The city of Vincennes is the county seat of Knox County, Indiana. It is located on the Wabash River in the southwestern part of the state. As of the 2000 census, the population was 18,701. It is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in Indiana.
The French went to war with the Chickasaw nation, and in 1736, de Vincennes was captured and burned at the stake in the modern state of Arkansas. The trading post on the Wabash was renamed Poste Vincennes in his honor.
Louisiana Governor Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville next appointed Louis de Bellerive de St. Ange to command Post Vincennes. With little help from the colonial government, St. Ange was able to build up the small village and attract new tribes to trade. In 1742, he received a grant from the Piankeshaw for a million and a half acres north and east of Post Vincennes. The opportunity for land attracted many new French settlers, and the growing village was sometimes called St. Ange.
As the French colonials pushed North from Louisiana and South from Canada, however, the British colonists to the East continued to push Westward, and British traders lured away many of Indians who had traded with the French. The trade wars escalated in the Ohio country until the eruption of the French and Indian War.
Vincennes was far from centers of colonial power, and in 1770 and 1772, British General Gage received warnings that the residents of Vincennes were not remaining loyal, and were inciting native tribes along the river trade routes against the British. The British Colonial Secretary, Earl of Hillsborough, ordered the residents to be removed from Vincennes. Gage delayed while the residents responded to charges against them, claiming to be "peaceful settlers, cultivating the land which His Most Christian Majesty granted us." The issue was resolved by the new Colonial Secretary, Lord Dartmouth, who notified Gage that the residents were not lawless vagabonds, but English subjects whose rights were protected by the King.
In 1778, residents at Poste Vincennes received word of the French alliance with the American Second Continental Congress from Father Pierre Gibault and Dr. Jean Laffont. They revolted in support of the Americans, as did the local Piankeshaw Chief Young Tobacco.
Lt-Governor Henry Hamilton called it "a refuge for debtors and Vagabonds from Canada," and led an expedition from Detroit to reclaim the post. He then built up the fort and prepared for a Spring invasion of Illinois Territory. Instead, George Rogers Clark recaptured Fort Sackville on February 23, 1779 thanks to an Italian soldier and fur trader, Captain Francesco Vigo, who offered his financial assistance and services, even working as a secret agent. The episode was featured in the 1901 novel Alice of Old Vincennes by Maurice Thompson.
Although the Americans would remain in control of Vincennes, it would take years to establish peace. In 1786, Captain John Hardin led a mounted Kentucky militia across the Ohio River and destroyed a friendly Piankeshaw town near Vincennes. This led to a series of attacks and counter-attacks between Wabash Indians and American settlers. Finally, on 15 July 1786, forty-seven war canoes landed at Vincennes to drive the Americans back to Kentucky. The Indians warned the French in advance of their attack and assured them that they would not be harmed, but the French warned the Americans, who quickly supplied Fort Patrick Henry and waited out the seige. One American was killed and four wounded, and the war party left after destroying the Americans' farms.
In response to the attack, Virginia Governor Patrick Henry authorized George Rogers Clark to raise the Kentucky militia and mount an expedition against the warring tribes. General Clark gathered a force of 1,000 militia and departed Clarksville 9 September 1786, along the Buffalo Trace. The army spent ten days in Vincennes before marching north along the Wabash, but men deserted by the hundreds, and Clark was soon forced to return to Vincennes without any action taken. Clark left 150 men to help defend Vincennes, but this force soon turned into a mob, and the citizens of Vincennes petitioned Congress for help. Secretary of War Henry Knox sent Colonel Josiah Harmar and the First American Regiment to restore order. The Kentucky militia fled Vincennes at the approach of U.S. Regulars.
Colonel Harmar left 100 regulars under Major Jean François Hamtramck and directed them to build a fort, Fort Knox. Vincennes remained an isolated town which was difficult to supply due to its position, deep within Indian territory. Secure transport to and from Vincennes meant travelling with a large, armed party, whether over land or via the Wabash River. On 30 September 1790, Major Hamtramck led 350 men from Vincennes as far north as the Vermillion River, looking to engage some of the Indian villages which had been at war with Vincennes. They Kickapoo tracked the party, however, and evacuated every village along the way before the Americans arrived. Hamtramck was able to destroy some abandoned villages, but was unable to engage any war parties. Faced with desertions from Kentucky militia (as Clark had been in 1786), Hamtramck returned to Vincennes. The expedition had done no serious harm to the enemies of Vincennes, but it was able to distract some of the Wabash villages while Josiah Harmar- now a General- led a much larger expedition up through Ohio country towards Kekionga. Vincennes was not safe until conclusion of the Northwest Indian War in 1795.
This Flag for the city of Vincennes, Indiana albeit somewhat unofficial, is used by several areas around the city of Vincennes. It features the signature V, four fleurs-de-lis, symbolizing the city's French heritage, and the city's establishment in 1732. Similar in appearance to Indianapolis' flag, Vincennes' flag is more squared in appearance than Indianapolis' and has a diamond center rather than a circle center which represents the layout of Vincennes in a diamond-like formation. The white stripes emitting from the diamond represent Vincennes' part in the settlement of the frontier, being at the crossroads of many of the great pioneer trails.
There were 7,614 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 20.5% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,289, and the median income for a family was $35,424. Males had a median income of $27,029 versus $20,254 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,993. About 15.0% of families and 20.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 12.7% of those age 65 or over.
On November 4, 2007, Knox County joined Daviess, Martin, Pike, and Dubois counties in returning to Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-5). Controversy concerning time in Indiana has caused a change in the time zone of Vincennes on three different occasions since The Standard Time Act of 1918.
Unincorporated Communities should be added: Verne, Jordanville, Spauldingville