1800-1809 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

1801 - 1802 - 1803 - 1804 - 1805 - 1806 - 1807 - 1808 - 1809


The 1800 census lists 5,641 people living in the Indiana Territory at the beginning of the 19th century. From Indiana State Museum on Twitter.

Bison were still abundant over large portions of what would become the Indiana Territory and the state of Indiana. A bison is featured prominently on Indiana’s state seal. Read more in Indiana at 200 (7): Bison Made First Indiana Road by Andrea Neal published September 8, 2013 on Indiana Policy.org.

1800, April 24 - the Library of Congress was established by President John Adams. Housed in the Capitol, the collection consisted of 740 books and 3 maps. In 2013, the library's holdings include more than 32 million cataloged books and print materials in 470 languages and more than 61 million manuscripts., the original library was lost to fire during the War of 1812, so Congress purchased Thomas Jefferson’s personal library, which became the foundation of the modern Library. For more see Fascinating Facts - About the Library (Library of Congress).

1800, May 7 - President John Adams approved a bill to divide the Northwest Territory and create Indiana Territory establishing what is now Illinois, Wisconsin, portions of Michigan and Minnesota, with its capital at Vincennes. The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on March 20. It passed in the House on March 31 and the Senate on April 21. It became law on July 4, 1800. Copied from May 8, 2017 post by Indiana Bicentennial Commission on Facebook. See IHB: Act Creating Indiana Territory 1800 on IN.gov. Indiana Territory information from page 4 of The Indiana Historian March 1996 and the 16 page Indiana Territory with maps and timelines on IN.gov.

Indiana Historical Bureau photo
Indiana Historical Bureau photo

1800, May 13 - twenty-seven year old William Henry Harrison was appointed governor of the Indiana Territory by John Adams, President of the United States. For more information see page 5 of The Indiana Historian March 1996 and Indiana at 200 (12): William Henry Harrison Shaped Indiana from Vincennes by Andrea Neal published November 18, 2013 on Indiana Policy.org. See May 13, 2019 and May 13, 2020 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1800, May 19 - George Washington Whistler was born at the military outpost of Fort Wayne which his father, Major John Whistler (1756–1829), helped build the fort, was commandant and his wife, Anna Bishop. Ft. Wayne at that time was a part of the great Northwest Territory. His father, John Whistler, had been a British soldier under General Burgoyne at the battles of Saratoga in the revolutionary war, later to enlist in American service. Read more on George Washington Whistler.

1800, July 4 - Indiana Territory officially separated from Northwest Territory from July 4, 2018 Tweet by the Indiana State Museum on Twitter.


1801, February 17 - Thomas Jefferson was elected 3rd President of the United States. This election was the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in the United States -- from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans. From History Channel on Facebook.

1801, July 4 - Secretary of the Indiana Territory John Gibson attested that the population of the entire territory (for purposes of political representation) was 4,875. This included 135 enslaved persons despite the provision in the Northwest Ordinance that prohibited slavery in the territory. The eleventh column counted all other free persons "except Indians, not French." Copied from July 4, 2017 post with photo of the Schedule document on the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.


1802, May 22 - the nation's 1st First Lady Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, born June 2, 1731, died of a severe fever at her home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. When she married George Washington in January 1759, she was twenty-seven years old and a widowed mother of two. She was also one of the wealthiest women in Virginia, having inherited some 15,000 acres of farmland from her deceased husband, Daniel Parke Custis. Copied from May 22, 2013 Accessible Archives on Facebook.

1802, December 10 - William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition (and brother of George Rogers Clark), filed a document that released Ben McGee from enslavement. The following day, Clark turned McGee's enslavement into an indenture of thirty years servitude. The practice of emancipating enslaved persons who had been brought into Indiana Territory, and then forcing them to enter into long-term indentures was commonly practiced to circumvent territorial laws prohibiting slavery. Indentured servitude remained common practice until the Indiana Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1821. Learn more about the history of slavery and indentured servitude in Indiana here: Almost a Free StateThe Indiana Constitution of 1816 and the Problem of Slavery by Paul Finkleman published in the March 2015 Indiana Magazine of History. Copied from a December 10, 2018 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook with an image that shows a reconstruction of the cabin in which Ben McGee and his wife lived on the Clark property, courtesy of the Falls of the Ohio State Park.

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1803, March 1 - Ohio became the 17th state, known as the Buckeye State

1803, April 30 - a treaty dated April 30 and signed May 2 called the Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States during President Thomas Jefferson's term. U.S. representatives in Paris agreed to pay $15 million for about 828,000 square miles of land that stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. The territory was formally transferred December 20, 1803 in ceremonies in New Orleans. Read 8 Things You May Not Know About the Louisiana Purchase on History.com.

1803, May 25 - Ralph Waldo Emerson was born. He was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1803, June 21 - Elihu Stout brought the first printing press to Vincennes, Indiana, see The Perils Of Pioneer Publishing by the Staff of the Indiana Magazine of History.

1803, August 3 - Stephen Johnston, first child of John and Rachel Johnston, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to the book ‘Headwaters of the Maumee’, Stephen was the first white child born in Fort Wayne. From July 15, 2017 post on Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook. See Find A Grave memorial. See a timeline through 1830s posted November 8, 2016 on Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook.

1803, October 20 - the U.S. ratified the Louisiana Purchase that nearly doubled the size of the United States. 1st of three big land grabs by the young United States, followed by the 1819 purchase of Florida and 1867 Purchase of Alaska. Read more in Primary Documents in American History Louisiana Purchase and, Westward Ho! Today in History - October 20 both at The Library of Congress, How the Louisiana Purchase Changed the World published April 2003 on Smithsonian.com and Louisiana Purchase, 1803 at U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian.

1803, October 26 - the Lewis and Clark expedition started in Clarksville, Indiana when William Clark and Meriwether Lewis met and left for St. Louis. Read more about William Clark who was living in a cabin overlooking the Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville, Indiana Territory with his older brother General George Rogers Clark at Lewis and Clark - The Indiana Connection on IN.gov and see a historical marker photo. Indiana at 200 (13): Lewis and Clark Joined Forces Here by Andrea Neal published December 2, 2013 on Indiana Policy.org.

1803, November 28 - the Lewis and Clark expedition party landed near Kaskaskia, Indiana Territory. That same day, Lewis left Clark in charge of the boat. He left December 5 on horseback for St. Louis to meet with the Spanish commandant. Learn more about Lewis and Clark in Indiana with Lewis and Clark - Indiana Connections in The Indiana Historian. Copied from November 28, 2017 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.


1804, May 14 - The Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory leaves St. Louis in the Louisiana Territory. Thomas Jefferson had been trying to send explorers to the American West for years. Read more from the May 14, 2013 Writer's Almanac on The History Center Facebook page.

1804, July 11 - Alexander Hamilton, one time aide-de-camp to George Washington and former Secretary of the Treasury was mortally wounded in a duel with the sitting Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, in Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton died the next day and Burr's political career was effectively ruined by the episode. From July 11, 2013 George Washington Birthplace National Monument on Facebook. Read his letter to his wife Elizabeth Hamilton on Today's Document on The National Archives tumblr and his Alexander Hamilton Papers at The Library of Congress.

1804, July 31 - Elihu Stout published the first newspaper in the Indiana Territory. The first issue of the Indiana Gazette does not appear in any library catalog, and may have been lost to time. The second issue, published on August 7, 1804 and other extant issues for 1805 and 1806 are digitally available in Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana Gazette . The second issue is also on the blog Today in Hoosier History: Indiana Territory’s First Newspaper Published by Chandler Lighty posted July 31, 2014 in the Indiana Historic Newspaper Digitization Project blog. A similar post with photo was July 31, 2018 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1804, December 5 - Indiana territory elects a General Assembly


1805, January 11 - Michigan Territory formed

1805, July 29 - July 29, 1805, the General Assembly of the Indiana Territory met for the first time in Vincennes at the Indiana Territorial Capitol. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison (pictured below) urged the legislators to “strive to accomplish the wishes of the friends of representative government and to disappoint its enemies.” The session lasted until August 26 and the legislators passed thirty-three laws, which codified the courts, taxes, debt relief for prisoners, and established weights and measures. One of the more controversial acts they passed was a slavery law that allowed slaveholders to keep enslaved persons in the Indiana Territory if they were purchased outside of it. This legislation was in direct violation of Article VI of the Northwest Ordinance that prohibited the slavery in the territory. The act created pushback from newspapers in Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C. publicly denounced it. In a challenging contradiction, Harrison himself brought slaves to the territory, all the while calling for “representative government.” The process to reverse this law began with statehood in 1816. Learn more about the Indiana Territory here: Indiana Territoryin the Indiana Historian magazine March 1999. Copied from a July 29, 2018 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. The Territory was divided into five counties - St. Clair, Randolph, Knox, Clark and Dearborn. There had been six counties, but Wayne was cut off by the act establishing the Michigan Territory. See IHB: Indiana Territory from July 29, 2015 Facebook post by Indiana Bicentennial Commission and July 29, 2017 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

1805, September 3 - Rebeckah Johnston is born in Fort Wayne from July 26, 2017 post by Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook. Her brother Stephen was the first child born August 3, 1803 in Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory.

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1806 - A group of Quakers arrive in Fort Wayne to help Little Turtle and his son-in-law, William Wells, in a project to teach the Miami to become farmers. Wells, an American, had been Anthony Wayne's military scout and interpreter. The project did little to reverse damage to Miami people that resulted from liquor, disease and loss of their land. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1806, May 9 - Paris C. Dunning was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a young man he moved to Indiana where he studied law. He got involved in politics and became the only person to hold all four elected state offices under the 1816 Constitution: State Representative, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor. IHB: Indiana Governor Paris Chipman Dunning (1806 - 1884) From Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook

1806, September 23 - Lewis and Clark expedition returns to St. Louis from the Pacific Northwest.

1806, November 29 - Vincennes University was incorporated. The very first college in Indiana was founded in 1801 by William Henry Harrison. One of only two U.S. colleges founded by a President of the United States. William Henry Harrison was the 9th U.S. President. Copie from November 29, 2016 Facebook post by Indiana Bicentennial Commission.


In 1807 a Quaker mission to teach the Indians how to farm in Fort Wayne failed partially due to the interference of William Wells. In May, 1807 John Johnston made serious charges against him. Read the rest posted August 4, 2017 on Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook.

1807, February 27 - Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine.

1807, March 2 - Congress outlaws importation of slaves. Domestic slave trade endures for 58+ years. From March 2, 2016 Twitter tweet by The National Museum of American History. See The Business of Slavery.

1807, March 26 - Britain abolishes its slave trade.

1807, September - Elizabeth Johnson was born in blockhouse #1 Fort Wayne. Her sister, Rebeckah, died approximately 6 months before she was born. Her father John was US Factor to the Indians. Copied from a February 21, 2017 and again July 29, 2017 post by Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook.


1808 - John Johnston became assistant surgeon at Fort Wayne. Discussed August 7, 2017 on Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook.


1809 - John Johnston was appointed Indian Agent in Fort Wayne. William Wells was terminated as Indian Agent on January 28, 1809 and all govt. property was turned over to Johnston. He was now both Factor and Indian Agent. One duty of the agent was payment of annuities. He also had to appraise and report the doings of the British.  In 1809, JJ’s brother Stephen is appointed clerk at the Factory in Fort Wayne. From Johnston 101 continued August 10, 2017 on Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook.

1809, February 3 - Indiana Territory is divided into two governments forming Illinois Territory. See history of the Indiana Territory in the 16 page March 1999 The Indiana Historian from February 3, 2017 Indiana Bicentennial Commission Facebook post.

1809, February 12 - Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County). Lincoln's paternal grandfather and namesake, Abraham, had moved his family from Virginia to Kentucky, where he was ambushed and killed in an Indian raid in 1786, with his children, including Lincoln's father Thomas, looking on. It is a legal holiday in Indiana since Thomas Lincoln moved his family in 1816 because of land title disputes to then Perry County, now Spencer County, Indiana. See Abraham Lincoln on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1809, July 02 - Rosanna Johnston daughter of John Johnston Indian Agent and Factor is born in Fort Wayne. From Johnston 101 continued August 10, 2017 on Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook.

1809, September 30 - Indiana Gov. William Henry Harrison arrives in Fort Wayne to negotiate the final treaty with the Miami. His official reports say he refused to give liquor to the Indians, but other reports say he got the Indians drunk and tricked them into signing over nearly 3 million acres of Indian lands. Tecumseh gathers 1,000 warriors to protest Harrison's treachery. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne in the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison then signed a treaty with American Indians that opened up 3,000,000 acres for settlement. It was called the Treaty of Fort Wayne or "Ten O'Clock Line Treaty" because the border was determined by a shadow cast by the sun each September 30 at 10:00 a.m. Copied from September 30, 2017 and September 30, 2014 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. See INDIAN AFFAIRS: LAWS AND TREATIES Vol. II, Treaties Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904 produced by the Oklahoma State University Libraryand Journal of the Proceedings Indian Treaty Fort Wayne, September 30, 1809 at hathitrust.org or Google book.

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