Tippecanoe tinWm. Morford gets a lot of great stuff for his absentee auctions, which he’s been holding for something close to a zillion years. It seems as long as there have been advertising auctions, there has been Bill Morford.

The latest edition (Auction #88) features the usual assortment of high-quality advertising, but one piece in particular caught my eye. It was a tin I’d not seen before. And, as a lifelong Hoosier, it intrigued me.

The item is a vegetable can with a paper label for Tippecanoe Brand sugar corn by French Bros. of Brookston, Indiana. The paper label pictures an Indian in a canoe on the Tippecanoe River.

The Tippecanoe is one of Indiana’s other rivers. Of course, the river in Indiana is the Wabash. Yet, the Tippecanoe has a storied past in U.S. history. There’s the Battle of Tippecanoe, fought in November 1811 between forces led by William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana Territory, and Native American warriors under the guidance of Tecumseh. With Tecumseh out of town on a recruiting trip, his brother, The Prophet, was in charge, and things went poorly for the home team. At the end of the day, it was U.S. Troops-1, Indians-0.

There’s also Tippecanoe and Tyler Too, which has been described by Papa Wiki as “a very popular and influential campaign song of the Whig Party’s colorful Log Cabin Campaign in the 1840 United States Presidential election.” Not surprisingly, the hero of the song is Whig candidate William Henry Harrison (yes, him again).

The “popular and influential” part of the song must have been relative. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was popular and influential. (And, yes, you will go the rest of the day with that earworm drilling a hole in your skull. You’re welcome.)

The whole point here is to make a case that the Tippecanoe had significance in its day. That’s something French Brothers took advantage of when branding vegetables. It’s a strange thing, in a way, but it’s the way companies rolled in the early 20th century.

Bidding in Auction #88 closes this Friday, June 24. See the entire selection at morfauction.com.

Tippecanoe back

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