Ohio History Journal

372 Ohio Arch

372      Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.








In considering The Revolutionary Soldier in the Valley of

the Little Miami, I am impressed with the significance of the

territorial enactments which particularly designated his settle-

ment in this beautiful and fertile location.

The territory granted by King James I. to the company

which founded the colony of Virginia was very extended. The

first charter embraced 100 miles of coast line, between the 37°

and 49° north latitude, with all the islands opposite, and within

1OO miles of it, and extending 100 miles from the coast to the

interior, two subsequent grants elevated this cession to the dignity

of a territorial empire. The second grant extended along the

coast line 200 miles north and 200 miles south of Old Point Com-

fort, a breadth of 400 miles, which was maintained across the

continent to the Pacific Ocean, and embracing all lands to the

northwest of the Ohio River. To this immense territory a third

grant added all islands in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans within

300 leagues of these coast lines. In the treaty of peace between

Great Britain and France in 1763 the Mississippi River became

the western boundary of Virginia. A few days before the Declar-

ation of Independence, Virginia ceded to Pennsylvania, North

and South Carolina and Maryland her rights to the territory now

occupied by these states.

In 1783, by act of her legislature, Virginia ceded all the com-

monwealth's rights to the territory northwest of the Ohio River,

except so much of this land as was located between the head-

waters and courses of the Scioto and Little Miami Rivers. This

land was specifically reserved for the legal bounties and rewards

of General George Rogers Clark, his officers and soldiers. The

commonwealth of Virginia, ever careful for the compensation of

her Revolutionary defenders, in this act defined, that this cession

should be "good lands to be laid off between the Rivers Scioto

and Little Miami." Years afterwards, when the riches and fer-

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tility of this survey became known, the Supreme Court of the

United States interpreted that paragraph to include every acre

between these rivers, from their mouths to their sources.

We can at this distance of time more fully realize that this

garden spot in Ohio is indeed "good lands" and given to soldiers

whose "good valor" deserved and received the best reward in the

gift of the commonwealth of Virginia.

The valley of the Little Miami, near its headwaters, was first

seen by a considerable body of Revolutionary soldiers in 1780.

In this year and in 1782 and 1784 punative expeditions were

organized in Kentucky and sent out against Old Chillicothe, the

head village of the Shawnee Indians in the Little Miami Valley.

Two of these expeditions were led by General George Rogers

Clark, the other by Colonel Bowman.   All three expeditions

approached Old Chillicothe from the south, by routes which

passed near the present site of Xenia. Imagine with me for a

moment the landscape which greeted the vision of these soldiers

as they came to the last of the gently rolling hills which margin

the south of this beautiful valley. Who can blame them if they

desired to possess this place for their own homes. Before

them lay a valley which nature had fashioned and enriched

when in one of her most partial moods. Bordered on each side

by gently rising hills, covered by splendid forest trees of every

indigenous hardwood, its fertile acres rich in growing corn lay

to the south as far as the eye could see; with sinuous beauty the

waters of the river, now in sight, and again winding about the

foothills, followed the course of the valley, until both were lost

to vision in the distance. Halfway across the valley, closely sur-

rounded by a strong wall of pickets, stood the barrier to their

possession-Old Chillicothe. This was the home of Tecumseh,

the greatest western warrior chief, a statesman, orator, and later

a brigadier general in the English army.  Only one of these

expeditions was successful,, and in the three, many brave men

lost their lives, but it is not surprising that those who returned

to Kentucky, at their firesides and their social gatherings, talked

of the time when they could return and possess themselves of a

home in this portion of the Virginia Military Survey, to which

their Revolutionary services entitled them.

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374      Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.

Many of them did return, for to-day we know of forty-five

of these heroes of the American Revolution who are peacefully

at rest beneath the warm and generous soil of Greene county.

In 1795 the power of the Shawnee Indians was broken, and

in 1797 the first settler located near the site of Old Chillicothe,

now Old Town, three and a half miles north of Xenia. He came

from Lexington, Kentucky, and brought with him his entire

family and a generous pioneer equipment. He was the writer's

great-grandfather, James Galloway. Fortunately I am able to

give, in his own words, the location of Old Chillicothe. Among

the court records of Greene county is a well-preservedrecord of

a trial to quiet title to certain lands in the Miami Valley.  This

court was held on June 5, 1818, before Josiah Glover, master com-

missioner of the Superior Court of Greene county, at the resi-

dence of Abner Reid, Oldtown, Ohio, three miles north of Xenia.

At this trial James Galloway deposed that he was a member of

the expeditions which came out from Kentucky against the

Shawnee Indians in 1780 and 1782, and in answer to the com-

missioner's question as to the exact location of Old Chillicothe,

he says: "I am now sitting within the enclosure made by the

pickets." The house, a two-story brick, in which this court was

held, is still standing near the south end of the village of Old-

town, 36 rods southwest of the Xenia and Yellow Springs pike.

This evidence was corroborated by other witnesses at the trial

who had been members of Clark's and Bowman's expeditions.

With this certain location of the picket enclosure within which

the council house of the Shawnees was located, I am able to estab-

lish the course of an additional and very interesting historical


In 1834, Simon Kenton, while visiting his cousin, Orin

North, at Oldtown, gave the course of his famous "Run of the

Gantlet" as beginning halfway up the Sexton hill and ending at

the Council House door, across which he fell exhausted but safe.

Imagine for a moment a half-mile run between two rows of hostile

Indians, armed with clubs, tomahawks and hickories, each one

determined to get in a blow on Kenton's bare body as he ran

through the gantlet at the height of his speed. Only a powerful

and hardy man like Kenton could possibly survive, and he d

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dared in 1834 it was the severest trial of his life. This course

measures 155 rods, almost a half mile, and lies south from the

location of the Council House.

"All the world loves a lover." It is the common touch of a

master which "makes the whole world akin." Romance and con-

quest have often met on common ground in history; sometimes

one has softened the sting of the other. Old Chillicothe had its

conquest, and in due time its romance, also, but unlike the usual

romance, its effects were far-reaching both in the subsequent

saving of many American lives and in the possible loss to the

United States of all the territory which now lies north of the

Canadian line. Among a number of pleasing and opportune

communications from Colonel Moulton Houk during the presi-

dency of the Ohio Sons of the American Revolution was a

valuable and suggestive little brochure entitled "A Bit of His-

tory." In it he makes reference to the oratory and humanity

of Tecumseh, the most distinguished man the Little Miami Valley

has ever produced. The birthplace of this warrior chief, accord-

ing to his own statements to the writer's great-grandfather, was

about one mile northeast from Old Chillicothe, at a big spring

which is now a source of water supply to the Xenia Water Works.*

Rev. Benjamin Kelly, a white child prisoner, who was adopted

by the parents of Tecumseh and consequently was his foster-

brother, and who subsequently became a Baptist minister, also

gave this location as the birthplace of Tecumseh. I am aware

that history gives the honor of the birthplace of this distin-

guished Indian to Piqua, but this honor can be spared on evidence

to Old Chillicothe by the Great Miami Valley, for she possesses

New Carlisle, the birthplace and childhood of the most daring

and distinguished twentieth century soldier and of Revolutionary

ancestry-General Frederic Funston. In the family of James

Galloway, who removed from Kentucky in 1797 and settled

near Old Chillicothe, was an only daughter-the writer's grand-

mother. She was known then as a girl of remarkable mind and

personality, both of which she retained in later life. This pioneer


* The birth place of Tecumseh is in great dispute. Drake, the historian

of Tecumseh, claims it was a few miles below Springfield and within the

present limits of Clark county.-E. 0. R., Editor.

376 Ohio Arch

376       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


was himself a man of splendid mind and character and reflected his

personality not only on his children and associates, but also very

broadly on the early history of Greene county. It is not sur-

prising, then, that Tecumseh, who frequently returned to his

birthplace, should have formed a fast friendship with James

Galloway and have been his guest at all times when in this

vicinity. As the daughter, Rebecca, grew to young womanhood

this chief fell under the charm of her personality and the power

of her mind and in that valley, amid all the beauty of

forest and stream that nature can lavish on one landscape,

he learned that "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never

to have loved at all." In Colonel Houk's little brochure he

quotes from Tecumseh's eloquent speech before General Har-

rison, and records the fact that although he arrived late at the

battle of Fort Meigs on May 4, 1812, he stopped the massacre

of Kentucky prisoners, who had been captured and turned over

to the Indians for slaughter, and he upbraided General Proctor

for permitting it. The use of excellent English, which distin-

guished Tecumseh's eloquent war and peace orations, reflected

the careful teaching of Rebecca Galloway. She read much to

him from the few books in her father's possession, corrected his

idioms of speech and helped him enlarge his vocabulary in Eng-

lish. She read to him from the Bible and taught him the white

man's belief in religion and future destiny, but the most signal

service this girl performed to humanity was to instill in Tecum-

seh, with every power of her artful character, the fact that the

massacre of prisoners after surrender, and helpless women and

children after capture, was against every law and sentiment of

humanity. History records that he accepted and maintained this

high ground in the years which preceded his death at the battle

of the River Thames. I leave the reader to infer how much love

may have done in this case for humanity. In speculating on

the results of the disasters to the American forces in 1812 after

Tecumseh and his forces had joined the English, I have been

impressed with the thought that love, ever powerful in the affairs

of men, may in this case have helped to set the Canadian boundary

as far south as it is to-day. Had this chieftain's love for the

paleface girl been successful he would never have gained the

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The Revolutionary Soldier, Etc.         377


star of a brigadier general in the British army; he would not

have led 2,000 warriors against Fort Meigs, and in the absence

of his leadership and powerful personality in the events of

1812-13 it would not have been possible for a Canadian historian

to record that: "No one can fully calculate the inestimable value

of those devoted redmen, led on by brave Tecumseh, during the

struggle of 1812, but for them it is probable we should not now

have a Canada."

The Virginia Military Survey was a post-bellum contribu-

tion to the war spirit of the Anglo-Saxon race. We are fond

of calling ourselves a race of peace, and our peace is indeed pro-

found in its progress and material advancements, but our mile-

stones in history are marked by war. It is after its wars that

the Anglo-Saxon race presses forward with irresistible force to

occupy new territory and extend free institutions. The Revolu-

tionary soldier in the Little Miami Valley was one movement

only in the evolution of the race's history. There he tarried, but

only for a day. With the war of 1860 his descendants and suc-

cessors overflowed into Kansas and the great West, carrying

with them the characteristic liberty and progressive spirit which

was their historical heritage. The War of 1898 is drawing to a

close and history stands waiting to repeat itself. "Westward

the star of Empire has ever taken its course" for this irresistible

race. It is our manifest destiny, we cannot escape. It is our

hereditary command since the days of Sargon; we cannot dis-

obey. We have expanded so long we cannot stop. We have

advanced the flag so often, we do not now know how to pull it

down. Mountains and oceans, deserts and plains are no obstacle

to this advance; it is the hand of the master from which there is

no escape. The Valley of the Little Miami, beautiful, fertile,

inviting, offered scarcely a momentary rest to an advance which

seems never to grow weary.

Let us not forget that we of the present generation are the

beneficiaries of all this patriotic past and the trustees of its glor-

ious and unfolding future, and may we ever execute this trus-

teeship like true sons of honorable Revolutionary sires.