ME -SHE -KUN-NOGH -QUAH,
OR LITTLE TURTLE-1783-1812.
N. B. C. LOVE, D. D.
O River, weird historic water,
What tales of bloody human slaughter
What scenes of hate, and tragic acts,
What woeful pictures, solemn facts,
Thou couldst before the world portray!
What greed and hate and wrong betray!
No subject claimed the attention of President Washington
more after the close of the War of the Revolution 1784 up to
his death 1799, than the settlement
and occupancy of the territory ceded
to the United States by England.
With that part of this territory
known as the Northwest, we are es-
pecially interested in when writing of
the life of Little Turtle, the great
Miami Chief. The scenes of his life
are located here. The territory
known as the Maumee Basin, includes
Northwestern Ohio, Southern Michi-
gan and Northwestern Indiana. At
the ending of the 18th Century and
the beginning of the 19th, it was a
region of vast natural resources. Its
fertile soil, and natural drainage by
creeks and rivers, into the lakes, made it productive of vast for-
ests, wide prairies covered with nutritious grass, and valleys pro-
ducing, with little cultivation, immense crops. The streams and
lakes abounded in choice fish, and the forests in wild animals in
great variety and numbers. Wild nuts and fruits were plentiful
and could be laid by in store for winter use.
116 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The Indians raised large quantities of corn, pumpkins and
beans. General Wayne reports continuous fields of corn along
the Auglaize, Maumee and St. Joseph rivers.
Huts of bark and poles were easily made, the bark of the
elm being a substitute for shingles and boards.
The skins of animals furnished clothing and bedding. Large
trees were shaped into canoes and pirogues.
After the French Traders penetrated these wilds the In-
dians sold them choice furs, taking in return trinkets, vessels
for cooking, axes, tomahawks, knives, guns and ammunition.
Also cotton and woolen goods for clothing.
The French and other trading posts were mostly on navi-
gable streams, that is to the canoe and larger craft.
Unfortunately, rum was a standard article of trade. The
Spanish, French, Dutch, English and American traders were
alike guilty, and then as now was a
prime cause of blood shedding and
At the close of the War of the
Revolution the English continued to
encourage the Indians in their hostili-
ties against the American settlers.
Gen. W. H. Harrison, who was a
member of Gen. Wayne's Staff, and
Commander of the American Army
in 1812-1814, witnesses to this effect,
but indeed we know of no historian
who denies it. And up to 1795 the
English urged the Indians to claim
the Ohio River as the boundary line
between them and the United States, which they perseveringly
did up to 1795.
During the seven years' war with England the Indians gen-
erally sided with that government. Of course, the borders of
the United States suffered greatly from the savage attacks. The
backwoodsmen were not slow at retaliation, and engaged some-
times in the promiscuous killing of Indians, men, women and
children, and how dreadful for men calling themselves Chris-
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 117
tians to be perpetrators of foul murders, as the killing of Chief
Logan's family simply because they were Indians, and the large
number of Christian Indians at the Moravian Mission at Gnad-
Indians from birth were taught to cruelty and bloody re-
venge, but not so the whites. The Americans as a people de-
plored this at the time. The Indians were, as they understood
it, fighting for their homes. Many of the great chieftains de-
plored the killing of captives, and women and children. Little
Turtle, Blue Jacket, Tecumseh, Buck-on-ge-ha-las and Tarhe
were of the number. Among the white frontier squatters were
men very ignorant, children or grand-children of criminals, im-
ported to this country from Europe, charged with crimes, and
thus by heredity as well as environment, were ready when op-
portunity came to perform deeds of barbarism. Of course there
were Indians who, too, were blood-thirsty by inheritance, and
their sense of pity undeveloped.
The following named tribes lived in the great Maumee basin
during the Indian war period, 1783-1812: Wyandots, Delawares,
Shawnees, Miamis, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottowatomies, Kicka-
poos, Weas, Pinkeshanes, and Kaskaskias, and some smaller
One of the many evidences of the good intentions of Presi-
dent Washington and Congress toward the Indians was the
granting two of the first named tribes a thousand dollars each,
paid them in goods, and the other five hundred paid in the same
way, and this to be continued annually. The goods to be val-
ued at cost and first prices. Large portions of land were to be
held by them. Many other favors by him were proposed. One
was that of hunting on ceded lands, and they had authority to
arrest and report trespassers.
These conditions of peace were not fully endorsed by the
Indians until the treaty of Greenville, when in substance they
were agreed to.
The treaty of Paris seemed to be the end of war between
England and America, but it soon was evident England did not
mean to keep it. The boundary line was to be a central line
through the middle of the Great Lakes, and the Western bound-
118 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ary the Mississippi River, but notwithstanding, the British did
not surrender the fortified posts along the chain of the lakes
from Niagara to Mackinac. The British were strong, and we
were weak, and had to, for the time, consent tacitly. For 15
years this violation of the treaty existed, and all this time the
unsurrendered posts were the rallying points of the Indian
Tribes; receiving their furs and other articles of trade, giving in
return clothes, utensils, guns, knives, tomahawks and ammuni-
tion. The emissaries of England had helped to formulate the
thoughts in the Eastern
States of opposition to the
expansion of the government
throughout the West. They
said the West and Northwest
were not worth what it would
cost to make them inhabit-
When in 1790 Washing-
ton issued a call for volun-
teers but few responded, and
men were drafted in New
York and Pennsylvania for
St. Clair's army.
England set up the ex-
cuse for continued violation
of the treaty that the Ameri-
cans had not kept good the
treaty of 1784 by making good certain losses claimed by English-
men. This territory was organized as the "Northwest Terri-
tory" in 1787 with Gen. Arthur St. Clair as Governor.
Emigration set in from the east. Settlements sprung into
existence. Marietta and Cincinnati were founded. Lands were
surveyed, granted to companies and purchased. The Indians
became enraged; their hunting grounds were invaded. Some-
thing had to be done. The Indians could count on compara-
tively a large army of brave trained marksmen as soldiers, with
the source of supplies in the English Forts. Savages foraged
the borders of civilization to kill, plunder and burn. St. Clair
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 119
called on Congress for help. Washington endorsed the call
and recommended Gen. Harrison as commander. The army
Say not that those who chased the game
O'er hillsides and o'er plains,
For border wars were alone to blame,
And white hands free from stains.
Little Turtle was the head and war chief of the Miamis,
and in 1790, and on until after the Peace Treaty of Greenville
in 1795, the leader of the confederate forces of the Indians of
the North West Territory.
He, by his harassing of the white settlers by frequent in-
roads with small bands was hardly known, but in 179O he ap-
peared as the leading commander of the Indian forces.
Little Turtle's father was also head chief of the Miamis.
In 1760 he with the war chiefs of the six nations was invited by
Gen. George Washington to meet him in Philadelphia, Pa.,
which they did, and there adjusted some difficulties between
them and the Colonial government. The name of this chief was
Ke-qun-ac-quah. Washington gave him a parchment with an
inscription burned on it, expressive of good will toward the
Miamis. We have in history no other mention of this chief.
The Miamis during the period of which we write, I783-
1812, occupied the upper Maumee Valley and in part the Wa-
Not far from the site of Fort Wayne, Little Turtle was
born. Of course he was in evidence when a boy and young man.
His associations were with the French and English Traders as
well as with the Indians. He by some means had learned the
arts of European war. He tells that when a young man he ex-
celled in manufacturing Indian war implements. He became
head chief of his tribe while a young man.
In one of his expeditions into Kentucky he captured a boy
about eleven years old, by the name of William Wells, and after
a time, when married, he adopted him as a son.
Wells belonged to a good Kentucky family. While he
120 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
adopted Indian life readily, yet his blood told, for he was un-
like the Girtys, and Magee and other renegade white men, who,
no doubt, had inherited vile traits from their low down and
ignorant parents. As Wells grew up to manhood he won the
esteem and affection of Little Turtle and wife. In time he won
and married his adopted sister, Little Turtle's beautiful daugh-
ter, and thus Wells became in fact the son-in-law of Little Tur-
tle. He and his foster father became life-long friends.
Wells took a prominent part in the campaign against Har-
mar and St. Clair, and rendered valuable services. Also in the
Chief's associations with the English he was principal inter-
On the eve of the Battle of the Rapids, or "Fallen Tim-
bers," Captain Wells was satisfied from what he had learned of
the feeling of the American Government, the ability of Gen.
Wayne as a Commander, and the large and well organized army
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 121
under him, that defeat of the confederated Indian army was
certain if a battle were fought. Therefore he had advised peace,
and had proposed to unite with the Americans. Little Turtle
was of the same mind.
Wells on a beautiful afternoon invited Little Turtle to take
a stroll with him, and they passed together to a promontory on
the Maumee, from which up and clown the river the picturesque
scenery could be seen in all its midsummer glory. There he
broke the news of his purpose to him, saying, "My father, we
have long been friends, but I now must leave you to return to
my people, and we will remain friends until the sun reaches its
midday height, and from that time on we will be enemies, and
if you wish to kill me you may, and if I wish to kill you I may."
They warmly embraced each other, and the large tears
coursed down the sun-bronzed cheeks of the chieftain, who was
unused to manifesting emotion. Both felt deeply as they sep-
arated. Each had his work to do, and there was no escape ex-
cept by performance. And what they afterwards respectively
did helped to shape the destiny of the American Nation, as well
as favoring the Indians, who were finally led to see that antag-
onizing the extension of it was to wipe out the Indian tribes.
Little Turtle was more than ever convinced of the futility
of war, but to be consistent he felt he must act with the Indians,
so as not lose his influence over them. In this he evinced the
greatness of his character. He would sooner take all the
chances of disaster than seem to be untrue to his people. In the
last council before the Battle of the Rapids he stood for armis-
tice, for one more effort for peace, for, as he said, he saw fear-
ful disaster if they ventured a battle. And further said: "We
have beaten the enemy twice under different commanders. We
cannot expect the same good fortune always to attend us. The
Americans are now led by a chief who never sleeps. The night
and the day are alike to him. During all the time he has been
marching on our villages. Notwithstanding the watchfulness of
our young men we have never been able to surprise him. Think
well of it. There is something whispers in my mind it would
be well to listen to his offers of peace." Blue Jacket, and other
chiefs were for the battle. Little Turtle then suggested a plan
122 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
that would, he thought, end in victory: it was with a part of
the Indian army to hold Wayne in check, but fall back. Let a
large part of the army that night quietly ford the river and
make forced marches for the rear and deposit of supplies.
Then join the army on the north side again. To all Little Turtle
proposed Blue Jacket vehemently objected, even calling Little
Turtle a coward. Little Turtle in his reserved but concise way
only replied: "Follow me!"
Of the battle the next day we shall speak later. The plan
of the fight for the next day was all arranged that night. Little
Turtle was in command. One authority that we know of,
among the older historians, says that Blue Jacket was in com-
mand. Another says Brant was, but all others say Little Turtle
was the Commander-in-Chief.
Little Turtle accepted Wayne's offer of peace after the bat-
tle, and the Indians' defeat. He was among the first. Wells'
knowledge of him, and confidence in him, and Wayne's knowl-
edge of Wells and his bravery and loyalty, were in Little Tur-
tle's favor, and his brave effort in the Battle of the Rapids, gave
him credit with the Indians. In the part he took at the Treaty
of Greenville, he was second to none. While he hesitatingly
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 123
made concessions to Wayne, yet he was slow to accede to the
proposition to make the treaty ceding away to the Americans all
the North West Territory, but finally consented, but wanted a
lasting peace. Tarhe, The Crane, a great Wyandot chief, took
the same position. Finally all the representatives of the tribes
fell in line. Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnees, refused to sign
the treaty, but other representatives of his tribe did sign. Te-
cumseh fought valiantly at Fallen Timbers.
A careful study of the leading minds among the Indian
chieftains, we find that there were none in real statesmanship
superior to Little Turtle, and in clear discernment of the rela-
tions of the Americans and Indians he stood foremost.
Be it to the credit of the chiefs of this treaty that all who
signed it never rescinded their action. Although when the war
of 1812 was on, Little Turtle died, yet he had the desire to do
service for the American Government. He was loyal to the last.
Tarhe, the Wyandot chief, an old man more than seventy,
at Gen. Harrison's request, went at the head of his Wyandot
warriors to see a part of the tribe in Canada to have them side
with the Americans.
Some of the younger chieftains of the treaty of 1795 took
an active part for our country in the War of 1812.
Mr. Mansfield, when a boy, 1798, saw Little Turtle at Cum-
minsville, Cincinnati, he says:
"One day a dark man with swarthy countenance, riding a
very fine horse, dismounted at our house and went into my
father's office. I wanted to go in and see him, but for some rea-
son I was not permitted. After some time I saw him come out
and mount his horse and rapidly ride away. I was struck with
the appearance of the man and said, who is that, Ma? She said
it was Little Turtle, the Great Indian Chief."
Col. John Johnson, Indian Agent, in his personal recollec-
tions published many years ago, says: "Little Turtle was a
man of great wit, humor and vivacity, fond of the company of
gentlemen, and delighted in good eating. This great chief died
in 1812. He was buried with military honors by the troops of
the United States. He used to entertain us with war stories
124 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and adventures, and would laugh heartily with us at the recital
He said a Kentuckian, a prisoner of the Miamis for some
years, had sought permission to accompany a raiding war party
but was refused, but' at last he gained the opportunity, and went
in a company commanded by Little Turtle. Reaching the bor-
der of a settlement in Kentucky, in the early hours of the morn-
ing they stealthily approached a large hewed log house occupied
by a number of Americans. A11 was quiet and the Indians were
crawling on their hands and knees, and the Kentuckian, ahead
of the rest, when he suddenly arose and shouting, "Indians! In-
dians!" ran into the house, while the Indians retreated. From
that day on Little Turtle never trusted a white man in conflict
with his own people.
He was a generous and humane chief. Schoolcraft, the
historian, says: "He was alike courageous and humane, pos-
sessing great wisdom. There have been few individuals among
the aborigines that have done so much to abolish the rites of
human sacrifice. The grave of this noted warrior is shown to
visitors near Ft. Wayne. It is frequently visited by Indians in
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah; or Little Turtle. 125
this part of the country, by whom his memory is cherished, with
greatest respect and veneration. He was opposed to burning
captives and did much to abolish the practice. After the peace
of 1795 he devoted much of his time in trying to improve the
condition of the Indians and encouraged them in efforts at civ-
ilization. He went east, visiting Philadelphia and other cities,
dressed in American costume. He met Volney in that city and
with him had a long interview which is recorded. Among many
things said by the French writer was, "Do you not think that
the Indians descended from the Tartars?" Little Turtle re-
plied: "Why not think the Tartars descended from the Indians
if they look so much alike?"
Little Turtle had the honor of visiting the President Wash-
ington, and never forgot the kindness shown him by "The Great
While east, in Philadelphia, he met the great Kosciusko, the
Polish patriot, who presented him with a brace of valuable pis-
tols he had used in contests in Poland. They were prized highly
by Little Turtle.
It is said of Little Turtle that he never was intoxicated,
and did all he could to keep his people from drink. He urged
his Indians to avoid it and set them a good example. This can-
not be said of Gen. Harmar, who on September 3rd, 1790, was
remonstrated with by Secretary of War Knox, for drunkenness.
His defeat may have been in some measure attributed to his
Rum, alas, was sold to the Indians by Spaniards, French,
Dutch, English and Americans, and many of the most cruel
deeds were intensified by it, whether perpetrated by red or white
men. The great wonder is that greater injury was not done by
drunken backwoodsmen, and the Indians when under its influ-
The moderate use of liquors was thought right and impor-
tant in the early American armies. Gen. Wayne in his journal
complains bitterly of the small amounts of liquor sent to him
to give as part of the daily rations. As an article of traffic there
was no depreciation of its value. The loneliness of the sick or
126 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
wounded soldier was driven away by its use, so thought the
commanders of that day.
More battles were fought, more people were killed, more
peace councils held in the Maumee Valley, from the time of the
French occupancy up to 1795 than elsewhere in the great Cen-
tral West and Northwest. The history of the Indian Councils
held, and of the treaties signed, would make a large volume.
And from 1783 on to the death of the "Father of his country,"
it was his continual desire to protect and treat justly the Indians.
To this end did Washington time and again instruct special
agents sent to the Indians, and the Generals in command of the
armies, not only to protect the border citizens, but urge them
to seek the good will of the Indians. Especially did he, through
Gen. Wayne, try to negotiate peace and secure a better under-
standing with them. In this work the aid of the Chieftain Brant
was sought, but declined, and after the defeat of the Indians at
the Rapids Little Turtle was much in evidence as the friend of
peace and fair adjustment of all difficulties without shedding of
During all this period the British were active sowing the
seeds of discord among the tribes, and giving encouragement
and sanction to the murderous attacks upon the American fron-
After the great defeat in 1794 Tecumseh, entering into ma-
ture manhood, and being the inveterate foe of the Americans,
commenced an aggressive career, which only ended with his
death at the Battle of the Thames in 1813.
Sir John Johnson, the representative of the English in
Canada, wanted the border wars to continue, so the emigrants of
the colonies instead of going westward would go to Canada.
All these efforts of the British and the Indians under their
influence were contrary to the Treaty of Paris 1784. Generals
Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne were under instructions from the
President to exhaust all their resources in repeated endeavors
In 1798 Washington employed Antoine Gamelin, of Vin-
cennes, who was commissioned by Major John Hamptramck, to
visit and conciliate the Indians of the Northwest, but he was un-
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 127
successful. He had hardly returned from his trip when word
came that an American captive had been roasted and eaten by
the Indians at the headwaters of the Maumee. Also that all the
Indian Tribes had sent war parties to massacre the invaders of
Indian territories, and even to attack settlements south and east
of the Ohio.
This threw a damper upon peace efforts, and the border
whites under Generals Scott and Wilkinson, and others, paid the
Indians back in their own coin.
During this period Little Turtle was a recognized leader
and adviser in war movements among the aborigines. After the
Treaty of Greenville, border wars
ceased until Tecumseh and his
brother undertook the formation of
an Indian confederacy to drive the
white men back. His plans em-
braced a battle line of a thousand
miles, extending from the Lakes of
the North to the Gulf. It was
largely a failure. The distance was
too great and communication too
slow. His brother, The Prophet,
precipitated the war in 1811. Har-
rison defeated him at Tippecanoe,
Indiana. The influence of Little
Turtle and other prominent chief-
tains were against this war. They had not forgotten Wayne's
We must not forget the fact that the Indian Tribes as such,
were divided in their adherence to the whites. The largest num-
ber were for peace, and were true to the American Government.
These "friendly Indians" Harrison trusted and controlled dur-
ing peace, before the war of 1812, and during the war, and after-
wards. The others, who had been inspired by Brant and Blue
Jacket to hate the Americans, had a fitting successor in the brave
ardent Tecumseh, who was idolized by his braves, petted and
liberally paid by the English. Of him we need not write. His
complete life has been written at different times and authors,
128 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and fully portrayed by the historians of the last century and the
present. In each battle in which he fought he holds in the his-
torical records a more prominent place than any other Indian
chieftain. The same is true as to the treaty councils in which he
figured. He was an orator, and dressed up to the highest con-
ception of the Indian thought of great magnificence; at times
wearing the costume of an English Brigadier General. Nor did
any white general of His Majesty's army look more imposing.
He was spectacular and yet great, a natural leader of men.
Little Turtle, we think, was a greater chieftain than Te-
cumseh. The latter was more imposing in appearance. Little
Turtle was six feet high, but slender and muscular and not
Tecumseh evinced upon his countenance his emotions. Not
so Little Turtle. He could smile and yet feel angry. He was
said to be cunning, but was simply a diplomat. He had com-
plete control of himself at all times. He was able, fluent, earn-
est, logical and consecutive in his speeches.
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 129
Tecumseh undertook establishing a confederacy of all the
Indian tribes of the South, West, and North, and East of the
Mississippi, but failed.
Little Turtle, aided by Blue Jacket and Buch-on-ge-ha-las,
undertook to confederate the tribes of the Northwest Territory,
Tecumseh never gained a great battle, but Little Turtle
gained two complete victories over two great armies and their
ablest generals. Back of these generals and armies was the
great General Washington, and the great War Secretary Knox.
The President was surprised at the defeat of his armies
under Harmar and St. Clair. Both these generals were retired
in turn after their defeat. They had proven themselves able
and worthy in the War of the Revolution, and Washington had
the utmost confidence in them. He did not know of Little Tur-
tle and his ability. He called upon "Mad" Anthony Wayne to
raise an army, and to well organize and equip it before he ven-
tured into the Indian country. He told him not to underesti-
mate the power of the Indians now elated with victory, and to
beware of surprises. He knew that the leaders of the western
Indian army were crafty and had generalship.
E. D. Mansfield, in his personal memoirs published in 1879,
says: "The figure that stands out on the historical canvas in
bold relief is Me-she-kun-nogh-qua, the Little Turtle Chief of
the Miamis." We could give other statements concerning his
pre-eminence but space forbids.
Little Turtle foresaw the victory of Wayne, but all the
chiefs, young and old, were against him. Tecumseh, although
young, must have been of the opposing number.
After defeat he was the first chieftain to surrender of his
own mind and enter into an effort for a general peace confer-
ence. He saw the only hope of the American Indian was the
triumph of the American government.
Tecumseh believed that ultimate victory would be with
Little Turtle, in the vision of prophecy, saw the American
Eagle soaring on this continent over the English Lion. He,
like our great President, was first in peace, and first in war. He
180 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
established a home, a permanent home, on the Maumee near Ft.
Wayne, and there attempted a civilized life, planting a field and
rearing domestic animals, but his wild Indian neighbors killed
his animals and tried to make life unpleasant, yet in his retire-
ment he was respected by Indians and white men, the English
and French being among the number.
Tecumseh delighted in war, and brave chieftain as he was,
died in the front of the battle.
It is said by only one writer we have consulted that Little
Turtle had at the same time two wives, one about 50 and the
other 18. This was about 1807. Let this be as it may, he was
a heathen, and had not been the subject of missionary instruc-
tion. The writer thinks the historian that made this statement
was misinformed. Mr. Wolcott had
never heard of it. Little Turtle's
grand-daughter, now 98, says noth-
ing about it.
The money given him for ser-
vices, and the large quantity of land,
by Congress, made him comfortable.
He had a good plain building fur-
nished up to pioneer style, and a
farm cultivated so that he had bread
Mr. J. M. Wolcott is the last de-
scendant of the great chieftain in
the lower Maumee. It is claimed by
one history of the Maumee Valley
that there are several people descend-
ants of his about Ft. Wayne, other
than the old lady, Kill-so-quah.
Mr. Wolcott is married but has no children. He has been
recently Mayor of Maumee City, and for several years Trustee
of the Maumee Memorial Association, through which the grand
granite monument now stands on old Fort Meigs, at an expense
of $25,000, besides what was paid for thirty-five acres including
the Fort. The monument and all the land was paid for by the
State, excepting eight acres paid for by the Association.
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 131
Mr. Wolcott is satisfied that he, as a direct and legal heir,
is entitled to a large tract of land near Ft. Wayne. Mr. Wol-
cott has a Government Patent that was issued for the land, and
upon record at Washington, discovered by his attorney, Hon.
Gen. I. R. Sherwood, member of Congress from the Ninth Ohio
District. The suit is pending and will no doubt, to a great ex-
tent, be in favor of Mr. Wolcott. Gen. Sherwood also found
an old affidavit given by Gen. John E. Hunt, who located in
Maumee in 1815. He was a Major General and Commander at
the time of his death, of the 18th Division of the Ohio militia.
The writer knew Gen. Hunt, and he was an honest reliable
man. The historical
account he gives of
Little Turtle and
family he swore to
before Mr. D. R.
Austin, notary public,
in and for the County
of Lucas, the 29th
day of October, 1870.
It was witnessed by
Victor Keen, clerk of
the Court of Com-
mon Pleas. Gen.
Hunt was only about
nine or ten years of
age when he had
knowledge of the things he swore to in 1870. We knew him in
1870 and he was in his right mind then.
In 1807 General Hunt resided in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and
during his residence became well acquainted with the celebrated
Indian Chief, Little Turtle, of the Miami Tribe of Indians,
whose name was Me-she-kun-nogh-quah. General Hunt, up to
his death knew the living members of Little Turtle's family.
Little Turtle had an adopted son, William Wells, who was after-
wards killed at the Indian massacre at Chicago in 1812. Wells
married the daughter of Little Turtle, whose name was Wan-
mau-ga-pith, or Sweet Breeze.
132 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The following is the chronological table as given and sworn
to by Gen. Hunt:
CAPTAIN WILLIAM WELLS (Wau-mau-goh-pith).
Ann Wells, or Au-piz-a-quah
Married Mr. Turner.
Rebecca Wells, or Tes-ma-soh-quh
Mary Wells, or Au-mau-quah-zah-quah
Married Judge James Wolcott.
William Wayne Wells, or Wau-me-mor-gah
Who died August 1832, without marriage.
Mary Wells and James Wolcott resided in Maumee City
1828. Mary Wolcott died at Maumee 1843. Was well ac-
quainted with her and her family during the time of her resi-
By her husband she had the following children, towit:
Mary Ann Wolcott, 1848, married Smith Gilbert.
Henry C. Wolcott. Dead since.
Fredrick A. Wolcott. Killed in Rebellion 1864.
James M. Wolcott. Resides in Maumee City. Has no children.
List of Smith Gilbert's children living in Maumee in 1870:
Fredrick E. Gilbert,
Albert W. Gilbert,
Smith W. Gilbert.
Captain William Wells did grand service as an Indian scout
for Wayne in his campaigns and battles with the Indians. He
was true to Wayne, as he had been to the Indians. After the
battle he did much to induce the Indians to make peace with
Wayne, and he was the friend of every Indian who was for
peace. The high esteem in which he was held by Wayne was a
great help to his father-in-law, Little Turtle, who had surren-
dered. For the years between 1795 and 1812 he lived a neigh-
bor of Little Turtle near Ft. Wayne. He was a sober, honest,
loyal citizen, respected by the Americans and Indians. He had,
about 1812, gone to Ft. Dearborn, Chicago. Mrs. Held, the
wife of the Commander at Ft. Dearborn at this time, was the
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 133
daughter of Col. Samuel Wells, brother of Captain William
Col. Wells was in the American Army under Wayne. Cap-
tain Held was in charge of Ft. Dearborn, where Chicago now
stands. He was advised by a friendly chief, Win-ni-mac, to
evacuate and go to Ft. Wayne. William Wells, with twelve
men, had been sent to assist in the retreat. The head chief of
the Pottawatomies, the tribe in that locality, was a bitter enemy
of Captain Wells. His name was Black Bird. His coming ex-
asperated him. Col. John Johnson says, that he had often
spoken of Wells to him in the most bitter terms. Johnson had
been agent there. On the 14th of August a council was held
between the officers and chiefs, and agreed that the whole gar-
rison with their arms and ammunition sufficient for the journey,
and clothing, retire unmolested to Ft. Wayne, and the garrison
and all it contained should be delivered up to the Indians. The
night preceding the evacuation all the powder and whiskey were
134 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
thrown into the canal leading from the garrison to the Chicago
river. The powder floated out and revealed the deception to
the Indians. This exasperated them and brought matters to a
crisis. The 15th of August the troops marched out to commence
their journey, and had gone but a short distance when they were
attacked by the Indians. Wells, seeing all was lost, and not
wishing to fall into their hands, as he knew in that case a lin-
gering and painful death awaited him, wetted powder and black-
ened his face as a token of defiance, and commenced addressing
the Indians in opprobrious and insulting language he could
think of. His purpose was to have them dispatch him forth-
with. His object was accomplished as they became so enraged
with his taunts and jeers that one of them shot him off his
horse, and immediately pouncing upon him cut his body open,
took out his heart and ate it. Most of the troops were massa-
cred. The commanding officer and wife were saved. Mrs.
Held fought bravely, but was made prisoner with her husband.
Another account states that the most of the women and
children were murdered. Twelve little children sheltered in a
wagon were tomahawked. It was said by historians that Te-
cumseh had much to do with intensifying the hatred of the
Pottawatomies against the garrison.
Little Turtle's death was in his own home about the same
* * * * *
There are other descendants of Little Turtle. One of these
is a grand-daughter. Of her we learned in an article in the To-
ledo Blade a year since, by H. L. Askew, Blade correspondent.
We quote from this article the following in substance:
Her name is Kil-so-quh. She is now 98 years of age. Her
home is near Roanoke, Ind., 16 miles west on a few acres of the
original reservation. Only a short time ago she posed for a
photo at the request of the Blade reporter which is here repro-
duced. She is the last of the full blooded Miamis. She was
born in the month of May, 1810. Her birthplace was an island
at the forks of the Wabash River just west of the present city
of Huntington, Ind., and the tract is now known as Miami Park.
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 135
Her mother was one of the best Miami maidens. The land
she lived on was given her by her mother, who received it from
her father, a chief, Wak-shin-gah, who gave land in Ohio for it.
In 1830 Kilsoquah became the bride of a Miami, John Owl,
but he soon died, and a few years later the grand-daughter of
the great chief married Anthony Revarre, a half-blood Indian
who was known as Shoop-in-au-wah, or Thunder Storm. Re-
varre died in 1849, and his remains are buried on the Reserva-
tion. Here was an Indian burying ground, but all has been
plowed over and the location of the graves lost. Her son, An-
thony Revarre, is now fifty-nine years old, and has charge of the
little farm, and provides well for his
royal mother, Kill-so-quah. He
speaks English well and has a com-
mon English education.
Her husband and she lived in a
log house, but long ago it burned and
was replaced by the little frame
building now standing.
Kill-so-quah a few years ago,
after much entreaty, attended a pio-
neer meeting at Ft. Wayne, and en-
joyed it. Still later, going in an au-
tomobile, she attended one at Co-
lumbia City. She was carried to and
fro in charge of a committee, her son
enjoying her honors. It was a great treat on both occasions to
the almost centenarian, the last full-blooded Indian of the North-
west Territory living in the Wabash and Maumee Valleys; and
no less a pleasure to the thousands who gazed upon her.
She is a large fleshy woman and walks with difficulty. Ex-
cepting the infirmities of age she has never been sick. She, like
most Indians of the Valley, has been an immune to malaria. She
lived close to Nature, and Nature has been a kind mother to her.
Her knowledge of Christianity is limited, but she trusts in the
Great Spirit. Living up to the best light received, she is look-
ing for the "Happy Hunting Grounds" of her forefathers.
136 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
LE BALM'S ADVENTURE AND LITTLE TURTLE'S FIRST BATTLE.
In 1760 the English captured from the French Ft. Miami
at the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Mary's rivers. The
French had held it for fifty years. Three years afterwards
Pontiac took it from the English and the Indians held the posi-
tion for thirty years. During this period it was the scene of
savage and barbarous government. The glory and power of
the Miamis was unchecked until the advent of Wayne.
In 1780 a Frenchman living at Vincennes, conceived the
idea of the surprise and capture of Detroit, which was held by
the English. Vincennes was then
under American rule. Three years
before the intrepid George Rogers
Clark had captured this place from
the British without firing a gun or
shedding blood. No doubt this gave
the thought to Le Balm, a wealthy
Frenchman, of undertaking the sur-
prise and capture of Detroit. His
motive was plunder, but his pretext
was to aid the Americans in their
struggle for liberty. Le Balm quiet-
ly enlisted a hundred men, mostly
Frenchmen. Two French traders
took stock in the enterprise furnish-
ing the sinews of war, money, arms and ammunition.
It was a freebooting expedition without the knowledge or
sanction of the governor of Vincennes. Starting on their jour-
ney these men planned for the capture, first of Ft. Miami. This
they did. No resistance was made by the Indians and French
and English traders, as all were taken by surprise. The victors
tarried but for a day, and went away only a few miles distant.
The French traders were not in favor of pursuing, but a few
young Miamis with Little Turtle, not yet a chief, by the unani-
mous voice of the young braves, was put in command. In turn,
after few nights, Le Balm and his party were taken by sur-
prise by the Miamis, who killed the majority, the others taking
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 137
flight. The particulars of this expedition of Le Balm and the
attack of Little Turtle's band, if known, it would to the lovers
of heroic adventure be interesting.
HARMAR S CAMPAIGN.
Flowing onward swift and free,
Through tangled forest gloom,
Many sought and found in thee
Sweet rest midst lillies bloom.
O calm, O gentle moving stream,
O fair Miami of the Lake,
Is human kindness all a dream?
Is there no balm for hearts that ache?
The most important events connected with the history of the
West, from 1790 to 1795, were the Indian wars. The Indians,
in their depredations after the close of the War of the Revolu-
tion, were not alone prompted by a desire to shed blood, but to
prevent the settlement of what they claimed to be their lands.
They had sold only to the French small tracts about their trad-
ing posts, so that in the treaty between the English and French
in 1763, in Paris, the latter only transferred to the English these
tracts about Detroit, Vincennes, Kaskaskia, etc. Then followed
Pontiac's war and defeat. Then the grant by the Iroquois at
Ft. Stanwix in 1768 of the land south of the Ohio, and even
this deal was not respected by the Indians, who continued to
hunt in the Ohio country. Then came Dunmore's war in 1774,
without any transfer of land to the. whites, when at the close of
the Revolution in 1783 the British could turn over to the United
States only the small grants about the forts and the land south
of the Ohio.
In justice the Indians were the owners of the Northwest
Territory. As to the Miamis, Delawares, Shawnees, Wyandots
and tribes still further north and west, England transferred
nothing, not having owned it.
In October, 1784, the United States held a council with the
Iroquois at Fort Stanwix, and secured from them the title to all
their claims in western lands.
Then came a treaty with the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa
138 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and Ottawa Nations, but the council of sixteen tribes, 1793, of
the Northwestern Indians objected to this treaty, and that of
Fort Stanwix in 1784 as having been brought about by intimi-
dation. This was the last general Indian council before 1795.
The Miamis, Chippewas, Ottawas, Kickapoos, Weas, Pinke-
shaws, Pottawatomies, Kaskaskias, and Eel River Indians,
claimed they had not been through their head chiefs bound by
treaties and councils. The Miamis, with their leaders, Little
Turtle and Le Gris, were at the head of this sentiment.
Washington in 1790 hesitated about offensive war on these
tribes until all peaceful means were exhausted. After this re-
peated efforts were made for peace with these tribes, but with-
out avail. There were those who thought it unwise not to make
a persevering effort with the Indians and secure a final adjust-
The government decided upon immediate aggressive move-
ments. To delay was only to encourage the Indians in their
obstinancy, and the British in their unscrupulous work of feed-
ing, clothing, and equipping the Indians for the depredatory in-
cursions against Americans.
The first army in this Indian war, organized by the general
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 139
government, was placed under Major General Josiah Harmar.
In the Revolutionary struggle he had as a Colonel distinguished
himself. At this time he was Commander-in-Chief of the
United States forces.
The army of invasion under his command was composed of
320 Regulars from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and 1,133
drafted men from Pennsylvania and Kentucky. A company of
artillery with three brass cannons. Majors Wyily and Doughty
had charge of the Regulars; Col. Hardin, of Kentucky, the Mili-
tia, with Cols. Trotter and Paul, and Majors Hall and McMil-
len as subordinate commanders.
December 29th, 1789, he arrived at Cincinnati. For several
months previous he had been at the mouth of the Muskingum
waiting for the militia and supplies from the upper country,
and the completion of Fort Washington. He continued his
preparations until the 30th of December, 1790. No doubt the
Indians were aware of his plans and movements.
Harmar's arrangements were all made and he started that
day with the Regulars, the Militia under Col. Hardin having
started a few days before. His general course was to the North-
west by slow matching. The third day the Militia were over-
taken and passed. It would be interesting to give an account of
the daily march, but space forbids.
October 11th the army passed an old French trading post
called Twigtwees, or Miamis. The next day passed Loramie's
Creek and across to the head waters of the Auglaize. Keeping
on to the northwest without seeing the enemy, on the 14th day
of October Col. Hardin was detached with one company of
Regulars and six hundred of the Militia in advance, being
charged with the destruction of towns at the forks of the Mau-
mee. They found the towns deserted, and the best one burned.
At this Maumee village the main body arrived in two days. The
Indians had seven villages.
The 17th of October, search was made and there was found
a large quantity of corn buried. The army burned all the houses
in all the villages and destroyed at least 20,000 bushels of corn.
On the 18th search was made for the Indians. Col. Har-
din's detachment was given this work. He met the Indians in
140 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
good position, and after a brief fight the Militia fled. The
enemy pursued. One sergeant and twenty-one regulars were
killed. There were in a brief time one hundred Americans killed
and many wounded.
Harmar's other forces had commenced a retreat, but hear-
ing of a body of Indians at one of the burned towns, Harmar
sent Col. Hardin with a strong force to meet them. An en-
gagement ensued. The Indians fought with desperation, rush-
ing on the whites in a hand to hand encounter. During this
time, Indian sharpshooters were picking off the officers. Ma-
jors Fountain and Wyily fell, the former with eighteen bullets.
Fifty-one of the regulars shared the same fate. There was a
total of one hundred and eighty killed and wounded that day.
The officers and troops were brave, but they lacked generalship.
The army should have kept together. There was abundant evi-
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 141
dence of these things with the enemy having plenty of arms and
ammunition, good generalship and intense patriotism. Gen.
Harmar felt the defeat. He retired to private life and died in
obscurity in 1803.
This defeat showed the government that a stronger force
was needed, and the best commanding general. Little Turtle
commanded the Indians, and had the distinguished Blue Jacket
the first in command under him.
Harmar's defeat caused sorrow throughout the States. It
was a great source of grief to the President and Congress.
Washington's idea of a string of military posts was to be
carried out, and first of all, the key to the whole situation must
be won by establishing a post where Fort Wayne after this time
St. Clair was appointed Major General and in person had
chief command of the frontier forces. Of course he acted un-
der the general direction of President Washington, as did Har-
mar before and Gen. Wayne after the defeat of St. Clair.
ST. CLAIR S DEFEAT.
Orators, with each passing year
Have made the multitudes to hear
The glorious valor of thy dead,
Patriots who for their hearth stone bled.
Washington was authorized by Congress to raise an army
of three thousand men.
The command was given to St. Clair. This number was
needed. The Indians were elated after the defeat of General
Harmar. Little Turtle had the aid and counsel of Blue Jacket
and Buck-on-ge-ha-las, Chief of the Delawares. The warriors
were informed of St. Clair's army and approach, and were pre-
paring for the fray. Washington had learned of Little Turtle's
ability when he cautioned St. Clair to beware of surprises. He
urged this. No doubt he remembered Braddock's defeat.
One object of St. Clair's expedition was to establish a
strong fort at the junction of the St. Mary and St. Joseph Riv-
ers, and he wanted to strike a blow at the Indians they would
142 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
not soon forget. St. Clair's army built Fort Washington at
Cincinnati, Ohio, Sept. 6th, 1791, advanced twenty miles and
built Fort Hamilton on the east bank of the Great Miami. This
fort was to be headquarters for supplies.
All the spring and summer he had been drilling and equip-
ping his army. While what were offered as reasons for his de-
feat, such as raw soldiers poorly equipped, poor ammunition and
poor arms, when we remember how much time and money was
used to prepare for the battle, lose much of their weight. St.
Clair was out-generaled. He had two thousand four hundred
men, and had this army been kept together, duly picketed by
experienced scouts; had he not di-
vided his army on the eve of battle;
had he thrown up breastworks bullet
proof; had Gen. Butler reported the
vicinity of the Indians the night be-
fore, the defeat might have been
Little Turtle, as the details of
the battle show, had the plan of at-
tack well arranged, and carried it out
to perfection. St. Clair's army was
panic stricken. At dawn the Indians
began the attack with deadly volleys
and frightful yells, which, by their
nearness and numbers were terrific.
St. Clair, though sick, rallied his forces and again and again
drove the enemy back, but the Indians returned as fierce as ever.
In the meantime, sheltered behind and in trees, the sharpshooters
picked off the officers and artillerymen. St. Clair was brave;
four horses were shot under him. For three hours the battle
raged, when a retreat was ordered. An opening was made in
the Indian lines by Col. Drake and a company of the best men.
Through this the army retreated, St. Clair on a pack-horse. The
Indians only followed a short distance and returned to the bat-
tlefield to secure part of the booty.
The rout continued until the army reached Fort Jefferson,
forty miles distant. Nearly seven hundred were dead, thirty of
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 143
these were women, and three hundred wounded lay on the field.
Among the prominent officers killed were General Richard But-
ler, Major Ferguson, Colonel Oldham, Major Clark and Major
Hart. Among the wounded were Colonel Sargeant and Lieut.
Col. Gibson, Major Thomas Butler and Viscount Malartie, aide-
de-camp of St. Clair.
The Indian loss is reported one hundred and fifty killed and
a few wounded. The probability is the Indians had two thou-
sand or more engaged, while the Americans had not more than
fifteen hundred. A thousand troops had been sent back. This,
no doubt, Little Turtle knew, and improved his opportunity to
overcome the invading army.
The whole land mourned. It was an awful defeat! The
men along the border
had greater dread
than ever. Emigra-
tion by land and wa-
ter ceased. Many peo-
ple fled eastward,
leaving their homes.
Washington at first
news was in a rage.
"Why didn't St. Clair
take my advice and
avoid a surprise," he
said. After a while he said, "I will wait and hear it all."
St. Clair was tried, and exonerated from all blame.
The Indians were arrogant, and the British of Canada were
happy. The Indians increased their depredations in 1792 and
1793. They knew the war was not ended, for they would not
submit to the terms of the Americans.
Had it been known to Congress and the people what St.
Clair had to meet in the Wilderness far away from supplies; and
the opposition of Gen. Butler next in command; the inferiority
in numbers and arms of his army; the insubordination of drafted
men, and especially that he had to meet the greatest army of In-
dians ever assembled, under the command of the great Little
144 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Turtle, and his staff-an army fully equipped with English
arms, there would have been more sympathy for St. Clair. The
government let this hero of liberty, who gave his time, talent
and fortune to the Republic, live in a log cabin in Alleghany
mountains on the summit of Chestnut Ridge, live forsaken until
a short time before he died in 1818, when Congress gave him a
pension of $60 per month and $2,000 for back pay.
GENERAL WAYNE'S CAMPAIGN.
O deep and wide and rapid river,
O rough and dark and icy stream,
Who filled with death the red man's quiver?
Who bade his deadly arrow gleam?
Thy face has known a crimson blush,
Thy spray a bloody rain,
Thy waves have heaved with death's mad rush,
Thy depths been gorged with slain.
November, 1793, the Indians made a raid south of Fort
Jefferson, and meeting a company of Kentuckians, killed six and
wounded more. This occurred near
Fort St. Clair in the vicinity of the
town of Eaton. Little Turtle was in
command. This was a convincing
object lesson to Wayne, and he in-
creased his efforts for a decisive con-
The autumn of this year Wayne
brought his army to Fort Greenville,
where it was drilled and fully pre-
pared for the campaign of 1794.
The 28th of July of this year the
army commenced its march for the
Maumee River. The Indian spies
were on the alert, and called Wayne
when reporting to Little Turtle, the "Black Snake," and "Wild
Wind," suggestive of his impetuosity and tact.
August ist the army crossed the level of Ohio and was mov-
ng as rapidly as possible toward the Indian villages. It made a
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 145
halt of a few days on the site of old Fort Loramie. Then pro-
ceeding northward came to the scene of St. Clair's defeat, where
a fort was at once built, armed and furnished, and named Fort
Recovery. Then northeast to Girty's town, St. Marys; thence
up that stream as if intending to surprise the Miami villages.
Then crossing, turned back toward the east, then proceeded
across the Auglaize and thence down to the junction with the
This devious route deceived the Indians, but not entirely,
for they had no time to gather the golden corn from many miles
of fields skirting the Auglaize. A stockade at the confluence of
the Maumee and Auglaize Rivers was erected and called Fort
At this time Anthony Wayne offered to the Indians "over-
tures of peace, as they have everything that is dear and inter-
esting at stake, I have reason to expect that they will listen
to the proposition in the enclosed copy of the address, dispatched
yesterday by a special flag which I sent under circumstances that
will ensure the safe return of the bearer, and which may eventu-
ally spare the effusion of much blood. But if war be their
choice that blood be on their own heads. America shall no
longer be insulted with impunity. To an all-powerful and just
God I therefore commit myself and gallant army."
The bearer returned with the message that "if Wayne would
wait ten days at (Grand Glaze) Defiance, the Indians would
decide for peace or war."
Wayne would wait no longer. On the 20th day of August
the army moved down the north bank, leaving in a small Fort
Deposit all extra baggage.
In reporting the engagement General Wayne says:
"It is with infinite pleasure that I announce to you the bril-
liant success of the Federal Army under my command irr a gen-
eral action with the combined forces of the hostile Indians, and
a considerable number of volunteers and militia of Detroit, on
the 20th inst., on the banks of the Miami in the vicinity of the
British post and garrison at the foot of the Rapids."
This is the sum of the whole battle. Only one thousand
146 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
two hundred Americans were in the battle, while there were two
The Delawares had 500 warriors in the battle; 200 Miamis;
300 Shawnees; 250 Tewas; 300 Wyandots; 200 militia from
Fort Miami, and other Indians of weaker tribes. Fort Miami
after the defeat kept its gates closed against the Indians. This
fact led the Indians to see they had nothing to hope for from
the English and led to the treaty of Greenville.
The Indian loss was heavy. There were twelve leading
Wyandot chiefs in the battle, and eleven of them were killed.
Many leading war chiefs would not retire or surrender, and
hence died in the fight. Turkey Foot, a brave chief, fell
wounded, near a great bowlder at the northeast end of the bat-
tlefield. On this bowlder are engraved turket feet, and it is
said before the warrior died he engraved the first one. "Tur-
key Foot Rock," as it is called, remains in place to this day.
This battle was an object lesson to the Indians of the im-
possibility of coping with the American Government and stop-
ping the incoming of the white people. They realized that their
only hope was in submission.
Me-she-kun-nogh-quah, or Little Turtle. 147
General Wayne and most of his army remained on the bat-
tlefield several days. At the close of the engagement he recon-
noitered Fort Miami. He had it in mind to attack the fort, but
prudence prevailed. A brisk correspondence occurred between
the commander, Capt. Campbell, of the British Army and Gen-
eral Wayne. Wayne suggested the propriety of his getting on
British territory to the nearest British post. Campbell replied
he would await the orders of his superiors. Wayne sent out
his cavalry and burned the Indian villages, and then repaired to
Fort Defiance, which he strengthened.
Wonderful results followed the defeat of the Indians by
Wayne's army. These we may not more fully describe as all
are well known. The principal one was the abiding friendship
of the majority of the Indians of the Northwest Territory. Also
the adjustment of territorial lines and the opening of the west
and northwest to civilization.
Monuments should be erected to commemorate the battle-
fields in Ohio of Gen. Anthony Wayne and his brave officers and
men, and second Little Turtle and brave Blue Jacket and their
associated chiefs. We are as a nation under obligation to these
noble Generals Washington, Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne, and
their coadjutors for their great patriotic efforts, even after they
had passed the meridian of human life, - for the extended es-
tablishment of a free government, giving security to homes, and
happiness to all the people. May the time soon come when
rising in marble above each battlefield of Ohio these monuments
shall arise to remind the generations yet to come of the heroism
148 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
of our pioneer fathers! And why not to the great Ohio Indians.
We only have one such monument, that to Leatherlips. While
the exact spots of the resting places of the great red men are not
known, why not erect monuments for Tarhe of the Wyandots,
Pontiac of the Ottawas, Logan of the Mingoes, Tecumseh, Black
Hoof, and Blue Jacket of the Shawnees, and Little Turtle of