Embracing a Healthy Family: Tippecanoe Battlefield and Museum in Battle Ground, Indiana

Tippecanoe Battlefield and Museum in Battle Ground, Indiana

Many years ago, my father took our family to a place tucked away in northwest central Indiana based on a particular person he had always been fascinated with. Many aren't aware of the significance of some events that took place in Indiana or some of the famous people behind the events that shaped history which to me, is sad. My dad always was always interested with George Rogers Clark, the older brother of the infamous William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expeditions, partly because of the connection with his hometown of Vincennes but also due to one of battles that included a family member or two of ours. His other historical passion centered around the Shawnee Indian Tecumseh who also has history within his hometown as well as during George Rogers Clark's time and events. 

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, was from Vincennes and his family home can still be visited. The significance of Harrison and Tecumseh spans over many years but a particular event shaped a nickname for Harrison that would carry over to his candidacy. 

By Alonzo Chappel (1828-1887) - http://www.acw70indiana.com/stroudisham.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1599710

The Battle of Tippecanoe had many contentious events that led up to then General Harrison departing Vincennes, Indiana, stopping in Terre Haute before continuing on to the final destination at Prophetstown. Prophetstown was founded by Tecumseh as a settlement for pan-Indian confederacy. On November 7, 1811, Harrison and his forces decided it was time to stop Tecumseh and his interference and refusal to allow western expansion. Although the other main tribes agreed to such treaties, Tecumseh was furious and attempted to rally all the tribes to fight this intrusion and illegal grabbing of land. Tecumseh was away working on adding to his alliance from other tribes while the events were about to unfold. Harrison knew after meeting with Tecumseh a couple of times in Vincennes, there would be no hope in persuading his cooperation. 

A version of Benson Lossing's engraving (in wood) of Shawnee chief Tecumseh with water colors on platinum print after a pencil sketch by French trader Pierre Le Dru at Vincennes, taken from life about 1808. For origins and likeness, see the Commons description of Lossing's work.

Initially when Harrison arrived, he requested to meet with Tecumseh's brother known as "The Prophet" or by his real name of Tenskwatawa on November 6. Attempting to surprise and defeat Harrison, The Prophet and his men attacked the camp at the confluence of Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers. After two hours of fighting, the Indians were repulsed due to low ammunition. The wounded were returned to the camp in Terre Haute and the town was burned down and some claim the soldiers desecrated the graves before returning home. Due to the victory, Harrison would gain the nickname of Tippecanoe.

By Charles Bird King - Image scanned from the book History of the Indian Tribes of North America by Mckenney and Hall, published in 1872 (republished in 1933 and 1972 with colour images) by the Ohio Historical Society. ISBN 0665165781., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8308729

I learned a lot from my father about history and I've passed it down to my children. I tried to find the photograph that I have next to my dad at the same monument to no avail. Although I haven't been able to take my girls there, I plan to at some point soon to add to their homeschool history field trips. The only reason I only took the photo of the monument was I forgot the time difference from NW Indiana and Central Indiana so we missed the museum by 20 minutes. Even without the museum, it was a nice short trip to bring back memories of my father.

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