 

The Maumee was then crossed at a ford which entered the river 
from the town side, just above the present bridge, and passed out by an 
easy exit just below where the east end of the bridge stands. Large stones 
stood prominently in the river, and offered much obstruction to travel, 
when they were hidden by water. The ground in the bend of the river St. 
Mary's, was very nearly clear of undergrowth, and presented the appear- 
ance of a cultivated field, without the ordinary fence enclosing it. To the 
east and south, beyond the picket lines of the Fort, the country looked 
comparatively wild — that is, early stripped of its timber. The earth had 
sent up a thick growth of white oak, then about twelve or fifteen feet high, 
and occasionally a wagon road wound among it. The only house seen at the 
south, that I recollect, was a small frame "inn, " built on the northeast 
corner of Clay and Wayne streets, kept by Henry Dahman, where Mr. Hen- 
ry Monning now lives. The only house seen to the east was one now owned 
by John Burt's estate, near the northwest corner of Wagner and Hanna 
streets, on the line of Taber's Addition, where William L. Moon lived. 
Passing now up the St. Mary's from the Fort, we reach the French part of 
the town, then of log buildings, at the exact point and vicinity of the Fort 
Wayne Gas Works. Among these was a German-Frenchman, named George 
Fallo, who kept a brewery just on the spot where the southwest corner of 
the enclosure of the Gas Works is. He was the first brewer here and though 
the manner of his fermenting his beer was questionable, still old George's 
beer was in great demand. It was at this point on the St. Mary's River 
where the road crossed. All the boats landed just above the crossing for 
years. They brought goods, provisions, and stores down the river in the 
spring flood of water- -the last convoy of which arrived here the very spring 
that I write of. I saw this. 

From this point along up Water Street, were only a few unimportant 
houses until Calhoun Street was reached. These stood on the bank of Duck 
Creek--or the "slough" into which the tailrace of the City Mills discharges. 


March 16, 1872 

Captain John B. Bourie lived in the old frame house now standing at the 
north end of Calhoun Street bridge. A two-story log was on the north cor- 
ner, and on the ground just north of J. C. Bowser & Company's Foundry as 
it now is — was an old, brick schoolhouse and cemetery surrounding it, with 
rude palings and other plain marks of affection around the graves of the 
buried pioneers. At the crossing of the river, just below the south end of 
the Bloomingdale bridge, was a low log cabin in which lived widow Lee, 
from whom the ford took its name. The main road north from the town led 
out along Calhoun Street, and crossed the St. Mary's on a wooden toll 
bridge, the feet of the wooden piers or bents, of which, may yet be seen 
there. The north end of the bridge is where the Mongoquinong Road led due 
north on the present west line of the City Park property, till it touched the 
Canal, then to the right, crossing Spy Run and intersecting the other road 
that crossed at the "boat landing" at John's mill, (now Rudisill's). From 
the same point the Goshen Road led to the northwest, striking the Feeder 
Canal at Hinton's — "Bull's Head Inn," just where the steam mill stands. 
From the point where the Goshen Road deflects to the west of a north and 
south line, half of a mile from "Bull's Head Inn, " the Lima Road was after- 
wards laid out and crossing Spy Run at Johny Archers, intersected the Mon- 
goquinong Road at the point where the Lima Plank Road, and the Fort Wayne 
and Piqua Plank Road once had a tollgate, or at least where the former had, 
where now Mr. C. Schultz lives and owns. I give this to mark the distinc- 
tion between the two roads. They are often confounded, though they lead to 
one place- -Mongoquinong Prairie. The road so named had an existence 
prior to the time that the town of Lima was laid out. Later the new part 
was called the Lima Road, and the whole was changed from Mongoquinong 
to Lima. 

Coming back to town, the Canal was then in operation. Behind the 
buildings which front on Columbia Street was a space between them and the 
water which was called "the Dock." There all the boats landed, received, 
and discharged freight and passengers. People resorted to "the Dock" for 
pleasure and business. The boathorn announced the arrival and departure 
of the packets, and was a sweet sound to us who were so locked in by 
swamps and distances. 


Number VI 



Fort Wayne, Wednesday, March 20, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

(Erratum--ln sketch #11 I stated that Tecumseh fell at the River 
Raisin; it should have been Thames.) 

Bringing the reader back to the old Fort, at which point I was stand- 
ing in imagination when the last sketch was taken, he will face to the west 
and southwest. Here lies before us the County Addition to the town of Fort 
Wayne in the foreground, then considered the most desirable part of the 
city. The square of ground immediately south of the Fort, where Judge 
Carson, Mr. Frederick Beach and others live, was then a greensward, and 
not a house, nor even a sprout of undergrowth was on it. A part of it had 
once been used for a burial place for persons deceased at the Fort. The 
square to the immediate west had only three houses on it; one on the cor- 
ner, where now is the "Big Sycamore" — then a sapling, not over six inches 
in diameter--another midway between that and the Fort, and a third on 
the Canal, where Comparers Steam Mill is. This square was used for 
garden purposes for the officers of the Fort, and is said to have been filled 
with all the usual vegetable growth, as well as with flowers of the choicest 
kinds, and so arranged and cultivated as to excite the liveliest wonder of 
all who beheld it. Indeed, the soil of that part of the city was unsurpassed 
for fertility. 

The square to the west of this, between Lafayette and Barr streets, 
was pretty well covered with wooden buildings of an inferior sort — among 
which was the Council House, fronting on Main Street, and built by the 
United States at a very early period. It was used by the Indian agents and 
by Indian Commissioners, the Governor of the Territory and other officials, 
in which to confer and counsel with the Indian tribes of the North and West. 
It was of hewn logs, of good size, two-stories high, and well secured 
against violence from without. It remained standing for years after the 
period of which I write, and stood on the exact spot where Mr. Michael 
Hedekin now lives — lot 32; and the well used for public purposes still is 
open, and used, and gives forth an abundance of pure, cold water. On the 
north, fronting on Columbia Street, from Lafayette to the corner of Barr, 
was a row of shanties, mostly inhabited by Irish canallers. The west cor- 
ner of the same square, was occupied by a large building, and was used by 
Lane & Stevens. The square south of this, between Berry and Main, was 
but partially built upon--in fact, only a part was eligible, owing to a small 
run that passed through it, making it quite wet. The greater part of the 
buildings fronted on Berry Street. Among the. most notable, was the house 
now occupied by Mr. Jesse R. Straughn, then new, and lately before built 


March 20, 1872 

and occupied by Counsellor Henry Cooper, and the square of a log building 
standing to the second story, and built of logs from the Fort to the east, 
next lot to the corner. It was afterwards weather-boarded by Captain Dan- 
iel Reid, roofed, lathed and plastered, and occupied by him as a residence. 
I mention that it is on lot 53, County Addition, so that when it is torn down, 
the logs may be known as relics as a part of the new Fort which supplanted 
the old one in 1814, or thereabouts. 

On the square to the south of this--that is fronting on Berry Street 
— the houses are as they were then built, save a brick next the market 
square, and the old First Presbyterian Church, on the vacant lot 63, next 
to the corner of Berry and Lafayette streets, now torn down. However, all 
the front tier of these lots on Berry are part in the County Addition and 
part in Taber's. This Church was in charge of the Reverend Alexander T. 
Rankin, then a young man of talent, whom I saw here but a year or so ago. 
The basement of the building was then occupied by Reverend W. W. Stevens, 
and Alexander Mcjunkin as a schoolroom, and under whose tuition I put 
myself within a few weeks after my arrival. Here was then the youth of 
the town assembled, to be prepared for the active duties of life--but Ste- 
vens and Mcjunkin and by far the larger part of their pupils are dead . . . 

Going along west, we see an old and small frame building, the 
"market house, " in market space, a few miserable frame shanties facing 
it on the west. On the northwest corner of Barr and Lafayette streets. 
Judge Hanna lived in palatial style, in the old frame now next the Rink. Mr. 
J. C. Bowser, in the same house in which he now lives, on the south side, 
and Squire Robert Hood next to him, a genius of whom many rich anecdotes 
remain to be told. Where the First Presbyterian Church is, a two-story 
log house was, and the same kind of a one where Dr. Knapp's new office 
is, on the opposite corner. Opposite these where the Rink, and Miller, 
Hattersly, and Fee, Greible occupy what was a swamp, deep and impass- 
able, full of willow and water-growth, offensive and dangerous to health. 
A few more unimportant buildings were on that square, ending where the 
Aveline House is now. I mention names to show what havoc death has 
made: John Majors, carpenter; Abner Gerrard, ex-sheriff; Moses Yerian, 
gunsmith; Widow Minnie and others, lived along there. Barnett*s corner, 
opposite the Aveline House, was occupied by a large, two-story log house, 
tenanted by the venerable John P. Hedges, who yet survives; and west of 
this — that "honest man, " long since deceased, Captain James Barnett, who 
swore not but answered "by Hedge's MoUie, " when in a ruffled temper. 
At the opposite corner, (McDougall's) now Masonic Hall, was a long row 
of one-story, shed roof shanties, painted yellow, and in a connected and 
continuous line fronting on Calhoun 50 feet, and on Berry 170, called 
"Work's Row," in name of Henry Work, who built and rented them. This 
row was tenanted by very plain people, and not a few very rough ones — 
among these, "Old Johnny McDougall, " who lately died at the hospital. He 
was come from "decent people" in Philadelphia; but owing to some domestic 
reverses in early life, he sought in the solitude of the West, "a medicine 
for a troubled mind." He was a tailor of President Jefferson's time, and 


March 20, 1872 

here followed his trade, alternately with whisky-drinking, until the town 
got large. Over twenty-five years ago, he went into the wilds of Jefferson 
Township, and lived a hernnit until the decrepitude of age compelled him to 
seek those comforts of body from others, which he was at last powerless 
to render to himself. Still he subsisted himself and died no pauper. This 
be to his credit — he was an honest man. West of these shanties was the 
carpenter shop of John Rhinehart, deceased long ago. 

A few old buildings, one of frame, where the Post Office is, and 
south another or two stood on Court Street. An old and good well, a little 
west of the centre of the street, opposite the southeast corner of the new 
Court House, was marked by its rude curb — a section of a hollow sycamore 
tree — and the water drawn therefrom by an old-fashioned sweep in a tree 
fork. Court House square was unenclosed. On the northeast corner was a 
frame house and office for the Receiver of the Land Office of this land dis- 
trict. This house. Colonel Spencer, Receiver, built on a lease-hold from 
the county, and there lived for some years. The Court House was a large 
two-story brick, but was never finished. It was so insecure when I first 
saw it, that it was not occupied with safety for court purposes. Still sev- 
eral terms of court were held there, and some religious and political meet- 
ings were also held in it. This old Court House and the frame built by 
Colonel Spencer were sold to him by the county for $300, in the early part 
of 1843, and were then removed, preparatory to building a common one on 
the south part of the square. This later gave place to the new one now 

The County jail and jailor's house stood on the southwest corner of 
the square. The house was a low frame attached to the north side of the 
jail, and fronting on Calhoun Street. The jail was of square, hewn logs, 
strongly fitted together, two-stories high, stairs on the outside, west, and 
a high, strong, upright board fence enclosing it, running along Berry and 
Calhoun streets. It was both unsafe and unhealthy, and was so used to a 
late period, when the new, and now as worthless, jail was built. 

Closing now, for today, the next will close the view of the place as 
it was; after which there will be introduced matter of a different character, 
and to citizens of short residence here; perhaps will be more entertaining. 
I have particularized places and names, to show what ravages time has 
made. More than seventy-five per cent of all those who lived here and 
carried on business are dead. 


Number VII 



Fort Wayne, Saturday, March 23, 1872 Page 3, CoL 5-6 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

My late sketch ends with a description of the County jail, as it stood 
in the spring of 1838, and now nearing the close of my sketch of the place 
as it then appeared, let us imagine ourselves at the northwest corner of 
the Public square, thirty-four years ago. Looking to the west, is seen on 
the opposite corner, the residence of Francis D. Lasselle, now deceased. 
The building now stands back on the alley on Main Street. Just south of 
Lasselle's was a frame owned by Wilcox's estate, where now is Hamilton's 
Hall; next on the alley a fine frame residence occupied by the now venerable 
John E. Hill, then one of the firm of Hill & Fleming, merchants. On the 
second lot south of the alley, stood a frame house, owned and occupied by 
Captain William Stewart . . . Next this, an old frame, the residence and 
bakery of Joshua Housman, long ago dead. This joined "Work's Row" be- 
fore noted. Looking west, is seen near the northeast corner of Harrison 
and Main a few small shanties, among which was the pottery of Reverend 
Stephen R. Ball of the Methodist Church; just to the east of which was a 
common frame, the residence of Honorable Charles W. Ewing, then Circuit 
Judge . . . 

On the northeast corner of Main and Calhoun streets was a frame 
occupied by Philip C. Cook, blacksmith, who, while I have been writing 
these sketches, has passed my door, but in the eventide of life, quite unlike 
he was before the noontide. Between that corner and the next east were 
several small shanties, and on the corner was the then elegant residence 
of Honorable Allen Hamilton, now deceased. Going north on the west side 
of Calhoun to Main, there was an only house from the corner to the alley 
(Pearl), and it unoccupied. From the alley to the corner was owned by 
William G. and George W. Ewing, and was covered with low frame build- 
ings. In the corner (Keystone Block) was a first class dry goods store, by 
Philo Taylor, S. C Freeman and Royal W. Taylor. Just around the corner 
to the left, on Columbia, was the cabinet shop of Freeman P. Tinkham . . . 
On the southeast corner of Columbia and Calhoun was a grocery, whisky 
shop, etc., of Captain Benjamin Smith, who deceased many years after- 
wards. Coming south we find Lewis Wolke, at the alley, working at the 
forge--the same Major Lewis Wolke, who owns the fine block in which the 
SENTINEL is printed. Across the alley was then found Peter Kiser, with 
saw and knife, steel and scales, dealing out fresh meat to hungry citizens-- 
more jovial then than now. 

Going around the corner on Columbia, in a low house were found 
Tom Moore, the barber, and Burrell Reed, bootblack, town crier and fac- 
totum--the only negro in town — the merry, loud-laughing Reed whom all 


March 23, 1872 

knew. Tom was generous, Reed obliging and honest — Tom died a drunkard, 
and Reed's career in that respect was terminated by being brutally mur- 
dered by a boatman many years afterwards. A few lots now going east are 
in my memory vacant. We now reach the brick residence of Dr. Lewis G. 
Thompson, standing one lot west of the alley, far back from the street . . . 
On the alley the drugstore of Thompson & Jefferds — across the alley in a 
low brick, the Fort Wayne Branch of the State Bank of Indiana, Honorable 
Hugh McCuUoch, President, (now of London) and Mr. W. Hubbell, Cashier, 
(now of Toledo)- -adjoining this was the law office of Thomas Johnson, Esq., 
the peer of the best man in Indiana — a gentleman by nature, and a distin- 
guished lawyer of application, who in September 1843, fell in the brilliancy 
of the morning of life . . . 

Next to this law office was the Indian trading house of Comparet & 
Colerick. At the rear of the store was the fur room, and here it was, in 
the summer of 1838, that a large Indian named "Bob" stabbed "White Rac- 
coon, " a tragedy which created much excitement. During his illness, I 
frequently saw Raccoon, and witnessed a devotion on the part of his Miami 
squaw wife, which Washington Irving could not sketch truer than he did the 
wife in his sketch book. It was an affecting sight, and like "a thing of 
beauty, which is a joy forever, " it impressed my young mind so deeply as 
to be undimmed by the lapse of long and busy years. In fact, since that 
time while mingling with the world and taking note of its lights, and trying 
to forget its shadows, I have seen wives, who while deeply conscious of 
their spiritual relation to every child of God, and polished from the foun- 
tains of literature and science, were yet seemingly wanting in the love of 
that untutored heart which needed a faith and hope that could not be bounded 
by earthly limits and restraints. But what of "Bob"? Truly, "the way of 
the transgressor is hard." He lived some years after, but ever in dread 
of the avenging hand of the friends of Raccoon. I saw him several times 
thereafter, but always alone. At length the fatal period came, and some- 
where down on the Miami Reservation, Bob was decoyed to a spring of wa- 
ter, and while lying down to quench his thirst, the friends of Raccoon, then 
with him, crushed his head with a stone. 

Next to Comparet & Colerick's were some frame houses, and I only 
recollect the sign of "T. Hoagland, Draper and Tailor" . . . Then came 
the establishment of Francis D. Lasselle, and on the corner of Columbia 
and Clinton streets the shop and residence of A. Lintz, shoemaker, and 
just to the right on Clinton Street, the silversmith shop and residence of 
Jean Baptiste Bequette, and a few rods below, on the alley, the residence of 
Captain Dana Columbia, of Canal-boat notoriety. Mr. Madison Sweetser 
kept an elegant dry goods store on the southeast corner of Columbia and 
Clinton streets, and just to the east, in a two-story log house, lived Hon- 
orable William G. Ewing. It was from the logs of this house that Colonel 
George W. Ewing took the canes which he presented to the "Old Settlers, " 
at the Rockhill House, July 4, 1860. Hard by was the dry goods store of 
Sam & William S. Edsall, the tailor shop of Stophlet & Rees, and then a 
frame building, used as a store. On the alley the law office of Lucien P. 



. . . White Raccoon was stabbed . 

March 23, 1872 

Ferry, Esq. , who died amid his usefulness in 1844, and to whom I will also 
refer hereafter. From that to the corner my memory serves me little, 
only, that Thomas Pritchard, an excellent English gentleman, kept a res- 
taurant in that space . . . Washington Hall stood on the southwest corner 
of Barr and Columbia streets, and was the model hotel of Northern Indiana 
for many years. Here congregated travelers and distinguished men from 
all parts, as business called them together, and the "Hall" maintained its 
prestige for many years, until 1839-40, Colonel Spencer, built the Ameri- 
can House, on the lot where now is Wagner and Trentman's building, on 
Calhoun Street, and Francis RoUa built the Lafayette House, the frame part 
of the now Mayer House. This pioneer enlisted in the volunteer service for 
the war with Mexico and died at Seralvo, Mexico, about January I, 1847. 

On the southwest corner of Main and Barr there stood as now, a 
yellow frame building, which has a large history — land officers, canal of- 
ficers, bankers, civil engineers and many others have lived in it. They 
who survive are, like the house, dilapidated by time, but they live in pala- 
tial style, and would not stable their horses in such a rude building. Cus- 
toms improve with advancing time, and old things are destroyed to be re- 
placed with better. Next, this was a low log house amid apple trees — where 
lived the plain old Judy--or Judith Shore . . . Next west of Judy's was the 
residence of L. G. Bellamy, a plain, blunt shoemaker, generally respected, 
now dead- -and next the cabinet shop of Johnson and John M. Miller has re- 
mained ever since. His imposing building, and extensive business furnish 
a lesson to young men — that perseverance, industry, and integrity will al- 
ways accomplish great ends. 

Here ends my description of Fort Wayne as seen on March 6, 1838. 
To those who then lived and survive, it probably has an interest, such as 
early memories always create; and to those who know nothing of what I have 
written, from actual observation, may perhaps be interested as in any 
matter which has passed into the history of the place of their residence . . . 

Epitome- -There were in the town 1838, six lawyers, six preachers 
of the gospel, eight physicians, four drugstores, about fourteen dry goods 
stores, a dozen grog-shops, several tin shops, six carpenter and joiner 
shops, four stone and brick masons, three cabinet shops, six tailors, three 
wagon makers, two bakeries, one brewer, two saddle shops, one printing 
office, one fanning mill factory, one jeweler, one potter, one tinner, one 
banking house, one boat yard, one hatter, three painters, two houses of 
worship, and six religious societies, one court house, and one jail. Tax- 
able value of real estate in town, $500, 0'JO, and in the county about 
$800, 000. Population of the city about 2, 000. 

It was a military post from 1794 to 1819. The town was platted in 
1824, incorporated as a town 1829, and chartered as a city 1840. Popu- 
lation 5, 000 in 1850; in 1860 about 9, 000; and in 1870 about 18, 000. Valu- 
ation of real and pjersonal property in the city for taxes in 1871, about 
$12, 000, 000; county outside the city about $7, 000, 000. 

Canal completed from Fort Wayne to Logansport in 1835; to Toledo, 
1843; Railway from Pittsburgh here 1854; from Toledo 1856; to Chicago 


March 23, 1872 

1856-57; to Muncie and Cincinnati 1870; to Jackson, Michigan, 1870; to 
Grand Rapids 1870; to Richmond, Indiana, 1871. 

The social aspect of the town will be considered in a short Supple- 
ment, in my next, and may be considered as an accompaniment of the pre- 
ceding view of the town of Fort Wayne. 


Number VIII 



Fort Wayne, Monday, March 25, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5 

The Social Aspect of Fort Wayne, 1838 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

The society of the town of Fort Wayne was, at the time of which I 
write, limited. By society I mean those who were not of the canaille, and 
between whom and the latter was observed that distance so necessary at all 
times to give that pre-eminence which mental and moral accomplishments 
always attain in a well-regulated and refined community. The punctilio 
which had attained from long military domination, had so impressed soci- 
ety, the politeness which the French population had infused into it, and the 
unaffected hospitality which early privations had made a necessity among 
the citizens, gave to it not only a high and refined tone, but a character for 
generosity which made it appreciated at home as well as distinguished 

Our citizens were hardy pioneers, but of an elegant class; some 
from Virginia and Kentucky, some from Pennsylvania and Maryland, some 
from Ohio, others from the best society of Detroit and Monroe, Michigan, 
and not a few Knickerbockers, and a sprinkling of "down East" Yankees, 
and combined both Protestants and Catholics, but these "gave up, " and 
those "held not back, " until we formed a homogeneous unity, peculiarly sui 
generis and Fort Wayneish. 

For the want of amusements, which of late years have come to the 
place, we had balls and social parties, when ladies and gentlemen met, at 
evening generally. For the lack of news through the papers, gentlemen 
met at the hotels to relate incidents of the day, and hear the new ore tenus 
from travelers arriving and friends returning from the different towns and 
settlements far and near. Public entertainments, ball, social parties, 
banquets, etc., were gotten up and conducted in a style quite as elegant as 
in any western town. There was a liberality among traders that did not 
descend to pennies. Everything was done on a scale of generosity which 
looked beyond and above a per cent, in the way of "change." We had the 
Spanish, or Mexican coin- -dollars, quarters, halves, eighths and six- 
teenths--the latter, though, sometimes called "levenpences, " and "fips" 
were usually called shillings and sixpences, and according to "York cur- 
rency, " eight shillings to the dollar. A dime would buy two drams, a shil- 
ling would buy no more; but a quarter would buy five drams of the best 
French brandy or old Dayton whisky, decanters of which were then almost 
as common as tumblers and other glassware on our side-boards . . . 

Our pleasure rides for gallantry and past-time, were then taken on 
horseback, in summer, and extended up the St. Mary's River to Chief 


ladies and gentlemen met to relate the incidents of the day 

March 25, 1872 

Richardville's, five miles, and in winter on the Canal in sleighs, ten miles 
west to Vermilyea's. This was the double-log house of Mr. Jesse Vermil- 
yea and lady, who were, I speak from knowledge, quite as competent to do 
the graces of host and hostess as any persons I have ever met. The "bill 
of fare" was always equal to the occasion, and prepared in the very best 
style. This gentleman and lady were equally matched. Mr. Vermilyea 
died on August 8, 1846, at his residence in Aboite Township, lamented by 
whites and Indians, rich and poor, and his lady many years later. 

Our Court days, twice a year, brought together most of the county, 
as did the Fourth of July, which was always celebrated in the spirit of '76. 
Our general elections were then held on the first Monday of August annual- 
ly; and as every elector could vote anywhere in the county, nearly all came 
from the country to town to vote. Strange as it may seem at this time, men 
who had a quarrel to settle, met at the election and fought it out with fists 
and feet. I remember on the first Monday of August, 1838, after nightfall, 
of seeing several hard personal battles fought at the crossing of Calhoun 
and Columbia streets. The blows given sounded like those a butcher fells 
an ox with. 

We had but few books, and those we read and understood well, and 
made a proper application of our knowledge, derived from them. 

Our churches were well attended, and the Sabbath day quite better 
observed then than now. 

Our judges, lawyers, preachers, and doctors, would not suffer in 
the least by comparison with the best today. I knew all these gentlemen 
well . . . 

Honorables Charles W. Ewing, Thomas Johnson, Lucien P. Ferry, 
Henry Cooper, Reuben J. Dawson, of the bar, Lewis G. Thompson, Lewis 
Beecher, Philip G. Jones and Charles E. Sturgis, physicians, and a long 
list of invaluable citizens, non-professional, who then lived here and shone 
in business, and adorned society, have ceased from their labors. Around 
the graves of nearly all the bar of that day have I stood and laid fresh ever- 
greens on the delved earth of their narrow homes. Though those ever- 
greens have faded and those bodies become dust, as often as I am called to 
pay the sad office to a departed brother I renew those memories in that 
spirit of which the new generation feels nothing. How true the allegory: 

"The path of glory leads but to the grave." 

My sketches of Fort Wayne as it was before the present generation 
lived is now ended, and as it is probable that it will not again be attempted 
by any living witness, it will pass into history to be more appreciated as 
time pushes this period into the past . . . 


Number IX 



Fort Wayne, Thursday, March 28, 1872 Page 3, CoL 5-6 

Recollections of Hon. Charles W. Ewing 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

The recent death of John Colerick, Esq., has suggested some mem- 
ories of Judge Charles W. Ewing, which, by my professional brethren will 
certainly be read with great interest. I speak thus positively, because of 
my long acquaintance with the bench and bar of this part of the State. I 
know there has always been exhibited an esprit du corps among them while 
living that made them interested in anything that honorably concerned their 
dead compeers. 

When I came to this town, in 1838, Mr. Ewing was then President 
Judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Though he was very much my senior, 
I was adventitiously thrown into his company very often. I may say truth- 
fully that it was my good fortune to have been, much before my majority, 
the recipient of the favors and good countenance of the first men resident 
and visiting here on public business. I have never ceased to feel under 
great obligations for the information and good advice I received. Judge 
Ewing took an interest in me and gave me his good counsel and friendship 
up to the time of his death. And now, in the thirtieth year after that sad 
event, I take pleasure in testifying to his good qualities . . . 

Prior to the year 1824 Mr. Ewing was located at Detroit, Michigan, 
as a practicing lawyer; and among compeers of unquestionable refinement 
and professional culture he was able to take a distinguished rank ... He 
went to Logansport, I think--and there began the practice of the law under 
very flattering circumstances and with great success. He practiced in this 
place in 1824, for I find that he was appointed by the court Prosecuting At- 
torney, for the term, began on August 9, l824--was appointed First Master 
in Chancery of the same court at the same term and at the August term 
1826; reported a device for the official seal of said court and it was ap- 
proved by Judge Eggleston, of this, the then Third Circuit. Here he prac- 
ticed for several years • . . 

He returned to Indiana after 1830, and began again the practice of 
law with usual success, and so continued till early in the year 1837, when 
he was elected President Judge of the then Eighth Judicial Circuit. He held 
his first term in this county early in March of that year, assisted by Mar- 
shall S. Wines, and associate judge, of whom it is truth to say, that, though 
he was no lawyer, he was so well fitted by nature and education, that he 
would have done no discredit to the bench, had he presided. 

It was at the April term of the same court, in 1838, that I first saw 
Judge Ewing on the bench. Thomas Johnson, Esq., was prosecuting the 


March 28, 1872 

pleas of the State, John P. Hedges was sheriff, and Allen Hannilton, clerk. 
One Asa Crapo was under prosecution and on trial for the murder of an 
Irishman, at Bull Rapids, about sixteen miles down the Maumee River, on 
the Wabash & Erie Canal, there and then in the process of construction. 
He was prosecuted by William Johnson, and defended by Cooper and Col- 
erick, and was acquitted. This trial was so well conducted by the prose- 
cution, and defense, and so well adjudicated by the bench as to create en- 
tire public satisfaction, even amidst the excitement that prevailed. In 
April, 1858, just thirty years after, while I was assisting in the prosecu- 
tion of the pleas of the State, in the Lagrange Circuit Court, as an auxiliary 
to that wholesome movement, the "Regulators, " I found this same Crapo 
one of the file leaders of that terrible band of thieves, burglars, and coun- 
terfeiters that so long infested Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. 

Judge Ewing was by nature fitted for a lawyer, jurist, and gentle- 
man . . . 

In the summer of 1839, Judge Ewing resigned the Judgeship, and 
entered again on the practice of law, taking the lead of his profession, then 
distinguished for its ability, and equal to the brilliancy and ability of any 
period since . . . 

The "maniac thought" rushed over him, and on the morning of Janu- 
ary 9, 1843, the whole city was startled with the appalling intelligence that 
Charles W. Ewing had shot himself with a pistol. His death was almost 
instantaneous. Thus he found the long quiet sleep of the grave . . . 

He fell in the 45th year of his age, universally lamented, and the 
Circuit Court being in session, the Bar, through Lucien P. Ferry, Esq. 
offered a beautiful tribute, which I give as a fitting close to this sketch, to 
show how well and how feelingly our professional brethren of that day spoke. 
I give only a paragraph of his excellence: 

"If we should permit ourselves to speak of his qualities as a man of 
genius and as a lawyer, from the promptings of that friendship which an 
association with him for years, has only tended to cement, we might be 
suspected of indulging in a panegyric of too frequent repetition to be prized, 
and unsuitable perhaps, from its length, to the occasion on which it would 
be offered. We cannot, however, suffer even this opportunity to pass with- 
out testifying to that highly gentlemanly deportment which, characterizing, 
as it did, a long and continued intercourse with us, under all the vicissi- 
tudes and privations incident to our employment, added to a deserved 
prominence as a lawyer, and advocate and judge, can hardly fail to impress 
us with a painful sense of that vacuum which his decrease has occasioned." 


Number X 



Fort Wayne, Wednesday, April 3, 1872 Page 3, CoL 5-6 

Captain William Wells 
By Hon. John W. Dawson 

The subject of this sketch, as one of the pioneers of this place, and 
long ago numbered with the dead, and who fell while defending his country 
against Indian and British invasion and aggression, deserves a notice now 
nearly sixty years since his death. He was a native of Kentucky, and from 
all the early data I can command at this time, was born about the year 1764. 
Volney, the French philosopher, who, during his western travels was at 
Vincennes, and perhaps at this place, about 1796-97, having met Wells at 
Detroit, says: 

"The only person in America capable of giving me the aid I wanted, 
was a man by the name of Wells, who had been made a captive by the Indi- 
ans at thirteen years of age, and, having previously had a good education, 
he acquired an accurate knowledge of many of their dialects, while he lived 
among them. After the victories of Wayne, in 1794, he obtained leave to 
return home, and was at this time (1798) negotiating at Detroit with more 
than seven hundred Indians." 

At another place he speaks of Wells having been with the Indians 
fifteen years, and that he seemed then thirty-two years of age. In another 
part he quotes Wells as saying at Philadelphia that he was taken by the In- 
dians at the age of thirteen years, and was adopted and well treated by 
them. He also says, as Wells often said, that he (Wells) was at the defeat 
of General St. Clair, at Fort Recovery, Ohio, in 1791. This data will put 
the date of his birth about 1764, his capture about 1777, and his exodus 
from them about 1795. 

During his life with the Indians he married the sister of Little Tur- 
tle, then the great war chief of the Miami Indians, who inhabited the upper 
branches of the Wabash, and whose language was spoken by all the tribes 
of that river — Weas, Piankeshaws, Peorias and Kaskaskias, and in which 
dialects he was perfect. This marriage was brought about by the kindness 
of the same squaw, who early after his capture saved him from a barbarous 
death, which the Indians had designed to inflict upon him. It was with the 
Turtle that Volney found him at Philadelphia, and after Turtle's conviction 
that all efforts against the United States were fruitless, when he was en- 
deavoring to get the assistance of the Government and the Society of Friends 
to aid him in his laudable intentions of subsistence by tilling the soil. The 
separation of Wells and Little Turtle took place some time before that, and 
after Wayne's victory. When Wells was leaving the Indians, he took Little 
Turtle with him to a "Big Elm" tree three miles east of this. This tree 


April 3, 1872 

was long called the "Post Office" from the fact that a party from the Fort 
celebrating the Fourth of July under it, met the Express with the mail from 
Detroit and the officer in command of the garrison then present opened it. 
At this tree the two being about to part Wells told Turtle that they had long 
traveled the same road together, and in one interest, but now they must 
separate- -that he would henceforth act with the whites, and if they in future 
met they must be arrayed against one another; that he loved him and the 
Indians who had always treated him so well, but the whites were his kindred 
and nation, and he felt constrained to act with them in future. With this 
they separated- -but Turtle soon found it proper to follow Wells and was 
ever after known as a friend to the whites, but was greatly distrusted by 
the Indians; and for his good offices to the government, he was amply re- 

By this marriage with Little Turtle's sister he had four children, 
viz.: Ann, Rebecca, Mary, and William Wayne Wells. These perhaps, 
were all born before 1800, and before his exodus from the Indians. On his 
exodus and return to Kentucky, he married a white lady, the issue of which 
marriage, as far as I can learn, was Yelverton P. Wells. These half-Indian 
children were well taken care of and sent to Kentucky for education, and 
when educated, returned and took and held a fine social position among our 
best people. They were Christian ladies, and at the house of Ann, who 
very early married to Dr. William Turner, Surgeon's mate to the United 
States Army at this post, religious service was first held here. She and 
her sister Rebecca, who had married Captain James Hackley, also of the 
United States Army, having very early — prior to 1820 — joined the Baptist 
Church under the labors of Reverend Isaac McCoy, a missionary to the In- 
dians at this post. These two ladies, Mrs. Turner and Hackley, were of 
the first members of the Presbyterian Church, organized here on July 1, 
1831, by Reverend James Chute, of the Presbytery of Columbus, Ohio. The 
other and youngest daughter of Captain Wells married Judge James Wolcott, 
of Fort Miami, near Maumee City, Ohio, who died in March, 1843. 

William Wayne Wells was educated at West Point, as a cadet from 
Kentucky — graduated with honors--was appointed to a lieutenancy in the 
U. S. Army, and died in early manhood. 

Captain Wells was a very useful person to the United States, and 
was an excellent interpreter. He was early appointed a captain of the spies 
and lived on the east bank of Spy Run, just north of the foot of Clay Street, 
at the old orchard, at the north end of the long embankment on Spy Run 
Avenue. For his good offices to the United States, the Congress granted 
him the right to pre-empt, or buy at $1. 25 per acre, a half section of land 
in the forks of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph rivers, but he having died be- 
fore the entry, it was laid off by survey and his children entered it, hence 
the name of Wells Pre-emption applied to the land in the forks of these 
rivers, erroneously called "Wells Reserve." He was atone time Indian 
Agent at this place under the appointment of the United States. He went 
from here with some forces, in August, 1812, to relieve the garrison at 
Chicago, Fort Dearborn. The fort having been evacuated by the improvi- 



now we must separate . . 

April 3, 1872 

dent conduct of Captain Heald--the little garrison set out for Fort Wayne, 
Captain Wells with it. He and nearly all the men were massacred three 
miles this way from the fort on the Lake Shore, on August 15, 1812. The 
scalp of Captain Wells was taken by an Indian, Pee-sa-tum, his heart taken 
out, cut to pieces, and distributed among and eaten by the Indians. His 
mutilated remains were then taken by one Billy Caldwell, and buried in the 
sand, over which now the city of Chicago is built. 

This 320 acres of land was, about 1825, divided among five of the 
children of Capfain Wells, viz.: Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Hackley, Mrs. Wol- 
cott. Lieutenant William Wayne Wells and Yelverton P. Wells. 

In connection with this division of the land, I will note a tragedy 
which occurred. Captain Hackley lived prior to the partition, on the north 
bank of the St. Mary's in a line with Clinton Street, now a part of the City 
Park, and Mrs. Turner on the east side of Spy Run, and before the partition 
took place it was agreed that if the lot of either should be assigned to the 
other, then they would quit claim mutually so as to let each remain in statu 
quo. But when this assignment was made Mrs. Turner drew Captain Hack- 
ley's part, and refusing to exchange, moved in with Captain Hackley. This 
enraged him and it seems he resolved to take her life and after it his own. 

On a certain evening there was a party given for the children at 
Colonel Hugh Hanna's in town, and which Captain Hackley attended and en- 
joyed much. While there he delivered two letters to a Mr. Daniels with 
instruction to deliver them the next night precisely at 12 o'clock, one to 
General John Tipton, (afterwards U. S. Senator) the other to Mr. Kercheval. 
He returned from the party, and on the next night he told his wife to stay in 
a certain room and not to follow him. He then went to Mrs. Turner's room 
and seeing from his countenance that he intended harm and knowing of his 
ill will, she sprang out of a window and escaped. He then went to a small 
room near by and hanged himself. At the appointed hour General Tipton 
and Mr. Kercheval received the letters and were informed thereby to go at 
once to Captain Hackley's house. Suspecting something tragic they took 
Dr. L. G. Thompson with them and hastened to the house. They found 
Mrs. Hackley alone in a close, dark room to which Captain Hackley had 
directed her. On further search they found Captain Hackley quite dead, 
hanging by the neck. He was buried in his own allotment, and not a hundred 
feet east of my present residence on Spy Run Avenue, and where I am 
chronicling his death over half a century after it transpired. This was in 
the year 1826. He left two children- -Jack W. and Ann--who are the re- 
servers each of a section of land granted them by the Miami Indians, by 
the treaty of Paradise Springs, near Wabash, Indiana, in the fall of 1826. 
These two sections of land lie on the east bank of the St. Joseph River — 
one at the mouth of Cedar Creek, the other two miles below. In this county 
Mrs. Turner died a widow and without issue, hence her allotment descended 
to Mrs. Wolcott. 

Ann Hackley, the daughter, and Jack W. Hackley, the son of Re- 
becca, were well known here. The former married Nathan Farrand, a 
merchant, and surviving him married Mr. Blystone. Jack was about my 


April 3, 1872 

age. 1 knew him well, and went to school with him. They were both well 
respected here, and having moved many years ago to Kansas, I suppose near 
the lands left with abundant property, neither seemed capable of even pre- 
serving it from improvident sale, and I apprehend both died poor. 

At a fitting time I shall notice the great Chief Little Turtle, whose 
Indian name was Me-chi-can-no-quah, sometimes spelt, Mesh-e-kun-nagh- 
quah, pronounced Mish-e-cun-no-quah, accent on first and fourth syllables. 


Number XI 



Fort Wayne, Friday, April 5, 1872 Page 3, CoL 5 

The Flagpole 
By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

Relics are always sought after! The older they are the better! To 
those who have faith, spurious ones are just as good as the genuine, and 
for that, they might pass as real; but when the truth of history is involved, 
then the real is alone of consequence. 

These suggestions are prefatory to some remarks made in the ga- 
zette a few days ago, on the piece of wood which Mr. Thomas Stevens had 
taken from a stump of a pole found in the rear of his lot, on the northwest 
corner of Clay and Berry streets, and said to be the stump of the veritable 
flagpole of old "Fort Wayne." Now a few sentences on this subject by way 
of "Charcoal Sketches" may be of interest to our people. 

The first fort erected here in 1794 by General Wayne, was a very 
rude one, built of round logs. It is quite probable very nearly on the same 
spot that the next one was built in 1804, which latter certainly occupied the 
same ground that the one did built by Major Whistler, under order of Gen- 
eral Armstrong, Secretary of War in the year 1815. It was a very excel- 
lent one, and was evacuated in 1819. The presumption that commands the 
approach of the three rivers, is at the boat landing. Near by there was a 
very fine spring of water which supplied the garrison until a well was sunk 
when the second fort was built, and which may yet be seen giving forth its 
free and pure water from the bank of the Maumee just below the south end 
of the river bridge. In the center of the esplanade, and very nearly at the 
same spot where Peter Riser's "liberty pole" stands at this writing (lot 40, 
Taber's Addition — now owned by the city) was the flagpole of the "Post, " 
when the "Post" was evacuated, and even up to 1840 or later. This is as 
much as 250 feet from where Mr. Stevens is said to have found the stump 
of the "old flagpole, " and that much further from the bank of the river, and 
from the spring. These data, added to the fact that no timber of the size 
of a flagpole — cut green and set in the ground could endure with any identity 
for a period of seventy years and upwards, leaves the stump which was so 
lately found, void of the interest which would attach to it were it the veri- 
table stump. 

A fact in political history may throw some light on the subject. It 
is a matter of history so notorious that needs scarcely an allusion thereto, 
that this place was the scene of much of General Harrison's early military 
life. He was a subaltern in the army of General Wayne, an aid-de-camp 
in the family of that General prior to 1795, Secretary of the Northwestern 
Territory in 1797, delegate in Congress from the same in 1799, appointed 


April 5, 1872 

Governor of Indiana Territory by President John Adams, in 1801, and ex- 
officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs; commanded at the battle of Tippe- 
canoe, in 1811; raised the siege of Fort Wayne, September 12, 1812; Fort 
Meigs and Thames, 18 13; later a Senator of the United States, from Ohio; 
and in November, 1840, elected President of the United States of America by 
the heartfelt voice of a large majority of his grateful countrymen. It was 
during this campaign in the summer of 1840 that, on the square on which 
Mr. Stevens lives (then vacant), immediately in front and south of the Fort 
grounds, that many ash poles were raised by the Whigs in honor of General 
Harrison; and the Democrats hickory ones in honor of President Van Buren, 
then a candidate for re-election; and this was repeated with but little less 
ardor in 1844, in the contest between Henry Clay and James K. Polk for the 
Presidency. Indeed during these two contests those of proper memory will 
call to mind that this place, as others in the West, ran up so many poles, 
that the traveler approaching the town was reminded of the spars of ship- 
ping in some harbor. And I am not inclined to doubt that it is one of these 
political poles the stump of which Mr. Stevens has mistaken for the rem- 
nant of the flagpole of the ancient fort at this place. One of the same kind 
in my opinion, may be found at the southeast angle of Columbia and Calhoun 
streets, which was planted there by the Whigs in 1844. It was so large that 
no garrison of men seventy years ago could have elevated, for the want of 
facilities to do it with, and it is not improbable that the size of the stump 
in question, so lately unearthed, on close inspection will be found so large 
as to leave us to infer that so large a pole was unnecessary at a small fort 
in the Indian country, 180 miles from fair settlements, and that it was not 
in the power of the garrison to have raised so large a one. 


Number XII 



Fort Wayne, Saturday, April 6, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

Early Masonic History — Wayne Lodge, No. 25. F. A. M. 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

Turning today from biographies and recollections of the pioneers of 
Fort Wayne, which have occupied my attention for a fortnight under the cap- 
tion of "Charcoal Sketches," I propose in this issue of the SENTINEL to 
give a brief of the rise and progress of Wayne Lodge, No. 25, of this an- 
cient and useful order, up to 1847. 

On March 2, 1823, and before the organization of Allen County, 
Grand Master John Sheets, resident at Madison, issued a dispensation, at- 
tested by Secretary William C Keen, Grand Secretary, also residing at 
Madison, to Alexander Ewing, Worshipful Master, John P. Hedges, S. W., 
and Benjamin Cushman, J. W., together with all such brethren as there- 
after might become members, to organize a lodge to be known as Wayne 
Lodge, No. 25, in the town of Fort Wayne, Allen Couniy, Indiana. The 
dispensation was presented by Worshipful Alexander Ewing, to a meeting 
of Masons held in this place in May of that year (1823), at which meeting 
there appeared, in addition to those entrusted with and named in the dis- 
pensation. Captain James Hackley, Benjamin B. Kercheval, Master Masons, 
and visitors Master Masons General John Tipton, of Pisgah Lodge, No. 5, 
of Corydon, Indiana; Anthony L. Davis, of Franklin Lodge, No. 28, of 
Kentucky; Richard L. Britton, of St. John's Lodge No. 13, Ohio; John Mc- 
Corkle, of No. 14, Ohio; and Robert A. Forsyth. On reading the dispen- 
sation, the lodge was opened in the first degree in ancient form — consisting 
of Alexander Ewing, W. M., John P. Hedges, S. W. and secretary pro 
tem, B. Cushman, J. W., James Hackley, treasurer and S. D. pro tem, 
and Benjamin Kercheval, S. and T. pro tem. On June 6, the next meeting 
was held, at which the W. M. appointed Charles W. Ewing, secretary; 
James Hackley, S. D.; Robert Hars, J. D.; B. B. Kercheval, T.; and Wil- 
liam Hedges, S. and T. 

Thus constituted, this Lodge proceeded to work under the same 
authority until November 17 of the same year, under a dispensation of 
Grand Master, Thomas Douglass, of Madison, dated October 10, General 
John Tipton, afterwards U. S. Senator from Indiana, instituted the said 
Lodge in due form. Alexander Ewing, secretary; A. L. Davis, treasurer; 
J. Hackley and H. G. McKean, deacons; and James Wyman, S. and T. The 
first regular election took place on the Christmas of that year, and General 
Tipton was chosen the first elected Worshipful Master after its organiza- 
tion. The first application for degrees was unanimously rejected. General 
Tipton was re-elected in June, 1824 and again on December 6, and re- 


April 6, 1872 

elected each successive term till June 3, 1828. The first initiated member 
of this Lodge was Lambert Cushois, August 6, 1824. The first celebration 
of St. John's Day was held June 24, 1825--General John Tipton, orator. 
First public installation of officers, December 27, 1825, at the house of 
Hugh Hanna. The first Masonic burial May 26, 1826 — the body of Captain 
James Hackley, who committed suicide by hanging — as I noticed in the 
DAILY SENTINEL. This burial of a felo de se, though out of order, was 
given to gratify the widow, who as I have already said, was a half Indian 
daughter of Captain Wells, a Christian, and intelligent lady, and generally 
respected. This was an act becoming the order — they could not serve the 
dead — but would relieve the distressed. On June 24, the order had their 
first public dinner, prepared by Alexander Ewing. At the meeting held 
June 27 the brotherhood appropriated fifty dollars for the relief of Captain 
James Riley, a brother Mason then in great affliction from disease, and 
then in the town en route for the East for medical aid. This is the Captain 
Riley who laid out Willshire, Ohio, and surveyed all the lands in this region 
as well as a large body in Ohio, and to whom I referred in the first part of 
my "Sketches." He came here from Willshire in March of that year, by 
boat on the St. Mary's River, in order to have the benefit of constant medi- 
cal attendance. Here he stayed until early in July, and then was removed 
on a feather bed, lying in a boat, and proceeded down the Maumee. In the 
SEQUEL to his NARRATIVE, page 26, he adds: "With my son James and 
proper attendants on board, we cast off, and was accompanied for several 
miles down the river by the Masonic Fraternity, who extended their broth- 
erly kindness as far as possible, and are entitled to my warm and grateful 
consideration." He reached Fort Meigs on July 5, sailed for Detroit and 
reached New York on the 24th. 

Here I will correct an error, made in my first notice of Captain 
Riley, wherein I state that he died at Magadore. It was on March 13, 1840, 
that he died on a voyage from New York to St. Thomas, and within two 
day's sail of that port. He was on the 18th committed to the deep, blue 
sea, "on whose bosom he had spent so many years of active enjoyment, as 
well as of toil and peril." 

The next death after Captain Hackley, was Alexander Ewing, the 
father of William G. Ewing, Charles W. Ewing, Alexander Ewing, Jr., and 
George W. Ewing, all now dead. This event took place January 5, and his 
burial was on January 27, 1827. Joseph Holman was elected Master, in 
June, 1828, and was succeeded by Dr. Lewis G. Thompson, December 1, 
1828; he by A. L. Davis, June 1, 1829; he by Colonel Hugh Hanna, January 
23, 1830; he by Absalom Holcomb, June 7, 1830; he by Samuel Hanna, June 
6, 1831; he by A. L. Davis, December 1, 1831; he by Captain Henry Rudi- 
sill, February 20, 1833; he by Major Samuel Edsall, June 10, 1833, at 
which meeting a committee, theretofore appointed, reported that they had 
sold the Lodge lot and premises for $1,328. This lot was that on which 
Hill & Orbison's warehouse stands, at the west end of Columbia Street, 
north side, on the Canal Basin, and the house was a two-story brick, com- 
pleted about mid-summer, 1830. 


April 6, 1872 

From June 10, 1833, after a labor of ten years, the lodge ceased to 
work. It was reorganized and worked a few years between that and the 
year 1840, of which, it is regretful to say, no record is left of the proceed- 
ings--human memory alone can tell, and only a very few of those who know, 
live to bear the testimony of what was done. 

On March 3, 1840, after public notice given to consider the propri- 
ety of again setting to work, a meeting was held, at which, Henry Rudisill 
presided as W. H.; Samuel Edsall, S. W.; H. B. Taylor, J. W.; C. E. 
Sturgis, secretary; F. Comparet, treasurer; T. Daniels, S. D.; William 
Rockhill, J. D.; and A. Holcomb, T. It continued to work prosperously 
until the autumn of 1847. Then failing to report its dues to the Grand Lodge, 
its charter was suspended and the lodge ceased to work. On July 4, 1849, 
its charter was restored and it proceeded. It was just on the eve of this 
suspension in 1847 that Joseph Johnson and myself were entered, passed, 
and raised, but of which there is no recorded evidence; the only memoranda 
in my possession, being a receipt of Secretary Samuel H. Shoaff for $15 
initiation fee dated May 14, 1847. Mr. Johnson and I were offered together, 
but my case was put over for a while to enable Judge Samuel Stophlet and I 
to reconcile a "bout" which we had in the very "nick of time." It grew out 
of my opposition to the nomination of Judge Bluffton, and will form the sub- 
ject of another sketch, in connection with Judge Swing's celebrated Coon- 
skin bill. He had theretofore endeavored to get through the Legislature, in 
order to check-mate the American Fur Company in its opposition to his 
firm in buying furs in Indiana. 

In closing this sketch, I have called the roll of all who are named 
in it, and only Mr. Shoaff, Captain William Stewart and Peter Kiser sur- 
vive . . . 


Since the foregoing was in type, a few thoughts have occurred to me 
on the same subject, and which are deemed of such consequence in this 
connection that they are added: 

Wayne Lodge 25, was organized within the pickets of the "Old Fort" 
in a room at that time occupied by General Tipton, and in the same room 
the Order worked for some time thereafter — then in a room in Washington 
Hall, southwest corner of Barr and Columbia streets, and indifferent places 
thereafter, until the society had built and occupied Masonic Hall. The rea- 
son that the Lodge ceased to work was the result of the anti-Masonic feel- 
ing which, though a mere lad, I remember. Public opinion in the United 
States grew wild, and the storm swept on like a furious hurricane, causing 
every opposition to fall before it. This feeling grew out of the abduction of 
Morgan, at Batavia, New York, by a few over-zealous Masons, because he 
published what was called an exposition of the secret work of the Order. 
This abduction caused no excitement in Canada, just across the line, be- 
tween New York and that Dominion, but in the United States political dema- 
gogues seized on it, and it became the rally cry of one party, while the 


April 6, 1872 

friends of the Order had to succumb, and the work, therefore, was re- 
tarded many years, even until public mind returned to its polarity. 


Number XIII 



Fort Wayne, Wednesday, April 10, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

The Siege of Fort Wayne — Antoine Bondie, a French 
Trader — Me-te-a, a Potawatomi Chief 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

Immediately after the massacre of Chicago, in August 1812, the 
Potawatomi Indians who were engaged in that treacherous deed, spent some 
time on the Big St. Joseph. At the instigation of the British Emissaries, 
they determined, by a simultaneous movement, to lay siege to Fort Wayne, 
and Fort Harrison (Terre Haute). At this time there lived very near the 
fort, a trader by the name of Antoine Bondie. He was of French descent, 
about fifty years of age, and had lived among the Indians since he was a 
boy of twelve years. He had married a squaw, conformed to Indian customs 
and life, and was recognized by the Miami tribes as one of their number. * 
The hostile tribes respected him and desired to save him from the destruc- 
tion which the siege would cause, as they had no doubt of the massacre of 
the garrison. They sent Me-te-a, a Chief, to his cabin at night, to inform 
him of all that had transpired, and all that was contemplated, and enjoining 
great secrecy. They offered to furnish him with pack horses to remove 
him and his family and goods beyond the reach of the guns, to a place of 
safety. This was not declined; but the next morning, Bondie, accompanied 
by the post interpreter, went to Major Stickney, Indian Agent, very early, 
and, exacting strict confidence and secrecy, informed him of what had 
transpired. The agent doubted the story. He hesitated what to do in a case 
which involved such serious consequences if the story of Bondie should 
prove true. He sent a note to Captain Rhea, in command of the garrison, 
desiring a meeting in the esplanade, so that no one might overhear what 
was said. By him Bondie was suspected of mendacity. This more embar- 
rassed Major Stickney, who then sent for Bondie and repeated, and it now 
remained for the agent to pass the matter and incur the danger of siege by 
the Indians and British, or report the information without his official belief, 
which would bring no relief. He chose to hazard his reputation by assuming 
it to be true, and so informed Captain Rhea. He (the agent) had just re- 
ceived a dispatch from Governor Harrison from Vincennes, saying that he 
was going to Cincinnati, where he must be addressed if necessary, and that 
he should send one express to him at Cincinnati, and another to Captain 
Taylor (afterward General, and President of the United States), commanding 
at Fort Harrison. Returning to his office, Major Stickney began making 
preparations to dispatch his messengers, when Captain Rhea requested him 
to delay until he could write to the Governor of Ohio, advising him of the 
report. With this Major Stickney complied, and expresses were sent to 


. . . Bondie and Me-te-a 

April 10, 1872 

Governor Harrison and Governor Meigs. 

Now active preparations were commenced for defense — ladies and 
children were sent off to the frontier. Within a few hours the savages drew 
their guards around the fort. On the 5th of August, Major Stickney was 
quite sick, and so remained for twelve days, and was then taken from the 
agency house to the fort for safety. Here it was ascertained that Bondie's 
story was true, and he and his family, also, had moved into the fort for 
safety. The warriors began to assemble about the fort in large numbers. 
It was now evident that they expected to get possession by stratagem. They 
seemed to await an opportune moment to force the sentries, but this the 
sentinels did not allow. Stephen Johnson, a clerk in the U. S. Factory 
Store, feeling solicitous for the safety of his wife, and accompanied by 
Peter Oliver and a discharged militiaman, attempted to elude the vigilance 
of the Indians and visit her. They left at 10 o'clock at night, but when about 
half of a mile from the fort, he was fired upon by six Indians and instantly 
killed. The other two retreated to the fort. Johnson was tomahawked and 
scalped, and stabbed in twenty-three places, and otherwise abused. His 
body was brought into the fort by White Raccoon, a Miami chief, at the in- 
stance and under the pay of Bondie. Not till the treaty of Greenville of 1814 
was it known who the murderers were. They proved to be three Potawato- 
mi, as indicated by White Raccoon. The Indians continued to commit dep- 
redations for some days, but evidently were anxious to delay until the Brit- 
ish arrived. They used many devices to effect a capitulation; among others 
was the firing off of a hollow log, which Parish, a half-breed Potawatomi, 
had contrived, in order to create the belief in the fort that British aid had 
arrived. This incident is related on the authority of General Leslie Coombs, 
of Kentucky, who was present, and who related it in the fall of the year 
1847, at the dinner table of Henry Clay, to a party of gentlemen whom I 
met there while I was attending law school at Lexington — consisting of 
Judge George Robertson, so long Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of 
that State, yet lingering in the dim twilight of life--Morton McMichael, of 
the North American, Philadelphia, Mr. Coombs, yet living green old age 
and Judge Horace P. Biddle, of Logansport, Indiana. The Indians, among 
other things, kept a white flag which was sent them to be used as a signal 
of truce several days — and until the agent told them they had dirtied it and 
he would not allow them to retain it any longer. The next day the whole 
body moved up the fort bearing the flag. The agent went to the gate and 
designated the chiefs to be admitted, and who on entering one at a time 
were disarmed and examined. The thirteen followed the agent to his sleep- 
ing quarters. The agent sent a note to Captain Rhea requesting that the 
guards should be paraded and kept under arms. During the conference 
tobacco was given the chiefs. When the smoke began to get out, Winnemac, 
a Potawatomi chief, arose and began to speak to the effect that they had no 
hand in the killing of Mr. Johnson; that it was the conduct of their young 
men, and that these had taken the soldiers' horses, etc. "But," continued 
Winnemac, "if my father wishes for war, I am the man." Here he struck 
his hand upon his knife, which was concealed under his blanket. Seeing 


April 10, 1872 

the danger, Bondie jumped to his feet quickly, and, striking his knife, said, 
"I am a man, too, " and became very pale. Winnemac cast his eye toward 
Ann-ouk-sa, their principal chief, who was near a window, and in full view 
of the guards and saw a look of disapprobation. The stratagem had failed. 
It was afterwards ascertained that the plan was, when Winnemac repeated 
the words, "I am a man, " that he was to kill the agent. Other chiefs were 
each to rush into the officers' quarters and kill them, while others would 
force the gates and let in the whole Indian force. In a few days a Mr. Wil- 
liam Oliver, a sutler to the fort, who bore dispatches from General Harri- 
son, arrived from Cincinnati. He had pursued his way alone by the way of 
Wapakoneta, from whence he was accompanied by four brave Shawanese 
Indians, and in broad day light entered the fort in haste with a yell--having 
sent his guards back. Oliver brought the glad news of General Harrison's 
march to the relief of the fort. 

Captain Rhea talked of surrendering — was constantly drunk; and but 
for the courage and sobriety of his subordinates, all would have been lost. 

Suffice to say that General Harrison arrived on September 12, and 
relieved the garrison with about 5,000 men. Charges were preferred 
against Captain Rhea, and a Court Martial ordered by General Harrison. 
The evidence heard, he was thought guilty of drunkenness, and that his 
commission ought to be taken from him. General Harrison gave him the 
alternative of a resignation on account of his age and long service. This 
was accepted and he left the army. 

Having now shown what important service was rendered by Antoine 
Bondie to the little garrison of sixty-eight men, besieged by the Indians, 
and which service saved their lives and certainly thousands of others, who 
would have been massacred, had Fort Wayne fallen, I shall in the next 
give a sketch of Me-te-a who was wounded at the Five-mile swamp, by 

*Bondie lived in a cabin near, or on the very spot where the Fort 
Wayne Gas Works are built. There was a Government Factory house and 
blacksmith shop where Berry Street is, between Lafayette and Clay streets. 
The former stood near where Mr. Randall's new house is built, and the 
latter at the precise point where Judge Carson's residence is, and the re- 
mains of which I saw dug out when he was building that house. There were 
also four or five log cabins located near the southwest corner of Lafayette 
and Main streets, used by Mr. Bourie, father of Captain John B. Bourie, 
and other buildings around the Fort, most of them burned by the garrison 
in a calm time, in order to prevent the Indians from firing them when the 
wind should be in the direction of the Fort, besides others which the Indians 
maliciously burned. There was also a ten-acre field, fenced with common 
rails, at, and very contiguous to, the southeast corner of the Fort, used 
by the garrison for a pasture for the horses belonging to it. There was 
also some cornfields over the Maumee, adjoining where the bridge is now. 


April 10, 1872 

Major Mann of General Harrison's army as it came to the relief of the 
garrison on September 12, 1812. 

and a farm, of some forty or fifty acres, owned and occupied by the white 
widow and family of Captain William Wells, who had been the month before 
massacred at Fort Dearborn, Chicago. On this improvement of Captain 
Wells, were very comfortable buildings, a good orchard, plenty of stock, 
and several negro slaves, which the Captain had brought theretofore from 
Kentucky. The family and slaves and all the movables that could be re- 
moved, were secured at the Fort, but the houses were burned by the Indi- 


Number XIV 



Fort Wayne, Friday, April 12, 1872 Page 5, Col. 5-6 

Me-te-a, Potawatomi Chief 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

Me-te-a was a war chief of the Potawatomi Indians, who inhabited 
the region in the immediate north and northeast of Fort Wayne, and was in 
the meridian of his power influence and strength in the war of 1812. His 
villages, at the date of the siege of Fort Wayne, and for ten or fifteen years 
afterwards, were on the Little St. Joseph River. One was at the mouth of 
Cedar Creek, where Cedarville is now located. The marks of cultivation, 
such as corn-hills, I saw very distinctly in October, 1838, the first time I 
passed up the St. Joseph River. The other on the same (west) side of that 
river, just above the Feeder Dam, on what is called the Bourie Section, a 
tract reserved to John B. Bourie, by the treaty of Paradise Springs (Wa- 
bash, Indiana), in 1826, and which may be seen as noted on the elegant 
county map, just published by the present efficient County Auditor, Henry 
J. Rudisill. The former, that of Cedarville, was the continuation of the 
Indian town which was destroyed by General Hardin, who was detached by 
General Harmar, in October, 1790, for that purpose. At that time he also 
destroyed another town, at what is now Spencerville, DeKalb County. Re- 
turning by the way of Eel River (the crossing of that stream by the Trace, 
to Fort Dearborn, as then and afterwards traveled, now Heller's Corners), 
he was there lamentably defeated. To retrieve the disgrace of this, the at- 
tempt was made to recover the Miami, or Omee towns, and resulted in 
Harmar's defeat, just below the city, and on the bottom between the St. Jo- 
seph and Maumee, on October 22, 1790. This reservation of Mr. Bourie 
was described "so as to include Chop-pa-tee village, " and is that which 
was called by the whites Me-te-a's village, as I suppose. 

General Harrison hurried forward with his troops to raise the siege 
of Fort Wayne, on September 12, 1812, as stated in my last sketch. Me- 
te-a and a few braves planned an ambuscade at the "Five Mile Swamp, " in 
Adams Township, where the Wayne Trace crossed it and at the place where 
the County Road ran and has for a great many years crossed--southeast of 
the city, about five miles, having made an ambush on each side of the 
Trace in a narrow defile where the troops would crowd together of neces- 
sity. Behind it, they laid in waiting for the arrival of the army. But Major 
Mann, a spy and avant courier discovered the ambush in time to save ef- 
fusion of blood. Me-te-a had taken his position behind a tree, but left his 
elbow exposed as it laid across the breech of his rifle which rested on his 
left shoulder. This having been discovered by Major Mann he instantly 
took aim and fired. The ball took effect and broke the arm of the chief, as 


April 12, 1872 

the Major at once discovered. Hoping to capture him, he set chase after 
Me-te-a who having gathered up his disabled arm, cried "Ugh! Ugh!" and 
fled. By extraordinary exertion, he eluded the Major, hastened to the Fort, 
and informed the besieging Indians of the approach of the army in time to 
enable them to leave without loss that afternoon, before General Harrison 
entered the sally ports of the fort. 

The arm of Me-te-a was so injured, the bone so shattered, that 
though the laceration healed perfectly, the bone never united; hence there- 
after the forearm hung powerless and useless at his side. 

He often afterward took pleasure in repeating the incident, and was 
ever ready to accord great praise to Major Mann for his activity and brav- 
ery. It was supposed if the men who were with Major Mann had been as 
quick and courageous as he, that Me-te-a would have paid with his life and 
scalp the penalty of attempting to carry out his ambuscade. 

He was a brave, generous and intelligent Indian, and described, by 
those who best knew him, as an orator, reasoner, and practical man. He 
evinced all these qualities at the treaties in which he took an active part. 
In addition he was vivacious and witty. 

He lived in this region as is known from 1800 until 1827. He came 
to his death by poison, said to have been surreptitiously administered by 
some malevolent Indians who were unjustly incensed at him for his firm 
adherence to the terms of the Treaty of Paradise Springs in 1826. The Pot- 
awatomi had yielded a claim to a large body of lands in that and this region 
--which perhaps were based on an implied admission on the part of the Mi- 
amis, of a right in the Potawatomi growing out of the use of it for many 
years by the consent of the Miamis. The poison was said by some Indians 
to have been the root of a shrub with a red berry like the sumac --while 
others supposed it to have been the root of the May apple. The night before 
his death, he was discovered to have been so poisoned; and so deadly was 
the effect of it, that his tongue was swollen to such an extent that it pro- 
truded from his mouth and filled it so as to cause suffocation. Shortly after 
his death he was buried in a sand hill at the west end of Berry Street, over- 
looking the St. Mary's River- -and which sand hill was until recently at full 
height, but now levelled. The remains of great numbers of Indians scat- 
tered wherever sand and debris has been needed to bring to grade low 
places, and over which handsome residences are built and happy domestic 
sports are held, regardless of the dead that "lie beneath, in dust and 
ashes. " 

Soon after this burial, Dr. Lewis G. Thompson, one of the then two 
and only physicians and surgeons of the place, desiring to learn if possible 
the identical cause of Me-te-a's death, in company with some other gentle- 
men of the place proceeded in the night to raise the body for dissection and 
examination of the stomach and lungs. At the very moment when Dr. 
Thompson had opened the chest of the dead Me-te-a, and thrown back his 
breast bone, a noise was heard. The company thought it to be Indians, and 
as they knew the savages were greatly hostile to such disinterments, they 
were at once panic stricken. Quickly blowing out their lights, they fled to 


April 12, 1872 

the brush, to await the denouement. False as the alarm proved to be, they 
were nevertheless suspicious of the nearness of danger. So returning to 
the grave they reburied the body, and returned none wiser, leaving that 
body to rest and, forgetfulness by the march of civilization. In conclusion, 
there comes a musing spirit in regard to the Indians. Their day is past; 
their fires are out; the wild deer no longer bound before them; the plow is 
in their hunting grounds; the ax rings through the woods, once only famil- 
iar with the sharp crack of the rifle; the shrillness of the war-whoop is 
supplanted by the shriller whistle of the locomotive, and the canoe by the 
steamer or the sail vessel. Their springs are dry; civilization has con- 
sumed all these as fire devours flax. Truly, "Time destroys to renew, 
and desolates to improve." 


Number XV 



Fort Wayne, Tuesday, April 16, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

Imprisonment for Debt- -Jail Bounds — Appraisement Laws 

By Hon. John W. Dawson 

I do not doubt that there are many who will read this sketch, who 
will remember the time when in Indiana, there was a law, by which a debtor 
could be imprisoned for debt, on a capias ad satisfaciendem commonly 
called ca. sa. , and which, now so long out of use, I will give in substance 
as from a Justice of Wayne Township, that it may be better understood: 
State of Indiana, Allen County, Set: 

To any Constable of Wayne Township, Greeting: 

(After reciting the time when, and the amount of the judgment and 
costs, before what magistrate, and who in favor of, and whom against, and 
that an execution had issued on the same, of such a date, against the goods 
and chattels of the defendant, in the proper county, and that it had been 
duly returned, no goods and chattels of the defendant found whereon to levy, 
and that the execution remained unsatisfied — the ca. sa. proceeded:) 

"You are therefore commanded that you take the body of said Henry 
Reed, to satisfy said Charles Minnie, the debt aforesaid, together with in- 
terest and costs and accruing costs, and commit the said Henry Reed to 
the common jail of said county, there to be detained until said debt, inter- 
est and costs be paid and satisfied, or he be otherwise duly discharged. 
And of this writ make legal service and return. Given under my hand and 
seal this 3d day of July, 1833. 

"Francis Comparet, J. P., (Seal.)" 

On the receipt of such a writ, the constable arrested the defendant 
and committed him to jail, and if he were not able to pay for his keeping, 
the plaintiff became liable for the same. The jail had separate apartments 
for debtors and criminals- -the former was called the debtor's cells, and 
the latter the criminal's cell or room. 

Under this law the Circuit Court had the power to prescribe what 
was called "prison bounds, " or "jail bounds, " and I find on the Order Book 
of the Allen Circuit Court, for the November Term, 1833, Judge Gustavus 
S. Everett presiding, that his Honor fixed the jail bounds within a limit of 
six hundred yards in every direction from the County Jail (then on the south- 
west corner of the public square), and where that limit reached the St. 
Mary's or Maumee rivers, those streams within that distance were the 
"limits," and the County Surveyor was ordered to establish the "bounds." 
How the law was enforced against debtors in Allen County, those who don't 
otherwise know, may deduce from the following report of the Grand Jury, 
made at the August Term, of the Circuit Court, 1826, at which Honorable 


April 16, 1872 

Miles C. Eggleston presided, then resident of Madison, Indiana; Amos 
Lane, Prosecuting Attorney, then resident of Lawrenceburg, Dearborn 
County, Indiana: 


We, the Grand Jury, empaneled for the county of Allen, and State of 
Indiana, after examining the county jail, are of the opinion that the crimi- 
nal rooms are not a place of safety for persons committed thereto; that the 
debtor's, or upper department of said jail, is not in a suitable condition 
for the reception of debtors, for want of locks, floor, and bedding. 
John P. Hedges, Foreman. 

August Term, Allen County, 1826. 

"Without lock, stock or barrel, " said Aunty Sanders, "that gun is 
dangerous. " But Sam "couldn't see it, " and without lock or floor a debtor's 
prison was most certainly not dangerous. This law of imprisonment for 
debt (without fraud first established) I know was rarely ever executed. In 
my memory I know but a single instance, and that was in 1831, in the town 
of Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, while I was a schoolboy residing with 
Colonel John Spencer, my brother-in-law, then Sheriff and Jailor of that 
county. The "jail limits" were fixed to enable the debtor, on giving surety, 
to go from jail, but not beyond the "bounds, " and if he did, the surety be- 
came liable for the judgment and costs on which he had been committed. 
This was in February 1838, amended, or rather a new one enacted by which 
the "prison bounds" were extended to the limits of the county, which was 
certainly quite a liberal "beat" for a debtor, either of the couldn't or 
wouldn't pay kind. 

This law was a restraint on the man of small means, warning him 
not to go beyond his ability. It was a greater restraint on the dishonest 
class, at this day, most numerous, who find their way to their neighbor's 
goods or pockets and keep their gains, by beating the latter on execution, 
and exemption laws, which are very convenient for those men who are as 
ready to commit perjury as a toper is to tip off a tumbler of rum. 

In the olden time of which I write, the exemption law allowed the 
head of the family, to claim free from execution as follows: "One Bible, 
one cow and calf, one bed and necessary bedding therefor, household and 
kitchen furniture not exceeding in value ten dollars, one chopping ax, one 
weeding hoe, one spinning wheel, and one reel, and necessary provisions 
to supply the family two months." The whole sum not to exceed $50. How 
changed, now $300. 

The imprisonment clause was rarely resorted to; and though it may 
have been occasionally used as an engine to oppress the honestly poor man, 
the oppression in that direction did not approximate the injury which un- 
scrupulous debtors did to credulous creditors when they overreached either 
by their protestations of honesty or by their deceitful appeals, aid in pre- 
tended extremity. Possibly there may have been cases in the county and 
elsewhere, of hardship under the law, but I have never learned of such. I, 
however, have known a thousand cases where debtors have been so crimi- 
nally derelict that such a law would seem to have been the sine qua non. 


April 16, 1872 

However imperative and dead was this law by reason on nonenforcement of 
the imprisonment clause, it was eagerly seized on by those who were too 
poor to get trusted for even a farthing, as well as those who by fraud sub- 
sisted on the earnings of others. Politicians, snuffing the breeze, made it 
a hobby and it was repealed in January, 1842, I think. 

Another law soon followed whichwas of the same piece! Magistrates 
before this had jurisdiction of the persons to summon any creditor from 
any part of the county in any action of debt not exceeding $100 and costs. 
But this was also regarded as oppressive. A clamor was also raised against 
it, and the merchant or trader who, at Fort Wayne, sold goods to a farmer 
in Perry Township, was compelled to go there to sue him. If he were a 
non-resident of the county, then the township law did not prevail. But this, 
too, was repealed; and any resident of the state could and can, when sued 
out of the township of his residence, plead the matter in abatement and de- 
feat the suit. 

The popularity of this township law was such, that any man who was 
thought to oppose it, suffered in public estimation. I recollect that in 1842, 
at a special election, Thomas Johnson, Esq., a gentleman of elegance and 
merit, was defeated for the Legislature from Allen County, owing to an 
unfounded report set afloat that he was against it. 

Existing with this law was the appraisement law of February 1841, 
making it obligatory on sheriffs, and constables, to appraise all property 
levied on and when offered at sale unless it brought way two-thirds of the 
appraised value, it should not be struck off, but the officer was required 
to return the writ, reciting that it was not sold, because no one bid the 
requisite amount. This was made to relieve against the financial embar- 
rassment which had come upon the country, to save men who were in debt 
from being rendered wholly bankrupt by execution plaintiffs, who might, 
for a nominal bid, under the old law, take a farm a hundred times in ex- 
cess of their claims, because there was no surplus money to buy with. 
This law, however, was in 1844 decided by the Supreme Court of the United 
States to be unconstitutional, so far as was intended to affect contracts ex- 
isting when it was passed, but constitutional and valid as to all subsequent 
contracts, and that the judgment plaintiff had a right to the benefits of the 
law regulating the remedy for collection existing at the time his contract 
was made. The case went up, on a certificate of division of the Judges of 
the Circuit Court of the United States for Illinois, on a similar question, 
arising under a like law of 'Illinois — the case of Hayward vs. McCracken, 
as I quote from memory. Out of these have grown our present appraise- 
ment laws, and that authorizing the maker of a note or contract to waive 
in writing the benefit of that appraisement, on execution of property by 
distress and sale. 

I have thus given the history of legislation on these matters, to show 
the reader that reform and progression are not synonymous, and I close 
the sketch with a few thoughts of my own on the subject matter. When the 
question of abolishing imprisonment for debt was up for discussion, I con- 
fess that I imagined the old law a cruel one, although I had seen no evi- 


April 16, 1872 

dences of its hardship, in application. But since that time, I have seen so 
many thousand cases where it was as hard to distinguish between the intent 
and circumstance of obtaining the goods of another forming the contract, 
and obtaining the goods of another forming the contract, and obtaining goods 
under false pretense, as it is to tell the point d' appui, where one color of 
a rainbow ends and another begins. I say I have seen so many such cases, 
partaking quite as much of crime as of contract, that my confidence in my 
early convictions in regard to imprisonment for debt, in some cases are 
shaken. Indeed, my experience has satisfied me that legislation has run, 
not to protect men of property, so much as to propitiate the insolvent. 
Plaintiffs in civil cases are put to a disadvantage in court, just as the State 
of Indiana is in criminal cases. Defendants in both cases have the advan- 
tage, by reason of legislation, and Judges and officers are often blamed for 
what is the fault of law-makers. But most people do not distinguish. Some 
of these measures were, without doubt, proper and necessary in their day; 
but as in those cases the reason for this enactment has ceased, the law 
ought to be altogether to suit the existing condition of mien and things to 
meet the evasions and abuses which experience has shown have been prac- 
ticed. Trade and wholesome business enterprises which have been crip- 
pled, and in some instances nearly checked, by imprudent legislation, 
would at once go forward with an elastic bound. 

Number XVI 



Fort Wayne, Monday, April 22, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5 

An Indian Murder--A Miami Kills an Ottawa, 1824-- 
Oqua-nox-as, and Ottawa Chief, Demands Reparation 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

It was a custom among the Indians of this region, which attained as 
early as the year 1800, to assemble annually at Fort Wayne, to receive the 
annuities which, under prior treaties, the United States had stipulated to 
pay them. As the autumn was a more propitious season of the year for that 
purpose, large bodies of the various tribes inhabiting this part of Indiana 
and Northern Ohio, were congregated here 1824. The various bands had 
taken up quarters as convenience suited in the neighborhood most conven- 
ient to water, and other advantages, which their necessities and roving 
habits required. These occasions were great epochs in the history of In- 
dian life, and served them to date the passing of time. Besides serving to 
bring these savages together to exchange the civilities of such a life, it en- 
abled them to procure whisky, which, though the bane of their life, was 
purchased at any price which the seller might have the temerity to ask. 
On this occasion, while on a drunken frolic, one of Raccoon's party — a 
Miami- -deliberately stabbed and killed a young Ottawa Indian. As soon as 
his victim fell, the Miami gave a loud whoop, and setting himself down by 
a tree, brandished his long knife, and invited in a defiant tone, any one to 
come and kill him who might desire to do so. This was designed to bring 
others into collision with him, and in that state of desperation he would 
have killed or been killed. The Ottawas were greatly enraged at this, and 
spread the news through the camps of all their tribe, located on the waters 
of the Auglaize and Flat Rock. They left their hunting grounds represented 
by several hundred warriors, under their war chief Oquanoxas, (pronounced 
Oc-a-nox-y, ) and advanced in the direction of Fort Wayne, to demand rep- 
aration in money of the Miamis for the killing of the young man, or in de- 
fault to settle it by resort to arms. This is with Indians, as it was with 
our Anglo-Saxon ancestors long ago, and the custom was not abandoned till 
the night of barbarism had long passed. The Indians would first require 
compensation, and that being awarded, the outrage was cancelled, just as 
one punishment expiates a violated law at this day. These warriors having 
ended their march, pitched their camps on the south bank of the Maumee, 
just below the point which I now designate as the first lock on the Wabash 
and Erie Canal east of this city, and tarried there for the night. On the 
morning following, Oquanoxas and a few of his warriors came to the village 
(now city) of Fort Wayne. They sought and obtained a conference with the 
Miamis, through their great Chief John B. Richardville, whose Indian name 


April 22, 1872 

was Pe-she-wa, or Wild Cat. They demanded of Pe-she-wa $5, 000, in sil- 
ver, and unless promptly adjusted, they asserted that they would immedi- 
ately attack the Miamis. This greatly alarmed Richardville, who saw the 
unprepared condition of the Miamis from a sudden attack from the Ottawas, 
and he set himself to work at the earliest moment to prevent a collision 
which would, as it seemed to him result in so much bloodshed and cruelty. 
His first step was to call a council of his head-men and sub-chiefs, such 
as could be apprised by speedy notice. In the council they resolved that 
they would allow the $5,000, out of the next annuity due the Miamis. It 
should be paid the Ottawas by the Indian agent. This the Ottawas accepted, 
and by a contemporaneous sub-agreement between the parties, the late 
Judge Samuel Hanna and Captain James Barnett delivered to the Ottawas 
goods to the amount of $5, 000. They took from Richardville and his head- 
men, a guarantee that that sum should be retained for them out of the Mi- 
ami annuity, and it was accordingly done. 

This adjustment put an end to this fearful excitement which pre- 
vailed among the whites, created by the fear that Oquanoxas, who was noted 
for his bravery and impulsiveness would begin a bloody war on the Miamis. 
This fear may be justly measured, when it is known that there was no mil- 
itary force nearer than Newport, Kentucky. Before relief could come from 
that place, extermination would have been the fate of the one or the other, 
and that, in the blind and bloody carnage, many whites in villages and in 
feeble settlements, would have suffered death or pillage. 

It is said by those who knew Richardville, the Chief, intimately, 
that he evinced unusual fear lest he should fail in his effort to placate the 
Ottawas--and be compelled to defend against the bloody attack which they 


Number XVII 



Fort Wayne, Thursday, April 25, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

The First Marriage in Fort Wayne--Doctor Edwards 
to Miss Hunt, 1803 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

The announcement of marriages are now so common in Fort Wayne 
that they excite interest only when the parties or perhaps one of them, are 
wealthy or connected with wealthy families. This only excites interest 
when the ceremony is imposing or the parties make it so by extravagant 
cards and more extravagant dress, or when the newspaper, now the educa- 
tor of the people, comes to their relief. But the marriage of Dr. Edwards 
to Miss Hunt, 1803, nearly three score and ten years gone by — the first 
that ever was celebrated at this place by persons of our own race, make it, 
at this day, a matter of interest to all. I have therefore chosen it as the 
subject of a sketch. 

The bride was the daughter of Colonel Thomas Hunt who served un- 
der General Wayne at the storming of Stony Point, during the Revolutionary 
War and father of General John E. Hunt, long resident of Maumee City, 
once Postmaster of Toledo, and brother-in-law of General Lewis Cass. He 
(Col. Hunt) also served under General Wayne in his expedition against the 
Indians on the Maumee River, and was afterwards promoted and left in 
command of Fort Defiance for about eighteen months, and was from thence 
ordered to Fort Wayne. 

While here he obtained a furlough and in 1797 brought his family 
from Boston to this place, where his son General John E. Hunt was born, 
April, 1798. Here he remained until the death of Colonel Hamtramck (who 
built the Fort) which occurred about the year 1799, upon which Hunt was 
promoted to the Colonelcy of the old 1st Regiment, and ordered from Fort 
Wayne to Detroit. There he remained until 1803, and then was ordered with 
his regiment to Bellefontaine, Missouri, a small military station a few 
miles above St. Louis, on the Mississippi River. There he commanded 
until his death in 1807. 

When he was on his way from Detroit to Bellefontaine, with his reg- 
iment coming up the Maumee River with fifty Montreal batteaux, and when 
he was nearing the landing at Fort Wayne, the commanding officer. Captain 
Whipple, was standing beside the Surgeon's mate. Dr. Edwards when the 
latter remarked to him, "Cap Whipple, that is a fine looking girl, " pointing 
to a daughter of Colonel Hunt, then with the family on a boat and about to 
land. It seemed that the daughter at the same time saw Dr. Edwards and 
remarked to her mother that, "That is a good looking young man." 


. . 1803 marriage of Dr. Edwards & Miss Hunt 

April 25, 1872 

Suffice it to say that here, in an Indian country, at a rude military 
post, with no etiquette other than that of elegance which the punctilio of a 
soldierly life demands and enforces, and with no society other than that a 
few officers and soldiers formed, these two young people formed and ma- 
tured an attachment in less than a fortnight, which in that time resulted in 
their marriage. This event was celebrated, perhaps, by the chaplain of 
the post--if not, then by a civil contract between them by the solemn rec- 
ognition of the relation of husband and wife. The most distinguished guest 
at this wedding was Five Medals, a Potawatomi chief, whose village was 
then on Elkhart prairie, now in Elkhart County. This Indian was there by 
his own solicitation, to gratify his curiosity to see a marriage in civilized 
life- -so strangely in contrast with the purchase of a wife among his own 
savage race. It was said that he exhibited great pleasure in witnessing it. 

The happy couple soon left on their bridal tour for Bellefontaine, 
and this hurried courtship and marriage, I am credibly informed, resulted 
in great happiness. Time wore on. The renowned victories of peace came. 
Dr. Edwards and his early and excellent sweetheart and wife, exchanged 
military life for that of civil, and the last I heard of them they were living 
in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the full fruition of the delights of their fortui- 
tous meeting and romantic love and marriage . . . 

Indiana had but two years before this marriage been organized as 
Indiana Territory, and hence there was really no civil jurisdiction exer- 
cised here at Fort Wayne at the period of which I write, (1803). This really 
remained so for many years thereafter. This place was conceded to be in 
Knox County, the seat of Justice of which was at Vincennes, then the seat 
of this Territorial Government and in fact so remained until many years 
later. Even in 1816 when an election was held for the election of delegates 
to form a State Constitution by a Convention at Corydon, Harrison County, 
this place was represented therein by John Badolett, John Benefiel, John 
Johnson, William Polk (who was Receiver of Public Moneys at this place 
under President Harrison, and died here), and Benjamin Parke. So late, 
even, as 1816, it was not known by the residents here, in what county Fort 
Wayne really was, so that Captain James W. Hackley, whom I have here- 
tofore noticed, desiring to marry Rebecca Wells, half-Indian daughter of 
Captain William Wells, sent to Piqua, Ohio, for a Justice of the Peace, and 
they were married by him. 


Number XVIII 



Fort Wayne, Saturday, April 27, 1827 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

Incidents in the Life of Judge William Polk 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

In my sketch of the 24th, the name of William Polk was incidentally 
alluded to, as one of the pioneers of this place, and a statement made that 
he was appointed Receiver of Public Moneys at this place, which being 
wrong, I correct it by saying, that it should have read that he was appointed 
Register of the Land Office for the Fort Wayne Land District. 

With this correction, it is proposed to make Judge Polk* the subject 
of a brief sketch. The living owe it to their distinguished dead to perpetu- 
ate their memories, and the interest in such increases as passing time ex- 
tends the period between the transpired event and the present. 

William Polk having figured so conspicuously in early times, it is 
peculiarly appropriate to notice him while passing in review the events of 
the past of this place. 

He was a native of Virginia, born in 1775, and at seven years of age 
moved with his father's family to Nelson County, Kentucky. The country 
then was not emerged from the dangers of savage barbarity and warfare. 
In a very few years after his advent there, he and his mother and three 
sisters were taken prisoners by the Indians, deprived of nearly all their 
clothing which their captors burned, and in the exposed and destitute con- 
dition were conveyed through the wilderness to Detroit. There they re- 
mained about one year, and were then, through the interposition of friends, 
released and returned to their home in Kentucky. The outrageous treat- 
ment which they had in the beginning of their captivity received from the 
Indians incited young Polk to avenge it. At the age of nineteen he enlisted 
in the army commanded by General Wayne, and proceeded through North- 
western Ohio, via Fort Defiance, with that army, and was present at the 
location of the place where General Wayne ordered Colonel Hamtramck to 
erect a fort on September 18, 1794. 

While here he received an injury from a fall which disabled him for 
some time. He, however, returned to Kentucky and there remained until 
about 1808, and then removed to Vincennes, then in Indiana Territory (Knox 
Co.), where he was again exposed to the dangers incident to frontier life. 
The Indians were now making depredations on defenseless settlers, in vio- 
lation of their treaty of friendship concluded at Greenville, in 1795--incited 
by Tecumseh. Judge Polk felt again called on to enlist, and did so under 
General Harrison, who marched from Harrison (near Terre Haute) up the 
Wabash. On November 7, 1811, he encountered the combined Indian forces 
at Tippecanoe, and though victorious, suffered terrible loss. At this battle 


April 27, 1872 

Judge Polk was wounded. 

He was a member of the Constitutional Convention which framed the 
first State constitution in I8l6--representing, with others named in the 
preceding sketch, this region then in Knox County. He was often after a 
Representative in the State Legislature — was in 1830 appointed Commis- 
sioner of Michigan road, (a great thoroughfare constructed by the State, 
beginning at Michigan City and passing Plymouth, Rochester, Logansport, 
to Indianapolis, and then by Shelbyville, Greensburg, Napoleon, and to 
Madison, on the Ohio River), a trust which he performed efficiently and 
honestly. Those now living, who in a early day had occasion to pass the 
Michigan pioneer, recall him as a hospitable host at the crossing of Tippe- 
canoe River in Fulton County. 

On the election and inauguration of General Harrison as President 
of the United States, that illustrious patriot remembered the brave Polk, 
his former companion in arms, then in his 66th year, and appointed him 
Register of the Land Office at this place- -a position which perhaps was 
then worth a salary of $500, and prerequisites another $500, on which he 
subsisted until April 20, 1843, when he died, and was buried by our citi- 
zens with the honors of war. 

•Judge Polk, while living here, called on the venerable Mrs. Laura 
Suttenfield, and invited her to accompany him, and he would show her with- 
in a few feet of where General Wayne struck his sword and ordered Colonel 
Hamtramck to place the flagpole and build a fort around it, as he did. This 
point Judge Polk designated about the centre of Main Street, a hundred feet 
west of where the west line of the Fort-lot now strikes the street. This, 
perhaps, will settle a disputed point, as nearly as it is possible to do now. 


Number XIX 



Fort Wayne. Tuesday, April 30. 1872 Page 3, CoL 5-6 

Recollections of Counselor Cooper 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

I have no means in my power to derive minute information relative 
to the early life of Henry Cooper. Esq.. deceased. What was once familiar 
in regard to the scenes of his boyhood and early manhood, as often related 
to me, have, owing to the faithlessness of human memory, been forgotten, 
hence the reader must be satisfied with a leaf from memory, which is here 
and there left in my mind. 

Mr. Cooper was a native of Maryland. He early chose a sea-faring 
life, during which service he visited many parts of the world — as I have 
often heard him relate. Whether by nature or habit acquired. I know not, 
but in him were combined as much courage and as tender feelings as in any 
other man I ever knew. Those of us who used to travel with him through 
this Judicial Circuit, as well as they who so often journeyed with him from 
here to Indianapolis to attend the Supreme Court of Indiana, and the Circuit 
and District Federal Courts, also held there, well know, and can verify 
what I say in regard to his courage and benevolence. So remarkable was 
he in the latter quality, that whatever was pathetic in the ordinary course 
of judicial proceedings, or whatever was calculated to appeal to the finer 
feelings of gentlemen of the bar, were sure to suffuse the eyes of Mr. 
Cooper with tears, and break down his voice from the deep emotions that 
were excited within his great rugged, but noble breast. One might, now 
and then, begin a smile at this weakness, but so purely and so heartfelt 
and unaffected his utterances, that we all, from grave to gay, found our- 
selves of a sudden drying our eyes and hushing the tremendous emotions 
which stole into our breasts ere we were aware. 

When he came here, I do not know but it was at a very early day. 
He was occupied as a schoolteacher a part of the time — at one time in that 
capacity he presided over a school in the old county jail. He was admitted 
to the bar to practice as an attorney and counselor at law at the second 
term of the Allen Circuit Court begun and held on June 6, 1825 at the house 
of Alexander Ewing--which court was presided over by Honorable Bethuel 
F. Morris — Judge Samuel Hanna, Associate. I think he had lived some 
time prior to his advent here, in Kentucky, and it was while there perhaps, 
he became acquainted with Miss Mary, daughter of Judge Silver, of North 
Bend, Ohio, and whom he afterwards married. On reaching here he seemed 
to have two warrants for the location of lands, commonly called "Canadian 
Warrants." The owner had agreed with Mr. Cooper, that he would give 
him one for locating the other. He did this and located his own on a quar- 


April 30, 1872 

ter section just west, halt of a mile, from where New Haven is, in this 
county- -the farm now owned by Mr. Beugnot. There he began to make an 
improvement at a very early day. By the aid of borrowed books, which he 
read by night fires kindled by brush and logs, he acquired muchof that legal 
knowledge for which he was in later years justly celebrated. His industry 
and proverbial honesty, added to his professional qualifications soonbrought 
him a lucrative practice. From this he was able to purchase valuable 
property, the rise in the value of which, in a few years placed him in good 
circumstances. With the Judges and officers of court in this region and 
with the members of the Bar, he stood high and was justly entitled to be 
called "Father of the Bar" of Fort Wayne, and it was cheerfully accorded 
to him. He was most remarkable for the fullness of his knowledge of the 
law, precedents and judicial decisions. He could call from his memory the 
general law on almost any subject — and refer to the current of authorities 
wherein a given case had to be adjudicated. Nevertheless, he did seem to 
lack the faculty to make such discriminations between the case before him 
and the one decided in the books as was equal to his reputation and profes- 
sional standing. 

His domestic habits were of the purest order . . . his home was a 
paradise which anyone might envy. His wife and three children were idol- 
ized; but in April 1815 she died, and then came days of woe, which I saw 
with sorrowing heart and tearful eyes; and which I omit further noticing. 
Many jokes are told of him, and, indeed, he was fond of one whether he or 
another was the subject. A joke was played on him on the occasion of a 
party of lawyers leaving here on horseback for the Supreme Court at Indi- 
anapolis. It was arranged that all should start together, but Mr. Cooper 
was slow, and the rest of the company started ahead. On reaching the 
forks where the Indianapolis road leaves the now gravel road, they con- 
ceived a joke to play on Mr. Cooper. They requested every teamster or 
traveler whom they might meet going into Wayne, to tell the old gentleman, 
whom they would meet, riding a sorrel horse and wearing a drab greatcoat, 
that they, the gentlemen ahead, had requested that he should be informed 
that they had found his tar bucket! This acted like a charm. It was told to 
Mr. Cooper so often by travelers meeting him, that when he saw any one 
approaching he would spur up "Old Charley" and give no opportunity for a 
further repetition of the joke. How he treated the "boys" when he caught 
up with them, will be well imagined by those who know him, and who yet 
live. I, however, will not attempt a description. 

The political campaign of 1840, between General Harrison and Pres- 
ident Van Buren, was perhaps the most hotly contested one that the country 
ever witnessed, and caused great mortification to the Democrats here and 
elsewhere, when it was known that General Harrison was elected. Mr. 
Cooper, being an ardent Whig and a friend of General Harrison, and his 
wife, a distant relative of Mrs. Harrison, felt great joy at the result. In 
this mood, on a certain sunny day, soon after the result of the election was 
known, he was seen passing our principal streets carrying a lighted lantern 
and looking carefully into the by-places as he went along. This conduct 


April 30, 1872 

called out the inquiry as to what he meant by it. He replied: "I am hunting 
for a Democrat." The joke was well enjoyed by all, Whigs and Democrats. 
Since that period, Whigs and Democrats alike have witnessed defeat. Whigs, 
strange to say, have mostly adopted views on slavery which were invari- 
ably then disclaimed by their leaders. They have gradually been committed 
to arbitrary measures and constitutional interpretations which would have 
made ship-wreck of the party had it dared to avow them then. But lest some 
over-zealous Republican friend of mine may take issue with this assertion, 
I will introduce the platform of principles adopted at Baltimore, May 1, 
1844, and on which Henry Clay was nominated for President. Once a Whig, 
I know whereof I speak, and my "Charcoal Sketches" will not be marred by 
this bit of history. 


1. An honest and economical administration of the Government. 

2. A sound currency, of uniform value. 

3. Fair and moderate, but certain and stable encouragement to all 
branches of industry. 

4. Peace and union; peace as long as it can be preserved with hon- 
or; preparation for vigorous war when it is inevitable; union at all hazards. 

5. Men only of character, fidelity and ability appointed to public 

6. Just limitations and restraints upon the Executive power. 

7. A distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands 
among all the States, on just and liberal terms. 

8. A just administration of our common Constitution, without any 
addition to, or abstraction from, the powers which it fairly confers, by 
forced interpretation. 

9. The preservation exclusively by the States of their local and 
peculiar institutions. 

On every living principle of that platform every Old Whig of the 
Clay and Webster school ought this day to stand. I may say that the 7th 
text is out of existence, but the rest are what every Democrat in the land, 
avows in opposition to General Grant's administration policy — and is the 
very sentiment which on May 1, 1872, will be avowed in Convention at Cin- 
cinnati, Ohio, by the Liberal Republicans of the whole nation in protesta- 
tion of the misrule and threatened despotism of President Grant and his 
dangerous advisers and dependents, and with a like declaration of princi- 
ples every Democrat in the land ought to be, and I hope is, in accord. 

Turning now to Mr. Cooper: I said in outset — that he was brave, 
and so he was. Caesar was no braver. On a cold Saturday afternoon in 
April 1743, Mr. Cooper, David H. Colerick, Esq., and myself after the 
adjournment of the Spring Term of the Noble Circuit Court, held at Augus- 
ta — where I a few weeks before had located in the practice of the law — 
started from Augusta all bound to Fort Wayne. Our afternoon repast was 


April 30, 1872 

light, our whisky not plenty nor good. Mr. Cooper had his sorrel horse 
"Charley" that was brave and strong enough for any occasion. Mr. Col- 
erick was riding his excelsior roan "Charley, " and I on a poor old gray, 
borrowed of that celebrity of Augusta, Charles D. Shearer. The roads 
were bad, winds high, and evening cold. I, from necessity, had a rear 
position, and hence could see my companions in danger. The road was 
new, and the wind drove the decaying bark in loads from the trees. Coo- 
per would rarely dodge, but Colerick seemed to have not as much liking 
for such things as his "Charley, " and would now and then dodge as quick as 
a bird, while I was unobserved, but not a little concerned. It was dark be- 
fore we reached Heller's Corners, and time hung heavily, from cold, fa- 
tigue and hunger. Our great anxiety was, how to cross the St. Mary's, then 
near midnight. We reached the river at the foot of Calhoun Street. We 
found when we got to the south end a deep sheet of water from there to where 
the County Jail stands. The embankment was narrow and the water of 
doubtful depth. Above, below, and around was a sheet of swift water. Dan- 
ger, it seemed, was just ahead. We held a breathless parley in pantomine. 
Cooper soon spurred "Charley" into the flood. Colerick's "Charley" ad- 
vanced breast-deep, and instinctively turned back; but, as of a second 
thought, turned and followed Cooper. My gray followed the roan, and 
there we were. Though I had no children nor wife to mourn my death, as 
they had, I felt that there would be a funeral transpire in this city very 
soon. Cooper seemed to rely on "Charley's" power, and when Colerick 
limbered his legs up along the back of his "Charley, " I supposed he felt 
that it was no time to swap horses while crossing a stream. I could rely 
nothing on my horse, if he should get below the road, and felt that my only 
safety was in my warm blood and strong young limbs, and resolved to make 
the best of what God had blessed me with. But the two Charley's and Gray 
proved equal to the occasion, and bore their grateful riders to the safe 
side of Jordan. As soon as terre firma was reached Mr. Colerick ejacu- 
lated, thanks for deliverance. Cooper laughed at his implied fear--put 
spurs to Charley, and soon we were in the city- -and parted hoping no more 
to be compelled to imperil our lives in that manner. It was perhaps the 

In a few months I left my practice in Noble County, and returned 
here, and was the daily companion of Mr. Cooper till 1848, when ill health 
compelled me to quit the place . . . 

On the morning of March 26, 1853, he died. On the same day at a 
meeting of the Bar of the place, appropriate resolutions were passed and 
ordered to be spread on the order books of the Circuit and Common Pleas 
Court, but I regret to say that this was omitted. 

In conclusion I may say that if all the members of the Bar of this 
region who knew Henry Cooper, were consulted, and they who are dead 
could speak, and they should direct me to write on his humble gravestone, 
it would be contained in these words: 



Number XX 



Fort Wayne, Monday, May 6, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

The Names of Our Rivers and Creeks 
— Their Origin and Meaning 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

The title of my Charcoal Sketch for today was suggested by a per- 
version of a name which appears on the old Allen County map, published in 
I860, by R. J. Skinner Middleton Strobridge & Company, and intended to 
designate a creek which takes its rise in Springfield Township and flows in 
a southeasterly direction through the south half of Scipio Township, across 
the line between Indiana and Ohio, and into the Maumee River in the neigh- 
borhood of Antwerp, though on the opposite side of the river. On the map 
it is written in plain letters "Mary Delome, " and this name may serve the 
purpose of recognition, as well as any, but it is always best to preserve 
names in their purity, that ultimate confusion may be avoided. To this end 
I will make the proper correction of the perverted name of the stream. 
The respective names of our rivers, creeks and prairies were given prin- 
cipally by the French explorers, at so very early a day only a faint gleam 
is left in the tradition that no written record is extant, and hence of the 
times. The imperfect record of the time so long gone by having been lost, 
I meet with the same difficulty that historians and antiquarians, and even 
translators, have met whenever they have attempted to present to the living 
present the truth of bygone years. 

These French explorers attempted always to give names to streams, 
to places and natural aspect of which was novel or distinguished, and to 
villages, settlements and prairies, which had an appropriate signification. 
Hence, the creek known on the map of Allen County, as Mary Delome was 
distinguished for its marshy character; and as the elm tree was by far the 
most abundant of the woody growth, on it, the French gave it its appropri- 
ate and significant appellation- -Marais, meaning a swamp, and de Lorme 
Elm, and therefore when written in one term, is Marais de Lorme, or Elm 
Swamp Creek. This should be corrected on future maps, and the proper 
names re-established in common use. 

As a matter of history, it is quite in place to give a name to another 
stream, or rather revive an old and nearly forgotten name of the creek 
which the traveler will cross as he shall pass over the road from this city 
to Huntington on the south side of Little River and its marsh, on the farm 
of Mr. Horney Robinson, a pioneer whom I have known to reside there for 
over thirty-four years, in Section 36, Township 30, Range 11. This creek 
was in early day regarded as a place of safety for the neighboring Indians 
to which they sent their women and children when they went to war with 


May 6, 1872 

other tribes. Therefore, the Canadian French, who from time immemorial 
mingled largely with the Indians, gave this creek the name, La Coulee des 
Enfants, the run or creek of the children; or to render it into more accept- 
able English, it may be written Children's Creek. The creek beyond that 
on this same road is properly called Langlois Creek, from Peter Langlois, 
a Frenchman, who early lived among the Miami Indians, was adopted by, 
and married among them, and who was, in 1861, still living, a resident of 
Tippecanoe County, Indiana. He received his annuity from my hands when 
in that year I was Special Agent, appointed by the United States to pay the 
Miamis, who were resident in Indiana and Michigan, and who were exempt 
by the last Treaty of the Miamis from removal to Kansas. 

Merriam's Creek, which takes its rise in the west part of Marion 
Township, and empties into the St. Mary's River in Section Six of that 
Township (29. 13), took its name from that of a pioneer, Adolphus Merri- 
am. He settled on that stream and entered the land at its mouth. He died 
at an early day. I find that on November 24, 1825, Judges Hanna and Cush- 
man (associates) confirmed the letters testamentary which had in vacation 
of the Allen Circuit Court been granted by the Clerk. As a matter of his- 
tory, this was the first judicial exercise of probate power in Allen County, 
and this Court continued to exercise such power in Allen County until late 
1829. Then the powers were transferred to a created Probate Court, and 
William G. Ewing commissioned seven years from September 10, 1829, 
and was succeeded by Hugh McCulloch, June 20, 1834 — hence the origin of 
their respective titles as Judge. 

The name Aboite applied to the creek and township of that name. 
The stream takes its rise in Lake Township, and runs south through Aboite 
and enters Little River at the Northwest corner of township 29, range 11 
Lafayette. Aboite is an ancient name, and its origin is obscure. It was on 
this stream that La Balme--a native of France, was defeated in 1780 in 
making an attempt from Kaskaskia, (111.), against the British post at De- 
troit. He went from Kaskaskia to Vincennes, was joined by a small rein- 
forcement, and then moved up the Wabash. He directed his efforts to re- 
duce a British trading post, then standing at the head of the Maumee (Fort 
Wayne). He plundered the traders and some half-breed Indians, and re- 
turned from the post and encamped on Aboite. The Miamis attacked him 
that night, a few of La Balme's men were killed; others escaped, and the 
expedition failed. This is the first mention I can find of the stream, but its 
name in that form has remained unchanged. The oldest French here give 
me to understand that as it was a muddy, stagnant, miry and filthy creek, 
it was called Aboite, because of its sloppiness. This seems to be the best 
evidence of the origin of its name. However, on enquiry I find in the French 
idiom no word like this, signifying sloppiness. But there is another hy- 
pothesis which seems to imply something of the same nature when fully 
considered. As it was a sloppy and miry place, and its crossing consid- 
ered dangerous and deathly, it might have been regarded, figuratively, as 
a river, to cross which was certain death- -no retreat therefrom- -the very 
point where life would end, and death begin. The traveler reaching and 


May 6, 1872 

entering into such a stream, would be understood, in French parlance, to 
be aux abois, like lawyers say of a man just at the point of death, in ex- 
tremis, or perhaps, as medical men say in articulo, that is, gone to that 
point between life and death from which there is no retreat or recovery. 
Taking these two suppositions, we can readily see how this muddy and un- 
safe stream might originally have been called the Aux Abois, afterwards 
the prefix suppressed, and finally razed until by long use it became Aboite. 
With these reflections I, for the present, leave the subjects named 
in the caption of this sketch, promising to pursue the investigation as to 
other rivers and places in the county, at an early period. 


Number XXI 



Fort Wayne, Monday, May 20, 1872 Page 3, Col. 5-6 

Marais de Peage, Commonly Called Prairie du Parsh, 
in Aboite Township 

By Hon. J. W. Dawson 

Those who have lived here for thirty years, and even many of later 
residence hereabouts, are familiar with the name of "Prairie du Parsh, " a 
small stream, two branches of which are crossed by the Huntington State 
Road, on the Southeast quarter of Section 13, Congressional Township 30, 
N. Range 11, E., or Civil Township, Aboite, now the farm of George Bull- 
ard, about four miles southwest of Wayne. This name is more commonly 
applied to the marshwhich the little streams drain. Both marsh and streams 
were in an early day, and even now, so swampy and marshy as to nearly 
forbid a passage across. Like nearly all French and Indian names origi- 
nally given streams and places, the name has been so corrupted as to de- 
fy, without investigation, any correct knowledge of the meaning. In fact, 
scarcely any two persons use the same name to designate it. It is, there- 
fore my purpose to clear away the debris, so as to discover to the public 
not only the true original name, but to give the signification of the words 
which constitute it, in order that it may go accurately into history. 

The French very early made use of the Maumee River to this place, 
then found in the possession of the Miami Indians, to transport their goods, 
etc. , then by the portage or carrying place from the St. Mary's across the 
land to the first navigable point on the Little Wabash, or Little River, and 
so on, by boat down the Wabash to the Ohio River. In 1734, Captain M. 
De Vincennes, of the French army, came up to this place, then called, in 
the Miami dialect, Ke-ki-ogue, and found it in possession of the Miamis. 
It was regarded as "the key of the whole country below." He then descended 
the Wabash to the very mouth of the Wea Creek, a few miles below where 
Lafayette now stands. There he established a post, and called it Ouiotanon, 
and then to a place called Chippe-Cake (or Brushwood town), and there he 
built a fort, which was called Vincennes. 

At the great treaty held at Greenville, Ohio, in August, 1795, Little 
Turtle, the great chief of the Miamis, called this place (now Fort Wayne), 
where were located the Miami villages, "that glorious gate through which 
all the good words of our chiefs had to pass, from the north to the south, 
and from the east to the west. " It was the great trading point between De- 
troit and Vincennes. All the goods sold to the Indians on the Wabash and 
at Vincennes had to pass through this "key to the whole country below," 
this "glorious gate." All the furs and peltries bought of the Indians had to 
be returned through this "gate." So profitable was this trade, that at the 


May 20, 1872 

Treaty of Greenville, when General Wayne requested the Indians to cede to 
the United States six miles square of land at Fort Wayne, and two miles 
square at the west end of the portage on Little River, about eight miles 
southwest of this, on now Section 26, Aboite Township, the whole tribe of 
Miamis objected. Through their chief, Little Turtle, who, addressing 
General Wayne said: "Elder Brother: I now give you the true sentiments of 
your younger brothers, the Miamis, with respect to the reservation at the 
Miami villages. We thank you kindly for contracting the limits you at first 
proposed. We wish you to take this six miles square on the side of the 
river (Maumee) where your fort now stands, as your younger brothers, 
wish to inhabit that beloved spot again. * You shall cut hay whenever you 
please, and you shall never require in vain the assistance of your younger 
brothers at that place. Elder Brother: The next place you pointed to was 
the Little River, and said you wanted two miles square at that place. This 
is a request that our fathers, the French and British, never made us. It 
was always ours. This carrying place (portage) has heretofore proved, in 
a great degree, the subsistence of our younger brothers. That place has 
brought to us, in the course of one day the amount of one hundred dollars. 
Let us both own this place, and enjoy in common the advantages it affords." 

General Wayne replied in substance that he had traced the lines of 
two forts which the French had once possessed here- -one on the St. Joseph, 
near the junction, and one on the St. Mary's not far off, ** and that it was 
an established rule among European nations to reserve as much land around 
their forts as their cannon could command. And as to the portage between 
Fort Wayne and Little River, and the fact that it had produced the Miamis 
one hundred dollars revenue per day, he remarked that though the French 
paid the tax or tariff for the use of the portage, yet in the end the Indians 
who bought the French goods had to pay it. As the United States would al- 
ways be the carriers between their different posts, he enquired why they 
should pay annually $8, 000 if they were not to enjoy the privileges of open 
roads to and from their reservations — a sum which the United States agreed 
to pay for this and other considerations, and that the Miamis* share of this 
was $1,000, annually. The claim to six mile square at or near the conflu- 
ence of the rivers St. Joseph and St. Mary's where Fort Wayne now stands, 
or near it and two miles square in the Wabash, at the end of the portage 
from the Miami to the Lake, and about eight miles westward from Fort 
Wayne, was assented to by the Indians. These reservations gave complete 
control to the United States of the "glorious gate, " "the key to the whole 
country below." From that day the portage ceased to be a toll-road or 

Now here comes the origin of the word which has been corrupted 
into Prairie de Pash, or Prairie du Parsh. 

In the French tongue, Peage, pronounced Pa-azh, means toll, tax, 
as collecting toll at a toll gate, and sometimes used for road, turnpike, 
etc. A marsh is called Marais, or as near as I can pronounce it on paper, 
"Ma-rah"--the first syllable is pronounced ma, as the a in marry, and the 
second a as in rank; the whole with accent on the last syllable Marais de 


May 20, 1872 

Peage or the turnpike or toll-road swamp, or the turnpike marsh. 

I have been thus particular to give the early history of the portage, 
and that it was a toll-road for revenue purposes to the Indians, in order to 
bring out from its corruption the name of Marais de Peage. The portage 
line may be seen marked with much accuracy on the map of Allen County, 
lately published by Henry J. Rudisill, Esq., Auditor of the county. As for 
the accuracy of which map I can vouch, and a copy of which every intelli- 
gent gentleman of the county should have. 

From the date of the ratification of the treaty, the portage which 
crossed this marsh between the present traveled road and the Wabash & 
Erie Canal, ceased to be a toll-road, and yet the marsh will be known by 
its original name in history now recorded. 

♦The "beloved spot" named by Little Turtle was the old Omee, or 
Miami villages which then stood along the East bank of the St. Joseph, from 
its confluence extending nearly half a mile, and across the Maumee, where 
Wagner's Fort then stood, and which he had built but the year previous. 

**This was located in the bend of the St. Mary's, south side, about 
where the estate and residence of Honorable Hugh McCulloch are situated. 





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