Between 1790 and 1850, waves of Anglo-Americans, African Americans, and European immigrants flooded the Old Northwest (modern-day Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin). They brought with them a mosaic of Christian religious belief. Stephen T. Kissel draws on a wealth of primary sources to examine the foundational role that organized religion played in shaping the social, cultural, and civic infrastructure of the region. As he shows, believers from both traditional denominations and religious utopian societies found fertile ground for religious unity and fervor. Able to influence settlement from the earliest days, organized religion integrated faith into local townscapes and civic identity while facilitating many of the Old Northwest's earliest advances in literacy, charitable public outreach, formal education, and social reform. Kissel also unearths fascinating stories of how faith influenced the bonds, networks, and relationships that allowed isolated western settlements to grow and evolve a distinct regional identity.
Perceptive and broad in scope, America’s Religious Crossroads illuminates the integral relationship between communal and spiritual growth in early Midwestern history.
Bones on the Ground
Elizabeth O'Maley Indiana Historical Society Press, 2014 Library of Congress E81.O45 2014 | Dewey Decimal 970.00497
What happened to the Indians of the Old Northwest Territory? Conflicting portraits emerge and answers often depend on who’s telling the story, with each participant bending and stretching the truth to fit their own view of themselves and the world. This volume presents biographical sketches and first-person narratives of Native Americans, Indian traders, Colonial and American leaders, and events that shaped the Indians’ struggle to maintain possession of their tribal lands in the face of the widespread advancement of white settlement.
It covers events and people in the Old Northwest Territory from before the American Revolution through the removal of the Miami from Indiana in 1846. As America’s Indian policy was formed, and often enforced by the U.S. military, and white settlers pushed farther west, some Indians fought the white intruders, while others adopted their ways. In the end, most Indians were unable to hold their ground, and the evidence of their presence now lingers only in found relics and strange-sounding place names.
In this sweeping survey, Milo Milton Quaife traces the events leading from Chicago's emergence as a key outpost at the edge of the frontier to its establishment as the crossroads of American commerce.
Strategically located at the head of the Great Lakes on the Chicago portage, one of the main highways connecting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway with the Mississippi River, Chicago was equally valued by explorers, traders, settlers, and governments.
Quaife narrates the opening of trade and the course of European exploration, facilitated by the Chicago portage and subsequent construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. He profiles the personalities who shaped the early Chicago area, from the French explorers La Salle, Marquette, and Joliet to the ambitious Champlain, who set the course for decades to come by securing for New France the enmity of the Iroquois.
Quaife provides a full description of the Indian trade, which constituted the basis of commerce in the region for the entire period covered by the book, as well as a blow-by-blow account of how old rivalries and alliances between Indian tribes complicated the English and French plans for divvying up the New World. He also describes the conflicts between natives and whites with sympathy and detail on both sides, depicting Indian attacks on white settlements as rationally motivated acts aiming toward specific goals of strategy or revenge.
First published in 1913, Chicago and the Old Northwest, 1673-1835 is one of the earliest works of a man who became one of the premier scholars of his generation. In a new introduction, Chicago historian Perry R. Duis sketches Quaife's long and varied career, his influence on the history profession, and his crusade to prove that a black trader was the first permanent resident of Chicago.
The Federalist Frontier traces the development of Federalist policies and the Federalist Party in the first three states of the Northwest Territory—Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois—from the nation’s first years until the rise of the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s. Relying on government records, private correspondence, and newspapers, Kristopher Maulden argues that Federalists originated many of the policies and institutions that helped the young United States government take a leading role in the American people’s expansion and settlement westward across the Appalachians. It was primarily they who placed the U.S. Army at the fore of the white westward movement, created and executed the institutions to survey and sell public lands, and advocated for transportation projects to aid commerce and further migration into the region. Ultimately, the relationship between government and settlers evolved as citizens raised their expectations of what the federal government should provide, and the region embraced transportation infrastructure and innovation in public education.
Historians of early American politics will have a chance to read about Federalists in the Northwest, and they will see the early American state in action in fighting Indians, shaping settler understandings of space and social advancement, and influencing political ideals among the citizens. For historians of the early American West, Maulden’s work demonstrates that the origins of state-led expansion reach much further back in time than generally understood.
A center of the lucrative fur trade throughout the colonial period, the Great Lakes region was an important site of cultural as well as economic exchange between native and European peoples. In this well-researched study, Susan Sleeper-Smith focuses on an often overlooked aspect of these interactions—the role played by Indian women who married French traders.Drawing on a broad range of primary and secondary sources, she shows how these women used a variety of means to negotiate a middle ground between two disparate cultures. Many were converts to Catholicism who constructed elaborate mixed-blood kinship networks that paralleled those of native society, thus facilitating the integration of Indian and French values. By the mid-eighteenth century, native women had extended these kin linkages to fur trade communities throughout the Great Lakes, not only enhancing access to the region's highly prized pelts but also ensuring safe transport for other goods. Indian Women and French Men depicts the encounter of Old World and New as an extended process of indigenous adaptation and change rather than one of conflict and inevitable demise. By serving as brokers between those two worlds, Indian women who married French men helped connect the Great Lakes to a larger, expanding transatlantic economy while securing the survival of their own native culture. As such, Sleeper-Smith points out, their experiences illuminate those of other traditional cultures forced to adapt to market-motivated Europeans.
John Askin, a Scots-Irish migrant to North America, built his fur trade between the years 1758 and 1781 in the Great Lakes region of North America. His experience serves as a vista from which to view important aspects of the British Empire in North America. The close interrelationship between trade and empire enabled Askin’s economic triumphs but also made him vulnerable to the consequences of imperial conflicts and mismanagement. The ephemeral, contested nature of British authority during the 1760s and 1770s created openings for men like Askin to develop a trade of smuggling liquor or to challenge the Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly over the fur trade, and allowed them to boast in front of British officers of having the “Key of Canada” in their pockets. How British officials responded to and even sanctioned such activities demonstrates the vital importance of trade and empire working in concert. Askin’s life’s work speaks to the collusive nature of the British Empire—its vital need for the North American merchants, officials, and Indigenous communities to establish effective accommodating relationships, transgress boundaries (real or imagined), and reject certain regulations in order to achieve the empire’s goals.
Adoption of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 ended a long and sometimes acrimonious debate over the question of how to organize and govern the western territories of the United States. Many eastern leaders viewed the Northwest Territory as a colonial possession, while freedom-loving settlers demanded local self- government. These essays address the ambiguities of the Ordinance, balance of power politics in North America, missionary activity in the territory, slavery, and higher education in the Old Northwest.
In 1987 Franklin College of Indiana hosted an observance of the bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance. Professional and amateur historians, folklorists, scholars in the arts, teachers, and students gathered to examine the provisions of that historic document and the governmental structure it created for the frontier lands north of the Ohio River. Pathways to the Old Northwest: An Observance of the Bicentennial of the Northwest Ordinance presents six of the lectures delivered at the conference. These lectures represent current knowledge about the early history of the Ohio River-Great Lakes area, the circumstances surrounding passage of the Ordinance, the beginnings of government and society, and the ethnic diversity of the region's people.
One journalist curious about life in the taverns along the stagecoach lines in Wisconsin and northern Illinois from the early 1800s until the 1880s was Harry Ellsworth Cole. While he could not sample strong ales at all of the taverns he wrote about, Cole did study newspaper accounts, wrote hundreds of letters to families of tavern owners, read widely in regional history, and traveled extensively throughout the territory. The result, according to Brunet, is a "nostalgic, sometimes romantic, well-written, and easily digested social history."
At Cole’s death, historian Louise Phelps Kellogg edited his manuscript, which in this case involved turning his notes and illustrations into a book and publishing it with the Arthur H. Clark Company in 1930.
This engaging narrative history deftly illustrates the War of 1812 as it played out in the Old Northwest — Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and bordering parts of Canada. From the stirrings of conflict in the area beginning as early as the 1760s, through the Battle of Tippecanoe, and to Michigan Territory’s role as a focal point in prewar preparation, the book examines the lead-up to the war before delving into key battles in the region. In this accessible text, Gilpin explores key figures, dates, and wartime developments, shedding considerable light on the strategic and logistical issues raised by the region’s unique geography, culture, economy, and political temperament. Battles covered include the Surrender of Detroit, the Siege of Fort Meigs, and the battles of River Raisin, Lake Erie, the Thames, and Mackinac Island.
With the State of Kentucky in the Lead, the Battle to Secure the American Frontier for Westward Expansion
The spring of 1812 found the young American republic on edge. The British Navy was impressing American seamen with impunity at an alarming rate while vicious attacks on frontier settlements by American Indians armed with British weapons had left a trail of fear and outrage. As calls for a military response increased, Kentucky, the first state west of the Appalachians, urged that only by defeating the British could the nation achieve security. The very thought conjured up embellished memories of the American Revolution, and once war was declared, many soldiers believed that the “Spirit of 76” would lead them to victory. But the conflict quickly transformed from a patriotic parade to a desperate attempt to survive against a major military power. While the War of 1812 is known mostly for later events, including the burning of Washington and the siege of Fort McHenry, much of the first two years of the war was fought in the west, with the British Army and their Indian allies nearly overrunning the Old Northwest and threatening the borders of the original colonies.
In The War of 1812 in the West: From Fort Detroit to New Orleans, David Kirkpatrick chronicles the near catastrophic loss of the Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois Territories, the bitter fight against both Tecumseh’s Confederation and the Creek Nation, and the slow recovery and ultimate victory of American forces—a large portion of which was supplied by Kentucky—from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Battles such as River Raisin, Thames River, Fort Meigs, and New Orleans are placed in context to show how they secured America’s frontier and opened territory to the west to new settlement following the war.