Hackley family contribution to the Indiana Bicentennial

| August 4, 2016
Eric Hackley and Leroy Hackley

Eric Hackley and Leroy Hackley

Black Hackleys reunite after almost 180 Years

By Eric D. Hackley

THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT WHEN IS SAID HACKLEY GENEALOGY PARALLELS AMERICAN HISTORY. The purpose of this Hackley history perspective is to “Take a Second Look at Fort Wayne and Indiana’s historical ‘Exclusion, Subjugation & Distortion’” of present and past Fort Wayne Black’s views and Indiana Indian history. And I intend to re-explore and add to these earlier history narratives into modern, contemporary dialogue.

Cousin Leroy and other Hackleys, I endeavored to focus exclusively on how you and I are genetically connected—especially since our Hackley families have been separated for almost 180 years. Yours remained in Virginia and we migrated to Kentucky, Chillicothe, Ohio then to Niles, Michigan. I plan to soon introduce how Hackley Ancestors were involved American history from pre-colonization to the Indiana Bicentennial. My upcoming “INDIANA BICENTENNIAL” history book uses Hackley history to show the similarity of times from back then to presently. My History book is designed to make Fort Wayne great again by sharing the history before it was taken from the Indians and changed, then renamed Fort Wayne.

I have lived in Indiana for about 50 years. My first school was Harmar Elementary. The school was named after one of America’s best Brigadier Generals, Josiah Harmar. In October of 1790, Harmar led the first attack on Kekionga (now called Fort Wayne Lakeside). Google Harmar’s Defeat. George Washington gave orders to attack the Kekionga Village, kill the Indians and burn the crops. The following year, George Washington’s Soldiers attacked again, but time it was under the leadership of Major General Arthur St. Clair (Google St. Clair’s Defeat) in November of 1791. The former Articles of Confederation President St. Clair led Washington’s Army into the greatest American Defeat in the entire history of Native American Warfare.

With that being said, George Washington mission was to kill Miami (Google) Indian War Chief Little Turtle, leader of these “Record-Kills”, that no one locally acknowledges. These Kekionga Wars are, in my opinion, the centerpiece of American, Fort Wayne, Indiana history and Great Lakes Region History.

War Chief Little Turtle’s daughter Sweet Breeze, married notorious Indian warrior William Wells who killed many, many Americans. (A few years later, Major General Anthony Wayne offered Wells a job and made him a US Army Captain). Now it was Wells’ job to kill Indians instead of killing Americans.

Captain Wells married Sweet Breeze (Liittle Turtle’s daughter). They soon had a daughter Rebecca Wells. Rebecca married Captain James Hackley Jr. who was born in Culpeper, Virginia. Captain Hackley and Rebecca had Hackley children who are Chief Little Turtle’s great-grandchildren. In fact, a few streets north of Fort Wayne’s Shoaff Park is Rebecca Drive (named after Rebecca Hackley) that leads you to Ann Hackley Drive in north Fort Wayne.

Within this story lies the ironic fact that the enemies George Washington and Chief Little Turtle ultimately became IN-LAWS through Hackleys. John Hackley married Judith Ball, cousin to Mary Ball Washington and the mother of President George Washington. Hackleys served under Washington in many battles and as officers in the American Revolution. John Hackley’s grandson (Capt. James Hackley Jr.) married Chief Little Turtle’s granddaughter to complete the picture. This is also significant to me because this 2016 is Indiana’s Bicentennial Year. I almost forgot the fact that Capt. Hackley owned a home on Spy Run Avenue in Fort Wayne in 1815 establishing Hackleys in Fort Wayne home ownership before Indiana became the 19th State.

I have discovered this and many other stories that have been ignored throughout Indiana history. My history book focus is on the ignored, subjugated and distorted 200 years of “Indiana Black & Indian History.” It’s really necessary to articulate our Hackley history in a social context and in small bites because our history puts 431 years of American colonization into an up-close and personal perspective

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Category: Community, History, Local, People

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 hackonomicstv@gmail.com.

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