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

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jMiamis) at Saudusky, and at other advantageous centers.

The English and Dutch also tried to plant posts on the
upper lakes, but with small success. They impressed the In-
dians as being cold, unsympathetic, and avaricious, with an
ill-concealed and excessive lust for their diminishing lands.
However, the Anglo-Saxon possessed a stubborn determina-
tion, industrious and conservative habits, and a system of fair
and business-like dealing which were finally to turn the tide
of savage sentiment in his favor and win respect and alliance.

The question of bouTidaries between the French and Eng-
lish in America had not been definitely settled at the close of
King George's War in 1748.

The colonial frontiersmen, however, were steadily ad-
vancing westward and were climbing the eastern slopes of the
.A.lleghanies and looking wistfully at the fertile lands beyond.
They were largely the hardy Scotch-Irish whose ancestors
had come over early in the seventeenth century, settled the
Alleghany mountain ranges and were now pushing forward
and making considerable settlements southwest of the moun-
tains. They were extremely hardy, aggressive, thrifty and
prolific and formed an effective barrier between the eastern
white settlers and the retreating Red Man. The country
south of the Ohio was now being explored and the Ohio
company was formed to traffic with the Indians.

In 1749 the French Governor of Canada sent Celeron de
Bienville to take formal possession of the country drained by
the upper Ohio river. With a motley following of some two
hundred French officers and Canadian woodsmen he crossed
Lake Ontario, skirted the southern shore of Lake Erie, crossed
tlie portage to Lake Chautauqua, and followed the Indian
path to the headwaters of the Alleghany. Here their birch
bark canoes were launched again and the party proceeded on
its spectacular journey down the Alleghany and the Ohio as
far as the mouth of the Great Miami, thence up that stream
and across the well worn carrying place to the St. Mary's
branch of the Miami of the Lakes (Maumee), and thus on to
Lake Erie and back to Quebec,

English traders were found at several of the prominent In-
dian villages along the route. These were admonished to dis-
continue trespassing on territory claimed by the French, and
the Indians who showed partiality to the English were



DARKE COUNTY C/

tlireatened with summary treatment shculd they continue to
trade with hem.

Thus was completed the eastern end of the great circuit
which comprised the valley of the St. Lawrence, the lake re-
gion, the upper Mississippi, and the Ohio basins and gave
tangible form to the extensive claims of the French to this im-
mense territory.

The outposts of the English colonists were already being
firmly established within striking distance of the coveted and
disputed lands beyond the Ohio and the hardy backwoodsmen
chafed at the prospect of being arbitrarily prohibited from
settling in this fertile country.

In the fall of 1750 the Ohio Company sent Christopher Gist.
an experienced explorer, from the Yadkin country of Xorth
Carolina, to explore the lands along the Ohio as far as the
falls (Louisville). At the Indian village at the mouth of the
Musldngum he was joined by Gorge Crnghan. the veteran
trader, and Andrew Montour, an interpreter. Early in 1751
these intrepid woodsmen proceeded to the Delaware and
Shawanese villages of the Scioto, and, finding them well dis-
posed, made arrangements for a friendly conference at Logs-
town (on the north bank of the Ohio, seventeen miles below
the present site of Pittsburg, Pa.) in the spring. The explor-
ing party now struck across country to the upper waters of
the Great ]\Iiami. At the mouth of the Pickawillany (Loramie
Creek) where they arrived February 17th, they found an ex-
tensive settlement of Miami Indians under chief Old Britain,
who had recently moved from the Wabash in order to get in
touch with the English traders. A strong stockade had been
erected here in the previous fall and considerable business was
being transacted by the fifty or sixty white traders who had
cabins here. A friendh^ council was held at this place and
numerous valuable presents were given to the Indians, who
thereupon promised to favor the English in the way of trade.
Gist and his party then returned to the Scioto and proceeded
down the Ohio to their destination, returning homeward
through the beautiful Kentucky country in the spring.

The French became jealous of the rising favor shown to
the English traders by their former friends and in June. 1752.
Charles Langdale. a Frenchman from Michilimackinac, led a
band of some two hundred and fifty Chippewa and Ottawa
Indians against the trading station at Pickawillany. This
party rowed past Detroit, crossed the western end of Lake



58 DARKE COUNTY

Erie, turned up the Maumee and continued up the St. i\Iary's
branch to the old Indian portage. They appeared suddenly
and unexpectedly on the morning of June 21st before the
stockade at Pickawillany. The warriors were absent on
their summer hunt, leaving only the chief and twenty men and
boys with eight white traders who could be depended upon
to defend the place. As a special mark of disfavor these
northern savages boiled and ate Old Britain who had shown
marked preference for the Frenchman's foe. When the IMiami
chiefs returned, it is said they retaliated by eating ten French-
men and two of their negroes.

By some historians this is regarded as the opening engage-
ment of the French and Indian war, inasmuch as the parties
engaged represented the opposing nations, contending on dis-
puted soil and kindling a conflict which was destined to
scourge the frontier with blood and fire for over forty j^ears.

The time was ripe to fortif_v the forks of the Ohio. This
important step was delayed, however, on account of the con-
tending claims of jurisdiction over this territorv by the gov-
ernors of Pennsylvania and Virginia. In 1733, while these
disputes were in progress, the French Governor of Canada
sent a mixed force to seize and hold the upper branches of
the Ohio. This was the signal for decisive action and Gover-
nor Dinwiddle of Virginia sent Major George Washington to
remonstrate against this move. Washington was courteously
received by the French commander, but his message was re-
ferred to the Governor-General of Canada and the new posts
established were held awaiting the action of the latter official.

On July 3, 1754, '\\'ashington, while moving towards the
forks of the Ohio with a force of some three hundred men,
was intercepted by a force of French and Indians three or four
times as large at Great Meadows. An engagement followed
which lasted from noon till dark, when Washington capitu-
lated on favorable terms. The French now built Fort Du
Quesne at the forks of the Ohio and prepared to actively resist
the English. The Indians, having a natural love for war and
realizing their dangerous position, soon allied themselves ac-
cording to inclination and fancied interest. The Northwestern
tribes mostly joined their interests with the French, while the
six nations favored the English,

From a frontier skirmish the conflict developed into an in-
ternational war. England sent General Braddock over with a
large armv of regulars, drilled and disciDlined in the field tac-



DARKE COUNTY 59

tics of Europe, but practically ignorant of the mode of war-
fare of the American savage and unwilling to take the advice
of the frontier soldiers, who alone knew the nature of their
foe. This magnificent army was reinforced with troops from
Virginia and proceeded against Fort Du Quesne. When near
this post the army was suddenly attacked from ambush by a
mixed force of Canadian French and Indians on July 9, 1755.
An obstinate fight followed with success long in doubt, but
the British were finally forced to give after great slaughter
and the loss of their commander. Colonel Washington was
aide to Braddock on this campaign and rendered valuable
services. Had his advice been followed perhaps the day might
have been saved and the war shortened.

During the opening years of the conflict the French and
their allies won victory after victory, and thus attracted the
wavering alliance of many tribes. Even some of the Iroquois
deserted the British as they saw them defeated time after
time, but when the scales finally turned thev resumed their
old alliance.

In 1758 the British gained the ascendency, taking Louis-
burg, and Fort Du Quesne, two of the most cherished strong-
holds of the enemy. In 1759 AA'olfe, by a bold and hazardous
stroke, reduced Quebec, the backbone of Canada and seat of
government of the French. This was the climax of the
struggle on the American continent that won for the Anglo-
Saxon the supremacy in the new world and deprived France
of her American possessions. Measured bv results, it has
proven to be one of the most decisive struggles in recent his-
tory. The valley of the Ohio was not destined to be governed
from Quebec, neither were the language, laws, customs and
religion of a Latin race to be engrafted on the hardy stock of
the virile pioneers and mould the destiny of a budding nation.
In 1760 the surrender of ^Montreal virtually ended the war on
the continent but the conflict continued two or three years on
the ocean. A treaty of peace was signed at Paris in 1763, and
nearly all the French possessions east of the ^Mississippi
passed into the hands of the British. At this time the AIo-
hawk Valley in New York and the Susquehanna Valley in
Pennsylvania formed the outskirts of connected English set-
tlements. Beyond were the scattered homes of the hardy,
reckless, and venturesome bordermen, always exposed to
savage caprice, but forming a protective fringe to the older
settlements.



60 DARKE COUNTY

Fearing the encroachments of the English, the destruction
of their fur trade, and the curtailment of their supplies of food
and firearms, the savages formed a confederacy under the
leadership of Pontiac, a crafty Ottawa chief,- and planned the
simultaneous capture and destruction of all their forts west of
the Alleghany mountains. The eloquence of this resourceful
chief stirred the latent resentment of the northern tribes and
fanned their savage fury against the English invaders to a
white heat. The friendship and active co-operation of the
French were counted upon in this desperate coup but the sav-
ages soon realized that they too divided their allegiance.
Although acknowledged subjects of the English by recent
treaty, they still deceived the Indians with the hope that the
Great French King would surely send them aid. The plot
against Detroit was revealed, but before the middle of the
summer of 1763, all the posts except Niagara, Fort Pitt and
Detroit had been taken. Early in 1764 Pontiac again laid
siege to Detroit, but the handful of stubborn English held out
against great odds and finally wore out the patience of the
Great Chief, who now sought peace and withdrew his dispir-
ited warriors. While Pontiac was conducting his campaign
in the lake region, the Delawares and Shawanese furiously
assaulted the scattered frontier settlements in western Penn-
sylvania. Fort Pitt was attacked and the defenseless border
settlers were forced to flee or be butchered by their infuriated
foes. In order to counteract these movements, subjugate the
Indians and force them to acknowledge the sovereignty of
England, General Gage of the Colonial army sent Colonel
Bradstreet with a large force against the lower lake tribes of
Ottawas, Chippewas and Wyandots, and Colonel Bouquet
against the Delawares and Shawanese near the forks of the
Muskingum. Bradstreet proceeded toward Sandusk}- and met
with indififerent success. Ijut Bouquet,, l^y decisi\e action,
caused the tribes against whom he had been sent to deliver
up a large number of prisoners and make arrangements for
peace.

England now attempted a new policy in reference to her
newly acquired western and northern lands, with a view of
retaining them for the benefit of the crown and thereby ex-
cluding the American colonists from settling them. Peaceful
relations with the Indians, the extension of the fur trade and
the safety of the colonies were the reasons assigned for this
policy. To Sir William Johnson was entrusted the task of



DARKE COUNTY 61

carrying out this policy of conciliation. In the spring of 1764
he kindled the council fire at Niagara and induced the tribes
to make peace separately, thus accomplishing the disruption
of the great confederation formed by Pontiac.

By a treaty at Easton, Pennsylvania, the English had en-
gaged not to settle west of the mountains. Colonel Bouquet
at Fort Pitt endeavored to enforce the provisions of this
treaty, but Colonel Michael Cresap and the agents of the Ohio
Company eagerly tried to trade with the Indians and to es-
tablish the settlements planned before the war. The eager
frontiersmen were not to be easily restrained, however, and
soon began to cross the mountains and irritate the Indians.
In order to conciliate the latter, Colonel Johnson, the British
Indian agent, held a treaty with them at Fort Stanwix
(Rome, New York) in 1768, at which ail the country south of
the Ohio to which the Iroquois had any claim was transferred
to the British for $6,000 in money and goods. It was further
stipulated here that the Ohio river should be the boundary
betwen the red and white man. This region was being
explored but it was twenty years before the lines of emigra-
tion were directed north of the Ohio.

The opening of the Revolution in the east soon attracted
attention in that direction. The west was also the scene of
conflicts of momentous import. The hardy Scotch-Irish moun-
taineers of the border states pressed into Kentucky, and the
region from Pittsburg to the southwest was the scene of great
activity. Boone, Harrod, Logan and other pioneers built for-
tified stations near the upper Kentucky river and the romantic
days of old Kentucky were ushered in. The Ohio Indians did
not consider themselves bound by the treaty of Fort Stanwix
and were not disposed to allow this valuable portion of their
ancient domain to be quietly taken from them. When they
.saw the white emigrants floating down the Ohio in constantly
increasing numbers they decided to dispute their advance.
The murder of the relatives of Logan, a prominent Mingo
chief, hastened hostilities.

Matters soon assumed such a serious turn that the Earl of
Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, called out the mili-
tia, and raised an army to check the hostile demonstrations in
territory claimed by that colony. The troops were finally
collected in two divisions, one of some fifteen hundred men
under Dunmore. the other of some eleven hundred men under
General Andrew Lewis. The former collected at Wheeline,



62 DARKE COUNTY

proceeded down the Ohio and crossed to the Scioto plains.
Lewis' division, composed of \'irginia backwoodsmen, pro-
ceeded along the Great Kanawha, intending to cross the Ohio
and join Dunmore. On October 10, 1774, however, Lewis
was intercepted at the mouth of the Kanawha by the com-
bined Indian forces under Cornstalk, the famous Shawanese
chief. A spirited all-day battle ensued, in which the back-
woodsmen adopted the tactics of the savages, flitting from
tree to tree and fighting hand to hand. The Indians were
aljout equal in numbers to the whites and had among them
some of their best chiefs and warriors. They had found their
superiors in the "Longknives,"' however, and were forced tu
retreat across the Ohio at dusk, taking their dead and
wounded with them.

This was probabl}- the most severe whipping ever admin-
istered to the Red Men at the hands of the whites. A treaty
was soon consummated in which the Shav.-anese agreed to
surrender all prisoners ever taken in war, and to cease hunting-
south of the Ohio. Besides driving them back to their re-
treats and causing them to sue for peace, this engagement
showed the temper of the Americans, and, no doubt, deterred
the Indians from harassing the hardy and adventurous pio-
neers who held the land beyond the mountains during the
Revolution.

Considering the encouragement given to the Indians from
the British in the north and the failure of Dunmore to take
part in this engagement, along with the magnificent conduct
of the backswoodsmen, this might be regarded the opening
conflict of the great contest between the mother country and
her colonies. No doubt it nerved many a patriot for the great
battles in the south during the Revolution and will always
be looked to with patriotic pride by coming generations of
Americans.

In 1774 the Quebec Act, establishing civil government in the
northwest, was passed by Parliament. By its provisions De-
troit, then a place of some fifteen hundred inhabitants, was
made the capital of this immense territory, north and west of
the Ohio river, and Henry Hamilton was appointed lieuten-
ant-general with civil and militar}^ powers. Upon assuming
office in 1775 he proceeded to use heroic measures in dealing
with the Americans, emplo}-ed the notorious renegades,
Simon Girty, Alexander McKee and Mathew Elliott, and sent
war parties against the border. To check these incursions.



DARKE COUNTY 63

George Rogers Clark, a dashing young surveyor, who had
been appointed commander of Kentucky militia by Governor
Patrick Henry of Virginia, was sent on a secret expedition
against Kaskaskia. With some one hundred and seventy-five
men he proceeded from the Falls of the Ohio to a point oppo-
site the mouth of the Tennessee river and followed the trail
tu Kaskaskia, which place he took by a bold stroke on July
4. 1778. He then proceeded to subdue the neighboring tribes
and sent Captain Helm with a guard to hold Vincennes. Gov-
ernor Hamilton then advanced from Detroit by the Maumee
and Wabash, with a mixed force, enlisted some savages, pro-
ceeded to Vincennes and, with their assistance, dislodged
Helm on December 17th. Early in February, 1779, Clark left
Kaskaskia with about one hundred and sixty men, made a
hazardous forced march across the frozen and inundated plains
of the Illinois country, and. after great hardships, appeared
before Vincennes. \\ ith his brave and determined men he
invested the town on the night of February 23d. and forced
Hamilton to surrender on the 24th.

The whole country along the Mississippi and \Vabash was
now in the possession of Virginia. This state anticipated the
results of Clark's expedition by creating the county of Illinois
in C^ctober, 1778, and now claimed by conquest what she had
formerly claimed by virtue of her colonial charter. This con-
quest was the death blow to British ambition in the country
between the mountains and the Mississippi. Hamilton was
planning to lead the united western and southern trilaes and,
with the assistance of the terrible Iroquois, drive the Ameri-
cans beyond the Ohio, thus making that beautiful and well-
known stream the ultimate boundary between Canada and the
United States. Especially does the significance of this con-
quest appear when viewed in the light of the Quebec Act,
which aimed to establish interior colonies dependent upon a
government on the St. Lawrence, instead of on the Atlantic
coast. This act also deprived the colonies of their charter
lands in the west and was one of the causes of the Revolu-
tion. During the years 1777 and 1778 the Indians attacked
the new Kentucky stations established by Boone, Harrod and
Logan.

In the fall of 1778, Brigadier-General Mcintosh of the Con-
tinental Army built Ft. Mcintosh (Beaver, Pa.), some
thirty miles below Fort Pitt. He then proceeded with a force
of one thousand men to attack Sandusky, but stopped upon



64 DARKE COUNTY

reaching the Tuscarawas and built Fort Laurens (near Bol-
ivar, Ohio). Both of these posts were afterwards abandoned,
owing to frequent attacks, the severity of the ensuing winter,
and the extreme difficulty of maintaining a sufficient garrison,
leaving no American defenses in the west except Fort Pitt.
Kaskaskia and Vincennes.

Late in ]\Iay, 1779, Colonel John Bowman led an expedition
of some three hundred Iventucky volunteers against the
Shawanese village o: Chillicothe on the Little Miami (near
Xenia, Ohio). The Indians were surprised early on the morn-
ing of the 30th, their town was burned and sacked and a large
amount of plunder secured. The Americans lost eight men
and secured one hundred and sixty horses. The aggressive-
ness of the hardy pioneers, who had settled south and east
of the Ohio, had gradually driven the Indians toward the
northwest, so that by 1779 they had retreated in large num-
bers to the headwaters of the Scioto, the two Miamis, and the
watershed between these, streams and the Maumee. This was
a beautiful tract of land, with fine timber and rich meadows,
affording ideal hunting grounds and fertile fields for the rem-
nants of the dwindling tribes. ]\Iany of the discouraged
Shawanese retreated across the Mississippi.

The principal seat of the ancient Aliamis was at the junc-
tion of the St, Joseph and St. jMary's, and from this important
center trails radiated in many directions. It was well located
with reference to the lake region and the headwaters of the
Wabash and Miamis. Important villages were also located
along the !Maumee, on the headwaters of the Auglaize and
the Great Miami, and on the portages between these streams.
The ^^'eas and Piankeshaws dwelt along the Wabash and
were in intimate relation with the mother nation on the
Maumee.

In the summer of 1780, Colonel Byrd, of .Detroit, invaded
Kentucky, by way of the Miami and Licking rivers, with a
mixed force of Canadians and Indians. He attacked and took
^Martin's and Ruddle's stations but soon abandoned the in-
vasion. In order to retaliate for this raid, Colonel Clark raised
a large force of frontiersmen, including Boone, Kenton and
some of the most noted Kentucky fighters, crossed the Ohio
and proceded against the Indians of the upper Miami valley.
He destroyed the old Shawanese town of Piqua, the bovhood
home of Tecumseh, on Mad river, and several other villages,
together with considerable standing corn. This raid greatly



DARKE COUNTY 65

discouraged the Indians and their British abettors at Detroit
and brought security to the Kentuckians until the following
year, when attacks on the exposed pioneer stations were re-
newed. In April, 1781, Colonel Brodhead of Fort Pitt led an
expedition against the Delaware tribes on the Muskingum,
destroyed several villages, and killed and captured a few In-
dians. In August, Colonel Lochry with a force of one hun-
dred and seventy mounted Pennsylvanians, was surprised by
a large body of Indians near the mouth of the Miami, while
on his way to aid Clark in the west. Several of his men were
killed and the balance captured.

The Moravians, a Christian sect of marked missionary zeal,
who had followed the Delaware Indians from their former
home in Pennsylvania, settled in the valleys of the Tuscar-
awas and Muskingum rivers in 1768. Here they purchased
small tracts from the natives, cultivated a portion of them,
founded four substantial villages, and established places of
worship under the leadership of Zeisberger and Heckewelder.
They were peaceable and industrious, being opposed to war
and aggression. Many of the neighboring Indians of various
tribes were converted to their doctrines. Being on important
Indian trails, leading from Fort Pitt and the frontier settle-
ments to Sandusky and the northwest, their position became
more hazardous as the American settlements advanced, on
account of the opposing war parties which passed through
their villages. Trying to be hospitable to all, they naturally
incurred the suspicion of the turbulent frontiersmen. In 1781
Colonel Brodhead urged these Christian Indians to move to
Fort Pitt in order to be under the protection of the Ameri-
cans. This they refused to do, but later in the same year were
forced to settle near Upper Sandusky by orders from the Brit-
ish authorities of Detroit. The winter of 1781-82 was a hard
one on the exiled Moravians and earlv in the spring a party
of them returned to the towns of Ghadenhutten and Salem to
harvest the corn left ungathered the previous fall. While
engaged in this work, a band of some eighty or ninety militia-
men under Colonel David Williamson stealthily captured and
deliberately murdered ninety-six men, women and children,
thus perpetrating one of the most pitiable and atrocious crimes
of frontier history. Williamson's party was composed largely