Ohio History Journal






On the 28th of June, 1904, the Columbus Chapter of the

Daughters of the American Revolution did themselves and their

organization great honor by placing in Martin Park in the western

part of the City of Columbus, a large bowlder of igneous origin,

bearing a very handsome designed tablet in commemoration of

the important council or conference which General William

Henry Harrison had with the chiefs of certain Indian tribes,

near that spot on June 21st, 1813. By this act the Daughters

rescued from the very brink of oblivion and gave a permanent

place in the history of the War of 1812 to one of the important

and controlling incidents of that war. But for this action on

the part of this organization, that event would probably have

soon passed into entire forgetfulness, as there was but one

co-temporary report of the proceedings ever published of that

conference or council, and that was in a weekly paper then

published at Franklinton, called "The Freeman's Chronicle,"

which was edited and owned by James B. Gardiner. It was

the first weekly paper, or paper of any kind, ever published

in what is now the City of Columbus. The first number of

this paper was dated June 24th, 1812, and the publication con-

tinued for more than two years, covering the entire period of

the War of 1812. Mr. Gardiner was present at the council and

in the issue of his paper of June 25th, 1813, he published an ac-

count of it. Mr. William Domigan, at that time a resident of

the Town of Franklinton, had the thoughtfulness to preserve a

full file of that paper as it was issued, and had the same bound

in substantial form, which sole copy has been preserved to this

time and presents the best picture of the condition and life of the

young village that is in existence to-day.

Mrs. Edward Orton, Jr., Regent of the Columbus Chapter

of the organization before mentioned, in her very appropriate

address in presenting the memorial tablet to the City of Columbus,


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said: "We are assembled here to-day to commemorate an event

more than local in character, far reaching in its results, and of the

greatest importance to the state as well as to the capital of Ohio."

Mr. Robert H. Jeffrey, Mayor of Columbus, in his remarks,

accepting the tablet on behalf of the City of Columbus, said:

"The value of this bowlder lies in recalling to our memory the

high patriotism of our forefathers. In its ruggedness, its strength

and its power to defy all time, it typifies the immutable principles

of the great union of states, which these ancestors fought, bled and

died for."

General Benjamin R. Cowen then delivered an historical

address concerning the events, the monument and the tablet were

intended to commemorate. This address as well as all the pro-

ceedings of the day have been published in booklet form by the

Regent, Mrs. Orton, for private circulation.

In order to give further permanency to the record of this

important event, we give in full the account of Mr. Gardiner, as

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it appears in the issue of "The Freeman's Chronicle" of June

25th, 1813:

"On Monday last Gen. Harrison held a council in this place

with the chiefs of the Delaware, Shawanoe, Wyandot and Seneca

tribes of Indians, to the amount of about 50. In the General's

talk, he observed that he had been induced to call them together

from certain circumstances having come to his knowledge, which

led him to suspect the fidelity of some of the tribes, who had

manifested signs or a disposition to join the enemy, in case they

had succeeded in capturing Fort Meigs. That a crisis had arrived

which demanded that all the tribes, who had heretofore remained

neutral, should take a decided stand, either for us or against us.

That the President wished no false friends, and that it was only

in adversity that real friends could be distinguished. That the

proposal of Gen. Proctor to exchange the Kentucky prisoners for

the friendly tribes within our borders, indicated that he had been

given to understand that those tribes were willing to raise the

tomahawk against us. And that in order to give the U. S. a

guarantee of their good dispositions, the friendly tribes should

either move, with their families, into the settlements, or their

warriors should accompany him in the ensuing campaign, and

fight for the U. S. To this proposal the chiefs and warriors

present unanimously agreed-and observed, that they had long

been anxious for an opportunity to fight for the Americans.

"We cannot recall the precise remarks that were made by the

chiefs who spoke-but Tarhe (The Crane) who is the principal

chief of the Wyandots, and the oldest Indian in the western wilds;

appeared to represent the whole assembly, and professed, in the

name of the friendly tribes, the most indissoluble attachment for

the American government, and a determination to adhere to the

Treaty of Greenville.

"The General promised to let the several tribes know when

he should want their services; and further cautioned them that

all who went with him must conform to his mode of warfare; not

to kill or injure old men, women, children nor prisoners. That,

by this means, we should be able to ascertain whether the British

tell truth when they say that they are not able to prevent Indians

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from such acts of horrid cruelty; for if Indians under him (Gen.

H.) would obey his commands, and refrain from acts of barbar-

ism, it would be very evident that the hostile Indians could be

as easily restrained by their commanders. The Gen. then informed

the chiefs of the agreement made by Proctor to deliver him to

Tecumseh in case the British succeeded in taking Fort Meigs;

and promised them that if he should be successful, he would de-

liver Proctor into their hands - on condition, that they should do

him no other harm than to put a petticoat on him - "for," said he,

"none but a coward or a squaw would kill a prisoner."

"The council broke up in the afternoon; and the Indians de-

parted next day for their respective towns."

In order to understand and appreciate the importance and

full significance of this conference, it is necessary to recall some

of the chief events of the times relating to the war.

The battle of "Fallen Timbers" was fought August 20th,

1794, at which General Wayne obtained a complete victory over

the Indians who had concentrated in the region of the Maumee.

This defeat was followed the next summer by a general council

held by General Anthony Wayne at Greenville, Darke county,

Ohio, with the Indian tribes of the northwest, which resulted in

the celebrated treaty, known as the "Treaty of Greenville," which

was concluded August 3d, 1795, and was in its result the most

important of all the peace treaties made between the United

States and the Indian tribes northwest of the Ohio. The Wyan-

dots, Delawares, Shawnees, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawattomies,

Miamis, Eel Rivers, Weas, Piankeshaws, Kickapoos and Kaskas-

kias, became parties to that treaty.

This treaty was followed by comparative peace for a period

of sixteen years, and until about the year 1811, although in the

meantime turbulent, revengeful and evil-disposed Indians fre-

quently broke away from the different tribes and from the con-

trol of their principal chiefs and formed marauding parties, which

from time to time committed all manner of murders, thefts and

outrages on the frontier settlers of the northwest.

For a few years prior to the declaration of the War of 1812

between the United States and Great Britain, the relations be-

tween these two governments had been very much strained and

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Harrison-Tarhe Peace Conference.          125

it was generally considered that war was sure to ensue. In the

meantime the British maintained numerous active and powerful

agents among the Indians of the northwest for the purpose of

supplying them with munition of war and creating discontent

among them and inciting them to make war on the white settlers.

Thus encouraged there was assembled under Tecumseh and his

brother, the Prophet, at their camp at the junction of the Wabash

and Tippecanoe rivers, in northwestern Indiana, a large number

of turbulent and desperate Indians drawn from most of the

various tribes east of the Mississippi. It was the purpose and

hope of Tecumseh and his brother, and the Indians under their

influence, by a united effort with the British forces, to drive the

white people out of the territory of the northwest. These Indians

thus assembled on the Upper Wabash, became very threatening

and endeavored to deceive and surprise General Harrison, who

was then governor of the Territory of Indiana with headquarters

at Vincennes. Their actions and numbers were such as to make

it prudent and even necessary that General Harrison should make

a demonstration against them for the purpose of discovering their

purpose and strength. This resulted in the Battle of Tippecanoe

November 7th, 1811, at which battle the Indians were defeated,

but not greatly dispirited, as they still relied greatly upon the

looked for war between the United States and Great Britain

when they would have the powerful aid of the British forces.

Tecumseh was not present at that battle and the Indians were

under the command of his brother, the imposter Prophet. By

this defeat the power which the Prophet had been exercising

over his Indian followers was largely destroyed, and he was never

afterwards in much favor.

The war which had long been threatening between the United

States and Great Britain suddenly flamed into activity and war

was declared on the part of the United States against Great

Britain on June 18th, 1812. This was the opportunity the dis-

contented and turbulent Indians of the northwest had long been

waiting for. Tecumseh had before that time and in anticipation

of it, concluded his alliance with the British forces, and the forces

under him were already well prepared to join in active warfare.

He was at the head of all the Indian forces in the northwest, and

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was by far the ablest war chief of his times and the ablest war

chief which the Indian race has produced of which we have any

accurate knowledge, unless it may be the great Pontiac of a half

century before. He at once commenced a vigorous onslaught on

the frontier military posts and frontier settlers, and with terrible


Affairs went badly against the American forces for the first

year after the declaration of war. On July 17th, 1812, Lieuten-

ant Hanks, in command of Mackinac, was compelled to surrender

the garrison, consisting of fifty-seven effective men, to the forces

under the British commander at St. Joseph's, a British post near

the head of Lake Huron.

On August 15th following, the massacre of the garrison at

Fort Dearborn (Chicago) occurred, at which time between fifty

and sixty United States soldiers were mercilessly murdered and

the fort destroyed. This terrible slaughter in which the treach-

erous and blood-thirsty Black Hawk was engaged, was followed

the next day (August 16th) by the cowardly and ignominious

surrender of General Hull at Detroit, of about fifteen or sixteen

hundred troops, to a greatly inferior number of British and In-

dians under General Brock of the English army.

By the first of September, 1812, the entire northwest, with

the exception of Fort Harrison on the Wabash, and Fort Wayne

on the Maumee, had been overrun and was in possession of the

British and Indians, and these two forts were both besieged by

hordes of savages. Fort Harrison with but fifty or sixty men

under Captain Zachariah Taylor (then a young officer in the

United States army and afterwards President of the United

States) was heroically defended and the Indian hordes repelled. A

like brilliant defense was made of Fort Wayne. The garrison

was small, the Indians were in great numbers, the captain in com-

mand of the garrison was dissipated and incompetent, and was

summarily deposed from command, which then devolved upon

one Lieutenant Curtis, then a young officer in the United States

army, who, by his heroic defense of the fort during the two weeks

of unremitting siege, has recorded his name permanently in the

annals of his time.

It was just at this discouraging and perilous time that General

Harrison was appointed commander of all the forces in the north-

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Harrison-Tarhe Peace Conference.         127


west. He at once took most heroic measures to raise the siege

at Fort Wayne and strengthen that garrison, and also to

strengthen the garrison at Fort Harrison on the Wabash. This

he accomplished and thereafter was able to maintain the lines

of the Wabash and the Maumee, as the frontier between the

American forces and the allied British and Indians. All beyond

to the northwest was in the possession of the enemy.

But disasters to the American forces were not yet ended.

On the 21st of January, 1813, General Winchester, who was in

command of the forces on the Maumee, was defeated at the

battle of the River Raisin by the combined forces of General

Proctor and Tecumseh, and about 700 of his troops captured or

destroyed, many of them being massacred after they had sur-


General Harrison was at the headquarters of the army at

Upper Sandusky when he first heard that General Winchester,

who was in command of the forces on the Maumee, intended to

make an important military movement, the nature of which, how-

ever, he could not learn. No important offensive movement was

contemplated by him at that time. On receiving this informa-

tion he at once ordered forward all the troops then at Upper San-

dusky, about 300 strong, and took a horse and rode to Lower

Sandusky (Fremont) in all haste. Such was the energy with

which he pushed forward over the terrible winter roads that the

horse of his aid-de-camp failed and died under the exertion. At

Lower Sandusky he learned that on the 17th of January, Colonel

Lewis had been sent forward from the Rapids to the River Raisin

in command of over 600 troops which was almost the entire avail-

able force on the Maumee. General Harrison's mind was filled

with forebodings, and ordering the troops at Lower Sandusky for-

ward to the Rapids, he again pushing forward for that place,

where he arrived early on the 20th. Here he learned that General

Winchester had gone forward to join his command at the river

Raisin. There was nothing that could be done but wait for the

troops which he had ordered forward from the Sanduskies, which

were floundering along as best they could through the swamps

of the wilderness. He did not have to wait long before he re-

ceived the appalling news of the battle at the river Raisin, which

was one of the most disasterous of all our Indian Wars.

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The battle was fought on January 21st, the defeat was com-

plete and overwhelming and Winchester's army was practically

destroyed. This left the region of the Maumee entirely open to

be overrun by the victorious British and Indians, and it was ex-

pected that they would soon make their appearance at the Rapids.

A council of war was at once held, and it was determined to with-

draw the remaining troops to Portage river, about twenty miles

east from the Maumee. Here a camp was established and the

troops which were struggling forward as well as the rem-

nant of General Winchester's command were concentrated.

Within a few days such a force had been assembled as to enable

General Harrison to move back to the Maumee. He did not,

however, resume possession of the old camp, Fort Miami, which

had been occupied before by General Winchester's command, but

a better place was selected some distance up the river from the

old camp, and on the south side of the river where a strong fort

was erected, which was named Fort Meigs in honor of the then

governor of Ohio.

It was the intention to concentrate a force at Fort Meigs

sufficient to maintain it against all attacks which might be made,

but on account of the terrible roads through the wilderness, the

expected recruits from Kentucky and Southern Ohio, did not

arrive until the fort was besieged by the entire forces under

Proctor and Tecumseh.

On the 1st day of April, 1813, the fort was invested on every

side and an active siege was at once begun. The siege was car-

ried on with great vigor, the Indians being incited to bravery by

the promise of the monster General Proctor to deliver General

Harrison into their hands should the siege be successful and the

fort taken. However, after nine days of constant bombardment

and conflict the siege failed and the British and Indian forces


Immediately after the British and Indians had withdrawn

from the Maumee, General Harrison hastened in person to south-

ern and central Ohio to urge forward the troops that were being

collected to meet and repel the British and Indian forces and

drive them beyond the boundaries of the United States.

It was under these anxious and harassing circumstances

that General Harrison came to Franklinton and held the confer-

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Harrison-Tarhe Peace Conference.         129

ence with the chiefs of the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanese and

Senecas. The principal chiefs of these tribes had remained true

to their obligations of neutrality under the Treaty of Greenville,

but so many had been lured away from their tribal obligations

by British pay and British bribes and promises, and such was

their strength when commanded and guided by that able and

energetic warrior Tecumseh that it became necessary for General

Harrison to know as exactly as possible what proportion of the

military strength of the powerful tribes would remain neutral,

or if necessary join with the American forces. The chiefs assem-

bled not only assured him that they would remain true to their

obligations, but if called upon would join with the American forces

against the British.

They were not called upon to take an active part in the war,

but as a matter of fact several of the chiefs of these four great

tribes with a considerable number of their warriors of their own

volition accompanied General Harrison in his campaign, which

ended in the decisive battle of the Thames. Chief Tarhe (the

Crane), Grand Sachem of the Wyandots, whose village was then

near Upper Sandusky, Wyandot county, and who was spokesman

for all the tribes at the conference at Franklinton, although sev-

enty-two years of age, went with General Harrison on foot with

a number of his warriors to Canada, and was present at the Bat-

tle of the Thames, although he took no active part in that battle.

This conference or council at Franklinton enabled General

Harrison to know what he could depend upon as to these four

neutral tribes, and greatly relieved him from uncertainty and

anxiety and also greatly relieved the frontier settlers from the

apprehensions and fears with which their minds and hearts were


From the date of that conference the tide turned strongly in

favor of the American forces. The English and Indians were

again in force along the Maumee and in July, 1813, again be-

sieged Fort Meigs, but it had been so strengthened and reinforced

that they made no assault upon it but retired after a few days,

Proctor by water to Sandusky bay, and the Indians through the

forest to Sandusky river. This demonstration was quite formida-

ble both by land and water. Fort Stevenson at the mouth of the

Vol. XIV- 9.

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Sandusky river, where the City of Fremont now stands, was first

besieged. On July 31st, 1813, the British approached Fort Stev-

enson by water and landed about 500 British troops with some

light artillery, while Tecumseh with about 2,000 Indians besieged

the fort on the land side.

It is not our purpose here to narrate the history of that as-

sault. Suffice it to say here that Major Croghan, in command of

the fort with but 160 men in the garrison, successfully repelled

the assault of the British and Indians and compelled them to re-

tire after heavy losses. This brilliant victory was succeeded on

August 10th by the celebrated and world renowned victory of

Commodore Perry, by which the British fleet on Lake Erie was

destroyed. This enabled General Harrison to move his army

across Lake Erie to the Detroit river and to invade Canada.

On the 5th of October he was able to bring the allied forces

under Proctor and Tecumseh to issue at the battle of the Thames,

where a complete victory was gained over the allied forces. Te-

cumseh was killed in that battle and Proctor ignominiously fled

the field. His army was captured or destroyed. The battle of

the Thames and the death of Tecumseh practically ended the

war in the northwest, although the British still held a few small

forts like Mackinac and St. Josephs around the head of Lake

Huron; but these were powerless of any offensive operations.

The war, however, between the United States and Great

Britain continued in full force and destructiveness for more than

a year after the battle of the Thames, during which time the com-

merce of both nations upon the high seas was largely ruined.

In August, 1814, the British gained possession of the City of

Washington and burned and destroyed all the public buildings

and threatened further serious destructions. A year had now

elapsed since the battle of the Thames, during which time quiet

had reigned among the Indians in the northwest.

The neutral tribes of the northwest remained favorable to the

cause of the United States, and many of those who had served

under Tecumseh a year before had become angered and embit-

tered toward the British for want of their fulfillment of their

promises so lavishly made before the war, and were anxious to

assist in the war against their former allies.

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In this situation the government authorized and directed

General Harrison and General Lewis Cass to meet the Indian

tribes in conference at Greenville, Ohio, where the "Treaty of

Greenville" had been concluded nineteen years before. Accord-

ingly the commissioners met at that place with the chiefs of the

Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanese, Senecas, Miamis, Pottawat-

tomies and Kickapoos and concluded a treaty of peace as follows:

Article 2. The tribes and bands above mentioned, engage to

give their aid to the United States, in prosecuting war against

Great Britain, and such of the Indian tribes as still continue hos-

tile, and to make no peace with either, without the consent of the

United States.

The assistance herein stipulated for, is to consist of such a

number of their warriors, from each tribe, as the president of the

United States, or any officer having his authority therefor, may


Article 3. The Wyandot tribe, and the Senecas of San-

dusky and Stony Creek, the Delaware and Shawanese tribes, who

have preserved their fidelity to the United States, throughout the

war, again acknowledge themselves under the protection of the

said states, and of no other power whatever, and agree to aid

the United States in the manner stipulated for in the former arti-

cle, and to make no peace but with the consent of the said states.

Article 4. In the event of the faithful performance of the

conditions of this treaty, the United States, will confirm and

establish all the boundaries between their lands, and those of the

Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanese, and Miamis, as they existed

previously to the commencement of the war." Thus the Frank-

linton conference was embodied in treaty form.

No call was made for Indian help under this treaty, as on

December 24th, 1814, the commissioners of the United States

and the commissioners of Great Britain concluded the Treaty of

Ghent, putting an end to the war. This second Treaty of Green-

ville was the last peace or war treaty ever entered into between

the United States and any of the Indian tribes within the boun-

daries of the State of Ohio; and with the exception of an unim-

portant treaty concluded at Detroit the following year, the last

made east of the Mississippi.