THE TOWNS CALLED CHILLICOTHE.
[In Volume XI, page 230, of the Society's Publications was a valu-
able article by Prof. R. W. McFarland of Oxford, Ohio on the
Chillicothes. This article led to an interesting discussion in the Chilli-
cothe News-Advertiser, of which Mr. W. H. Hunter, one of the trustees
of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, is editor. We
reprint the articles which speak for themselves. The communications by
Dr. Morgan and Prof. McFarland appeared in the daily issue of the above
named paper on the dates of January 7, and February 2, 1903, respec-
tively.-E. 0. R.].
DR. MORGAN'S CRITICISM.
To the editor of the News-Advertiser.
In your issue of December 19, you make mention of Dr.
McFarland, a correct historian, having written an article for
The State Historical Society Quarterly on the Chillicothes, and
republish the paper.
He writes of five different towns having that name, and
draws special attention to town No. 2, which he locates about
three miles north of Xenia.
He states that this town is the one so often mentioned in
connection with Boone and Kenton, and admonishes the people
who read the lives of these two hunters to bear it in mind. The
reader will take notice that he speaks of these two men as being
The next town of importance in connection with history in
the mind of the Doctor is Chillicothe No. 3, which he locates on
the west side of the Scioto river near the present site of Westfall.
The present writer is very skeptical in regard to the location of
this town. It is generally conceded that about all the Pickaway
towns were situated on the east side of the river. Besides, the
writer is in possession of history that recites the story of a peri-
lous escape of a company of surveyors from the Indians in 1794,
and when they halted and camped for the night it was in the
vicinity of where Westfall is located. A body of trained men
168 Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.
would not be likely to camp in the vicinity of a town inhabited
by their pursuers.
The Doctor gives no importance whatever to Old Chillicothe
on the North Fork of Paint creek.
We are willing to admit that the Chillicothe on the Little
Miami was an important Indian town, but not willing to con-
cede that the town No. 2, or any other town is the one always
referred to in connection with the lives of Boone and Kenton.
The fact is, we have much evidence to dispute the statement.
We feel strongly fortified when we state that the Chillicothe on
the North Fork of Paint creek, now called Frankfort, was the
most important Shawnee town in the country, unless it was Chilli-
cothe on the Little Miami. We feel that Dr. McFarland was
much mistaken when he stated that Chillicothe No. 2 should
always be held in mind when reading of Boone and Kenton.
The old Chillicothe where Kenton had the most bitter experi-
ence during his long and eventful life was the Chillicothe on the
North Fork of Paint creek.
Frankfort now occupies that spot. After the present Chilli-
cothe was laid out the "Old Town" was called Old Chillicothe
to distinguish it from the new one. This was a natural conse-
quence on account of their close proximity; they being only
eleven miles apart.
From this Old Chillicothe many raids were made on the
Kentucky frontier. When the Indians crossed the Ohio river
at or near where Maysville now stands the Kentucky inhabitants
could be almost absolutely certain that the Indians were from the
Paint creek and Pickaway towns.
The trail was through Adams, Pike and Ross counties.
The writer was fortunate, some years since, in having a
volume of notes put into his hands by a friend that has been very
valuable to him in regard to the very early history of a portion
of the Northwest Territory. The notes were taken by Rev.
David Jones of Revolutionary fame, while on a missionary visit
to the Shawnees in 1773.
From this little volume we learn that the first village he
struck was on the west side of Deer creek, in what is now Union
The Towns Called Chillicothe. 169
township, Ross county. It was called Pickaweeke, and took its
name from a tribe of Indians called the Picks. He says that the
inhabitants were a mixture of Shawanee and other nations, but it
was called a Shawanee town. He went from Pickaweeke to Blue
Jacket's town, which he locates three or four miles north on the
same stream. Jones was highly entertained by Blue Jacket, who,
Rev. Jones says, was called the King. This Blue Jacket was the
leader of the combined forces of the Indians when they were
defeated in 1794 by General Wayne. Rev. Jones says that Blue
Jacket was not an Indian, but a white man who had been taken
prisoner when a boy and reared among the Indians. His right
name was Marmaduke Van Sweringin. I believe I have never
seen this statement made in history. (Pardon the digression.)
On Friday, January 22, 1773, Rev. Jones left Blue Jacket's
town in company with a Mr. Irwine for the Chillicaathee town.
They arrived in the afternoon. Mr. Jones gives a very interest-
ing account of his experience with the Chillicothe (Chillicaathee)
Indians. He states that the town was the chief town of the
Shawanees. The reader will please remember the last statement.
He locates the town north of a large plain, adjacent to a branch
of Paint creek. This corresponds to the location of "Old Town,"
or Frankfort, as it is now called.
I believe that the Jones notes are the earliest recorded history
that speaks of a Chillicothe in this portion of the country. In
this I may be mistaken, but I am not mistaken in the fact that
Jones says that it was the chief town of the Shawanees, and that
it was located on a branch of Paint creek.
A little volume lies before me that was written by Col.
John McDonald, which contains a sketch of the life of General
Simon Kenton. This little sketch was not written by a long
distance historian, nor by a stranger. Instead, it was written
by a companion in the wilderness. When McDonald was pre-
paring this sketch, although an old man, he made his way on
horseback from his home on Poplar Ridge in Ross county, to the
head of Mad river in Logan county, to the humble cabin of the
old warrior, and gathered many of the facts that are embodied
in the sketch of the most interesting career of the most interest-
ing frontiersman of the Northwest territory.
170 Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.
McDonald says in his sketch that "in the year 1789 the
writer first became acquainted with Kenton, and although young,
was with him in many excursions after the Indians."
In the sketch we find that in 1778 Boone and Kenton with
nineteen men made a tour into the Indian country with the avowed
purpose of attacking a small Indian village on Paint creek.
When they arrived near the town they were surprised by
about forty Indians whom they put to flight. On account of
the town being apprised of the approach of the whites the pro-
ject of surprising and taking the town was abandoned. The
reader can here see that Boone and Kenton were together on
Again McDonald says "About the first of September of the
same year, 1778, Kenton again organized an expedition into the
Indian country. In this expedition he was joined by Alexander
Montgomery and George Clarke. The purpose was to obtain
horses from the Indians."
McDonald says that they proceeded to Chillicothe, (now Old
Town). They succeeded in obtaining seven horses. They pro-
ceeded to the Ohio and attempted to cross at the mouth of Eagle
creek, Brown county. The waves ran so high that the horses
could not be induced to cross. As the result of this delay they
were overtaken by the Indians. Montgomery was killed and
Kenton taken prisoner. Clarke made his escape. McDonald de-
tails the cruel treatment inflicted upon Kenton while in captivity.
This was the time that Kenton was lashed to a vicious horse
and turned loose in the woods. The next day, after their arrival
at Chillicothe, Kenton was made to run the gauntlet. McDonald
says that some two or three hundred Indians joined in the sport.
He was kicked and cuffed most unmercifully, his clothes were
torn from his body, and he was left naked and exhausted on the
That was the bitterest experience of Kenton's eventful life.
Again, McDonald says, "In the year 1787, Kenton asked Col.
Todd to join him in a raid against the Indians. Kenton said that
with their joint forces they could destroy the Indian town on the
North Fork of Paint creek, (now Old Town, then Chillicothe).
The Towns Called Chillicothe. 171
"Kenton as usual commanded a company and piloted the
expedition to the Chillicothe town. On their route out, about
five miles south of Old Town, on a place now called Poplar Ridge,
(this was the home of McDonald,) the advance guard, com-
manded by Kenton, met four Indians. Kenton and Helm fired
and killed two Indians, and the other two were taken prisoners.
"From the prisoners they learned that there was a large
Indian encampment between them and Old Chillicothe, about
three miles from the latter place."
On account of the impatience of some of the men they
failed to surprise the town, word having reached the inhabitants,
when all took naked to the woods. The town was burned to
ashes and everything around destroyed. The army camped that
night on the North Fork of Paint creek.
Again, McDonald says, "In 1795, Kenton led a party of thirty
men against the Indians. They expected to head the Indians off
about the moutth of Paint creek on the Scioto. When they came
to a place known as Reeve's crossing they came to a fresh trail.
They found the Indians camped on the bank of Paint creek."
After submitting the foregoing facts we leave the reader to
judge whether or not Dr. McFarland's town No. 2 was the town
for the reader to keep in mind when reading of Boone and Ken-
ton. We are sorry that mistakes occur in history as often as
they do. But the most careful reader is liable to misread or to
remember indistinctly. J. B. F. MORGAN.
It is true that Dr. McFarland, in the article referred to,
speaks of Boone and Kenton as "hunters." But it does not fol-
low that he held them in no higher regard. In other published
articles he gives them due credit for their manifold services to
the pioneer community; and frequently, in personal conversation,
I have heard him refer to them in terms that showed him to be
fully cognizant of the great aid which they rendered to settlers
in the wilderness, and the part which they took in preparing it.
There can be no doubt that Blue Jacket was a white man,
as stated by Jones. He and a younger brother were captured by
5 Vol. XII-2
172 Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.
Indians; the latter was restored to his family, but Marmaduke
became one of the tribe by adoption. This statement is made in
other books, though I do not recall just where, and the fact is
well known to persons now living in Chillicothe. Descendants
of Blue Jacket are, or were within a few years, still living some-
where west of the Mississippi.- G. F.
PROF. MCFARLAND'S REPLY.
To the Editor of the News-Advertiser.
In your issue of January 7th, there was a review of a brief
article which was originally published in the Ohio Archaeological
and Historical Quarterly. The reviewer makes a display of mis-
takes which he claims to have found. I propose to show that
the reviewer is in error, and that in his comment he has made
worse mistakes than he charges against me. The following state-
ment shows how the original article on the Chillicothes came to
Some months ago, being in correspondence with a Columbus
gentleman, a fellow member of the Ohio Archaeological and His-
torical Society, a man of extensive literary culture, mention was
made of the fact that there were several Indian towns, formerly
in Ohio, having the name of Chillicothe; and that sometimes
confusion arose in the minds of readers as to the location
of these towns, and the part they played in the early history of
the state. The suggestion was made that it might be well to
give a short statement of the facts and print it in the Quarterly.
It was so done. At all the places named I have been scores of
times, of course long after they were abandoned by the Indians.
So far as I can make out, only two mistakes are claimed to
be found: first, that the Chillicothe on the Little Miami was not
the town generally meant when Boone and Kenton were named,
and, secondly, that the Westfall Chillicothe was on the east side
of the Scioto.
The sole reason adduced to support this second case, is a
report that some surveyors encamped over night not far from
Westfall, and if the town had been on the west side, the survey-
The Towns Called Chillicothe. 173
ors were in danger of being killed; this in 1794, twenty years
after Dunmore's expedition. And as the country was being sur-
veyed, what evidence was there to show that the town was of
any importance; or whether, at that time, it was inhabited at all?
It is not stated how far away the surveyors pitched their camp
- whether one mile or ten. One place would have been about
as dangerous as the other in case the savages knew of their posi-
tion; and either place was safe if the enemy did not know where
the party was encamped. Further, how long would it have taken
the Indians to cross the river, even if the town had been on the
east side? This claim that the town, for the above reason, was
east of the Scioto, borders on the absurd, not to say the ridicu-
lous. Besides, it is contradicted by the traditions of more than
a hundred and twenty-five years, and by the testimony of every
writer of Western history who mentions the town at all;--at
least, all whose works I have read. The mistake is Dr. Morgan's,
Now, as to the other alleged mistake;- that the Chillicothe
near Xenia was not the town usually meant when Boone and
Kenton were spoken of in connection with a town of this name.
Dr. Morgan labors to show that it was the Paint creek town. He
further claims that this was the chief town of the Shawnees. I
have something to say on each of these two points.
The suggestion that I spoke disparagingly of Boone and Ken-
ton in calling them "hunters," is well and fully answered by "G.
F.," in the note printed at the end of Dr. Morgan's article. I
was not giving my own or the country's estimate of the two men,
but merely stated (for the information of any who might wish
to know) that the Little Miami town was often named in connec-
tion with the two men. The fact that both men had been at
the Paint creek town, has been known to me almost all my life.
Again, there is not one word in my original article on the Chilli-
cothes, which by any possibility can be twisted to signify that I
gave any estimate of the relative importance of the several towns.
But as this point has been raised, it will receive due attention.
The order in which the towns were named is of no significance.
Any other order would do as well.
174 Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.
If the Paint creek town was the chief one, how came it to
pass that of the six great military expeditions to punish the In-
dians, not one was directed against the Paint creek Chillicothe,
although a considerable portion of three of the armies came down
the Ohio, and were within sixty miles of the place? Here fol-
low the six expeditions:
1st. That of George Rogers Clark, who, in 1780, with a
mounted regiment, moved on to attack the Chillicothe on the
Little Miami; then a few hours afterward fought the great
battle at Piqua, six miles below Springfield, on Mad river, the
Indians making a "desperate defense."
2nd. In 1782, Clark, with 1,050 men, attacked the Shawnees,
at Upper Piqua, on the Great Miami. A detachment made a
night march of about fifteen miles farther, and destroyed Lora-
mie's store. In his report of this expedition Clark says, "We
surprised the principal Shawnee town on the evening of the 10th
of November." One writer says that the Upper Piqua is said
at one period to have contained nearly 4,000 Shawnees.
Dr. Morgan gives an account of a contemplated attack on
the Paint creek town, by Boone and Kenton, with nineteen others
-a not very formidable army, as men estimate forces. Refer-
ence to this affair will be made later on.
3rd. In 1786, Col. Benjamin Logan led a force of about
1,000 men against the Shawnee towns on the upper waters of
the Mad river, in what is now Logan county. Eight towns were
4th. In 1790, Gen. Harmar, with 1,500 men marched against
the Indians of Western Ohio.
5th. In 1791, Gen. St. Clair with more than 1,400 men made
a like move.
6th. In 1793-4, Gen. Wayne, with 3,000 men, played havoc
with these same Indians before making his treaty.
In none of these six campaigns was any mention made of
this "chief town of the Shawnees on Paint creek." Still, if any-
one wishes so to consider it, I would not willingly disturb his
serenity of soul.
For his principal historical points, Dr. Morgan relies on
McDonald's Sketches. I read those sketches when they were:
The Towns Called Chillicothe. 175
first printed in a weekly newspaper in Cincinnati. This was some
years after Kenton's death. We are told that when McDonald
was an "old man" he rode all the way from Ross to Logan county
to see Kenton, and "gathered many of the facts" given in his
sketches. This was an honorable way of proceeding, and the
"old man" should have due credit for his carefulness. Let us
examine the matter a little further, and see whether there was
a possibility - nay, even a probability - of making "mistakes."
Kenton was about eighty years old, and he had no written account
of his multitudinous exploits. He gave his statements from
memory only. It is also possible that McDonald has attributed
to one town events which occurred at another, both towns bearing
the same name. One such case is referred to below. Remember
that this event took place more than fifty-five years before McDon-
ald's conference with Kenton. But before giving a specific ac-
count of this error, it may be well to show what opportunities I
have had of gaining information on the general subject.
William Kenton was eighteen years older than his brother,
Simon. William and his family moved from Fauquier county,
Virginia, to Kentucky in the fall of 1783, and thence to the val-
ley of Mad river, in Champaign county, Ohio, in 1801, Simon
having preceded him a year or two. William's children were
Philip, Thomas, Elizabeth, Mark, Jane, Mary and William. With
the first four of these I was well acquainted for more than a
score of years, the other three having died before my time; but
I was acquainted with the children and grandchildren of all the
seven, as also with Simon Kenton and his children and grand-
children. My father married Philip's oldest daughter. The
first twenty-five years of my life were spent among the Kentons.
The Kentons formed a sort of colony of no mean dimensions.
In the early 40's I taught school for more than two years, in
three adjoining districts, and in each about half the pupils be-
longed to some branch of the Kenton family. 'For the last thirty
years of Simon's life, his residence and my father's were not
many miles apart, although each of the men had changed his
place of residence at least three times. In the last four or five
years of Simon's life, when unable to undergo the fatigue of
constant labor, he was accustomed to visit his children, his neph-
176 Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.
ews and nieces, and he was always heartily welcomed. On these
occasions, the lads of eight, ten or twelve years, always beset
the old "hunter," and begged him to tell of his fights with the
Indians. I was one of those youngsters, and heard the stories
from Simon's own lips.
One item I mention here -an item, so far as I know, now
for the first time put on record. To the question as to how many
Indians he had killed, the answer was that when he was entirely
alone, he had shot sixteen, but he did not know how many he
had killed when he was in company with others. Hundreds of
times I have heard the exploits of Simon talked over by his
relatives -accounts told them by Simon himself. It was a sub-
ject that never grew old.
In 1838 I read to Thomas Kenton McClung's sketch of
Simon. Like many other pioneers he had never learned to read.
Many times when I had finished one story he had me read it
over again, and slowly, so that he might see whether it agreed
with Simon's account of the same story. In this way the whole
sketch was read over two or three times. He detected but one
mistake, and that was of no moment. All the rest agreed with
what Simon had always said - only that the author had not men-
tioned one-quarter of the scouting expeditions which Simon had
made. My father, who, for thirty years was associated with
Kenton, had a like opinion of McClung's sketch. I claim, there-
fore, that McClung's account is substantially correct.
I return now to the mistake above referred to; it is the ac-
count of the horse-capturing raid. Dr. Morgan says: "The old
Chillicothe where Kenton had the most bitter experience of his
long and eventful life, was the Chillicothe on the North Fork of
Paint creek." This statement I flatly contradict; and I will show
to the satisfaction of any fair-minded person that it was the Chilli-
cothe on the Little Miami, north of Xenia, and I will also point
out how the mistake was most probably made. Dr. Morgan states
that Boone and Kenton, with nineteen others, undertook an ex-
pedition against a Paint creek Indian town. The account, as
printed in Dr. Morgan's article, is as follows: "In the sketch we
find that in 1778, Boone and Kenton, with nineteen men, made a
tour into the Indian country with the avowed purpose of attack-
The Towns Called Chillicothe. 177
ing a small Indian village on Paint creek. When they arrived
near the town they were surprised by about forty Indians whom
they put to flight. On account of the town being apprised of the
approach of the whites, the project of surprising and taking the
town was abandoned."
McClung's version gives a more detailed statement, as fol-
lows: "Kenton sustained two sieges in Boonesborough and served
as a spy with equal diligence and success, until the summer of
1778, when Boone, returning from captivity, concerted an expe-
dition against the small Indian town on Paint creek. Kenton
acted as a spy in this expedition. * * * Being some distance
in advance of the rest, he was suddenly startled by hearing a
loud laugh from an adjoining thicket which he was about to enter.
Instantly halting, he took his position behind a tree, and anxiously
awaited a repetition of the noise. In a few minutes, two Indians
approached the spot where he lay, both mounted upon a small
pony, and chatting and laughing in high good humor. Having
permitted them to approach within good rifle distance, he raised
his gun, and, aiming at the breast of the foremost, pulled the
trigger. Both Indians fell - one shot dead, the other severely
wounded. Their frightened pony galloped back into the cane,
giving alarm to the rest of the party, who were some distance in
the rear." I abbreviate the remainder of the account. Kenton
ran forward to dispatch the wounded Indian and secure the scalps,
but while thus engaged, he heard a rustling in the cane, and look-
ing up, "he beheld two Indians within twenty steps of him, very
deliberately taking aim at his person." Kenton jumped aside
and the bullets whistled near his head. He ran to the shelter of
a tree, and a dozen more Indians emerged from the canebrake;
but just then Boone and the others ran up, "and opening a brisk
fire upon the Indians, quickly compelled them to regain the shelter
of the canebrake, with the loss of several wounded." A surprise
of the town being now impossible, Boone returned with all the
men except Kenton and Montgomery. These two "determined to
proceed alone to the Indian town, and at least obtain some recom-
pense for the trouble of their journey." They did so, took four
horses, and making a rapid night's march, returned in safety to
Kentucky. McClung continues, "Scarcely had he returned when
178 Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.
Col. Bowman ordered him to take his friend Montgomery, and
another young man named Clark, and go on a secret expedition
to an Indian town on the Little Miami, against which the Colonel
meditated an expedition, and of the exact condition of which he
wished to have certain information. They instantly set out in
obedience of their orders, and reached the neighborhood of the
town without being discovered." From this point on the accounts
given by McDonald (or quoted) and by McClung agree in all
the essential points. The small difference is that McDonald says
they attempted to cross the Ohio at the mouth of Eagle creek,
but the Kentons said that in the first raid, when four horses had
been taken, they crossed the Ohio at Eagle creek, but in the
second, the attempt to cross was made at the mouth of White
Oak, ten miles further down the Ohio. The pursuit, the failure
to cross, the death of Montgomery, the escape of Clark, the cap-
ture of Kenton, the wild ride back to Chillicothe, the gauntlet,
etc., etc., are the same in both narratives. McClung says "on
the Little Miami;" McDonald, as quoted, says "they proceeded to
Chillicothe," and so they did, but it was not the town on Paint
The council decided not to burn Kenton at Chillicothe, but
to go to Wapatomica, on the upper waters of Mad river. Kenton
asked a renegade white man what would be done with him at
Wapatomica. He replied, "Burn you, G-d d-n you." Ken-
ton resolved to escape. His conductors started on the trip. Ken-
ton "meditating an effort for liberty, and as often shrinking from
the attempt. At length he was aroused from his reverie by the
Indians firing off their guns, and raising the scalp halloo. The
signal was soon answered, and the deep roll of a drum was heard
in front." Then Kenton "sprung into the bushes and fled with
the speed of a wild deer. The pursuit was instant and keen,
some on foot, some on horseback." In his flight Kenton ran into
a company of horsemen who were coming from the village to
meet those who were conducting Kenton. "He was again
haltered and driven before them to the town like an ox to the
slaughter house. Upon reaching the village (Pickaway), he was
fastened to a stake near the door of the council house, and the
warriors again assembled in debate. In a short time they issued
The Towns Called Chillicothe. 179
from the council house, and surrounding him, they danced, yelled,
etc., for several hours. * * * On the following morning
their journey was continued * * * and on the second day
he arrived at Waughcotomoco." [This is McClung's way of
spelling; others usually write Wapatomica.]
The correctness of this account is confirmed by all the testi-
mony touching it. The journey from Chillicothe to Pickaway,
[usually written Piqua, six miles from Springfield, down Mad
river] was made in one day, with several hours to spare. The
distance from the Chillicothe on the Little Miami is about twelve
miles in a straight line, the distance from the Chillicothe on Paint
creek is about fifty miles similarly measured. To travel the dis-
tance in one day and have "several hours" to spare, was easily
practicable from the town on the Little Miami. But to travel
the distance from the Chillicothe on Paint creek, to Piqua, and
have "several hours" to spare, when you reflect that the windings
of the journey would add some miles to the distance, was abso-
lutely impossible. Some one has confused his Chillicothes.
"He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it."
It is with great reluctance that I have taken time to expose
the "mistakes" made by Dr. Morgan, or those on whom he relied,
and I decline any further controversy on the subject.
R. W. MCFARLANLD.