Free Lecture: Lessons from the Fall Creek Massacre

In 1824 nine Indians of uncertain tribal origin were massacred by white settlers in what is now Madison County, Indiana. The crime goes down as one of the most brutal hate crimes in Indiana’s history, but also marks a turning point in Native American and White Americans relationships. It is the first documented case where White Americans were convicted and sentenced to death for crimes against Native Americans. Wednesday, April 20 Professor David Murphy will give this year’s annual Roger D. Branigin Lecture at Franklin College. The lecture, Property, Principle and the Rule of Law: Lessons from the Fall Creek Massacre, will focus on his newly published and critically acclaimed book Murder in Their Hearts: The Fall Creek Massacre.

In the winter of 1823-24, a small group of Native Americans settled near Pendleton, Indiana, with the idea to hunt game and collect maple syrup. They party, lead by Chief Logan, consisted of two other men, three women and four children. The Native Americans soon developed good relations with the townspeople in the surrounding area. Despite this, an obsessively racist frontiersman Thomas Harper convinced four other men to help him attack the settlement.

On March 22, 1824, the white men approached the camp and asked for help tracking an escaped horse. Chief Logan and another man agreed to help, but were shot in the back once they were lead into the woods away from the camp. The frontiersmen returned to the camp and proceeded to kill all nine members of the Native American settlement. When a local farmer discovered the scene the next day, he reported it. The news spread fast through the small Indiana town and settlers began to fear retribution from a neighboring Delaware village.

The murderers were caught almost immediately, as they bragged about their conquest to members of the town. While the men awaited trial, William Conner (of Conner Prairie fame) and Indian agent John Johnston traveled to talk with neighboring Indian villages, assuring them that the men responsible would face justice.

Professor David Murphy is the Chair of the History and Political Science Department at Anderson University. In 2010, his historical narrative of the events, Murder in the Heartland: The Fall Creek Massacre,  was published by the Indiana Historical Society Press. Now he will speak about his experience researching this tragic event that marks a turning point in civil rights for Native Americans in the Midwest. His book is available for purchase online and at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Don’t miss this free lecture at Franklin College Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00 pm. Delve into Indianapolis history at this annual lecture event help in the Richardson Chapel.

Fun City Finder is your source for fun things to do in Indianapolis. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming Indianapolis events, Indianapolis theatre, Indianapolis arts, Indianapolis music, Indianapolis shopping and more. Grab dinner before the lecture at any of these yummy Indianapolis restaurants. Afterward, discuss the lecture over drinks at any of these refreshing Indianapolis bars. Discover all that the Circle City has to offer.

Property, Principle, and the Rule of Law: Lessons from the Fall Creek Massacre
Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00 pm

Franklin College
101 Branigin Boulevard
Indianapolis, Indiana