John Tipton

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John Tipton
John Tipton from Who-When-What Book, 1900
United States Senator
from Indiana
In office
January 3, 1832 – March 3, 1839
Preceded byRobert Hanna
Succeeded byAlbert S. White
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornAugust 14, 1786
Sevier County, Tennessee
DiedApril 5, 1839 (aged 52)
Logansport, Indiana
Political partyDemocratic
Military service
UnitYellow Jackets
CommandsIndiana Rangers
Battles/warsTecumseh's War
 • Battle of Tippecanoe
War of 1812
 • Battle of Tipton's Island
 • Siege of Fort Wayne

John Tipton (August 14, 1786 – April 5, 1839) was from Tennessee and became a farmer in Indiana; an officer in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe, and veteran officer of the War of 1812, in which he reached the rank of Brigadier General; and politician. He was elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 1819, and in 1831 as US Senator from the state of Indiana, serving until 1838. He was appointed as US Indian Agent and was selected to lead the militia in removing Menominee's band of Potawatomie in 1838; they were relocated to Kansas, Indian Territory.


Tipton, a son of Joshua and Janet Shields Tipton, was born in what is now Sevier County, Tennessee. When Tipton was only 6 years old his father was killed by Native Americans. His great uncle, also named John Tipton, was a prominent man in the area. When Tipton was an infant, his uncle's house was besieged by supporters of an effort 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 his 1st cousin Martha Shields, a daughter of John Shields of Lewis and Clark fame.[1] He became a farmer. Fighting various Native American tribes in the area, he commanded a militia unit of the Yellow Jackets in the Battle of Tippecanoe campaign in 1811, and on the 6th of June 1813, he fought at the Battle of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. He served as Major in command of two companies of Indiana Rangers at Fort Vallonia during the War of 1812 with Great Britain.[2] When peace was declared, Tipton was promoted to Brigadier-General.[3]

Tipton's marriage eventually fell apart and he was divorced in 1816.[4] He entered politics, being elected as a member of the Indiana State House of Representatives and serving two terms, from 1819 to 1823. During this time, he founded the town of Columbus, Indiana originally known as Tiptonia. He also participated in commissions to establish a new state capital for Indiana and to set the boundaries between Indiana and Illinois. In 1823, he was appointed as the United States Indian agent for the Potawatomi and Miami tribes.

In 1825, he married again, this time to Matilda Spencer, the daughter of the late Captain Spier Spencer. Her father died at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.[4]

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. A member of the United States Democratic Party, Tipton was 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 was selected as captain of the militia to organize the forced removal of 859 Potawatomi from the vicinity of Plymouth, to which they had agreed by treaty. He started the group on the two-month-long "Trail of Death" to Kansas. More than 40 of the natives died, most of them children.

Death and legacy[edit]

Tipton declined to run for reelection due to poor health, and his term expired a month before his death. He died in Logansport, Indiana by heart failure.[citation needed] He is interred in Mount Hope Cemetery in Logansport, Indiana.[5]

The towns of Tipton, Indiana,[6] and Iowa,[7] and Tipton County, Indiana are named after him.[6]


  1. ^ "Home". Retrieved Oct 27, 2021.
  2. ^ Allison, Harold (1986). The Tragic Saga of the Indiana Indians. Paducah: Turner Publishing Company. p. 246. ISBN 0-938021-07-9.
  3. ^ Pershing, Marvin W. Life of General John Tipton and Early Indiana History. Tipton literary and Suffrage Club. Life of John Tipton. Also on
  4. ^ a b Indian Treaty of 1826 - Tipton's Quest, by Carl Leiter
  5. ^ John Tipton Biography at
  6. ^ a b "Profile for Tipton, Indiana, IN". ePodunk. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  7. ^ "Profile for Tipton, Iowa, IA". ePodunk. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2012.

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from Indiana
Served alongside: William Hendricks and Oliver H. Smith
Succeeded by