In 1794, General Anthony Wayne established Fort Wayne at the junction of the St. Marys and St. Joseph rivers in Indiana Territory. The soldiers at the fort came into frequent contact with several Native American bands, such as the Miami, Eel River Miami, Delaware, Shawnee, Muncie, Wyandot, and Potawatomi. In 1802, the fort established an Indian agency and factory, in order to secure the Indians' loyalty and to weaken their ties to the British in Canada. The agents furnished the tribes with agricultural tools, domestic animals, money, and other supplies. They also held councils, issued trading licenses, and acted as intermediaries between the Indians and the United States government. Between 1802 and 1815, John Johnston and Benjamin Franklin Stickney were the Indian agents at Fort Wayne.
John Johnston (1775-1861) was born in Ballyshannon, Ireland, was raised in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and, as a young man, worked as a clerk in Philadelphia. After the Revolutionary War, he served with General Anthony Wayne in his campaign against the Ohio Indians, from 1792-1793. He married Rachel Robison in 1802 and soon after was appointed Indian factor at Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory. After the dismissal of William Wells in 1809, Johnston took over his post as Indian agent. He became a paymaster and a quartermaster during the War of 1812, and served as an Indian agent in Piqua, Ohio, from 1811-1831.
Benjamin Franklin Stickney (1775-1857) was born in Pembroke, New Hampshire. He served Pembroke as justice of the peace and postmaster general from 1805 to 1811, when he was assigned to scout the British forces in Canada by Secretary of War William Eustis. In March 1812, shortly before war broke out, the military assigned him to be Indian agent for Fort Wayne, Indiana Territory. He helped defend Fort Wayne, and he traveled with the military in Indiana and Ohio throughout the war. In 1820, he moved to Fort Miami in the Maumee Valley, and served as subagent for the Ottawa and Wyandot Indians. He mastered several Native American languages and authored dictionaries for many of them. He invested in land in northern Ohio, and played an integral role in the border dispute between Michigan and Ohio over the newly founded city of Toledo.