Fort Dearborn | The Massacre Tree | Last Great War Dance in Chicago | A Wolf Hunt in Early Chicago | Christmas at Fort Dearborn | Fort Dearborn Memorial Tablet
During the Fort Dearborn Memorial Tablet ceremonies that took place on Saturday afternoon, May 21, 1881, the President of the Chicago Historical Society, Hon. Isaac N. Arnold. asked the Hon. John Wentworth to step forward, saying that Chicago was more indebted to him than any other man for the appropriations obtained from Congress for the magnificicent harbor they saw before them.
When Mr. Wentworth appeared he was immediately greeted with cheers. Regardless of a severe wind blowing directly in his face, along with the whistling of the tug-boats numerously passing through the Rush-Street bridge, not one hundred feet from him, Mr. Wentworth, in the open air, delivered the following address:
Chicago Tribune, May 22, 1881
The Chicago Historical Society requested me to prepare a history of Fort Dearborn. When I found that I must confine myself to history, I immediately removed all my poetical works; I took therefrom my sometimes important dictionary of quotations; and I also laid aside my compendium of interesting anecdotes. I have aimed not only to give a brief history of all persons ever connected with the Fort, but, when possible, to give the names of some of their descendants now living, thus connecting the past with the present. I hope thereby to receive for our Historical Society new facts for the development of Chicago’s Early History.
THE first official recognition of an intention to construct a fort at Chicago may be found in a letter upon the records of the War Department, dated June 28th, 1804, directed to Gen. James Wilkinson, but which letter bears no signature. As the letter was dated at the War Department, and as the Secretary of War alone could give such directions, there can be no doubt but that it eminated from Gen. Henry Dearborn, Secretary of War during President Jefferson’s administration, from 1801 to 1809.
This letter says:
- Being of opinion that, for the general defence of our country, we ought not to rely on fortifications, but on men and steel; and that works calculated for resisting batteries of cannon are necessary only for our principal seaports, I can not conceive it to be useful or expedient to construct expensive works for our interior military posts, especially such as are intended merely to hold the Indians in check. I have, therefore, directed stockade-works, aided by block-houses, to be erected at Vincennes, at Chikago, at near the mouth of the Miami of the Lakes, and at Kaskaskias, in conformity to the sketch herewith enclosed, each calculated for a full company; the block-houses to be constructed of timber, slightly hewed, and of the most durable kind to be obtained at the respective places; the magazines for powder to be of brick of a conic figure, each capable of receiving from fifty to one hundred barrels of powder. Establishments of the kind here proposed will, I presume, be necessary for each of the military posts in Upper and Lower Louisiana, New Orleans and its immediate dependencies excepted. I will thank you to examine the enclosed sketch, and to give me your opinion on the dimensions and other proposed arrangements. You will observe the block-houses are intended to be so placed as to scour from the upper and lower stories the whole of the lines. The back part of the barracks are to have port-holes which can be opened when necessary for the use of musketry for annoying an enemy. It will, I presume, be proper, ultimately, to extend the pallisades round the block-houses.
This letter spells Chicago with a “k.” This sketch, referred to,. can not be found in the archives at Washington, and, as the opinion of Gen. Wilkinson was solicited as to the dimensions and other proposed arrangements, and as he was more of a frontiersman than the Secretary of War, it is not improbable that a new plan altogether was adopted.
Gen. Henry Dearborn was a native of New Hampshire, and was a distinguished Soldier in the war of the Revolution, and in that of 1812. In times of peace, he was almost always in civil service, dying at Roxbury, Mass., June 6th, 1829, where a portion of his mansion still stands.
Henry G. R. Dearborn, his grandson, a resident of Chicago in the summer of 1838, and afterward of Winnebago County, and who married there, July 6th, 1840, Sarah M., daughter of Henry Thurston, of Harlem, of that county, one of our most respected early settlers, still lives at Roxbury. He” is the son of Gen. Henry A. S. Dearborn, who lived and died there, and was a soldier of the war of 181 2, and a member of Congress, and worthily filled the shoes of his father.
Gen. Wilkinson was a Marylander, and was a general in the war of the Revolution, and thereafter passed most of his time upon the frontier, being associated with Gen. Anthony Wayne in most of his campaigns against the Indians. But, whatever the plan was, it is a legitimate inference from the letter of the Secretary, that the plan was the same for all the points mentioned. It has occurred to me that, as the other forts were of longer continuance than ours, and, in all probability, much longer, we may yet find among some of the old settlers, or the Historical Societies of those localities, some kind of a picture that will give us an approximate idea of what our original Fort was. I am making efforts in this direction.
John H. Kinzie, in his Narrative, says, “Although it stood upon the same ground as the last Fort, it was differently constructed, having two block-houses on the southern side; and on the northern side, a sally-port, or subterranean passage from the parade ground to the river.”
This we officially know, that on June 28th, 1804, there was no fort here, but that one was being projected. September 30, 1804, there were one captain, two second lieutenants, four sergeants, four corporals, four musicians, and fifty-four privates here. Jan. 1, 1805, Capt. John Whistler and his son, 2d-Lieut. Wm. Whistler were reported here; also, first-Lieut. Moses Hooke, who was a native of Massachusetts, and resigned when captain, Jan. 20, 1808.
By the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, the Pottawatomies, Miamis, and their allies, relinquished their right to “one piece of land, six miles square, at the mouth of the Chicago River, emptying into the south-west end of Lake Michigan, where a fort formerly stood.” Many persons, besides myself, have endeavored to find something to give character to this Fort, thus recognized by Gen. Wayne, but there has been only one conclusion reached in relation to the matter, and that is, that it was only a French trading-post with mere temporary outside protection against Indian robberies.
Official records show that the Fort was called “Fort Dearborn,” in 1812, and there is nothing to indicate that it was not so called from 1804.
The Adjutant-General’s official records say: “Post established, by United States forces, in 1804. Situated within a few yards of Lake Michigan, in latitude 41° 51′ north; longitude 87° 15′ west.” The Adjutant-General writes me that from 1804 to 1812 there are no records on file. So I must fill up this space of time from unofficial sources.
Capt. John Whistler and his son, Major William Whistler.
At various times after my arrival here, on the 25th of October, 1836, I was in the habit of meeting Major William Whistler of the regular army here, where he had a daughter, who is still living, the widow of Robert A. Kinzie. Major Whistler died at Newport, Ky., December 4th, 1863, in his eightieth year, or thereabouts, but his widow died more recently, and visited this City, in full possession of all her mental faculties, in 1875. He was appointed second-lieutenant, June 8th, 1801. Thus his military life would cover over sixty years of the history of Chicago; and during the most of this time he, or some descendant of his family, has been here; he claiming to have come here in 1803, as a second-lieutenant in the company of his father, and to have passed that winter here with his wife, and which statement she confirmed when last here. Two of his children were born in the old Fort, and probably the only children ever born there. Many of our old settlers remember John Harrison Whistler, who was born there October 7th, 1807, married Esther Bailly of old Baillytown, near Porter Station, Porter County, Indiana, at the house of Gen. John B. Beaubien, in Chicago, and died in Burlington, Kansas, October 23d, 1873. Another son was born there who died young.
Plan of the first Fort Dearborn drawn by John Whistler in 1808
In 1832, Major William Whistler was commandant of the Fort, having been made so June 17th, and so was here during the Black-Hawk war, and during the cholera season. In the absence of official documents, the statements of the Kinzie family and of the Whistler family are our best authority, five generations of the latter and four of the former having lived here. I quote from the Chicago Antiquities, by H. H. Hurlbut:
It was a coveted pilgrimage which we sought, as any one might believe, for it was during the tremendous rain-storm of the evening of 29th October, 1875, tnat we sallied out to call at Mrs. Col. R. A. Kinzie’s, for an introduction to that lady’s mother, Mrs. Whistler. Her tenacious memory ministers to a voluble tongue, and we may say briefly, she is an agreeable, intelligent, and sprightly lady, numbering only a little over 88 years.
‘To-day,’ said she, ‘I received my first pension on account of my husband’s services.’ * * * Born in Salem, Mass., July 3d, 1787, her maiden name was Julia Ferson, and her parents were John and Mary (La Dake) Ferson. In childhood she removed with her parents to Detroit, where she received most of her education. In the month of May, 1802, she was married to William Whistler, born in Hagerstown, Maryland, about 1784, a second lieutenant in the company of his father, Captain John Whistler, U.S.A., then stationed at Detroit. In the summer of 1803, Captain Whistler’s company was ordered to Chicago, to occupy the post and build the Fort. Lieut. James S. Swearingen (late Colonel Swearingen, of Chillicothe, O.) conducted the company from Detroit overland. The U. S. schooner Tracy, Dorr, master, was dispatched at the same time, for same destination, by the lakes, with supplies, and having also on board Captain John Whistler, Mrs. Whistler, their son George W., then three years old, (afterward the distinguished engineer in the employ of the Russian government), Lieut. Wm. Whistler, and the young wife of the last-named gentleman. The schooner stopped briefly on her route at St. Joseph’s River, where the Whistlers left the vessel and took a row-boat to Chicago. The schooner on arriving at Chicago, anchored half a mile from the shore, discharging her freight by boats. Some 2,000 Indians visited the locality while the vessel was here, being attracted by so unusual an occurrence, as the appearance in these waters of ‘a big canoe with wings.’ Lieut. Swearingen returned with the Tracy to Detroit.”
“There were then here, says Mrs. W., but four rude huts, or traders’ cabins, occupied by white men, Canadian French, with Indian wives. * * Capt. Whistler, upon his arrival, at once set about erecting a stockade and shelter for their protection, followed by getting out the sticks for the heavier work. It is worth mentioning here, that there was not at that time, within hundreds of miles, a team of horses, or oxen, and, as a consequence, the soldiers had to don the harness, and with the aid of ropes drag home the needed timbers. * * Lieut. Whistler, after about five years sojourn here, was transferred to Fort Wayne, having previously been made a first-lieutenant. * *
“Col. Wm. Whistler’s height at maturity was 6 feet 2 inches, and his weight at one time was 260 pounds. He died in Newport, Ky., Dec. 4th, 1863.” Mrs. Whistler lived to be ninety years of age, dying on February 13th, 1878, at Newport, Ky., and leaving four daughters, one son, Gen. J. N. G. Whistler, now stationed at Fort Keogh, Dakota, and thirty-seven grandchildren according to the obituary notice published at the time. Mrs. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan is her grand-niece.
American Flag reportedly used at Fort Dearborn
This Capt. John Whistler, father of William, according to Gardner’s Military Dictionary, was originally a British soldier, and was made prisoner with Gen. Burgoyne, at Saratoga, October, 1777, where our Gen. Henry Dearborn was serving as Major.
He afterward joined the American army, became sergeant, and by hard fighting, won his way to a captaincy in the 1st Infantry, in April, 1802. He was made Brevet-Major in 181 2, and continued in that capacity until his company was disbanded after the close of the war, June, 1815. He died at Bellefontaine, Mo., in 1827, where he had been a military store-keeper several years. The United States official register says he was a native of Ireland. There is nothing to contradict the general impression that about the year 1810, he was succeeded by Capt. Nathan Heald, who commanded at the destruction of the Fort; making but two commandants in the life of the first Fort, the one being a witness of its commencement, and the other of its destruction. Heald was made Major, August 26th, 1812, eleven days after the massacre, and went into private life with the disbandment of his regiment at the close of the war, June, 1815. His wife was Rebekah, daughter of Col. Samuel Wells, of Louisville, Ky., and niece of the murdered Capt. William Wells, for whom our Wells Street was named. Mrs. Juliette A. Kinzie, in her Wan-bun, says, “The Indians stole Capt. Wells, when a boy, from the family of Hon. Nathaniel Pope, of Kentucky,, with whom he was living.”
Some writers contend that, had Capt. Whistler been in charge of the Fort instead of Capt. Heald, the massacre would not have taken place. Capt. Heald has had no one to speak for him here. . But he was appointed from Massachusetts a lieutenant, in 1799, and could not be supposed to have had that acquaintance with the characteristics of the Indians which Whistler had, who had been in his country’s service ever since Burgoyne’s surrender in 1777, and principally against the Indians, and frequently participating in the campaigns of Gen. Arthur St. Clair, and in one of which he was wounded, Fault-finders say he should have done one of two things, neither of which he did. He should have abandoned the Fort at once upon receiving his orders from Gen. William Hull, commanding at Detroit, which were received here on the 7th, or else have put the Fort in a condition for permanent defence. Gen. Hull’s orders were to evacuate the post if practicable, and, in that event, to distribute the property belonging to the United States, in the Fort and in the factory or agency, to the Indians in the neighborhood. It was not until eight days thereafter that Capt. Heald evacuated the post. Yet there may have been considerations held out to him by friendly chiefs and their friends, which they could not make good after the news of the war with Great Britain became generally spread. Even Gen. Hull thought the Indians friendly, or he would not have ordered the property distributed as he did. But Mackinaw had surrendered to the British on the 17th of July, and the Indians may have heard of it, although Capt. Nathan Heald did not hear of it until the arrival of Gen. William Hull’s message, on the 7th. As the Indians generally favored the British, the news from Mackinaw may have excited them. Gen. Hull surrendered Detroit to Gen. Isaac Brock (who was killed at the battle of Queenstown, on the 13th October, ensuing) about twenty- four hours after the Chicago massacre. And it is a remarkable fact that our John B. Beaubien was at the surrender of Mackinaw, whilst his brother, Mark Beaubien, was at that of Detroit.
Gen. William Hull and Henry Dearborn.
I now quote from the Adjutant-General’s letter of April 2d, 1881, giving all that appears upon the records of the War Department, respecting the destruction of the Fort:
- August 15th, 1812, the garrison, having evacuated the post and were en route for Fort Wayne, under the command of Capt. Nathan Heald, 1st United States Infantry, composed of 54 regular infantry, 1 2 militia-men, and 1 interpreter, was attacked by the Indians to the number of between 400 and 500, of whom 15 were reported killed. Those of the garrison killed were Ensign Geo. Ronan, 1st Infantry, Dr. I. V. Van Voorhis, Capt. Wells, interpreter, 24 enlisted men United States Infantry, and 12 militia-men; 2 women and 12 children were also killed. The wounded were Capt. Nathan Heald and Mrs. Heald. None others reported. The next day, August 16th, 1812, the post was destroyed by the Indians.
Ensign George Ronan was from the State of New York, and a graduate of the Military Academy, in 1811. Dr. Isaac V. Van Voorhis was also from the State of New York, and appointed surgeon’s -mate in 1811. Both are supposed to have been unmarried. Capt. William Wells was a brother of Col. Samuel Wells, a prominent man in Kentucky. Lieut. Linai T. Helm, also in the Fort, who is not mentioned in the Adjutant-General’s letter, but who is mentioned in the various histories of the massacre as among the wounded and prisoners, (as also is his wife), was appointed ensign in 1807, (State not given), and promoted to be captain in April, 1814, and resigned in September of the same year. He married Margaret, a daughter of Capt. McKillup, a British officer, who was killed near Fort Defiance, Ohio, in 1794, whose widow married the original John Kinzie, called by the Indians Shaw-nee-aw-kee, meaning silversmith. So she was half-sister to John H. and Robert A. Kinzie.
Capt. Helm left an only child, Wm. Edwin Helm, who lived with Gen. Hunter, until the war of the Rebellion; he then went into the army, and never being heard from, is supposed, by his relatives, to have been killed in the war. Others claim that he has since lived at St. Louis. Capt. Linai T. Helm was son of William Willis Helm, a Revolutionary soldier, of Prince-William County, Va., who married————Taliafero, of Caroline County. Virginia. Capt. Helm is said to have died whilst traveling at the East, about 1817, at or near Bath, Steuben County, N.Y.
Capt. and Mrs. Margaret Helm were married in Detroit, 1808, and after his death she married, at Chicago, 1836, Dr. Lucius Abbott, of Detroit, Mich., and died in 1845, at Grand Rapids, Mich. He was appointed assistant- surgeon from Connecticut, Jan. 15, 1828, and resigned, March 31, 1834. After his wife’s death he returned to Connecticut, and died there.
Capt. Helm had a brother, Francis T. Helm, who was appointed lieutenant from New York, in 18 14, and left the army at the close of the war, 1815; he had a son, Charles J. Helm, who was appointed first-lieutenant from Kentucky, March 8, 1847, and served in the army until the close of the Mexican war; who married Louise, daughter of Col. William Whistler, now living at Newport, Ky., and sister of Mrs. Robt. A. Kinzie. He was aid-de- camp to Gen. John S. Wool.
Chicago in 1812
From Andreas’ History of Chicago
The details of the massacre would require more time than I have to spare on this occasion. I have given all that the records at Washington show.* Next to them in importance are the contemporaneous accounts copied into American State Papers; and also into Nile Register of 1812, 1813, and 1814. Next is the Narrative of the Massacre of Chicago, by John H. Kinzie, who was a boy here at the time, having been born in Sandwich, Upper Canada, July 7, 1803, published in 1844. Next, Brown’s History of Illinois; and next, Annals of the West, published at St. Louis, in 1851; History of the Maumee Valley, by H. S. Knapp ; McBride’s Pioneer Biography; Lossing’s Field Book of the War of 1812; Brice’s History of Fort Wayne. Upon this matter and many others appertaining to the early history of Chicago, Mrs. Juliette A. Kinzie’s Wau-bun, published in 1855, is very instructive; but it is not properly appreciated because it is written in the shape of leisure sketches instead of consecutive history. Those who think lightly of her work should call at my office and copy a thorough index of it, which I have made, and they will find that Wau-bun is a historic treasure. Robert Fergus, of this City, is publishing a very valuable series of pamphlets upon Early Chicago, in which much respecting this massacre is given. There is also something in Blanchard’s History of Chicago and the North-West. After a diligent search at the various Departments, I can not find that any of the soldiers here at the time of the massacre, nor that any of their descendants, have applied for a land-warrant or a pension. So I have been unable to procure for you the names of any descendants of those whose lives were preserved, nor can I give you the names of those whose lives were lost, except those published in the papers about the time, nor the names of any living descendants. The company- roll can not be found. Yet I will give to whatever history this address may acquire the names of the soldiers and of others I have found out, and perhaps some family genealogist may yet do what I have been unable to do. The following soldiers reached Plattsburg, New York, in 1814, after being redeemed as British prisoners at Quebec, Canada: James Van Horn, Joseph Knowles, Paul Grummon, (or Grummow or Grummond or Gromet), Elias Mills, James Bowen, Nathan Edson, Dyson Dyer, James Corbin, and Phelim Corbin, whose wife (Mrs. Corbin) was inhumanly massacred. Mrs. Holt, wife of Sergeant Holt, is mentioned as having afterward lived in Ohio. Sergeant Hays was killed. A soldier named Cooper* was killed, but his family was saved.
Among the soldiers who were killed, or who died from exposure after the massacre, were John Neads, Hugh Logan, August Motte, and ———Nelson from Maryland.
The Fort Dearborn Massacre on the 15th August, 1812
By Samuel Page.
The painting represents Mrs. Helms being rescued from her would-be slayer Nau-non-gee by Black Partridge. To her left os Surgeon Van Voorhes falling mortally wounded. Other characters depicted are Capt. William Wells, Mrs. Heald on horseback, Ensign Ronan, Mrs. Ronan, Mrs. Holt, Mr. John Kinzie, and Chief Wau-bun0sie. In the background are Indians, the wagons containing children, and off on the lake is the boat bearing Mr. Kinzie’s family to safety.
Capt. Heald’s Story.
During my residence in Chicago, I have made repeated efforts to trace out some descendant or relative of Capt. Nathan Heald without success. After I began to write this address, I felt more anxious than ever to learn something more of him, and addressed letters to various places seeking information. Luckily, one of my letters reached -a gentleman who knew a son of his, and he lost no time in seeing him and some neighbors who also knew the family ; and in hastening to me the following statements, gathered in a short interview; being remembrances of what they had heard from his parents, they having read nothing upon the subject and not thinking that there was anyone at this late day feeling any interest in it:
- Capt. Nathan Heald was married in Louisville, Kentucky, May 23d, 181 1, to Rebekah Wells, a native of Kentucky, and daughter of Col. Samuel Wells, of that place. They started at once for Fort Dearborn, and went all the way on horseback. She rode a beautiful and well-trained bay mare, upon which the Indians ever looked with longing eyes. They made several attempts to steal her. She was riding her when the attack was made, and the Indians considered her one of the greatest trophies of the battle. Great, but unsuccessful efforts were made to repurchase her. Gen. Hull sent Capt. Wm. Wells, with about thirty-two friendly Indians, to escort Capt. Heald to Fort Wayne. There were in Fort Dearborn only twenty-five or thirty fighting men. The others were upon the sick-list. It was in the very hot weather of August. The order to vacate created no dissatisfaction at Fort Dearborn or vicinity, except with the sutler or storekeeper, interpreters, traders, and that whole class who felt that their occupation would be gone if the Fort should be abandoned. They are the persons who have handed down all the reflections upon Capt. Heald’s conduct in leaving the Fort. When the soldiers had proceeded about one and a-half miles from the Fort, they were surprised and surrounded by about 600 Indians who had formed in a horse-shoe or semi-circular shape upon the bluff. The troops were upon the lake shore. Capt. and Mrs. Heald were riding together. Capt. Wells was somewhat in advance, dressed in Indian costume, with his Indian forces. Capt. Wells first noticed the design of the Indians and rode back and informed Capt. Heald, who at once started for the most elevated point upon the sand-hills, and endeavored to mass his wagons, baggage, women, and children, and sick soldiers, so as to make a better defence whilst the fight was going on. At the first attack, Capt. Wells’ Indians made their escape. Early in the fight, Capt. Heald and his wife became separated. Capt. Wells rode up to Mrs. Heald, with blood streaming from his mouth and nostrils, and told her that he thought he had been fatally wounded, and requested her to inform his wife that he had fought bravely and knew that he had killed seven Indians before he was shot. Soon his horse was shot, and, as the horse fell, his foot was caught in the stirrup and he was held under the dead horse some time. Whilst in this position, he killed his eighth Indian. He was released from this position just in time to meet his death from a bullet in the back of his neck. The Indians immediately scalped him, cut out his heart and flourished it about upon a gun-stick, then divided it into small pieces and ate it whilst warm, Mrs. Heald being a witness. She was led back to the Fort as a prisoner.
Capt. Heald received a wound in the hip which always troubled him, and, it is believed, caused his death in 1832. He drew a pension in consequence thereof. Having but about a half-dozen men left in a fighting condition, Capt. Heald surrendered. The Indians returned to the Fort, plundered and burned it. They then camped along the lake shore, near the Fort. The next morning, an Indian chief, named Jean Baptist Chandonais, who was a half-breed, having possession of Capt. Heald as his prisoner, sought out the captor of Mrs. Heald and purchased her. She had supposed that her husband was killed. Chandonais took Mrs. Heald to her husband. She had received six wounds. When the Indians were leading her away as prisoner, one of the squaws attempted to take a blanket from her, when she, with her riding-whip, struck her several times; which act of bravery, under the circumstances, greatly excited the admiration of the Indians. The next day, the chief Chandonais took all the warriors with him for the purpose, it was said, of burning a prisoner, leaving Capt. Heald and wife in charge of the squaws and a young Indian boy. That evening, through the assistance of the boy who accompanied them, and probably with the assent of Chandonais, they made their escape in a birch-bark canoe to Mackinaw, and finally reached Detroit, where Capt. Heald surrendered himself as a prisoner of war. The British officer in charge was a Mason as well as Capt. Heald. This officer greatly assisted them and, when exchanged, he gave them money to take them home.
The Indians took from Capt. Heald a large ornamental silver shawl or blanket-pin, marked R.A. M., and from Mrs. Heald a tortoise-shell comb mounted with gold, and they were finally sold at St. Louis, where Lieut. John O’Fallon, a U.S. officer from Kentucky, recognized, purchased, and sent them to Louisville, Ky., where they arrived before Capt. and Mrs. Heald. “Capt. Heald and wife came to St. Charles County, Mo., in the spring of 1817, and settled at Stony Point, near the town of O’Fallon in that county, where they resided until his death, April 27th, 1832, aged fifty-seven years. Mrs. Heald remained there also until her death, April 23d, 1857, aged eighty-one years. She was a leading member of the Baptist Church, and was greatly respected for her great firmness and kindness. They were buried upon the home place. Mrs. Heald left a manuscript history of her horseback tour from Louisville, in 181 1, to Chicago, of her life whilst at Chicago, and of the massacre, and her final return to St. Louis. But it was lost during the war of the Rebellion.
They had two daughters, both now dead, Margaret dying single in 1836, aged twenty, and Mary (the oldest) dying in 1835, the wife of Capt. David McCausland, who still survives her. They had a son, Darius, born January 27th, 1822, and still lives upon the home place, near O’Fallon. He represented St. Charles County in the Missouri Legislature in 1856-59. Col. Samuel Wells, father of Mrs. Heald, was a noted Indian -fighter and brother of Capt. William Wells.
Chandonais and his son visited Major Heald in the fall before his death, and passed some days with him, recounting the scenes of the massacre and calling to mind the incident of the blanket.
I find the following in Gardner’s Military Dictionary:
- Samuel Wells was from Kentucky. Major in Adair’s Mounted Volunteers, in 1793; Major, and distinguished himself in battle of Tippecanoe, Nov. 7, 1811; Colonel of 17th Infantry, 1812; disbanded with regiment, May 12, 1814; Major-General of Kentucky Militia.
William Wells, brother of above, was from Kentucky, was captain commanding company of spies, under Maj.-Gen. Anthony Wayne, from July 28, to December, 1794.
William Wayne Wells, son of Capt. William, was appointed cadet at West Point from Indiana, September, 1817; second-lieutenant, 1821; first-lieutenant, 1825; resigned July 31, 1831, and died in 1832. [Died on board the Steamer Superior, off Erie, Pa., whilst returning home.]
All accounts agree that the massacre took place about one mile and a-half south from the Fort. It was pointed out to me in 1836, and the historic bluffs or sand-hills existed for many years thereafter.
Medore B. Beaubien, son of Gen. John B. Beaubien, sends me, by his brother, Alexander, who has just returned from a visit to him, at Silver Lake, Shawnee County, Kansas, the following to
read to you:
- I was born at Grand River, Michigan, in 1809, and came to Chicago with my father, in 1813, and walked over the ruins of the old Fort that was burnt by the Indians. After me, all father’s children were born in Chicago.
[At this point Mr. Wentworth caused a general commotion in his audience by saying:]
Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to give you a recess by introducing to you a gentleman who unexpectedly called upon me yesterday, and whom I believe you will all be glad to know. Hon. Darius Heald, of O’Fallon, St. Charles County, Mo., son of Capt. Nathan Heald, commandant of the Fort at the time of the massacre, who came here on purpose to witness the ceremonies of this day.
There is no doubt but the Indians, who resided within the immediate vicinity of the Fort, were friendly, and did their best to pacify the numerous warriors who flocked here from the more distant hunting-grounds. But they were so determined upon warfare that they proceeded, directly after the massacre, to Fort Wayne, and joined the Indians there in a continued assault upon the Fort, until relieved by Gen. Wm. H. Harrison, on the 16th September, following. Scarcely a person escaped the massacre who did not have some kind words to say of some friendly Indian whose acquaintance had been previously formed.
The Adjutant-General writes to me that his records only show that the post was reoccupied about June, 1816, Capt. Hezekiah Bradley commanding. The troops continued in occupation until October, 1823, when the post was evacuated, and left in charge of the Indian-agent. It was reoccupied, October 3d, 1828. Nothing is on file respecting the rebuilding of the Fort.
When I was in Congress, under the second term of President Tyler, in 1843 and ’44, Hon. John C. Calhoun was Secretary of State, and I remember, in a conversation with me about Chicago, that he claimed that the Fort was completed under the early part of his term as Secretary of War, and he asserted that there was a disposition among the officers here to call it Fort Chicago; but he thought it would be disrespectful to Gen. Henry Dearborn, then living and standing high in the affections of the people, and having a claim upon their gratitude as a soldier and statesman. Calhoun’s term commenced with the inauguration of President Monroe, March 4th, 1817.
The building of the Fort in 1816, may have been the cause or the result of the treaty of that year, in which the Pottawatomies ceded to the United States all the country in this region, described as the country upon the headwaters of Lake Michigan. They were to be paid $5700 yearly, and their number was estimated at three thousand and four hundred. They remained the peaceful occupants of all they wanted until after my arrival, Oct. 25, ’36. Our old settlers received a very welcome visit not long since from Col. John T. Sprague, who made himself very popular here whilst, as a second -lieutenant, collecting the scattered bands, and making arrangements to take them to their new home,* where they have ever remained contented, and from whom we often hear through their agent, a member of the first Board of Trustees of the Original Town of Chicago, in 1833, Medore B. Beaubien, now mayor of their commercial centre, Silver Lake, Shawnee County, Kansas. Colonel Sprague was son-in-law of Gen. Wm. J. Worth, and won honors in the Florida and Mexican wars. He has recently deceased.
Capt. John B. F. Russell was here upon detached Indian-service, when I came, and superintended the Indians’ final removal. He entered West Point from Massachusetts, in 1814, was made captain in 1830, and resigned, 2 2d June, 1837. He built the first public hall in our City, at the south-east corner of Lake and Clark Streets, known as “The Saloon” where courts, public meetings, balls, etc., etc., were held. It was there where Stephen A. Douglass arid John T. Stuart, candidates for Congress, had a public discussion in 1838. He was the first man to establish an office for the sale and purchase of real estate and payment of taxes here. He died here January 3, 1861, leaving a widow and son, both still living here.
I quote from a paper read before the Chicago Historical Society by Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, its President, upon the authority of Mr. John H. Kinzie’s daughter, Mrs. Nellie Gordon, and published in the Chicago Tribune, July 18th, 1877:
- In 1816, the Kinzie family returned to their desolate home in Chicago. The bones of the murdered soldiers who had fallen four years before, were still lying unburied where they had fallen. The troops, who rebuilt the Fort, collected and interred the remains. The coffins which contained them were deposited near the bank of the river, which then had its outlet about at the foot of Madison Street. The cutting through the sand-bar for the harbor caused the Lake to encroach and wash away the earth, exposing the long range of coffins and their contents, which were, afterward cared for and rei’nterred by the civil authorities.
Among my earliest recollections of Chicago was seeing projections of coffins from the steep banks of the lake shore, south of the Fort, about Lake Street.
John H. and Juliette Kinzie
Capt. Bradley commanded from June, 1816, until May, 1817; Brevet-Major Daniel Baker, until June, 1820; then Capt. Bradley again, to Jan. 1st, 1821; Maj. Alexander Cummings to Oct. 1821; Lieut.-Col. Jno. McNeil to July, 1823; Capt. Jno. Greene to Oct., 1823. They are all dead ; Bradley dying in 1826; Baker in 1836; Cummings in 1842; McNeil in 1850, and Greene in 1840. None of them have descendants in this region of whom I ever heard. I never had an acquaintance with any of them, except Col. Mc- Neil, afterward brevetted Brigadier- General. He was a native of New Hampshire, and passed his last years there. From him I received my earliest impressions of Chicago. He claimed that his daughter, now living, the widow of Hon. Chandler E. Potter, of Manchester, N.H., was the first child born in the new Fort. I met her, a few years since, walking from the site of the Fort, and she told me she had been trying to find her birthplace.
Another daughter, still living, is the wife of the present Gen. Henry W. Benham. He lost his only son, Lieutenant J. Winfield Scott McNeil, in an engagement under Gen. Hernandez, with the Indians, in Florida, in 1837. Gen. McNeil was brother-in- law of President Franklin Pierce, the late Lieut. John Sullivan Pierce, and Lieut.-Col. Benjamin K. Pierce.
Gen. McNeil was the competitor of Gen. Scott, for being the tallest and heaviest man who was ever in the American army. Both were brevetted for their gallantry at the battle of Niagara, Canada, in 1814, where McNeil was so severely wounded that he was incapacitated for further duty, and went into civil service, being at one time surveyor -general of the port of Boston. I have often measured with both these distinguished men, and I feel safe in saying that those who have seen me have an accurate idea of their size and height.
From October, 1823, the Fort was in charge of Dr. Alexander Wolcott, from Connecticut, the uncle of our present and long time-honored county surveyor, named for him.
The First Indian Agent.
There was an Indian trading-post at Chicago, on Lake Michigan, in Indiana Territory, in 1805. Charles Jouett, from Kentucky, (sometimes written Jewett), was Indian-agent at Detroit, in 1803. The Chicago agency may then have been under the supervision of the Detroit agent. He signed his name afterward as Indian -agent at Chicago. Mathew Irwin* was the Indian-agent here, in 1810. Dr. Alexander Wolcott, was Indian-agent here as early as 1820, and so continued until his death, in 1830. He was succeeded by Col. Thomas J. V. Owen, of this State, who was born in Kentucky, April 5th, 1801, and was one of our first Board of Town Trustees, in 1833, who died here October 15th, 1835, whose wife (now living at East St. Louis, in this State) was daughter of Hon. Miles Hotchkiss, and niece of our United States Senator, Elias K. Kane. If you will go down to Lewiston, in Fulton County, you will find, upon the list of marriages there, the following, at Chicago precinct of that county: “By John Hamlin, J. P., July 20th, 1823, Alexander Wolcott and Ellen Marion Kinzie.”
Mr. Hamlin resided at Peoria, and was on his wayhome from Green Bay, when he performed the ceremony. Chicago had neither clergyman nor Justice-of-the-Peace then. But this trouble was soon avoided by the appointment of her father as one of the Justices-of-the- Peace for Fulton County, upon the 2d of December following. We had to wait until we became a part of Peoria County before we had a second one, who was Billy Caldwell, (Sauganash), who was appointed April 1 8th, 1826. Mrs. Wolcott, remarried, in Detroit, May 26, 1836, Hon. George C. Bates, of that City, (where she died, August 1, i860, leaving Kinzie Bates, born there April 19, 1838, now captain in U. S. Infantry,) more recently of this City, but now of Leadville, Colo. It is claimed that she was the first white child born in Chicago , the place of her birth being on the North-Side, at the historic home of John and Eleanor Kinzie, and I know not why she can not be said to have been the first white person married here. The U.S. Official Register of 1826, shows that Wolcott’s salary was $1300, and that he had a Sub-Agent, Alexander Doyle, born in Virginia, at a salary of $500, and that Mr. Kinzie drew a salary of $500 as Indian interpreter; and Alexander Robinson, better known as Chechepinqua, whose descendants still reside in this City, at a salary of $365 ; and also Peresch LeClerc, a Frenchman, well known after I came here, but having no descendants that I am aware of, at a salary of $432. In the year 1823, there appears to have been an Indian -agent or factor here from Connecticut, named A. B. Lindsley, at a salary of $1300, of whom nothing is now known. There was a Jacob B. Varnum here as factor, as early as 181 7, from Massachusetts, at a salary of $1300, and who was continued here for some time after Dr. Wolcott came, of whom also nothing is known.
Mr. Alexander Beaubien informs me that, in 1866, an aged gentleman called to see him, and inquired about his father. He said he lived here in 1820, and boarded in the old John Dean house with his father, the site of which has been washed away and would now be out in the Lake, if it had not been rilled up. He said his name was Varnum, and he lived then in Petersburg. Mr. Beaubien had forgotten whether in Kentucky or Virginia. John Dean was a post-sutler.
Fort Dearborn as Rebuilt in 1816.
Fort Dearborn to be Evaculated.
The Adjutant- General’s official records show the following: Upon May 27th, 1823, Major-General Jacob Brown, General-in-Chief of the Army, issued this order:
- The Major-General, commanding the army, directs that Fort Dearborn, Chicago, be evacuated, and that the garrison thereof be withdrawn to the headquarters of the 3d Regiment of Infantry. * * * The Commanding-General of the eastern department will give the necessary orders for carrying these movements into effect, as well as for the security of the public property at Fort Dearborn.
Thus matters stood at the Fort until, Major-General Brown being dead, his successor, as General-in-Chief of the Army, Maj.- Gen. Alexander Macomb, gave the following order under date of Washington, August 19th, 1828:
- In conformity with the directions of the Secretary of War, the following movements of the troops will be made without delay: Two companies of the 5th Regiment of Infantry to reoccupy Fort Dearborn, at the head of Lake Michigan, the remaining eight companies to proceed by the way of the Ouisconsin and Fox Rivers, to Fort Howard, Green Bay, where the headquarters of the Regiment will be established.
Mrs. John H. Kinzie, in her Wau-bun, thus alludes to this change of the soldiers: “The troops were removed from the garrison in 1823, but restored in 1828, after the Winnebago war. There was a disturbance between the Winnebagoes and white settlers on and near the Mississippi. After some murders had been committed, the young chief, Red Bird, was taken and imprisoned at Prairie du Chien to await his trial, where he died of chagrin and the irksomeness of confinement. It was feared that the Pottawatomies [our Indians] would make common cause with the Winnebagoes, and commence a general system of havoc and bloodshed upon the frontier. They were deterred from such a step, probably, by the exertions of Billy Caldwell [Sauganash], Robinson [Chechepinqua], and Chamblee [Shabonee], who made an expedition among the Rock-River bands to argue and persuade them into remaining tranquil.”
I can never think of either of these three persons without being reminded of the many pleasant and instructive hours that I have passed with them individually and collectively, listening to their own experience, describing battle after battle—the massacre at Chicago and the battle of the Thames included—and narrating personal interviews with and characteristics of Tecumseh, Gen. Harrison, and Gen. Wayne, whom they always called “Old Tempest.” Caldwell or Sauganash* died with his tribe at Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sept. 28, 1841, in his 60th year, childless. His wife died before he left here. His only child, Susan Caldwell, died here in 1834. Chamblee or Shabonee died near Morris, in Grundy County, in this State, July 17, 1859, aged 84 years, whilst Robinson or Chechepinqua lived to vote for me several times for Congress, and to call on me as mayor and smoke the pipe of peace. He died upon his reservation, near River Park, in this county, April 22, 1872, aged no years. Both of these latter have living descendants.
The Winnebago Indians occupied all that portion of Wisconsin Territory bordering on Wisconsin River, numbering about 1550, of whom 500 were warriors. Hence the importance of making headquarters at Fort Howard—Green Bay—and afterward of the construction of Fort Winnebago, under the superintendence of Lieut. Jefferson Davis.
Gen. David Hunter writes me from Washington, under date of May 18, 1881: “In October, 1829, I saw on the north side of the River, opposite the Fort, a white man, and wondering where he could have come from, I got into a small wooden canoe, intended for only one person, and paddled over to interview him. He introduced himself to me as 2d-Lieut. Jefferson Davis, of the 1st Infantry, from Fort Winnebago, in pursuit of deserters. I, of course, was very glad to see Lieut. Davis. I invited him to lie down in my canoe, and I paddled him safely to the Fort. He was my guest until refreshed and ready to return to Fort Winnebago. This, no doubt, was the first visit of Jefferson Davis to Chicago.”
[At this point of his address, Mr. Wentworth asked pardon for the following digression.]
As I was starting for this assemblage, I purchased the three o’clock Evening Journal, and was greatly surprised to learn that Mr. Davis arrived in this City this morning. I immediately drove to his hotel and found that he was absent. I intended to have invited him to come here and address you. He could tell you many things of interest about the North-West in early times. And I know he would. For, when he and I were in the House of Representatives together, he was accustomed to inquire for our early families, and to narrate many pleasant incidents. I know you would have given him a cordial reception. I think we must have nearly a thousand of his soldiers, in the late war of the Rebellion, amongst us doing business, and we had rather have more than less of them. Chicago has ever been a hospitable, as well as a cosmopolitan city. She welcomes emigrants from all climes and of all sentiments. As early as 1826, we had an Indian chief, who fought against us in the war of 18 12, for Justice of the Peace, and we have had officers, as well as citizens, of every diversity of sentiment and nativity ever since, and one of the great elements of our prosperity has been that we make everyone feel at home here. When I, as your Mayor, went to Montreal, in i860, to solicit the Prince of Wales to make our City a visit, the great obstacle that I had to overcome was the fears that our numerous foreign population might give vent to their prejudices against royalty, and perpetrate some outrage. But he did come, and, after his return home, the Duke of Newcastle wrote me that nowhere was he treated so satisfactorily as in Chicago. And yet we had not an extra policeman during his stay. You remember how it was in 1864, at the time of the great National Convention, when Hon. Clement L. Vallandigham, who had been banished, by President Lincoln, for his treasonable efforts into the rebel country, addressed our citizens, in the evening, from the court-house door-steps, there was not the least disturbance, and every policeman was performing his regular routine duties. And, when he closed and I was called upon to respond to him, I was treated with the same respect by his friends that he had been by mine.'” Now, would it not have created a sensation throughout the country if it could have been telegraphed that Jefferson Davis was here to-day entertaining us with his experience in Early Chicago ! Such a despatch would have done us good and Mr. Davis good also. It is not my fault that he is not now here.
[Mr. Davis rode within one block of the tablet whilst Mr. Wentworth was speaking. When he read the reference to himself the next morning and learned its kind reception by the audience, he expressed his regrets at not being present, and especially when he learned that Gen. P. H. Sheridan was upon the stage.]
The companies at the Fort, from Oct. 3d, 1828, to their withdrawal, May 20th, 1831, were companies A and I of the 5th Infantry. Capt. John Fowle, who commanded the Fort, was from Massachusetts, and was killed April 25th, 1838, by a steamboat explosion on the Ohio River. His ist-lieutenant was the present Gen. David Hunter, of Washington City, whose wife, Maria H. Kinzie, daughter of John, born in 1807, is the oldest white person now living who was born in Chicago. A 2d-lieutenant was John G. Furman, from South Carolina, who died at the Fort on August 29, 1830. Another 2d-lieutenant was Abram, son of Martin Van Buren and his private-secretary when President. There was an assistant -surgeon, Clement A. Finley, from Ohio, whose last record I find as medical-director under Gen. Taylor, in Mexico, in 1846. The second company was commanded by Capt. Martin Scott, from Vermont, who was killed whilst as colonel he was leading his regiment at the battle of El Molino del Rey, in Mexico, Sept. 8, 1847. James Engle, from New Jersey, was his second lieutenant, who resigned in 1834 and died soon after. His wife was here with him. A brevet second lieutenant, from New Hampshire, Amos Foster, was under him also, a brother of the late Dr. John H. Foster,* of this City. He was shot by a soldier at Fort Howard, Green Bay, February 7, 1832. Engle, Foster, and Hunter voted at an election in the Chicago precinct of Peoria County, on July 24, 1830, for Justice-of-the-Peace and Constable. These were the first votes ever cast here by military officers.
On March 31, 1831, Gen. Macomb issued the following order:
- The Post of Chicago will be evacuated as early as practicable, and the garrison, consisting of two companies of the 5th Regiment of Infantry, will proceed to Green Bay and occupy Fort Howard.
On Feb. 23, 1832, he issued this order:
- The headquarters of the 2d Regiment of Infantry are transferred to Fort Niagara. Lieut.-Col. Cummings, with all the officers and men composing the Madison Barracks at Sacketts Harbor, will accordingly relieve the garrison of Fort Niagara, and Major Whistler, of the 2d Infantry, on being relieved by Col. Cummings, with all the troops under his command, will repair to Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and garrison that post.
Assistant-Surgeon DeCamp, now on duty at Madison Barracks, is assigned to Fort Dearborn and will accompany the troops ordered to that post.
These movements will take place as soon as the navigation will permit.
The names given on various tracts of land are those of the primary patentees, or persons by whom entry was made, entered or patented between the years 1828 and 1836. The information is taken from “Book of Original Entry.” Streets are shown were laid out subsequent of 1830.
This brings us to the second crisis in the history of Chicago, twenty years after the massacre, when the settlers, affrighted by the depredations of Black-Hawk’s warriors with their wives and children, sought refuge in the Fort. Then the Asiatic cholera came and they fled the Fort, but dared not return to their homes, and thus they vibrated between the Indians and cholera, suffering for the necessaries of life. The War Department’s records say:
- Fort Dearborn having become a general hospital on July 11th, no returns were received until its reoccupation; companies G and I, 2d Infantry returned to the Fort, on Oct. 1st, from campaign.
This refers to the march of Gen. Scott to Rock Island in pursuit of Black Hawk. Our Esquire Sauganash with his two friends, Shabonee and Chechepinqua, successfully used their influence to keep the Indians in this vicinity in amity. Some recent writers have asserted that the coffins, which I have heretofore noticed, contained the bodies of soldiers who died of the cholera at that time. But I served in Congress with Gen. Humphrey Marshall, of Kentucky, who came here with Gen. Scott, as a second-lieutenant, and helped bury the dead, among them a classmate, Second-Lieutenant Franklin McDuffie, of Rochester, New Hampshire, who died July 15th, and he said the dead were thrown unceremoniously into a pit, and oftentimes those helping to carry a body there in a very few hours had to be thrown in themselves, and the soldiers and citizens afterward were afraid to remove them. Luther Nichols, who died May 2d, 1881, in this City, was, at the time, a regularly enlisted soldier, the last to reside in our City, and helped bury the dead. He described the pit as at the north-west corner of Lake Street and Wabash Avenue. Mr. Nichols was born at Gilbertsville, Otsego County, New York, in 1805, and enlisted as a United-States soldier in 1828; came to Chicago under Major Whistler, and was honorably discharged in 1833.
Major Whistler arrived here on June 17th, 1832, and kept command until May 14, 1833. Surgeon Samuel G. I. DeCamp, from New Jersey, of whom I can learn nothing, was succeeded in 1833 by Surgeon Philip Maxwell, who after residing here for several years, died upon his farm at Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, November 5th, 1859, aged sixty years. He was a member of our Legislature, in 1848, and father-in-law of Joel C. Walter, of this City. His bust is one of those upon the block fronting the Court House, on the east side of Clark Street. He was a very social and popular man, and whenever you see a Chicago boy write his name Philip M., you can tell for whom he was named. The captain was Seth Johnson, who resigned in 1836, and ended his days in this city, leaving descendants, his daughter Harriet having married Josiah E. McClure, of this City, Jan. 8, 1837. In 1840, he was Alderman of the old 4th ward, when there were but six wards in the City and only two upon the West Side, his ward comprising all territory north of Lake Street, his residence being in old Waubansia. He was also deputy-collector of the port of Chicago when it belonged to the Detroit district. The first-lieutenant was Julius J. B. Kingsbury, who distinguished himself in the Mexican war and was Major when he resigned. He passed much of his time in this City when not on duty, and, by judicious investment, accumulated a large fortune, which with the aid of lawyers is likely to share the fate of most large fortunes before it passes through the third generation. His son, inheriting his father’s love of the good old flag, was killed in the war of the Rebellion, leaving an infant son. His daughter married Capt. Simon Bolivar Buckner, from Kentucky, who, after winning great honor in the Mexican war, became a general in the rebel army. He has been reconstructed now and has the devout sympathies of the numerous friends of Major Kingsbury, in his efforts to save for the grandchildren a good share of the Kingsbury estate. I was quite intimate with Major Kingsbury and I will give him the credit of having the most exalted appreciation of a soldier’s duty to his wife and children. His investments here were not a matter of speculation but a sense of duty. However diminutive his salary and wherever stationed, his anxiety for the future of his family would have induced savings and investments.
There were three second -lieutenants here who left with Major Whistler, in 1833, and never returned to have any status with our Chicago people. Hannibal Day, of Vermont, who was a captain in 1838; James W. Penrose, of Missouri, who distinguished himself in the Mexican War, and was brevetted major, and died at Plattsburg, New York, in 1848; and Edwin R. Long, of North Carolina, who died a first-lieutenant at Detroit, Mich., in 1846. In May, 1833, Capt. John Fowle was again placed in command of the post as the successor of Maj. Whistler, and with him came Brevet-Major De Lafayette Wilcox, who was afterwards, at two periods in command of the post, ending with August 1st, 1836.
Maj. Wilcox distinguished himself, was wounded in war of 1812, and died at Pilatka, Florida, in 1842. His name will be perpetuated through our legal reports as representing the United States in the celebrated suit of Gen. John B. Beaubien’s grantees or lessees to gain possession of the land upon which the Fort was situated under the preemption and other laws. Major Wilcox, and a second -lieutenant, James L. Thompson, were elected members of the Executive Committee of The Chicago Temperance Society, January 30th, 1834. And Cheche-pin-qua (Alexander Robinson) joined it. He created a sensation by pulling a whisky-bottle from his pocket and smashing it with his tomahawk. Philo Carpenter, still living here, was secretary, and can probably tell how long before they had to erase the Indian Chiefs name. Yet there was such a society before this, of which John Watkins, now living near Joliet, our first public school-master, was secretary, in 1833, and he may know whether Sauganash and Shabonee had not preceeded Cheche-pin-qua, in the good cause.
With Major Wilcox also came 1st- Lieut. Louis T. Jamison, from Virginia, who, as captain, resigned in 1838. He remained here some time, and will be remembered by all our old settlers, marrying for his second wife, (having lost his first one here, who was from the Chippewa tribe of Indians), a daughter of Gen. Geo. W. McClure, from New York, who distinguished himself in the war of 1812, was an early settler near Dundee, in this State, and died there August 16th, 1851, aged eighty.
Capt. Jamison became a sutler at camp Ringgold, in Texas, near the close of the Mexican war, and died in that region. There was a second – lieutenant, John T. Collinsworth, from Tennessee, who resigned in 1836, went to Texas, where he was made inspector – general, and died there January 28th, 1837. There was also a second -lieutenant, James Allen, from Ohio, uncle of Hon. B. F. Allen, of Des Moines, Iowa, and he was the second man in charge of our Harbor Works. Among the young officers ever stationed at our Fort, he is the most favorably remembered, and was the most of a society man. He took naturally to the company of which our promiscuous population was composed. There could be no social gathering without an invitation to him. He was one of the people all the time. When he went away to join his company the citizens unanimously and successfully petitioned to have him sent back to be placed in charge of our Harbor-Works. The present Chief of Engineers, Gen. A. A. Humphreys, at Washington, writes me, “I went to Chicago in the latter part of Sept., 1838, and relieved Capt. James Allen.” Mr. A. V. Knickerbocker, of this City, has presented me, for the Historical Society, some very interesting letters of his, showing the genial character of the man, written to his father, of the same name, who was for many years clerk of the Harbor Department. Lieut. Allen was made captain of dragoons in 1837, raised a brigade of Mormon volunteers, in the region of his command, for the Mexican war, and died, unmarried, at Fort Leavenworth, Aug. 23, 1846, on his route to New Mexico, then a part of the enemy’s territory. The first steamboat built in our city was named for him. It was built near the forks of the river, on the North-Side, and run from here to St. Joseph, Captain Pickering. There were lively times on its deck in the evening, after our young folks began to sing,
- Come, Uncle Mark, tune your old violin,
And give us a dance on the Jim Al-lin.
On the 19th of June, 1833, our Fort had a new commandant, Major George Bender, from Massachusetts, who resigned his position in the army on the 31st of October*, thereafter, and died in Washington City, without additional military service, Aug. 21st, 1865. He commenced the work upon our harbor, the first appropriation therefor, of $25,000, having been made in 1833, the year after the Black-Hawk war, its importance not having been appreciated until Gen. Scott was compelled to send his soldiers on shore from steamboats, one-half of a mile out in the Lake. Chicago has celebrated many occasions, all considered great at the time. But the commencement of the harbor was the first one. There are several now living who remember it. Capt. Morgan L. Shapley, of Meridian, Texas, one of the first employees, writes me:
- There were two or three stores on South-Water Street. Mark Beaubien, the noted fiddler, had a hotel at the head of Lake Street. There were less than a dozen dwelling shanties in the entire town. The first stone was procured about three miles up the south branch of the river. The work was commenced on the south side of the river. The ties and timber were procured upon the Calumet River, and were rafted into the Lake. The next year, 1834, the work was commenced upon the north side of the river, Lieut. James Allen, superintending.
With Major Bender came Capt. Joseph Baxley, from Maryland, who continued at the Fort until he resigned from the army on April 1st, 1836. He lived with us some years thereafter, but his subsequent history is unknown to me. There was a first lieutenant, Ephraim Kirby Smith, from Connecticut, who was here until December, 1836. He became Major, distinguished himself in the Mexican war, and was mortally wounded at the battle of El Molino del Rey, dying September 11th, 1847, near City of Mexico. And there was a second-lieutenant, from Tennessee, James L. Thompson, until December, 1836, who resigned from the army, May 18th, 1846, and was drowned soon after in the St. Clair River. He was son-in-law of Gen. Hugh Brady.
December 18th, 1833, Major John Greene, heretofore alluded to, was sent back as successor of Major George Bender, in command of the post, who continued here until September 16, 1835. There came here, October 15th, 1835, a second-lieutenant, Alexander H. Tappan, from Ohio, who continued until September, 1836, and resigned from the army, July 31st, 1838. He resided here until the Mexican war, when he joined Capt. T. B. Kenny’s company of the 5th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, Col. E. W, B. Newby. He was honorably discharged at the close of the war, at Alton, 111., and has not since been heard from.
Capt. St. Clair Denny, from Pennsylvania, came in August, 1836, and remained until the Fort was abandoned. He resigned from the army, April 30th, 1839, and was afterward made paymaster. I know nothing further of him.
The last commandant of the post was Brevet-Major Joseph Plympton, from Massachusetts, arriving on August 1st, 1836. He remained at the Fort until June or July, 1837, although the soldiers were withdrawn on December 29th, 1836, t in accordance with the following order of Major-General Alexander Macomb, dated November 30th, 1836:
- The troops stationed at Fort Dearborn, Chicago, will immediately proceed to Fort Howard and join the garrison at that post. Such public property as may be left at Fort Dearborn will remain in charge of Brevet-Major Plympton, of the 5th Infantry, who will continue in command of the post until otherwise instructed.
I saw the last sentinel withdrawn from the” entrance, and the last soldier march out, and I heard the last salute fired from Fort Dearborn. For a while we missed the cannon’s discharge at sunrise and sunset. And soon sunrise and sunset lost their significance in the measurement of Chicago time.
Major Plympton made many friends here, and frequently visited us. His wife was a Livingston, from New York. He was brevetted a colonel for his meritorious services in the Mexican war, after having distinguished himself in the Florida war. He was promoted to colonel in 1853, and died June 5, i860. He had a son, Peter William Livingston Plympton, who graduated at West Point, in 1847, and was a brevet-major when he died, at Galveston, Texas, August 10, 1866, aged thirty-nine, and he had a brother, Joseph R. Plympton, now living at Lake City, Florida, and a sister Emily, who married Capt. Mansfield Lovell, a graduate of West Point, in 1842, who distinguished himself in the Mexican war.
The Fort was afterward taken charge of by the superintendent of the harbor-works. Lieut. A. A. Humphreys, (now general), from Pennsylvania, succeeded Capt. Allen, and he was succeeded by 2nd-Lieut. Jesse H. Leavenworth, from Vermont, who resigned, October 31st, 1836, to become civil-engineer, but was retained in government employ; and, at last dates, was Indian-agent at some of our western posts. He and Mrs. Leavenworth are favorably remembered for the manner in which they made the Fort lively with their frequent elegant entertainments. They were liberal in their invitations, and if their guests did not desire to mingle generally, there were apartments enough in the Fort to gratify all distinctive nationalities, conditions, or tastes; all amusements being in order from psalm-singing to dancing to the music of Mark Beaubien’s violin.
Next came Capt. John McClellan, from Pennsylvania, brother of Gov. Robert McClellan, of Michigan, who remained until the harbor appropriation was expended, and then he went to the Mexican war, where he was brevetted lieutenant-colonel for meritorious services, and died soon after, unmarried.
Then came the late Gen. Joseph D. Webster, from New Hampshire, as 1st-lieutenant, who constructed the first Marine Hospital, and remained in charge until the Illinois Central Railroad took possession of all there was left of the Fort-Dearborn Reservation.
I have taken no account of the officers who came here with Gen. Scott, July 10th, 1832. He left Buffalo with four steamers, the Hairy Clay, Superior, Sheldon Thompson, and William Penn. But owing to the breaking out of the cholera, the steamers Henry Clay and Superior were sent back from Fort Gratiot. I have a letter from Captain A. Walker,* who commanded the Sheldon Thompson at that time, saying:
- The disease became so alarming on the Henry Clay that nothing like discipline could be preserved. Everything in the way of subordination ceased. As soon as the steamer came to the dock, each man sprang on shore, hoping to escape from a scene so terrible and appalling. Some fled to the fields, some to the woods, whilst others lay down in the streets and under the cover of the river bank, where most of them died unwept and alone. * * * Fort Dearborn was evacuated for the accommodation of sick troops. Major Wm. Whistler and Capt. Seth Johnson, and many others, with their families, who had previously occupied the barracks, took shelter wherever they could, some under boards, placed obliquely across fences, and others in tents.
The Chicago River, at that time, was but a mere creek, easily forded at its mouth, whilst it wended its way along the beach, flowing into the lake a short distance south of the present locality of Lake Street. * * * The only means of obtaining anything for fuel was to purchase the useless log-building used as a stable. That, together with the rail-fence enclosing a field of some three acres near by, was sufficient to enable our boats to reach Mackinaw on our return trip.
Gen. Winfield Scott, sometime after the Mexican war, told me that he had often been in great danger, and that he had witnessed a great deal of suffering, but he had never felt his entire helplessness and need of Divine Providence as he did upon the lakes in the midst of the Asiatic cholera. Sentinels were of no use in warning of the enemy’s approach. He could not storm his works, fortify against him, nor cut his own way out, nor make terms of capitulation. There was no respect for a flag of truce, and his men were falling upon all sides from an enemy in his very midst. And his responsibilities were never greater. Indian massacres were demanding his utmost haste, and there were with him the most of the class of West-Point graduates, to obtain their first lesson in Indian warfare. There were forty-five in the class of 1832. Twenty-nine of them left Buffalo for the Black-Hawk war, but were nearly all sent back from Fort Gratiot. I have their names and official record. Six only now belong to the army, and of these six, five are upon the retired list, leaving only Col. John N. Macomb, of the Engineers, in active service.
Gen. Ward B. Burnett, a member of that class, from Pennsylvania, one of the few now remaining, and the only one known to me, visited this City last August, and, with fresh memory gave me a full description of the scenes of those times. He was one of those sent back in the steamer Henry Clay, from Fort Gratiot. He afterward returned here, and, under the direction of Capt. James Allen, he superintended the first harbor-works at Michigan City and St. Joseph. He resigned, July 31st, 1836, and became an engineer upon the Illinois-and-Michigan Canal, and so continued until the suspension of the work thereon, in 1840. He afterward went into the Mexican war, and so distinguished himself that the gold snuff-box was presented to him, which had originally been presented by the corporation of the city of New York to Gen. Jackson, and was bequeathed in Gen. Jackson’s will to the corporation of New York again, in trust, for the best soldier among its residents in the next war. Gen. Burnett also distinguished himself in the war of the Rebellion.
Wood cut from a photo taken in 1855 by Alex. Hesler, from the U. S. Marine Hospital, looking north-west, correctly represents two of the principal buildings of the Fort—the Commandant’s Quarters, Ⓐ (brick, about 25×50 ft.), and the Officers’ Quarters, Ⓑ (wood, about 30×60 ft,), occupying the north-west corner of the enclosure. Ⓒ is the parade-ground (80×200 ft.); Ⓓ is the Sutler’s; Ⓔ is the north gate. The figure in the foreground is J. D. Graham, U. S. Engineer, in charge of Govt. Works, and residing in the Fort, and to his right, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Kinzie. The vessel in the river in the right is the brig Maria Hillard. The Rush-St. Ferry was used to cross the river here, and landed on the South-side at a point, indicated in this view, under the west chimney of the Commandant’s quarters; the direction of the ferry from this point to the North-side was nearly north-west; width of the channel, 225 feet.
On the 28th of May, 1835, Chicago had a sensation, and I am sorry that I was not here to enjoy it. But many now living were here. I have enjoyed almost every one since. Chicago has ever been noted for its sensations, and that is one of the reasons why I have never liked to leave it. You can not find any other place that has so many of them. Why travel about when there is so much of interest transpiring at home? On that day, Gen. John B. Beaubien. went to the public land-office and purchased, for ninety-four dollars and sixty-one cents, the entire Fort-Dearborn Reservation. He derived his military title from an election by the people, not from any conspicuous military talents, but because he had the most friends of any one in town, and he kept them to the day of his death. The State, at that time, was divided into military districts, and the people elected the generals. He had lived upon the reservation many years, and he had found some law, which satisfied our land-officers that he was entitled to make the purchase, the same as many others have found laws under which they could purchase our Lake-Front ever since. The news spread. Everybody was a daily paper in those days. We had but two newspapers then, and both were weeklies. The people assembled in squads and discussed the situation. The question was raised: did Gen. Beaubien buy the Fort with the land? What were the officers to do? There was no telegraph in those days. Gen. Beaubien was congratulated. He had an entire Fort of his own. A conflict between the United States’ troops and the State militia might ensue. Gen. Beaubien, himself, was in command of the militia. Would he use them to dispossess the United States’ forces? Fancy yourselves here at that time, and remember that the men of that day were the substratum of our present society, and you can appreciate how great a day that of May 28th, 1835, was- The Receiver of Public Moneys, at that time, was Hon. Edmund D. Taylor, now residing at Mendota, in this State, and for many years a resident of this City.
Nothing serious happened, however, as a case was agreed upon and submitted, in 1836, to Judge Thomas Ford, of the Cook County Circuit Court, at the October term, in the shape of an action of ejectment, and entitled John Jackson ex dem. Murray McConnell v. De Lafayette Wilcox.
The first time I ever saw Thos. Ford, who afterward gained such a splendid reputation as our Canal-Governor, and as historian of our State, was when, in Nov., 1836, he called at my office and left his written opinion to be published in my Chicago Democrat. His opinion was very elaborate, and just as favorable to the plaintiff as it could possibly be, whilst he decided against him. He thought Gen. Beaubien’s purchase was entirely legal, but that his title could not be enforced until he had procured his patent from Washington; which one thing needful he was never to procure. The suit was appealed to the State supreme court, where Justice Theophilus W. Smith, in behalf of a majority of the court, gave a long and exhaustive opinion, very valuable to this day as a historical document, reversing the decision of the Court below. Justice Smith was a resident of this City, father-in-law of ex-Mayor Levi D. Boone. He was a warm, personal friend of Gen. Beaubien, and his learned opinion was the work of both heart and head. I have often met him at the General’s entertainments. The suit was then taken to the United States Supreme Court, where another very elaborate opinion, and one very valuable as a historical document to this day, was given; which effectually wiped out every pretence to a claim that Gen. Beaubien had. On December 18th, 1840, he was glad to call at the land -office and receive his money back, without interest,
Upon April 23d, 1839, Hon. Joel R. Poinsett, Secretary of War, appointed Hon. Matthew Burchard, then Solicitor of the General Land-Office, the agent of the Department, to come to Chicago and sell the reservation. Judge Burchard caused the land to be surveyed and platted as Fort-Dearborn Addition to Chicago. His survey made the reservation contain 53¼ acres; being 3¼ acres less than the quantity marked upon the original official plat, the quantity having been diminished, it was supposed, by abrasions caused by the action of the water of the Lake. All was sold except what was needed for the occupants of the public buildings, and there was realized from the sale what was considered at that time the great sum of $106,042.
At this time, Chicago had another sensation. Gen. Beaubien had subdivided the land and sold, or given away, his interest in a great many lots. The owners of such rights undertook to shape a public sentiment so as to prevent any one from bidding against them at the time of the sale. The very numerous friends of Gen. Beaubien and his family, sympathized with such a movement. It would be difficult to mention any man of any official prominence or aspirations, from the Judge of our Supreme Court to the humblest citizen, who did not favor non-intervention. Politics also were running very high. The next year, President Martin VanBuren would seek a reelection, and many interested and sympathizing were his political supporters, and they argued that it would injure the party if the poor people of the West were to be outbid by Eastern speculators. Threats of personal violence were not unfrequently made. Out of the party clamor grew the dedication of Dearborn Park. It was thought a great thing to give so large a tract for a public park. We had nothing of the kind then. It was thought, by the Democratic -party leaders, a measure that would greatly benefit the administration in this region. Yet Judge Burchard dared not have an open sale; and resolved to advertise for sealed bids for a portion of the lots daily, with a determination to reject bids which he thought too low, and to stop the sale if he found the people were influenced by intimidation. Everything proceeded satisfactorily until the lots upon which Gen. Beaubien lived were to be offered. He was expected to procure his homestead for a nominal sum merely, and violent threats were made against any man who dared bid against him. But there was one man, James H. Collins, and I think the only man in the City who dared do this; who had denounced the whole transaction from the beginning in every place he had an opportunity. He had denounced the land officers and the Judges of the Courts. He was one of the earliest Abolitionists in our State, and would shelter fugitive slaves, and would travel any distance to defend one when captured, or defend a man who was arrested for assisting one to his freedom. He was a man of ability and integrity, and took great delight in defying popular clamor. He took an average of the price at previous sales and put in his sealed bid, thereby securing all the land which Gen. Beaubien desired, being the land upon the east side of Michigan Avenue, in Block 5, between South Water Street and the lots reserved, where the Marine Hospital afterward was, except the corner lot, known as lot 11, for which Gen. Beaubien paid $225. Mr. Collins bid $1049 for the next five lots, 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6, where Beaubien’s house, outbuildings, and garden were. His life was threatened. He was burnt in effigy. Many indignities were put upon him. To all this he bid defiance, asserting that the friends of Gen. Beaubien might possibly take his life, but they could never have his land. He was one of Chicago’s ablest lawyers, the candidate of the early Abolitionists for Congress, and far the ablest man in their organization. Had he lived a few years longer, he, unquestionably, would have been assigned to some one of the highest positions in the country. Thus Gen. Beaubien lost his old homestead, except this one lot which he soon sold as insufficient for him; and not one who claimed under him was successful in procuring a lot. If you wish to find the traditional residence of Gen. Jean Baptiste Beaubien, after he moved from what was before known as the John-Dean house, go east upon South-Water Street until you come to the north-east corner of South-Water Street and Michigan Ave., and you will find it. Gen. Beaubien subsequently moved to near what is now River Park, on the Desplaines River, in this county, near the reservation of Alex. Robinson, the Indian chief. The General died at Naperville, DuPage Co., Jan. 5, 1863.
At the session of Congress, in 1848, I succeeded in procuring an amendment to the Naval Appropriation Bill, appropriating $10,000 for the construction of a Marine Hospital on such site as should be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury on the lands owned by the United States. It was one of my best arguments, for the appropriation, that the Government already owned the land for the site. This took up another portion of the Reservation, it being upon the northern portion of block 5, fronting Michigan Avenue and being upon the east side thereof, and adjoining and north of the lots Mr. Collins bought. It was not until September 17, 1850, that I was enabled to telegraph to you, from Congress, that we had secured the Illinois-Central-Railroad grant. And it was not until the 14th day of October, 1852, that Hon. Charles M. Conrad, Secretary of War, in consideration of $45,000, made the deed of what was unoccupied of the Reservation to that company, in which was the following preamble: “Whereas the military site of Fort Dearborn, commonly known as the Fort-Dearborn Reservation, at Chicago, Illinois, has become useless for military purposes, and the tract thereof not being used or necessary for the site of a fort or for any other authorized purposes, has been sold,” etc., etc. The railroad company, complaining that it paid this sum of $45,000 from necessity and under protest in order to expedite their road into the City and insisting that the land was included in the grant made by Congress, which 1, who took an active part in framing and passing the law, could not endorse, brought suit in the Court of Claims, at Washington, for refunding the money. The court decided against the claim.
I have thus shown you how the entire Reservation was disposed of, except what would make about eight full lots, upon which the old light-house was located, or near it. They were not needed for light-house purposes; and were lots 1 to 6 in block 4, fractional lots 8 and 9 in block 2, and the north 34 feet of lot 1 in block 5, all near the Rush-Street bridge. James F. Joy bought for the Railroad Company (Michigan Central or Illinois Central, or both jointly) the land occupied by the Marine-Hospital building, being the south ten feet of lot 1 and lots 2, 3, 4, and 5 in block 5. The hospital was burned in the great fire of 1871.
The Government had erected a new light-house at the end of the North Pier. I was in Congress, and the thought occurred to me that the best way to dispose of the remaining land upon which the old light-house and other necessary Government buildings had been located was to present it to that kind-hearted and popular old pioneer, Gen. Jean Baptiste Beaubien. And it was so done by an act approved Aug. 1, 1854. And there was not a citizen of Chicago who knew him who ever questioned its propriety, to my knowledge. The last man in charge of the old lighthouse was that genial old settler, his brother Mark, who passed away on the nth of April, 1881, aged 81 years. He came here, from Detroit, in 1826, where he resided at the time of Gen. Hull’s surrender and he witnessed it. He brought a violin with him and with it made more hearts merry than any man who ever lived in Chicago. He requested that it be given to me upon his deathbed, and upon the evening of the 19th of May, 1881, I presented it to the Calumet Club, whose members ever delighted to entertain him. He was Mark Beaubien, a brother of Gen. John B. Beaubien, who claimed to have brought the first piano to our City, which is yet in good tune with his granddaughter, Mrs. Sophia Ogee, daughter of the late Chas. Beaubien, now living in Silver Lake, Kansas. When I came here, on October 25th, 1836, there was no other piano on the South-Side and none on the West. So much has been said and written of these two brothers in connection with early Chicago, and all in kindness and commendation, that I will forego the promptings of my heart at this time respecting them. Yet the Beaubiens and that piano and that riddle are inseparably connected with the history of the Fort- Dearborn Reservation. For years, John B. was the only resident upon it outside the Fort; and, when the light which had so long illuminated our Lake, under the superintendence of his brother Mark, was extinguished, Congress gave to him what was left of its foundation and surroundings, after widening the river.
Fort Dearborn Blockhouse and Light House
A lighthouse was established here, by an Act of Congress, March 3, 1831. It fell soon after completion, in October of that year; but it was soon rebuilt. Samuel C. Lasby was the first keeper. When I came here, in 1836, William M. Stevens was keeper; then John C. Gibson; then William M. Stevens again. President Harrison appointed Silas Meacham; President Polk, James Long; President Taylor, Chas. Douglass; President Pierce, Henry Fuller; and President Buchanan, Mark Beaubien. The annual salary was all the while $350. These men are all numbered with the dead. And so are nearly all those who ever occupied the Fort, some falling in the War of 1812, some in subsequent Indian wars, some in the Mexican war, and some in the war to protect and perpetuate a union in defence of which the others had fallen. We have marked the site and written the history of old Fort Dearborn. All else has given way to the march of commerce. But the name remains, a name associated with all the thrilling scenes of the American Revolution, from Bunker Hill to Yorktown, from the capture of Burgoyne to that of Cornwallis.
End of Mr. Wentworth’s Address.
At the close of Mr. Wentworth’s interesting address, he introduced Capt. Dareus Heald, the only son of Maj. Heald, who was in command of the troops at Fort Dearborn at the time of the massacre, Aug. 12, 1812.
Mr. Heald bowed in acknowledgement pf the warm greeting, and exhibited the comb referred to by Mr. Wentworth and his father’s Masonic emblems.
Fort Dearborn in 1850.
The above is a very good representation of the Fort, in 1850, from a daguerrotype, by Polycarpus von Schneidau, a Swedish nobleman, taken from the south front of the Lake House, which was situated on the east side of Rush Street, extending from Michigan to Kinzie (now called North-Water) Streets. The ferry, shown in the foreground, landed on the North-Side, about where the “Empire Warehouse” now is. The building faintly shown between the block-house and the light-keeper’s, is the residence of the late “Judge” Henry Fuller, and was just outside of the Fort enclosure, and the ground is now covered by Spaulding & Merrick’s tobacco works. There was another building in the Fort enclosure, not shown in this view, just east of the block-house; were the officers’ quarters in this view removed, it would appear as if in front of the large locust-tree, and was the quartermaster’s or sutler’s quarters. The parade-ground was between the commandant’s, officers’, and sutler’s quarters on the west, and the building where the artillery was housed, the soldier’s barracks, and the storehouse on the east; and was about 80 feet wide, and extended from the river bank south, the full length of the enclosure—say 400 feet; near its southern extremity was a gentle rise of ground or knoll, in the centre of which was an 8-inch piece of square timber, imbedded in the earth, placed upright, about 2 feet high, upon the top of which was a brass plate on which had been a sun-dial. South of this sun-dial, say 100 feet, was a turn-style through which you entered the Fort enclosure from the centre of Michigan Avenue, which then commenced at this point. The whole Fort enclosure was surrounded by a rough-board fence, white-washed, about 6 feet high; the pickets having been removed at an earlier date. The kitchen-garden was in the south-west corner of the enclosure. The street or road shown in above view between the block-house and the light-keeper’s is River Street. The piles, upon which the turn-table of the present bridge at Rush Street was built, were driven (at about the spot, indicated in the above view, where the boat is partly drawn ashore) part in the bank of the River and part in the water; and the channel south of this turn-table has since been excavated.—Robert Fergus.
The daguerreotype above was taken in 1856
Chicago Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, March, 1857:
It stood nearly on the site of the Fort erected in 1816, and finally demolished in the summer of 1856. It was somewhat different in its structure from its successor. It had two blockhouses, one on the south-east corner, the other at the north-west. On the north side was a sally-port, or subterranean passage, leading from the parade ground to the river, designed as a place of escape in an emergency, or for supplying the garrison with water in time of a siege. The whole was enclosed by a strong palisade of wooden pickets. At the west of the fort, and fronting north on the river, was a two-story log building, covered with split- oak siding, which was the United- States factory, attached to the fort. On the shore of the river, between the fort and the factory, were the root-houses, or cellars of the garrison. The ground adjoining the fort on the south side, was enclosed and cultivated as a garden. The Fort was furnished with three pieces of light-artillery. A company of United-States troops, about fifty in number, many of whom were invalids, constituted the garrison. It received the name of Fort Dearborn, by which it was ever after known as long as it continued a military post. Such was the old Fort previous to 1812. Through the kindness of Mrs. John H. Kinzie, who furnished the sketch, we are enabled to present a view of this Fort as it appeared previous to that year.
Leave a Reply