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Title: The Battle of Kickapoo
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I have been informed by different sources that some persons who are reading these articles doubt the authenticity of some statements I am making. I am glad to know this tho few of them have been brave enough to express their doubts to me. How much more I should think of these critics if they would just come frankly to me and ask where I got this information.

Mr. R.E. Ray of the Attica Daily Tribune, in his issue of January 26, in an article entitled "The Battle of Kickapoo," says, that he doubts whether the whites had any part in it, and yet he admits the battle having bee fought at Kickapoo, and says "That there was a battle fought at some time on the hills opposite Attica is shown by the vast number of graves known to exist on what is now the Milligan farm" and gives other evidences of that battle there. I had stated that a letter in the possession of O.S. Clark, written by his aunt, stated that she had visited that battlefield of Kickapoo on her wedding trip, and this letter was written in the late twenties.

Much of the material that I have been giving is from "Dillon's History of Indiana" and Dillon, in that history gives that battles leading up to the destruction of Ouiatenon, first in June, 1797, by Brig. Gen Charles Scott of Kentucky, and in the same year by Gen. John Wilkinson. He gives Scott's line of march, the date that he started and the different places where he camped; it tells if his coming to Ouiatenon and gives a description of the battle there. The river was not too high to be forded easily when this battle was fought, and hin his official report of this battler, in which he used 750 men, Gen. Scott says that he sent Wilkinson two miles up the river form Ouiatenon to ford the river but could not ford there. Scott had covered with his 750 men the entire length of the settlement. One of the villages which he mentions was located in the north east corner of Fountain county; there were actual engagements here. They were shooting across the river at the Kickapoo villages on the opposite side.

On page 264 Dillon's history quotes Scott as follows: "About this time word was brought me that Col. Hardin was encumbered with prisoners and had discovered a strong village further to my left (down the river) thatn those i had observed, which he was proceeding to attack. I immediately detached Capt. Brown with his company to support Col. Hardin"- (Brown's company was attacking the Indians near the county line; Scott himself was near what is now Granville, and Wilkinson was sent two miles further up the river) "but the distance being six miles (from Brown) before the Captain arrived, the business was done. Col. Hardin joined me a little before sunset, having killed six warriors and taken fifty-two prisoners."

Now, six miles down the river on this side there were no Indian villages; six miles down the river was what was afterwards known as the Emmons Ford, now on the Gus and Ed Leaf place, which was then a gravel ford and the best ford along the Wabash. Here Hardin's men could cross the river, wage a battle onthe other side with the Kickapoo village in the morning and it would take them until about six o'clock in the evening to return. They only reported killing six warriors, they probably killed more; it was sure that they did kill six and they took fifty-two prisoners. Figuring the distances I have concluded this would have reached to the Kickapoo village which was a large and strong village on the Kickapoo creek.

From another source comes interesting confirmation of the battle of Kickapoo. A.S. Peacock, of this city, recalls that his father (who was one of the first settlers of Attica) told him that W.R. Crumpton, grandfather of W.R. Crumpton Jr., was with General Scott in this expedition and was one of the detachment that fought the battle against the Indians at Kickapoo. Crumpton later returned to the site of Attica and established a store in a cabin on the river bank, which became the first business house of Attica. The illustration printed herewith is from a drawing which Mr. Peacock had made many years ago and is from descriptions as given by his father and other old settlers. The Crumpton family had a prominent part in the affairs of Attica during the first generation of its existence.

If Hardin captured 52 warriors and killed only six there is great probability that this is not a complete casualty list. The custom of the Indians was to fight as far as possible under cover and if the engagement lasted several hours, as the report indicates, it is probable that this was the case there. If this were true many more might have been killed and their bodies hidden inthe brush by their comrades or the squaws. The fact that at least 58 warriors were engaged indicates that there was at Kickapoo a village of probably three to five hundred Indians counting the old men, women and the children.

Personally I am of the opinion that this was not the only fight at Kickapoo, but evidence is lacking to establish it, except that large number of bones that have been unearthed at Kickapoo. It is recalled by residents of that community that a number of years ago the creek bank caved away uncovering a lot of these bones, which had the appearance of having been buried together in a trench rather than in single graves.

In closing his article, Mr. Ray says "The Handbook of the American Indian, issued by the Ethnological Bureau and purporting to give all the tribes of Indians and noted characters, makes no mention of Sheshepah, alleged leader of the Indians." In the history of Vermillion county, Indiana, it is stated that Sheshepah or Seseepe was the principle chief of the Kickapoos, and the stories that I told of him I got from the authentic history of that county.

In the U.S. Statutes at Large, No. 7 entitled, "Indian Treaties," at page 120, six Kickapoo Indian chiefs signed the treaty at Greenville, Ohio, on July 22, 1814, the most important treaty that William Henry Harrison ever made with the Indians, and Sheshepah, or Duck, was one of the six Kickapoo chiefs that signed that treaty. In the same volume at page 146, in a treaty entered at Ft. Harrison (now Terre Haute) on the 4th day of June, 1816, Benjamin Parker being the special agent of the president, Sheshepah, or Little Duck, signs as the principal chief of the Kickapoos. This I am giving from the Statutes of the United States of America, and I believe it to be as authentic as the "Handbook of the American Indian, issued by the Ethnological Bureau."

No, Mr. Ray, I am not talking thru my hat, neither am I an inspired writer. I have the documents to back up the statements that I am making in regard to the Indians, and the early settlers in this locality. I could not give the names, the place, and the date without authority to back me; I was not there, I am not writing from memory; I occassionally add some legend but I tell where it came from and give it simply for what it is worth.

After Hardin returned to Scott's main army Scott says "The next morning I determined to detatch my Lieutenant Colonel Commandant with five hundred men to destroy the important town of Kethtipcanunk eighteen miles from my camp, and on the west side of the Wabash. Three hundred sixty men only could be found in a capacity to undertake the enterprise, and they prepared to march on foot. Col. Wilkinson marched with this detachment at half after five in the evening and returned to my camp the next day at one o'clock, having marched thirty-six miles in twelve hours, and destroyed the most important settlement of the enemy in that quarter of the federal territory." But I wish to call your attention to the fact taht he sent none down the river for the reason that Col. Hardinn had disposed of all danger the day before in that direction. When Brig. Gen. Scott left he released six weak and infirm prisoners at Ouiatenon and gave them a written speech in which he said, among other things: "The soverign council of the thirteen United States have long patiently borne your depredations among their settlements on this side of the great mountains. Their mighty sons and chief warriors have at length taken up the hatchet, they have penetrated far into your country to meet your warriors and punish them for their transgressions; they have destroyed your old town Ouiatenon and the neighboring villages, and have taken many prisoners; they have proceeded to your town of Kethtipcanunk, and that great town has been destroyed. They are merciful as they are strong, and they again indulge the hope that you will come to a sense of your true interests and determine to make a lasting peace with them and all their children forever."

In speaking of Topenibe, the Potawatami chief, and brother of Kaukeama Burnett, the United States Statutes at Large says: "That the United States extend their undulgence of peace also to the bands of the Potawatamies which adhere to the Grand Sachem Tobinipwe," and at page 298 it says, speaking of Kaukeama Burnett: "Kaukeama the sister of Topenibe, the principal chief of the Putawatimie tribe of the Indians." I only add this that there may be no question about Topenibe, the Potawatami chief, as there was about Sheshepah, the chief of the Kickapoos.

Variation in spelling of these Indian names is due to the fact that when they were affixt to treaties they were written by the interpreter, who was compelled to rely upon the pronunciation alone.

Date: 1/1/1916
Origin: Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley
Author: J. Wesley Whicker
Record ID: 00001180
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

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