The Indians were numerous on the Wabash, until recently - but it seems they have abandoned their country on the approach of whites. It is said that a singular circumstance hastened them away. A trader employed a steamboat to ascent the Wabash with merchandize. Several hundred Indians, having heard that a huge vessel which emitted fire and smoke, was ascending the river, and stemming its strong current without either oars or sails, collected at their lower towns to witness the phenomenon. Upon its approach these sons of the forest watched its motion with fearful admiration. The boat was about to anchor, and accordingly, the steam was let off. The loud hissing noise thus produced alarmed the natives. They instantly took to their heels, and fled in consternation and dismay; hundreds of them pressing tremulously up the river to escape from the horrible steam engine; and it is affirmed that they never recovered from the panic thus created, until they abandoned the country. (15)
"A Journey of Horseback through the Great West in 1825"