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The More Farm, The Eel River Post
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Forty rods to the west of the La Balme memorial is one of the most interesting sites on Eel River. It is known in this county as the More Farm, formerly owned by Alexander More, one of the first white settlers of this community. He received directly from the Indians and from his ancestors much information concerning the early happenings about this place. His grandfather, John More, was a soldier in Gen. Wayne’s army. A great uncle, Samuel More, was a scout with George Roger’s Clarke’s army. Alexander More’s nephews, Irvin and Chas. More, still own farms in this community. They received from their father, Wm. C. More, and from their uncle much of this tradition and history about the La Balme massacre and other events at this place. The writer has gone over this Eel River country with Chas. More and. received from him the accounts given by his father and uncle.
Here at the More farm is a bold headland jutting out towards Eel River on the north, the hill has steep banks on three sides. On the north Eel River flows at its base and beyond the river was a great swamp. On the east and west sides swamps lay just beyond the steep banks. Only from the south was there a level approach to the hill. The location was one that could well be defended against an attacking force. There is still to be seen the line of an old breast work that protected the southern approach. Here at an early date had been established a trading post that had been so well fortified that it could well be called a fort. It is sometimes referred to as More’s Fort.
Who helped the Indians establish this post and fort? Indians themselves seldom built forts. The most plausible answer is that either the French or English traders helped the Indians establish this place. This was about the upper end of where the Kenapocomoco would be navigable for even the small pirogues and canoes in low water. The Eel River country abounded in game and fur-bearing animals. To this place the hunters and trappers could bring their furs. There is still to he seen an old pathway down to the river where the boats landed. Kekionga could be reached by a portage of fourteen miles. By this portage and by the Kenapocomoco, French and British traders could reach the interior. Some say that the British general, Hamilton, helped the Indians establish this place on his way to Vincennes where he was captured by George Rogers Clarke. At any rate, the Eel River Trading Post and Fort were known to all who ever came to Kekionga in those days.
Little Turtle and the Eel River Post
For many years Little Turtle from his village farther down the river had much to do in directing events at this place. No doubt he spent much time here mingling with the traders and with the Indians. His sister, Tacumwah, had an important trading post on the north side of the river some distance away. Here no doubt was the center of many war plans by the Indians, encouraged by the British, from 1780 to 1795. After the treaty of Greenville in 1795, the United States government built Little Turtle a house at this Eel River post and here he spent most of his last years. The place is still pointed out where The Turtle’s large double log house stood, and where he lived in comfort attended by black servants. It is said that he had two houses. Perhaps one of them was for his servants. At this place he made many attempts to improve the conditions of his people. From here he went forth on extensive trips which will be described later. From here he went to the home of his son in law, Capt. William Wells, in Fort Wayne, where he died in July 1812. The Second War with England was now on. When Gen. Harrison defeated the Indians at Fort Wayne, he, like other commanders before him, had to give attention to the post on. Eel River. So in September 1812, he sent Col. Simrall with a body of troops to destroy this place, but with the instructions that his troops were to spare the home of Little Turtle. The general defeat of the Indians in the war that followed and the destruction of this place by Col. Simrall caused the Eel Post on the Kenapocomoco to pass into history. But for decades, yes for generations, it was the center of events in which both Indians and white men had a great interest.
One half mile south of the Eel River Post the road joins what was formerly known as the Yellow River Road. This, too, is an old Indian trail. One mile west there is a road going north across Eel River. This road is about on the eastern boundary line of what was known as the Seek’s Village Reservation. At. the treaty of Wabash, 1826, the Indians of Seek’s Village were granted fourteen sections of land. The reservation was about two miles wide extending from this road to a line running south from the site of Columbia City. But their village was near the eastern boundary line.
Driving north across Eel River you are soon at the old farm home of Silas Briggs on whose land the village was located. Old settlers say it was northwest of the barns on the Briggs farm. It laid on the south side of the Churubusco road, across from the country home of Dr. J. a Briggs. Some say it was scattered over one hundred acres. Its Indian name was Maconsaw. It had begun to be important in the time of Little Turtle and continued so long after the death of the great chief and the passing of his village. One report says there were eighty Indians here in 1834. They were allowed to continue in possession of the land until 1838; a number of years after most of the Indian lands had been given up.
Seek, the chief after whom the village is generally named, was present at the treaty of Wabash in 1826 but seems to have disappeared before the treaty at the Forks of the Wabash in 1834. He is described as a gruff old Indian with a bullring in his nose and was not popular with the Indians. John Owl, the first husband of Kilsoquah, was raised at this village and here he was buried. From Kilsoquah many who are living today received much information about this and nearby places of importance.
One mile down the river from. Seek’s village was the Turtle’s village as it was familiarly known in that day. The site of this important place is on the Tom Butler farm west of where the Yellow River Road crosses Eel River. Coming from Columbia City you tan see the site of the village off to the south where you turn northeast on the road to Churubusco. In former days Eel River ran much nearer the road than today and made a great bend to the south running close to the higher ground on the Butler farm where the village was located. It covered many acres. No spot of ground in Indiana if indeed in all America, produced greater Indian characters. Here Little Turtle was born and reared. Here his illustrious father was born and reared. Here his children were born and reared together with many other prominent Indians. This was an important Indian center for more than a hundred years.
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