Copy of a letter from John Lalime, Indian interpreter at Chicago to William Wells, Esq. at Fort Wayne, dated April 13, 1812

Sir --  By this you will receive information of a murder at this place, by a party eleven Indians, at a farm that Russel and Leigh had.  A boy and three men were at the cabin.  The boy and John Kelson made their escape. Liberty White and a Frenchman by the name of John B. Cardin, were murdered and shockingly cut to pieces.

We have not been able to learn, as yet, to what tribe those murderers belong.  It happened on the evening of the 6th inst. since which time all communication between this post and the Indians have ceased.  All the citizens have gathered together in one house for their protection.

The Puttawatomies [Potawatomi] of this quarter are for war.  I presume your situation at Fort Wayne is not better than ours at this post.  A few Indians have appeared at this post since the above  affair took place, but we cannot learn who the rascals were.  Two half Indians and a Frenchman deserted from this place five days ago, and joined the Indians.  We are informed that the chiefs of St. Joseph have gone to Fort Wayne to council with you.  No reliances should be put in anything they say, for they will only tell stories and pretend to be innocent; they must know those Indians that has done the mischief at this place.

I am this moment informed that our spies have seen a number of Indians on the other side of the river.  A party of seven Indians arrived late this evening, from the Killamack, with a white flag.  We have had no talk with them yet.  They pretend to know nothing about those fellows that have been murdering us.


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How to cite this article:  John Lalime, letter to William Wells,  Louisiana Gazette (St. Louis, Louisiana Territory), 30 May 1812, pg. 3, available at