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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Wayne in Allen County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

William Wells

 
 
William Wells Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 20, 2009
1. William Wells Marker
Inscription. A tract of 320 acres of land extending west of the St. Joseph River (the modern Bloomingdale and Spy Run neighborhoods) was set aside by an act of Congress in 1808 for the Indian agent William Wells in recognition of his many services to the U.S. government. This act established Well’s right to occupy and develop the land with an option to buy at $1.25 per acre (rather than having to bid for the land, as was usually the case) when the area was opened for sales by the U.S. Land Office. Wells created on these lands a farm that was worked by 12 African-Americans, who were held as slaves through life-time indentures, contrary to the prohibition against slavery declared in the Northwest Ordinance.

William Wells had been captured as a sixteen-year-old boy by Miami warriors raiding Kentucky. He was adopted by Chief Graviahatte (the Porcupine), taught Indian ways, and because of his red hair, given the name Apekonit (Wild Carrot). Wells married Manwangopath (Sweet Breeze), the daughter of war chief Little Turtle, and participated in the early battles led by his father-in-law against the United States forces.

In 1794, Wells changed sides and served Gen. Anthony Wayne as his “chief of spies,” or head scout, in the general’s campaign against Indian resistance, which reached a climax on August 20 at the Battle of
William Wells Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 20, 2009
2. William Wells Marker
View of historical marker at the west end of the Tennessee Avenue Bridge over the St. Joseph River.
Fallen timbers.

Wells had a stormy career as Indian agent and interpreter in the many negotiations between the Indians and the government; between 1796 and 1809 he accompanied Chief Little Turtle on his four trips to the nation’s capital.

Wells was killed by Potawatomi Indians in battle near Fort Dearborn (Chicago) in 1812 at the outbreak of the War of 1812. He had left Fort Wayne to try to lead the Fort Dearborn occupants, which included his niece, to safety. After he was killed, the Potawatomi ate his heart in the warriors’ belief that they would gain Well’s renowned courage.
 
Location. 41° 5.362′ N, 85° 7.795′ W. Marker is in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in Allen County. Marker is at the intersection of Tennessee Avenue and Griswold Drive, on the right when traveling west on Tennessee Avenue. Touch for map. This historical marker is located at the west end of the Tennessee Avenue Bridge over the St. Joseph River, in a residential neighborhood, about 0.4 miles north of the location where the St. Mary and St. Joseph Rivers come together to form the Maumee River. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Wayne IN 46805, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Meshekinnoquah (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chief Little Turtle (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of Last French Fort (approx. ¼ mile away); The Battle of Kekionga (approx. half a mile away); The Battle of Harmar's Ford (approx. half a mile away); Home of Philo T. Farnsworth (approx. half a mile away); Duck Creek: Early Industry and Business Development (approx. half a mile away); Earliest Railroad (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Wayne.
 
Categories. Native AmericansNotable PersonsWar of 1812Wars, US Indian
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 24, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,532 times since then and 126 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 24, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.
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