Excavations at Elkhart Hill
Elkhart, as it is known today, was probably an important stop on the east-west boundary line that was patrolled by rangers during the War of 1812. Given its location and its visibility from the surrounding prairie, the hill may have served as the rendezvous point for the two troops traveling east and west. In the early months of 1819, James Latham and his son Richard began plans to settle at Elkhart. In the spring, they began clearing a site on the west face of the hill, near a spring and along the trace. With the help of Ebenezer Briggs (James's brother-in-law) they planted a corn crop and built a new cabin just above the field. That spring, most of the corn growing north of the Sangamon was to be found in fields cultivated by the Kickapoo, and the Lathams' new farm at Elkhart formed the edge of a new American frontier. This site soon became an archaeological one.
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