Lura Case Woodworth.

Reminiscences of old Fort Wayne online

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„ 3 1833 01715 7048

Gc 977.202 F77woo
Woodworth, Lura Case.
Reminiscences of old Fort



The Old Fort.


Compiled by


Allen County Public Library

900 Webster Street

POBox2; m.2270

Fort Wayne, IN 468'0i lw


We have endeavored to make this book of Remin-
isences a chronicle of some of the most stirring and in-
teresting events connected with the early history of
Fort Wayne.

That we have not been able to secure the recitals
of happenings, that are just as closely woven around
the memory of many of the other founders of our
beloved city, is our misfortune, but the halo of glory
which hovers around the memory of these sturdy,
self confident, and far seeing pioneers, can never be
dimmed, and their names which we still honor and
revere are placed in loving remembrance upon this
page. They are :

Judge Samuel Hanna.
Allen Hamilton.
Cyrus Taber.
Maj. Thomas Forsythe.
Henry Johns.
Wm. G. and G. W. Ewing.
James Barnett.
Thomas Swinney.
Louis Peltier.
Wm. Suttenfield.
Michael Hedekin.
James Aveline.
Col. Marshall S. Wines.
Wm. S. Edsall.
Francis D. LaSalle.
Dr. Louis B. Thompson.
Dr. Chas. E. Sturgis.
Hon. Hugh McCulloch.
Jesse L. Williams.
Franklin P. Randall.
R. W. Townley.
John B. Dubois.
Robert Hood.
Henry Cooper.
R. Brackenridge.
Reuben J. Dawson.

Thomas Johnson.
Dr. M. W. Huxford.
Dr. Benj. S. Woodworth.
R. W. Taylor.
Hugh B. Reed.
Henry Rudisill.
I. D. G. Nelson.
Major Samuel Edsall.
Dr. James Ormiston.
Philo Rumsey.
Wm. Rockhill.
Madison Sweetzer.
M. W. Hubbell.
Jacob Bowser.
Pliny Hoagland.
Joseph Scott.
John P. Hedges.
Morgan French.
O. W. Jefferds.
Oliver Silvers.
Robert E. Fleming.
Samuel C. Freeman.
Dr. W. H. Brooks.
George DeWald.
Samuel Sowers.
Joseph McCorkle.


The Miamis, who lived here before the coming of
General Anthony Wayne, were a powerful tribe
of Indians, the central force of the North-
west, whose sway extended over Indiana, part
of Ohio and the Southern portion of Michigan,
in fact reached even to the banks of the Mississippi
River. At the time of General Wayne's campaign,
Little Turtle was the Chief of the tribe, at his death
the Chieftainship being in the female line descended
through his mother to Richard ville and he in turn was
succeeded by Chief Godfrey.

The last of these Miami Indians were taken in
1847 to their government reservation in Kansas.

In 1790 the American forces in the Northwest
had sustained a crushing defeat under General Har-
mer at Maumee Ford, now known as Harmer's Ford,
about half a mile east of the confluence of the St.
Mary's and St. Joseph's Rivers. Again in 1791 the
army commanded by General St. Clair was routed and
almost totally destroyed near Fort Jefferson in Ohio.
The defeat of St. Clair was the most disastrous that
the white men had sustained at the hands of the red
since the days of Braddock and it came at a time when
the Nation was in dire distress, because of the Brit-
ish aggressions. Since the War of the Revolution, no
event had so impressed the people and placed the Re-
public in greater danger than did this defeat.

It was at this time when the country was in such
peril that Anthony Wayne was called to save the
nation. The campaign in Ohio and Indiana, which was
to give peace to the frontier and loosen the British
grip upon the Northwest was the crowning work of
Wayne's life. Strictly speaking the- war that called

Wayne to the frontier was a prolongation of the War
of the Revolution. Though the treaty of peace made
with England had been ratified, it had not been car-
ried out, and while the British could no longer claim
territory to the South of the Great Lakes, they encour-
aged the Indians to hold and fight for these broad

In 1792 Washington appointed General Wayne
Commander-in-Chief of the American Army and he
was ordered to Pittsburg to organize troops for the
purpose of subduing these Indian tribes. This com-
pany was called the "Legion of the United States" and
the men for the command were gathered by sweeping
the streets and prisons of the Eastern cities of their
beggars, tramps and criminals and let it be remem-
bered, that this was the second sweeping, the first
having gone to St. Clair.

General Wayne soon found that whiskey and tales
of Indian cruelties were demoralizing his troops, so he
shipped them twenty-seven miles down the Ohio River
and named the post Legionville. In May, 1793, the
command was transferred to Fort Washington, now
Cincinnati. In the meantime the government endeav-
ored to effect a treaty with the tribes and to establish
a peace without bloodshed. A Grand Council com-
posed of representatives from six nations was held at
Maumee Rapids. The negotiations turned out fruit-
less and Wayne was ordered to make another effort
to subdue the Indians.

October 7, 1793, Wayne's army began its march
and on the 13th he camped at a place which he named
Greenville, in honor of his old commander, General

This post, which was eighty miles from Cincin-
nati, he selected for his winter quarters. There in the
wilderness, surrounded by hostile Indians, he passed
the winter. To render his troops familiar with the
danger, he sent a detachment to the battlefield where
St. Clair met defeat, with the double duty of burying
the dead and building a fort, this was called Fort s
Recovery. In the meantime, Wayne was joined by

General Scott with 1,600 Kentucky volunteers and
the army now moved toward the Maumee. Some miles
beyond Fort Recovery, he built a stockade and called it
Fort Adams. On August 4 the troops encamped on
a beautiful plain where a strong fortification was built
and named Fort Defiance. Wayne's army was now at
the most important point of the Indian country. Once
more peace was offered the Indians, but the overtures,
against the advice of Little Turtle, were rejected.
Wayne perceived that nothing but a severe blow would
break their spirit and he resolved to inflict it. For this
purpose the army moved forward and on Aug. 18 they
established a magazine of supplies, which was called
Fort Deposit. Then General Wayne summoned a
council of war and adopted a line of march and battle
submitted by Lieutenant William Henry Harrison.
Wayne learned through his scouts that a large force
of Indians were waiting to meet his army at a place
known as Fallen Timbers. A tornado which had swept
the country had piled up huge trees of the forest in
confused masses and heaps that gave an ideal cover
for such fighters as the red men. The British fort was
but two miles below the advance edge of this entangle-
ment and the Indians were confident that its garrison
would come to their aid as soon as the battle was
begun. Wayne's troops now marched down the Mau-
mee River in a column with a battalion of mounted
Kentuckians under Major Price as an advance guard,
when six miles below the camp, the Indians opened
fire that literally hurled the Kentuckians back on
Wayne's main army.

The supreme moment of the day and of the long
war on the frontier had come. With instant decision,
Wayne gave the word to charge and as the long roll
of the drums began, the battle line leaped forward,
yelling with joy of conflict. The soldiers shot down
the red men as they fled and dashed on in relentless
pursuit till they had driven the panic-stricken Indians
past the tightly closed British fort and scattered them
far and away into the wilderness beyond.

Wayne's troops now marched down the river and

built a fort called Fort Industry. When this garrison
was completed, the army moved slowly up the Maumee
Valley, they finally reached the Miami Village at the
junction of the St. Joseph and St. Mary's Rivers. It
is said that the troops blazed their way through, on
the line of what has since been known as "Wayne,
Trace" in the extreme eastern part of the city, arriv-
ing here on September 17, 1794. On the 22nd of Oc-
tober the garrison was finished and after firing fifteen
round of cannon, it was given the name of Fort

The fort which was built in 1794 was restored in
1804, rebuilt in 181 5, and evacuated in 18 19, but por-
tions of the last fort remained until in the '6o's.

— Carolyn Randall Fairbanks.



To the Daughters of the Mary Penrose Wayne Chap-
ter, D. A. R.\—

My father, Louis T. Bourie, who was an Indian
trader and an interpreter, came to Fort Wayne in 1762,
before General Anthony Wayne built the fort here in
1794. Later he became a warm personal friend of
Anthony Wayne:

There were only two houses standing near the old
English fort, and it was near these that my father
built a home and brought his family to live. This old
English fort was built before 1762, between the St.
Joseph and Maumee Rivers, in what was then known
as the "Old Apple Orchard" and now known as

After living here for a while, he moved back to
Detroit but becoming dissatisfied there, he finally
moved here again, this time to stay. This was in
18 14 and I was a baby three months old.

When I was older, I was told how we came here
from Detroit by water in a pirogue — a boat hewn from
a large log — the boat being large enough to hold



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trunks, bedding, passengers and a good stock of pro-
visions for a long trip.

The only means of travel in those days was by water
or horseback. An occasional wagon coming some-
times from Ohio or Kentucky. When my father and
his family landed, he found that his house had been
burned to the ground, fired, so we were told by the

While my father was building a new house we lived
in the fort built by General Anthony Wayne and saw
a great deal of military life there. The new house
was built on East Columbia street, between Clinton
and Barr streets, near the fort.

After my father's death, my mother and I went to
live with my oldest brother, John Bourie, who had mar-
ried and built a home on East Columbia street oppo-
site my father. This brother was the father of the
late Louis T. Bourie and Miss Desdemona Bourie,
who is still living with the family of Louis T. Bourie
in Lakeside.

My sister Hattie married Colonel George Wash-
ington Ewing, so well known in the early days of Fort

About the year 1822 I was sent to school and this
school was held in the fort. My teacher was a Baptist
missionary by the name of McCoy. This same mis-
sionary baptized by immersion a daughter of Captain
Wells, who, as you know, was a brother-in-law of Lit-
tle Turtle. Captain Wells had three daughters, Re-
becca, Ann and Jane. Ann married Dr. Turner; Re-
becca, Captain Hackley, and Jane a Mr. Gregg. There
was great excitement when Captain Hackley hung
himself at his home in Bloomingdale. This, of course,
happened when I was yet a young child. I next went
to school in the Council House. In one room there
were cupboards full of tobacco to be sold or given to
the Indians. Whenever the boys were unruly, they
were shut up in these cupboards until they were almost
suffocated. I next went to school in the jail, which
was situated where the court house now stands. The
old jail was built of logs and I remember being told

of a man by the name of Alexander who was impris-
oned just so often for debt. As soon as he was incar-
cerated he would mysteriously appear on the street.
This happened so often that upon investigation it was
found that he could lift out one of the logs, step out
and replace it.

I can remember, I think it was in 1828, how
wolves would prowl around about where Shoaff's gal-
lery used to stand and where Wolff & Dessauer's large
store now stands. This was an open and wooded
spot and here the wolves were trapped and disposed of.

When I was older, I was sent to Detroit to school
but returning home at one time for a visit, I met Mr.
Lucien P. Ferry, a rising young lawyer here, and we
were married in 183 1. I was just seventeen years old.
In those days, cook stoves were almost unknown in
this part of the world and I cooked my first meal after
I was married in a fireplace ten feet long. In 1836
my husband bought a stove from a family traveling
through in a wagon and people for miles around came
to see the curiosity.

While we lived in a primitive way, we did not
dress that way. The ladies' dresses were rich bro-
caded silks, satins and Canton crepes, cut decollete and
sleeveless. Life was very gay as the garrison was
filled with officers and their families and many parties
were given.

The men were resplendent, some in their military
uniforms, while the civilians wore broadcloth suits with
satin vests and ruffled shirts of linen, and silk and satin

I think the old fort was torn down in 1865. The
old Hedekin property, now occupied by the Honorable
James Robinson, was the exact spot where the Council
House stood, the front facing Columbia street. The
old well of the fort was on the northwest corner where
the Nickle Plate railroad passes this house.

One of the block houses was right by the well.

Major Stickney's daughter was the first child
born in the fort and he called her "Indiana."

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bourie were born in the

Council House and strange to say in the same room.

Mrs. Margaret Colerick, lately deceased, was born
in the fort.

Where the Pennsylvania depot now stands wild
strawberries, plums and other fruits grew in abun-
dance, but the blackberries grew everywhere in the
greatest abundance.

The Indians, who cherished the belief that the
Great Spirit had caused these fruits to ripen specially
for them, venerated this spot and called it "Ke-ki-
onga," either because the word signified "blackberry
patch" or was a symbol of antiquity. That this par-
ticular spot was venerated is shown by the long de-
fense they made to keep it — indicating their belief that
it was the most ancient village of the Miamis.

From the year 1814, when I was christened Caro-
line T. Bourie, just ninety-three years ago, I have
watched Fort Wayne grow from a small Indian vil-
lage to the beautiful city which we are all now so
proud of and my greatest pleasure is to live and think
over the life of the early days which were equally as
full of pleasures as of privations and cares.

(Mrs. Lucien P. Ferry makes her home with her
daughter, Mrs. MacMillan of Decatur, Ind., and is a
bright and active woman for her years, and always
eager to tell of the pioneer days of Fort Wayne.)



Mrs. Chairman, Old and Young Settlers of Allen

County : —

It is a little unusual for me to appear in public
and speak before an audience, but I will endeavor to
do the best I can in giving this history.

My father came up the Maumee River in 18 18
and landed here in Fort Wayne as a "fur trader." I
was born here on Columbia street in 1828 on the fourth
day of January, so you may know whether or not I am
an early settler of Allen County.

William and Washington Ewing and my father,
Francis Comparet, were the most extensive fur traders
in this country. It may be of some interest to you to
know how this fur was taken from Fort Wayne to
other places. We had no roads, just the Maumee
River. The early settlers went into the woods, felled
poplar trees and made out of them a contrivance fifty
to sixty feet long. The furs were packed closely and
put on this contrivance and sent down Lake Erie. The
men along the lake to whom this fur was consigned
would wade into the river and swamps for this traffic.
Often this fur was picked up by persons other than
the ones for whom it was intended and the whole ship-
ment lost.

The first boat yard on the feeder canal was con-
structed by Barthold & Sons. They built the first
three canal boats. The first boat was called "Indiana"
and was built for Mr. Asa Fairfield. It started from
a place on the feeder canal north of Bloomingdale,
known in those days as the Hinton farm.

There were four brothers, Samuel, Archy, William
and Monroe Mahon, who became the principal owners
of the first boats, the "Indiana," "Clyde," "Wabash"
and Chief Richardville." This last named boat was
built by my father, who leased it to Captain Dana Co-
lumbia, the father of Mrs. D. F. Comparet. The latter
is still living in Fort Wayne.

One other line of boats used on the Maumee River
in early days was the Maumee River line of pirogue
and keel boats. The men who followed this line of
work were John F. Barbor, Patrick Ravenscroft, Hull
and many others living along the Maumee River.

The keel boats were propelled by man power. The
boats had a running board on each side where three to
four men with long poles with heavy iron sockets at
the end walked back and forth a distance of thirty-five
or more feet, and shoved the boats up the river. This
was the way traffic was carried on up the stream of
the Maumee River to provide the early settlers with
goods to supply their wants.

The pirogues, made by hollowing out a poplar log,


would measure from two to three feet across and as
long as the log would make. Produce was sent down
the St. Mary's River in these boats from Dayton and
Piqna, Ohio, and after they were unloaded they were
allowed to drift down the river. The first produce was
brought up the river in these pirogues, and later on in
keel boats.

4" In the middle of 1830 a small steamboat came up the
Maumee River from Defiance during the high waters.
She landed above the bridge that spans the river just
above where the St. Joe and St Mary's River form the
Maumee. It was a sight to be seen on these rivers.
The boat did not stay but long enough to take out ex-
cursions up the St. Joe and St. Mary's Rivers.

Many people do not know that there was once a
creek running up Harrison street, but there was, for
I have waded the creek many times. It was called
Lee's Ford, and began at the Bloomingdale bridge and
continued to where the Wabash railroad is now. We
used to catch minnows in this creek to go fishing. I
have seen Columbia street when the culvert would fill
up with fifteen to twenty inches of water. You could
run a skiff in it.

In the early days Frank Aveline was also a fur
trader and had a trading store on the corner of Co-
lumbia and Calhoun streets. Richardville also had a
store on Columbia street. These trading stores were
only opened in the fall and spring when the Indians
came here to dispose of their furs and lay in a supply
of blankets and other articles.

The first bank of Indiana was opened up in the
basement of a one and a half story brick house on Co-
lumbia street which was owned by my father. The
Honorable Hugh McCullough was president and Mr.
M. W. Hubble cashier.

The digging of the Wabash and Erie Canal was
a great benefit to Fort Wayne. After its completion
we were able to handle a great deal more wheat, as
the canal was a great outlet from Lafayette. Instead
of going down through the Wabash River to New
Orleans, the wheat was sent to Toledo instead.


I recall going down to Paulding County at a time
when this county was all timber land and could be
bought for 31 cents an acre. In the first place it was
$1.25, then 62^ cents, then reduced to 31 cents but
very few people would buy, as it was a desperate

In early days the settlers paid a great deal of at-
tention to fishing as the rivers here afforded a great
supply of fish, there being no dams across the Maumee
and the fish found their way up from Lake Erie to
Fort Wayne. I have seen them so plentiful on the
riffles that a person could easily gather them up by
hand and carry them to shore.

In building the canal there had to be built two
dams to supply water for the canal ; one below De-
fiance, Ohio, and one at Providence, Ohio. These two
dams put a stop to the fish coming up the river from
Lake Erie.

The first boats for the canal were built by Mr.
Elsworth, a fine boat-builder and of these the Ewing
Company owned four, Little & McCullough two, Hill
& Orbison two, and at least eight were owned by dif-
ferent individuals.

The first burying ground here was just west of
the present jail on a sandy ridge and many were laid
to rest here uncared for with the graves grown over
with briars and thorn bushes.

— Alexander C. Comparet.


Mrs. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen : —

I am surprised at my temerity in consenting to
appear before an intelligent audience to present pic-
tures in words of scenes and incidents of the long past,
and the scenes, as I describe them from the faded roll
of my memory, may be as vague as the boy's descrip-
tion of his lost calf.

The boy asked a man he met if he had seen a
stray calf. He was answered, ''Describe it." "Well,


it was about as tall as a stump, had a tail about as long
as a string, and a spot on the side next the fence."

My father, who lived in Brookville, Franklin
County, Indiana, a town about forty miles northeast
of Cincinnati, was appointed by General Jackson, then
President of the United States, registrar of the land
office in Fort Wayne. This was in 1830. He took his
way across the country on horseback to acquaint him-
self with the roads — the most direct route for trans-
portation of family and household goods, to look over
the situation in Fort Wayne and provide some place to
bestow his family. He returned home, consulted my
mother — but not my brother and me — made arrange-
ments to move, securing the services of two large cov-
ered wagons, one to be drawn by two yoke of oxen,
the other by horses.

The wagons were loaded and we bade fare-
well to our old home. Our company numbered seven,
father, mother, . Robert Brackenridge, nephew
of my father, my brother Joseph, who was older than
I, two sisters — Julia and Baby Eliza — and two

Our progress was slow. The sparse settlements af-
forded uncertain entertainment. Night sometimes over-
took us in the dark woods and then we camped, never
being disturbed or hindered.

We landed in Fort Wayne in the fall of 1830 and
took possession of a log house which was on the north
side of Columbia street, about half way between Clin-
ton and Barr streets. Our house stood flush with the
sidewalks — if there had been any. The front room was
of good size. There was another cabin back with a
covered space between which served as a store-room.
The back room was kitchen and dining room ; the
front was office and sleeping room. Each room had a
large fireplace. Stoves were not known of then. We
passed the winter here and in the spring moved into
a two-story hewed log house on the northwest corner
of Berry and Calhoun streets belonging to Mr. John
P. Hedges. The Old National Bank now occupies the


On the first floor of this house were two rooms,
the north room opened on Berry street. This was the
office in which were tables, desks and bed; the south
room was larger. This was parlor, dining room and
kitchen. The second story was intended for a dance
hall. Temporary partitions made it furnish conve-
nient sleeping rooms. We were quite comfortable

This home was quite remote from Columbia street
where all the business of the town and country was

There were residences there also, and hotels of
good size, one — Suttenfields, on the northeast corner
of Barr and Columbia, and one belonging to the
Ewings on the southwest corner of same streets. These
were frame; the third one belonged to Zenas Hender-
son, situated on the northeast corner of Columbia and
Calhoun streets, and was of brick.

Across the street from Henderson's Tavern was
John B. Bourie's trading house. On the other two
corners were small stores.

East of Dr. Thompson's residence just across the
narrow alley was Mr. Francis Comparet's brick resi-
dence and east of that on the adjoining lot was Mr.
Comparet's store and trading house.

Near the corner of Clinton street was the resi-
dence of Mr. John B. Bequette, silversmith, maker of
brooches, hair bands and trinkets worn by the In-
dians. Across the street was Ewing's trading place
and vacant space for packing furs.

West along Columbia street on the north side were
dwellings — McCarty's, Mrs. Bourie, a log house
where we lived, a frame owned and occupied by Mrs.

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Online LibraryLura Case WoodworthReminiscences of old Fort Wayne → online text (page 1 of 3)