BATTLE GROUND, Indiana – The Battle of Tippecanoe was a long time ago – 1811, in fact – yet it continues to have an impact today.
From a presidential election and a Methodist campground to a tourist attraction, the site began as Prophet's Town, founded in 1808 by Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, the Prophet, Shawnee brothers. Through their efforts, it became the capital of a Native American confederacy.
Concerned about the rising power of the brothers, Gen. William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory, sent 1,000 troops to destroy the town when Tecumseh was away. According to the Tippecanoe website, the ultimate result was that the Prophet attacked before an arranged meeting and was defeated. His people abandoned their town and their supplies, leaving it for Harrison to burn.
Harrison went on to become a U.S. president. The battlefield was remembered in his slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.," and it was the site of an 1840 political rally.
In 1857, the Northwest Indiana Conference of the Methodist Church purchased property around the battlefield and started a campground for tourists, which is no longer open.
The battlefield is a National Historic Landmark and has a monument, which was erected in 1908. It's operated by the Tippecanoe County Park Board. The museum there is run by the Tippecanoe County Historical Society.
Visitors can walk around the battleground and visit the museum. The site includes hiking, a nature center, gift shop, picnic area and a collection of artifacts.
Of particular note is a display of 51 rifles and long guns that were made in the early 1800s on up through the start of World War ll. Several pieces were created in that area by Bixler & Iddings and Thomas Underwood.
To get a flavor of the era of the battlefield, visitors can attend the 48th annual Feast of Hunter's Moon Oct. 3-4. Typically, the feast involves re-enactors, demonstrations, food, music, and military maneuvers. It's at the site of Fort Quiatenon, along the Wabash River, 4 miles southwest of West Lafayette, Indiana. It's a good time to see history repeat itself.
IF YOU GO
What: Tippecanoe Battlefield
Where: 200 Battle Ground Ave., Battle Ground, Indiana
Hours: Interpretative center open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesdays
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, AAA and active military, and $2 for children
Information: tippecanoehistory.org/battlefield.htm or call the Tippecanoe County Historical Society at 765-476-8411 or the site at 765-567-2147.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM
Tecumseh: Died Oct. 5, 1813, age 45, during the Battle of the Thames, War of 1812, Ontario, Canada
The Prophet: Died in 1836 near Kansas City, Kansas
President William Henry Harrison: Died in office April 4, 1841; served 30 days as president
Information from Wikapedia and Tippecanoe Battlefield website