Howard County 175th Anniversary


Research to support the 175th anniversary of Howard County has revealed primary-source documents that present a new story about the early days of the community. This update to the county’s history will be presented on Monday, May 13th at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, 220 N. Union St.

Local history writer Gilbert Porter will share the new information at the monthly meeting of the Howard County Genealogical Society, which begins at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public. Sally Tuttle, a member of the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission, will also speak about current Native American activities and outreach.

In his lecture, Porter will take the listener back to the 1840s and show how primary source documents are helping current researchers better understand the complex realities of the day. From the 1818 “Treaty of Saint Mary’s” to the “Forks of the Wabash” in November 1840, Porter will paint a picture of life along the Wildcat Creek that attempts to replace the caricatures of Indians and white settlers with real people by describing the triumphs they celebrated and the progress they initiated, without ignoring the suffering so many experienced at the time.

“This new information is so important for our town and especially for my family,” said David Foster, president of the new non-profit Kokomo Early History Learning Center, which contributed to the research. (He is the great-great-great-grandson of Kokomo town founder David Foster.) “While the research doesn’t necessarily disprove many of the long-told anecdotes about my ancestor, it suggests he had a much deeper relationship with the local Indian community than we had known before.” 

“What started as an article for the historical society’s quarterly publication has grown into much more, thanks to the Learning Center’s extensive research into state history and also guidance on Indian history and culture from the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Ohio,” according to the society’s director, Dave Broman. “Their collective work gives us a better, more nuanced understanding of the birth of Howard County and how truly unique it is.”

The area of today’s Howard County was originally part of the “Big Miami Reserve,” collectively held land ceded by the Miami Indian tribe to the United States in the 1840 treaty. The county was originally named Richardville to honor the Miami civil chief Jean Baptiste Richardville, who died in 1841. Foster donated land to establish the seat of justice on May 15, 1844. Richardville County was renamed Howard County on Dec. 28, 1846.

More details are also available in the May 2019 issue of “Footprints,” the Howard County Historical Society newsletter. 


May 13, 2019, 6 p.m. Open to the Public
Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Downtown


Gilbert Porter is a local history writer. A U.S. Navy veteran, he has been a resident of Kokomo and Howard County since 1988. He has worked in organizational communications as both a practitioner and a teacher for more than four decades. He makes a living today writing business histories and family stories, volunteers for the county’s historical and genealogical societies and is the secretary for the Kokomo Early History Learning Center, Inc.

Sally Tuttle, a member of the Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma, is the vice chair of the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission, which studies and makes recommendations to appropriate federal, state and local governmental agencies regarding employment, education, health, housing and civil rights. A longtime resident of Kokomo, she actively promotes and supports the interests of Native Americans in Howard County and throughout the state. 


The Kokomo Early History Learning Center is a Kokomo, Indiana-based 501(c)(3) organization formed in December 2017 to promote outreach and education for students and the general public through research, volunteer efforts and event sponsorships. The Center focuses on local history up to 1865, and works closely with northcentral Indiana history organizations, Native tribes, and educational institutions.