About the first of April, 1821, the first incident calculated to create alarm among the settlers occurred – the disappearance and supposed murder by the Indians of George Pogue. Mr. Pogue lived just outside of the donation line, on the east and left bank of the creek that took its name from him. His cabin was about one hundred yards north of where the starch factor is now located.
George Pogue was a large, broad-shouldered and stout man, with dark hair, eyes and complexion, about fifty years of age, a native of North Carolina. His dress was like that of a “Pennsylvania Dutchman”: drab overcoat, with many capes, broad brim felt hat. He was a blacksmith, and the first of that trade to enter the new purchase. To look at the man as we saw him last, one would think he was not afraid to meet a whole camp of Delaware in battle array, which fearlessness, in fact, was most probably the cause of his death.
One evening, about twilight, a straggling Indian, known to the settlers, as well as to the Indians, as Wyandotte John, stopped at the cabin of Mr. Pogue, and requested to stay all night. Mr. Pogue did not like to keep him, but thought it best not to refuse, as the Indian was known to be a bad and very desperate man, having left his own tribe in Ohio for some offense, and was now wandering among the various Indiana tribes. His principal lodging place the previous winter was a hollow sycamore log that lay under the bluff and just above the east end of the National road bridge over White river. On the upper side of the log he had hooks (made by cutting the forks or limbs of bushes), on which he rested his gun. At the open end of the log, next to the water, he built his fire, which rendered his domicile as comfortable as most of the cabins. We well remember it as here described.
After John was furnished with something to eat, Mr. Pogue, knowing him to be traveling from one Indian camp to another, inquired if he had seen any white man’s horses at any of the camps. John said he had left a camp of Delawares that morning, describing their place to be on Buck creek, about twelve miles east, and near where the Rushville State road crosses said creek; that he had seen horses there with iron hoofs (meaning that they had been shod), and described the horses so minutely as to lead Mr. Pogue to believe they were his. Although the horses were described so accurately, Mr. Pogue was still arfraid that it was a deception to lure him into the woods, and mentioned his suspicions to his family.
When the Indian left, next morning, he took a direction toward the river, where nearly all the settlement was. Pogue followed him for some distance, to see whether or not he would turn his course toward the Indian camps, but found that he kept on direct toward the river.
Mr. Pogue returned to his cabin and told his family he was going to the Indian camp for his horses. He took his gun, and with his god set out on foot for the Delaware camp, and was never afterward seen or heard of.
We remember there were a great many conflicting stories about his clothes and horses having been seen in possession of the Indians, all of which were untrue.
There can be no doubt that the Wyandotte told Mr. Pogue the truth in regard to the horses, and in his endeavor to get possession of them, he had a difficulty with the Delwares and was killed. At least such was the prevailing opinion here at the time, but as to any certainty in regard to his fate it was never known, and of course at this late day never will be.
The settlers formed a company for the purpose of searching the different Indian camps within a radius of forty or fifty miles of the place, to find some key that might unlock the mystery, but none was ever found.
Howland, John H. B., Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876, with a Few of the Pioneers of the Cityand County Who Have Passed Away, A Sequel to “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis.” 1820-’76, c. 1877, Indianapolis, Tilford & Carlon, Printers., p. 13-14.