Home > County > Timelines > 1820-1829 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

1820-1829 Timeline of Allen County, Indiana

1821 - 1822 - 1823 - 1824 - 1825 - 1826 - 1827 - 1828 - 1829


Indiana population was 147,178.

The Rev. Isaac and Mrs. McCoy are sent by the Baptists, arriving at Fort Wayne, the first Protestant missionaries to the Native Americans and founders of the first school here. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper

The town's first fraternal society, Wayne Lodge No. 25, Free and Accepted Masons, is organized. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

John T. Barr, of Baltimore, and John McCorkle, of Piqua, Ohio, buy federal land they will later plat as the original part of Fort Wayne. It stretches from what now is Barr Street to Calhoun Street and from Water (now Superior Street) to Wayne Street. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1820 The state of Indiana organizes Allen County. It includes all of what is now Wells, Adams, DeKalb and Steuben counties and parts of Noble, LaGrange, Huntington and Whitley counties. 

The city's first taverns open on opposite corners at Barr and Columbia streets: Alexander Ewing's Washington Hall and William Suttenfield's tavern. The first meetings of the county commissioners and circuit courts are in those taverns. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1820, January 22 - the Indiana legislature approves an act for locating and laying out the first system of state highways. From Hoosier History Highlights.

1820, March 15 - Maine, The Pine Tree State, becomes the 23rd state when it secedes from Massachusetts as part of the Missouri Compromise, which geographically limited the spread of slavery and enabled the admission to statehood of Missouri the following year, keeping a balance between slave and free states.

1820, May 12

On May 12, 1820, Polly Strong, an enslaved African American woman, appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court in Corydon after the Knox County Circuit Court ruled that she was not free, despite the prohibition of slavery and involuntary servitude by the 1816 Indiana Constitution.

Strong was enslaved at birth circa 1796 in the Northwest Territory. When she was ten, Vincennes innkeeper Hyacinthe Lasselle purchased her. In 1820, Strong and her attorney Amory Kinney unsuccessfully pursued her freedom in the Knox County Circuit Court and appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled in State v. Lasselle on July 22, 1820, that “slavery can have no existence” in Indiana.

The decision liberated Strong, and the court ordered Lasselle to pay the fees and expenses of the trial. This decision did not free other enslaved persons in Indiana, but it did establish precedent for future cases wherein enslaved people sought their freedom.

Learn more about this case with our Indiana state historical marker: https://bit.ly/3vG6DgW

1820, May 29 - first school in Allen County opened.

May 29, 2023 post by The History Center on Facebook:

Community leaders have long been concerned with the education of the children of Allen County. Following the importuning of Miami Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville, Reverend Isaac McCoy, Baptist minister and missionary, arrived with his family in the spring of 1820 with the purpose of beginning a school. Taking up residence in the recently decommissioned fort, Reverend McCoy opened Fort Wayne’s first school, exactly 203 years ago today, on May 29, 1820. Raised in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, McCoy became consumed with improving the condition of the Native Americans. When the school opened in 1820, the student population was comprised of ten English, eight Native Americans, six French, and one African-American. With the hiring of a permanent teacher, the number of students reached its peak of fifty. Though it was only in existence for two years, the McCoy School forever changed the educational landscape of Fort Wayne. Today we commemorate Fort Wayne’s first school and schoolteacher. #sociallyhistory

1820, June 7 - Commissioners of the Indiana Legislature selected a small village in dense woods by the east bank of the White River as the site of the future state capital. From June 7, 2018 Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebookreferencing Search for a new capital in the March 1996 The Indiana Historian magazine. See also IHB: Indianapolis, the Capital, Part 2 on IN.gov.

1820, July 22 - Indiana Supreme Court frees Polly Strong a slave in the custody of Hyacinthe Lasselle. See sign dedication Twitter post April 13, 2016 by Indiana Historical Bureau. See photo of records posted April 21, 2016 in Tweet posted by Indiana Archives and Records Administration. See Facebook photos of her historical marker posted April 22, 2016 on Indiana Historical Bureau. POLLY STRONG SLAVERY CASE by Indiana Historical Bureauon IN.gov.


From Journal of a tour to Fort Wayne and the adjacent country, in the year 1821, by the author.
Lots of references to Fort Wayne throughout this volume 3 Indiana as Seen by Early Travelers of the 13 volume Indiana historical collections.

1821 - a lawsuit ended indentured servitude in Indiana when a freed slave Mary Bateman Clark forced into indentured servitude sued for her freedom. Retold in a 2013 documentary, Mary Bateman Clark: A Woman of Colour and Courage. Bateman Clark was born into slavery in about the year 1800. Benjamin Harrison, a relative of William Henry Harrison, the first governor of the Indiana Territory and the ninth president of the United States, purchased Bateman Clark in Kentucky in 1814. When Harrison brought her to Vincennes the following year, Bateman Clark was emancipated and immediately indentured for 30 years. During that time, slaveholders often emancipated and then indentured slaves in order to get around territorial laws banning slavery, including the state of Indiana's Constitution, which specifically stated there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state. ... Bateman Clark appealed her case to the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled her service was involuntary and violated the state's 1816 Constitution. ... The documentary, which was produced by the Bloomington-based nonprofit Agency for Instructional Technology, will premiere on WTIU Feb. 21 [2013] at 10 p.m. as part of the PBS affiliate's Black History Month programming. Black woman's legal battle for freedom helped end slavery by another name in Indiana by Mark Keierleber was published February 16, 2013 in The Herald-Times. A similar story was posted December 10, 2017 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebookit stated On December 10, 1802, William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition (and brother of George Rogers Clark), filed a document that released Ben McGee from enslavement - technically. 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 this practice in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History Fall 2011, Volume 23, Number 4.

1821, July 17 - Spain cedes Florida to the United States.

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Nathan Doctor's great-grandparents bought eleven hundred acres of timberland along the Indiana-Ohio line to live among the Indians by cutting timber in the swampland.

1822, January 28 - George Smith and Nathaniel Bolton published the inaugural issue of the "Indianapolis Gazette", the first newspaper in Indianapolis, Indiana. For the next year, the Gazette served as one of the few means of state, national, and international news for the central Indiana community. Learn more about the history of "Indianapolis Gazette" in Indianapolis's First Newspaper by Ray E. Boomhower on his blog. Copied from January 28, 2016 post by Indiana Bicentennial Commission on Facebook. Allen County was not a county until 1824.


You can zoom into the upper right northeast area of the map to see Fort Wayne on the three rivers St. Joseph, St. Marys, and Maumee with Spy Run and the Portage connecting with the Wabash River in this map: Indiana. Lucas, Fielding Jr. 1823. Full Title: Indiana. Drawn & Published by F. Lucas Jr. Baltimore. Author: Lucas, Fielding Jr. Date: 1823. This historical cartographic image is part of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, www.davidrumsey.com, a large collection of online antique, rare, old, and historical maps, atlases, globes, charts, and other cartographic items. Read more about the Collection. Or you can view the entire David Rumsey Map Collection in Insight.

1823, February 23 -

February 23, 2023 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

#OTD in 1823, lawyer and future Indiana Senator Calvin Fletcher wrote to his brother about the striking political differences between Hoosiers and New Englanders. (Fletcher had only recently arrived in Indianapolis from the East Coast via Ohio). Fletcher wrote: “The people here . . . are bold & independent in their sentiments as to public men or measures. The most ignorant man here knows who governs him & administers justice.” In other words, the average Hoosier was invested and active in local politics. In his book Hoosiers, historian James Madison explains that during the early years of statehood, non-partisan Indiana politicians worked to appeal to individual voters at log rollings, militia gatherings, and camp meetings. Generally, before the late-1820s, party politics was frowned upon in the state, and politicians who appealed to the people and presented themselves as working for the common good (as opposed to a party or interest) were rewarded with votes. By the late 1820s, however, Hoosiers, like the rest of the nation, began to shift their interest to national elections and their loyalties to political parties. Learn more: INDIANA, The Early Years Politics Broadsides

The photograph of Fletcher below is courtesy of IUPUI and Indiana Memory. 

1823, October 22 - The first sale of land at Fort Wayne took place on 22 October 1823. Receipt No. 1 went to William Willson, of Middletown, Ohio, for 93.30 acres just east of Fort Wayne at the bend of the Maumee River. After the Fort Wayne Land Office closed on 21 February 1852, its records were transferred to the State Auditor and from there to the Indiana State Archives. Copied from Fort Wayne Land Office Entries, 1823-1852 at the Indiana Archives and Records Administration. A February 27, 2020 discussion on this topic was on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group only visible to existing members on Facebookregarding information from the Pictorial History book below which credits different first land buyers in the original Fort Wayne.

1823, December 17 - Allen County was organized by European Americans on December 17, 1823, from Delaware and Randolph counties; and formed April 1, 1824. The county is named for Colonel John Allen, an attorney and Kentucky state senator who was killed in the War of 1812. Fort Wayne, founded at the confluences of the MaumeeSt. Joseph, and St. Marys rivers, was chosen as the county seat in May 1824. Copied from Allen County, Indiana on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Composite: United States with the contiguous British & Spanish Possessions. John Melish 1823 map at David Rumsey Historical Map Collection showing Indiana was near the Western Frontier with Illinois a state admitted in 1818 to the west of Indiana then Missouri a state admitted in 1821 and the Missouri Territory.

1823, December 23 - the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 under For the Sentinel ACCOUNT OF A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS in the 4th column of The Troy sentinel., December 23, 1823, Page 3, Image 3 seen online at the NYS Historic Newspapers. It is discussed on the MercyCoz.org website. It is generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. read more on A Visit from St. Nicholas on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Exhibit: Revisiting "A Visit from St. Nicholas" at the New York State Library. See 1823 Melish map of the United States in the Dave Rumsey Map Collection. See Clement Moore's 1844 Poem anthology below:

A Visit from St. Nicholas was printed on page 124 of the book Poems by Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863, Publication date 1844 on Archive.org with over 150 similar titles of this poem. A Visit from St. Nicholas posted December 23, 2012 by Accessible Archives on Facebook states: The poem, arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American, was first published anonymously in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823, and was reprinted frequently thereafter with no name attached. Moore later acknowledged authorship and the poem was included in an 1844 anthology of his works at the insistence of his children, for whom he wrote it. These include the (much later) Arthur Rackham illustrations.


Methodist preacher the Rev. James Holman arrives in Fort Wayne, and by 1830 a Methodist mission post is established here. By 1840 a church had been built at Harrison and Berry streets. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1824 - FRIDAY FACT: Indiana passed a strict law in 1824 to try and stop the problem of dueling. If you agreed to a duel, the punishment was a $2,000 fine and a 1-3 year sentence at the state prison. If you participated in a duel, it was a $5,000 fine and a 1 year sentence (if you killed your opponent, you were sentenced to death by hanging). If you had any knowledge of a duel, it was a $500 fine. Source: Acts of 1824, Chapter 29, as appears in "The revised laws of Indiana, adopted and enacted by the General Assembly at their eighth session" (Corydon: Carpenter and Douglass, 1824). From June 21, 2013 post by Indiana Genealogical Society on Facebook.

1824 - James Barnett, in 1824, erected the first brick building in Fort Wayne, on the north side of Columbia Street, east of Clinton.

August 12, 2018 post by The Landing Fort Wayne on Facebook stated:

Fort Wayne's first brick building was on Columbia Street.

This newspaper clipping reads:

"James Barnett, in 1824, erected the first brick building in Fort Wayne, on the north side of Columbia Street, east of Clinton. The brick was made by Benjamin Archer. Used as a residence for many years, the building at the last served as the location of Schwieter's bakery. It was torn down in 1909."

— thinking about Fort Wayne's history. 

Similar photos posted June 10, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Archived group only visible to existing members on Facebook.

1824 - British naturalist William Buckland described Megalosaurus, now regarded as the first scientifically named dinosaur. In 1842 British anatomist Richard Owen first coined the word “dinosaur.” And in 1806, Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark expedition through the Louisiana Purchase, noticed a large bone in a cliff near what is now Billings, Montana. He thought the bone belonged to an enormous fish, but, based upon his notes and description, paleontologists are confident that Lewis had actually spotted a dinosaur rib in Montana’s fossil-rich Hell Creek Formation. Read more from A Brief History of Hidden Dinosaurs published July 30, 2012 on Smithsonian.com.

1824, January - the Indiana legislature introduced a tax on certain personal items, meaning records of names for researchers should exist. Posted October 24, 2014 as a Friday Fact by Indiana Genealogical Society on Facebook.

1824, February - three white men were the first white men hung for killing 9 Indians in Pendleton County. See The Fall Creek Tragedy by Helen Thurman published in Volume 7, Issue 3, September 1931 Indiana Magazine of History. See historical sign posted March 22, 2016 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Twitter.

Indiana State Library Digital Collections photo
Indiana State Library Digital Collections photo

1824, March 3 - Trade license, Joseph Holman and John Smith, 1824-03-03 is a printed document with details handwritten in giving Holeman and Smith a license to trade with the indians at Fort Wayne for one year. William Suttenfield's bond is $900. Merchants; Indian traders; Tipton, John, 1786-1839; Indian agents--Indiana; Fort Wayne (Ind.); Licenses; Indians of North America. John Tipton papers, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State library at the Indiana State Library Digital Collections.

1824, March 22

March 22, 2021 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

On March 22, 1824, white men murdered nine Seneca, including three women and four children, at their winter camp on a stream near Pendleton. To allay tension between settlers and American Indians, U.S. Indian Agent John Johnston provided supplies to families of the victims and built a log jail to secure the accused.

Following jury trials, three perpetrators were hanged in 1825. According to historian David Thomas Murphy, the incident represented the first time white men were "under American law, sentenced to death and executed for the murder of Native Americans."

Learn more with our Indiana state historical marker: Indians Murdered 1824









1824, April 1 - Allen County, Indiana was officially founded! Allen County is named for Colonel John Allen, a politician and army officer who was killed in the War of 1812.

1824, April 10 - United States mail delivery by stagecoach was established between Vincennes, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. From April 10, 2013 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.

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1825, January 11 - a January 11, 2023 post with photo by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook states: On January 12,1825, James Hudson was one of three white perpetrators hanged for murdering nine Seneca men, women and children at an encampment located along a stream near present-day Pendleton. In 1818, the U.S. took Indigenous land in central Indiana by treaty. Some native villages and camps remained in the area as white settlers rushed to buy land. In the spring of 1824, Hudson and other white men endeavored to find Andrew Sawyer’s missing horses. They located horse tracks leading to the Seneca encampment, where they ultimately murdered its residents. All but one of the culprits were captured and placed under the guard of Madison County Sheriff Samuel Cory. To allay the fears of settlers and Indigenous people, U.S. Indian Agent John Johnston used federal funds to provide supplies to families of the victims and to build a log jail near here to incarcerate the accused. Following jury trials, Hudson was hanged in January 1825 and perpetrators John Bridge Sr. and Andrew Sawyer were hanged in the Spring. Governor James Ray pardoned John Bridge Jr. due to his age. This represented a rare case in which Indigenous people obtained some justice from U.S. law during the period. Learn more about the tragedy with our state historical marker: Indians Murdered 1824.

1825, February 11 - by an act approved by the Indiana Assembly, the Indiana State Library was established, an appropriation made, and the secretary of state designated as librarian. See History of the Library at the Indiana State Library.

February 11, 2023 post by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook:

#OTD in 1825, the Indiana General Assembly approved an act that established the Indiana State Library to serve state officials and legislators in Indianapolis. An 1895 law placed the State Board of Education in charge of library management and the library experienced a “large increase in material, service, and usefulness, as it also witnessed the beginning of the spread of popular libraries throughout the state." The General Assembly approved an act in 1925 that merged the Indiana Historical Bureau , State Library, and Legislative Bureau into the Indiana Library and Historical Department. In 1929, legislators authorized raising funds for a new building, to be located on the corner of Senate Avenue and Ohio Street. The building opened in 1934. According to the library’s website, "Through its history, the Indiana State Library has developed strong collections in the fields of Indiana history and culture, Indiana state government and United States government publications, Indiana newspapers, genealogy and family history resources on Indiana and the eastern United States."

Image: Indiana State Library

1825, December 10 - the Indiana capital is officially moved to the new city of Indianapolis created to be the capital city of Indiana. See Indianapolis, the capital in the March 1996 Indiana Historian.


1826 - Treaty of the Wabash - between the United States and the Indians gave certain lands to the Indians along the Saint Joseph River. The present-day Riverbend golf course with the Klinger Cemetery is on that land. 

1826, February 24 - the earliest use of the word "Hoosier" was penned in a letter from James Curtis of Missouri to his uncle Joseph Beeler in Indianapolis. See The Word Hoosier by Jeffrey Graf, Reference Services Department, Herman B Wells Library, Indiana University - Bloomington.

1826, July 4 - Presidents John Adams, our second president age 90, and Thomas Jefferson, our third president age 83, both died this day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Two of three presidents to die on the 4th of July. The other was President James Monroe July 4, 1831.

1826, October 23 - Miami Indians sign Mississinewa Treaty, ceding land in northern and central Indiana providing the right of way for construction of the Wabash & Erie Canal. Copied October 23, 2013 from Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook.


Full Title: Indiana. Young & Delleker Sc. Published by A. Finley, Philada. (to accompany) A New General Atlas Comprising a Complete Set of Maps, representing the Grand Divisions Of The Globe ... Philadelphia: Published by Anthony Finley. 1827. There are several other years for this collection. This historical cartographic image is part of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, www.davidrumsey.com, a large collection of online antique, rare, old, and historical maps, atlases, globes, charts, and other cartographic items. Read more about the Collection. Archive.org has over 780 Finley, Anthony titles.

An Indiana map dated 1821 and a Map of Indiana dated 1830 shows Allen County, Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties in the Maps in the Indiana Historical Society Collections at Indiana Historical Society.

1827: Sam Hanna and James Barnett open the town's first grist mill, ending the days when grain and flour had to be transported back and forth to the nearest mills in Ohio. The canal route is surveyed while debate about building the canal continued. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1827, April 22 - the first successful Caesarian section in the country was performed in Newtown, Ohio by Dr. John Lambert Richmond. Lambert was a laborer, minister and janitor who earned his medical diploma in 1822. See John Lambert Richmond monument on The Ohio Guide Collection. Posted April 22, 2016 on Facebook by Ohio History Connection.

1827, May 6 - baseball legend Babe Ruth and his New York Yankees played an exhibition game in Fort Wayne against the city's Lifers at League Park (now Headwaters Park). The teams played the regulation nine innings. The Lifers held the Yankees to a 3–3 tie in the 10th, with two outs and a runner on first when “The Sultan of Swat" came to the plate. He took two strikes and then in classic style belted the next pitch over the center field wall, landing on the roof of one of the city utility barns across Clinton Street. The hit enabled the Yankees to defeat the Lifers 5-3. Posted May 6, 2019 by Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. Learn more in Babe Ruth: A Big Hit in Fort Wayne by Tom Castaldi, local historianposted August 24, 2016 on the Indiana Historical Bureaublog.


1828, May 1 - John Quincy Adams 6th President of the United States: 1825 ‐ 1829. Special Message May 01, 1828 To the Senate of the United States: In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 17th ultimo, relating to the removal of the Indian agency from Fort Wayne, in the State of Indiana, I transmit a report from the Secretary of War, with the documents and information requested by the resolution. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. Copied from The American Presidency Project.


1829: The village of Fort Wayne is incorporated after a Sept. 7 vote in favor of the proposal. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

1829, May 2 - construction on the National Road, now U.S. Highway 40, entered Indiana at the eastern edge with Ohio. Created in 1806 by an act of Congress to serve as the first Federally funded highway construction project, completion through the state took 5 years until 1834. See May 2, 2017 post on Indiana Bicentennial Commission on Facebookon Facebook and IndianaNationalRoad.org.

1829, October 10 - a group of whites and blacks pass through town, said to be the first passage through the Fort Wayne leg of the Underground Railroad. From Millennium milestones in Fort Waynefrom the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

The Presbyterians send the Rev. Charles E. Fuhrman to Fort Wayne to preach, leading to the organization of First Presbyterian Church in 1831. From Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.

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