Chief J.B. Richardville Gravesite
Made Chief of the Miamis for his daring rescue of a white prisoner from burning at the stake. Erected by the Mary Penrose Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1942. – Historical Marker Text
Jean Baptiste Richardville was born in 1761 in the present Lakeside region of Fort Wayne. He is believed to be buried on the cathedral grounds near its entrance. His father was Antoine-Joseph Drouet de Richardville, and his mother was Tacumwah, who was the sister of Miami Chief Pecanne. He helped his mother build a business of facilitating trade along the portage from Fort Wayne to the Little River in Aboite Township that led to the Wabash River. As a young man, Richardville freed a prisoner; warriors saw this deed as a sign of strength. Therefore, Richardville soon held leadership within the Miami tribe.
Jean Baptiste Richardville eventually became chief of the Miami after the death of Pecanne in 1816 and led the Miami people for the next quarter century. Within the midst of Richardville’s leadership was the Indian removal movement. Richardville realized that it the United States encroachment was inevitable. Because of this, Richardville took an intelligent approach of securing vast amounts of land for individual families who could own the land by private deeds. Over half of the Miami tribe members were able to stay in Indiana because of Richardville’s plan.
Richardville’s private home still stands today off of Bluffton Road and is the oldest Native American building in the Midwest. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark.