Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

November 20, 2013

ANDREA NEAL: W.H. Harrison shaped Indiana from Vincennes

Indiana home to White House of West

(Continued)

In the War of 1812, Harrison was named commander of the Northwest Army and resigned his post to concentrate on battling the British. In 1813 President Madison appointed Thomas Posey as Harrison’s replacement. That same year the Legislature passed the State Capital Act, moving the territorial capital to Corydon, which would become the new state capital.

In 1815, the General Assembly again petitioned Congress for statehood, and this time all went according to plan. In December 1816, President James Monroe signed a resolution admitting Indiana to the union.

For the 12 years he served as governor, Harrison was synonymous with the Indiana Territory, and Grouseland functioned as the White House of the West. Today the mansion appears much as it did in the early 19th century and is “a cultural treasure in Indiana,” says historian James Fadely. “It embodies the history and culture of the early Indiana Territory within its walls.”

Of the four meeting places of the Legislature, one still stands: a two-story red house initially built as a tailor shop. The sites are within a block of each other and open to the public as living reminders of Indiana’s beginnings.

Andrea Neal is a teacher at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis and adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. Contact her at aneal@inpolicy.org.

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