The twisted saga of Fort Wayne ‘HIS-Story’ continues…

| October 19, 2013
Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley


As Oct. 22, 2013—the 219th Anniversary of Fort Wayne HIS-Story—approaches, why is there no enthusiasm leading up to Fort Wayne’s birthday? Isn’t there community curiosity concerning what Anthony Wayne did to warrant a statue of his likeness and a city named in his honor? Aren’t we curious about what if Anthony Wayne would have lost the Battle at Fallen Timbers and how our lives would be different?

Aren’t we curious if Anthony Wayne left any babies behind?

Perhaps no one knows because it is not taught in our schools and we have been programmed to think history is boring.

Everyone living in Fort Wayne who knows that this city was named in honor of Anthony Wayne gets an “A” in Fort Wayne HIS-Story. However, I have observed that any knowledge beyond that point, the only thing most people know is how to spell his name and that’s about it.

Anthony Wayne was one hell of a glory seeking, forever calculating, fearless leader with “Balls of Brass.” Mr. Wayne came into a situation where all previous generals who went up against Chief Little Turtle were either killed, severely disgraced to the point of resignation from the army or became the answers to American history trivia questions.

“You can’t logically mention or
discuss Fort Wayne history or Anthony
Wayne without equally mentioning
Chief Little Turtle. If you do so in any
context, you’re authoring HIS-Story, an
agenda driven propaganda filled
re-fabrication of local American history.”

Anthony Wayne was on a potential suicide mission. But, that was the mindset of our American leaders of the past and an integral part of our sports culture and indoctrination today. American leaders of this era knew that if they killed in large enough quantities, they could become president. Can you imagine if the Indians were a football team who defeated and destroyed three different European teams, one French team led by Calvary Officer Augustin Mottin de la Balme and two Euro-American teams who were led by former British and now American Generals Josiah Harmar and Arthur St. Clair, where all three teams were defeated by 50-0? The necessary attitude to overcome this obstacle specifically or one of this magnitude is where the metaphors for sports and war collide where winning and losing means life and death.

But, Anthony Wayne figured out a strategy and defeated the Indian coalition so that the United States of America could take control of the land, so that it could eventually be sold to European immigrants at a 100 percent mark-up. They would sell land to anyone except black people.

Anthony Wayne’s mission was primarily the same as his predecessors, to kill the Indians and destroy their crops so they would have no food for the winter months. But, Wayne’s focus had to be on defeating Chief Little Turtle because he was the main nemesis of George Washington. Little Turtle caused General Washington major headaches and embarrassment, especially in front of Congress, thus resulting in the first usage of executive privilege.

But, the thought and idea of only focusing on Anthony Wayne during the Anthony Wayne Statue removal jibber-jabber debates just reeks with original Fort Wayne HIS-Storism. You can’t logically mention or discuss Fort Wayne history or Anthony Wayne without equally mentioning Chief Little Turtle. If you do so in any context, you’re authoring HIS-Story, an agenda driven propaganda filled re-fabrication of local American history.

During the entire eight-month jibber-jabber debate period between the Fort Wayne Mayor, City Council, Allen County Public Library, Federal Parks Department, local historians and citizens surveyed at random, everything was centered around European defined aesthetics and the cost of moving the statue. The library even bragged about the plaques of Little Turtle and Tecumseh that are presently displayed on the wall in the library genealogy department. To me, that just doesn’t feel right. The only thing missing in this wall is a black lawn jockey and the Frito Bandito being pictured next to these heroic Native Americans. If both Little Turtle and Tecumseh had prominent statues in the library plaza, that would be a lot less patronizing.

When the Federal Parks department threatened to revoke the National Park status of the Courthouse Green if any statues were placed on it, citing that it would ruin the integrity of the landscape, well that’s a case of the tail wagging the dog. In my opinion, placing the statues of Anthony Wayne and Little Turtle side-by-side had the potential of shining a national spotlight on downtown Fort Wayne. And for the people who said that putting Wayne’s statue on the Courthouse Green would open the door for other groups wanting to place statues there, that’s non-filtered, pure jibber-jabber. Who else could possibly deserve a spot on the Courthouse Green besides Anthony Wayne, Little Turtle and perhaps Pontiac? No one except for perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King—and a beautiful bridge had already been dedicated to his memory.

If you notice, I keep mentioning Anthony Wayne and Little Turtle in tandem because they were warrior equals. Anthony Wayne came here to kill Indians in the Kekionga region and Little Turtle killed the most Euro-Americans in U.S. history. You can’t get anymore equal than that. But, let’s not forget that when he died in 1812, Chief Little Turtle was buried with full American military honors and to be as far as I can find, never formally honored again by the leadership of Fort Wayne.

Have you ever asked yourself what would have happened if Anthony Wayne would have lost the Battle at Fallen Timbers? In all likelihood, the western border of the U.S. would probably be in the Toledo, Ohio vicinity. If the natives would have defeated the Anthony Wayne Euro-Americans, the British would have loved that. They would have immediately seized the opportunity to some way to further destroy the Euro-Americans and then the Indians, but not the blacks, who were still needed for free labor. The French may have had a chance to attack and defeat the Euro-Americans or perhaps the British, but they had to still be in pain from the whipping of Toussaint L’Ouverture (the black Napoleon), Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the Haitian Revolution. We don’t hear much about the Haitian Revolution in conjunction with the Little Turtle Wars of the 1790s and how they took place at the same time. Just think how much confidence that would have given those enslaved Africans if they had known that European powers could be defeated.

Finally, I encourage everyone to read the 1795 Treaty of Greenville. After the Native Americans lost the 1794 Battle at Fallen Timbers, they signed away downtown Chicago, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Lower Sandusky, Maumee including most of Ohio, Kekionga (the three rivers) and whatever had a port and access to water because of the international trade and the rich resources of this region of the continent. In return, the Native Americans got $20,000 of value, not in cash or gold, but in blankets, utensils and livestock. Of course, the Euro-Americans assigned the value to the items in trade. Sounds like the making of a fair trade to me, a little bit like Sharecropping economics, but with a twist.

The last major question that to my knowledge has never been addressed is, did Anthony Wayne leave any babies behind? Yes he did. Dave Marks, a Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Councilman is married to a direct descendant of Mr. Wayne. I have not yet interviewed Mr. Marks or his wife on this subject.


This article originally appeared in the Oct. 16 print edition.

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Category: Local, Opinion

About the Author ()

Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing largely on history, particularly family history in the black community. His award-winning public access television shows have featured a host of local and national icons. Hackley can be contacted at

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