Wednesday, June 18, 2014

JUNE 18, 1814

200 years ago this month, Zachariah Lindley may have traveled from his home along the Vincennes Road to visit Beck’s Mill to reminisce with John Beck and Thomas Elliott about their service in the Indiana Militia at the Battle of Tippecanoe in November of 1811.  They had all mustered in the Detachment of Mounted Riflemen of the Indiana Militia on September 12, 1811 that was commanded by Lt. Thomas Berry of Harrison County, Indiana Territory.  Territory Secretary John Gibson who was acting as Governor in the absence of William Henry Harrison had learned of war plans of Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) and had called out the Indiana Militia in September.  Hearing of this, Harrison recruited a group of Kentucky volunteers and obtained the services of US Army regulars from the 4th Infantry Regiment and returned to Vincennes to march up the Wabash to Prophetstown.

After a few skirmishes and a logistical delay, Harrison’s command arrived at a location near Prophetstown on November 6, 1811. The Mounted Riflemen were part of the Corydon Yellow Jackets commanded by Captain Spier Spencer of Corydon.  The Yellow Jackets and the Mounted Riflemen were deployed at the south end of Harrison’s forces on a plateau near Prophetstown.  During a predawn surprise attack by Winnebegos who were part of Tecumseh’s coalition, the Harrison County unit took the brunt of the casualties.  Although the ensuing 2 hour battle was considered a victory for the Americans forces because Prophetstown was abandoned the day after battle and then burned down by Harrison’s troops, the losses were heavy.  Out of Harrison’s force of 950, 37 were killed that day; 25 received mortal wounds and died later; and another 126 were wounded in some manner.

Lindley, Beck and Elliott recalled that of the 22 men in the Mounted Riflemen, 4 died in the battle and one died at Vincennes from wounds during the battle of November 7, 1811.  Lieutenant Berry died in the battle.  Frederick Carnes from the Dutch Creek neighborhood was the soldier who died at Vincennes after the battle.  Zachariah Lindley received serious wounds but survived.  Beck, Elliott and Frederick Wyman of the Dutch Creek neighborhood had survived unscathed.

John Beck recalled that Lt. Berry was paid at the rate of $33.33 per month with a daily allowance for his horse of 40 cents per day. Lindley was a Sergeant and was paid $8 per month and a daily allowance for his horse of 40 cents a day.  Beck and Elliott as Privates were paid $6.66 per month and the daily horse allowance of 40 cents per day.  Lindley remarked that he had to encourage Leonard Carnes to open an estate for his son, Frederick, at the Harrison Circuit Court to recover his son’s military pay in the amount of $34.61   Lindley also told his fellow militia men that the widow of Peter Hanks from Harrison County received a pension worth half her deceased husband’s pay for 12 months ($39.96) and a pension for her children of half pay for 26 months. The 3 neighbors then joked about the fact that a Lieutenant was worth more to the Army than his horse but that Sergeants and Privates were not.

John Beck who was a son of George and Elizabeth Claver Beck married Anna Rogers in 1814 and had a family of 10 children.  They eventually moved to Kauffman County Texas where Beck died in 1854.

Zachariah Lindley became a Captain in the Indiana Militia during the War of 1812.  His land patent along the Vincennes Road became part of Orange County, Indiana when that county was created by the legislature of the Indiana Territory on February 1, 1816.  He became the Sheriff of Orange County, Indiana.  His service in the Indiana Militia made him subject to disownment from the Society of Friends.

Thomas Elliott was a native of Rowan County, NC and was a nephew of Elizabeth Claver Beck He was married to Elizabeth Sheets in 1812.  They had 5 children and had moved to Clay County, Illinois by 1820 after Thomas settled the estate of his mother, Susanna Elliott, who died in Washington County, Indiana in 1814.  Her will dated in 1808 was the oldest will on file with Washington Circuit Court. Thomas died in 1842.


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  2. Some of my ancestors on my mother's side, Charles L, Byrn, Ransom N. Byrn, and Temple C. Byrn were also in the battle of Tippecanoe. They were Privates in Capt Frederick Geiger's Company, Kentucky Mounted Riflemen. This is found in "The Battle of Tippecanoe" published by JP Morton and Co. Charles was wounded and walked with a limp the rest of his life. - John Marshall