By 1800 the population of the Northwest Territories had so increased that Sir William St. Clair could no longer preserve order and just at the time that Spain was ceding Louisiana back to France it was divided and all west of the present state of Ohio was rechristened the TERRITORY OF INDIANA, with William Henry Harrison for its governor. This territory extended to the Mississippi and northward to Canada an unbroken wilderness, save for the old French settlements Cahokia, Kaskaskia and Vincennes, miscroscopic as compared to the vast region.
Fort Dearborn Established.
The establishment of the Government Post at Chicago had considerable influence upon the settlement of Porter and adjoining counties in Indiana, through which the thoroughfare led that was to be the main artery by which emigration flowed to the far west as the Mississippi was then called. The thoroughfare that connected the east and the west was the Detroit-Chicago Road, coincident in part with the Great Sauk Trail and its branches. We are fortunate in having a military journal kept by Lieutenant Swearingen, then a youth of twenty-one, in command of some fifty regulars--the 1st Regiment of U. S. Infantry--detached from Colonel Hamtramck's command at Detroit on its march to build Fort Dearborn, also a survey of the road on which every mile is accurately indicated.
The "Little Calamas."
On August 17th, 1803, at 2 P. M. the company was at its journey's end and encamped on the Chicago River, 362 miles from Detroit.
The Utopian existence between Red man and White in the Northwest Territory, due mainly to Wayne's Treaty at Grenville in 1795 and to the almost continuous treaties of General Harrison aided by the councils of Little Turtle and William Wells, had begun to show evidence of being undermined by the British, when in 1806 they first learned of the plot to surprise Detroit, Mackinaw, Fort Wayne, and Chicago. This plot culminated in 1812.
The fall of Fort Dearborn, not withstanding the heroic efforts of its sister post, Fort Wayne, to lend succor needs no repetition here. The two posts were in constant relation, the transfer of officers and men geing frequent.
Lake County Painter.
A colonial painting of the Fort Dearborn Massacre by Samuel Page gives us what is said to be an exact portrait of Captain William Wells whose gold knee-buckles and tomahawk used in the massacre repose in the Chicago Historical Society.
In 1822 while it was still Indiana Country, Joseph Bailly removed his fur trading station from Pare aux Vaches to the region of the Calumet known as Baillytown, and then built the log mansion house that for more than a century has been not only a landmark on the Sauk Trail or Chicago Road, but in earlier times a place famous for hospitality and its extraordinary handsome daughters. Early literature has not neglected the hostelries of the Dune Region for Charles Fenno Hoffman of New York, the witty author of "A Winter in the West", and Harriet Martineau both dilate upon their interesting experience at Bailly's and at Michigan City and a young Mr. Tinkham, relates in a letter written in 1831, that his traveling companion Henry Hubbard was so impressed with the culture and beauty of the daughters of Bailly that he announced the intention of having at least two of them. We judge that his suit was not encouraged for the writer later comments upon the sourness of disposition of M. Bailly. These and similar experiences were repeated by scores of the future residents of Chicago who travelled by stage coach or horseback or in their own carriages through this section.
Of City West, old and "New", that fabled metropolis of the Lakes, Waverly, Furnessville, etc., there is not time to speak, but we historians believe that historical survey of this region has shown that the story of the West--the progress of the frontier--could not be written without the dunes of Porter county.
Posted 29th June, 1999; last updated 10th July, 2001.