Many, many years ago, the territory that now comprises Warrick County, was only a dense forest, and the only inhabitants were Indian tribes and wild animals. Much of the land, which is now drifted over with peaceful, happy families, was then but a thicket of trees, a little dirt path here and there, beaten down by wild animals winding their way to a small stream somewhere. In other words, Warrick County was a wilderness.

For a time in this early history, the red man reigned supreme. Scattered along the banks of the Ohio River and in the interior, were Indian villages going on for many miles. According to research, there were Indians hunting wild game right on the very streets that now make up the city of Boonville.

These Indians were principally Shawnees. It was the abundance of game in this area that was the big attraction. It is said that, near the mouth of Cypress Creek, there were 100 wigwams, but shortly after the settlement of the white man began, most of them disappeared. There is evidence, however, of Indians living in the Folsomville area, and around what is now Lynnville and certainly, in parts of Newburgh, where the access to the river was the big attraction. It is said that, while most of the Indians that inhabited these sections of Warrick County were generally peaceable, there were some minor disturbances that occurred, and at least one murder.

The leader of the Shawnee Indians, whose name was Tecumseh, was known as a man with great intelligence, one who fought for the rights of his people and the land they wished to live on. According to recorded history, he was a strong and eloquent orator, and he was also ambitious and willing to take a risk for a worthy cause.

Along with his brother, “the prophet,� he founded an Indian village that became known as Prophetstown, that was located north of the present-day Lafayette, Indiana. At one point, however, there is much evidence that Chief Tecumseh and his band of Indians came and settled in Warrick County.

Both the Tecumseh Mine and the Tecumseh Jr. & Sr. School in Lynnville are named in his honor, as is Tecumseh Drive in Newburgh. Both during his time and after his death, Chief Tecumseh has been named as one of the primary leaders of a large multi-tribe in the early years of the 19th century.

(1) comment

John Wells

At the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland in front of the midshipmen barracks Bancroft Hall, there's a bonze statue of Tecumseh that's held dear to all mids. Before each football game with Army, the Military Academy at West Point, NY, he's painted in outlandish colors for good luck. Also for good luck on exams, midshipmen toss pennies at Tecumseh, their "god of 2.5" (passing grade in years gone by). Ironically, the statue isn't Tecumseh at all, but a replica of the figurehead of Chief Tamarand on the bowsprit of the USS Delaware, which was sunk during the Civil War. Why it was renamed Tecumseh is lost in history; perhaps it just sounds better. Posted by John Wells, BHS Class of 1949 and USNA Class of 1954.

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