Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

July 31, 2013

ANDREA NEAL: 1st white man in Ind.? A Frenchman, no doubt

2 state rivers were vital to early explorers

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016.

Historians aren’t sure which white man stepped first on Hoosier soil, but he most certainly was French and he likely arrived in the 1670s — 150 years before Indiana statehood.

“Possibly it was an obscure Frenchman whose adventures were never recorded — if he lived to tell the tale,” wrote the historians John Barnhart and Dorothy Riker in their book, “Indiana to 1816,” the first in a five-volume history published for the state’s sesquicentennial in 1971.

Perhaps it was Jacques Marquette, the Jesuit priest sent to New France — now Canada — as missionary to the Indians. He explored the Mississippi River with Louis Jolliet and returned to northern Michigan possibly by way of northern Indiana in 1675.

Or it may have been René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who set up camp at present-day South Bend in 1679 during a portage from the St. Joseph to the Kankakee River. LaSalle would later explore the Mississippi River and claim the surrounding land for France, dubbing it Louisiana in honor of the French king.

A historic marker installed in 1950 marks the spot 1 mile east of where LaSalle and his party camped overnight at South Bend. The marker declares LaSalle “the first white man to enter Indiana,” though subsequent scholarship has cast doubt on the claim, said Pam Bennett, director of the Indiana Historical Bureau.

The bureau is in the process of updating older markers in time for the state’s bicentennial in 2016. The revisions will reflect new research as well as more demanding standards for documentation of a subject’s historic significance.

Another LaSalle marker installed in 2000 on the Kankakee River near the Starke and LaPorte county lines is less definitive. It describes the explorer’s canoe trip “down the meandering Kankakee River through vast marsh-swamp-dune ecosystems that covered over 625 square miles and teemed with game including fish, waterfowl and mammals.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • DAVE BANGERT: Indiana's new chief justice and court's 'mom question' Two years ago, as Loretta Rush ascended from Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge to the state’s Supreme Court, I dropped this line in a column celebrating someone who had earned her place.“Across the state, the headline will be: ‘[Mitch] Daniels Choose

    August 14, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: POTUS promises of transparency fail to materialize The United States system of government relies on citizens having full access to information that can be used in self-governance. Journalists and other First Amendment advocates were enthused when the Obama administration came into office with convinc

    August 14, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: RIP Robin Williams

    I was re-watching the 2006 movie “Little Miss Sunshine” Monday when I heard my phone buzz. After the credits had rolled, I looked at the screen and found myself shocked.It was a news alert that Robin Williams had died that morning at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: 'Paddle Your Own Canoe' is a Hoosier inspiration

    Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. James Whitcomb Riley was the most acclaimed, but he wasn’t the first Hoosier poet to gain national fame. Sarah T. Bolton dese

    August 13, 2014

  • DAVE BANGERT: Rokita, illegal immigration, Ebola outbreak and context At first listen last Monday, there was something so unsavory about our congressman, Todd Rokita, whipping up two full-fledged crises — Central American children at the U.S. southern border and the African scourge of Ebola — into one pungent sound bit

    August 12, 2014

  • DAN COATS: Let's give nonprofits relief from IRS delays A flurry of scandal has recently surrounded the Internal Revenue Service.Over the past few months, we have learned about missing emails from IRS employees and revelations of clear bias and hostility by a top IRS official towards organizations with ce

    August 12, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Pitchforks and pikes in our summer of discontent Congress is ... embarrassing. Our political system is failing us. On an individual basis, many of us have respect for members of our delegation. We can have a common sense conversation with a senator, congressman or congresswoman, and then they go ba

    August 11, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Enough reminders to forget It began with a simple phone call to my friend, Auri, a computer geek I asked to help me with my very successful website, which right now is attracting up to three visitors a month. To have a strong online presence, you have to spend several hours a

    August 11, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Outsourced jobs, health crises in foreign lands The other week, my Internet was giving me trouble. I called the support number, and — to my surprise — I spoke to a representative who sounded as American as apple pie. It turned out the technical problem was an oversight on my end and fixed quickly.

    August 10, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Dodging corporate taxes Corporations are among our oldest institutions. Something like a joint stock company probably triggered the earliest formal written communication — the accounting ledger. It should be unsurprising that the early traders of Mesopotamia used a corporat

    August 10, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller