Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time

By Freeman Cleaves | Go to book overview

IV
A NEW FRONTIER

POST VINCENNES was now the capital of a jurisdiction extending from Northwest Territory to Wisconsin, the white population in this vast region numbering 5,640, with about 200 slaves. Four-fifths of the settlers classified as white were an intermixture of French and Indian blood, although half-breeds living in the woods were called redmen, in accordance with circumstances of birth. Nearly all the settlements in Indiana had been founded by the French in their explorations along the various waterways to the shores of the Great Lakes. As yet there were no good roads in the Territory. Indian trails and wide buffalo traces linked Vincennes with Kaskaskia and Cahokia in the Illinois country and with Clark's Grant, settled by Revolutionary veterans, in the East. However, the trails were a convenience in dry weather. The distance by land to Cincinnati, for example, was 200 miles; by the water route nearly 600.

The scenery about Vincennes, on the east bank of the Wabash, was often described as beautiful. The town was situated on the edge of a broad prairie bordered by uplands and a vast forest with near-by Indian mounds rising nearly 100 feet high. On the river bank, by the church of St. Francis Xavier, were the remains of old Fort Sackville, captured by Colonel George Rogers Clark of the Revolution. About 400 houses, of plain logs and bark, or clapboarded and whitewashed, occupied neat rows between the Wabash and the communal gardens back of the town. Wheat, corn, and tobacco were planted; hemp, hops and a variety of fruits were plentiful, and the life of the French settlers an indolent one. Over a well-trodden buffalo trace winding through the forest to the Falls of Ohio (near Louisville), the post-rider came from Lexington, Kentucky, once a week. 1

Harrison arrived at Vincennes early in January, 1801, bringing a negro servant from Berkeley, and was lodged at the home of Colonel Francis Vigo, an elderly frontier patroon who had offered the builder of his house twenty extra guineas for its completion before the Governor came. Harrison accepted the use of the great parlor, richly panelled, the floor paved with alternating blocks of ash and walnut.

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Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT vii
  • THE HARRISON FAMILY ix
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I- Colonel Ben Harrison 1
  • II- Student of War 9
  • III- Delegate to Congress 22
  • IV- A New Frontier 33
  • V- Two Shawnee Brothers 51
  • VI- The Treaty of Fort Wayne 61
  • VII- quickening of War 69
  • VIII- The March Up the Wabash 83
  • IX- Tippecanoe 98
  • X- Kentucky Crosses the Ohio 112
  • XI- Massacre at the River Raisin 132
  • XII- A Fort is Built 151
  • XIII- The Siege of Fort Meigs 162
  • XIV- "We Have Met the Enemy . . ." 172
  • XV- Victory in Canada 188
  • XVI- The Hero of the Thames 206
  • XVII- Harrison Resigns 216
  • XVIII- Harrison Asks Congress to Judge 229
  • XIX- Political Fortunes 243
  • XX- South American Adventure 261
  • XXI- Depression Years 276
  • XXII- Evolution of a Candidate 288
  • XXIII- Harrison versus Van Buren 301
  • XXIV- Tippecanoe and Tyler Too 314
  • XXV- Jubilation and Mourning 329
  • Notes 345
  • Bibliography 392
  • Index 403
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