120 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
tablets, in the city of Greenville, Ohio, commemorating the establishment
of the fort there in 1793, the first treaty with the Indians August 3, 1795,
and the second treaty July 22, 1814, together with statues of General St.
Clair, General Anthony Wayne and General William H. Harrison, the hero
of the victory of the battle of the river Thames, which resulted in the death
of Tecumseh and the restoration of a permanent peace with the Indians.
This society has a work to perform, and as you have done for us, so do
likewise for others who also need your kind assistance.
May you always have ready hands and willing minds to labor suc-
cessfully in his great work.
HON. JAMES I. ALLREAD.
JUDGE COMMON PLEAS COURT, DARKE COUNTY.
The county historical society and the citizens of this community are
to be congratulated upon the building of this boulder monument and the
placing of this historic tablet marking the ancient site of Fort Jefferson.
The building of this fort by General Arthur St. Clair was an import-
ant historical event-important not only in the history of this county,
but of the whole Northwest Territory.
Here was built the first permanent structure within the limits of
what is now Darke county. And from here the army of volunteers
and regulars under St. Clair marched forth to meet the most crushing
defeat in all the history of Indian warfare.
The intimate connection of Fort Jefferson with St. Clair's defeat has
marked it for obscurity. The illfated expedition is never dignified as
St. Clair's campaign nor the engagement as St. Clair's battle, but is
designated in all the histories as "St. Clair's Defeat".
It must be remembered, however, that the historical importance of
a battle or engagement does not depend wholly upon success.
Bunker Hill was a great defeat for the colonists, yet, historically,
it marked the beginning of the struggle for independence.
The defeat of the Union forces at Bull Run aroused the North and
made Appomattox possible.
The defeat of St. Clair aroused the national government, inspired the
preparation and reorganization of an army which, under General Anthony
Wayne, achieved brilliant and complete victory in the battle of the Mau-
mee wilderness and brought the Indian chieftains, humiliated, to the
council ending in the Greenville treaty.
The Ohio valley and the Lake Erie region was the scene of the
most formidable and sanguinary of all the Indian conflicts. They began
with the struggles between the French and English traders; they devel-
oped into the French and Indian war; broke out again after the treaty
of peace between the French and English, in Pontiac's conspiracy; in
Monument at Fort Jefferson. 121
the raids leading to Lord Dunmore's war and a long list of less notable
but bloody conflicts up to the outbreak of the War of the Revolution.
At this time the British secured the Indians as their allies, and from
Canadian forts inspired and directed a mercenary warfare against their
From the time of French dominion the Ohio territory was a part of
Canada. And even after the cession of the French possession to the
English in 1763 the Ohio river was still the Canadian boundary.
To the achievements of George Rogers Clarke, in surprising and
reducing the English posts upon the Wabash; the foresight of Wash-
ington, who had himself crossed the Ohio country; and the persistence
of John Adams, one of the American commissioners, is due the cession
of the Northwest Territory at the close of the Revolutionary War. Then
for the first time the Canadian border extended only to the Great Lakes.
The Ohio country passed thereby under the dominion of the United
States, subject only to the Indian title.
To obtain a cession of the Indian titles immediately became the aim
of the national government.
In 1784 the treaty of Fort Stanwix was signed by the Six Nations, or
Iroquois, ceding title to all lands east of the present western boundary
In the following year the treaty of Fort McIntosh was made with
the chiefs of the Delawares, Wyandots, Chippewas and Ottawas, ceding
all lands east and south of the Cuyahoga and Great Miami rivers and
a line extending from the Indian portages upon the head waters of
these streams over a certain defined course, comprising in extent a large
part of the present territory of Ohio.
Upon the faith of this treaty Congress provided for the opening up
of the lands for settlement.
Some of the Indians, notably the Shawnees and Miamis, were not
represented, and all the tribes for one pretext or another became dis-
satisfied and repudiated the treaty.
In 1789 another treaty was made at Fort Harmar with the Wyan-
dots, Chippewas, Pottawatomie and Sac nations, confirming the treaty
of Fort McIntosh. But the very same year this treaty was violated and
In the meantime several expeditions had been made into the Indian
country, resulting for most part in failure.
In 1778 an expedition under General McIntosh was planned against
the Detroit villages. The expedition moved as far as the Tuscarawas,
built and garrisoned Fort Laurens, and then returned. The fort itself
was abandoned the following year. Shortly after the evacuation of the
fort an expedition was sent against the Shawnee villages, but resulted
In 1780 the Coshocton campaign under General Broadhead against
122 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the Indian villages at the Muskingum forks was unimportant in results.
While in the same summer General Clarke led a body of 970 Ken-
tuckians against the Shawnees on the Little Miami and Mad rivers,
burned their villages and defeated them in battle.
In September, 1782, General Clarke led a second expedition against
the Shawnees, burning their villages and destroying their corn.
There were other minor expeditions to the Indian country, but with-
out any permanent results.
In March, 1782, occurred the Moravian massacre, and in June fol-
lowing the unsuccessful expedition of Colonel Crawford.
In June, 1789, Major Dowty with 140 men from Fort Harmar com-
menced the building of Fort Washington, on the present site of Cincin-
nati. A few months later General Harmar with 300 men arrived and
took command of the fort.
In September, 1799, General Harmar, with a force of 1,300 men, led
an expedition against the Indian villages on the Miamis and Maumee.
While near the villages on the Maumee, an advance detachment of 300
militia fell into an ambush and met with severe loss. Later a detach-
ment under Colonel Hardin was repulsed with great loss and driven back
to the main army. Dispirited by these reverses, General Harmar returned
to Fort Washington, his expedition a failure.
In May, 1791, General Scott with 800 men penetrated into the Wabash
country and destroyed several Indian villages. In August of the same
year General Wilkinson with 500 men destroyed the Kickapoo villages
upon the lower Wabash. The only effect of these expeditions was to
exasperate and inflame the Indians.
The time had now come for more determined action by the national
government. The sturdy pioneers from the older colonies had three
years before planted civilization at Marietta, and were rapidly pushing
their settlements along the Ohio and into the interior. Israel Ludlow
and others had planned a permanent settlement at Fort Washington, and
government surveyors had extended government lines between the two
Miamis almost to the Indian villages.
The Indians fully realized that town building and pioneer settlement
meant the ultimate destruction of their hunting grounds, and that the
forest fellers and farm builder would gradually but surely drive them
toward the open prairies of the west and the frozen lakes of the north.
Impressed with this belief and goaded by instances of wrongs, imagin-
ary and real, they inaugurated a border warfare of the most intense and
The chieftains of the Six Nations, with all the fire of Indian oratory,
told the story of their being driven from their rich hunting grounds and
the graves of their ancestors in the Mohawk valley. The Delawares, with
equal eloquence, told how their council fires on the banks of the Delaware
and Susquehanna had been extinguished before the onrushing tide of
Monument at Fort Jefferson. 123
the white man's civilization. And the Shawnees, noted for the eloquence
of their chieftains, told the story of twenty-five years of border warfare.
The Ohio river, from time immemorial, had been an open highway;
separating the territory of the hostile tribes north and south. It was the
Mason and Dixon line. And no Indian tribe had the hardihood or daring
to plant its villages upon its banks.
The villages of the northern tribes were built upon the upper waters
of its tributaries and upon those of the Great Lakes, while the southern
tribes found security in the fastnesses of the mountains of Tennessee
and in the plains beyond.
This natural and traditional boundary the Indians fondly hoped to
establish as the permanent boundary between them and the whites. And
this hope furnished the inspiration for their quick and ready repudiation
of the treaties ceding portions of the Ohio territory.
The chieftains proclaimed the re-establishment of the Ohio river
boundary as their purpose. This declaration found ready response among
the savages and became the slogan under which all the tribes were now
united. Their hostility threatened every settler. Indian bands roamed
the forests from river to lake. The conflict was constant. It was a duel
to the death. The shooting down of men and the massacre of women
and children were of almost daily occurrence. The passing of boats
upon the rivers was interrupted; the blockhouses themselves attacked,
and tradition has it that Indian spies were seen skulking in the streets of
Cincinnati by night with a view to its attack.
It must not be supposed that the confederacy of Indian tribes con-
fronting the Ohio river settlements at this time were weak numerically
or lacking in martial spirit. On the contrary, they were the most power-
ful, determined and warlike ever encountered in the onward march of
Chief among all the tribes was the Wyandot, whose villages were
near the present site of Detroit and along the Sandusky river, the islands
of Lake Erie forming a line of communication.
Their youths were taught that flight or surrender even to a superior
force was disgraceful. This trait is exemplified in the incident related
of General Wayne requesting the capture of an Indian from Sandusky.
The scout of whom this request was made replied that it was impossible,
as the Indians there were Wyandots, and could not be taken alive. In
the battle of the Fallen Timber it is reported that of the thirteen Wyan-
dot chiefs present but one survived the battle, and he was badly wounded.
They were indeed the Spartans of the Indian tribes.
To the warlike Wyandots was intrusted the Grand Calumet, the sym-
bol of union and of power. By this emblem they had the power to call all
the tribes and nations together and to kindle the council fires.
Next in importance were the Shawnees. They came originally from
south of the Ohio river and established their villages on the banks of
124 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the Scioto, near its midwaters. From their central location they radiated
in every direction. Their neighbors were the fierce Wyandots. The
Shawnees were restless and aggressive. They were conspicuous in every
Indian conflict from the times of the French and Indian wars down to
the last Indian treaty. They were in the direct front of immigration, and
beat an ugly and reluctant retreat. They were the special object of the
war of Lord Dunmore and of the expeditions of General Clarke and
others, and were conspicuous in the campaigns of Harmar, St. Clair
They produced the greatest chieftains: Cornstalk, who led the
Indian forces at Point Pleasant; Blue Jacket, prominent in the battles
of the Miami country, and who spoke for war in the great council of
all the Indian nations and tribes at the Auglaize; Black Hoof, the old
man eloquent, who was with the victors at Braddock's defeat, was in
all the wars of the Ohio country, and was famed far and wide as a war-
rior of great sagacity and energy and daring; and Tecumseh, the George
Washington of the Indians, who later united all the tribes north and south
for final defense against the whites.
The Delawares were originally from east of the Blue Ridge and were
driven west, settling first in the Muskingum valley and later on in the
Auglaize. They were formerly said to be peaceful, but finally assimil-
ated the spirit of their more warlike neighbors. They marked Colonel
Crawford for the stake and carried the sentence into execution.
Their chieftain was Buck-on-gehelas. Some idea of his character
may be formed by an incident occurring the day after Wayne's victory
at Fort Defiance, fought under the guns of the British fort. Buck-on-
gehelas had assembled his tribe in canoes and was passing up the stream
to make terms with the victors. Upon approaching the British fort an
officer hailed the chieftain and said that the commander wished to speak
to him. The chieftain, disgusted with the false promises of the British,
said, "In that case, let him come to me." "That will never do," was the
reply, "and he will not allow you to pass the fort unless you comply with
"What shall prevent my passing?" the chieftain responded.
"These guns," answered the officer, pointing to those commanding
"I fear not your cannon," the chief replied. "After suffering the
Americans to insult your flag without firing upon them, you must not
expect to frighten Buck-on-gehelas."
With this scornful reply the canoes passed the fort without moles-
The Ottawas formerly occupied the valley of the Ottawa river of
Canada; they were driven westward, beyond Lake Michigan, thence from
place to place until a fragment settled in the Maumee country. Although
held among the Indians to be a cowardly tribe, yet they produced the
Monument at Fort Jefferson. 125
great Pontiac, who is acknowledged to have been one of the foremost
chiefs and warriors of Indian history. Like the Delawares, they were
ready pupils in the school of the fierce Wyandots and the aggressive
The Miamis were the original inhabitants of all the section north of
the Ohio and between the Scioto and Wabash rivers. Their principal vil-
lages were upon the two Miamis and the Miami of the Lake (now Mau-
To this tribe belonged Little Turtle, who commanded the Indian
forces in the campaigns of Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne, and was con-
spicuous at the signing of the treaty of Greenville where he plead ele-
quently for the domain of his ancestors.
In addition to these tribes specially prominent in the frontier history
of Ohio, the confederacy included the Kickapoos, Pottawatomie and
Chippewas of the Michigan and upper lake regions.
The aggressive chieftains at the time of St. Clair's campaign were
Little Turtle, chief of the Miamis; Blue Jacket, chief of the Shawnees;
Buck-on-gehelas, chief of the Delawares; and also Simon Girty, the rene-
gade who had attained the rank of chief among the Mingo, and whose
atrocities made him the terror and dread of all the frontier settlements.
And it has been reported that Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief, with
150 of his warriors were present at the battle.
The extent of the confederacy at this time was not definitely known,
but may be inferred from the gathering of the next year at the council
of the Auglaize, of which Corn Planter, the Iroquois chieftain, said,
"There were so many nations we could not tell the names of them."
This was to be their last desperate stand and their rendezvous was to be
in the Miami and Maumee country. Such was the situation which con-
fronted Washington when Congress authorized him to act. Washington
was himself an Indian fighter. He was in the defeat of Braddock and
later on led the English forces to decisive victories against the combined
forces of French and Indians.
Washington planned the compaign. General St. Clair, an officer in
the old French wars, a major-general of the war of the revolution, presi-
dent of the Continental Congress and at that time governor of the North-
west Territory, was chosen to command.
The object was to build a strong military post at the junction of the
St. Mary's and St. Joseph with the Maumee, near the Miami villages, to
be connected with Fort Washington by an intermediate chain of forts.
The purpose was to overawe the Indians and enforce submission.
From January, 1791, St. Clair was engaged in collecting men and
supplies. On May 15 he arrived at Fort Washington. By September
he had 2,300 available men, of whom 600 were militia. The main army
on September 17 moved forward twenty-five miles to a point on the bank of
the Great Miami, where Fort Hamilton was built.
126 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The country was then reconnoitered, and on October 12 this point,
forty-four miles from Fort Hamilton, was selected for the second fort,
and named in honor of Jefferson. Two hundred men under Major Fergu-
son began the work of constructing the fort, block houses and stockade.
Leaving a strong garrison here, the main army, on the morning of
the 24th, again took up the march. They followed an old Indian trail
to the present site of Greenville and thence into the unbroken woods.
From the hour the army left this fort misfortune beset it at every turn.
On the day before leaving Fort Jefferson three men-two deserters and
one mutineer-were drawn up before the army and shot. Notwithstand-
ing this, desertions occurred almost daily, and on October 31 sixty militia-
men deserted in a body. Fearing they would capture and plunder the
wagon trains, St. Clair dispatched the first regiment of regulars to pursue
them, save the wagon convoy, if possible, capture the deserters. Thus
weakened the remnant of the army pursued its toilsome journey.
Indian scouts "hawkeyed and wolf-hearted," peered from the hills
overlooking this fort, and skulked along the line of march. They saw every
defection and knew every division. They counted the remnant of the
army that on November 3 encamped on the spot of dry ground made
famous by the following dawn.
They saw the tired men lie down without a ditch or wall of logs
to protect them from attack. The Indian chieftians knew this was the
time to strike. Tomorrow the defenses would be put up, and soon the
regulars would return. The whole available force of the Indians were
now ready for the attack. At the opportune moment, upon the early
dawn, it opened with great fury. The onset was terrific. The militia-
men, who occupied a position a quarter of a mile in advance, were swept
back upon the main army before they could scarcely fire a shot, and the
whole army was in consternation. The men, after recovering from the
surprise, fought most valiantly. St. Clair, although suffering from the
gout, behaved splendidly. He and General Butler, who was second in
command, rode up and down the line encouraging the men.
The Indians maintained an advantageous position and kept up a
galling crossfire upon our troops who were in the open. They picked
off the officers in uniform. Almost all the officers and half the army
had been killed or wounded and the remnant was surrounded. The
only hope was to cut through the Indian lines. An advance was made,
the Indian lines gave way, the retreat began, and soon developed into an
utter rout, which continued until Fort Jefferson,-29 miles from the field
of action,-was reached. The scene following the beginning of this re-
treat beggars discription. No parallel is found in the annuals of history.
The Indians were indeed savages. Their brutality and fiendishness knew
no bounds. They revelled in human blood. They followed the fleeing
army for several miles, putting to torture and to death the wounded and
Monument at Fort Jefferson. 127
Upon reaching Fort Jefferson, General St. Clair ordered the retreat
continued to Fort Washington. The sick and wounded were quartered
and cared for at Fort Jerfferson. The available army, however, left the
same night and arrived at Fort Hamilton on the afternoon of the 6th
and at Fort Washington on the 8th.
Thus ended, in dreadful disaster, the campaign so carefully planned.
The army was disheartened and almost destroyed, the settlers alarmed
and panic-stricken, and the Indians encouraged and emboldened.
General Butler, second in command, Major Ferguson, whose de-
tachment built this fort, and upwards of 900 men were left upon the
field of battle.
The country was alarmed, congress aroused, and a new army was
raised, which under Wayne the "Sleepless Chief," struck terror into the
hearts of the Indians and made them sue for peace.
The reputation of St. Clair never emerged from the clouds of his
defeat. He retained the governorship of the Territory, but his prestige
and influence were gone. Under the creation of the new state, he re-
turned to his native state of Pennsylvania and there, within sight of the
estates he had sacrificed to the cause of the revolution, spent his last
days in poverty.
In January, following the battle of St. Clair's defeat, General Wil-
kinson accompanied a detachment to the battlefield for the purpose of
burying the dead. The bodies showed most cruel torture. They were
collected and there, amid the snows and blasts of winter and in the
wilderness they sought to recover for civilization, were consigned to
One hundred and sixteen years have passed since the white man's ax
rang out in the unbroken wilderness in the construction of this fortifica-
tion. A transformation has occured beyond the wildest dreams of the men
then living. The Indians have been extirpated, the forests cleared, the
lands drained and improved to the highest state of cultivation, homes built
and every convenience and comfort installed.
Wayne, upon his arrival here, considered this fort unsafe because
of the hills overlooking it, and because of the ease with which it might
be attacked, and marched five miles further and built Fort Greenville,
where his army was established for the winter.
From this new fort, after thorough preparation, Wayne moved into
the wilderness, and to the new fort in triumph he brought the Indians,
thoroughly subdued, for final treaty.
Every great event has its influence The Great Miami was the
natural boundary of the first state to be carved out of the Northwest
Territory. The early Indian treaties extended to this line. Congress, in
providing for the opening up of the lands for settlement, and St. Clair, in
fixing the limits of Hamilton county, made the Great Miami the western
boundary. But in the mind of Wayne, Fort Recovery-within whose shad-
128 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ows slept the heroic dead of two armies-stood forth as the more ap-
propriate and fitting monument. Fort Recovery, therefore, became the
future landmark for treaties and state lines.
Every age has its peculiar problem. The pioneers dealt with the
problems of poverty. They struggled for the future. They laid the
foundations of a new state. And as we look about in this day of plenty,
we should remember the sacrifices and suffering of those who rescued
the country from the wilderness and built deep and strong the foundation
of our present prosperity.
A WORD FROM THE RED MEN.
L. E. WILLS.
No doubt after hearing of the many depredations by the Indians
towards the whites, you wonder why the Little Turtle Tribe of Red Men,
an order which was named after the red man, have been invited to assist
and participate upon this occasion. And indeed you have cause to wonder,
from the fact, as I have said, that we were named after the red men of the
forest, and at the time this fort was built the red man and the whites were
engaged in a frightful war.
If this was a debate I assure you that I could quote you some history
in defense of the red men that would cause many of you to change your
minds and your opinions, but as this is not a debate I will just call to
mind a few instances that might correct some of your minds in regard
to why you are here.
When Columbus discovered and landed on our Eastern shores,
his report upon his return was that he had discovered a country inhabited
by a copper colored race of people, who, upon the first sight of the white
man, became frightened and ran away; but upon repeated efforts became
more friendly and showed them much hospitality. That is the first in-
stance in history that we have of the red man. History also teaches us
that the primitive red men of the forest were a people who loved their
freedom above all things. They were a people who considered their word
and promise as sacred as their lives. They were a people to whom vice
and treachery were perfect strangers. They were also a God-fearing
people, who, history tells us, never entered upon any important duty
without offering up an invocation and prayer asking The Great Spirit for
his protecting power. When rain failed to descend and the buffalo had
forsaken their hunting grounds they gathered together and for days offered
up incantation and prayer and smoked the pipe of peace, believing that
their words would ascend to Him in the smoke and cause the rain to fall
and the buffalo to return. That society at that time was not named the
Red Men's Order, but the same people-the same society descended on
down until it became the Improved Order of Red Men. And we were