Countdown to the bicentennial of Chicago’s Fort Dearborn Massacre

The Barbershop: Dennis Byrne, Proprietor

By Dennis Byrne, Wednesday

 It’s August 15, and here’s why you should notice.

The Fort Dearborn Massacre is one of the first engagements of the War of 1812. It’s represented by one of the stars on the Chicago flag. It’s depicted on Michigan Ave. bridge tableaus that thousands pass every day without notice. It returned, albeit briefly, control of the old Northwest Territories to the control of Native Americans.

Yet, hardly any Chicagoans notice. It’s too bad, because it was important. For those interested in learning why and sampling the history surrounding it, below is a 5-minute lesson.

I would disagree with Judith Conaway, who put together this fine video, in some respects. She, reflecting current acceptable language, calls this lopsided engagement a “battle,” instead of what it really was: a massacre. As far as Native American revenge for the loss at Tippecanoe, that fight was started by Shawnee chief Tecumseh’s wacky brother, Tenskwatawa (also know as the Prophet) who told his warriors that the white man’s bullets couldn’t hurt them.

To get a fuller description of the massacre and the War of 1812, check out my forthcoming historical novel, Madness: The War of 1812. To be added to my list of readers who are interested in when the book becomes available in a month or two, email the request to me at Visit the book’s website at And like the Facebook page at

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