Lafayette is the county seat of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The first inhabitants of Lafayette were the Native Americans. Some of the early tribes that first settled in the area were Delaware, Wea, Miami, Potawatomi, and Wyandot. The French government founded the Fort Ouiatenon in 1717. The fort became an essential part of the trade for Indians, fur trappers, and merchants during that time.
Brothers Tecumseh and the Prophet attempted to keep the Native American traditions and culture when they arrived in the area. After they made the base for their confederation, the Battle of Tippecanoe ignited in 1811. Years after the War of 1812, Indiana became part of the Union in 1816. It became the 19the member of the Union.
William Digby was among the first discoverers of the banks the Wabash. He worked as a riverman. During the Christmas Eve of 1824, Digby bought land from the land sale and founded a town. He mapped out the area in May 1825 and named it after the French Revolutionary War hero, Marquis de Lafayette.
Lafayette functioned as a supply area for the new inhabitants who are relocating to the land. Tippecanoe was established in 1826, and Lafayette became its county seat. Transportation was made easy by the river, which is near the Courthouse square. In the 1840s, the Wabash and Erie Canal was established. As the town continued to grow, transportation also developed as new railroads arrived to serve its residents. Soon enough, Lafayette became a merchandising, manufacturing, and transportation center in the region.
Lafayette served as the heart of shipping on the Wabash River during its early days. To encourage inhabitants to come to the area, Henry Leavitt Ellsworth published a booklet with the title Valley of the Upper Wabash, Indiana, with Hints on Its Agricultural Advantages in 1838. He bought 93,000 acres of land within and surrounding Lafayette. Ellsworth relocated from Connecticut to Lafayette to oversee land sales. He distributed broadsides to attract farmers to buy farmlands in 1847. In 1851, Ellsworth was elected as the president of the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Society. The Ellsworth Historic District and street were to honor him.
In the 1840s, the Wabash and Erie Canal encouraged better trade in the city. Lafayette became known to the entire region. In the 1850s, railroads arrived in the area and connected the town to other leading markets. Lafayette was connected with other cities in Indiana because of the Monon Railroad.
Lafayette was the venue for the first United States Postal Service airmail in August 1859. The air balloon, called Jupiter, had 123 letters and 23 circulars with Professor John Wise as the driver. Although the flight did not land accordingly and ended up near Crawfordsville, it was still recognized.
The city continued to flourish, and soon after, Purdue University was established. Purdue University made a significant impact on the development of the Lafayette-West Lafayette region. At present, Lafayette is a diverse community that invests heavily in merchandising, education, and transportation. Purdue University is known to be the home of many astronauts.
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