Origins of Statehood: Indiana in the Early 1800's

Tour curated by: Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology

December 11, 1816: one of the most integral days in Indiana history. This is the day that Indiana gained statehood in the United States of America. However, that date alone is meaningless without further context of the events and individuals that influenced the moment. The history of Indiana in the years surrounding 1816 is one of the most crucial elements of the state’s narrative.

This tour highlights locations across Indiana with strong ties to the beginnings of statehood as well as other events key to state history in the early 19th century. From forts to homes to parks, the Origins of Indiana Statehood tour will present you with some of the state’s most compelling history and sites. Discover Indiana invites you to take a journey across the 19th state and experience a portion of life in the early 1800’s!

Please keep in mind that each tour is by no means a comprehensive list of sites in Indiana related to each theme. Please be respectful of private property lines when visiting each of these sites.

Locations for Tour

In 1800, the Northwest Territory was divided up into two territories, the eastern region called the Ohio Territory and the western region called the Indiana Territory. Vincennes became the Territorial Capitol until 1813 when it was moved to Corydon.…

The area comprising Fort Wayne, IN was a homeland to several cultures of indigenous people long before the American Revolution. In pre-contact times, North American Indians hunted wildlife and lived in the area after the glaciers melted. Later…

From Virginia in 1816, Jeremiah Sullivan immigrated to Madison, Indiana in order to practice law. In 1818, he built a Federal style home for his family, which likewise served as his headquarters for future political appointments. Sullivan ultimately…

The Harmonists or Rappites, were a group of followers of George Rapp who immigrated to the United States from Germany to avoid religious persecution. The group first settled in Pennsylvania, but facing poor climate conditions for grape growing,…

To resist the growing number of white settlers in the Indiana Territory, Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (“The Prophet”) formed a Confederacy of Indian nations, choosing a settlement near the junction of the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers…

When Spencer County was formed from parts of Perry and Warrick Counties in 1818, it was decided to move the county seat of Perry County to a more central location. The town of Rome was chosen and a new county square and courthouse were planned and…

In 1796, a Swiss man named Jean James Dufour immigrated to the United States with a plan to start a commercially successful winery and solve the problems plaguing American vineyards and wineries. Dufour’s first attempt at a vineyard in Kentucky…

A soldier-turned-businessman, Samuel Vance helped open Dearborn County for settlement with his establishment of Lawrenceburg in the Indiana Territory. In 1794, Vance served with General Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Soon after the battle,…

During the War of 1812, some American settlers in the Indiana Territory felt threatened by nearby populations of Native Americans--whether justly or not. While many Native Americans remained neutral, there were large numbers who sided with the…

Founded during the late-eighteenth century, Vallonia was a French-American settlement along the Muscatatuck and White Rivers. By 1810, the settlement was home to approximately ninety families in need of protection from potentially hostile natives,…

Thomas Downs was a member of the General Quarter Session of the Peace, appointed by William Henry Harrison in 1801. Downs purchased lots 89 and 90, just one year after Charlestown was planned in 1809. The Downs House is thought to be one of the first…

In 1813, brothers Joel, Nathaniel, and Abner Scribner arrived at the Falls of the Ohio with plans to become the founders of a new town. They planned out their settlement in the area that is today New Albany, Indiana. Their original street plans…

With the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, Franklin County in the Indiana Territory was officially opened for settlement to white settlers. By 1812, the number of settlers and the increasing size of the church congregation created the need for a church.…

The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is located on the assumed location of former Fort Sackville. With the end of the French and Indian War, the American theatre of the Seven Years’ War, the British controlled the region between the…

An unfortunate issue that plagued Vincennes in the early 1800’s was slavery. Although it was prohibited through the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, individuals were still enslaved in the Vincennes area. In addition, slavery was made possible by a…

The ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison served as the Territorial Governor of the Northwest Territory from 1801-1812. During that time he lived at “Grouseland,” a 300 acre estate in Vincennes that he modeled after his…

After the Indiana Territory was divided into the Indiana and Illinois Territories in 1809, the location of the original territorial capital in Vincennes no longer proved practical due to its location on the extreme western boundary, away from more…

Many of the men who served on Indiana’s early state legislature built or purchased homes in the state capitol of Corydon. One of these men was soon-to-be governor William Hendricks. Hendricks purchased this home from Davis Floyd, a treasurer and…

Built on the site where Thomas Lincoln’s family lived from 1816 to 1830, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s formative years in Indiana. While Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky and established his…

The original Fort Knox was located in the center of Vincennes, but it later moved in 1803 to the outskirts of the town because residents complained about the amount of time soldiers spent in the saloons. The original spot is identified today by an…

Established in 1990, the Falls of the Ohio State Park encompasses a rich cultural and natural history unlike anywhere else along the Ohio or Mississippi rivers. Between the start of the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, PA and the confluence of the…