The Hobart publishing Company.

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

. (page 28 of 57)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

The defeat of the British and Indians and the death of Te-
cumseh at the battle of the Thames in the fall of 1813 damp-
ened the ardor of the hostile tribes, and made them desirous
of peace with the Americans. At their solicitation arrange-
ments were made for a conference and council at Greenville,
early in the spring of 1814. Some difficulty was experienced
in getting the tribes together as in the former extended
treaty negotiations of Wayne in 1795. The British still held
out strong inducements which it was hard for the wavering
savages to resist. However, it is said, that by the latter part
of June, 1814, some three or four thousand Indians were
encamped around Greenville and its vicinity awaiting the
final assembling of the council.

The government was represented by Gen. Wm. H. Harrison
and Gen. Lewis Cass, then governor of Michigan territory,
together with Little Turtle, Capt. Pipe, Tarhe, Black Hoof
and other chiefs acting on behalf of the friendly Delawares,
Wyandots, Shawnees and Senecas. After much diplomacy
all differences were reconciled and on July 22, 1814, the gov-
ernment agents named above gave peace to the Miamis, Weas,
and Eel River Indians and to certain of the Kickapoos,
Ottawas and Pottawatomies. All agreed to espouse the
cause of the Americans in case of a continuance of the war
then in progress. The scene of the principal negotiations
was a little grove on the northeast corner of Main and Elm



304 DARKE COUNTY

Streets. A large number of people were present for this
early date and the occasion was enlivened by the picturesque
costumes and decorations of the Indians, who donned their
head dresses and painted their bodies according to the tradi-
tions of their respective tribes.

Departure of the Tribes.

The removal of the Indian tribes from northwestern Ohio
in 1832 was an event of stirring interest and pathos. To the
Redmen the final leaving of old haunts and the hunting
grounds of their ancestors is a sad and pathetic aiTair. Ac-
cordingly, when the government decided that the welfare of
the tribal remnants of Ohio as well as that of the pioneers
would be best conserved by removing the former to a new
and more congenial home be3-ond the Mississippi the Indians
expressed a desire to take a last and longing look at their old
stamping ground. As this spot was near the shortest route
this request was granted and in 1832 the Miamis and Potta-
watomies living on the reserves about Sandusky, started on
their long journey to Indian Territor}-. Several of these peo-
ple had lived at Tecumseh's Point and desired to see the
place again. They arrived here on a fine afternoon in May
on horseback under the leadership of a government agent,
togged out in their picturesque native garb, the bucks in their
feathers and their gaudy attire, and the squaws with their
papooses tied on their backs. Their arrival was the signal
for great excitement, especially among the children, who had
never seen it on this fashion. There were five or six hun-
dred in this motley and grotesque band, who camped on the
point, remaining three or four days. For the most part they
were orderly and well behaved, and furnished much entertain-
ment for the curious populace. It was especially amusing to
observe the culinary operations of the squaws and one of the
white boys, who was doubtless present when some of their
meals were prepared, has left the following interesting de-
scription of the proceedings : "The squaw would go to a
ham of beef, laying on the ground in the back end of the
tent, chase off the dogs that were gnawing at it, cut off a
slice from the same place, take it to the fire and place it in a
skillet, return for another, again chase ofT the dogs, and so
on till her pot was full.

"^^'hen the meal was cooked, or partially so, they would



DARKE aiUNTY 305

begin to eat, but without table or dishes, or even any other
ceremony than that of helping themselves. They seemed
to be merry, pleasant and jolly, and respectful to visitors,
but no white folks were seen eating with them.

"During their stay the old folks spent their time in look-
iiig- about the country, here and there recognizing a familiar
object, dra\\ing a sigh as of regret and moving away to some-
thing else. .Some of them went to visit the grave of Blue
jacket and another chief, at the council house about three
miles southwest of this point, but were disappointed in find-
ing them, as a party, said to be from New York, many years
before had robbed the grave of the old chief, and the plow-
share had passed many times over that of Blue Jacket. No
trace of the council house, which was thirty or forty feet
wide and seventy-five feet long, now remained. But the
llash of a retentive memory stirred the countenances of these
old men as the stirring events of their youthful days, one by
one. arose and passed before their recollection. The young
Indians amused themselves by sauntering around town,
jumping and running foot races with the whites. These were
sports they were accustomed to and at which they were hard
to beat."

The Wayne Treaty Centennial 1895.

As the centennial 3-ear of \\'ayne's treaty approached pub-
lic minded citizens began to advocate the proper celebration of
this notable event. The daily and weekly press responded
to the growing public sentiment and urged that fitting cere-
monies mark the passing of the centenary of the peace of
^fad Anthony. Meetings were held and an executive com-
mittee was appointed consisting of J. T. Martz, Daniel Hun-
ter and A. C. Robeson, all patriotic, capable and public spir-
ited citizens, who represented three pioneer families, and had
been identified with the history of Darke county for many
years. Extensive preparations were made and when the glad-
some day arrived, Saturday, August 3, 1895, the streets, stores
and public buildings appeared arrayed in lavish and gorgeous
decorations. The booming of cannon and the ringing of
bells heralded the dawning day. People began to arrive from
the surrounding towns and countrv nt an earlv hour and all
the morning trains were crowded with curious and patriotic
visitors. The crowd that assembled was estimated at about
thirty thousand people. The feature of the morning was an
' (20-)



306 DARKE COUNTY

industrial parade worthily representing some fifty business
firms. This was followed by a line of horsemen, various
lodges, societies, etc. Several bands, including the noted
military band of the Dayton National Soldiers" Home, fur-
nished music for the occasion. A small band of Indians,
descendants of some of the tribes who participated in the
treaty, were present and attracted much attention. The
afternoon program was rendered at the fair ground where
Gov. Wm. McKinley, Hon. Samuel Hunt of Cincinnati, Ohio,
Judge Gilniore of Columbus, and Hon. Samuel H. Doyle of
Indiana, made notable addresses. McKinley had made a
strong and convincing address on the 18th of September,
1891, at iMorningstar's Park during his gubernatorial cam-
paign, and his presence at the Wayne celebration was greatly
appreciated. Among his pregnant utterances were : "The cen-
tennial anniversary we meet to celebrate is of far more than
local or mere state interest. If we may judge events by their
subsequent results, we can heartily agree with the historians
that the signing of the peace at Greenville on August 3, 1795,
was the most important event necessary to permanent set-
tlement and occupation in the existence of the whole north-
west territory. Indeed, its good effects far outstretched even
the boundaries of that great domain. * * * To me one
of the greatest benefits of the treaty of Greenville has seemed
that it opened wide the gateway of opportunity' to the free
and easy settlement of the great west. * * *

"Greenville may justly congratulate herself that she is the
site where the treaty was signed, that her name and fame
are forever linked with its history. Let us keep alive those
precious memories of the past and instill into the minds of
the young the lessons of the stirring patriotism and devotion
to duty of the men who were the first to establish here
the authority of the Republic and founded on eternal prin-
ciples its free and notable institutions. The centuries may
come, the centuries may go. but their fame will survive forever
on this historic ground. * * *

"It is a great thing to make history. The men who par-
ticipated in the Indian wars won victories for civilization and
mankind. And these victories all of us are enjoying today.
Nothing, therefore, could be more appropriate than that this
great section of the country, which a centurv ago was the
theater of war. should pause to celebrate the stirring events



DARKE COUNTY 307

of those times and the peace which followed, and do honor
to the brave men who participated in them.

"It is a rich inheritance to any community to have in its
keeping historic ground. As we grow older in statehood, in-
terest in these historical events increases, and their frequent
celebration is calculated to promote patriotism and a spirit
of devoted loyalty to country. * * *

"We cannot have too many of these celebrations with their
impressive lessons of patriotism and sacrifice. Let us teach
our children to revere the past, for by its examples and les-
sons alone can we wisely prepare them for a better and nobler
future. The city of GreenvUle, the people of Ohio, the peo-
ple of the country, should see to it that at no distant day
a great monument shall be erected to celebrate this great
event."

In concluding his long and masterful review of the events
leading up to the great treaty Judge Hunt said : "The treaty
of Greenville, following the spirit of the imperishable prin-
ciples of the Ordinance of 1787, extended the hand of friend-
ship toward the Indian, respected his liberty, paid full com-
pensation for his lands and protected his property. It estab-
lished a code of morals for a free people. When some future
Bancroft shall write the history of this people, he will speak
of the great Ordinance as the first attempt in the northwestern
states and then of the treat_y here proclaimed, which sup-
plants the harsher tones of military strife with the softer
syllables of charity and love. If, too, the victories of peace
are not less renowned than those of war, then the day will
surely come when a grateful people, revering their traditions,
and conscious of the maxims imperial of their glory, will erect
on this historic ground a majestic monument, having an out-
stretched hand rather than a fixed bayonet, and with the
simple yet immortaMnscription, "The Treaty of Greenville."

Judge Gilmore said among other things in his very inter-
esting speech: "The Treaty of Greenville became a prece-
dent, and the principles it established were those, substan-
tially, that were subsequently applied in extinguishing the
Indian title to the residue of the great Northwest Territory,
which is now sufficient in itself to constitute an empire in
population, and in all things else that constitute goodness and
greatness in government ; lying at the bottom of which are
the lasting effects of the Treaty of Greenville."



308 DARKE COUNTY

Washington's Centenary.

Another interesting and stirring event took place at the
county seat early in 1832, the memory of which would, no
doubt, have been consigned to oblivion but for the public
spirit and facile pen of D. K. Swisher, who wrote the follow-
ing readable account of the occasion for the June 12, 1880,
issue of the Greenville "Courier (for Mr. Swisher's biography,
see Chapter XXII "Bench and Bar") : "At the beginning of the
year 1832, great preparations were made all over the United
States for the proper observance of the 100th anniversary
of the birth of Gen. George Washington, which occurred on
the 22d day of February, of that year. The day was gener-
ally observed by military demonstrations, orations and pro-
cessions. The roar of cannon on the shores of the Atlantic
was heard and imitated by the contiguous interior and south-
western towns, till the whole populated union reverberated
witli the sound. The day was observed by the citizens of
Darke county, hundreds of whom assembled at Greenville.
The day was pleasant for the season of the year, and the ex-
ercises were chiefly outdoor. A few' months previous to
this a small brass cannon, about a four pounder, had been
found by some boys at Fort Recovery, by the name of Mc-
Dowell. They had been digging along the margin of the
Wabash river, and fortunatel}- struck upon it. The gun had
lain there since the battle and defeat of St. Clair at that place,
had sunk into the mud and became concealed so that it was
not found by the soldiers, who afterward went there and
brought away the property left by him, which the Indians
had not carried oflf or destroyed.

This little cannon, which was about 5j^ feet long, 6 inches
in diameter at the muzzle, and ten at the breech, with 4 inch
arms, about 14 inches long, and a knob on the breech, weighed
about 400 pounds. It seemed not to be damaged in the least
by corroding, and with little rubbing became smooth and
bright.

The finders of it hauled it to Greenville and offered it for
sale. But as money was very scarce here at that time, they
were unable to sell it for cash, but Jacob Rush, a farmer just
at the south of town, owner of the farm now owned and oc-
cupied by his son, Isaac Rush, hearing of the matter, offered
to give them a yoke of oxen he then had, valued at $60, for
the cannon, which they accepted, and ATr. Rush became the



DARKE COUNTY 309

owner of the gun. He afterward sold it to the citizens of
Greenville for the sum of $60, the money to be raised by sub-
scription. But when the effort was made to collect the
money in that way it was found that but few were willing
to subscribe anything. Frank L. Hamilton having been
the chief contractor with Air. Rush for the gun, and not being
able to raise the money otherwise, sold the gun to some citi-
zens of Cincinnati for the sum of $100, as it was understood.
Thus for the want oi a little patriotism and money in our
people, they lost a very interesting relic. It seems to have
been the historj' of this little gun, that it was founded in
one of the great establishments of Great Britain, sent over to
this country to knock the liberty out of the people, but was
captured at Yorktown, and held by the captors, sent west by
the government of the United States to defend her people
against savage encroachments, but lost as before stated. And
though it was a very pretty piece of ordnance, its misfor-
tunes were greater than its beauty. It is understood the citi-
zens of Cincinnati highlv prized the little unfortunate, burn-
ished it, and engraved its history upon it, mounted it upon a
splendid carriage, and honored it by a front position in all
her civic military demonstrations.

This gun formed one of the chief attractions of the cele-
bration here. A four pound shot had been found here, with
which the gun was charged on that day, John Wharry and
Allen LaMotte and Benjamin Devor being the chief gunners,
but very bad shots. Four shots were made at a large burr
oak tree which stood just upon the north side of the creek,
and was about three feet in diameter, at a distance of about
150 yards. Three shots missed the tree, but the fourth struck
it about twelve feet from the ground. The ball struck on
the side of the tree but entered, and split the tree twelve or
fifteen feet up, and down, to the roots. It was amusing, and
constituted one of the excitements of the da}', to see the men
and boys run at each discharge to hunt up and bring back
the ball. Small bushes stood very thick along the creek in
the bottom land and the ball could be easily traced by the
limbs and brush it cut ofif. The ball generally went about
the fourth of a mile. Once it struck the bank that a fallen
tree had turned up, which was about three feet thick and
frozen hard : it went through the bank, but was entirely
spent so that it lay just on the other side. The ball hitting
the tree finally, buried itself so that it could not be obtained.



310 DARKE COUNTY

Stopped that fun. But still the gun was charged with pow-
der and continued to be shot for perhaps 100 times.

At that day Darke county had no orators, no man stood up
to speak and stir the patriotic heart, so that the pleasures of
the day were chiefly confined to the booming of the cannon.
No procession was formed or order observed ; no military dis-
play, not even the enlivening fife nor the rattling drum was
heard; no song to arouse the slumbering echoes, or stir and
quicken the fagging memory ; nor flags, nor war tattered
banners; nor indeed were these things necessary. The tale
of the wondrous chief, his great struggle with his little strag-
gling army of heroes for the national independence, against
the awful power of the most warlike and potent nations on
earth, was not forgotten, but with each boom of the cannon
fresh memories were enkindled and the heart swelled to full-
ness. At that day no disturbing element had awakened a
feeling of sectional jealousy, a spirit of national pride alike
in Maine and Louisiana was buoyant in every heart. No
thought of a dissolution of the union, nor the establishment
of a plurality of governments, nor of independence of one
section or the other, but as members of one body all living
on the pulsations of the one great national heart. Nor had
the root of all evil, "the love of money," grown superior
to the love of republican government, nor had labor grown
weary and dissatisfied with its wages, nor looked on with
evil eye upon prosperity and wealth, nor ballot boxes stuft'ed,
or privilege at the polls violated. All these are new, dan-
gerous and disturbing elements now, requiring steady vigi-
lance and watchful care. The pride of the patriot today is
not the pride of the patriot of which we write ; "that all are
patriots," but that a great and overwhelming majority of the
people are patriotic, and looking for the perpetuation of the
union, and the maintenance of our republican institutions,
till the sun approaches his western setting on the last day
of time. Till then may our republican institutions be pre-
served, and only destroyed by the general wreck of nature.

No accident happened, or other unpleasant circumstances
during the day, and the people retired to their respective
homes, well pleased. This was 48 years ago. In 52 years
from now, on the 22d day of February, 1932, the 200th anni-
versary of Washington's birth will occur.

Will the people of Greenville and Darke county then cele-
brate the day? Will they go over the creek into the same



DARKE COUNTY 311

bottom, and let the roar of cannon be heard from the place?
Will they then read this little scrap of the history of Darke
county? I hope they will do all these things. And if we
surelv know they would, how greatly paid we should be for
making this record.

At that day there was about 100 souls living in Greenville
and about 1,000 in the county. When our children meet to
celebrate the day. 52 years from now, they will not see any
here who celebrated the day 48 years ago. They will not see
the large tree used by us as a target (it has already passed
away), the fill of the Dayton & Union R. R. covers the
stump. They will not use the little brass cannon, nor the
thick brush woods. But the creek will be there, and the bot-
tom land will be there. The town will still be here ; not the
town of 100 souls, but a city of 30,000; not a county of 1,000
souls, but a vast community of 75,000. They will celebrate
the day greater in proportion as their number exceed ours, by
orations, speeches and songs, and processions and flags amidst
the roar of many cannon and the enlivening strains of music."

The Hard Cider Campaign of 1840.

No other man has thus far been elected President of the
United States, who had been so vitally connected with the
early history of western Ohio as Gen. Wm. Henry Harrison.
His memory is especially dear to the citizens of Darke coun-
ty as he bore a prominent part in the campaign of Wayne
and the Treaty of 1795 as a young man, led the forces which
gave the final blow to the redskins in northwestern Ohio and
Indiana during the second British war, and negotiated the
treaty here in 1814 as before noted. No wonder that the
announcement of his candidacy for the presidency in 1840
was received with such an outbreak of enthusiasm in Ohio
and Indiana as will probably never be accorded another as-
pirant for this exalted position in this locality. The senti-
ment of the people was expressed by the construction of log
cabins, typifying the hardships of pioneer life, and large
canoes suggesting the battle of Tippecanoe. The shibboleth
of the hour among the enthused admirers of the heroic Whig
was "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." A strong appeal was made
to the patriotic feelings of the general populace and with
telling effect, as shown by the result of the election. While
campaigning in western Ohio Harrison was enthusiastically



312 DARKE COUNTY

received, and it is pleasant tu note that he did not overlook
the site of old Fort Greenville on this occasion. He had
come by boat from Cairo, 111., and had made speeches at
Louisville, Ky., Newport, Ky., and at Cincinnati. From this
point he traveled overland through Hamilton, where he also
spoke, and then came to Greenville. The 22d o: July. 1840,
being the twenty-sixth anniversary of his celebrated treaty
was happily selected as the time of his appearing. The unique
and spectacular features connected with this event have been
aptly described by at least two writers, and we take pleasure
in quoting again from the pen of D. K. Swisher "The memor-
able and lengthy campaign for the Presidency of the United
States between Martin Van Buren and Gen. Wm. Henry Har-
rison, was conducted with great zeal by politicians of both
political parties (Whigs and Democrats) all over the country,
and, of course, the citizens of Darke county and Greenville
did not remain silent spectators at the huge combat. Not by
any means. General Harrison was invited to return to Green-
ville, where more than a quarter of a century before he had
held council with the Indian tribes of the northwest. The
invitation was accepted and great preparations were made ior
his reception. The dav for his reception came. The town be-
gan -to overflow with thousands of visitors from all parts of
the country. Some had come hundreds of miles from sur-
rounding states to see and hear the old general and future
president.

A committee of reception had been appointed, among whom
was the writer. \\-Iiich at the hour of 10 o'clock a. m. proceeded
out on the road leading to Fort JefTerson, followed by
thousands of others on horseback, and in all kinds of vehicles,
met the general and his party one mile north of Fort TefFer-
son and escorted him into town. The general was seated in
a carriage accompanied bv three other gentlemen and loo'^C'!
very much tired and worried l)v the trip. Xobodv expectccl
to see such a common and plain old gentleman as he was.
but instead of this dampening the enthusiasm of his reception
it only seemed to inflame it. When it was known surely that
we had met the general, and heard him relate in a few words
how glad he was to see so many at his reception in Green-
ville, one long and continued shout of applause rent the air
and shook the surrounding foliage as will never occur again
on the road from Fort Jefferson to Greenville, for the road
all the way was full of people. It has been estimated that



DARKE COUNTY



313



more than ten thousand people heard General Harrison speak
that da}-. General Harrison remained in town over night,
and was the guest of Abraham Scribner, who was one of his
soldiers in the war of 1812. In the evening of that day Har-
rison went with others to the top of the house of Hiram
Potter (now the Farmers' Hotel, on lot 54), which was a two-
story with flat roof with banisters all round. Here he re-
ceived and was introduced to several ladies of the town, and
took quite a long view of the surroundings, in search of
something he might recognize. The ground, indeed, was still
here, the creek still flowed at his feet, the surrounding forest
trees still stood, and the blue sky looked calmly down, but no
trace of the dusky savage, no resounding of the clamor of war
could be seen or heard. All was changed. Where the sol-
dier boy had brightened up his arms and accoutrements in
the former days, and where the savage had strolled, there