Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Kosciusko county may have been the scene of a great battle fought between the Miami and Pottawatomie Indians shortly before 1800. The battle probably took place near the present site of Oswego. By studying bits of historical information we can put together an account which could very well be true. Legend has added the details of the progress of the battle.

It is a known historical fact that in 1795 the Miamis had control of the land along the Tippecanoe river in our county. Miami chiefs probably had villages at Monoquet and Oswego. The Pottawatomies were strong in Michigan, but had few if any villages in the land which became Indiana.

Between 1795 and 1800 the Pottawatomies moved southward from their Michigan homes pushing the Miamis before them. Each time they took another river valley it probably meant a battle with the Miamis. The Tippecanoe valley in our county was as far south as the Pottawatomies came. When white settlers arrived, the Pottawatomie tribes of Monoquet, Musquawbuck, Mota, Checase, and Benack had villages along the Tippecanoe. The Miamis were able to hold their Eel River homes.

When white settlers came to our county in 1833, they found human bones scattered over the prairie land near Oswego. The named the region "Bone Prairie." Questioning the Indians of Musquawbuck's village nearby, the settlers were told several conflicting stories. One account was that a smallpox epidemic had caused so many deaths in Musquawbuck's tribe that they never bothered to dispose of the bodies. The story told by most of the Indians, however, was that a big Indian battle took place on that spot.

Legend even gives us the details of the struggle. The Pottawatomies attacked at dawn and the battle lasted all day. Late in the afternoon, just when the battle seemed to "hang in the balance" the Pottawatomie leader was killed. At first this unnerved the Pottawatomies and they fell back. Soon, however, they attacked again and the Miamis were defeated shortly after dusk. Thus, the Pottawatomies took over the Miami villages along the Tippecanoe.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. May 16, 1953