Five Medals Village.
The Gathering at Five Medals is named after a Potawatomi village once located just south of present-day Goshen, near New Paris, under the leadership of a chief commonly referred to as Five Medals. Also recorded as Wonongaseah, or Wannangsea, from the Potawatomi Wa-nyano-zhoneya, Five Medals first appears in written records after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. He was a leader of the Elkhart River Potawatomi, and disappears from records shortly after the end of the War of 1812.
During his life, Five Medals was a signer of the First Treaty of Greenville and key member of diplomatic delegations sent to Philadelphia in 1796 and Washington in 1801. During these trips, he met Presidents Washington and Jefferson, and received the five medals which became his namesake.
Little else is known about the chief and his village. According to the personal recollections of soldiers, the village of Five Medals was destroyed by American military forces twice – once in 1812 and again in 1813. Each time, the village was deserted of all inhabitants – suggesting the villagers were warned about the impending raids. The soldiers’ brief descriptions indicate that the settlement was heavily involved in agriculture, with more than seventy acres devoted to growing corn, squash, pumpkins, watermelon, potatoes, beans, and other vegetables.
After the second destruction in June 1813, Five Medals and his village fade into obscurity.
The Gathering at Five Medals honors and celebrates the rich local history of the Elkhart Prairie and the many peoples who have called it home.
A living history festival.
Gathering at Five Medals is a living history educational timeline event geared toward the whole family. A visit allows people of all ages to become totally immersed in this area’s history, spanning early exploration, including LaSalle’s second expedition of 1670, through Indiana Statehood in 1816. The event is focused on life in the Northern Indiana and the Southern Great Lakes region during our pre-statehood years, and our mission is dedicated to the education of the area’s history, the demonstration of skills of the time period, and preservation of this precious piece of Indiana’s (and our nation’s) history.
Five Medals features numerous living historians, demonstrators, and reenactors, portraying everyday life in a woodland native Potawatomi village, French voyageurs and Dutch traders, explorers, frontiersmen, and military and artillerymen plying their trade with a real cannon! Blacksmithing, natural dyeing, leatherworking, woodworking, weaving, coppersmithing, and tinsmithing are also demonstrated.
This is only a taste of what to expect, as there’s something exciting happening along every path and around every corner of Five Medals! Explore and shop the many quality merchants for that special gift or treasure. There’s something new to see, learn and enjoy each and every year at Gathering at Five Medals.
Five Medals is held in River Preserve County Park, just south of Goshen, Indiana. It is a 1,000 acre linear county park that runs parallel to the Elkhart River, and includes a fascinating 1840’s era canal. The event setting is carved out of a relaxing and beautiful series of grasslands, wetlands, woodlands and transition areas. River Preserve exhibits Northern Indiana’s fall-colored hardwoods at their finest! Visitors will find several great food options available, along with rest areas and portable restroom facilities.