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Kekionga

Kekionga -- at present Fort Wayne, Ind. -- was the objective of U. S. armies in the Indian wars of the 1790s, including the 1791 campaign that involved building Fort Hamilton. "The settlement known as Kekionga (The Blackberry Patch) was home of the Miami Nation and in the 1790s was the center of the Miami Confederacy, including such other tribes as the Huron, Shawnee, and Ottawa," says the Fort Wayne Bicentennial Heritage Trail Guide Map. "The entire modern Lakeside area of Fort Wayne was the site of Native American settlements for as long as 10,000 years." Other relative sites on the trail include: The confluence of rivers: "The St. Mary's and the St. Joseph rivers converge in Fort Wayne to form the Maumee River. The Maumee flows northeast to Lake Erie, ultimately connecting through the Great Lakes system to the Atlantic Ocean. A short distance overland to the southwest is the head of the Wabash River, one of the tributaries of the great Mississippi River system which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The portage between these great waterways was a natural crossroad which attracted Native Americans for thousands of years." Battle of Kekionga: "Oct. 22, 1790, the Miami Nation, led by Chief Little Turtle, defended their home of Kekionga from attacks by the U. S. Army led by Gen. Josiah Harmar. This was the first campaign by the Army since the Revolution and ended in defeat for the United States."

Meshekinnoquah (Little Turtle) Memorial and Grave: "Little Turtle was one of the most feared and respected Indian leaders during the frontier wars of the 1790s. After many military victories over the Americans, he became a peace-maker and negotiator for his people. He met with three U.S. presidents and worked to improve the condition of the Miami people." Wells's pre-emption: "320 acres in the present-day Spy Run and Bloomingdale neighborhoods were set aside for William Wells by an act of Congress in 1808 in recognition of his services as Anthony Wayne's chief of spies and as U.S. Indian Agent, 1802-1809." Captain William H. Wells was born in Kentucky, near the Indiana border, about 1770. He was kidnapped by a roving band of Indians when he was 12 years old.He was taken to the headquarters of the Miami tribe near Fort Wayne, where he was adopted by Chief Little Turtle. His first wife was the chief's sister and his second wife Little Turtle's daughter, Sweet Breeze. As an Indian, he fought in the 1790 and 1791 wars against the white settlers and the U. S. Army. Wells decided he no longer wanted to fight his own people. After the defeat of General St. Clair in November 1791, he reported his feelings to Little Turtle. Tradition in the Wells family was that Little Turtle agreed that Wells should return and join the white people, believing this action might help bring peace between the Indian Nation and the United States. Wells became a scout and captain under Gen. Anthony Wayne in 1793. When peace did come in 1795, Wells assisted in the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Greenville. He was an Indian agent in Fort Wayne until the War of 1812 with Great Britain. He was killed at the massacre of Fort Dearborn (Chicago) Aug. 15, 1815, while attempting to defend the women and children at the fort. Fort Wayne, the county seat of Allen County, is in northeastern Indiana. It is named after the U.S. army fort established in 1794 by Gen. Anthony Wayne. In the 1680s, French traders had established a trading post at the location in the 1760s because it was the main portage between the Great Lakes via the Maumee River and the Mississippi River via the nearby Little River branch of the Wabash River. The French built Fort Miamis there in 1697 as part of a group of forts erected between Quebec and St. Louis. Forts Miamis was replaced by Fort St. Philippe in 1722. Increasing tension between France and England developed over the territory. In 1760, after defeat by British forces in the French and Indian War, the area was ceded to the British Empire. The fort was renamed Fort Miami. In 1763, various Native American nations rebelled against British rule and retook the fort as part of Pontiac's Rebellion. The Miami regained control of Kekionga, a rule that lasted for more than 30 years. In 1794, under the command of Gen. Wayne, the U. S. army captured the Wabash-Erie portage from the Miami and built a new fort -- Fort Wayne -- near the three rivers. (See Miami Purchase, Fort Washington, Fort Hamilton, St. Clair's defeat, Fort Recovery, Fallen Timbers and Treaty of Greenville.)


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