1812,15 Aug,9:15AM,Fort Dearborn Massacre,Indians kill 98 Whites, South of Chicago River, Fort Dearborn Massacre, Illinois Territory, Illinois Territory


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1812,15 Aug,9:15AM,Fort Dearborn Massacre,Indians kill 98 Whites

Notes: The Potawatomi Indian Chief Blackbird with 500 Indians ambushes and slaughters 98 peacefully retreating Fort settlers........12 children, 15 women, 32 civilian men and 39 soldiers are butchered......1 1/2 miles south of the Chicago River on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan.

The bodies are scalped, extremeties amputated and the torso's left for the praire dogs, pure butchery. The Indian women are the primary butchers.

Capt Wells, the unit Commander, was so enraged at the butchery that he managed to escape from his capters. He took a horse and rode furiously into the Potowatomi Camp, where the Indians had hidden their own women and children. The barrage of bullets missed their mark but his horse was brought down and he was captured again. Two Indian Chiefs interceeded to save his life, but Pesotum, a Potawatomi Chief, stabbed Wills in the back and killed him. His heart was then cut out and distributed to the other warriors as a token of bravery. The next day, a half-breed, Wynadot named Billy Caldwell, gathered the remains of Wells' mutilated body and buried them in the sand. Wells street in Chicago now bears this brave frontiersman's name.

One Hundred and Forty Eight had left the Fort, 98 were slaughtered and 50 sold into Indian and British slavery. To their credit, the British immediately released their prisoners.


The site then was at South 18th Street and between Praire Ave. and the Lake. It is now 18th and Indiana Ave. Mrs. John H. Kinzie, widow of survivor John Kinzie, identified an "old cottonwood" tree, known as the "Massacre Tree" on 18th Street as the site of the massacre. That tree was cut down at the request of neighboring land owners after the 1871 "Great Chicago Fire."
Pieces of Fort Dearborn still exist today in museums.

Latitude: , Longitude: 18th St So & Indiana




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