Pay Order Signed by William Henry Harrison as Commander of the U.S. Army of the Northwest in the War of 1812

An uncommon autograph of his from the command in which he saved the Northwest Territory for the United States, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal

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William Henry Harrison was named secretary of the Northwest Territory – a huge tract of land composed of most of the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin – by President John Adams in 1798. As the territory’s first congressional delegate, Harrison helped obtain legislation that divided the land into...

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Pay Order Signed by William Henry Harrison as Commander of the U.S. Army of the Northwest in the War of 1812

An uncommon autograph of his from the command in which he saved the Northwest Territory for the United States, and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal

William Henry Harrison was named secretary of the Northwest Territory – a huge tract of land composed of most of the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin – by President John Adams in 1798. As the territory’s first congressional delegate, Harrison helped obtain legislation that divided the land into the Northwest and Indiana territories, the latter of which he served as governor of from 1801 until 1813. As governor, Harrison oversaw the efforts to gain access to and control of Indian lands so settlers could extend their presence and establish new territories. The Indians usually resisted the process, so it became Harrison’s task to take action against the Indians and defend the fledgling settlements.

In 1809, the native populations became fierce in their resistance. They were led by Tecumseh, who proved to be a tenacious adversary. In 1811, Harrison received permission to attack Tecumseh and his confederacy. But before he could, on November 7, 1811, warriors attacked Harrison’s force, and the Battle of Tippecanoe was underway. Even though he suffered casualties, Harrison emerged from the battle victorious. The stand at Tippecanoe would serve as a touchstone for Harrison and his future army and political career.

During the War of 1812, Harrison commanded the army in the Northwest Territories, defeating the British and Indian forces and killing Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. After the war, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for this service.

An invoice to the United States quartermaster at Springfield, Ohio, where a part of Harrison’s army remained as the rest moved north, even as it recruited men for the 1813 campaign. It was submitted by Griffith Foose of Springfield. “For house rent, fuel, bedding, attendance etc. for four men belonging to the Regiment Light Dragoons in the United States service from the 26th October till the 30th November 1812, left sick at Springfield. $18.00.”

On the verso, Harrison ordered the invoice paid. Autograph document signed, Headquarters, November 24, 1812. “The Deputy Quartermaster General will be pleased to pay the within account of eighteen dollars.”

Fosse has acknowledged receipt of the funds below the invoice on the recto. “Quartermaster Generals Dept. NW Army. Received of Col. James Morrison Dept. Quartermaster General the sum of eighteen dollars in full of the above. Griffith Foos.”

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