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Title: The Men of Tippecanoe
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Anyone who delves into the history of the battle of Tippecanoe cannot escape being imprest by the character of the men that composed Gen. Harrison's army. In my sketch of the battle there was a hint of this in the statement that Isaac Naylor, one of the privates afterward became judge of this circuit; but there were many of the others who were with Harrison who became prominent afterward and whose names are inseparably linked with the history of Indiana. Every school boy knows that Harrison himself was made president later, but comparatively little is known of the others, so I have thought it worth while to set down here some things of interest relative to a number of men in his command. I shall begin with Harrison and in this I shall quote from Elmore Brace, of Fowler, because I think my friend Barce has written the best short description of Harrison that has ever been printed. If Benton County has not discovered Barce I hope it will soon. A few years ago I told Barce a prairie country could not produce great men, that it required hills and landscape for oratory; eloquence and greatness; and Barce immediately made a trip down the Wabash from the source to the mouth of the river and wrote the best description of the Wabash I have ever seen in print. I have not spoken to Barce since that time, and if he continues to prove my statements false I may never speak to him again. Here is his sketch of "Old Tippecanoe:"
"Harrison arrived in Vincennes in 1801. At that time he was twenty eight years of age, had served as aid-de-camp to Gen. Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and had distinguished himself for bravery. His personal appearance Harrison was demanding and his manner prepossessing; he was about six feet high, rather straight form, and of a firm elastic gait. Even at the time of his election as president, tho bordering seventy, he had a keen penetrating eye, was quick of apprehension, prompt and energy. In the severe winter campaign of 1812-13 he slept in a thinner tent than anyone in his command, whether officer or soldier, and his accommodations were known as the worst in the army. On the expedition of the Thames all his baggage was contained in one valise; on the night after the action of the Thames, thirty-five British officers supped with him on fresh beef roasted before the fire, without salt or bread, and without spirits or drink of any kind except water, and whether in camp or on the march his whole army was up regularily and under arms at daybreak, and upon no occasion did he fail to be out himself, however severe the weather, and was generally the first officer on horseback ready to start his whole army. He made it a point on every occasion to set an example of fortitude and patience to his men and to share with them every hardship, difficulty and danger. Judge Law writes taht Williams Henry Harrison was as brave a man as ever lived. At Tippecanoe immediately after the first savage yell, he mounted on horseback and rode from line to line encouraging his men and knew that he was at all times a conspicuous mark for the Indian bullets. One leaden ball passed thru the rim of his hat, and Col. Abraham Owen, Thomas Randolph and others were killed at his side. Upon one occasion, as he was approaching an angle of the line again, Indians were advancing with their horrible yells, Liuet. Emerson of the dragoons seized the bridle of his horse and earnestly entreated him to go no further, but putting the spurs to his horse he pushed on to the point of attack, where, under his command, the enemy was received with firmness and was driven back. To these traits, his fearless courage, his willingness to share burdens and hardships of the common soldier, may have attributed his great and lasting hold on the affections of the Kentucky and southern Indiana Indian fighters. To them he was more than a hero, he was a man approaching divine.

On his arrival at Vincennes in 1801 the population of that town was seven hundred fourteen persons, eighteen hundred nineteen more lived in the surrounding country, and fifty-five fur traders were scattered along the Wabash. A large part of the inhabitants of Vincennes belonged to that class of French Canadians who produced the LaPlants, the Barrons, and the Brouilettes, some of them renowned Indian interpreters and river guides, and among the settlers of the state were Benjamin Park, one of the commanders of Tippecanoe and founder of the state law library, and Waller Taylor, Thomas Randolph, two of his aides in the Wabash campaign. These men favored the suspension of the sixth article of the ordinance of 1787, prohibiting slavery in the Northwest territory, which is now established history.

"While at Vincennes Harrison conducted a great number of difficult negotiations and treaties with the chiefs and head-warriors of the Miamis, Potawatamies, Delawares, Shawnees, Kickapoos, and other tribes. Copies of the Old Western Sun amply testifies to the fact athat prior to the important Indian treaties of 1809 at Fort Wayne and Vincennes, he issued a public proclamation prohibiting any traffic liquor with the Indians, that he constantly inveighed against this illegal commerve with the Indian tribes.

"Dillon says the total quantity of land ceded to the United States under treaties which were concluded betwen Gov. Harrison and various Indian tribes amounted to about 29,719,530 acres.

"On the first day of September, 1809 he set out on horseback for the council house at Ft. Wayne, accompanied only by Peter Jones, his secretary, Joseph Barron, the interperter, a Frenchman for a guide, and two Indians, probably Delawares of the friendly White River tribe. He travelled eastward in Dearborn and Wayne countries. While in Wayne county, he and his party were entertained by Peter Weaver, who afterwards became the first settler of Fountain and Tippecanoe counties; and Patrick Henry Weaver, who came here with his father told me taht on this journey William Henry Harrison gave him a fifty cent piece, which was the first money he ever owned.

"Judge Law says of Joseph Barron, the interpreter. 'He knew the Indian character well, had lived among them many years, spoke fluently the language of every tribe which dwelt on the upper Wabash, understoon their customs, habits and manners, and charlantanry well. And altho but imperfectly educated, was one of the most remarkable men he ever knew.' The Governor arrived at the post on the fifty of the month, at the same time with the Delawares and their interpreter John Conner. This treaty was finally completed on the thirtieth day of September, 1809 and no resort was had to the evil influence of bribes or intoxicants."

The following summary of the life and work of Judge Isaac Naylor, to whom I have already referred, is from an address made by Gen. Lew Wallace at the dedication of the Montgomery courthouse: "Isaac Naylor was a Virginian, born in 1792, brot to Kentucky and, when seven or eight years old; to Clarke county, Indiana; read law with Supreme Judge Scott; served as a soldier with Gen. Harrison in 1811, when he removed to to Crawfordsville was first a partner of Thomas J. Evans and then associated hiimself with Henry S. Lane; was eleced circuit judge by the legislature in 1838; served seven years; was reelected; held second term of six years; was then elected by the people judge of the court of common pleas, and continued such for six years. He died full of honors, in June 1837. He was thoroly imbued with the principles of the system of pleading yet found in Chitty. In the early time his contemporaries called him familiarly 'Old S.D.' (Special Demurrer.)" He was the second judge of the circuit and that then included Montgomery and Fountain counties.

State Senator, Alva O. Reser, of Lafayette, has perhaps given the most careful study to the personal character of the men who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe, and the following description of those who participated in that battle is from Mr. Reser;

Gen. John Tipton impressed himself more upon the early history of Indiana than any other man. Capt. Spencer's company was raised in Harrison county and Tipton was ensign in it; he afterwards became United State senator, bought the land on which Tippecanoe was fought and gave it to the State of Indiana; he settled and lived in Logansport. Tipton County was named for him. He died in 1839 at the age of 53.

White County was named for Isaac White of Kentucky, a brave fellow who was killed in the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Wells County was named after Capt. William H. Wells, who had been brought up among the Miami Indians and who gave the settlers of Vincennes in southern Indinaa, the first information that the Indians intended to attack them. In 1812 Capt. Wells was stationed at Ft. Dearborn, near Chicago, and was induced by the Indians to have a councel with them under a flag of truce and was lured by them into the ambush, where Capt. Wells and all his party were massacred.

Parke County was named for Capt. Benjamin Parke, who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe; he was afterwards a member of Congress from the Territory of Indiana and was the first United States District Judge for the District of Indiana. In the latter part of his life he became financially embarassed, and unhesitantingly gave up all his property for the benefit of his creditors. So completely did he deny himself that his family at their meals drank out of tin cups. The wife of Capt. Parke was named Betsy, and she was held in such high esteems that more baby daughters were named for her than after any other lady in southern Indiana.

Bartholomew County was named for Joseph Bartholomew, who commanded the infantry at the Battle of Tippecanoe; was formerly a citizen of Clarke county; was severely wounded at the Battle of Tippecanoe; he was a member of the legislature in 1821 and 1824. There is a portrait of General Bartholomew in the court house at Columbus, Indiana. He died in 1840.

Capt Spier Spencer commanded the company called "The Yellow Jackets," which company occupied the ground at the southern point of the battle-field. Upon this company fell the brunt of the battle and more men were killed in that company than any other. During the battle, Capt. Spencer was wounded. J.S. Pfrimmer, of Corydon, writes me: 'After Spencer was wounded he was being carried to the rear by two soldiers and while in their arms was struck by a ball in the shoulder, which ran lengthwise of his body and killed him outright.'

Daviess county was named for Joseph Hamilton Daviess, a brilliant orator and distinguished citizen of Kentucky, who was killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe. He had been United States District Attorney and prosecuted Aaron Burr; he once challenged Henry Clay to fight a duel, and he was once grand master of the Masonic Fraternity of Kentucky.

Dubois county was named after Capt. Toussant Dubois, who was the guide to Tippecanoe, and who relied very largely on Zachariah Cicot to guide the army from Vincennes to The Prophet's Town. He knew the route almost as well as he had been a trader and often traveled from Vincennes to Detroit, and had great influence with the early pioneers and Indians. When Gen. Harrison decided to move against the Indians in 1811 Dubois offered his services, and he was made captian of the spies and scouts in the Tippecanoe campaign; Dubois was the last man to visit the headstrong Prophet on the evening before the battle. Jesse Kilgore Dubois, a son of Capt. Dubois, became a warm personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. United States Senator Fred T. Dubois, of Idaho, was a grandson of Capt. Dubois. On March 11, 1816, Capt. Dubois attempted to swim the Wabash river, not far from Vincennes, on horseback, and was drowned.

Floyd county is by some supposed to have been named after John Floyd, a surveyor. By others it is claimed the coutny was named after Davis Floyd, who fought in the battle of Tippecanoe. Davis Floyd was an ardent friend of Aaron Burr, and was indicted with him for treason, but when Burr was acquitted, the prosecution against Floyd was abandoned. He was an adjutant in the Battle of Tippecanoe, and was a member of the general assembly of the Territory. His estate was settled in Harrison county. He was admitted to the bar in Clarke county in 1817. In the early days he had been a pilot on the Ohio River.

Warrick county was named after Jacob Warrick, who fell at the battle of Tippecanoe. General Harrison speaks of him in his report and said that Warrick was his friend, in whom he had placed great confidence, and Harrison in his report says: "Warrick was shot immediately through the body. On being taken to a surgeon to ahve his wound dressed, as soon as it was over, being a man of great vigor and able to walk, he insisted on going back to the head of his company, altho it was evident he had but a few hours to live.

Harrison county was named, of course after William Henry Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe.

In 1840 great political meetings were held at the Tippecanoe battle-ground. This was called the singing campaign. In other years political meetings had been held on this sport. Here the little giant, Stephen A. Douglas, has spoken and in later years, Roscoe Conkling, James G. Blaine and others. I give herewith a couple of stanzas from the old political songs of the singing campaign of 1840.

Old Tippecanoe
Hurrah for the log cabin chief of our joys;
For the old Indian fighter, hurrah!
Hurrah; and from mountain to valley the voice
Of the people re-echoes hurrah!

Then come to the ballet box, boys come along,
He who never lost a battle for you
Let us down with oppression and tyranny's throng,
And up with "Old Tippecanoe."

Tippecanoe and Tyler Too
Let them talk about hard cider, and cider,
And log cabins too,
'Twill only help to speed the ball
For Tippecanoe and Tyler, too,
For Tippecanoe and Tyler, too,
And with them we'll beat them little Van;
Van, Van is used-up man,
And with them we'll beat little Van.

Date: 1/1/1916
Origin: Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley
Author: J. Wesley Whicker
Record ID: 00001163
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

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