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A story of an early Crawford Countian

February 13, 2008
In 1805 Isom Stroud (1789-1860) left the familiar surrounding of Randolph County, N.C., with his father, John, and uncles, Jesse and Thomas Stroud. The Strouds started the journey with 19 other families through Tennessee and Kentucky to new Indiana territories. The Indiana Territory was looking very good by leaving behind high taxes, low prices for tobacco and Federalist extravagances in North Carolina.

John and his brother, Jesse, had acquired property from the Vincennes land office in April 1807 at $2 per acre in Clark County. Thomas Stroud settled further west in the less populated lands of Knox County. By 1808, Harrison County appeared from Knox and Clark counties, and by 1818 Crawford County appeared from Orange, Harrison and Perry counties.

A marriage license was issued to Isom Stroud and Sarah McCrary (also from North Carolina) on Aug. 24, 1811, in Corydon. Isom is listed an early settler in Harrison and Orange County early history records, but oddly is not mentioned in Crawford history text despite spending much of his adult life there. According to Professor J.M. Johnson in the April 5, 1906, issue of The Crawford County Democrat, Isham/Isom was buried in the old section of Marengo Cemetery and should be considered part of the War of 1812.

Isom, also known as Isham Stroud, joined the fighting force known as the Yellow Jackets of Corydon on Sept. 12, 1811, less than a month after his marriage to Sarah in Corydon. Isham was part of the 120-man mounted riflemen 4th Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Militia as a fifer (musician) under Gen. William Henry Harrison.

Capt. Spier Spencer (the first sheriff of Harrison County) led the Yellow Jackets Company, whose members dyed the cuffs and fringes of their buckskins or homemade wool coats bright yellow. The company from Corydon would have been a sight to see on the march with drummer and shrill fifer music playing. Isom was paid $7.33 per month, with 40 cents per day allowance for his horse.

The military campaign against the Native Americans led the Yellow Jackets along with other fighting companies to the Battle of Tippecanoe on Nov. 7, 1811.

I have acquired record of two accounts of heroic acts by Isham Stroud. The first book, by Samuel Duff McCoy, is entitled "Tippecanoe: Being a True Chronicle of Certain Passage Between David Larrance & Antoinette O'Bannon." The second book, by Arville L. Funk, is entitled "A Sketchbook of Indiana History."

In both history accounts of Isham Stroud, he was found helping the wounded Spier Spencer to a log from which Capt. Spencer continued rallying his men until a shot to the head ended his life. Isham was also shot in the hip, but he continued to keep the men's fighting spirit high with his fifer music throughout the remainder of the battle. It was reported that the shrill fifer music could be heard above the gunfire and roar of the battle.

Isham was then discharged from service Nov. 23, 1811, at Shakertown, Ind.

The Battle of Tippecanoe is periodically re-enacted on stage at the Outdoor Drama Theater of Lafayette, Ind. Isham is portrayed in the drama, as are others.

Isham and Sarah McCrary Stroud had 13 children and several grandchildren, including some grandsons who served in the Civil War. The graves of both remain unmarked in the Old Marengo Cemetery.

Addition information about Battle of Tippecanoe and Stroud ancestry can be found on the web search, www.frontier.net/~pmross/stroudsaga1.htm.

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