Battle of Fort Dearborn

The Battle of Fort Dearborn (sometimes Fort Dearborn Massacre) was an engagement between United States troops and Potawatomi Native Americans that occurred on August 15, 1812, near Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago, Illinois (then an undeveloped part of the Illinois Territory). The battle, which occurred during the War of 1812, immediately followed the evacuation of the fort as ordered by the commander of the United States Army of the Northwest, William Hull. The battle lasted about 15 minutes and resulted in a complete victory for the Native Americans. After the battle, Fort Dearborn was burned down. Some of the soldiers and settlers who had been taken captive were later ransomed.

Following the battle, the federal government became convinced that all Indians had to be removed from the territory and the vicinity of any settlements, as settlers continued to migrate to the area. The fort was rebuilt in 1816.


Fort Dearborn 1808
Plan of Fort Dearborn drawn by John Whistler in 1808

Fort Dearborn was constructed by United States troops under the command of Captain John Whistler in 1803.[1] It was located on the south bank of the main stem of the Chicago River in what is now the Loop community area of downtown Chicago. At the time, the area was seen as wilderness; in the view of later commander, Heald, "so remote from the civilized part of the world."[2] The fort was named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. It had been commissioned following the Northwest Indian War of 1785–1795, and the signing of the Treaty of Greenville at Fort Greenville (now Greenville, Ohio), on August 3, 1795. As part of the terms of this treaty, a coalition of Native Americans and frontiersmen, known as the Western Confederacy, turned over to the United States large parts of modern-day Ohio, and various other parcels of land including 6 square miles (16 km2) centered at the mouth of the Chicago River.[3][4]

The British Empire had ceded the Northwest Territory—comprising the modern day states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin—to the United States in the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The area had been the subject of dispute between the Native American nations and the United States, however, since the passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787.[5] The Indian Nations followed Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee prophet and the brother of Tecumseh. Tenskwatawa had a vision of purifying his society by expelling the "children of the Evil Spirit", the American settlers.[6] Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh formed a confederation of numerous tribes to block American expansion. The British saw the Native American nations as valuable allies and a buffer to its Canadian colonies and provided them arms. Attacks on American settlers in the Northwest further aggravated tensions between Britain and the United States.[7] The Confederation's raids hindered American access to potentially valuable farmlands, mineral deposits and fur trade areas.[8]

In 1810, as a result of a long running feud, Captain Whistler and other senior officers at Fort Dearborn were removed.[9] Whistler was replaced by Captain Nathan Heald, who had been stationed at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Heald was dissatisfied with his new posting and immediately applied for and received a leave of absence to spend the winter in Massachusetts.[10] On his return journey to Fort Dearborn, he visited Kentucky, where he married Rebekah Wells, the daughter of Samuel Wells, and they traveled together to the fort in June 1811.[11]

As the United States and Britain moved towards war, antipathy between the settlers and Native Americans in the Fort Dearborn area increased.[12] In the summer of 1811, British emissaries tried to enlist the support of Native Americans in the region, telling them that the British would help them to resist the encroaching American settlement.[13] On April 6, 1812, a band of Winnebago Indians murdered Liberty White, an American, and John B. Cardin, a French Canadian, at a farm called Hardscrabble that was located on the south branch of the Chicago River, in the area now called Bridgeport. News of the murder was carried to Fort Dearborn by a soldier of the garrison named John Kelso and a small boy who had managed to escape from the farm.[14] Following the murder, some nearby settlers moved into the fort while the rest fortified themselves in a house that had belonged to Charles Jouett, a Native American agent. Fifteen men from the civilian population were organized into a militia by Captain Heald, and armed with guns and ammunition from the fort.[14]


On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on the British Empire,[15] and on July 17, British forces captured Fort Mackinac.[16] On July 29, General William Hull received news of the fall of Fort Mackinac and immediately sent orders to Heald to evacuate Fort Dearborn, fearing that it could no longer be adequately supplied with provisions.[17] In his letter to Heald, which arrived at Fort Dearborn on August 9,[11] Hull ordered Heald to destroy all the arms and ammunition and give the remaining goods to friendly Indians in the hope of attaining an escort to Fort Wayne.[n 1] Hull also sent a copy of these orders to Fort Wayne with additional instructions to provide Heald with all the information, advice and assistance within their power.[18] In the following days, the sub-Native American agent at Fort Wayne, Captain William Wells, who was the uncle of Heald's wife, Rebekah, assembled a group of about 30 Miami Native Americans. Wells, Corporal Walter K. Jordan, and the Miamis traveled to Fort Dearborn to provide an escort for the evacuees.[n 2][20]

Wells arrived at Fort Dearborn on August 12 or 13 (sources differ),[21][22] and on August 14, Heald held a council with the Potawatomi leaders to inform them of his intention to evacuate the fort.[13] The Native Americans believed that Heald told them that he would distribute the firearms, ammunition, provisions and whiskey among them, and that, if they would send a band of Potawatomis to escort them safely to Fort Wayne, he would pay them a large sum of money. However, Heald ordered all the surplus arms, ammunition and liquor destroyed "fearing that [the Native Americans] would make bad use of it if put in their possession."[21] On August 14, a Potawatomi chief called Black Partridge warned Heald that the young men of the tribe intended to attack, and that he could no longer restrain them.[13][23]

At 9:00 am on August 15, the garrison—comprising, according to Heald's report, 54 U.S. regulars, 12 militia,[n 3] nine women and 18 children—left Fort Dearborn with the intention of marching to Fort Wayne.[21] Wells led the group with some of the Miami escorts, while the rest of the Miamis were positioned at the rear.[25] About 1 12 miles (2.4 km) south of Fort Dearborn, a band of Potawatomi warriors ambushed the garrison. Heald reported that, upon discovering that the Indians were preparing to ambush from behind a dune, the company marched to the top of the dune, fired off a round and charged at the Native Americans.

This maneuver separated the cavalry from the wagons, allowing the overwhelming Native American force to charge into the gap, divide, and surround both groups. During the ensuing battle, some of the Native Americans charged at the wagon train that contained the women and children and the provisions. The wagons were defended by the militia, as well as Ensign Ronan and the fort physician Van Voorhis. The officers and militia were killed, along with two of the women and most of the children.[26] Wells disengaged from the main battle and attempted to ride to the aid of those at the wagons.[27] In doing so, he was brought down; according to eyewitness accounts he fought off many Native Americans before being killed, and a group of Indians immediately cut out his heart and ate it to absorb his courage.[28] The battle lasted about 15 minutes, after which Heald and the surviving soldiers withdrew to an area of elevated ground on the prairie. They surrendered to the Native Americans who took them as prisoners to their camp near Fort Dearborn.[21] In his report, Heald detailed the American loss at 26 regulars, all 12 of the militia, two women and twelve children killed, with the other 28 regulars, seven women, and six children taken prisoner.[21] Survivors of the massacre filed different accounts regarding the Miami warriors. Some said they fought for the Americans, while others said they did not fight at all.[29]

Accounts of the battle

The recollections of a number of the survivors of the battle have been published. Heald's story was recorded on September 22, 1812, by Charles Askin in his diary,[30] Heald also wrote brief accounts of events in his journal[11] and in an official report of the battle.[21] Walter Jordan recorded his version of events in a letter to his wife dated October 12, 1812.[31] Helm wrote a detailed narrative of events; but, because of his fear of being court martialed due to his criticism of Heald, delayed publication until 1814.[32][33] John Kinzie's recollections of the battle were recorded by Henry Schoolcraft in August 1820.[34]

These accounts of details of the conflict are discrepant, particularly in their attribution of blame for the battle. Juliette Magill Kinzie's Wau-Bun: The Early Day in the Northwest, which was first published in 1856, provides the traditional account of the conflict. However it is based on family stories and is regarded as historically inaccurate. Nonetheless, its popular acceptance was surprisingly strong.[35]

The Battle of Fort Dearborn has also been referred to as "The Fort Dearborn Massacre" by the defending Americans. The battle has been claimed a massacre due to the large number of Americans killed including women and children, as opposed to the relatively smaller Potawatami losses incurred. The conflict has also been argued to have been a measure of self-defense on the part of the Potawatami.[36]


Following the battle, the Native Americans took their prisoners to their camp near Fort Dearborn and the fort was burned to the ground.[21] The region remained empty of U.S. citizens until after the war ended.[37] Some of the prisoners died in captivity, while others were later ransomed. The fort, however, was rebuilt in 1816.

General William Henry Harrison, who was not present at the battle, later claimed the Miami had fought against the Americans, and used the Battle of Fort Dearborn as a pretext to attack Miami villages. Miami Chief, Pacanne, and his nephew, Jean Baptiste Richardville, accordingly ended their neutrality in the War of 1812, and allied with the British.[29]

Historical perspective

Seen from the perspective of the War of 1812, and the larger conflict between Britain and France which precipitated it, this was a very small and brief battle, but it ultimately had larger consequences in the territory. Arguably, for the Native Americans, it was an example of "winning the battle but losing the war": the U.S. later pursued a policy of removing the tribes from the region, resulting in the Treaty of Chicago, which was marked at its culmination in 1835 by the last great Native American war dance in the then nascent city. Thereafter, the Potowatomie and other tribes were moved further west.[2]

Location of the battle

Chicago in 1812 Andreas
Map, reproduced from Andreas 1884, p. 81, showing Chicago in 1812 with the sites of Fort Dearborn by the river and the battle marked at left (west is up)
Battle of Fort Dearborn tree Andreas 1884
1884 drawing of the tree said to have marked the site of the start of the battle

Eye-witness accounts place the battle on the lake shore somewhere between 1 and 2 miles (1.6 and 3.2 km) south of Fort Dearborn.[38] Heald's official report said the battle occurred 1 12 miles (2.4 km) south of the fort,[21] placing the battle at what is now the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue.[38] Juliette Kinzie, shortly before her death in 1870, stated that the battle had started by a large cottonwood tree, which at that time still stood on 18th Street between Prairie Avenue and the lake.[39] The tree was supposed to have been the last remaining of a grove of trees that had been saplings at the time of the battle.

The tree was blown down in a storm on May 16, 1894 and a portion of its trunk was preserved at the Chicago Historical Society.[38] Historian Harry A. Musham points out that the testimony relating to this tree is all second hand and came from people who settled in Chicago more than 20 years after the battle. Moreover, based on the diameter of the preserved section of trunk (about 3 feet (0.91 m)) he estimated the age of the tree at the time that it was blown over at no more than 80 years, and therefore asserts that it could not have been growing at the time of the battle.[38] Nevertheless, the site at 18th Street and Prairie Avenue has become the location traditionally associated with the battle,[38] and on the battle's 197th anniversary in 2009, the Chicago Park District, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance and other community partners dedicated "Battle of Fort Dearborn Park" near the site at 18th Street and Calumet Avenue.[40]


In 1893, George Pullman had a sculpture he had commissioned from Carl Rohl-Smith erected near his house. It portrays the rescue of Margaret Helm, the stepdaughter of Chicago resident John Kinzie[41] and wife of Lt. Linai Taliaferro Helm,[42] by Potawatomi chief Black Partridge, who led her and some others to Lake Michigan and helped her escape by boat.[43] The monument was moved to the lobby of the Chicago Historical Society in 1931. In the 1970s, however, Native American groups protested the display of the monument, and it was removed. In the 1990s, the statue was reinstalled near 18th Street and Prairie Avenue, close to its original site, at the time of the revival of the Prairie Avenue Historic District.[40] It was later removed for conservation reasons by the Office of Public Art of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.[44] There are some efforts to reinstall the monument, but it is meeting resistance from the Chicago American Indian Center.[43]

The battle is also memorialized with a sculpture by Henry Hering called Defense that is located on the south western tender's house of the Michigan Avenue Bridge (which partially covers the site of Fort Dearborn). There are also memorials in Chicago to individuals who fought in the battle. William Wells is commemorated in the naming of Wells Street,[45] a north-south street and part of the original 1830 58-block plat of Chicago, while Nathan Heald is commemorated in the naming of Heald Square. Ronan Park on the city's Far North Side honors Ensign George Ronan, who was the first West Point graduate to die in battle.[46]

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ A facsimile copy of Hull's letter to Heald appears in Quaife 1913, p. 217
  2. ^ Wells had been brought up by the Miami, and was married to Wanagapeth, the daughter of Miami Chief, Little Turtle.[19]
  3. ^ Three of the 15 militia had deserted shortly after the militia had been formed.[24]


  1. ^ Pacyga, Dominic A. (2009). Chicago: A Biography. University of Chicago Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-226-64431-6.
  2. ^ a b Grossman, Ron (August 12, 2012). "15 Historic Minutes". Chicago Tribune. p. 22.
  3. ^ Charles J. Kappler (1904). "TREATY WITH THE WYANDOT, ETC., 1795". U.S. Government treaties with Native Americans. Oklahoma State University Library. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  4. ^ Keating, Ann Durkin. "Fort Dearborn". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago History Society. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  5. ^ Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio
  6. ^ Willig, Timothy D (2008). Restoring the Chain of Friendship: British Policy and the Indians of the Great Lakes, 1783–1815. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8032-4817-5.
  7. ^ Hitsman, J. Mackay (1965). The Incredible War of 1812. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 27.
  8. ^ Heidler & Heidler 1997, pp. 253,392
  9. ^ Quaife 1913, pp. 171–175
  10. ^ Quaife 1913, p. 176
  11. ^ a b c Nathan Heald's Journal, reproduced in Quaife 1913, pp. 402–405
  12. ^ Johnson, Geoffrey (December 2009). "The True Story of the Deadly Encounter at Fort Dearborn". Chicago Magazine. 58 (12): 86–89. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  13. ^ a b c Pokagon, Simon (March 1899). "The Massacre of Fort Dearborn at Chicago". Harper's Magazine. 98 (586): 649–656. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
  14. ^ a b Quaife 1913, pp. 212–213
  15. ^ "Senate Journal—Wednesday, June 17, 1812". Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789–1873. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  16. ^ Heidler & Heidler 1997, p. 347
  17. ^ Quaife 1913, pp. 215–216
  18. ^ Letter of Matthew Irwin to General John Mason, October 12, 1812. Published in Quaife 1915, pp. 566–570
  19. ^ Hutton, Paul A. (September 1978). "William Wells: Frontier Scout and Indian Agent". Indiana Magazine of History. 74 (3): 183–222. JSTOR 27790311.
  20. ^ Brice, Wallace A. (1868). History of Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne, Indiana: D. W. Jones & Son. pp. 206–207.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h Captain Heald's Official Report of the Evacuation of Fort Dearborn, dated October 23, 1812. Reproduced in Brannan, John (1823). OfficialLletters of the Military and Naval Officers of the United States, During the War with Great Britain in the Years 1812, 13, 14, & 15. Way & Gideon. pp. 84–85.
  22. ^ Helm 1912, p. 16
  23. ^ Quaife 1913, pp. 220–221
  24. ^ Quaife 1913, p. 213
  25. ^ Helm 1912, p. 53
  26. ^ Quaife 1913, p. 227
  27. ^ Quaife 1913, p. 228
  28. ^ Quaife 1913, p. 411
  29. ^ a b Birzer, Bradley J. "Miamis". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  30. ^ Extract from a diary kept by Charles Askin, September 22, 1812. Published in Quaife 1915, pp. 563–565
  31. ^ Barnhart, John D. (June 1945). "A New Letter About the Massacre at Fort Dearborn". Indiana Magazine of History. 41 (2): 187–199. JSTOR 27787494.
  32. ^ Helm 1912
  33. ^ The Fort Dearborn Massacre
  34. ^ Williams, Mentor L. (1953). "John Kinzie's Narrative of the Fort Dearborn Massacre". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 46 (4): 343–362. JSTOR 40189329.
  35. ^ "Case Study: Fort Dearborn: Juliette Kinzie's Wau-Bun, 1856". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  36. ^ Grossman, Ron. "Site of Chicago's Ft. Dearborn Massacre to be Called 'Battle of Ft. Dearborn Park'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  37. ^ Grover, Frank R. (1908). Antoine Ouilmette. Evanston Historical Society. pp. 7–8.
  38. ^ a b c d e Musham, H. A. (March 1943). "Where Did the Battle of Chicago Take Place?". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. 36 (1): 21–40. JSTOR 40188830.
  39. ^ Andreas 1884, p. 31
  40. ^ a b Grossman, Ron (2009-08-14). "Site of Chicago's Ft. Dearborn Massacre to be called 'Battle of Ft. Dearborn Park'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago: Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  41. ^ "Hh". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  42. ^ Helm 1912, p. 93
  43. ^ a b Isaacs, Deanna (March 23, 2007). "Blood on the Ground / Investing in the Future: Neighbors who want the Fort Dearborn massacre monument returned to its site are likely to face a battle". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  44. ^ "Fort Dearborn Monument, c.1920s". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  45. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Loyola University Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6.
  46. ^ "Ronan Park". Chicago Park District. Retrieved 2012-06-09.


Coordinates: 41°51′28″N 87°37′9″W / 41.85778°N 87.61917°W

Antoine Ouilmette

Antoine Ouilmette (c. 1760–1841) was a fur trader and early resident of what is now Chicago, Illinois. He was of French Canadian and possibly Native American ancestry. The village of Wilmette, Illinois (phonetic spelling of Ouilmette) is named in his honor.

Battle of Brownstown

The Battle of Brownstown was an early skirmish in the War of 1812. Although United States forces outnumbered the British forces 8 to 1, they lost the battle and suffered substantial losses while the enemy was almost untouched.

The battle occurred near Brownstown, a Wyandot village south of Fort Detroit on Brownstown creek. Brownstown was also known as "Sindathon's Village". Carlson High School in Gibraltar, Michigan, is near the site of the battle.

Battle of Burnt Corn

The Battle of Burnt Corn, also known as the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek, was an encounter between United States armed forces and Creek Indians that took place July 27, 1813 in present-day southern Alabama. The battle was part of the Creek War.

Battle of Lacolle Mills (1812)

The Battle of Lacolle River was fought on November 20, 1812, during the War of 1812. In this relatively short and fast battle, a very small garrison of Canadian militia, with the assistance of Kahnawake Mohawk warriors, defended a makeshift log guardhouse on the Montreal road at the bridge over the Lacolle River (present day village of Lacolle, Quebec).

The American invasion force, prepared and led by Major General Henry Dearborn, captured the blockhouse in the early morning, possibly following a brief confrontation with the outnumbered defending forces. In the dark, a second group of American militia attacked the troops at the guardhouse, resulting in a short battle between two groups of American forces. In the aftermath of this confusion, the Canadian forces under the command of Charles de Salaberry launched a counterattack against the shaken American forces, forcing a retreat to Champlain before the American forces withdrew from Lower Canada completely. After this defeat, the demoralized American forces would not attempt this assault again until 1814 in the Battle of Lacolle Mills (1814).

Battle of Talladega

The Battle of Talladega was a battle fought between the Tennessee Militia and the Red Stick Creek Indians during the Creek War, in the vicinity of the present-day county and city of Talladega, Alabama, in the United States.

Battle of Tallushatchee

The Battle of Tallasseehatchee was a battle fought during the War of 1812 and Creek War on November 3, 1813, in Alabama between Native American Red Stick Creeks and United States dragoons. A cavalry force commanded by Brigadier General John Coffee was able to defeat the Creek warriors.

Battle of the Sink Hole

The Battle of the Sink Hole was fought on May 24, 1815, after the official end of the War of 1812, between Missouri Rangers and Sauk Indians led by Black Hawk. According to Robert McDouall, the British commander in the area, the Sauk had not received official word from the British that the Treaty of Ghent had ended the war with the U.S.

The battle was fought in a low spot near the mouth of the Cuivre River in Missouri, site of the present-day city of Old Monroe in what is now Lincoln County near Fort Howard and Fort Cap au Gris. An ambush by the Sauk of a company of rangers led to a prolonged siege: seven Rangers (including their commander, Cpt. Peter Craig) and one Sauk were killed. Conflicting accounts of the action were given by John Shaw and by Black Hawk.After the battle, in 1816 Black Hawk entered into negotiations with the US government, ultimately reaffirming the Treaty of St. Louis.

Black Partridge (chief)

Black Partridge or Black Pheasant (Potawatomi: Mucketeypokee, Mucktypoke, Mka-da-puk-ke, Muccutay Penay, Makadebakii, Mkadébki) (fl. 1795–1816) was a 19th-century Peoria Lake Potawatomi chieftain. Although a participant in the Northwest Indian War and the War of 1812, he was a friend to early American settlers and an advocate for peaceful relations with the United States. He and his brother Waubonsie both attempted to protect settlers during the Battle of Fort Dearborn after they were unsuccessful in preventing the attack.

A memorial at the site of the massacre in present-day Chicago, Illinois once included a statue of Black Partridge preventing a tomahawk from hitting a Mrs. Margaret Helm, the wife of one of the defenders at Fort Dearborn. Black Partridge Woods, a state park in Cook County, Illinois, as well as Partridge Township in Woodford County, Illinois are also named in his honor.

Capture of Fort Erie

The Capture of Fort Erie by American forces in 1814 was a battle in the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom and the United States. The British garrison was outnumbered but surrendered prematurely, in the view of British commanders.

Fort Dearborn

Fort Dearborn was a United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River, in what is now Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. The original fort was destroyed following the Battle of Fort Dearborn during the War of 1812, and a second fort was reconstructed on the same site in 1816. By 1837, the fort had been de-commissioned. Parts of the fort were lost to both the widening of the Chicago River in 1855, and a fire in 1857. The last vestiges of Fort Dearborn were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The site of the fort is now a Chicago Landmark, located in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District.

Fort Sinquefield

Fort Sinquefield is the historic site of a wooden stockade fortification in Clarke County, Alabama, near the modern town of Grove Hill. It was built by early Clarke County pioneers as protection during the Creek War and was attacked in 1813 by Creek warriors.

A marker was erected at the site by Clarke County school children in 1931 and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974.

George Ronan

Ensign George Ronan was a commissioned officer of the United States Army. Educated at West Point and commissioned as an officer in the 1st Infantry Regiment in 1811, he was assigned to duty at Fort Dearborn, a frontier post at the mouth of the Chicago River. Just over one year later Ronan was killed in combat in the Battle of Fort Dearborn. He was the first member of the West Point Corps of Cadets to perish in battle.

List of Canadian military victories

The following are battle victories by Canadians in different wars. According to the below list, Canadian victories are French victories prior to the British Conquest of Quebec (1759). Prior to this conquest, any victories by the British in Nova Scotia (even after the Conquest of Acadia in 1710) and aboriginal victories over the colonial empires are not considered Canadian victories (e.g., see aboriginal victories in Father Le Loutre's War).

Nathan Heald

Nathan Heald (New Ipswich, New Hampshire September 24, 1775 – O'Fallon, Missouri April 27, 1832) was an officer in the U.S. Army, during the War of 1812. He was in command of Fort Dearborn in Chicago during the Battle of Fort Dearborn.Heald was a captain stationed in Fort Wayne, Indiana prior to his appointment at Fort Dearborn, where he relieved the fort's first commander, John Whistler in 1810. The following year, Heald traveled back to Fort Wayne in order to marry Rebecca Wells and returned to the fort with his bride.

On August 9, Heald received orders from General William Hull to evacuate the troops from Fort Dearborn, leaving behind all the supplies at the fort. This meant that the Potawatomi would take the supplies and sell them to the British. Heald decided, therefore, not to leave the fort. On August 15, a group of Miami Indians led by his wife's uncle, Captain William Wells, arrived from Fort Wayne to provide assistance. A band of Potawatomi attacked the column, killing many civilians and soldiers. The ones they did not kill were held for ransom and sold to the British who then set them free. Heald and his wife were both wounded, Heald being shot through the hips.

The Healds made their way across Lake Michigan and eventually arrived at Fort Detroit, then in British hands, where they surrendered. The British transported them to Buffalo, New York, where they were ransomed back to the Americans. Heald was promoted to major shortly after his release, and was given a disability discharge in 1814. He and his wife returned to Fort Wayne.

In 1817, Heald moved to O'Fallon, Missouri and purchased the former Fort Zumwalt. He and his wife had three children, Mary, Darius and Margaret.

Heald Square in Chicago is named after Nathan Heald.

Pesotum, Illinois

Pesotum is a village in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population was 551 at the 2010 census.

The village was named after Pesotum, an Indian warrior in the Battle of Fort Dearborn.

Prairie Avenue District

The Prairie Avenue District is a historic district in the Near South Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. It includes the 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie Avenue and the 1800 block of South Indiana, and 211-217 East Cullerton. It was the site of the Battle of Fort Dearborn and became the city's most fashionable residential district after the Great Chicago Fire. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on December 27, 1979. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 15, 1972. The John J. Glessner House, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1885–1886 at 1800 S. Prairie Avenue, has been restored as a historic house museum and is open for public tours. In 2006, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance, a non-profit organization was formed to provide representation for thousands of South Loop residents, including the Prairie District, Central Station and Museum Park, Motor Row, the South Michigan Ave Corridor, as well as other areas of the Near South Side.


Shavehead (born ca. 1800, date of death unknown) was a 19th-century Potawatomi chief.

Shavehead received his name because he shaved the front part of his head, as was the Potawatomi custom. He was not bald, however, having a long braid of hair from the back of his head.

His exact dates of birth and death remain unknown. He was, however, active as a Potawatomi chief and warrior in the first quarter of the 19th century in Cass County, Michigan.

Shavehead had a reputation as a warrior, and was feared both by other Native Americans and whites. He took part in the Battle of Fort Dearborn in Chicago in the War of 1812. Shavehead particularly disliked the incursions of white settlers, and attacked several mail stages on the Chicago Road through southwestern Michigan. Under his direction, the Potawatomis set up a camp at the St. Joseph River near Mottville, Michigan where they collected payment for ferry boats passing through their territory. His handling of those on the mail stages and those on the ferries who did not pay were severe. Shavehead boasted that he owned a string on which hung 99 white men's tongues (although no proof exists of this and this was probably an exaggeration). What is documented is that he showed scalps to white men in an attempt to discourage their entry into Potawatami lands.

Several rumors exist regarding the manner of Shavehead's death. None of them can be proven. One popular tale is that a veteran of the Fort Dearborn Massacre recognized the chief and killed him as the chief was boasting of his role in the battle. Another popular tale is that he was killed by a white hunter whom the chief had befriended.

The most probable story is that he died of old age and was buried in the forests of Cass County.

While the details of his death are thus the subject of legend, what is more substantial is that white settlers severed his head after his death. In 1899, the skull was added to a pioneer collection in Van Buren County, Michigan.

Both Shavehead Lake and Shavehead Prairie near Porter Township, Michigan in Cass County are named after Shavehead.

Sixty Years' War

The Sixty Years' War (1754–1814) was a military struggle for control of the Great Lakes region in North America, encompassing a number of wars over several generations. The term Sixty Years' War is not widely known, and is used primarily by academic historians who specialize in various aspects of the conflict. Traditionally, the war for control of the Great Lakes region has been written about only in reference to the individual wars; the designation Sixty Years' War provides a framework for viewing this era as a continuous whole.

As defined by historian David Skaggs, the Sixty Years' War consists of six phases:

French and Indian War (1754–1763)The North American theatre of the Seven Years' War, and generally referred to as such in Canada, began as an imperial struggle between the British Empire and France for control of the Ohio Country and Great Lakes region—what was known in New France as the "upper country" (the pays d'en haut). American Indians of the pays d'en haut, who had longstanding trade relations with the French, generally fought alongside the French. The Iroquois Confederacy attempted to remain neutral in the conflict, except for the Mohawks, who fought as British allies. The conquest of New France by the British marked the end of French colonial power in the region and the establishment of British rule in what would become Canada.

Pontiac's Rebellion (1763–1765)American Indian allies of the defeated French renewed the struggle against the British victors, eventually leading to a negotiated truce.

Lord Dunmore's War (1774)The expansion of colonial Virginia into the Ohio Country sparked a war with Ohio Indians, primarily Shawnees and Mingos, forcing them to cede their hunting ground south of the Ohio River (modern Kentucky) to Virginia.

Frontier warfare during the American Revolution (1775–1783)The American Revolutionary War spilled over onto the frontier, with British commanders in Canada working with American Indian allies to halt American expansion and to provide a strategic diversion from the primary battles in the east. With the victory of the United States in the war, Great Britain ceded the Old Northwest—the homeland of many of her American Indian allies—to the Americans.

Northwest Indian War (1785–1795)The American occupation of the Old Northwest was resisted by a large confederation of American Indians. After suffering great defeats, the U.S. won the Battle of Fallen Timbers and gained control of most of modern Ohio.

War of 1812 (1812–1814)A number of American Indians, many under the leadership of Tecumseh, continued to resist American hegemony and expansion in the Northwest, suffering a defeat in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. When the United States declared war on Great Britain in 1812, the British once again turned to American Indians to provide much needed manpower for their frontier war effort. This included the Battle of Fort Dearborn. The war between the United States and British Canada ended as a stalemate, establishing the Great Lakes as a permanent boundary between the two nations. After this struggle, American Indians in the region no longer had European allies in the struggle against American expansion. (This, however, did not halt attempts by the Indians of the Midwest to resist white encroachment. The Winnebago War broke out in 1827, and the Black Hawk War five years later. Significantly, Black Hawk expected British assistance from Canada, just as he and other Indians had received in the War of 1812; see Trask, 2006.)

Wells Street (Chicago)

Wells Street is a main North–South street in downtown Chicago. It is officially designated as 200 West, and is named in honor of William Wells, a United States Army Captain who died in the Battle of Fort Dearborn. Between 1870 and 1912 it was named 5th Avenue so as not to tarnish the name of Wells during a period when the street had a bad reputation.Wells Street is interrupted by Guaranteed Rate Field, Interstate 55, and Lincoln Park. Wells Street crosses the Chicago River at the Wells Street Bridge.

Some downtown blocks of Wells Street are located beneath the Chicago 'L' train system. The first Crate & Barrel store, which opened in 1962, was located on Wells Street.Wells Street was named in Time Magazine's 1976 article "The Porno Plague".

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