Old Tippecanoe

Some distance westward is the Tippecanoe River, a stream flowing southwest into the Wabash, and thence into the Ohio. The word Tippecanoe is said to mean “the great clearing,” and on this river was fought the noted battle by ” Old Tippecanoe,” General William Henry Harrison, against the combined forces of the Shawnees, Miamis and several other tribes, which resulted in their complete defeat. They were united under Elskwatawa, or the “Prophet,” the brother of the famous Tecumseh. These two chieftains were Shawnees, and they preached a crusade by which they gathered all the northwestern tribes in a concerted movement to resist the steady encroachments of the whites. The brother, who was a “medicine man,” in 1805 set up as an inspired prophet, denouncing the use of liquors, and of all food, manners and customs introduced by the hated ” palefaces,” and confidently predicted they would ultimately be driven from the land. For years both chiefs travelled over the country stirring up the Indians. General Harrison, who was the Governor of the Northwest Territory, gathered his forces together and advanced up the Wabash against the Prophet’s town of Tippecanoe, when the Indians, hoping to surprise him, suddenly attacked his camp, but he being prepared, they were signally defeated, thus giving Harrison his popular title of ” Old Tippecanoe,” which had much to do with electing him President in 1840. Some time after this defeat the War of 1812 broke out, when Tecumseh espoused the English cause, went to Canada with his warriors, and was made a brigadier-general. He was killed there in the battle of the Thames, in Ontario Province, and it is said had a premonition of death, for, laying aside his general’s uniform, he put on a hunting-dress and fought desperately until he was slain. Tecumseh was the most famous Indian chief of his time, and the honor of killing him was claimed by several who fought in the battle, so that the problem of ” Who killed Tecumseh r was long discussed throughout the country.

The State of Indiana was admitted into the Union in 1816, and in its centre, built upon a broad plain, on the east branch of White River, is its capital and largest city, Indianapolis, having two hundred thou-sand population. This is a great railway centre, having lines radiating in all directions, and it also has extensive manufactures and a large trade in live stock. The city plan, with wide streets crossing at right angles, and four diagonal avenues radiating from a circular central square, makes it very attractive and the residential quarter, displaying tasteful houses, ornate grounds and shady streets, is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the country. The State Capitol, in a spacious park, is a Doric building with colonnade, central tower and dome, and in an enclosure on its eastern front is erected one of the finest Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monuments existing, rising two hundred and eighty-five feet, out-topping everything around, having been designed and largely constructed in Europe. There are also many prominent public buildings throughout the city. Indianapolis, first settled in 1819, had but a small population until the railways centred there, the Capitol being removed from Corydon in 1825. The Wabash River, to which reference has been made, receives White River, and is one of the largest affluents of the Ohio, about five hundred and fifty miles long, being navigable over half that length. It rises in the State of Ohio, flows across Indiana, and, turning southward, makes for a long distance the Illinois boundary. Its chief city is Terre Haute, the ” High Ground,” about seventy miles west of Indianapolis, another prominent railroad centre, having forty-five thou-sand people, with extensive manufactures. It is surrounded by valuable coal-fields, is built upon an elevated plateau, and, like all these prairie cities, is noted for its many broad and well-shaded streets. It was founded in 1816.