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Henry Leavenworth
Henry Leavenworth (December 10, 1783 – July 21, 1834) was an Americanmarker soldier active in the War of 1812 and early military expeditions against the Plainsmarker Indians. He established Fort Leavenworthmarker in Kansasmarker, and also gave his name to Leavenworth, Kansasmarker, Leavenworth County, Kansas, and the Leavenworth Penitentiarymarker.

Early life and education

He was born at New Haven, Connecticutmarker, a son of Col. Jesse and Catharine (Conklin) Leavenworth. Soon after his birth his parents became alienated and his father moved with the children to Danville, Vermontmarker, where he was educated. He then read law with General Erastus Root of Delhi, New Yorkmarker; and upon being admitted to the bar formed a partnership with his preceptor which lasted until 1812.

Military career

He was appointed a captain in the 25th U. S. infantry. A few months later he was made major; was wounded at the Battle of Niagaramarker on July 25, 1814, and the following November was brevet colonel. He then served in the New York state legislature, and then he went to Prairie du Chienmarker as Indian agent, and on February 10, 1818, was made lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth U. S. infantry. In 1820 he began constructing Fort St. Anthonymarker from the Cantonment New Hope stockade.

In 1823, he led U.S. Army troops in the Arikara War, the first U.S. military expedition against a Great Plainsmarker Indian nation. While on duty in the West he built several military posts, one of which was Fort Leavenworthmarker, Kansasmarker, established May 8, 1827 as Cantonment Leavenworth, now one of the leading military establishments of the country. In 1825 he was made brigadier-general by brevet, and in 1833 received the full rank of brigadier-general.

In 1834 he oversaw the construction of a military road between Fort Gibson and Fort Washitamarker.


He was married three times, first to Elizabeth Eunice Morrison, with whom he had two children, and divorced, then to Electa Knapp, who died within the year, then to Harriet Lovejoy, with whom he had another child. Lake Harriet in Minneapolis is named for Harriet Lovejoy.

His son Jesse Henry Leavenworth was also a military careerist.


He died at Cross Timbersmarker, in the Indian Territory, July 21 1834, of either sickness or an accident while buffalo-hunting; qv George Catlin's "Manners,Customs,and Condition of the North American Indians", Vol.2, letter#44...."and I am inclined to think, as I before mentioned, in consequence of the injury he sustained in a fall from his horse when running a buffalo calf." while leading an expedition against the Pawnee and Comanche. His regiment erected a monument at Cross Timbers; he was first buried in Delhi, with his remains later reinterred at Fort Leavenworth National Cemeterymarker.

In addition to the fort, Leavenworth, Kansasmarker, Leavenworth County, Kansas, the Leavenworth Penitentiarymarker, and Leavenworth Street in Omahamarker are named after him.


  1. Dakota County Historical Society

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