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John Francis Hamtramck letter

 Collection — Folder: S0581
Identifier: S0581

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photostats of a handwritten transcription of a November 2, 1790 letter sent to General Josiah Harmar from Major John Francis Hamtramck. Written from Fort Knox, Vincennes, Hamtramck's letter describes the march up the Wabash River he began on September 30th with about 330 men in an effort to subdue the Native Americans in the area and keep them from joining up with the Miami. He mentions finding the houses empty at the Indian village upon arriving at the Vermillion, that provisions were low, a number of militia had deserted, and thirty of his men were sick. He also mentions that the commander of the Kentucky militia, Major William Whitley, reported that his men would not continue the march. With so many difficulties, Hamtramck informed General Harmar that he could not proceed with the expedition and had to return to Vincennes. The original handwritten transcription of this letter was part of the Draper collection at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at the time of donation (1939).


  • 1790/11/02


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Baptised John Francois on August 16, 1757 at Quebec, John Francis Hamtramck Americanized his name after joining the American army in 1775. He served as an officer throughout the Revolutionary War, obtaining the rank of brevet major. Under the command of General Harmar, he built and commanded several forts in the Northwest Territory. He took part in the Battle of Fallen Timbers with General Anthony Wayne and was cited for bravery. He was then appointed a full colonel and became the first commandant of Fort Wayne, remaining in this position until his death on April 11, 1803.


Bald, F. Clever. "Colonel John Francis Hamtramck". Indiana magazine of History, December 1, 1948. Accessed November 22, 2016.

Newman, Stacy. "Encyclopedia of Detroit: Captain John Hamtramck." Detroit Historical Society. Accessed November 22, 2016.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from the Wisconsin State Historical Society on 1939/07.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/11/28 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2016/11/28 by Laura Eliason.
John Francis Hamtramck letter
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.