History records the first white man to enter Indiana was Hernando de Soto on June 8, 1541 when he crossed the "Great River" (Ohio River) near Evansville. He marched up the east bank of the Wabash River to secure what would prove to be a giant Indian village complex, the town of Casqui (Vincennes). "There the Christians placed the cross they carried on a mound, drove in the Cross and with much devotion, knelt to kiss the foot of the cross." Reportedly, "the Indians did as they saw us do."
In 1746, five black slaves belonging to French settlers in Vincennes are the first documented living in what is now Indiana. The underground railroad was organized in 1800, but was mostly used beginning 20 years before the Civil War. Cincinnati, Lawrenceburg, Madison, New Albany, Leavenworth and Evansville were the points where the fleeing slaves could cross the Ohio with some hope of finding friends, who would help them northward. These friends would convey them from one "station" to another, usually by night; sometimes concealed beneath what appeared to be a wagon load of produce on its way to market. The people most zealous in this risky humanitarian effort were the Quakers and the most famous of the various routes was the one that traversed the chief Quaker settlements in the eastern part of Indiana. Wayne Co. was the most conspicuous anti-slavery center and Newport (now Fountain City), about nine miles north of Richmond was its hub.
Fourteen Native American tribes are known to have made treaties regarding Indiana. They are: Eel River, Wyandot, Piankashaw, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Delaware, Potowatami, Miami, Wea, Seneca, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa and Munsees. The U.S. Government ordered the Potowatami, along with other tribes, removed from the state. This is historically called the "Trail of Death" and began in Plymouth, IN on September 4, 1838. There were 859 natives which included some from Michigan. They were marched on foot to Kansas and most died on the way. Our research reports 108 treaties made with the various tribes and all were broken by our government.
Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, his brother, known as the "Prophet," and Wm. Henry Harrison are three key figures in our state's history. The Shawnee emblems still on their head-dresses are the black panther for Tecumseh and a white swan for Wm. Henry Harrison with a staff between which stands for brotherhood and respect for one another. After the Battle of Tippecanoe, the "Prophet" released a curse on Wm. Henry Harrison and all "Great White Chiefs" (presidents) of our nation. This is historically known as the Zero Year Curse. It is recorded that since that time until President Ronald Reagan, every president who took office in a zero year died in office. Gary Bergel and Derrick Prince along with approximately 200 men met in Michigan and broke the curse before President Reagan took office. Vincennes was the territorial capital of the Indiana Territory. Wm. Henry Harrison governed both the Indiana Territory and the Louisiana Territory from Vincennes. More land was governed from Indiana than from anywhere else in the nation other than Washington, D.C. The Indiana Territory included: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Louisiana Territory was made up of all or part of the following 13 states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, No. Dakota, So. Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Colorado and Montana