A Preliminary Report of Investigation in the Upper Mississinewa Valley Relating to the Battle of Mississinewa, 1812

Author(s): B. K. Swartz, Jr.

Year: 1975


Though concerned agencies and archaeologists throughout the state were previously informed Ball State officials did not learn until the spring of 1975 that an appropriation of $25,000.00, proposed by State Representative Loren E. Winger, Converse, Indiana, for Ball State University to conduct research under the jurisdiction of the Indiana State Department of Natural Resources along the Mississinewa River in Grant and Wabash counties was being considered by the state legislature. The purpose of this research was to archaeologically document the activities of the Battle of Mississinewa, fought between U.S. troops and Miami Indians on December 18, 1812 and the related role of the Miami and Delaware villages in the area. The writer accepted the responsibility for conducting this research and became the Principal Investigator for the project. After passage of the budget item (H.E.B. 1102) by the legislature Mr. Winger and Ball State Officials supported the initiation of research in the summer of 1975 under the extraordinary assumption that the availability of the funds was momentary.

The Principal investigator was directed, with the assistance of the research office, to prepare an agreement to order priority of work, not on the basis of primary evidence at hand or to be encountered, but upon conclusions expounded by a long-term local resident of the area, Mr. Clarence Stuber.

Mr. Stuber specified that excavation be initiated at four designated localities (see map 1), (1) the battlefield, (2) the gravesite of eight U.S. soldiers known to have been buried in an Indian structure within the battlefield perimeter (G-10a, IAS-BSU), location of the feature was determined by Stuber on the basis of a vision and Divining rod use; (3) "second village" (G-11, IAS-BSU), a Miami village north of the battlefield, and (4) the Troyer Site (Wo-21, IAS-BSU), a Miami village at the confluence of the Mississinewa River and Jocinah Creek.

On the basis of the above understandings a crew was hastily assembled in the mid-summer, 1975 field work was commenced. The Principal Investigator was soon informed that the property in question, though managed by the state of Indiana, was federally owned, necessitating a federal permit for archaeological investigations. Also, ethnohistorical investigation by Dr. Elizabeth J. Glenn (see following) and preliminary field exploration indicated that the first three of Stuber's locations were erroneous or unsupported by any evidence. The fourth locality, which was known to the local people, was repeatedly vandalized and, therefore, research activity was discontinged at this time. It was concluded that the probable location of the battlefield encampent was mostly within property owned by Mrs. (Dorothy) Stuber, not on U.S. Corps of Engineer's property as claimed by Mr. Stuber.

Since no permit had not yet been issued for excavation on federal land exploration was discontinued and transferred to the battlefield area on on Stuber property with Stuber's consent. Surface collecting aided by a metal detector was undertaken in a soybean field and a fallow wheat field (G-9, IAS-BSU). Stuber then informed the Principal Investigator that he "perceived" soybean crop disturbance, requested that fieldworkers leave his property and suggested that he be reimbursed for damages. Ball state officials learning of Stuber's threat ordered that Ball State University sponsored field work be stopped and the crew disbanded

This was not done and soon after the federal permit was received and exploratory hand excavation and mechanical trenching of Stuber's locations was undertaken. No evidence of historic and protohistoric activity was encountered. Surreptitious testing of the Troyer Site was also accomplished. A small portion of the West edge of the battlefield perimeter and the two west side redoubts were beyond Stuber property. These were intensively but, unfortunately, briefly explored and tested due to lack of time.

Cite this Record

A Preliminary Report of Investigation in the Upper Mississinewa Valley Relating to the Battle of Mississinewa, 1812. B. K. Swartz, Jr.. Muncie, IN: Ball State University. 1975 ( tDAR id: 398497) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8CJ8G7M

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -86.052; min lat: 40.426 ; max long: -85.354; max lat: 40.835 ;


General Note: The digital materials in this collection were processed by the Veterans Curation Program (VCP) and include the artifact database, select artifact photographs, the artifact report, the finding aid, investigation report, oversized material spreadsheet and scanned asset key. Additional digital materials held by the VCP include additional artifact photographs, box labels, correspondence, excavation forms, the initial data sheet, folder listings, laboratory records, material labels, notes, photo records, records removal sheets and survey forms. For additional information on these materials, refer to the Finding Aid.

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