Joseph Barron, Indian Interpreter

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Joseph Barron, Indian Interpreter

Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: 12 Jan 1771/1773 Ft. Malden, Amheratburg, Ontario, Canada
Death: December 12, 1843 (70)
(near) Logansport, Cass, Indiana
Place of Burial: Eel Township, Cass, Indiana, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Pierre Barron dit Lupien and Marie-Anne Réaume
Husband of Josephine Gamelin; Cecile Baron; Barbe / Barbara Brouillette and Nas-wau-kee's daughter
Father of Ursule Nancy McKeen; Peter (Pierre) Barron; Joseph Barron; Anthony Barron; Mary Ann HETH SMITH (BARRON) and 6 others
Brother of Antoine-Alexis Baron dit Lupien; Pierre Barron Dit Lupien; Alexis Antoine Barron Dit Lupien; Marie-Julie Barron Dit Lupien and Charles Barron Dit Lupien

Occupation: Bilingual French-Indian Interpreter for Governor and President Harrison, Fur trader
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Barron, Indian Interpreter Treaty with the Miami Nation

Barron Street on the west side of Logansport, Indiana was named for Joseph Barron, who was from a French fur trading family of Vincennes. Joseph was chosen as the major interpreter between Governor Harrison and the Indians.

He worked as interpreter from 1803 to 1843. For his work he received three square miles of land equal to 1920 acres on the north side of the Wabash River and west of the Eel River in the area known as West Logan.

Name also given as Joseph Boneparte) Barron

Title: PRDH - Programme de recherche en démographie historique Author: University of Montréal Publication: Montréal, Québec via internet subscription (names standardized per Jetté) Page: 22535

Title: Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region (1701-1911) Author: Denissen, Christian Publication: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, Detroit, Revised edition, 1987 Page: 43; 135; 340; 1031

Romatic interst in: Nancy Shwachco "Pottawatomi Princess" in the History of Lake Maxinkuckee (1908) by Daniel McDonald it is stated he was the son-in-law of Chief Nees-wau-gee - that he had married one of his daughters.

Settled in Vincennes in 1790; moved to Logansport in 1827. He was an old Indiana interpretor for General Harrison in the War of 1812 and was at the Battle of Tippecanoe. He had 4 sons and two daughters.

There is a hand drawn map. The land is located on the Wabash River and includes 1920 acres including Island [which would be Sabastain Island] it was surveyed in July 1827 by Chauncey Carter D.S. and is a true copy from the orginal plat. Surveyor General Office June 20 1829 Recorded Nov 21, 1836 in Bk. B. pg. 117 Edward Tiffin Sam Gent.

Patricia (Wilde) Zabriskie notes: Joseph Barron Sr. 4 wives - Josephine Gamelin was #3 Interpreter for William Henry Harrison & Chief Tecumpsah. Lots & lots of history on him. Have his portrait - very old, museum piece. Have pix of his grave in Barron compound. Settled in Vincennes in 1790, moved to Logansport in 1827. Sources: family records, Indiana records

Mention of Joseph Barron In Following Books:

The Land of the Miamis by Elmore Barce: The Governor [Harrison] set out for the council house at old Fort Wayne on the first day of September, 1809, on horseback, and accompanied only by Peter Jones, his secretary; a personal servant; Joseph Barron, a famous Indian interpreter; a Frenchman for a guide, and two Indians, probably Delawares of the friendly White River tribes. He travelled eastwardly toward the western borders of Dearborn county, and thence north to the Post. Joseph Barron, the interpreter, is thus spoken of by Judge Law: "He knew the Indian character well; he had lived among them many years; spoke fluently the language of every tribe which dwelt on the upper Wabash, understood their customs, habits, manners and charlatanry well, and although but imperfectly educated, was one of the most remarkable men I ever knew."... ... that the Governor on the eighteenth of September, dispatched messengers to Detroit to summon certain Delawares and Potawatomi who were absent; that on the same day he also directed Joseph Barron to go to the Miami villages along the Wabash to call in Richardville, one of the principal chiefs of that tribe. The records also show that while the Governor had some private conferences with some of the principal chiefs for the purpose of urging their support to his plans, that he addressed all his principal remarks to the tribes in open council of all the warriors, and at a time when four interpreters were present, to-wit: William Wells, Joseph Barron, John Conner and Abraham Ash, to translate his observations... ...Harrison resolved to make one more attempt. He took with him his interpreter, Joseph Barron, a man in whom he had the utmost confidence, and visited the camps of the Miamis. He was received well and told them that he came, not as a representative of the President, but as an old friend with whom they had been many years acquainted... ...A banquet followed, participated in by a number of the leading citizens of the town and adjacent country. Judge Henry Vanderburgh, of the Territorial Court, presided, and toasts were drank to the treaty, Governor Harrison, his secretary, Peter Jones, and the "honest interpreter" Joseph Barron....

American aerial county history series Volume: 4 (VERMILION) Drury, John, Chicago : Loree Co. - JOSEPH BARRON ARRIVES - The first American to explore the 'Vermilion Salines,' as they were some times called, was Joseph Barron, interpreter of Indian dialects for General William Henry Harrison. He is said to have visited the Vermilion River region in 1801, which was just a year after the Territory of Indiana was organized, with General Harrison as its first governor. At that time Indiana Territory included what is now Illinois. Although Joseph Barron realized the commercial possibilities of the Vermilion River salines, he made no move to develop them. After all, they were in the hands of the Kickapoos. But nearly twenty years later Barron returned to the salines and began the manufacture of salt in the Vermilion River area.

CLAIM-JUMPERS AT THE SALINES - In the same year as the 'Harrison Purchase' (1809), the Illinois country was separated from Indiana and became the Territory of Illinois. Left undisturbed, however, in the new territory were the Kickapoos of the Vermilion River region. And here they remained until Illinois was admitted to statehood in 1818. In the following year the Kickapoos ceded a large area of land, including what is now Vermilion County, to the federal government, and immediately afterwards departed from the east central Illinois area.

As soon as the Indians left, Joseph Barron re-appeared at the Vermilion Salines. But this time he was at the head of an expedition which planned on developing the salt resources of the area. With him were Truman Blackman, Lambert Bona, Zachariah Cicott and four Indians of the Shawnee tribe. With the Indians as guides, Barron and his associates tested numerous salt wells in the vicinity and decided they could be developed commercially. He and his associates then returned to Fort Harrison (TerreHaute) for iron kettles and other salt-making equipment.

A month after the Barron party arrived back at Fort Harrison, however, one of its members, Truman Blackman, secretly organized a second expedition to the Vermilion Salines. It was composed of five men who had not been in the original Barron group. On arrival at the salines, Truman Blackman promised to include each of his followers as a partner in an elaborate salt-manufacturing establishment.

Then he set out on an overland journey to the Illinois state capital at Vandalia, his purpose being to obtain a state permit to develop the salt resources of future Vermilion County. But instead of securing the permit in the name of Joseph Barron, or in the names of the men of the second expedition, Blackman got sole rights to the project in his own name only.

When news of this claim-jumping move reached Barron at Fort Harrison and the duped men that Blackman had left at the Vermilion Salines, they took immediate action to nullify Blackman's permit. A legal battle followed, and, after many affidavits were taken and writs issued, was not settled until 1824. In that year, to the satisfaction of all parties, Major John W. Vance was granted exclusive rights to the development of the salines.

FIRST WHITE SETTLER - Believed to have been the first permanent white settler of future Vermilion County was Seymour Treat. He arrived in the early part of November, 1819, and located near the salines then receiving the attention of Joseph Barron and Truman Blackman...

= = = =

Thomas B. Helms. History of Cass County, Indiana : from the earliest time to the present Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1886, 966 pgs. - pg. 435 - St. Vincent de Paul (Catholic)...The first work of this character, so far as is now disclosed by the records extant, was performed by Rev. Father John Claudius Francis (or Francois, as it was then written), about the beginning of the year 1838 purchased a small tract of five acres in the northeast corner of Lot No. 2 of the subdivision of three sections of land reserved to the children of Joseph Barron, by the treaty with th Potatawattomies, ,in October, 1820, of Harvey Heth and wife, the conveyance bearing date February 27 of that year...

Anonymous. Past and present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana Indianapolis, Ind.: B.F. Bowen & Co., 1909, 1375 pgs. pg. 65 & Anonymous. Biographical record and portrait album of Tippecanoe County, Indiana Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1888 & reprinted Evansville, Ind.: Unigraphic, 1972, 876 pgs. pg. 215-6 According to the instructions by him from the authorities at Washington, before taking aggressive steps to ascertain definitely the designs contemplated by the Prophet, Governor Harrison sent out two confidential agents. Major DuBois, of his staff, and Joseph Barron, ,his princepal intrepreter, with a message of peace of the Prophet's Town, requesting an explanation of his apparently hostile intentions. The Agents were kindly received by the Prophet, who disclaimed any purpose of making war upon the whites. These plausible representations were not satisfacory.

  A month later Mr. Barron was sent again. Upon arriving at the town, he was conducted with great ceremony into the presence of the Prophet, who was surrounded by a number of families from the various tribes. Here the attendants left him. Says Mr. Barron: "He looked at me for several minutes without speaking or making any sign of recognition, although he knew me well. At last he spoke, evidently in anger, 'For what purpose do you come here? Brouillette was here; he was a spy. DuBois was here; he was a spy. Now you come; you too are a spy. There is your grave - look upon it". pointing to the ground near where Barron stood. Tecumseh, however, possessing a higher degree of honor interposed, ands the threat was not carried into execution. This embassy resulted in little more than a promise on the part of Tecumseh to visit the Governor at Vincennes in a few days.

pg. 445 - Art - Famous Paintings - The pioneer artist of the Wabash valley, indeed of the entire state, George Winter (father of Mrs. C> G. Ball, of Lafayette), was beyond question the most gifted artist in the early history of the state... He daughter, Mrs. Ball, now has (or not long ago did have) nine oi8l paintings and thirty-eight water-color pictures by his brush....One is a life size of...and another is of Joseph Barron, the celebrated interpreter for Genertal Harrison for eighteen years...

Anonymous. History of Fayette County, Indiana : her people, industries and institutions Indianapolis, Ind.: B.F. Bowen & Co., 1917, 1295 pgs. pg. 28-81 In VOlume II (Treaties) pg. 101 of "Indian Affairs" (Senate Documents) it will be found complete, with the following title: Treaty with the Delawares, etc., (Sept. 30th) 1809. A Treaty between the United States of America, and the tribes of Indians called the Delawares, Putawatimies, Miamies and Eel River Miamies... Finall under the title "Sworn Interpreters". come these names:....Joseph Barron...

Anonymous. History of Miami County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1914, 910 pgs. - pg. 34 In the treaty of St. Mary's in October, 1818, Francis was granted a reservation of six sections of land on the Salamonie river and his brother Louis a reservation of the same on the St. Mary's. On December 2, ,1824, an agreement, witnessed by JOSEPH BARRON and General John Tipton, was entered into by Francis and Louis Godfroy to esxchange one section of these resevations, "the sole object and purpose of the exchange being that the brothers may live near each other", and they bound themsleves not to sell or otherwise dispose of the sections thus exchanged except by mutual consent".

  pg. 86 ...Some of the first person to visit the Wabash vcalley were Drouet de Richardville, Jacques Godfrey m Hyacinth La Salle, who was the first white child born at Fort Wayne, Captain Wells, who was killed in the massacre at Fort Dearborn, and JOSEPH BARRON. The last named acted as interpreter in the negotiations of several of the early treaties with the Indians and was General Harrison's messenger to the Shawnee prophet in 1810,  before the battle of Tippecanoe, to warn him against making further efforts to incite the Indians to hostility.

Anonymous. History of Wayne County, Indiana Chicago: Inter-State Pub. Co., 1884, 1623 pgs. - pg. 115 During the year 1810 Govenor Harrison frequently sent confidential messages to the Prophet's town and to the principal villages of the Indiana throughout the Territory, to assure them of the protection and friendship of the United States, and to warn them of the danger of encouraging the pretensions and claims of the Shawnee Prophet.

  Among the most influential persons sent on these missions were Francis Vigo, Toussaint Dubois, JOSEPH BARRON, Pieere Laplante, John Coner, M. Brouilette and William Prince.
  In the spring of 1810 certain boatmen, who were sent up to the Prophet's town to deeliver to the Indians their annuity of salt, were insulted and called "American Dogs", the Indians refusing to receive the salt. In July Govenor Harrison sent the Prophet a letter,  deesigned to convince him of his folly in attempting to make war upon the United States; but it seems to have had little effect. Mr. Barron - who carried the letter -0- was conducted, in a ceremonious manner, to the place where the Prophet was sitting, surrounded by a number of his followers, and left standing at a distance of some twelve feet from him. The Prophet looked steadily at him for several minuutes, without saying a word or making a sign of recognition. At length he demanded, "For what purpose do you come here? Brouilette was here; he was a spy. Dubois was here; he was a spy. Now you have come; you, too, are a spy. There is your grave; look on it!" pointing to the ground near where Barron stood. His intent was evidently to frighten the messenger. But just at theat moment Tecumseh entered from one of the lodges. He told him his life was not in danger, and wished to know the object of hisvisit. Aftter receiving Mr. Barron's answer Tecumseh informed him that he would soon visit Vincennes in person and have a interview with General Harrison accordingly, on the 12th of August, atteneded by seventy-five warriors, he arrived at Vincennes,and from that time until the 22d Govenor Harrison was almost constantly in holding conference with Tecumseh.

Beckwith, H. W.. The Illinois and Indiana Indians Chicago: Fergus Print. Co., 1884, 98 pgs. - pg. 164-5 [footnotes] ...Indiana agents interpreter, Mr. Joseph Barron, a man whose long residence among the Indians, extensive acquaintance with their character, together with his unimpeachable veracity, confer much value upon all the information obtained from him." Joseph Barron for many years was the interpreter, friend, and constant companion of Gen. Harrison during all his offical career, as Goveraor of the Indiana Territory and Commander of the military forces of the Northwest, in the war oif 1812, assisting, as interpreter, ,at all of the treaties conducted by Gov. Harrison, and acting as spy, guide, and confidential messenger in the many perilous movements of his principal, durin these time of troublesome Indian difficulties. He was a native Frenchman, of Detroit, and died July 31, 1843, at the home of his son, on the Wabash, near Logansport, Indiana.

Carlisle, Fred.. Chronography of notable events in the history of the  Northwest Territory and Wayne County Detroit: O.S. Gulley, Bornman & Co., printers, 1890, 487 pgs.  - pg. 82 SPRINGWELLS -  Springswells is contemporary with Betriot, and was settled mainly by French. Joseph Barron was the first justice of the peace;.....

Goodrich, De Witt C.. An illustrated history of the state of Indiana Indianapolis: J. W. Lanktree & Co., 1876, 735 pgs. - pg. 375 [Cass COunty - Historical and Descriptive] Not long after the settlement of Major Bell, Hugh B. McKeen, an Indian trader, from Fort Wayne, erected a trading house and domicil on the banks of the Wabash, a few rods above the mouth of Eel river, near where McKeen street In the fall of the same year, JOSEPH BARRON an interpreter of considerable celebrity, with his family moved also from, Fort Wayne and settled on the reservation granted to his children by the treaty of October 16, 1826 below the mouth of Eel river, residing temporarily in the house before built and occupied by Edward McCartney as a trading-house, until the completion of his own, a half mile above.

Thompson, Charles N.. Sons of the wilderness : John and William Conner Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1937, 298 pgs. - pg. 55....There came to Vincennes a man, well mannered, and apparently well educated, but poor in appearance, who was thought to be a French spy. His mysterious appearance corroborated rumors that agents of the French or Spanish governments were trying to encourage hostile measures against the United Stotes. Information concerning him came from a Miami Indian, Long Beard, and from John Conner, a young man who was described to Harrison as living with the Delawares on White River. The spy got away before Harrison received orders to arrest him, but the incident left upon him a favorable impression of COnner's acumen and loyalty". At this time JOSEPH BARRON was the governor's chief interpreter, and in his judgement and loyalty Harrison had full confidence. It was well to keep John Conner in mind. He needed men of his type.

 pg. 56 ...John Conner was for the first time appointed sworn interpreter and acted with JOSEPH BARRON in connection with the Goruseland treaty...
 pg. 57 - Since Jefferson shared these views, authority was given Harrison in July,  1809, to arrange for a treaty with the Indianas at Fort Wayne in September of that years...other intrepreters...Joseph Barron
 pg. 58-9 - Not long after the Fort Wayne Treaty, of 1809, rumblings by the Indiana became audible...Among these sent by Harrison to investigate the conditions and tempers of the Indians was John Conner. He and other scouts...Joseph Barron, Michael Brouillette...all made the same report of uneasiness...

Wright, W. Swift. Pastime sketches : scenes and events at "The Mouth of Eel" on the historic Wabash Logansport, Ind.?: unknown, 1907, 220 pgs. - pg. 42 - ...Joseph Barron settled in June 1827. He was the celebrated Indiana interpreter, and was in the battle of Tippecanoe, where he did valiant service for General Harrison, in command there.

 pg. 86-7 - The lasrgest collection of Winter pictures in existencee is owned by his daughter, Mrs. C. G. Ball, of Lafayette. There are nine oil paintings...There is a life size head of...and another of Joseph Barron, the famous interpreter, who serverd General Harrison for eighteen years and who aidedd General Tipton and A. C. Pepper in their negotiations with the Indians....

Harper's New Monthly Magazine; Vol 27 Issue 157 June 1863 New York Harper & Bros. - Scenes of the War of 1812 by Benson J. Lossing pg. 145-79 - - pg. 146-7 - - As early as the spring of 1810 the Indians at The Prophet's Town gave unmistakable evidences of hostile intentions. Harrison adopted conciliatory measures toward them. He hent them friendly messages, and receivced for a time loyal but deceptive replies. His most trusted and effiecent agent was JOSEPH BARRON, a kindhearted interpreter, of French descent, who possessed and deserved the respect of all the tribes. Even he was at length received by the Prophet in an unfriendly spirit. "For what purpose do you come?" angrilly exclaimed the impostor on one occasionm. "Brouillette was here; he cam as a spy. DuBois was here; he was a spy. Now you have come. You, too, are a spy." Then pointing to the ground, he said, vehemently, "There is you grave: look at it!" At that moment Tecumseh appeared, and assured Barron of his personal saftey, and promised to visit Governor Harrison at Vincennes. This promise was fulfilled on the 12th of August (1910), when he suddenly appeared, with four huhndred armed warriors, to the great alarm of the inhabitants. His bearing was haughty, and his words were imsolent and defiant. When invitied to the Govenor's house to hold a council, he saud, Houses were built for you to hold council, in; Indians hold theirs in the open air!" He then tool a position under some trees in front of the house; and unabashed by the largge assemblage of people before him, he opened the business with a speech marked by great dignity and native eloquence. Whe he had concludedd one of the Governor's aids said to the Cheif through Barron, the interpreter, and pointing to a chair, "Your father requests you to take a seat at his side." The cheif drew his mantle around him, and standing erect, said, with scroinful tone "My father! The Sun is my father and the Earth is my mother; on her bosom I will repose." - and then seated himself upon the ground. The council was a stormy one, and some hostile demonstrations were made by the Indiana; but it finally broke up with an apparently friendly spirit.

  .... Barron was sent to the shawnoese brothers to assure them that the Govenor was well prepared for war with all the tribes combined, and to sell them that unless they put a stop to the outrages complained of, and ceased their wearlike movements, he should attack them....

NOTE: on page 146 their appears a p[icture of Joseph Barron.

Harriet Monshor - wrote: Joseph Barron b. Jan. 1773 d. Dec. 12, 1843 His Ancestors came from france to Quebec Canada, about 2 cetury ago about 1749. The Family moved westward and settled a Walden in the vicinity of Detriot then Joseph was born in Jan. 1773. Tradition says that Joseph Barron had two brtohers: Napoleon and Peter. Whose decesendants are living in Detriot and Canada. Joseph Barron settled at Vincennes, Knox, Indiana. 1790 He spoke many Indiana dialects. He acted as interpeter to the Indians. In 1798 he was married to [-?-] Jerceaux sister to the ELder Michael Brouillette by whom he had one child. Mrs. Barron lived but little more than a year after her marriage. The child died soon after. Joseph Barron remained a widower about a year and a half and them married Miss Josephine Gamelind aughter of Pierce Gamelien Sr. one of the most prominent citizens of Vincennes, Knox, Indiana. By this marriage he was the father of 7 children 5 sons and 2 daughters of which: 1) J oseph 2) Peter 3) Anthony Wayne 4) Napoleon B. 5) Mary Ann Joseph Barron after the death of his second wife had an Indiana wife Nancy Sevahgo she lived to be an advanced age andthe possesor of some wealth near St. Joseph, Missiouri.


1. Dr. Jehu Z. Powell, History of Cass County, Indiana, 1913 (The Lewis Publishing Co. Chicago and New York.), May 1961. "Cemeteries of Logansport & Eel townshi

Barron Private Burial Ground 
This spot, once sacred to the pioneer dead, is loctaed about one-half mile west of the present city limits and sixty rods south of Dunkirk schoolhouse, on the Barron farm. 

This burial ground is situated on a sandy knoll in the midst of a field where at this time maybe found the broken remnants of five marble slabs, upon which may be deciphered with difficulty, the following inscriptions: Sarah Ann, wife, of Peter Barron, died September 30, 1845, and other members of the Barron family from 1838 to 1846.

Joseph Barron Sr., whose remains lie here was born in Detriot,  January, 1773 and died in Cass county, December 12 1843. He settled in Vincennes in 1790, moved to Logansport in 1827. He was an old Indian interpreter for General Harrison in the War of 1812, and was at the Battle of Tippecanoe.
He had four sons: Joseph, Peter, Anthony and Napoleon B. and two daughters: Mrs. Mary Heath, later the wife of Anthony F. Smith, who built the second log house in Logansport."

2. Pharos Tribune, 28 May 1961, Sunday, Pharos Tribune, Broadway St.; P.O. Box 210, Logansport, In. 46947-210. " Monument Erected for Joe Barron

A Monument has been placed at the long unmarked grave, just west of Logansport of William Henry Harrison's 'Indian Interpreter' Joseph Barron. Though at a remote corner of the Clarence Briggs farm south of Dunkirk and not near any present road, the monument will be in plain view from the new bypass now being constructed. This was the "For Memorial Day" announceement Saturday by Pioneers of the L'Anquille Valley

Born in Canada, but rendering important service to the United States particularly the Vincennes and Ft. Wayne Areas, and after sensational adventures at Prophetstown near present Layfayette Barron spent the final fifteen years of his life in Loganpsort area serving as interperter for the government Indiana agency on Cliff Drive west of Anthony St., and also a member of the board that erected and managed Cass County's very first schoolhouse the sturdy one story two room brick structure which for years was the finest building in town. This was the fore runner of the Loganpsort 

Almost directly across the Wabash River from the Indian Agency his home was a larrge two story double log cabin where Washingtton School now stands near what today is the north end of the Cicott Street bridge. The house long one of the most imposing in north central Indiana was destroyed by fire in Spetember 1842, but a nearby street on Logansport's westside was later named in his honor.

Yhe monument was donated by Lionel Bellman and the concrete needed for erection was provided by Mrs. Emma Wolf

A picture of Joseph Barron and his monument is with the article; The inscription reads: "Joseph Barron Jan 1773 Dec 12, 1842 U.S. Interpreter Our Country and State owe him much. L.A.V.H.A."."

3. Logansport Press. " Historical Group Decorates Graves

As part of the local Memorial Day Observance...L'Anguill Valley Historical Associaction...

Henry Harrison's general staff member and official interpreter, Joseph Barron. For Barron the L'Anguille Valley group recently unveiled also a monument, somewhat larger than those formerly provided by the War Deparetment for graves of War of 1812 and Indian War veterans, but of native Indiana limestone..."

4. Pharos Tribune, Sep 1993, Pharos Tribune, Broadway St.; P.O. Box 210, Logansport, In. 46947-210. " Barron Cemetery Cleared, fencecd by Scouts

An Eagle Scout project for a Logansport High School Freshman...Although there are five graves in the cemetery, there are only two tombstones. The largest is for Barron, who knew various Indiana dialects and served as translator. He died in Logansport on Dec. 12, 1843. Barron Street is named for him. The other stone marks the grave of Nancy Shwachco, who is remembered on the stone as 'A Potowatomi Princess'. Lestie says Shweahco stayed behind when the Potowatomi were removed from Indiana to look after a sacred area near Royal Center that was preserved Leslee said there is also evidence that indicates Barron had a romantic interest in her. Barron was a French Canadian interpreter who had lived in Vincennes for several years and was married twice. He served as one of the govenor's official interpreters and was involved in treaty negotiastions with various tribes. One of the meetings in which he served as an interpreter involved with William Harrison and Tecumseh."

5. Thomas B. Helm, History of Cass County, Indiana, 1886 (Chicago Brant & Fuller, 1886), pg.482-3. " JOSEPH BARRON was of French extraction, his ancestors, some two centuries ago, having come over from France and settled near Quebec, Canada, whither the tide of emigration from that quarter was then drifting. About the year 1749 the family moved westward and settled at Malden, in the vicinity of Detriot - the center of an extensive Indian trade carried on by the French population. Here, in the mouth of January, 1773, the subject of this sketch was born. From his surroundings in early life, and his natural aptness in the comprehension of lanuage, in addition to a most retentive knowledge of the dialect peculiar to the numerous Indian tribes of the locality. Trading along the route from Detroit to "Old Post Vincennes" he gradually became familiar with the language of the year 1790. Early attracting the attention of the civil and military authorities at the "Post", his services as an interpreter were in frequent demand.

In the year 1798 he was married to Mrs. Barbara Jerceaux, sister of the elder Michael Brouillette, by whom he had one child.  Mrs. Barron lived but little more than a year after her marriage, her child dying soon aftfer

. He remained a widower about one year and a half, and was then married to Miss Josephine Gamelin, daughter of Pierre Gamelin, Sr., one of the most prominent citizenis of Vincennes. By this marriage he was the father of seven children - five sons and two daughters. Of these, only the youngest two survive: Mary Ann, wife of Anthony F. Smith, Wsq., formerly judge of the city court of Logansport, and Napoleon B., formerly one of the "Old Settlers' Society", of this county.

Upon the division of the Territory Northwest of Ohio, including the State of Indiana, and the appointment of Gen. Harrison as Territorial governor, Mr. Barron was chosen one of the governor's official interpreters. As an evidence of the estimation in which he was held by the Government authorities, we find his name connected with nearly every important treaty and council with the Indiana in the Northwest from 1803 until 1843, as special interpreter. Gen. Harrison, Gen. Hopkins, and other officers, in their reports to the Department of Washington, speak of his qualities as an interpreter, and of the efficient services rendered by him, as unequaled in the accuracy of his knowledge of the language and characteristics of every Indian tribe on the Wabash. In the month of May, 1810, he was intrusted by Gen. Harrision with the execution of a most hazaroue enterprise, that of conveying to the hostile Indians, assembled at the Prophet's Town, on the Upper Wabash, a talk, concerning the policy pursued by them. Having delivered his message, he was brought before the Prophet, who taunted him with being his prisioner, ,and that he should be immediately put to death, at the same time pointing to an open grave, newly made, saying: "Yhere is your grave". This threat would, no doubt, have been executed but fot the interposition of Tecumseh, who demanded his release, saying: "The flag of truce, born by him, has always been respected, and shall be now!" Again, on the 128th of August, of the same year, he officiated as interpreter, at the celebrated council at Vincennes, between Gen. Harrison and Tecumseh, when the latter contradicted the Governor's statements, and, with his warriors present, in violation of the terms of the conference, srang up, with tomahawks raised, meditating an attack. The cool promptness of the Govenor and his guards, however, soon put an end to the movements of the savages. On a subsequent occasion, when acting under the Governor's instructions, in company with Gen. Walter Wilson, through the trenchery of Tecumseh's brother,  Prophet, he and his companion were condemned to die, but were relieved from their perilous situation by the timely interposition of Tecumseh himself, by whom, also, they were guided out of danger.  In the battle of Tippecanoe, which occured on the 7th of November 1811, he bore a conspienons part, from the intimate knowledge of the character and movement of the savages. Many other striking incidents of his career might be related, but space will not permit. Mr. Barron was above the medium height, of affable manners, and easy address, honored and respected by all for the strict integrity of his life and his conduct of public affairs. Although surrounded by numerous opportunities for pecunuary gain, he yielded not to temptation, preferring to eat the bbead of his honest toil. 

He died on the 12th of December, 1843, at peace with all the wolrd, having finished the work given him to do. He was buried with military honors."

6. United States Census, 1830, M19-27 Cass Co. In. pg. 8. " Barren, Joseph Males: 1 - 5 to 10 [1820-25]; 1- 10 to 15 [1815-20]; 1 15 to 20 [1810-15]; 1 20 to 30 [1800-10]; 1 30 to 40 [1790-1800]; 1 40 to 50 [1780-90] Females: 1 - 5 to 10 [1815-20]; 1 - 40 to 50 [1780-90]."

7. St. Xavier Parrish Vincennes, Knox, Indiana Records, Indiana State Library, Genealogy Divison, Indianapolis, Indiana. "NOTE: The following is a re-typed copy of information the family received in 1955 from the St. Xavier Parrish in Vincennes, IN. These are the records that mentioned Joseph Barron's name....Compiled by Caroline Dunn, Feb. 1954, in connection with letter to Miss Alameda McCollough, Lafayette, Feb. 9, 1954, in Indiana Historical Society Library files.". " Born January 1773, Ft. Malden, Amherstburg, Ontario (someone hand wrote this note)."

8. Pharos Tribune, A-3, Friday August 29, 2003, Pharos Tribune, Broadway St.; P.O. Box 210, Logansport, In. 46947-210. " PREFACE: The genealogical data about wives and children are wrong in this article.


It is hard to imagine anyone being able to speak 17 languages and dialects and interpret rapidly and correctly. Govenor William Henry Harrison was particularly fond of Joseph as he could interpret important speechs from many different Indiana Indian tribes without confusion and usin all the nuamces of meaning that were necesssary to placate the Indians.

Joseph's family came from France in the early 1700's and first settled in Quebec. They moved to the Detriot area in 1748 and became traders with the Native Americans. Joseph was born in January, 1773. His father was extremely adept in language and Joseph learned many of the languages from his father. He became a fur trader and traveled throughout the whole Wabash area learning the languages and trading for furs. He moved to Vincennes in 1790 and made that his home.

Governor Harrison chose Joseph Barron (or Barronte) as his chief interpreter. He was involved in nearly every major treaty made with the Indians between 1803 and 1843. One of the most interesting engagements that Joseph had with the Indians was when Governor Harrison sent him and General Walter Wilson to speak with Tecumseh and the Prophet. Governor Harrison was trying to convince the Indians that war was not the best means of solving the land problem. The Prophet was so incensed with the White Man's incursions into Indian Territory that he condemned both General Wilson and Barron to death. Tecumseh was able to convince his brother that killing the two emissaries was not the prudent thing to do. The two men returned to Vincennes and gave a full report to Governor Harrison.

Both General Wilson and Joseph Barron were involved in the Battle of ippecanoe and cintinued to serve Governor Harrison for many years.

Joseph Barron married Barbara Terceaux in 1798. Barbara became pregnant soon after they were married and died in chidlbirth. He married Josephine Gamelin after one and a hlaf years. They had seven children with only two surviving to adulthood. Mary Ann who married Harvey Heth and leter married Anthony F. Smith who was a leading judge of Logansport. Napoleon was the only son to survive, and he became a leading judge of Cass county.

Because of Joseph's great help as interpreter fro Governor Harrison the Federal Government gave him a large land grant along the Wabash River just west of Logansport. Most of the land deeds for the property on the west side of Logansport give Barron as the first owner of the land. Many dded have Mary Ann Heth listed and some have Napoleon Barron listed in the deeds.

On Sept 5, 1838, Joseph Barron was appointed as the official emigration interpreter for the Pottawatomie Indians. When the group arrived in Logansport near what is now Memorial Hospital. Joseph became seriously ill and was unable to continue the trek. After a few days, he recovered his helath and hurried to overtake the slowly moving train of wagons and slowly walking Indians. Several Indians escaped from the wagon train. Jospeh Barron was accused of encouraging and assisting in the escapes but no proof of the accusations was ever given.

John Tipton received several letters complaining the Joseph Barron was dealing and trading with the Indiains and that it was unfair as he was the official interpreter and had more contact than they were able to have , John tipton, as the Indian Agent for this area, wrote to His Excellency Lewis Cass in Detriot, who was Superintendent of Idian Affairs for the whole Northwest Territory, that Joseph Barron actively engaged in trading and Trafficking, Whiskey, Merchandise and different kinds of produce" to the Indians and that his position as interpreter gave him an influence over the Indians that promoted "his own priviate views and speclations, to the exculsion and injury of other persons". The leter was mailed on Feb. 21, 1827.

Joseph Barron died Dec. 12, 1843. Josephine died Oct. 8, 1874.

The material for this article came from the Cass County Historical Society archives, the John Tipton papers, Will Ball articles, Barbara Wolfe research, and the History of Cass and Miami County."

9. Logansport Press, Thursday, May 31, 1951. " Vets of Indian Wars Honored On Memorial Day

Grave of Joseph Barron Near Dunkirk is Decorated

In the local observance of Memorial Day, this locality's veterans of early Indian Wars were not forgotten.

American soldiers killed by Indians in the 1791 Battle of Olde Towr.e, in Clay township, near Adamsboro, were paid their annual tribute by the citizens of Cass County Wednesday, under auspices of the L'Anguille Valley Historical Association of Logansport. American flags and a large memorial wreath provided by the Memorial Day general committee, Louis Kasch, general chairman, were taken to the graves in Seven Sections by a L'Anguille committee headed by Mrs. Nella M.Sendee of Logansport, now National Secretary of the Mothers of World War II.

Another L'Anguille committee headed by Tom gillespoe, devoted much of the day to cleaning up the fallen timber in war dance ring woods, privately owned, in which the killed-in-action soldier's graves are situated. the graves, on the Cox farm, near the mouth of Mud Branch creek, are inclosed by a steel picket fence and are marked with Georgia marble headstone unvieled in 1939 bu the L'Anguille group and coo-operating patriotic bodiesm and rededicated in 1941, in observances of the 150th anniversary of the battle.

At Barron Grave

Meanwhile, a third L'Anguille committee headed by Mrs. George H. Burnham of Logansport hiked to the long-abandoned Barron family cemetery, on the Briggs farm south of Dunkirk, and, in the name of the association, placed a similar brone marker and American flag on the grave of Joseph Barron,' territorial governor William Henry Harrison's famous old Indian interpreter, who took' an active part in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe and also War of 1812, as a member of the general's staff. Mrs. Burnham's committee also decorated the grave of Barron's great friends and associate, General Walter Wilson, who lies buried on the Chase farm, across Eel River from Riverside Park.

Charles D. Hume, president of the L'Liguille Association, announced that a recently found lenghty pamphlet bipgraphy of Joseph Barron, publishd bearly a century ago, sheds fresh light on the birth, in canada and boyhood experiences, as well as thrilling career and important public services of the famous old indiana interpreter, in whose honor Barron street, on logansport's westwide, was named."


Because of the dates of the treaties in the early 1800s, I thought that there should be some connection between JB and the Lewis and Clark expedition. I found a connection. Jefferson instructed Lewis and Clark to send delegations of Indians to Washington so that they could see our government and he could find out more about them. Apparently JB led the second delegation to Washington, arriving in Jan 1806, where they met with Jefferson at his home. There are a few accounts of the arrival in to Washington of the delegation. They traveled to Philadelphia and had cut out silhouettes made by a well known artist (Maybe Peale?). A set of the silhouettes are housed in the Smithsonian Institute. Joseph Barron is listed as Joseph "Baume" on the silhouette. This would coincide with the pronunciation of Barron if one had a thick French accent. This also coincides with a fragment of a letter from JB to Jefferson (housed in the Jefferson Archives) which is in French and is dated in January 2006. My minimal knowledge of French leads me to believe that it was not a positive sounding letter. One day I would like to ask someone to translate it. If you have any difficulty locating any of the above, I will track down the links to where I found the info. Have a great day! Kathy Barron Fox

During the term of President William Henry Harrison, Joseph was secretary of ***. A recent program on C-SPAN (1999) showed a beautiful large document that they believe to have been written by Joseph Barron. 'I was only half paying attention but believe it was a transcript of a statement by Tecumseh or his brother, the Prophet, or some other important Indian of that era.'" Kenneth L. Dyer, (1999).

During talks with the Indians at Fort Wayne, Indiana in September 1809, Joseph Barron interpreted for the governor, who "went to their camp about sunrise attended only by his interpreter Mr. Barron, in whose integrity he had the utmost confidence. He was received by all the chiefs with the utmost complacency and having collected them all he told them he paid them that visit not as the representative of the President but as an old friend with whom they had been many years acquainted and who always endeavored to promote their happiness by every means in his power. That he plainly saw there was something in their hearts which was not consistent with the attachment they ought to bear their Great Father and was afraid they had listened to bad birds. That he had come there for the purpose of hearing every cause of complaint against the United States and would not leave until they laid open everything that oppressed their hearts. He knew that they could have no solid objection to the proposed treaty for they were all men of sense and reflection and well knew they would be much benefited by it. The Governor requested that all the chiefs present speak in turn, and calling upon the principal chief of the Eel River Tribe, an old friend of his who had served with him in General Wayne's army, he demanded what his objections were to the treaty."

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Joseph Barron, Indian Interpreter's Timeline

12 Jan 1771/1773 Ft. Malden, Amheratburg, Ontario, Canada
September 12, 1802
Age 29
November 9, 1804
Age 31
Vincennes, Knox, Indiana
February 26, 1807
Age 34
Vincennes, Knox, Indiana
July 27, 1808
Age 35
Vincennes, Knox, Indiana
Age 37
Age 41