The Hobart publishing Company.

History of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 11 of 57)
Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the amount of land ceded but comprehends also its effect in



opening up the Ohio valley for settlement. In fact, viewed
in one light, it may be considered the end of the Revolution-
ary war. It is also true that this was not the last treaty with
the northwestern Indian tribes, but measured by results it
stands pre-eminent. The fact that Ohio was applying for
admission to the Union in seven years from this treaty is
forcible testimony to its significance.

On August 3, 1906, the Greenville Historical Society un-
veiled a beautiful bronze tablet with this inscription: "Placed
to commemorate the Treaty of Greenville, signed August 3,
1795, by General Anthony Wayne, representing the United
States government, and the chiefs and agents of the allied
Indian tribes of the territory northwest of the Ohio river."

This inscription is enclosed in a circle surrounded by em-
blems of savage war and peace. The tablet is attached to a
large diorite boulder standing nearly five feet high, near the
spot where the treaty was signed.

The hero of Fallen Timbers lies buried in Pennsylvania.
After leaving Greenville he returned to that State fatigued
in mind and body, and was later appointed sole commissioner
to treat with the Indians of the northwest, and to take posses-
sion of all the British forts in that territory. In the autumn
of 1796, after receiving the surrender of Detroit, he embarked
on Lake Erie for home, but was seized with a severe attack
of the gout and died at Erie, Pa. Here his remains were in-
terred, but in 1809 his bones were transferred to the family
burj'ing ground in the village of Radnor, Pa. Over this grave
the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati erected a small
marble monument, which was dedicated with appropriate
ceremonies, July 4, 1809.

Thus ended the forty years of war which had scourged the
frontiers with blood and fire, and reduced the power and pres-
tige of the brave and war-like tribes of the old northwest,
opening the flood-gates through which the sons of western
Europe were to pour into and subdue the mighty unbroken
forests with ax and plow. Henceforth the remnants of the
once powerful tribes must seek shelter in the remoter west,
retreating before the ever advancing whites. As descendant,?
of the hard}- pioneers who occupied their lands, we ought not
lightly to forget their heroic traits and the bitter regret with
which they reluctantly left one of the richest and most beau-
tiful tracts of land that the sun ever shone upon. Neither
should we disregard the inestimable services of Clark,


Harmar, St. Clair, \\'ayne and the host of less prominent
soldiers, who blazed the way for all that followed. Harmar
was chagrined by his reverses and soon retired to private
life, dying in obscurity ; St. Clair was maligned in the east
and passed the declining years of his life amidst turmoil and
vituperation and died at an advanced age stinging from the
poor appreciation of his countrymen ; Wayne passed away in
the prime of life performing the arduous labors appointed
by his government. Let us raise suitable memorials to all
these servants of the state, at the places of their most noted
labors, that the fire of patriotism be not allowed to go "out in
the hearts of coming venerations.



About ten 3'ears after Wayne's treaty an attempt was made
to unite the scattered bands of Shawnee Indians then living
at the old Tawa towns at the head of the Auglaize river,
Tecumseh's party on the White Water and another party on
the ilississinewa. Deputations were sent out from the Tawa
towns inviting the other bands to join them and live together
there. Both bands responded promptly to the invitation and
met at Greenville, the "Big Ford," at which their trails con-
verged. Through the influence of Tecumseh's twin brother,
Lau-le-wa-si-kaw, it is said, the Indians were persuaded to
remain at that place. Accordingly a large council house of
hewn timbers and a village of huts were erected on the low
bluflf skirting the west side of the Mud Creek prairie some
two miles below the site of the old Fort Greenville, on land
now owned by James Bryson, A. D. Shell and Ida E. Cash-
man, in section nine, range two east, Greenville township.
About three miles to the southeast of this site arose the
gravel knolls about Fort Jefferson, later called the "Hills of
Judea." To the northeast, at a similar distance, could be seen
the elevated plain on which the city of Greenville, Ohio, now
stands. From this point trails radiated in various directions
through the primitive forest and across the prairie. From the
first the gifted, crafty and eloquent Tecumseh and his cun-
ning, cruel and boastful but extremely graceful and eloquent
brother Lau-le-wa-si-kaw (the "Loud Mouth") were the mov-
ing spirits. One hundred and forty-three members of the
Shawnee tribe had signed W'ayne's treaty, but Tecumseh
never becam.e reconciled to their action and used his influence
to counteract its effect among his people. The twin brothers
had brooded long over the degradation and declining power
of their people and the rapid advance of the white settlements.
In one of his moods of despondency, it is said, the cruel,
crafty, egotistical boaster "Loud ]\Iouth" fell in a swoon and
became quite rigid. Thinking him dead his tribesmen were
preparing to remove him to his grave when he revived and


said, "Be not fearful, I have been to the land of the blessed.
Call the nation together that I may tell them what I have
seen arid heard. Two beautiful young men were sent by the
Great Spirit who said : 'The ^Master of Life is angry with 3'ou
all. He will destroy you unless you refrain from drinking,
lying, stealing, and witchcraft and turn yourselves to Him."
Richard McNemar, one of the Shaker missionaries, mentioned
later in this article, gives this version of Laulewasikaw's pre-
sumptive call to the prophetic office at this time. He had been
a doctor, and a very wicked man, and while attending the sick
among his people at Attawa, in the White river settlement,
about 1805, was struck with a deep and awful sense of his sin
and cried mightily to the Good Spirit to show him some means
of escape. In his distress and confusion he fell into a vision
in which he appeared to be traveling along a road and came
at length to where it forked. The road to the right, he was
advised, led to happiness while that to the left was the way
to misery. By both of these paths, he said, the Great Spirit
had led him and finally instructed him to build his fire at the
"Big Ford" (Greenville, Ohio), and there preach to his
people what he had seen and heard and instruct all who might
come to him from the diiiferent tribes. It was a remarkable
experience, real or assumed, psychological or religious, and
from this time "Loud Mouth" assumed the name "Tens-kwa-
ta-wa," meaning "The Open Door," and became known among
his people as "The Prophet." His sj^stem of religion was a
jumble of the superstitions and prejudices of his own people
intermingled with many of the teachings of the Christian mis-
sionaries with whom he had probably come into contact dur-
ing his wanderings. In spite of his former disrepute, large
numbers of his people came from their scattered settlements
in Ohio and Indiana, and many from distant tribes of other
Indians, to hear his eloquent, and apparently sincere, plead-
ing for a return to the simple life of their forefathers. Ap-
parentl}- there was nothing very objectionable in his system
of morals and religion and it seemed at first that he had the
good of his people at heart. In this connection we quote from
his reputed speech to General Harrison at Vincennes :

"Father, it is three years since I first began the system of
religion which I now practice. The white people and some
of the Indians were against me, but I had no other intention
but to introduce among the Indians those good principles of
religion which the white people profess. The Great Spirit


told me to tell the Indians tliat he made them, and made the
world, that He had placed them, on it to do good, and not evil.
I told the redskins that the way the)' were in was not good,
and they should abandon it ; that we ought to consider our-
selves as one man, but we ought to live agreeable to our sev-
eral customs, the red people after their mode and the white
people after theirs ; particularly that they should not drink
whisky ; that it was made for the white people, who knew
how to use it, and that it was the cause of all the mischief the
Indians sufifer; and that they must listen to Him, as it was
He who made us. Determine to listen to nothing bad ; do not
take up the tomahawk, should it be ofi'ered by the British or
bv the Long Knives ; do not meddle with anything that does
not belong to you, but mind your own business and cultivate
the ground, that your women and children may have enough
to live upon."

\\"hatever may have been his original motive he seems to
have departed somewhat from his good intentions and
allowed his shrewd and talented brother to develop the politi-
cal side of this semi-moral and religious revival, and mightily
increase his prestige as chief. This Tecumseh did by urging
his numerous visitors to lay aside former tribal animosities,
unite in one great confederacy, on the order of that formed
by Pontiac, and thus make a united stand against the further
advance of the whites.

For some reason, probabl)' in order to keep the secrets of
their many conferences and connivances from their fellow
tribesmen, the twin brothers soon left Prophetstown and es-
tabHshed themselves on a knoll at the junction of Greenville
and ]\Iud Creeks, just opposite the old fort and fording place,
now known as Tecumseh's Point.

The spread of witchcraft and the fear of "The Prophet"
among the neighboring tribes had such a detrimental influ-
ence that Governor Harrison sent a special message to the
Delawares warning them against his false doctrines. Among
other things he said, "Who is this pretended prophet who
dares to speak in the name of the Great Creator? Examine
liim. Is he more wise and virtuous than you are yourselves,
that he should be selected to convey to you the orders of God.
Demand of him some proofs at least of his being the mes-
senger of the Deity. If God has really employed him. He has
doubtless employed him to perform miracles that he may be
known and received as a prophet. If he is really a prophet.


ask of him to cause the sun to stand still, the moon to alter
its course, the rivers to cease to flow, or the dead to rise, from
their graves. If he does these things, you may believe that
he has been sent from God." This challenge came at an un-
fortunate time. An eclipse of the sun was to occur in 1806,
and the prophet seems to have heard of this fact from the
whites. Taking advantage of the ignorance and superstition
of his people he boldly announced that he would darken the
sun on the appointed day, and when the event occurred he
stood in the midst of his affrighted brethren and reminded
them of his recent prophecy. This stroke convinced the In-
dians of his supernatural power and greatly increased his
prestige. In the spring of 1807, it is said, the Prophet had
gathered some four hundred Indians about him, who were
greatly stirred by religious fanaticism and liable to carry out
the instructions of the twin brothers, whatever they might be.

About this time William Wells, the Indian agent at Fort
Wayne, dispatched Anthony Shane, a half-blood Shawnee, to
Tecumseh and the Prophet, requesting them and two of their
chiefs to visit him that he might read to them a letter which
he had just received from the Great Father, the President of
the United States.

Shane delivered his message to the council, at which Te-
cumseh arose with characteristic haughtiness and said, "Go
back to Fort Wayne and tell Captain Wells that my fire is
kindled on the spot appointed by the Great Spirit above; and
if he has anything to commimicate to me, he must come here.
I shall expect him in six days from this time." Shane returned
with this message but was sent back at the appointed time
with a copy of the President's letter requesting them to move
beyond the boundary agreed upon at the treaty of Greenville,
and promising the assistance of the government in the accom-
plishment of this enterprise. Because Captain Wells had not
delivered the message in person, Tecumseh showed great
indignation and addressed the council in a long, fiery and
eloquent speech, at the conclusion of which he turned to Shane
and said : "If my father, the President of the Seventeen Fires,
has anvthing more to say to me, he must send a man of note
as his messenger. I will hold no further intercourse with
Captain Wells."

Much activity was now manifested among distant tribes
and the Prophet's headquarters were thronged with visitors.
Speaking of this time Eggleston says:


''The stir among the Indians went on increasing and at the
last of May it was estimated that as man^- as fifteen hundred
Indians had passed and repassed Fort Wayne on visits to the
Prophet. Many of these were from remote nations. There
was a great assembling of councils ; messengers were sent
from tribe to tribe with pipes and belts of wampum,
was evident that some uncommon movement was afoot. Eng-
lish agents were also known to be very active in assisting in
the excitement while the object was kept entirely secret from
the Americans and friendly Indian chiefs. It was estimated
by those familiar with Indian affairs, that in the month of
August the Prophet and Tecumseh had gained the leadership
of seven or eight hundred Indians at Fort \\'ayne and Green-
ville. Many of these were armed with new rifles.'"

These facts moved the governor of Ohio to send Thomas
^^'orthington and Duncan JNIacArthur to hold a council with
Tecumseh and the Prophet that they might ascertain their
motives in assembling so many Indians on forbidden ground.
These messengers were courteously received and a great
council held, at which Stephen Ruddell, who understood the
Shawnee dialect, acted as interpreter. During the course of
the deliberation Blue Jacket delivered a conciliatory speech
and the Prophet endeavored to explain why the Indians had
settled at Prophetstowm. In this speech he said. "The In-
dians did not remove to this place because it was a pretty
place or very valuable, for it was neither, but because it was
revealed to him that the place was a proper one to establish
his doctrines." Responding to the governor's request, Te-
cumseh, the Prophet, Blue Jacket, Round Head and Panther
went to Chillicothe, then the Capital of the state. Here
Tecumseh eloquently recited the woes of his people and de-
nied any secret conspiracy against the whites. In spite of all
outside interference the influence of the gifted brothers
seemed to increase and the tribes became more restless at
this juncture. Governor W. H. Harrison, of Indiana Terri-
tory, wrote them a letter reminding them of the treaties of
peace which they had made. Among other things, he said :
"My children, I have heard bad news. The sacred spot where
the great council fire was kindled, around which the Seven-
teen Fires and ten tribes of their children smoked the pipe of
peace — that very spot where the Great Spirit saw his red and
white children encircle themselves with the chain of friend-


ship- — that place has been selected for dark and bloody

"Aly children, this business must be stopped. You have
called in a number of men from the most distant tribes to
listen to a fool, who speaks not the words of the Great Spirit,
but those of the devil and of the British agents. My children,
your conduct has much alarmed the white settlers near you.
They desire that you will send away those people, and if they
wish to have the impostor with them they can carry him. Let
him go to the lakes, he can hear the British more distinctly."

The Prophet answered this letter in a spirit of regret, deny-
ing the allegations of General Harrison, and insinuating that
he had been misinformed by evil minded men. However, in
the spring of 1808 they deserted their village and established
a new Prophetstown among some kindred spirits on the Tip-
pecanoe, a branch of the Wabash, in northern Indiana, to
which place they had been invited by some friendly Kicka-
poos and Pottawatomies.

While the Shawnees were living in the Mud Creek settle-
ment they were visited by a small delegation of Shakers from
Turtle Creek (later Union village), Warren county, Ohio,
whose object it was to investigate the feasibility of estab-
lishing a mission among them. The missionaries, Darrow,
McNemar and Youngs, arrived at Prophetstown on ^larch 25,
1807. They afterwards made a detailed report of their ex-
periences, from which the following interesting extracts are
taken. "\Mien we came in sight of the village, the first object
that attracted our view was a large frame house, about 150
by 34 feet in size, surrounded with fifty or sixty smoking
cottages. We rode up and saluted some men who were stand-
ing before the door of a tent, and by a motion of the hand
were directed to another wigwam where we found one who
could talk English. We asked him if their feelings were

A. O, yes, we are all brothers.

O. Where are your chiefs? We wish to have a talk with

A. They are about four miles off making sugar.

O. What are their names?

A. Lal-lu-e-tsee-ka and Te-kum-tha.

O. Can any of them talk English.

A. No : but there is a good interpreter there ; George Blue
Jacket. He has gone to school, and can read and talk well.


O. \Miat is that big house for?

A. To worship the Great Spirit.

y. How do you worship?

A. Alostly in speaking.

Q. Who is your chief speaker?

A. Our prophet, Lal-lu-e-tsee-ka. He converses with the
Great Spirit, and tells us how to be good.

Q. Do all that live here believe in him?

A. Yes ; we all believe ; he can dream to God.

Conducted by a pilot, we repaired to the sugar camp, where
thirty or forty were assembled with the Prophet, who was
very sick and confined in his tent. We expressed our desire
of having a talk with him. But George informed us that he
could not talk to us, that ministers of the white people would
not believe what he said, but counted it foolish and laughed
at it. therefore he could not talk ; besides, he had a pain in
his head, and was very sick. After informing him we were
not such ministers, he asked:

Do you believe a person can have true knowledge of the
Great Spirit, in the heart, without going to school and learn-
ing to read?

A. We believe they can ; and that is the best kind of

After some talk of this kind with George, he went into the
Prophets's tent, where several chiefs were collected, and after
continuing their council there about an hour, Lal-lu-e-tsee-ka
came out and took his seat in a circle of about thirty persons
who sat round the fire. All were silent — every countenance
grave and solemn, when he began to speak. His discourse
continued about half an hour, in which the most pungent elo-
quence expressed his deep and heartfelt sense of what he
spoke, but in language which George said he could not cor-
rectly translate into English. However, the general sense
he occasionally communicated during our stay. * * * *

They asked us several questions concerning our people, and
particularly whether they drank whisk}^ ; and appeared not a
little rejoiced to learn that there were some among the
whites so far reclaimed as to lay aside the use of that per-
nicious liquor. We inquired how they made out for pro-
visions. They answered they had none. So many people
came there — eat up all they had raised.

The only meal we saw them eat was a turkey divided among


thirty or forty. And the only relief we could afford them
was ten dollars for the purpose of buying corn.

After the evening conversation closed we concluded to re-
turn to the village, with George and several others ; and
mounted our horses. It was now in the dusk of the evening,
and the full moon just rising above the horizon, when one
of their speakers stood up in an alley, between the camps, and
spoke for about fifteen minutes, with great solemnity, which
was heightened at every pause, with a loud Seguoy from the
surrounding assembly. On this occasion our feelings were
like Jacob's when he cried out, "How dreadful is this place!
Surely the Lord is in this place!" And the world knew it not.
\\'ith these impressions we returned to the village, and spent
the night.

Next morning, as soon as it was day, one of their speak-
ers mounted a log, near the southeast corner of the village,
and began the morning service with a loud voice, in thanks-
giving to the Great Spirit. He continued his address for
near an hour. The people were all in their tents, some at
the distance of fifteen or twenty rods ; yet they could all dis-
tinctly hear, and gave a solemn and loud assent, which sound-
ed from tent to tent, at every pause. While we stood in his
view, at the end of the meeting-house, on rising ground, from
which we had a prospect of the surrounding wigwams, and
the vast open plain or prairie, to the south and east, and
which looks over the big fort, toward the north, for the dis-
tance of two miles, we felt as if we were among the tribes
of Israel, on their march to Canaan. Their simplicity and
unaffected zeal for the increase of the work of the Good Spir-
it — their ardent desires for the salvation of their unbelieving
kindred, with that of all mankind — their willingness to un-
dergo hunger, fatigue, hard labor and sufferings, for the sake
of those who came to learn the way of righteousness, and the
high expectations they had, of multitudes flocking down to
hear the prpohet the ensuing sujnmer, etc., were considera-
tions truly affecting; while Ske-law-wa hailed the opening
day with loud aspirations of gratitude to the Good Spirit, and
encouraged the obedient followers of Divine light to persevere.

They showed us several letters of friendship from the Gov-
ernor of Ohio, Gen. Whiteman and others, from which it
appeared that the Americans believed their dispositions to be
peaceable and brotherly. Their marks of industry were con-
siderable, not only in preparing ground for cultivation, but


also in hewing and preparing timber for more commodious
buildings. From all we could gatlier, from their account
of the work, and of their faith and practice, what we heard
and felt in their evening and morning worship, their peace-
able dispositions and attention to industry, we were induced
to believe that God, in very deed, was mightily at work
among them. And under this impression, we invited three
or four of them to come down and see us, as soon as they
found it convenient."

The stay of the deputation was short, for on March 27
they returned. The time actually at Greenville is nowhere
stated, but in all probability it was not more than five days.

The sugar camp mentioned above was probably either in
what was later known as the Hiller settlement, or along the
blufif of Greenville creek a short distance above the present
site of Weimer's mill, in western Greenville township. It
is said that some plague, probably smallpox, visited the In-
dians while at Prophetstown. As noted before a number of
graves were encountered while constructing the pike at Bish-
op's crossing adjoining this site which would seem to lend
color to the above statement. The reputed site of Chief Blue
Jacket's burial is pointed out in a field just west of the old
orchard which occupies the site of the Council house on the
Bryson farm. This also corresponds with the old tradition
that Blue Jacket was assaulted and hanged on this spot after
his v>'ife and daughter had been murdered through the treach-
ery of Tecumseh. Blue Jacket it seems was friendly to the
whites, and taught his people that their best interests would
be conserved by living on friendly terms with the latter and
conforming to the requirements of civilized life. Tecumseh,
on the other hand, was disturbed by the rapid advance of the
white settlements and the insidious dififusion of civilized ways
among his people. He thought that the Indian's only salva-
tion lay in resisting the whites, and throwing off their in-
fluence. In this he was probabh^ sincere, consequentlv, we

Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 57)