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The Fairbanks' Massacre occurred during the war of 1812. On September 12, 1812, Sergeant Nathan Fairbanks and his men were part of an ambush attack by the Native Americans. He and his men were taking supplies from Fort Knox to Fort Harrison when the attack happened. Only two men were able to escape and survive back to Fort Knox.


  • The Fairbanks' Massacre describing the events that took place.
  • A drawing of what Fort Knox looked like during the War of 1812.

Fairbanks, Indiana received it's name from the massacre that occurred on September 12, 1812. Fairbanks was leading around 12 men to Fort Harrison with a supply wagon. The Native Americans witnessed the small group leaving Fort Knox and took off ahead and hid until nightfall for the ambush. The Native Americans took fire upon the wagon when it made its decent down the hill the Native Americans were hidden at.

By taking the convoy by such surprise, all but two men were killed. Some reports say that Fairbanks was wounded immediately but continued to fight until the end with his sword. The rest of the men did not put up much of a fight with it being at nightfall and with so much surprise and confusion. 

The two men who survived were the driver of the wagon, John Black, and Private Edward Perdue. John Black ran and hid until the Native Americans quit looking and left the battle area. Perdue was wounded several places but managed to escape back to Fort Knox. 

Wolf, Al. Fairbanks' Massacre. The Historical Marker Database. August 18, 2009. Accessed April 01, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=21761.

"Fairbanks' Massacre." IHB: Fairbanks' Massacre. Accessed April 02, 2018. https://www.in.gov/history/markers/310.htm.

Tribune-Star, Mike McCormickThe. "HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: The Siege at Fort Harrison in 1812." Terre Haute Tribune Star. August 05, 2012. Accessed April 02, 2018. http://www.tribstar.com/news/lifestyles/historical-perspective-the-siege-at-fort-harrison-in/article....