The Fort Dearborn Massacre and the Birth of Chicago

Fort-DearbornforntcoverBy James Alton James, Nelly Kinzie Gordon, and Linai T. Helm. The present-day Midwest American city of Chicago was, at the time of its founding in the early 1800s, on the extreme western frontier of the then expanding United States of America. As such, it was on the frontline of the great race war between Europeans and American Indians—and as this book powerfully demonstrates, became symbolic of that bloody and brutal conflict.

The first major construction in the city was the large timber-framed Fort Dearborn—and it was just outside this fort in 1812 that dozens of men, women, and children were massacred by Indian attackers. The original fort was razed, and all the whites driven out, only to return later in even larger numbers and re-establish the settlement which became America’s second largest city.

This work contains three parts: an overview of the development of Chicago from its earliest times, written for the 1933 World Fair where the original fort was reconstructed; a compilation of documents which include an eyewitness account from a soldier survivor, Linai T. Helm; and a number of other important papers which give insight into Indian atrocities, kidnapping, and torture—just some of the many tribulations which the European pioneers endured.

This is a riveting account of heroism and bravery of the men and women who took part in the winning of the west.

Cover image: Defense by Henry Hering. Part of the monument erected on the spot of the old Fort Dearborn, today at the site of the Michigan Avenue Bridge in downtown Chicago.

Contents:

Part I: The Fort Dearborn Massacre and the Birth of Chicago: Acknowledgements; War Clouds Gather; An Advantageous Location; Tribes Disregard Treaties; “Mad Anthony’s” Tactics; Fort Dearborn Established; Privations and Pleasures; Captain Whistler’s Regime; Enter Captain Heald; New War Clouds; The Last Warning; Ambush and Massacre; Second Fort Rises; Final Salute Fired.

Part II: The Fort Dearborn Massacre: Introduction; Judge Woodward’s Letter to Colonel Proctor; Lieutenant Helm’s Letter to Judge Woodward; Lieutenant Helm’s Narrative; The Massacre at Chicago; John Kinzie: A Sketch; The Capture by the Indians of Little Eleanor Lytle.

Part II: Selected Documents Published by the Mississippi Valley Historical Review.

Paperback, 122 pages, 6″ x 9″, $9.95

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Hardcover $22.17

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