Ohio History Journal




[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.].



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

only hunters.

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


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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

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

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

Paint creek.

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

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.

for civilization.

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

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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.




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

be written:

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

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,

not mine.

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

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

utterly destroyed.

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

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-

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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

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

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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

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.