Jean Baptiste de Richardville
In the Miami language, Chief Richardville's name was "pin-iwa" meaning "wildcat."
Chief Richardville and his signature
Chief Richardville built his home in 1827.
He was considered the richest man in Indiana at the time of his death in 1841.
Today his house is recognized as the oldest Native American dwelling in the Midwest and the first Greek Revival style house in northeast Indiana.
Born in 1761, Richardville was the son of a French fur trader father and a Miami Indian mother - Tacamwa, sister to the Miami war chief Little Turtle.
Richardville and his mother were among the earliest entrepreneurs native to the Fort Wayne and Allen County area. Together they built a trading empire based on control of the "long portage" between the St. Mary's and Wabash rivers, joining two water systems and thereby completing a pathway for commerce that extended from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Learn more about Chief Richardville and his family by going to our blog at
In recognition of his role as a principal chief among the Miami people, the U.S. government provided $600 toward construction of a house for Richardville along the banks of the St. Mary's River.
The chief contributed some of his own wealth toward the house that eventually cost $2,200 when it was built in 1827.
In his spacious and elegant home, he reportedly entertained some of Fort Wayne's earliest civic leaders like Samuel Hanna, Allen Hamilton, and William Rockhill.
Following Richardville's death in 1841, the house was bequeathed through several generations of his descendents until 1894 when it passed out of the family.
The Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society acquired the property in 1991 and within recent years has restored the building's exterior.
Visitors may tour the interior of the house, see the room where Richardville died, view the large safe in which he stored his wealth estimated to be $23 million (in today's currency) at the time of his death, and to learn more about the rich Native American history of this area.
Join us the first Saturday of each month May-November for Miami Indian Heritage Days. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. and parking is free. A guided tour of the house is also included.
Upcoming Events at Chief Richardville House:
June 1, Sue Lester will display traditional Miami
clothing research and fabrication.
Andrew Knight, a new presenter at Miami Indian Heritage Days, will
Weaponry on July 6.
The August 3 program by Katrina Mitten will feature Native American bead work.
7, Dani Tippman presents "Miami Harvest" on edible and usable plants and
(Miami Indian Alliance of Miami Indians) will present programs on October 5 about wikiami building and cattail matting.
2-3 is Traders Days. Vendors, craftsmen and artists sell quality Native
American items including fine art, gourd work, beading, carved wood pieces,
corn husk dolls, Christmas ornaments, Native American shields, jewelry,
clothing, feather work, homemade baked goods and more.
Days events are free to the public and are open Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and
Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Todd Pelfrey, (center) History Center Executive Director, received a handmade box on behalf of the History Center at the National Historic Landmark Dedication. At left is George Strack and on the right is Chief Thomas Gamble.
The Atlatl is fun for all ages.
Native American Beadwork is just one of the art forms you can see at the Chief Richardville House.
Dani Tippman, a descendant of Chief Richardville, presents programs at the Chief Richardville House each year.
A long house is under construction on the grounds.
Traders Days wraps up each season at the Chief Richardville House.
The Chief Richardville House is open the first Saturday of each month May-November.
Adults - $7.00
Students (3-19) - $5.00
Seniors (59+) - $5.00
Children (2and under) - Free
History Center members - Free
The first floor of the Chief Richardville House is handicap accessible.