The New Purchase
Article by Historian, Carl Leiter
THE NEW PURCHASE. -- That part of Indiana now known as Howard County was once a part of the wilderness which made up the "New Purchase." William Henry Harrison, first territorial governor of Indiana, had by 1809 arranged a series of Indian treaties opening southern Indiana to settlement. Due to hostile Indians, much of this area was abandoned at the time of the War of 1812, and it was not until 1818 that the Indians granted any considerable cession within the state.
In the fall of 1818 at St. Marys, Ohio, several tribes including the Delawares, Wea, Kickapoos, Miamis and Potawatomis, gave up their claim to a very large area of central Indiana. Called the "New Purchase," this tract consisted of the entire central portion of Indiana between the old 1809 Indian Line and the Wabash River.
From this area the Miami Indians reserved a large tract as their homeland. This reservation, known as the "Big Miami Reserve," included all the lands now a part of Howard County, Indiana. This tribal reservation's northern boundary was the Wabash River between the mouth of the Salamonie River at Lagro, and the mouth of the Eel River at what is now Logansport, a distance of 34.54 miles. Federal surveyors struck lines due south from those two points the same distance, 34.54 miles, and the southern boundary was a line connecting the southern ends of those two lines, enclosing the Big Miami Reserve. This tract contained nearly 760,000 acres of wilderness, and the Miami Indians called the tract "the Beds we lie in," and claimed the entire area as their "homeland."
Local historian Carl Leiter writes about the early days of Indiana and Howard County:
Indian Treaty of 1826
Carl Leiter's Collection
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