History of Indiana
Much of Indiana's history can only be derived from fossils and artifacts and that's where Indiana's history begins.
First there was the Ice Age in Indiana. All of northern Indiana was flattened by two separate glaciers; for that reason, southern Indiana's topography is like a rug folding up under an opening a door.
The earliest inhabitants of Indiana were the prehistoric Indians. They crossed the Bering Straight in 20,000 BC to 500 AD, but evidence shows they didn't actually live in Indiana until 7000 BC to 5000 BC. The Shell Mound Indians were here 500BC to 500 AD, the Adena Indians were here 500 AD to 900 AD. The Hopewell Indians occupied Indiana from 900 AD to 1300 AD, the Middle Mississippi Indians from 1300 AD to 1600 AD, and the Fort Ancient Indians from 1550 AD to 1700 AD. There was about 1,000,000 Indians living in what was the United States by 1700 AD.
Early Indiana ( -1779)
Many different Native American tribes have inhabited present-day Indiana over the span of thousands of years. Native American history has been divided into sections based on the tribes and their progress. The first people to live in what is now Indiana were the Paleo-Indians, arriving about 8,000-10,000 years ago, ingressing about 10000 BC after the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. These people came to North America by crossing the land bridge with Asia. They hunted large game, including mastodons, and when the large mammals became extinct, they began hunting smaller game, such as bison and deer.
Along with the native peoples that lived around the Great Lakes area large animals roamed. One of these prehistoric animals was the mammoth which looked like a modern day elephant. There was also giant bison which were very similar to today's bison. In addition, there were large wolves, saber-toothed tigers, bears and beavers.
They cooked their food over open fires and used the skins of animals for clothing and shelter. As time went on hunting and gathering among the Indians changed. They began to hunt smaller animals such as deer and rabbits. To do so they had to change their weapons. Small spearheads were used in place of large spearheads. Eventually the bow and arrow was invented because it was easier to hunt small, quick animals.
The Indians used the lakes, rivers and streams of Indiana to fish for food. Sometimes shellfish and mussels were eaten and the Indians threw away the shells. These shells are found by archaeologists even today and provide a glimpse into the everyday life of early Indiana residents. Scientists have also discovered that the Indians ate deer, bear, turtles and water fowl. They also collected berries, apples and nuts from the forest in which they lived.
The native people created stone tools made out of chert by chipping, knapping and flaking. The subsequent phase of Indiana's Native American antiquity is called the Archaic period, which occurred between 5000 and 4000 BC. They differed from the Paleo-Indians in that they used new tools and techniques to prepare food. Such new tools included different types of spear points and knives, with various forms of notches. They also used ground stone tools such as stone axes, woodworking tools and grinding stones.
Indiana was a paradise that provided for all the needs of its tribal inhabitants. There were only about 20,000 people living in the area. There were no horses in Indiana when the white man first came here and they had not yet invented the wheel; the natives traveled by foot and canoe.
Indiana's waterways gave them the ability to travel from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and beyond. Without roads for horse drawn wagons, the Indians had no practical use for the wheel.
The Native American Hoosiers created paths called portages between the lakes, streams, and rivers. They built light weight canoes and carried them from waterway to waterway. This is one of the reasons the tribes built villages near rivers and creeks.
During the latter part of the period, mounds and middens were created, indicating that their settlements were becoming more permanent. The Archaic period ended at about 1500 BC, although some Archaic people lived until 700 BC. Afterwards, the Woodland period took place in Indiana, where various new cultural attributes appeared. During this period, ceramics and pottery were created as well as the increase of usage in horticulture. An early Woodland period group named the Adena people had elegant burial rituals, featuring log tombs beneath earth mounds.
The first mounds that Indians constructed within Indiana were burial mounds. A mound was built to house the body (or bodies) of the mound building Indians. The bodies were usually decorated with products the Indians had traded from other villages (sometimes as far away as the Rocky Mountains). The mounds' function evolved from a burial chamber to a flat-topped mound in which a large building was placed on top. This was possibly the home of an important Indian within his tribe.
A good example of a Indian built mound is at Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana. The largest mound inside the park is 360 feet across. The mound is in the shape of a circle with a large platform in the center of the mound circle. The hollow circle is wide enough to place an entire football in the center. In the middle of the mound, scientists have discovered human skeletons and other Indian artifacts. Angel Mounds in Evansville, Indiana is the location of another mound building community.
Indians learned that if they placed seeds into the soil these seeds would grow into plants. This is the beginning of farming. They paid very close attention to the seeds that they were planting which would grow to feed their tribe (or group). Indian farmers turned wild plants into foods which we have today: corn, pumpkins, beets, squash and tomatoes.
Around this time in Indiana history the Indians learned to create pottery and baskets. And because they were able to grow their own food, they started to live together in small communities or villages. Once you have a stable food supply you do not have to travel around every season.
In the middle portion of the Woodland period, the Hopewell people began exploration of long-range trade of goods. Nearing the end of the stage, an exhaustive cultivation and adaptation of agriculture to grow crops such as corn and squash. The Woodland period ended around 1000 AD.
The incoming period afterwards was known as the Mississippian period, which lasted from 1000 to 1650 AD. During this stage, large settlements were created that had similarities to towns, such as the Angel Mounds. They had large public areas such as plazas and platform mounds, where instrumental individuals of the settlement lived or conducted rituals.
Since the search for food was now not an all day, every day event, Indians spent more time becoming skilled at a certain craft. Some Indians became very skilled at making better and sharper arrowheads. Others started to make things from copper. When an Indian (or whole village) became skilled at one craft they sometimes exchanged their craft with products from other villages. This became known as trading. Trading is the selling or exchange of products.
Indians that traded with other Indians would not only gain a specific product, but would share ideas and customs. One idea that was popular among Indians in Indiana was mound building. A mound was a hill that consisted of built up earth and stone. The Indians that learned this custom are referred to as Mound Builders.
Not long after Columbus (and later Juan Ponce deLeon) discovered the Americas, Europeans began exploring North America. Much of what is known about the Indians living in this area is taken exclusively from early explorers' notes.
In the 1600s there were two major groups of Indians living in the Eastern Woodlands (the land east of the Mississippi River), the Iroquois and the Algonquian groups. These two groups of Indians had some similarities. They both farmed and hunted for food, used canoes to travel the waterways of North America and used wood and bark for building shelter.
They also had a very important difference, they spoke two different kinds of languages. The two groups also had different customs and traditions. Within both of these groups there were several tribes. A tribe shared the same language, tradition, history and customs.
A majority of Indians living in Indiana belonged to the Miami tribe. The Miami tribe was part of the Algonquian group of Indians. The Algonquian group also included the Delaware, Potawatomi, Kickapoo and Shawnee tribes. Out of all of these tribes the Miami were the largest.
The Miamis lived in villages that were usually along waterways and trails throughout the state. Each spring the men of these Miami tribes would help the women clear the fields for planting. The Miami women were then responsible for planting and harvesting the crop. When the harvest of crops was over the entire village celebrated by having a large party with singing, dancing, game-playing and, of course, eating.
In the fall and winter, Miami men left the villages to hunt. They usually hunted deer, rabbits, bear and beaver. These animals not only provided food, they provided their skins and fur for clothing. When these men returned to the village after a successful hunting trip there would be another large party.
In the latter part of winter and early spring, Miami women and children went out into the woods to tap the maple trees for their sap. This sap was boiled and placed into birchbark containers. If the sap was boiled a long time it eventually turned into maple syrup.
The Miami tribe, just like many other tribes, was divided into clans. The people who belonged to a clan were usually blood related. Each of the clans within the Miami tribe had their own sign, which is similar to having a last name. Some of the clans' names were: eagle, turtle, fish, duck, fox and acorn.
Within each clan there was an elected chief. There were also chiefs for the village and for the entire tribe. Usually, each chief had a group of advisors which made up his council. There were chiefs assigned just to oversee wars, oversee the community and a civil chief that was assigned to keep peace within the clans, villages and tribe.
Believe it or not, there were actually two chiefs of war and the community. Beside the male chief there was a female chief. The female war chief was responsible for making certain that if the tribe went to war the warriors had the supplies they needed. The female community (or civil) chief was in charge of food preparation for the large festivals that were held at different times of the year. She also kept track of people's behavior within the clan or tribe.
The first written recordings of someone other than a native Indian going to Indiana were by a Hispanic man, a Spaniard. Hernando DeSoto, a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European to discover the Mississippi River.
This is also the first recorded history of a horse being in Indiana. In June 1541, Hernando DeSoto's army crossed the Ohio River into Indiana on June 8, 1541 at a point at present day Evansville, Indiana. On June 21st they left from there up the river, they turned northwest, up the Wabash River, instead of following the Ohio River eastward, as they had done in getting from Henderson, Kentucky, to Angel Mounds State Park, Indiana and passed through the province of Aquixo, the site of an ancient Indian village, known today as Angel Mounds. This State Historic Site, operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is nationally recognized as one of the best preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the United States.
The next day, they passed through the worst road of swamps and water that they had ever, and in this day's journey the people suffered much hardship. At the White River's flats near its junction with the Wabash River during Annual Spring flood; Indian trails led to that very fertile and populated place. The army slogged over Patoka River, through Gordon Hills and headed for Orrville on the north bank of White River. There are no bridges there, even today, just one giant, and shallow lake at springtime. Hernando DeSoto's army arrived at the first town of Casqui (Gordon Hills, a large "island" on that plain). For two days they marched (up the east bank of the Wabash River) through the land of Casqui (present day Vincennes). On June 26th they left from there for Pacaha ("upriver") and spent the night at one town (Oaktown) and passed others. And the following day crossed a swamp (Busseron Creek just west of Carlisle).
DeSoto's army crossed Busseron Creek Valley and camped at Merom, then spent the next night at Prairie Creek. and on the 27tyh they arrived at the town of Pacaha (present day Terre Haute).
The village had 500 large and good houses and was on a site somewhat higher and more elevated than its surroundings (the French name "Terre Haute" means "high ground"). The Indians had made almost an island of it with a ditch... 50 paces wide, all made by hand. It was full of water from the river... which flowed 3 leagues (7 miles) above the village... The moat surrounded three sides of the village, the work not yet being complete. The fourth side was enclosed by a very strong wall made of thick logs set in the ground... This great moat and canal were filled with fish from the river..."
A good part of Terre Haute is drained by Thompson Ditch today, which the State of Indiana cleaned and reopened in 1886. It drains Terre Haute's south and east sides into Honey Creek and the Wabash River, 7 miles from its head at a beautiful pond. It was said that the pond had many very good fish of different kinds. Odds are, the State of Indiana simply reopened Pacaha's Canal.
DeSoto's men would spend 40 days there until they would march 168 miles to Chicago along the Indian trail which crossed the Wabash River just northwest of Terre Haute at the Old Fort Harrison Site.
The Arrival of the Europeans
The Miami Indians, along with most Indians in North America, embraced the tools first brought by the Europeans in the early 1600s. The tribes began to trade for iron pots, knives and guns. They used the colored glass beads and woven cloths the Europeans brought. The Europeans traded these iron tools for skins of beaver, bear and deer.
The arrival of the Europeans caused a great change among the Indian tribes and their way of life. The first catastrophic change among Indian tribes was the introduction of European diseases and viruses. The Indians, who had no natural immunity to these new diseases, died by the thousands. With the arrival of farming settlers into once held Indian territory many Indians died by wars or were forcibly removed to places farther and farther west.
The tribes within Indiana almost completely disappeared by the early 1800s.
The French began to explore the Great Lakes region in the 1670s. It is believed that the first white men to reach present-day Indiana were Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet. Marquette and Jolliet spent the winter of 1674 -1675 near present-day Chicago on their way back from their Mississippi River exploration. They then circled the head of Lake Michigan before returning to Mackinac Island. Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, took a similar trip down the Mississippi, and is believed to have crossed the northwest corner of Indiana on his return trip reaching present-day South Bend at the Saint Joseph River in 1679.
Robert de La Salle sailed to New France (now Canada) and set up a trading post.
New France was the possessions of France in North America from the 16th century until the Treaty of Paris (1763), which awarded French holdings to Great Britain and Spain. At its greatest extent it included much of southeast Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi Valley. British and French rivalry for control of the territory led to the four conflicts known as the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763).
Once in North America La Salle started to learn the ways of the local Indians. His main desire was not to stay and settle in New France but to travel and explore the western regions and claim any new lands he found for France.
In 1669 La Salle started to explore the areas around the Great Lakes. He traveled south of Lake Erie until he found the a river that the Indians called Oh-e-yo. La Salle named the river "ohio" after the Iroquois word for "beautiful water." This is the Ohio River running along the southern border of Indiana.
At this time transportation by the Indians of Indiana was by foot and canoe, they had no horses when the white man settled here; they carried everything themselves. They made paths, called portages, between the waterways and carried their canoes from river to lake to stream etc., until they got to their destination.
La Salle set out to explore more territory in 1679. His main purpose in undertaking this journey was to set up frontier trading posts. His first goal was to have a ship built. When the ship was completed (named the Griffon) La Salle and his party sailed as far as Green Bay on Lake Michigan. After departing from the Griffon, La Salle's party used canoes to explore the southern shores of Lake Michigan. They eventually found the mouth of the St. Joseph River, which emptied into Lake Michigan. La Salle made camp waiting on the Griffon to return with more supplies not knowing it had sunk.
Not wanting to spend the winter at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, La Salle and his men paddled up the river in 8 canoes. In December of 1679, they camped along the St. Joseph River's south bend. Present-day city of South Bend.
La Salle went on to travel from the St. Joseph River down the Kankakee and eventually out into the Mississippi River. He claimed all of the land around the Mississippi and its tributaries for France. La Salle named this new land Louisiana after the French king Louis. Indiana was part of this new land named Louisiana.
La Salle returned the following year to gain knowledge of northern Indiana. French fur traders also came along and brought blankets, jewelry, tools, whiskey and weapons to trade for skins with the Native Americans.
After the death of La Salle many Europeans, especially of French descent, came into the new area La Salle had claimed for France. His wish of having trading posts set up in this new land became a reality. Trading posts and forts began to be founded throughout Indiana.
The French settlements were based on the fur trade, not colonization; therefore, the French population remained relatively low. To strengthen their presence and protect against English encroachment, they built a number of forts.
The first fort thought to be established in Indiana was named Fort Miami, formally known as Fort St. Philippe des Miamais. It was built around 1715 on the Maumee River portage. The portage that Ft. Miami was located on was a path that connected the Maumee and Wabash Rivers. The city of Fort Wayne is located there now. Within Ft. Miami log homes were constructed that housed the families of the soldiers and traders that lived and worked at the fort.
Fort Ouiatenon was the first fortified European settlement in what is now called Indiana. It was established by the French in 1717 as a French trading post where the Tippecanoe River flows into the Wabash River located approximately three miles southwest of modern-day West Lafayette. The name 'Ouiatenon' is a French rendering of the name in the Wea language, waayaahtanonki, meaning 'place of the whirlpool'.
In 1732 a very large fort was constructed at a French village on the Wabash River in the southern part of Indiana. The fort was named Fort Vincennes after the French officer in command.
A church was soon built in Vincennes around 1708 and French settlers had cleared land for orchards and gardens. Settlers built log cabins and settled into 'city' life. Vincennes had an early population of 300 people which made it the largest French town in Indiana. It is also the oldest settled town in Indiana.
By 1732, the French had made three trading post along the Wabash River with the efforts to control Native American trade routes from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River.
For the first few decades of the 18th century, scattered forts and trading posts remained the extent of French organization in Indiana and the rest of the Northwest. When it became apparent that the English colonies along the Atlantic were growing at a much larger rate, and that the settlers were spreading to the west, the French government decided to send more colonists in hopes of further securing France's claim to the land. Settlers who came to the New World from France were called habitants. They were farmers, not fur traders, who settled in permanent agricultural villages near the forts. A significant number of habitants lived at Vincennes, and remained there after France lost control of the area. The French effort to colonize the Northwest came too late, and the number of French settlers and fur traders never reached more than a few thousand, far less than their British neighbors.
In a period of a few years, the British arrived and contended against the French for management of the fruitful fur trade.
In the 1600s English settlers along the Atlantic coast began to travel to the western edges of New France (and Louisiana). The English, typically, were not content on trading with the Indians for a career. They began to enter the Ohio Valley in the early 1700s. In response, the French sent the soldier Celoron de Bienville into the Ohio Valley to drive the English out.
Celoron met with the Indian tribes in the Ohio Valley area and told them that they must trade only with the French. Any tribes who traded with the English were subject to attack from the French military. Celoron and his soldiers captured several English fur traders and told them to leave and stay on the east side of the Appalachian Mountains.
In addition, Celoron wrote letters to the governors of Pennsylvania and New York informing the governors to keep their English citizens out of the Ohio Valley. The English ignored the warnings and banishments and continued to travel into the Ohio Valley. The English told the Indians that the valley belong to them and not the French. English traders also told the Indians that they would attack them if they caught them trading with the French. The Indians were caught in a no-win situation.
Fighting between the French and British occurred throughout the 1750s and as a result the conflict between the British and the French eventually led to the French and Indian War (1754-63).
Indians fought on both sides of this war even though a large portion of Indians fought on the side of the French due to mistreatment from the British.
By the conclusion of the war in 1763, the French had lost all land west of the colonies. Neighboring tribes in Indiana, however, did not give up and destroyed Fort Ouiatenon and Fort Miami during Pontiac's Rebellion.
Both France and England signed a treaty called the Treaty of Paris. In this treaty, France gave England both Canada and the French held lands east of the Mississippi River. This treaty gave the English control of what is now Indiana.
As a result of the French and Indian War, the king of England issued a proclamation forbidding any English colonist from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains. The main benefit of this was that the Indians, now pleased that the king was keeping new settlers from trespassing on their lands, began to trade solely with the English.
colonists had helped the British defeat the French during the French
and Indian War. Now, the American colonists wanted to be free
to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains into the Ohio
Valley. However, they were forbidden by the king of England to
migrate west and this elevated the anger of the colonists.
Around the same time the English Parliament began to tax the
colonists in America. The anger of the American settlers was
Even though the war began in 1775 it wasn't until July 4, 1776 when it was formally written in the Declaration of Independence that we were a new, separate nation.
The future state of Indiana's contribution to the American Revolution revolves around George Rogers Clark. Clark was born in the colony of Virginia in 1752. When he was 19 years old he left Virginia to settle in the Ohio Valley. While he was living in the Ohio Valley he began to survey the land. Surveying was important so that land could be mapped and eventually sold.
George Rogers Clark explored and surveyed both sides of the Ohio River. He had settled and became one of the first pioneer settlers of the state of Kentucky. When the American Revolution broke out Clark worried that there would be no way to drive the English out of the Ohio Valley, even though they might have been driven out of the east coast colonies.
In 1777 George Rogers Clark traveled to Virginia to meet with governor Patrick Henry. Clark asked Governor Henry to let him lead a secret mission to attack Hamilton and English forts throughout the Ohio Valley. Governor Henry agreed and gave Clark financial support for the venture.
Clark raised a small army of about 150 pioneer farmers. They had no military uniforms, only the animal skinned clothes they usually wore. The small army of men only had short-handled axes, Kentucky long rifles and knives, normal household equipment for men living on the frontier.
After traveling down river on the Ohio, they reached the Falls of the Ohio River. This is where modern-day Jeffersonville, Indiana is located. At the falls more men met up with Clark's army. His army now had 200 men.
During the war, Clark managed to cut off British troops who were attacking the colonist from the west. His success is often credited for changing the course of the American Revolutionary War.
On June 26, 1778 they stopped 50 miles from the Mississippi River and left their boats. They started out on foot towards the town of Kaskaskia, on the Mississippi River. On July 3rd Clark and his men sneaked into the fort at Kaskaskia and captured it without firing a shot.
Clark then learned that there were no English occupying the fort at Vincennes. He met with the French settlers around Kaskaskia and they agreed to help Clark if he promised them freedom of religion. In the winter of 1779 Clark and his growing army marched through frozen swamps and marshes to the fort at Vincennes. An American flag was soon raised over the fort at Vincennes (Clark named it Fort Patrick Henry).
Meanwhile at Fort Detroit, Henry Hamilton heard about George Rogers Clark's exploits and decided that he might try to march upon the fort at Detroit. It was necessary, he decided, to fight the American force based at Vincennes.
Hamilton led his troops from Fort Detroit toward Vincennes. They traveled up river on the Maumee River from Lake Erie and then down river on the Wabash River towards Vincennes. By December of 1778, Hamilton and his English army had captured the fort at Vincennes without firing a shot. Henry Hamilton renamed it Fort Sackville.
Clark wanted that fort back into American hands, but decided that he couldn't engage in a regular military battle with the English, he just didn't have enough men to complete that kind of task. So he decided to use a very powerful and decisive maneuver-surprise!
In February of 1779, Clark and his 180 men once again began marching eastward from Kaskaskia toward Vincennes. The weather was cold and miserable with most of the land they were crossing flooded or frozen. The men were forced to sleep in the shallowest pools of water they could find. George Rogers Clark did his best at keeping the spirits of his men high.
They were only about 20 miles from Vincennes when the water became waist-high. The group couldn't hunt for food, couldn't cook and, soon, they became weak from hunger. It wasn't long before the water became chin-high!
Clark's men started to grumble amongst themselves and wanted to stop. It is supposedly recorded that Clark plunged ahead, shouted to his men to follow him and began singing "Yankee Doodle." The weary group soon found themselves 2 miles from Vincennes perched upon a small piece of dry land. After huddling around a fire and drying out their clothes, they set out for Vincennes.
When Clark's army reached Vincennes they marched down the streets of the city. As night fell, Clark and his men made their way to Fort Sackville and began to construct ditches and walls for protection. When the sun came up, the English inside Fort Sackville began to fire upon Clark and his men. Being excellent riflemen and hunters, Clark's men began to pick off the English gunners one by one.
Henry Hamilton, knowing it was only a matter of time before he was beaten, decided to surrender to Clark. The capture of Fort Sackville at Vincennes gave the Americans control of the Ohio Valley. When the American Revolution ended in 1783, the United States gained all of the land west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Indiana Becomes a State (1780-1815)
After George Rogers Clark and his army captured the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains, the Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry, gave Clark and his men land in what is now Indiana. This land was settled by Clark and his men and they built a small town they called Clarksville, the first American settlement in Indiana. Jeffersonville and New Albany, Indiana were also founded around this same time.
At this time, the land that would later become the state of Indiana was located in a region referred to as the Northwest Territory, which was enacted by the United States government in 1787. The new federal government of the United States wanted to make sure this new land in the Northwest Territory was sold and settled in a peaceful and legal manner. New laws (called ordinances) were passed to make this process of settling easier and lawful. The Ordinance of 1785 specified how new land was to be surveyed, divided and sold. The new land would be divided into townships 6 miles square.
Each township would then be divided into 36 equal sections. Each section would be 640 acres in size. The sections would then be numbered from 1 to 36. The Ordinance of 1785 also had a stipulation that in every township, section number 16 was to be set apart for the use of a public school. The remaining sections of a township were then to be sold. This method of land surveying and township numbering is still in use today.
Northwest Ordinance also told how parts of the Northwest Territory
could become states. It was specified that an area of land had
to have 60,000 people in order to petition the federal government for
statehood. The Northwest Ordinance also stated that no one
living in the Northwest Territory could own or keep slaves. The
building of public schools was also a part of the ordinance.
The rights of freedom of speech and religion given to states within
the United States would also extend to the Northwest Territory.
President Thomas Jefferson chose William Henry Harrison as the governor of the territory and Vincennes was established as the capital. After Michigan was separated and the Illinois Territory was formed, the size of Indiana was reduced to its current state.
Even though laws and regulations were passed to regulate land ownership within the Northwest Territory, a major problem still existed. The Indians now claimed that the land was theirs. Tribes in the Ohio Valley started to attack settlers who moved into the Ohio Valley and the Northwest Territory.
The English after the American Revolution, some of whom had stayed in forts around the Great Lakes to protect their fur trading interest, encouraged the Indian tribes in the Northwest Territory to form a confederation to drive out the new American settlers. The Delaware, Shawnee, Miami and Potawatomi joined together in this new confederation. Their leader was the Miami chief Little Turtle.
Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest Territory, led an army of 3,000 men into the Ohio Valley to stop the Indian attacks. As they camped overnight, Little Turtle and his men silently hid very close to the camping soldiers to prepare for a morning attack. Little Turtle's Indian army attacked at dawn and killed one-third of St. Clair's men. This was a horrible defeat for the Americans.
President George Washington was upset at St. Clair's defeat and assigned one of his best generals to lead the fight against the Indians. Washington appointed General "Mad Anthony" Wayne. He was nicknamed "Mad" because he was a fierce fighting soldier.
Wayne set out for the Northwest Territory in 1793. Washington had given him an army of about 1,000 soldiers. "Mad Anthony" Wayne traveled through the western part of Ohio where he established a fort at what is now Greenville, Ohio.
In the spring of 1794, "Mad Anthony" Wayne and his army left Fort Greenville, Ohio and traveled towards Fort Miami. Wayne and his army moved very slowly, even stopping to set up two new forts along the way. Meanwhile, several thousand Indians prepared for battle around Fort Miami around modern day Toledo, Ohio.
The Indians had decided to engage Wayne's army at a place called Fallen Timbers. Fallen Timbers was a place in the forest that had experienced a recent tornado that had knocked down many large trees. The Indians concluded that this would be a very difficult place for a disciplined army to fight in an orderly way.
General Wayne let it be publicly known that he intended to attack the Fallen Timbers area on August 17th. When the day came, he waited. General Wayne knew that most Indians did not eat on the day before a battle. He continued waiting for three days. By that time, at least, 500 Indian warriors had left Fallen Timbers to look for food. Those that remained were weakened by the lack of food. General Wayne then led his attack against the remaining Indians at Fallen Timbers. In two hours the battle was over.
The retreating Indians ran to Fort Miami seeking protection and shelter. However, the English refused to let them in fearing a war with the Americans. General Wayne then sent his army marching up the Maumee River destroying Indian corn fields and villages as they went. At the Maumee portage, where the French had once built a fort, Wayne's army built Fort Wayne.
The Battle of Fallen Timbers forever crushed the Indian confederation. Little Turtle and the other chiefs of the confederation signed the Treaty of Greenville. After signing the treaty, Little Turtle was recorded as saying, "I have been the last to sign it and I will be the last to break it." The treaty allowed Americans to settle peacefully into what is now Ohio and southeastern Indiana. The treaty brought peace to the Northwest Territory for 15 years.
Indiana as a Territory
By the year 1800 there were enough settlers in the Indiana Territory to hold an election. William Henry Harrison, a former Indian fighter and, later, the ninth president, was appointed congressman. He went to Congress pushing the policy that the Indiana Territory needed new laws. A major concern for Harrison was that it was expensive to buy land in the territory. Congress agreed and lowered the price of land within the Indiana Territory.
One section of the new price lowering law said that settlers could buy land on credit. They could live on the land and pay for it later. This law started a mass migration to the Indiana Territory. Congress also divided the territory into two parts. One part became the Ohio Territory and the other became the Indiana Territory. The Indiana Territory stretched from Indiana's present eastern border to the Mississippi River.
President John Adams named William Henry Harrison as the first governor of the Indiana Territory. The old French city of Vincennes became the territory's capital. Harrison built a very large, finely decorated house and called it Grouseland.
Once again, the Indiana Territory was divided. In 1809 the western part of the Indiana Territory became the Illinois Territory with the same borders the modern state of Illinois has today.
Most settlers living in the Indiana Territory lived close to the Ohio River in the southern part of the territory. The remainder of the Indiana Territory belonged to the Indians. Harrison took charge at buying the remaining land from the Indians. He made many treaties with the Indians who agreed to sell their lands to him. The Indians rarely saw any money for the land they sold. By the end of 1806 the Indians had sold all their land in the southern part of the Indiana Territory.
Many Indians in the Indiana Territory were upset that the land promised them was now being sold on false promises. The leader of the Shawnee, Tecumseh, had been a part of the Miami confederation and fought at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He dreamed of a separate state for the Indians, an idea the English had supported.
Tecumseh traveled from tribe to tribe, village to village lecturing about this separate Indian land. He encouraged tribes from fighting among each other and unite to fight against the encroaching American settlers.
Tecumseh's brother was a Shawnee medicine man named the Prophet. As a medicine man he knew the prayers and customs of the Shawnee religion. The Shawnee had great respect for him.
One incident that occurred in the Prophet's life that made the Shawnee people believe in his power happened one summer. The Prophet made an announcement to the Shawnee people that he would make the sun stop in the sky. Unknown to anyone, the Prophet had talked to a Canadian trader who told him when an eclipse was going to occur. When the eclipse happened on the day the Prophet had said, the Shawnee believed he had done it and believed he possessed powerful magic.
The Prophet lived in a place called Prophetstown that is located on the Tippecanoe River where Lafayette is today.
In the Treaty of Fort Wayne, that was signed in 1809, a group of Indian tribes agreed to sell 3 million acres of land in the Indiana Territory. Tecumseh visited Governor Harrison on this matter. The land was the common property of many different tribes of Indians, Tecumseh said. He went on to inform Governor Harrison that the tribes that signed the treaty had no rights to sell that land, it did not belong exclusively to them. Tecumseh made it known to the governor that the Indians would fight if any more of their land was taken. Tecumseh's warriors were eager to fight. The Prophet made the announcements that through his magic he would make the Indian warriors invincible to the white man's bullets.
Tecumseh left Prophetstown in 1811 to speak with Indian tribes south of the Ohio River. Before he left he told his brother the Prophet to keep the peace until he returned.
Henry Harrison decided to attack Prophetstown while Tecumseh was
gone. Harrison's 1,000 soldiers traveled from Vincennes north
along the Wabash River towards Prophetstown. When they reached
the outskirts of Prophetstown they pitched camp overnight. At
dawn on November 7, 1811 the Prophet, leading a group of Indian
warriors, attacked Harrison's army. The army fought back and
forced the Indian warriors to retreat. This battle has become
known as the Battle of Tippecanoe. Neither side won a true
victory. Harrison and his militia burned Prophetstown to the
ground while some Indian warriors spread out through the Indiana
Territory attacking settlers. A majority of Indians left with
Tecumseh to settle in Canada.
In America's view, the English were to blame for the Indian attacks on American settlers. They believed England was providing guns, supplies and encouragement to the Indian tribes. Settlers in the Ohio Valley thought the solution was simple: attack Canada and drive the English out. At the settlers request, the United States declared war on England (again) in 1812. This became known as the War of 1812.
William Henry Harrison gave up his position as governor to lead the American military force against Canada and the English. However, the Americans found it very difficult to war against Canada. Most of the time the army was forced to defend itself against attacks. From their fort in Detroit, the English sent out troops to attack American settlements, including Fort Wayne. Indian warriors, led by Tecumseh, once again fought against the settlers on the side of the English.
However, an American commander named Oliver Hazard Perry led and attack against the English on Lake Erie in 1813. The defeat of the English by Perry's army led to a turning point in the war. Perry's victory weakened English control of the Great Lakes. This defeat made it possible for Americans to cross Lake Erie by boat. William Henry Harrison led his army across Lake Erie to attack the English at Detroit.
When Harrison's army arrived at Detroit the English were gone. The American army discovered the English were headed northeast on the Thames River. Harrison and his 3,000 men followed. A week later Harrison forced a battle called the Battle of the Thames. In the battle, all of the English were either killed or captured. The great chief Tecumseh had also been killed.
The Battle of Thames was the last war against Tecumseh's confederation and ended the Indian attacks against American settlers in the Indiana Territory. The War of 1812 ended with a peace treaty in 1814. Neither side had actually won the war and the boundary between the United States and Canada remained the same.
Indiana, the Nineteenth State (1816)
After Indian trouble and the War of 1812 the Indiana Territory was ready for statehood. A main figure in Indiana's road to statehood was Jonathan Jennings. Jennings was born in New Jersey and raised in Pennsylvania. Like many other settlers to the Indiana Territory Jennings came to this area by floating down the Ohio River on a flatboat. Jennings, while in the Indiana Territory, practiced law, sold land and published a newspaper.
Jonathan Jennings wanted to represent the Indiana people in Congress. He traveled throughout the Indiana Territory campaigning. Most people liked him and elected him to Congress in 1809 and again in 1811.
While in Congress, Jennings petitioned the government for Indiana statehood in 1811. However, when the War of 1812 broke out, this issue was delayed. After the war, however, Congress ordered the officials in the Indiana Territory to take a census of those people living in the territory. The census reported that there were 63,000 adults living within Indiana. This was well above the population number a territory needed for statehood.
In 1816 Jonathan Jennings petitioned Congress for an enabling act. An enabling act was a legal procedure territories followed in order to become states. Congress soon passed the act that set the boundaries of the future state of Indiana. The act also required the new leaders to meet and write a state constitution.
On June 10, 1816, the constitutional delegates assembled at Corydon. As a group they were men of high quality. Of the forty-three elected twenty-six had southern antecedents but they had come from the democratic backcountry rather than the plantation tidewater. Eleven were from northern states and six were foreign-born. Jonathan Jennings was chosen as president and William Hendricks as secretary of the convention. By a vote of 33 to 8 they asserted that it was expedient to form a constitution. In preparing Indiana's fundamental law they borrowed heavily from existing state constitutions especially those of Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. They produced a strongly democratic document for that period which served Indiana well for thirty-five years. Slavery was forbidden and an advanced concept of state responsibility for public education was incorporated. The amending process was to prove cumbersome. The new constitution went into effect without submission to the people.
After Indiana Enabling Act was passed, delegates from within the new state were chosen to attend the state constitutional convention.
the Indiana Territorial capital had been moved from the old Indiana
Territory city of Vincennes to the city of Corydon, in southern
Indiana. The capital was moved because it was a more central
location for the settled part of Indiana.
Jonathan Jennings was chosen as the president of the convention. His leadership helped the delegates write a very strong state constitution. The constitution created 3 different parts of the state's government. The state of Indiana would have a General Assembly that made the laws. A state governor would see that these laws were followed. And a Supreme Court would be created to decide if the laws passed were fair and equitable.
Many of the territory's early settlers came from the South. Southern immigrants who were anti-slavery settled in Ohio where a strong anti-slavery movement was underway. The immigrants in favor of slavery generally moved to Indiana where the government was friendly to slaveholders. When they relocated to the Indiana Territory, they brought what few slaves they owned with them. An 1810 census recorded 393 free blacks and 237 slaves in the Indiana Territory. Knox County, where the territorial capital of Indiana, Vincennes, was located, was the center of Indiana slavery. A young Army officer named Charles Larrabee, who was serving in Governor William Henry Harrison's army, summed the Vincennes populace as "chiefly from Kentucky and Virginia&ldots;slavery is tolerated here."
A major argument arose over the issue of slavery. Some delegates wanted each community or county to decide if they wanted slaves or not. Others did not want slavery at all. Eventually, after heated debates, slavery was voted to be illegal within the borders of Indiana.
Most of the initial immigration was attributed to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. After the Revolutionary War, George Rogers Clark and his soldiers, all Virginians, were given land grants in southern Indiana. Many settled in Indiana bringing their Southern ideals with them. After the war of 1812 many veterans of the Western theater were granted land in central Indiana. These soldiers were mostly from Kentucky and the South. They also moved into Indiana, bringing more Southern influence to the state.
Southerners of all classes migrated to Indiana. William Henry Harrison, longtime Indiana Territory governor and future United States President, was from the long established aristocracy class of the lowland and coastal South. His class supported slavery. From the non-slaveholding class of the Upland South were migrants like Abraham Lincoln, whose family is representative of the migration to Indiana from Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of his social class, while not owning slaves, typically condoned the institution. But others immigrated to Indiana like Levi Coffin, a North Carolina Quaker who was an outspoken abolitionist.
William Henry Harrison, a slaveholder, was appointed governor and slavery became largely accepted through a series of laws enacted by the appointed legislature.
Opposition against slavery began to organize in Indiana around 1805, and in 1809 abolitionists took control of the territorial legislature and overturned many of the pro-slavery laws. By the time Indiana was granted statehood in 1816, the abolitionists were in firm control and slavery was banned in the constitution. In 1820, an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Polly v. Lasselle freed all the remaining slaves in the state. An additional Supreme Court ruling in 1821 freed indentured servant Mary Bateman Clark, helping to bring an end to indentured servitude.
With the end of slavery in the state, Indiana became a border state with the southern slave states. Hoosiers like Levi Coffin came to play an important role in the Underground Railroad that helped many slaves escape from the south. Indiana remained anti-slavery and in the American Civil War remained with the Union and contributed men to the war that would result in an end to slavery in the United States.
Abraham Lincoln, the president who ended slavery, lived in Indiana from 1816 until 1830, age 7 to 21. It was during these years that Lincoln first encountered slavery and began to form his opinions. Growing up in a climate where the state politics were run by men like Jennings and Pennington would have much influence on the development of Lincoln's views.
In 1860 when the American Civil War broke out, Indiana would remain part of the Union and contribute over 200,000 men to suppress the rebellion. By that act Hoosiers helped end slavery in the United States forever.
Many Indiana residents participated in the underground railroad.
The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, but a path for the journey made by thousands of people of extraordinary courage on a quest for freedom during the early days of American History, fleeing northward, some to Canada. This path was comprised of individuals who risked their own freedom to help runaway slaves escape. The Underground railroad as many of us know it became a part of the American vocabulary around 1830, but slave escape routes were formed long before then.
Two major arteries in the underground railroad traveled through Indiana. Tell City, Evansville, and Jeffersonville were two gateways to the underground railroad. An important stopover was Westfield, where food and hiding places were provided to slaves trying to reach Canada. Other safe houses dotted Indiana, including one in Town Clock Church. Escaping slaves who entered Indiana would be ferried from safe house to safe house northward, usually into Michigan, where they could cross safely to Windsor, in Ontario, Canada.
The first know route established in Indiana was at Jeffersonville, early in the thirties. A negro preacher named Alexander White, who lived at Salem, Washington County, along with his friends, moved to Jeffersonville after being run out of Salem. They ran into trouble in Jeffersonville as well, and when things reached a crisis, men like Dr. T. N. Field, Harvey Campbell, Captain Dryden, J.C. Lampton and others interposed. A route was established and put into successful operation, having stations at Charlestown, Lexington, Marble Hill and Bethlehem, making connection with historic Hanover. Here a colored man named George Evans had already established a line with stations at Graysville, then called Africa, Wirt, College Hill, and ending at Butlersville. Corruption in this route made change necessary and this led to the formation of the Madison or Tibbett's route in 1845. Eventually, three grand trunk lines converged at Levi Coffin's residence in Newport, leading from Cincinnati, Madison and Jeffersonville.
In one of the more famous events of the underground railroad, Eliza Harris, a slave from Kentucky, crossed the Ohio River one winter's night when it froze over. She was aided in her escape by Levi Coffin of Fountain City, and eventually escaped to Ontario after being guided by Hoosiers from safe house to safe house through Indiana. Her story was the inspiration for the book Uncle Tom's Cabin. Coffin and his wife would help as many as two thousand slaves escape the South
Even though the state constitution was strong, there were still inequalities placed into the document. Women, blacks and Indians could not vote. However, for its time, the Indiana constitution was well-written. Before the constitution men could not vote unless they owned property. The constitution said that all white men could vote, if they lived within the borders of Indiana.
Indiana was also the first state to start a state-funded public school system. The constitution also set aside one township for a public university. Indiana University in Bloomington was later built in one of these townships.
After the constitution was written, an election was held to determine Indiana's first governor and members of the General Assembly. Jonathan Jennings was appointed (as someone could not be elected before a territory became a state) as the first governor of Indiana.
Indiana now had a working constitution and state government. On December 11, 1816 President James Madison approved Indiana's admission into the union as the nineteenth state.
Now that Indiana had become a state and land was affordable, thousands of people migrated to Indiana. Some came by themselves while others came together in large groups. Some of these new Hoosiers (nickname of ambiguous origin given to the people of Indiana) were looking for a promising new start in a new land.
Religion in Indiana
Church groups played an interesting role in the frontier history of Indiana. Most of the pioneers were not church going people, not because they were religiously ambivalent, but because there wasn't any churches. Pioneers considered themselves Christians, but did not regularly attend church. For the first few decades of Indiana's settlement, villages were very scattered. Therefore, forming a congregation and building a church was difficult and not of the highest priority. Christianity set the moral tone for the frontier, yet there were few places of worship outside of the home. Preachers traveled to fill the gap. Methodist circuit riders were often the first to reach Indiana pioneers and create congregations. The Methodists and the Baptists were the first denominations to bring Christianity to Americans in Indiana. The Catholic Church was already established in the state, but catered mainly to the leftover French populations. The Methodists used circuit riders and the Baptists held revivals to reach rural people. Churches and congregations slowly formed as more people arrived in the state. The first Baptist church in Indiana was built near Charleston in 1798. The first Methodist church was created in 1801 in Springville. Other early churches included a Presbyterian church built in 1806 near Vincennes by Scots-Irish settlers from Pennsylvania, and Quakers from North Carolina built a Quaker meetinghouse in Richmond. As settlement continued throughout the century, more denominations would be represented in the state. In 1808, Shakers established a community called West Union. They fled to Kentucky during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, but returned afterward. The community reached a population of 200 by 1823, but left the state permanently in 1827. The 1830s saw an increase in Lutheran and Catholic membership due to increased German and Irish immigration. Indiana went on to house Mennonites from Switzerland in 1835 and Amish in 1840. The Disciples of Christ gained many members during the 1830s, and the number of Jews in the state grew from 3,600 in 1890 to 25,808 in 1914.
One of the most interesting religious groups to come to Indiana was the German Separatists led by George Rapp. Known as the Rappites, this group arrived in America in 1803 and settled first in Pennsylvania.
In 1814 a group of 800 Rappites led by George Rapp moved into the Indiana Territory. They had traveled to Indiana, like many others, on flatboats down the Ohio River and they settled on the banks of the Wabash River.
Rapp's intention was to start a utopian society along the Wabash. His followers worked very hard clearing land, draining marshes and planting crops. They set up a new town called Harmonie, Indiana. Within ten years Rapp and his followers had built fine brick buildings and a church. They also constructed a sawmill and grainary. Sheep and fruit trees were raised to help support the utopian society at Harmonie.
The Rappites were communal, briefly practiced celibacy, and interpreted the Bible in their own way, differing from the established church. Their beliefs and practices brought them persecution in Germany and led to their immigration to America.
In 1825 George Rapp and his followers moved back to Pennsylvania. A Scottish factory owner named George Owen bought the Harmonist's land. He renamed the town New Harmony, Indiana. Owen hoped to make New Harmony a model community and center for learning.
More than 1,000 teachers, writers and scholars moved to New Harmony. Owen's dream never came true. After Robert Owen had spent most of his money in New Harmony he left and returned to Scotland.
A majority of the New Harmony settlers stayed and fostered a community of learning and cooperation. Many of the ideas the New Harmony residents created still exist. These ideas included kindergarten, public libraries, trade schools and women's clubs.
Transportation in Indiana during the late 1700s and early 1800s was mainly done by river. Many early settlers to Indiana traveled by floating down the Ohio River. Products and crops were sent by flatboat to be sold at market. The most common boats used during this time were flatboats.
A group of men could construct a flatboat in about 30 days. If they were transporting products and crops they would load them onto the flatboat and float down the Ohio River. They would travel down the Ohio into the Mississippi River and south to New Orleans. It was not a safe trip, there were many seen and unseen dangers to flatboat captains. When Abe Lincoln was a young man he was working aboard a flatboat and during the trip to New Orleans a gang of men tried to kill the captain and steal the cargo.
With the invention of steam power it was now much easier to travel along the Ohio River. The steamboat had a steam engine which turned a paddle wheel in back of the boat. Some steamboats had two paddle wheels, one along each side of the steamboat. This paddle powered the boats up and down river.
A steamboat could go downstream twice as fast as a flatboat. It could also go upstream, which was a major improvement over a flatboat. When a flatboat reached its destination, it was usually disassembled and sold for lumber and the crewmen would walk or ride a horse back home.
The first steamboat arrived on the Ohio River in 1811. Within 30 years there were literally hundreds of steamboats on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Steamboats were also used on the Great Lakes. Michigan City, Indiana became an important port city for lake steamboats.
Indianapolis Becomes State Capital
Most of the early settlers to Indiana settled in the southern part of the state. However, by the mid-1800s settlers were buying and settling on the fertile soil of the northern part of Indiana. Corydon, Indiana, the first state capital, was no longer a central location for the population of Indiana, so a new city was chosen for the capital of Indiana. The new capital would be Indianapolis, a city located as the center of the state.
Indianapolis was chosen by a committee of the Indiana General Assembly to be the new capital. The site of the new capital was chosen to be in the place where Fall Creek and the White River met. In 1821 the Indiana General Assembly accepted this site and gave it the name Indianapolis ['polis' means city in Greek].
Following statehood, the new government set out on an ambitious plan to transform Indiana from a wilderness frontier into a developed, well populated, and thriving state to accommodate for significant demographic and economic changes. The state's founders initiated a program that led to the construction of roads, canals, railroads and state funded public schools. The plans nearly bankrupted the state and were a financial disaster, but increased land and produce value more than fourfold.
The construction of canals, better roads, and railroads made traveling to Indiana much easier. Better transportation also helped stimulate the economy by offering additional ways to export and import goods. Steamboats operated on the Ohio River starting in 1811. Their popularity grew immensely, and within a few years they were used on all major rivers and lakes.
By 1824 there were four delivery wagons that ran from Indianapolis and Corydon. These wagons carried products and supplies between the two cities. There was also a passenger stagecoach that carried people to the new state capital.
Indiana still lacked a passable road system. There were few roads leading to and from Indianapolis. One of the first roads in Indiana was called the Buffalo Trace. This was a former bison trail that connected the cities of New Albany and Vincennes. In 1829 The National Road reached Indiana. This road was built from Maryland westward. The United States Congress funded the building of this road. Eventually the National Road (now included as part of U.S. Highway 40.) made it to St. Louis, Missouri. A major technological advantage of the National Road was that it was covered with a thick layer of gravel. The National Road was able to be used all year, regardless of the weather.
The National Road went through Richmond, Indiana through Indianapolis and on to Terre Haute. Indiana was now connected to states in the East and West.
In the 1830s Indiana built a north-south road that connected Michigan City with Madison and ran through Indianapolis. This new road was called the Michigan Road.
New York State had finished its famous Erie Canal in 1825. Some industrious individuals in Indiana thought canals would be a great addition to the transportation system. It was thought that the canals would help farmers, who lived far from a deep river, get their crops to market faster.
The most important canal built in Indiana was the Wabash and Erie Canal. This canal started at Lake Erie and followed the Maumee River to Fort Wayne. The canal then followed the Wabash River to Terre Haute and then to Evansville, along the Ohio River.
New York's completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 resulted in vast changes for the Great Lakes region. Construction began in 1832 and took several years to finish. It reached Toledo and Lafayette in 1842, was extended to Terre Haute by 1849, and reached Evansville in 1853.
However, by the 1850s most of the canals planned for Indiana were never completed. The rise of transportation by rail had signaled a new era in transportation for Indiana.
The canal found in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, The Indiana Central Canal, was a canal intended to connect the Wabash and Erie Canal to the Ohio River. It was funded by the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act, Indiana's attempt to take part in the canal-building craze, started by the Erie Canal.. However, due to the Panic of 1837, Indiana suffered financial difficulties and had to turn over the canal to the state's creditors, and building of the canal was stopped in 1839. The canal was supposed to extend 296 miles (476 km), from Peru, Indiana to Evansville, Indiana, where it would reach the Ohio River.
Railroads provided the final addition to Indiana's transportation revolution.
Indiana's very first railroad was built in Shelbyville and was only about a mile long. The passenger railcar was pulled by a horse and people road in it just for fun.
The first major railroad in the state was completed in 1847 and ran from Madison to Indianapolis. More railroads followed. Between the rivers, canals, roads, and trains, people traveling to and from Indiana had many options. Economic opportunities increased significantly as national and international markets became more accessible to Indiana businessmen and farmers.
The railroads brought an abrupt change to Indiana. Trains could haul tons of products and goods at a very low cost. People could now travel a great distance in one day. Railroads could also be built just about anywhere.
Most of the new roads and railroads being built in Indiana passed through Indianapolis, because it was the state capital and a central location within the state. The growing use of railroads made Indianapolis a center of transportation and helped it become the state's largest city.
Lafayette was the first city in Indiana to have a completely electrified street railway system that was completed in 1888.
However, South Bend had experimented with an electric street car in 1882, but there was insufficient electric current to move it more than a few feet. Three years later South Bend engineer, Charles Van Depoele, had a car running a couple of miles, but the line reverted to mule power when electric power and equipment proved too expensive.
By 1893, there were 173 miles of electric cars operating throughout Indiana towns and there were still 92 miles of horse and mule car lines.
Charles L. Henry, owner of the Anderson mule line, invented the name "interurban" for electric railways operating between towns and cities. Henry's Union Traction Company ran the first interurban, between Anderson and Alexandria, Indiana, on January 1, 1898. Henry's electric passenger rail car was the first designed strictly for interurban use. By 1898 many cities through Indiana had electric street railways that replaced their old mule cars--Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago, Madison, Washington, Marion, Anderson, New Albany and Brazil among them.
Although the Indiana Constitution called for the establishment of "a general system of education, ascending in a regular graduation, from township schools to a state university, as soon as circumstances will permit," there was no formal system of education before 1851, when a new state constitution was adopted.
Schools that were built before 1851 were funded by the county, city, or township they occupied. Many of these early schools charged tuition. Churches and individuals maintained many good private schools, but they were generally not free (i.e. Notre Dame). The Quakers probably had the best elementary schools, while many ministers, especially Presbyterians, taught schools.
There were several obstacles to public schooling. Taxes would have to be charged, Indiana still had a very sparse population, transportation difficulties and the preference by some families for schools to be under church or private control. The state of Indiana had plunged itself into so much debt building, a now inoperable, canal system that it was unable to support a public school system. There were several colleges and universities throughout the state, but they barely survived financially and had meager enrollments. The Indiana General Assembly incorporated Vincennes University in 1806. Indiana University was opened in Bloomington around 1825. Indiana University is the oldest state university west of the Appalachians still in continuous operation. Other colleges that were founded before 1860 included Hanover, Franklin, DePauw, Notre Dame, Earlham and Butler.
Most of early Hoosiers were Protestants, with the Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists among the earliest and most numerous. After 1840 the Christians (Disciples of Christ) increased in membership to be included in the "big four" of Protestantism. The Quakers, United Brethren, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Unitarians were also among the Protestant groups. The oldest religious group in Indiana was the Roman Catholic, established by the French at Vincennes before 1750. Domestic immigration brought additional Catholics to Indiana and their number also increased with the immigration of the Irish and Germans.
Many early churches were organized and first met in homes, schools and barns. The itinerant system of Methodism was well suited to frontier conditions and helps explain its rapid advance. The circuit-preacher was also used by other religious denominations. Many of the circuit-riding ministers showed great zeal that motivated them to continue their work even in extreme hardships. Not everyone responded favorably to the Gospel message and a system of "revivals" were set up that were commonly supercharged with emotional appeals to better conduct. The churches were the main social antagonists to frontier drinking, brawling and gambling.
The Democrats dominated state politics in Indiana from 1843 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. They lowered the state debt, preached economy, established common schools, urged states' rights, stressed the rights of individuals and provided institutions for the insane, blind and the deaf. Until around 1850 they generally ignored or evaded the emerging slavery issue, viewed temperance as a moral rather than a political issue. After a considerable fight in the Indiana General Assembly, they passed the new state constitution that was drafted in 1850-1851, with Democratic influence. It made elections more frequent, increased the number of elective offices, prohibited a state debt except for certain emergencies and prohibited further Negro immigration to the state.
Indiana and the Civil War
When the Civil War broke out, Indiana was overwhelming supportive of the Union, though this support waned during the course of the conflict. Over 200,000 Indiana men served in the war and about 25,000 of them died in combat or from wounds and disease. Most of the men from Indiana fought in battles west of the Appalachians. Indiana was not a battleground during the war, but it was home to some raids, the most famous of which is Morgan's Raid of 1863. General John Hunt Morgan, a Confederate, led 3,000 men on a terrible raid through the Midwest, striking Indiana in July. They hit Corydon first, pillaging stores and mills, and terrorizing residents. From there they went north to Salem, east through New Philadelphia and Lexington, then north to Dupont. Union troops were only five hours behind them at Dupont, but were not able to catch them before they left Indiana. After looting Dupont, Morgan's raiders continued to Vernon and then Versailles before leaving the state on the thirteenth of July. What Indiana lacked in physical battles they made up for in political ones. Secret societies, like that of the Sons of Liberty, were very active in the state and created a small contingency of peace democrats, called Copperheads. But despite the propaganda war led by the Copperheads, Indiana, the former home of Abraham Lincoln, remained solidly loyal to the Union.
President Abraham Lincoln made his first plea for volunteers to end this secession crisis. Hoosiers responded in numbers that far exceeded that which Lincoln had requested or needed. After receiving President Lincoln's call, the next day there were 500 men who camped in Indianapolis. Within a week's time, the state house building and lawn looked like a military headquarters. Nearly three times the number of men Lincoln had called for was now available for armed service. Governor Oliver P. Morton, determined to support the Union vigorously, moved so fast that he did not even wait upon public opinion or the war's developing events. Initial patriotism and unity waned as the prolonged conflict brought accounts of suffering and heavy casualties that made soldier recruitment very difficult. Bounties were offered (payment for each man who signed up to fight), and then drafting was enforced.
Oliver Perry Morton
Oliver Perry Morton was born in Wayne County, Indiana, in 1823. He is the first governor of Indiana to be born within the state. He started out as a hatter's apprentice but desiring to obtain a better education, he quit his job to go to Miami University in Ohio. After graduating he returned to Indiana, where he studied law at Centerville. One of his teachers said that Oliver was "a diligent, earnest student," and more anxious to acquire knowledge than to go bragging about it. In 1852 the Indiana General Assembly elected him a circuit judge, but he soon found out that he preferred being a lawyer and resigned at the end of a year. Mr. Morton had been a Democrat, but when a split occurred in the party in 1854, he sided with the Republican Party. In 1856 he ran for the office of governor as the candidate of the new Republican Party, but was defeated. Four years later he was elected lieutenant governor and in two days became governor when the elected Governor Lane resigned to become a U.S. Senator.
During his first term as governor, Oliver did his best public work and created a name for himself as a great war governor. He was, at first, opposed to any compromise the U.S. government made with the South, and foreseeing the approach of war, went immediately to work preparing the state for the coming conflict. When the Civil War broke out, his well-organized administration pushed Indiana as being the first western state to mobilize for the war. Governor Morton's executive ability was recognized by all and even an Ohio newspaper wrote that "The governor of Indiana has out-generaled the governor of Ohio." President Lincoln referred to him as "Deputy President of the West."
In 1864 Morton was elected governor by a majority of over 20,000 votes. Although he had already served as governor for four years, he was eligible for election because he had only served out the remaining term of Governor Lane. He was partially paralyzed during these years and unable to walk without the use of canes. This, however, did not prevent him from being elected to the United States Senate in 1867 where he served until his death in 1877. Under Governor Morton, Indiana was guided to a position of great influence among the state.
With the rise of big business came corruption. Corporation leaders befriended politicians, creating a bond that resulted in business-friendly laws. Mergers turned into monopolies that put strains on the working communities of the state. Political bosses, such as Oliver P. Morton and Daniel Voorhees, used questionable tactics to sway elections. In 1888, two election officials in Indiana were arrested for the forging of tally sheets. These illegal activities were not uncommon during the late 19th century. Unionism and Grange movements were backlashes to big business practices, and set the stage for the reform movement of the early 20th century. The Grangers, and later the Populists, called for agricultural reform including the government ownership of railroads and a cap of freight rates, but did not find much success in the state. The lack of successful agricultural changes reflected an overall deficiency in reform support. The first decades of the 20th century are often known as the "Progressive Age" of American history because it was a time when citizens rallied for better labor laws and the end of political corruption. Indiana's reform movement was rather moderate when compared to other industrialized states, but did lead to some important changes. A split in the Republican Party over what reforms to support hurt the early stages of the movement, but by 1916, Republicans were able to agree on some improvements. A fairer tax system, centralized highway commission, child labor laws, public health improvements, and direct primary elections were all part of the state's reforms. Charitable organizations gained more support during this time, as did prohibition.
Altogether Indiana supplied about 200,000 men to the Union forces during the Civil War; this represented about 15% of the state's total population as of 1860.
As the first western state to mobilize for the war, Indiana's soldiers were present in all of the major engagements during the war. Indiana residents were present in both the first and last battles and the state provided 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery and 13 regiments of cavalry to the cause of the Union. In 1861, Indiana was assigned a quota of 7,500 men to join the Union Army. So many volunteered in the first call that thousands had to be turned away.
About 25,000-or one in eight-lost their lives from battle wounds, disease or accidents. Thousands of others were maimed with the loss of arms, legs, eyesight, hearing, etc. The Civil War was the most terrible and costly war in terms of human life in which Indiana has ever been engaged. Indiana's losses in the Civil War were not far from twice Indiana's losses in men (and women) during both World War I and World War II. About 95% of Hoosiers who fought in the Civil War were volunteers.
Indiana was not the scene of any decisive battles, but there were occasional raids on the Indiana side of the Ohio River. General John Hunt Morgan made the most alarming raid in the summer of 1863 at Corydon. The only Civil War battle fought in Indiana was the Battle of Corydon, which occurred during Morgan's Raid. The battle left 15 dead, 40 wounded, and 355 captured. Jeffersonville served as an important military depot for Union forces being sent into the South.
On the homefront during the Civil War there was abundant political strife resulting from a blending of politics and patriotism. There was some opposition to the war, including interference with the draft by organized secret societies. Democrats accused Governor Morton with being a dictator and under-handed mobster, while the Republicans accused the Democrats of treasonable and obstructionist tactics in the conduct of the war. When the General Assembly gained a Democratic majority in 1862 and refused to give Governor Morton the appropriations and supplies he demanded, he borrowed money from James F. D. Lanier, New York financier, formerly of Madison, to carry on the state's activities. Eventually the state sustained Governor Morton's independent action and repaid this and other loans.
The Effect of the Civil War on Indiana
The Civil War brought many other changes to Indiana in a short amount of time. The common school system that had been established during the 1850s suffered many setbacks and thus hampered the development of schools at the secondary and college levels. Within the state there was an increase in the use of machinery for manufacturing. Even agriculture was responding to the use of laborsaving machines like the reaper, the improved plow and the threshing machine.
After the Civil War, until the early 20th century, Indiana remained very agricultural. By 1850, the state ranked third in hog production, fourth in corn, fifth in sheep, and sixth in wheat. The number of farms in Indiana increased from 132,000 in 1860 to 222,000 in 1900.(8) Corn, wheat, oats, and horses remained top agricultural exports at the turn of the century
Railroads were extended so that in the remaining years of the 1800s the basic railway system was completed. Changes in transportation and manufacturing were powerful factors in establishing urban settlement. The population of northern Indiana grew rapidly during and after the Civil War reaching over 147,000 by 1820.
The earliest towns, including Laurenceburg, Jeffersonville, Madison, Charlestown, and Aurora, developed along the Ohio River.
As more pioneers arrived in Indiana, they began to settle further north. Most of Indiana's settlers were from the Upper South. Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina provided the most migrants, who settled in southern Indiana. Most of the early pioneers were squatters who legally acquired the land after settling on it. Life was simple; most families were subsistence farmers who lived off of their land and provided for themselves. At first, neighbors were few and far between, but that changed as more settlers arrived in the 1820s and 1830s. Life in Indiana consisted of hard work.
Although Indiana remained primarily rural and agriculturally based after the war, the advent of mechanization, industrialization and urbanization began to erode old pioneer ways and influence. A new Indiana society was now emerging.
Following the American Civil War, Indiana industry began to grow at an accelerated rate across the northern part of the state leading to the formation of labor unions and suffrage movements. The Indiana Gas Boom led to rapid industrialization during the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, Indiana developed into a strong manufacturing state. The state also saw many developments with the construction of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the takeoff of the auto industry.
Year - Population
The state had begun to provide asylums for the deaf and dumb, the blind and the insane in the 1840s. The war produced orphans and widows, thereby enlarging the social responsibility and concern of the state government.
Black exclusion from Indiana settlement was ended, women's suffrage was extended and schools were opened for Blacks. Following the Civil War, questions of tax assessments, regulation of industry and the railroads, labor-management relations, marketing and the like, soon thrust themselves into politics, despite the reluctance of politicians to deal promptly with them.
The Development of Modern Indiana
The issue of reconstruction for the southern states largely dominated the decade following the Civil War. Reconstruction concerned the whole country and how a nation was going to deal with a new united country.
Reconstruction referred to the plans of the national government to help rebuild the South, and Indiana's leaders played an important role to form such policies. The main issue in reconstruction was the question of how to deal with a large population of freed Blacks and whether or not Blacks should have the right to vote. Some leaders thought that the freed Blacks should have the right to vote. Still others thought that they should have the right to vote immediately and that the administrators of the former Confederate Government should be punished, and even executed. This group became known as the radical Republicans and included such Hoosiers as Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of Representatives and George W. Julian, a staunch abolitionist and a representative of eastern Indiana.
On the conservative side were those who favored a gradual change for the South and opposed the ideas of the radicals. Daniel W. Voorhees, from Terre Haute and Senator Thomas A. Hendricks from Indianapolis were the leading Hoosiers in Congress who favored a less violent attitude towards the defeated Confederacy. However, the radicals, and the radical point of view, was a view held by a majority of representatives and their policies went into effect. One of their main accomplishments was the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment.
The Fifteenth Amendment
Indiana's General Assembly had already ratified the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments that gave Blacks their freedom and rights of citizenship. There had been great difficulty among the states in getting the 13th Amendment passed, however the 14th passed with little or no discussion.
However, in 1869, when the 15th Amendment (that gave Blacks the right to vote) was due for ratification, there were many heated debates in the Indiana General Assembly. The Republicans controlled the legislative body, but some Democrats were necessary in order to actually be able to vote on the issue of the 15th Amendment. In protest many Democrats began to resign from the General Assembly and the process of ratification within Indiana came to a grinding halt. A special state election was held and all of those members who had resigned were again reelected to their posts. When the amendment was again brought up for ratification, members of the General Assembly again began to resign in protest. However, the members that were left went ahead and held a vote. The General Assembly still had two-thirds of its members and was legally able to hold the vote. The 15th Amendment was ratified with a majority vote. Later, when the Democrats gained control of the General Assembly they attempted to recall the passage of the amendment but met with no success.
The reconstruction policy that the radical Republicans of Congress put into effect for the treatment of the defeated southern states is looked upon today as one of the shameful periods of our collective history-the tragic carpet bagging days. Some of Indiana's representatives in Congress, like Colfax and Oliver P. Morton, were among those radical Republicans. Not all Republicans favored the policies enacted by the radicals. The outstanding Republican opponent of such policies was a man who spent 14 years-from the age of 7 to 21-in our state of Indiana. That man was Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. President Lincoln had already instituted a just and humane policy for the treatment of the defeated southern states when his assassination closed his career, and his wishes.
Andrew Johnson, the Vice-President, was a staunch supporter of Lincoln's policy and tried to carry it out. He was bitterly opposed by radicals in Congress, who finally brought impeachment proceedings to remove him from office. The impeachment failed and Johnson remained President, but he was helpless to prevent the policies of the radical Republicans from going into effect. His vetoes of bills were simply overridden by the radical Republicans who controlled Congress for 12 years following the Civil War.
The ratification of the 15th Amendment by Indiana was not followed by an immediate change in the Indiana Constitution. Blacks were still excluded from voting in the state and, in addition, free Blacks were not allowed to enter the state. During the next two decades, Blacks were gradually granted the standing of full citizen. The laws made to restrict Blacks within Indiana were eventually eliminated and they were allowed to take part in the making of contracts. In education there was to be a fair distribution of public funds between white and colored schools. In 1881, Blacks gained full equality in voting and the only remaining discrimination in the Indiana constitution at the time was the clause that prevented Blacks from taking part in the state militia.
There were two governors during the period of the Reconstruction, Conrad Baker and Thomas A. Hendricks. Baker was lieutenant governor under Oliver P. Morton and gained the governor's office when Morton resigned to become a U.S. Senator. Baker's home was in Evansville. He ran for the office of governor against Thomas Hendricks in the election of 1868. Humane and public oriented, Baker was known as a good man with a high intellect. He was especially concerned with the social welfare of his fellow Hoosiers. He actively secured reforms in the prisons and other state institutions. Governor Baker was a believer in eliminating the state's debt as soon as possible and began making arrangements for paying it off. When he left office the state's debt was significantly reduced. He died in 1885.
Also during Governor Baker's term in office a Hoosier was elected Vice-President of the United States. In 1868 South Bend native, Schuyler Colfax, was on the Republican ticket that elected General Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency of the United States.
Governor Hendricks took office as Indiana's governor in 1873. He had served in the state legislature, in the constitutional convention of 1850, as a United States Senator and previously ran for office of governor twice (both times being defeated). His first Indiana home was in Shelbyville, but had moved to Indianapolis. In what became known as the "Disputed Election of 1876," Hendricks ran for the office of Vice-President of the United States with Samuel J. Tilden, but never won the national election of that year. He gave 35 years to public service in this state and finally died in the office of Vice-President in 1885.
The Panic of 1873
A national depression hit the United States in the first year of Hendricks' term as governor. This depression did not affect the expansion and prosperity throughout Indiana after the Civil War; but the industrial and commercial areas of the economy within the state suffered. There were conflicts between laborers and employers, often followed by strikes. In the coal industry around Knightstown and Brazil, rioting was quieted only after the involvement of the state militia. At Logansport, employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who had recently gone on strike, were causing severe problems for the local sheriff, who had contacted the governor for help. Detachments of troops were sent to Logansport to disperse the crowds of disgruntled workers. There were several other incidents, but none led to any serious violence.
Governor James D. Williams was elected to office during the first centennial of American Independence (1876). The 100 years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence had been a century of progress for the state of Indiana. Governor Williams will long be remembered in history as the "farmer governor of Indiana." He became the 17th Hoosier governor and was the first farmer by occupation to make it to that office.
In his early youth his parents moved from Ohio to Knox County, Indiana, where he resided until he went to the state capital to assume the duties as governor. Williams' early education was a one-room schoolhouse and to this he added a good general knowledge of current events. When he was 20 years old his father died making Jim the sole support for his family. He soon established a good reputation within his community and was known for his honesty, hard work and a lot of common sense. Williams became the wealthiest man in his Knox County community through his excellent farming techniques.
Williams' first taste of public service was as a justice of the peace. Four years later, in 1843, he was elected to the General Assembly where he served until 1874, when he was elected to Congress. In his campaigns for governor he wore his usual homespun clothing, or blue jeans. His opponents called him "Blue Jeans" and made fun of him, regarding him as an ignorant hick. This was a huge mistake on his opponent's part, knowing that Indiana is a highly agricultural state and Williams' appeal to the Hoosier farmer. When the campaign ended, the election returns showed that the old farmer from Knox County had beaten his opponent, General Benjamin Harrison, by over 5,000 votes!
Williams' administration is marked by some very important events. Several amendments to the state constitution were proposed at this time and pushed forward to final adoption in 1881. The most important events included the holding of elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (instead of the former October elections), limiting of debts by local communities and elimination of the restrictions against Black voters. Governor Williams died November 20, 1880, and lieutenant governor Isaac Gray served out the remaining 7 weeks of his term.
During Governor Williams' term Oliver P. Morton died and Benjamin Harrison completed his mansion in Indianapolis.
The Golden Era of Indiana
An event that has left a stain on Indiana's early 20th century history was the rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the 1920s.
Men, dressed in white robes and hoods, riding throughout the countryside harassing blacks.
The KKK made a comeback during the 1920s as a nationalistic backlash to the increase in foreigners, socialists, and anarchists. Like the KKK of the 19th century, these people were white supremacists; however, this time they extended their hatred beyond African Americans to immigrants, Catholics, and Jews. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 people in Indiana belonged to this discriminatory organization. D.C. Stephenson, a Midwestern Grand Dragon who became rich off of the business of selling KKK robes and accessories, settled in Evansville, Indiana in 1923. He led the organization in the state until a scandal involving an affair and the death of a woman caused him to resign.
Most believe that the Klan is an extinct organization, once comprised of rednecks and racist southerners. However, unfortunately, the Klan is still alive in Indiana. There was a time in Indiana when Klan membership could help an aspiring political career. Leonard Moore from the University of California has carefully analyzed Klan membership documents of Indiana and discovered that 250,000 white men in Indiana (about 30% of the native-born Caucasian men in Indiana) joined the Klan in the early 1920s.
The Klan has appeared and disappeared more than four times throughout its history. It is the constant bad dream for a free American society to deal with. Just when you think it's gone, it rears its ugly head once more. In its various forms and incarnations, the Klan has not entirely remained a southern-dominated organization. White supremacy has always been its goal, its anger and hatred has been used against other minority groups than just black Americans.
Its first appearance in American history was in the South, organized for only a short number of years between 1865 and 1872. The group was started by a group of 6 men from Pulaski, Tennessee, mainly as an elaborate game and roleplay of wearing eerie costumes while riding on horseback. It didn't take long for the Ku Klux Klan (its name, supposedly, derived from the Greek word kuklos, which means "circle") to go from a fraternal organization to a vigilante group bent on violence. An ex-Confederate general, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was chosen to be the Klan's first leader.
Forrest headed up a committee that made the Klan a secret society with elaborate and, sometimes, bizzare titles: grand wizard, grand dragon, titans and cyclops. The Klan was filled with members of the recently defeated Confederate army. Their focus was threefold: to strike back at the federal Reconstruction government, to put the blacks "back in their place," and to chase the white carpetbaggers back North. Because many southerners believed that the North was using the Reconstruction to hand over the South to illiterate blacks, the Klan was a way for southern whites to strike back.
The first Klan attacked with a fierce vengeance. This first Klan set the violent tone of the future organization. Anyone, either black or white, would meet a violent death if they stood in their way. The Klan's tools of intimidation included lynching, shooting, stabbing and whipping. They perceived their mission as defenders of the white way of life. They also saw themselves as protectors of white women and the property of their birth. The government, however, saw them as bloodthirsty criminals.
The government stepped in and ordered Nathan Forrest to disband the Klan. He reluctantly agreed and the secret organization of terror dissolved in 1869. However, violence towards blacks continued even after the dissolution of the Klan. The Klan's reign of terror was temporarily over.
The Klan would have been forgotten if Thomas Dixon, Jr., a novelist, hadn't produced a romanticized version of the Klan's history. Dixon claimed that the Klan was fighting for a just cause, defending their honor from wild blacks and white criminals. In 1915, almost 10 years after Dixon's writings, film maker D.W. Griffith used his book as a basis for a new movie. The new movie was entitled, Birth of a Nation and it was praised in the South and crucified in the North. The South saw it as a true depiction of the raw deal of Reconstruction, while the North saw the film as a way to legitimize racial hatred and violence toward minorities. However, when President Woodrow Wilson, a southern Democrat, saw the film and remarked that it was "all too terribly true," the rest of America flocked to see this new epic.
When Birth of a Nation debuted in Atlanta, Georgia on December 7, 1915, an advertisement appeared in the Atlanta newspaper calling for southern white men to join "A High Class Order for Men of Intelligence and Character." This was, of course, the new rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. This new Klan was, basically, a fraternal social club for white supremacists.
The first imperial wizard of this second Klan movement was a former Methodist preacher named William Simmons. He was interviewed in 1928 as to why people joined this new Klan movement. Simmons said:
I went around Atlanta talking to men who belonged to other lodges Masons, Woodmen of the World] about the new Ku Klux Klan. The Negroes were getting pretty uppity in the South along about that time. The North was sending down for them to take good jobs. Lots of Southerners were feeling worried about conditions. Thirty-four men belonging to various other lodges, promised to attend a meeting in [attorney E.R.] Clarkson's office. And on the night of October 26, 1915, we met. They were all there. Two of them were men who had belonged to the old Klan. John W. Bale, speaker of the Georgia legislature, called the meeting to order. He was the first man in America to wield a Klan gavel. I talked for an hour and we all decided that the idea would grow. We voted to apply for a state charter.
In November of 1915, Simmons and the new klansmen held their first initiation ceremony and cross burning. With Birth of a Nation providing free recruiting advertisement for the Klan, membership soared.
When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the Klan grew in strength. America now had to be 'protected' from the Germans and others: Catholics, Jews, Socialists, blacks and union leaders. Membership in the Klan was a way for citizens to help out the war effort in Europe by making sure American soil was kept 'pure.' The Klan was quickly becoming something universal and not just a southern racist group. William Simmons now realized that the Ku Klux Klan could now become a national fraternal movement.
A man named Joe Huffington was chosen by Simmons and other top Klan officials to start organizing the Klan in Indiana. Huffington's first base of operations was located in Evansville, Indiana. In the late summer of 1920 he began preparations to bring the Klan to Indiana. It was not long before Huffington met a young man named D.C. Stephenson.
D.C. Stephenson was born, probably, in Texas and soon would become the most powerful and influential man in Indiana. Stephenson found himself, eventually, in Evansville working as a salesman of bonds for the L.G. Julian Coal Company. By 1921 he was helping Huffington recruit for the newly formed Indiana chapter of the Klan. He was making a pretty good living with both jobs.
The Klan had a large vocabulary of secret words and titles that Stephenson had to learn. William Simmons was known as the imperial wizard, the top office of the Klan. Other office titles included: kligrapp, kludd, nighthawk and Cyclops. Their secret meetings and gatherings were known as klonvocations. Membership fees were called klecktoken.
D.C. Stephenson, like all other new members, had to swear an oath of allegiance to the Klan and a vow of secrecy. New recruits were asked 9 questions:
Did D.C. Stephenson take the oath seriously? No one really knows. Stephenson's public speeches aren't filled with the racist rhetoric as many of the other leaders of the Klan. He usually left the hate speeches up to others in the power structure of the Klan. His talent was centered around organizing the Klan in Indiana and collecting new recruits.
Membership in the Indiana division of the Klan began soaring with each new speech that Stephenson made. The group began to expand to the western states and industrial cities of the Midwest, the Klan was no longer a southern sensation.
The Klan even made inroads into Indiana churches. The Reverend William Forney Harris of the Grand Avenue Methodist Church preached in 1922 that secret societies like the Ku Klux Klan would not get his support. However, these were times of "moral decay," and as such, any organization that stood for decency and order ought not to be shunned. Other clergy found themselves offering similar endorsements to their congregations as the Klan membership began to grow locally.
D.C. Stephenson went on to become a powerful political figure in Indiana. His rise to power was short-lived, however. In 1922 David Curtis Stephenson was appointed Grand Dragon of the KKK for Indiana. In 1925 he had met a statehouse secretary, Madge Oberholtzer, at an inaugural ball for Governor Ed Jackson. She was later abducted from her home in Irvington, a neighborhood of Indianapolis and taken by Stephenson and some of his men to the train station. While on a trip to Hammond, Indiana, Stephenson repeatedly attacked and raped Oberholtzer in one compartment of his Pullman railcar. In Hammond she took poison to frighten Stephenson into letting her go. He immediately rushed her back to Indianapolis where she died a month later, either from the effects of the poison or the severe bite marks she incurred during the rape.
Stephenson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The sensational trial took place in Noblesville, Indiana in 1925. His conviction sent Stephenson to the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana for the next 31 years (the longest imprisonment in this state for that crime). He was released from prison in 1956 and faded into obscurity, however, not before causing the shocking downfall of many corrupt political officials within Indiana. When he went to jail he was convinced that Governor Ed Jackson, who he had helped elect, would pardon him. Governor Jackson never came through with the pardon and Stephenson began to talk.
With help from The Indianapolis Times (which won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigations), the structure of Indiana politics would be shaken. Stephenson began to talk about who had helped him rise to power and began to name names. The aftermath was shocking, indictments were filed against Governor Ed Jackson, Marion County Republican chairman George V. "Cap" Coffin, and attorney Robert I. Marsh, charging them with conspiring to bribe former Governor Warren McCray. Even Mayor of Indianapolis John Duvall was convicted and sentenced to jail for 30 days (and barred from political service for 4 years). Some Marion County commissioners also resigned from their posts on charges of accepting bribes from the Klan and Stephenson.
This was not the image that Indiana wanted to portray during its "golden age." Stephenson at the peak of his political career and influence had remarked, "I am the law in Indiana."
The Progressive Era
At the close of the 19th century, Indiana's main source of statewide wealth was tied to agriculture.
Mining and limestone extraction were also a source of income for the state. The emergence of Indiana as a leading industrial manufacturing state is related to at least four factors:
Increases in the population of cities within Indiana was also part of the emergence as a industrial-leading state.
Several changes occurred within manufacturing during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Steam power, used to power factory machinery, only grew slightly until it was no longer used because of the use of electricity (around 1914). Water powered factories quickly declined as the internal combustion engine became important to factory production.
Some of the largest industrial cities within Indiana included: Gary, Hammond, South Bend, Elkhart, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.
Indiana Through Change - The Growth of Cities
Since 1860 there was a large growth of industries in Indiana. As a result, people came from the U.S. and abroad to work in these new factories. By 1920, the growth of Indiana's cities had begun.
In Indiana, the first couple decades of the 20th century were dominated by an increase in industrial development and production. The city of Gary became home to a United States Steel factory at the turn of the century.
In South Bend, James Oliver, the inventor of the Oliver Chilled Plow, started a factory to manufacture farm implements. People, many from other countries, migrated to northern Indiana to work in this factory.
Automobile production began in Indiana soon after. Cars were built in more than forty cities in Indiana. The most famous of the Indiana car companies was Studebaker, which produced its first car in 1901. The Studebaker brothers founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 had originally started, first, a blacksmith shop that eventually grew into the largest wagon manufacturer in the world. The company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners and the military.
Specialized factories helped make other cities grow. Steamboats were made in Jeffersonville alongside the Ohio River. Many Elkhart factories centered around making band instruments. In 1891 the Wayne Knitting Mills in Fort Wayne began making socks and clothing.
Around 1900 natural gas was discovered near Portland, Indiana. The northeast side of the state saw growth centered around this new energy resource. The Indiana state government offered free gas (to run machinery and other things) to factories that would build in these areas. Natural gas allowed for the production of glass products.
The most famous glass manufacturer was the Ball Brothers Company, established in Muncie in 1887. The Ball Company specialized in the manufacture of glass fruit canning jars. The company is especially known for its cutting-edge technology in the production of glass jars. By 1930 one machine in the Ball plant produced 30 fruit jars a minute. Ball Brothers became even more self-sufficient by creating their own zinc and rubber production facilities to make lids and seals for their jars. They also had a paper mill that produced cardboard boxes used to ship their jars in Ball-owned railcars. By 1936 the Ball Company had 5 plants outside Indiana, but the Muncie plant remained the largest. The Ball factory in Muncie spanned 70 acres and employed 2,500 workers. The Ball brothers are also famous because they used some of their fortune to start Ball State University.
Unfortunately, the natural gas discovered in northeast Indiana only lasted about 15 years. Factories then switched to using coal for their energy needs. They continued to use sand and clay to make everything from glass to pottery.
With the technological advances in industrial production, steel making had become an important occupation in Indiana. Steel was now being used in buildings, homes and the flourishing railroads. There are three basic elements needed to make coal: iron ore, coal and limestone. A certain type of coal is burned and turned into a fuel called coke. Coke burns at very high temperatures that is needed to melt large quantities of iron ore and limestone. When iron ore and limestone are combined and heated together at high temperature, the useable steel settles towards the bottom of the kettle and limestone forms with the impurities and floats at the top of the heated mixture (this is then skimmed off the top of the molten steel and discarded).
Around 1900 the United States Steel Company began looking for a location to build a new steel mill. The plant had to be located in an area close to supplies of iron ore, limestone and coke (coal) and had to have a way of getting the finished steel to places where it could be used. United States Steel decided to build their new factory on the sand dunes beside Lake Michigan. By placing the factory here ships could travel to the new factory by way of Lake Michigan to deliver the iron ore. Railroads already existed that could bring the limestone from southern Indiana to the shore of Lake Michigan. Coal and its by-product coke could be delivered by train from Pennsylvania (Indiana's coal supply could not be used to make coke).
This new city was named Gary after Elbert H. Gary, the president of the United States Steel Company. After U.S. Steel built the factory at Gary several other factories and companies came to Gary (often called the Calumet Region of Indiana). Gary became a major industrial center that lasted for decades.
Now that steel production was cheap and easy to produce, Henry Ford's invention of the modern factory production line and interchangeable parts would take full advantage of the steel industry. Nothing in our century has changed life so dramatically as the invention of the automobile. For many years Indiana was the center of the automobile industry.
Elwood Haynes built one of the first successful cars. Haynes built his first automobile in 1894 and tested it on the Fourth of July in Kokomo. He started his car and drove it on Pumkinvine Pike in Kokomo for a mile and a half at a top speed of 7 miles per hours. Haynes then brought in some partners, the Apperson brothers, and made some of the first cars sold in America. By 1916 his company had sold more than 7,000 cars. Detroit then closed in and forced the company into bankruptcy in 1924.
Automobiles were produced in more than 40 cities within Indiana. The largest of the automobile manufacturers was the Studebaker Company. It produced its first car in 1901. The company continued making automobiles until they closed in 1963, after more than 60 years in the automobile business.
Other famous automobile companies in Indiana included:
Elwood Haynes partners, the Apperson brothers, produced cars of their own called the Apperson Jack Rabbit. The company went out of business in 1925.
The Cole Motor Car Company started in Indianapolis in 1909 and closed in 1925. The Cole Company gave the first automobile in the history of the U.S. presidency to William Taft.
The Marmon Motor Car Company began as a flourmill machinery company. They soon concentrated on making a luxury car they called the Marmon. The last Marmon was produced in 1933 when the company went out of business.
Charles M. Schwab, the Bethlehem Steel tycoon, controlled another Indianapolis-based auto manufacturer, Stutz. He was determined to build an automobile manufacturing empire. The Stutz Bearcat was one of the most popular sport cars of the 20s. The company failed in 1936.
One of the most famous Indianapolis automakers was the maker of the Dusenberg. Dusenberg automobiles were built only for the extremely wealthy. Most people today believe that the Dusenberg (and Auburn/Cord) vehicles were (and are) the finest automobiles ever built. However, by 1937 the Depression and changing tastes in automobiles had rendered the luxury cars obsolete. E. L. Cord, the owner of the Auburn-Cord-Dusenberg factory in Auburn, Indiana sold his corporation and ended the era of the Indianapolis-built Dusenberg.
George Milburn of Mishawaka, Indiana made a different type of vehicle. His automobiles were run entirely on electricity. Mr. Milburn was a man of extraordinary energy and force of character. His company reported the value of vehicles produced in the Mishawaka plant for the year ending July 1, 1873, at $446,652,000.00.
However, during the same year a controversy arose between George Milburn and the town of Mishawaka. George Milburn needed and asked the town officials for railroad tracks to be extended from the factory to the Lake Shore railway main line. However, the mayor and other town council officials felt they were unable to agree to this request. The tension between Mr. Milburn and Mishawaka widened so much that by the end of 1873 the Milburn Wagon Works was closed and moved to Toledo, Ohio. The most famous Milburn automobiles were the 1918 electric coupes that President Woodrow Wilson's secret service men drove.
Indianapolis was also the center for what became the most famous auto race in the world. The Indianapolis 500 was first held on Memorial Day of 1911 and still occurs every Memorial Day weekend. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built on 328 acres of farmland on the northwest side of Indianapolis in the spring of 1909. Four local businessmen, Carl Fisher, James Allison, Frank Wheeler and Arthur Newby originally planned the speedway as a year-round testing facility for automobiles. Only occasionally were there races at the track before 1911 that allowed the different automobile manufacturers to race their cars against each other. It was reasoned that if the public was allowed to view these races they would be impressed to run to their nearest car dealership or factory and purchase one of these new vehicles. This is how the world-famed endurance race began.
The track has four turns that bank at 9 degrees each and measure 440 yards from entrance and exit of each turn. These four turns were then connected with long straights that make the track exactly 2.5 miles in length. The original surface of the track was crushed stone and tar that proved to be very dangerous on the first opening race. In August of 1909, 3,200,000 paving bricks were installed, laid on their sides in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. This gave the speedway the immortal nickname, "The Brickyard."
Poor attendance at several races throughout the year in 1910 caused the owners to redesign their racing plans. They decided on one, single race in 1911. They envisioned this race with a huge audience and offering the winner of the race a huge monetary prize. On May 30, 1911 the first Indianapolis 500 mile race occurred, offering the winner a purse of $14,250. With the exception of an additional race in September of 1916, no race other than the Indianapolis 500 was to be held until the addition of the popular NASCAR stock car event, the Brickyard 400 that debuted in 1994. The 500 was suspended during America's involvement in two world wars, 1917-1918 and 1942-1945, but held in all other years.
Changes after World War I
By 1920 the three leading industries in Indiana were iron and steel, automobiles and railroad cars. More Hoosiers worked in factories than worked on farms. A new industry was soon created in Indiana-the manufacturing of electrical products. During the 1920s the first electric stoves, refrigerators and radios were sold for the first time. Homes and businesses across Indiana were soon lighted by electricity that replaced gas and kerosene lanterns as lighting.
Another invention that affects our lives today is the airplane. The first successful airplanes were invented in the 1920s and made by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Wilbur Wright was born in Newcastle, Indiana in 1867. The Wright brothers made their first successful attempt of air travel at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.
The Great Depression
The 1920s were a great time to be a Hoosier, however, that was all about to change during the 1930s. Following the stock market crash of 1929, the Great Depression took hold of America.
During the 1930s, Indiana, like the rest of the nation, was affected by the Great Depression.
Unemployment and poverty now became a thing everyone shared. The decline of purchasing power in the market staggered agriculture, which already had been suffering the effects of production surpluses. The prices for agricultural products declined rapidly and farmers responded by producing more products. This resulted in an economic disaster that gripped most of Indiana, which was still largely agricultural.
Many farmers could no longer afford to pay their mortgages and lost their land. In 1933, 5% of the nation's farms underwent mortgage foreclosures. The stifled economy also drastically reduced the quantity of goods and services bought and sold. The industrial and financial urban centers suffered from vast numbers of business failures that led to the closure of 30,000 businesses nationwide. Banks closed their doors because of the lack of cash. Production stopped in the industrial sector as a result of falling investments and an inability to pay workers.
These closings and shutdowns led to a huge unemployment crisis. Unemployment reached a high of 25% in 1933, and hovered between 15% and 20% for the remainder of the 1930s. Small, rural towns were hardest hit, as were unskilled workers and minorities. Abject poverty quickly appeared. Children started receiving inadequate nutrition and healthcare, and starvation became an everyday occurrence. The unemployed were usually evicted from their homes and left to wander around homeless or to live in poorly constructed shelters made of any trash material that could be found. Many were so ashamed of their new lowered status that they committed suicide. The suicide rate in the U.S. rose 30% between 1928 and 1932.
Of all the problems Indiana's Governor Paul McNutt and most public officials faced in the 1930s, public relief was the most important. With tens of thousands of Hoosiers unemployed, relief agencies and public officials were flooded with unprecedented demands for food, clothing, medical care and jobs. Bread lines and soup kitchens were created and constantly used.
Prior to the Depression, local communities and private organizations typically controlled relief and charity. There was no real state-level of financial help or aid. By 1930 local charity organizations began to focus upon Depression relief. However, because of the large amount of relief needed, these local charities soon became overwhelmed and many had to stop their operation.
By 1933 the federal government had started the Public Works Administration (PWA) that was designed to get people back to work building large-scale projects such as water and sewage treatment facilities, highways and public housing. In 1935 the major federal welfare program Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created. The main goal of the WPA was to provide a job for all able-body workers. The WPA began in Indiana by July of 1935. By October 74,708 Hoosiers were on the work rolls. Census figures indicated that by March of 1940, 64,700 of Indiana's 172,000 unemployed workers were working on WPA projects.
Hoosier men and women worked on a wide variety of WPA projects within Indiana. A majority of workers were employed in the building and improvement of the state's highways, roads and streets. These street projects involved new shoulders, ditches, culverts, bridges and curbs. The WPA workers also built water treatment plants, flood control projects (i.e. Monroe Reservoir) and public swimming pools. Nearly every Indiana city and community had something that was constructed by the WPA.
A little-known area of the WPA is that some projects did not require physical labor. Several WPA workers indexed public library collections, newspapers and county histories. "Indiana artists found employment in producing public art, the most notable examples of which were the murals done in many post offices across the state."
Every Hoosier was affected by the Depression. A whole generation of Hoosiers spent the remainder of their lives storing food, money and clothing with the fear that the Depression may happen again. Hoosiers also became strongly reliant on the state's help for finding employment to obtaining basic needs in a personal crisis. The generation that lived during the Depression has been termed the 'tough generation.' How appropriate.
The economic downturn had a wide-ranging negative impact on Indiana, such as the decline of urbanization. The situation was aggravated by the Dust Bowl, which caused an influx of migrants from the rural Midwestern United States. Governor Paul V. McNutt's administration struggled to build a state-funded welfare system to help the overwhelmed private charities. During his administration, spending and taxes were both cut drastically in response to the depression and the state government was completely reorganized. McNutt also ended Prohibition in the state and enacted the state's first income tax. On several occasions, he declared martial law to put an end to worker strikes. World War II helped lift the economy in Indiana, as the war required steel, food and other goods that were produced in Indiana. Roughly 10 percent of Indiana's population joined the armed forces while hundreds of industries earned war production contracts and began making war material.
Many of the existing manufacturing plants switched from producing consumer goods to producing war products. Automobile, steel, chemical, and electronics plants were often the first to be converted for war purposes. The Dupont Company, with funding from the government, constructed the world's largest powder plant in Indiana. Defense spending increased profits for the companies, allowing them to hire more workers. By 1944, payrolls for war industries accounted for nearly one-third of all of the jobs in the state.
Indiana also contributed to the military aspect of the war. Over 300,000 men and women from Indiana served in the war, and over 10,000 died. More than two-dozen army and navy training centers, camps, and depots were built in the state. Camp Atterbury, a combat training center and POW camp, Jefferson Proving Ground, a testing site, and Crane Naval Ammunition Depot were all built in Indiana during the war. Military spending in Indiana created thousands of jobs that stimulated the economy and lifted the state, and nation, out of the depths of the Great Depression.
The effects of the war helped end the Great Depression.
With the conclusion of World War II, Indiana rebounded to levels of production prior to the Great Depression. Industry became the primary employer, a trend that continued into the 1960s. Urbanization during the 1950s and 1960s led to substantial growth in the state's urban centers. The auto, steel and pharmaceutical industries topped Indiana's major businesses. Indiana's population continued to grow during the years after the war, exceeding five million by the 1970 census. In the 1960s, the administration of Matthew E. Welsh adopted its first sales tax of two percent. Welsh also worked with the General Assembly to pass the Indiana Civil Rights Bill, granting equal protection to minorities in seeking employment. Beginning in 1970, a series of amendments to the state constitution were proposed. With adoption, the Indiana Court of Appeals was created and the procedure of appointing justices on the courts was adjusted.
The 1973 oil crisis created a recession that hurt the automotive industry in Indiana. Companies like Delco Electronics and Delphi began a long series of downsizing that contributed to high unemployment rates in manufacturing in Anderson, Muncie, and Kokomo. The deindustrialization trend continued until the 1980s when the national and state economy began to diversify and recover.
Indiana's location in the Northwest has made it home to list of very interesting historical events, ranging from the era of the Paleo-Indians, to the battle for control between the French, British, and the Americans, and ending with the development of the land as part of the United States. Indiana boasts a unique balance of industrialization and agriculture, strengthening the state's economic diversity. Unlike other Northwestern and Midwestern states, and despite its heavily industrialized areas and ample farmland, Indiana has never been home to large numbers of foreign immigrants. Indiana serves as an example of natural increase and interstate migration, being both home to American migrants and producing a great deal of migrants to other states. By examining the settlement of Indiana, its rich history is unveiled and a deeper understanding and appreciation of this Midwestern state's place in the development of the United States can be better understood and appreciated.
In the 1970s, downtown Indianapolis was not a place you'd like to live or visit, but it began to become that way in the 1980s, when many skyscrapers were built to revitalize the city including Chase Tower.
Officially, downtown Indianapolis refers to the central business district (CBD), but the boundaries are still disputed to this day. Some believe it is just the original downtown, while others believe it includes the smaller neighborhoods on the outskirts. The debate has been going on for a while, and it appears that it will go on for at least a little while longer, until a city council decides to settle it, if they ever do.
The Indiana Convention Center draws many tourists, and business men, making tourism a large source of income and revenue for Downtown Indianapolis. Other attractions include Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Indianapolis Colts will be playing, Conseco Fieldhouse, where the Indiana Pacers play, and Victory Field, which houses the Indianapolis Indians, which are a minor league baseball team in the International League, and in the farm system of the Cleveland Indians.
Another major attraction of downtown Indianapolis is the Circle Centre Mall, which contains well over 100 stores spanning four levels. This mammoth of a mall is 786,000 square feet, and is anchored by two three-level stores. Nordstrom and Carson Pirie Scott are the two anchors, and are 210,000 square feet and 144,000 square feet respectively. The third level is entirely a food court, while the fourth level is dedicated to entertainment, and has a brewery on it. The mall also contains an arcade, and a nine screen movie theater to boot.
Downtown Indianapolis is surprisingly home to the first Union Station in the world, although it doesn't even have a commuter rail service. This is due to the fact that Indianapolis was a central rail hub in the 19th century. This has since changed, but the Union Station remains in place as a reminder, and a source of future hope that someday, downtown Indianapolis will get its own commuter service.