On March 22, 1824, two families of Seneca Indians were camped between Fall Creek and Deer Lick Creek in Madison County. Their hunt for valuable animal pelts proved so successful that a group of six white settlers hatched a plot to steal the pelts, and in the execution of their plan brutally murdered all of the Indians, including two men, three women, and four children under the age of ten.
The prevailing attitude on the frontier was that killing Indians was not a crime, but this massacre sparked a fierce moral debate. Ultimately, four of the conspirators were placed on trial and sentenced to die by hanging.
Indiana Governor James Brown Ray pardoned one of the conspirators, a nineteen year old boy, but the other three conspirators were not so lucky. On June 3, 1825 a large crowd, including many Indians, gathered to witness the executions. It was the first time that white settlers had been legally executed for killing Native Americans.