Sen. Brig. Gen. John Shields Tipton, (D-IN)

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Sen. Brig. Gen. John Shields Tipton, (D-IN)

Birthplace: Greene County, North Carolina, United States
Death: April 05, 1839 (52)
Logansport, Cass County, Indiana, United States
Place of Burial: Logansport, Cass County, Indiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joshua Tipton and Jennet Tipton
Husband of Matilda Polk Tipton
Ex-husband of Martha Jeanette Tipton
Father of Matilda Tipton; Capt Spier Spencer Tipton; William Henry Harrison Tipton; Joshua Tipton; George Tipton and 3 others
Brother of Rhoda Shields; Elizabeth Denbo; Agnes Edwards; James Tipton; Joshua Tipton and 1 other

Occupation: U.S. Senator
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sen. Brig. Gen. John Shields Tipton, (D-IN)

Shields Tipton (August 14, 1786 - April 5, 1839) was an American politician.

Tipton was born in what is now Sevier County, Tennessee. His father was killed by Native Americans. His great uncle, also named John, was a prominent man in the area. When he was an infant, his uncle's house was besieged by supporters of an attempt to create the 14th state in Northeastern Tennessee called the State of Franklin.

At the age of 17, Tipton moved to Harrison County, Indiana. In 1806 he married Martha Shields. He became a farmer. Fighting various Native American tribes, he commanded a militia unit of the Yellow Jackets in the Battle of Tippecanoe campaign in 1811, and served as Major in command of two companies of Indiana Rangers at Fort Vallonia during the War of 1812. When peace was declared, Tipton was promoted to Brigadier-General.

Tipton's marriage eventually fell apart and he was divorced in 1816. He eventually entered politics. He served as a member of the Indiana State House of Representatives from 1819 to 1823. During this time, he founded the town of Columbus, Indiana originally known as Tiptonia, he participated in commissions to establish a new state capital for Indiana and to set the boundaries between Indiana and Illinois. In 1823, he became the United States Indian agent for the Potawatomi and Miami tribes. Also a captain in the militia, Tipton was responsible for rounding up the uncooperative Potawatomi and forcibly moving them to Kansas in what became known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. In 1825, he married again, this time he married Matilda Spencer, the daughter of Captain Spier Spencer who died at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

In 1831, Tipton was elected by the state legislature to a seat in the United States Senate from Indiana to fill the unexpired term of James Noble who had died. He was reelected to a full term in 1832. He was a member of the United States Democratic Party and a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson. He served as chairman of the committees on roads and canals and Native American affairs from 1837 to 1839. In 1838, at the behest of Governor David Wallace, Tipton organized the forced removal of 859 Potawatomi from the vicinity of Plymouth and started them on the two-month-long "Trail of Death" to Kansas, which resulted in the deaths of more than 40 of them. He declined to run for reelection due to poor health, and his term expired a month before his death. He died in Logansport, Indiana, a town that he helped to found. The towns of Tipton, Indiana and Iowa and Tipton County, Indiana are named after him.


Past Grand Master Mason of Indiana


Tipton, John (1786-1839) — of Logansport, Cass County, Ind. Born in Tennessee, 1786. Democrat. Member of Indiana state house of representatives, 1819; U.S. Senator from Indiana, 1832-39. Died in 1839. Interment at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Logansport, Ind. Tipton County, Ind. is named for him.

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

TIPTON, John, (1786 - 1839)

Senate Years of Service: 1832-1839

Party: Jacksonian; Democrat

Photo from Indiana Historical Society

TIPTON, John, a Senator from Indiana; born near Sevierville, Sevier County, Tenn., August 14, 1786; received a limited schooling; moved to Harrison County, Ind., in 1807 and engaged in agricultural pursuits; served with the “Yellow Jackets” in the Tippecanoe campaign and subsequently attained the rank of brigadier general of militia; sheriff of Harrison County, Ind., 1816-1819; member, State house of representatives 1819-1823; one of the commissioners to select a site for a new capital for Indiana in 1820; commissioner to determine the boundary line between Indiana and Illinois 1821; appointed United States Indian agent for the Pottawatamie and Miami tribes 1823; laid out the city of Logansport, Ind., in 1828; elected as a Jacksonian (later Democrat) to the United States Senate on December 9, 1831, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Noble; reelected in 1832 and served from January 3, 1832, to March 3, 1839; due to poor health declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1838; chairman, Committee on Roads and Canals (Twenty-fifth Congress), Committee on Indian Affairs (Twenty-fifth Congress); died in Logansport, Cass County, Ind., on April 5, 1839; interment in Mount Hope Cemetery.


American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Blackburn, Glen A. “The Papers of John Tipton.” Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1928; Robertson, Nellie and Dorothy Riker, eds. The John Tipton Papers. 3 vols. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1942.

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John Tipton, one of Sevier County's most illustrious sons, was one of the early leaders in the State of Indiana. He was the founder of several towns including Indianapolis, the state capital, Fort Wayne, Logansport, and Columbus, which was originally named Tiptonia. John Tipton, first child of Joshua and Janet Shields Tipton, was born 14 August 1786 at the Shields fort, Middle Creek Area in Sevier County, Tennessee.

During his childhood in the turbulent frontier, he lacked a formal education, but was taught how to read and write by his mother. He learned the frontier's way of life and the Indian's way of life from his father, Joshua, who was killed by the Cherokee Indians when John was seven years old. He became the "man of the house" and when he reached the age of 21, he was known as a man of untiring industry and unquestioned courage. He had become dissatisfied with his station in lire and determined to find a new life in the old Northwest territory (Indiana).

In the fall 1807, he moved with his mother and his sisters to Brinley's Ferry, Harrison County, Indiana. He bought a farm of 50 acres in this area which he paid for out of money he earned by splitting rails at fifty cents per hundred. In the summer of 1809, a military company called the "Yellow Jackets" was formed near John Tipton's home. He became a member. It was commanded by Captain Spier Spencer. On the 10th September 1811 the company entered upon the campaign that culminated in the battle of Tippecanoe. In this conflict, John Tipton took over the command of Spier Spencer's rifle company on the death of his captain and was rewarded by a commission. He had the confidence of his own command and of his superiors; therefore, it led to his rapid promotion in the militia. He became major in 1812 and major general in 1822.

During this campaign, he kept a journal of the campaign of seventy-four days, which is said to be the fullest and most complete narrative of those operation during the War of 1812. (This was publishd by Indiana Historical Bureau, John Tipton's Papers, Volume I, II, and III.)

On 20 June 1811, he was appointed as justice of peace for Harrison County, Indiana. On 5 August 1816, he was elected sheriff of Harrison County under new state constitution of Indiana. He was re-elected again and continued to discharge the duties of the office until August 1819 when he was elected a representative to the State legislature.

On 11 January 1820, he was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives. While acting in this capacity, he was appointed with others to locate the permanent capital for the state. He also was appointed one of the commissioners to run the Indiana-Illinois boundary line.

John Tipton was offered, in 1823, the government position of Federal agent to the Indians of the Upper Wabash. He accepted an appointment of U.S. Indian Agent for the pottawattamie and Miami tribes in March 1823. On 24 May 1826, he was one of a commission appointed to negotiate with the Indians for the surrender of land. He was appointed as commissioner to negotiate with Eel River Miami for Thorntown Reserve on 9 January 1828.

On 9 December 1831, he was elected to United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Noble. He was elected for a full term (six years) as U.S..Senator for Indlana ln 1833. Polltlcally, he was a friend of General Andrew Jackson but he was opposed to the gteat man on the issue of the Bank of the United States. He believed that the, bank was a necessity, and its issues the best currency the people every had. He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and occupied a distinguished position in the order.

On the morning of 5 April 1839, he died in Logansport, Indiana. He was buried with the honors of war and in accordance with the rites of his cherished order, on Sunday, April 7, 1839.

John Tipton married circa 1807 probably in Sevier County, Tennessee to his cousin, Martha Shields, daughter of John Shields, gunsmith and scout for the Lewis & Clark Expedition. They had four children, three sons and one daughter. This marriage ended in divorce, July 1817, at Harrison County Circuit Court, Harrison County, Indiana.

He married second, 11 August 1825, to Matilda Spencer, daughter of Spier and Elizabeth Poke Spencer. She was born 1807 and died 14, February 1839.

John Tipton was a General in the United States Army,

United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and United

States Senator from Indiana

US Senator (1832-39). He was born to Joshua and Jenette Shields Tipton in Sevier County, Tennesee on 14 August 1786. He received limited schooling while living in Tennessee and in around 1807 moved to Harrison County, Indiana with his family. There he gained first military prominence when serving with the “Yellow Jackets” under General Harrison in the Tippecanoe campaign of 1811. During the war of 1812, he served as a Major commanding two companies of the Indiana Rangers at Fort Vallonia and by the end of the war had been promoted to Brigadier General. Tipton continued in public service throughout his life serving in the following capacities: Sheriff of Harrison County, Indiana: 1816 to 1819; State House of Representatives: 1819 to 1823. During this time, he was a member of two important Indiana State Commissions: in 1820, the Commission that selected a new capitol for Indiana and in 1821, the Commission to define the border between Indiana and Illinois; United States Indian agent for the Pottawatamie and Miami tribes: 1823; United State Senator from Indiana: 9 Dec 1831 – 3 Mar 1839. His first election to the Senate was to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator James Noble. He was subsequently re-elected in 1832 and while serving in the Twenty-fifth Congress, chaired the Committee on Roads and Canals and was a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs. In 1838, he declined his party’s nomination for a third term due to his declining health. He died in Logansport, Cass County, Indiana on April 5, 1839 and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery. Mr. Tipton was married twice and fathered four children. He first married his cousin Martha Janette “Jennie” Shields, daughter of John Shields a gunsmith and blacksmith that served with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The only child of this union was a son, Spier (variant “Spear”) Tipton, who was born in 1814 and died in 1847. He married, second, Matilda Spencer on August 11, 1825, in Harrison County, Indiana. Three children were born of this union, George T. Tipton born in 1828, died in 1873; Harriet B Tipton Dunn who was born in 1829 and died in 1887: and John Tipton who was born in 1831 and died in 1861. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=48439683" target="_blank jmtho1501)] Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 30, 2000

Find A Grave Memorial# 8349

John married his cousin Jennie (or Janette) Shields

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Sen. Brig. Gen. John Shields Tipton, (D-IN)'s Timeline

August 14, 1786
Greene County, North Carolina, United States
Sevier County, Tennessee, USA
Cass County, Indiana, USA, Indiana, United States
Indiana, United States