1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vincennes (Indiana)

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VINCENNES, a city and the county-seat of Knox county, Indiana, U.S.A., in the S.W. part of the state, on the E. bank of the Wabash river, about 117 m. S.W. of Indianapolis. Pop. (1890) 8853; (1900) 10,249, of whom 736 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 14,895. It is served by the Baltimore & Ohio South-Western, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, the Evansville & Terre Haute, and the Vandalia railways. Extensive levees, 15 m. in length, prevent the overflow of the Wabash river, which for nine months in the year is navigable from this point to the Ohio. The city is level and well drained, and has a good water-supply system. In Vincennes are a Roman Catholic cathedral, erected in 1835, one of the oldest in the West, occupying the site of a church built early in the 18th century; Vincennes University (1806), the oldest educational institution in the state, which in 1910 had 14 instructors and 236 students; St Rose Female Academy, and a public library. Coal, natural gas and oil are found near Vincennes. The city is a manufacturing and railway centre, and ships grain, pork and neat cattle. The total value of the factory products in 1903 was $3,172,279. Vincennes was the first permanent settlement in Indiana. On its site François Margane, Sieur de Vincennes, established a French military post about 1731, and a permanent settlement was made about the fort in 1733. After the fall of Quebec the place remained under French sovereignty until 1777, when it was occupied by a British garrison. In 1778 an agent of George Rogers Clark took possession of the fort on behalf of Virginia, but it was soon afterwards again occupied by the British, who called it Fort Sackville and held it until February 1779, when it was besieged and was captured (on the 23th of February) by George Rogers Clark, and passed finally under American jurisdiction. The site of the fort is marked by a granite shaft erected in 1905 by the Daughters of the Revolution. Vincennes was the capital of Indiana Territory from 1800 to 1813, and was the meeting-place in 1805 of the first General Assembly of Indiana Territory. In 1839 it was incorporated as a borough, and it became a city in 1856.

See J. Law, The Colonial History of Vincennes (Vincennes, 1858); W. H. Smith, “Vincennes, the Key to the North-West,” in L. P. Powell's Historic Towns of the Western States (New York, 1901); “The Capture of Vincennes by George Rogers Clark,” Old South Leaflets, No. 43 (Boston, n.d.); also chap. ii. of J. P. Dunn's Indiana (Boston, 1892).