Local ‘War of 1812’ Vets Blazed Trail
Much of Indiana, including Madison County, was pioneered by veterans from the War of 1812. Discharged soldiers in the early 1800soften took the government’s offer of land in the newly-opened frontier instead of monetary payment for their military services.
Veterans with their extended families would homestead wilderness acreage, survive the hardships, live from their produce, and be buried in the earth they nurtured.
The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 is being celebrated this year, and from that “second fight for independence” there are 27 veterans buried in Madison County. The various records for their service are incomplete, most often giving only a name and dates. The scant biographical date we do have come from county histories produced in the late 1800s. However, we do find some interesting facts about some of these men and one rather important individual.
Responsible for Tecumseh’s Death
According to the American Legion’s Cemetery Record of Deceased Veterans, a pivotal figure in American history rests in the Gooding Cemetery located south of Frankton, Indiana, along County Road 700 North.
The Legion lists David Gooding from the Kentucky Militia as buried at this location. David Gooding was actually a captain and served as an aide-de-camp to Colonel Richard Johnson. As related by Gooding’s grandson, Judge David S. Gooding, in historian Samuel Harden’s The Pioneer, Captain David Gooding fought in the Battle of the Thames and was responsible for killing the Shawnee leader and warrior Tecumseh.
According to historian John Forkner, Colonel Johnson was wounded at the Battle of the Thames by Tecumseh, and it may have been at this juncture that Gooding killed the Shawnee chief since aide-de-camps stayed close by their commanding officers whom they would be assisting.
The charismatic Tecumseh and his many Native American followers were allies to the British. When Tecumseh was killed, the Native American contingent collapsed, and without the tribal forces, the British lost the Battle of the Thames, a turning point in the War of 1812.
The soldiers, under his command who witnessed the event, gave him credit, even as others of the time claimed the honor. Captain David Gooding was born September 4, 1777, and died May 17, 1853.
Why is Captain Gooding buried in Madison County, Indiana? He traveled with his adult sons and their families from Kentucky to the New Purchase in 1827. The large Gooding family helped settle areas in both Madison and Hancock Counties. Some of the families, along with Captain Gooding, migrated to Section 9 in Lafayette Township.
By Melody Hull, Secretary of the Madison County Cemetery Commission