Fort Wayne history narrative reform

| October 31, 2016
Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley

By Eric Donald Hackley

I see a most definite need to edit or completely change the local history narrative of Fort Wayne for the purpose of telling the rest of the story, making it historically inclusive, ethnically diverse, internationally relevant, more truthful and noteworthy.

The history reform movement that I speak of is intended to expand the Fort Wayne history narrative from a sole focus on Major General “Mad” Anthony Wayne to be more inclusive of Indians on this land and the Blacks who came along shortly after that.

Very few of us know very much about Anthony Wayne.  We hardly know anything about the forgotten original inhabitants of this land that was once called Kekionga.  The historically deleted Kekionga Village dates back to the mid-1600s.  Kekionga was the center of economic commerce of the 1700s Northwest Territory, now called to “Great Lakes Region of America.”  No one ever ties the social, military, political and economic relevance of Fort Wayne to the unique geography in the western hemisphere and our three rivers.

hackleybookcoverBut, what bothers me is that War Chief Little Turtle is not as well known and is not historically depicted as a military equal to “Mad” Anthony Wayne.  Anthony Wayne’s military heroics are tied to his state of preparedness and bravery.  But, the military strategical thinking, planning and fighting tenacity of War Chief Little Turtle and his record-setting warrior’s kills against American terrorists by his Northwest Territory Indian Confederacy, says “check” and was one battle from “checkmate” in fighting George Washington’s armies led by Harmar and St. Clair.

Also within this scenario, there needs to be a simultaneous focus on the deeds of abolitionists who assisted “fugitive slaves” seeking freedom via the Indiana to Niles, Michigan to Detroit to Canada Underground Railroad to which I also will provide up-close and personal details.

Here is one very interesting—to me—and totally ignored fact concerning Fort Wayne and American history: Chief Little Turtle was the first to sign the 1795 Treaty of Greenville that gave Anthony Wayne and the American government the rights to the land known today as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Therefore, Little Turtle’s immediate family should be the “Official First Family of Fort Wayne.”  Specifically speaking, Little Turtle’s immediate family, his daughter Sweet Breeze who married U.S. Army Captain William Wells, and William Wells’ daughter Rebecca, who married Captain James Hackley Jr., formerly of Culpeper, Virginia are all part of this first family.

Through this, James Hackley,’s Virginia family, War Chief Little Turtle, President George Washington, 1500s English colonization promoter Richard Hakluyt and I are all family and in-laws, and I can prove it through my 15 continuous generations back to my 13th great grandfather Henry Hackley who was born in The Isle of Wight in 1540.

Many locals have ignored my Fort Wayne history observations, findings, insights and stories because my almost 40-years of continuous genealogical and Fort Wayne history research has not been validated and authenticated by the Fort Wayne History Center and the other Fort Wayne history gods.  But, this same history has relevance to the state of Michigan and a Canadian Indian Reservation near Port Huron, Michigan.

In conclusion, this is why I need the financial support of Fort Wayne people who want to see an expanded history narrative of Fort Wayne history.

I will have a Fort Wayne Book of Activists ready for distribution before Black History Month 2017.  This book will be 8.5″ x 11″ in size and will be approximately 300-pages thick with numerous pictures.  This book will feature up to 100-Fort Wayne Black people who I have personally met and interviewed.  If this book extends far beyond 300-pages, I will split it into a two-book series.

My Fort Wayne and Black Community history research expands 40 years and features insights from a cross-section of age, occupation, and vocational segments of African Americans.  A majority of my collected commentaries can be tied directly to American colonization; U.S. government sanctioned slavery, exclusion, Jim Crow, anti-Black acts, laws and Black Codes that to some extent still exist today.

In spite of being divided, conquered, brainwashed, enslaved, marginalized and subjugated by historic white supremacy, today’s Fort Wayne Blacks are applying a 400-year old solution as a remedy for this hundreds of years multigenerational, historically oppressive phenomenon.

This resource, as seen in its’ original concept form, was the center point behind “Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America and the Islands Adjacent: Collected and published by Richard Hakluyt {1552-1616} in the year 1582.”  In Hakluyt’s series of books from 1582 to 1589, he focused and relied on 16th century ship log and interviews with adventurers and sea captains to inspire his Englishmen to seek their fortune in the Americas.  His impetus leads to the creation of a New World and the European Renaissance.

In my collection of featured stories, Fort Wayne Black leaders, concerned citizens and student activists demonstrate unapologetic intelligence, self-motivation, individual goal-setting, tenacity for goal attainment, and self-direction for a better life for themselves for their descendants.

The only difference between Hakluyt’s stories of 430-plus years ago and my stories of today are my stories are not European.  My stories focus almost exclusively on Fort Wayne Blacks and a few out of town guests.  My writings and research may not stimulate the creation of another “New World” or “Renaissance,” but could theoretically have a liberating effect on the mindsets of today’s black and white Fort Wayne citizenry.  The idea that I want to put to the test (and is why I need your support) will have you (optionally) pictured with all the forefathers of this Fort Wayne History Reform initiative.

All ethnic groups are welcome to participate.

If you have questions and are interested in being a “Black History Month Book ‘pre-purchase’ sponsor,” please contact my by email at Or, call Frost Illustrated at (260) 745-0552 and leave your contact information for me.

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Category: Community, Education, History, Local

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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