Ohio History Journal





[The Editor of The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical

Quarterly has often received inquiries as to sources of information con-

cerning Tarhe, the famous Wyandot chief, and also the "Half King,"

Pomoacan. Mr. Basil Meek, the historical writer and a frequent con-

tributor to the columns of the Quarterly, has had occasion to gather

these sources and we herewith publish them for the benefit of any student

desiring to avail himself of these valuable references.-EDITOR.]

Please find a few facts, concerning Tarhe-the Crane, some

of which may shed light upon his residence and also upon his

life and character. The "Half King", Pomoacan, seems never

to have been located at Lower Sandusky. Attention is called

to Half King's various Indian cognomens, given below.



In the Spring of 1782, according to Homer Everett in his

History  of Sandusky County, p. 43, citing for his authority

"Heckewelder's Indian Nations," without giving page, claims that

Crane rescued a young man-captive, at Lower Sandusky, after

the captive had been sent by him to Half King at Upper San-

dusky to be adopted, but having been rejected by Half King's

wife, was returned to Lower Sandusky for burning. Thereupon

Crane, he says, after an appeal to his vanity by the English

traders, Robbins and Arundel located there, he rescued the


But I believe the chief, who rescued this captive was not

Crane, but Abraham Kuhn, the War Chief, who commanded the

Lower Sandusky Wyandots at Crawford's defeat. I have not

seen Heckewelder, cited by Everett. See History of the Girtys,

by Butterfield, pp. 149, 150, 151.

In 1785 Tarhe's name does not appear to the treaty of

Ft. Mcintosh. It was signed for Wyandots of Lower Sandusky

by Abraham Kuhn. Half King's name is not attached to same

unless by the name, Daunghquat, which is probable.


Tarhe-The Crane

Tarhe-The Crane.                   65


U. S. Statutes at large, Vol. 7, pp. 16, 18.

In 1786, his name appears, with Half King's as a witness to

the treaty of Ft. Finney at the mouth of the Great Miami.

U. S. Statutes at large, Vol. 7, pp. 26, 27.

Taylor's Ohio, p. 449, quoting from Butler's Journal, says:

"The Wyandot Camp was on the banks of the Miami * * *  *

Thenceforth, private interviews, accompanied by presents, fre-

quently occurred with Half King and Crane of the Wyandots."

In 1789 his name appears with that of Doneyenteat and

others, to the treaty of Fort Harmar.

U. S. Statutes at large, Vol. 7, pp. 28, 32.

Col. E. L. Taylor, Vol. 6, Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society, Pub.,

p. 80, says:

"The Chief Sachem of the Wyandots as far back as * * *

June 9, 1789, was Tarhe," and on page 90, quotes from the

"Freeman's Chronicle" of June 25, 1813, reporting the Harrison

Council as follows: "But Tarhe (The Crane) who is the prin-

cipal Chief of the Wyandots, and the oldest Indian in the western

wilds appeared to represent the whole assembly."

In 1790, Tarhe rescued Peggy Fleming, a female captive,

from a band of Cherokee Indians at Lower Sandusky, where

it would appear, from the circumstance, that he then lived. The

account of this rescue is exceedingly interesting, and is given

fully in Narrative of Charles Johnston.

Drake's Indians of N. A., p. 568.

Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society Pub. Vol. XVI, p. 97.

Tarhe lived at present site of Lancaster, prior to the Green-

ville treaty of 1795, according to Gen. Sanderson, in an address

at Lancaster in 1844, Tarhe's abode was with the Wyandots at

"Tarhe Town" the present site of Lancaster in Fairfield County;

after the treaty, Sanderson says, Tarhe settled at Upper San-


Howe's Hist. Coll., Vol. 1, p. 589.

James Taylor's Ohio, pp. 160, 161.

"Tarhe, or The Crane, said to be the oldest Indian at this

time in the Western Country. He lived at Upper Sandusky,

about one hundred miles from the mouth of Detroit River, and

Vol. XX-5.

66 Ohio Arch

66       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


was principal chief of the Porcupine Wyandots, who resided at

that place."

Thatcher's Indian Biography, Vol, 2, p. 198.

The Crane was wounded at Fort Miami.

Page 220, same work.

North American Review, Vol. 29, p. 216.

Essay on the late war, by Governor Cass.

The Malden Council.

In 1795 Gen. Wayne addressed a letter as follows: "To

Tarhe, and all other Sachems and Chiefs at Sandusky," and then

goes on to promise the erection of a fortification "at the foot of

the rapids at Sandusky, on the reserved lands" for their pro-

tection  against the Indians who adhered to the British cause.

Note, that the proposed fortification, was to be erected on

"reserved lands", which indicates the locality to be Lower San-

dusky, that place then having "reserved lands" and the upper

town had none.

While the above may not shed light upon Tarhe's residence,

it does indicate that he was first in importance, in the Sandusky

region, which included all the river valley, under the Indian

government, known as "Sandusky."

In 1794, he was at the battle of Fallen Timber, where he

was wounded. At the council previous to the battle he favored

peace. He does not seem to have been the chief in command

for the Wyandots, in that engagement. In fact there is no men-

tion in history that I can find, of any Chief Commander of this

nation, there; but there were a dozen Wyandot chiefs there;

all were killed but Tarhe, and he was wounded. The Com-

manders of the other tribes are specially mentioned in the his-

tories relating the facts of that engagement.

In 1794, in the Narrative of Jeremiah Armstrong, he says:

"On arriving at Lower Sandusky, before entering the town, they

halted and formed a procession * * * * to run the gaunt-

let. They pointed to the home of their chief, Old Crane, about

100 yards distant, so signifying that we should run into it. We

did so and were received very kindly by the old chief. He was

a very mild man, beloved by all."

Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society Pub. Vol. XVI, p. 42.

Tarhe-The Crane

Tarhe-The Crane.                   67


In 1795 his name appears at the head of the list for the

Wyandots to the treaty of Greenville, August 3rd. The Half

King's son's name also appears, but the Half King's name is not

signed to the same, unless he was "Daugh-shut-tay-ah," which is

probable, as one of his Indian aliases.

U. S. Statutes-at-large, Vol. 7, pp. 49, 53.

It is probably worthy of mention, that the facsimile of this

treaty as published in Vol. XII, Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society

Publications, pages 145, and 148, shows two separate groups of

Wyandots, Tarhe and others in one group, and Daugh-shut-

tay-ah in another, which may indicate a separate supervision

as to upper and lower territory.

In 1799, according to Dr. Slocum, he resided at Upper

Sandusky, and was not a very good Indian. But see the tes-

timony of Gen. Harrison and others to the contrary.

Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society Pub. Vol. XVI, p. 314.

Harrison's Address, INFRA, p. 39.

In 1800, Tarhe, at Lower Sandusky, entertained over night

Rev. J. B. Finley, according to Emil Schlup in article on "Tarhe:

The Crane." He entrusted at the time, valuables to his care,

which were honestly accounted for to Finley on leaving Tarhe's


Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society Pub. Vol. XVI, p. 133.

In 1806 he was the principal Chief of the Wyandots accord-

ing to Moorehead in Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society, Pub. Vol. VII,

p. 99, also see Gen. Harrison's address in "Aborigines of the

Ohio Valley," Fergus Historical Series Number Six, p. 39, who

speaks of him as the Grand Sachem of the Wyandots and of

his high character.

He seems to have lived at Lower Sandusky in 1806, accord-

ing to the diary of Rev. Joseph Badger, a Missionary, among

the Indians at Lower Sandusky. Under date of May 14, 1806,

on his return to Lower Sandusky, from a visit to Michigan

he says that here he found the Indians gathered together attend-

ing to their prophet, who was pointing out several of their

women to be killed as witches, and that he got Crane, the Chief,

to stop the prophet, and wait for an interpreter and the women

68 Ohio Arch

68       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

were saved. I am not quoting literally, but substantially from

this diary.

In the winter of 1812, Jacob B. Varnum, Indian Agent at

Lower Sandusky, having been appointed Postmaster, went to

Bloomville, Huron County, to a Justice of the Peace to be

sworn in. While there he suggested to the Justice, Israel Har-

rington, who was afterwards associate judge of Sandusky

County, that he, at once, remove to Lower Sandusky, for the

safety of himself and family, in the war soon to occur (1812)

and said: "Tell the Crane you come from me."

Tract 51 W. R. His. Society.

In 1812, 1813 and 1814, he was at Upper Sandusky.

Drake's Indians of N. A. p. 626.

McAfee's History of Late War (1812) pp. 353. 445.

Contract in Birchard library hereto attached.

He died at Upper Sandusky in 1818, according to Emil

Schlup. Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society Pub. Vol. XIV, p. 134.

Also Howe's Coll. Vol. 2, p. 894.

But see schedule, Treaty of 1817, parcelling Wyandot res-

ervation, where "Yourowquaws, or the widow of the Crane," is

mentioned. Tarhe, the Crane, must, therefore, have died before

1818. His name is not to the treaty of 1817.

U. S. Statutes-at-large, Vol. 7, pp. 160, 168.

He was alive in 1815, however, for he signed with Walk-

in-the-Water, the treaty at "Spring Wells," near Detroit, Sept.

8, 1815.

U. S. Statutes-at-large, Vol. 7, pp. 131, 132.

In 1814, he had signed treaty at Greenville of July 22,

same Vol., pp. 118, 119.

We know that the Wyandot was the leading nation in the

Western confederacy, and held the grand Calumet, and that

Tarhe the Crane, became the Grand Sachem, and leader of this

Nation before the Tecumseh uprising, and so continued until his

death, but just when he became such, is hard to tell. He cer-

tainly was ever held in high esteem, in the Councils of the tribes

as before mentioned. After the treaty of Greenville in 1795

and probably about 1800, his permanent abode seems to have

been at the Upper town, with a shifting or temporary abode or

Tarhe-The Crane

Tarhe-The Crane.                    69


lodge, at the lower town, where we find him before then, occa-

sionally, as early as 1790 and probably earlier, and at the later

dates mentioned, in the interests of his people, at the lower

town. See copy of Contract of 1814, in Birchard Library, in

regard to lands, doubtless held by him in trust, as Grand Sachem

for his nation.

It may here be noted, that after the cession of the two-

mile square tract at the lower rapids--especially after the

Greenville Treaty in 1795, when dispute ended, no "official" In-

dian residence there, would of right, have been recognized by

our government.

Tarhe, probably, was not distinguished so much as a war

chief, though a brave warrior in time of war, in battle, as he

was for his dignity of character as a wise head of his nation,

and chief of the confederacy, during his day, while holding the

grand Calumet. In this respect he was regarded with much

reverence, similar probably, to that bestowed by the Six Na-

tions upon the Atarto of the Onondagas of that confederacy.

In the Six Nations there were 50 Sachems or principal chiefs,

who formed the government, all equals, but a peculiar dignity

was ever attached to the Atarto of the Onondagas, which nation

in that confederacy was not unlike that of the Wyandots in the


Parkman's Jesuits; Introduction LIV, LVII.

It would seem that taking the war matters and the treaties

mentioned together, up to, or shortly after the close of the

Wayne Campaign, and the interval of peace that followed, that

there was "Half King" by his various Indian names of Pomoa-

can, Doonyoutat, Doanquod, Dunquat, Daunghquat Zhaus-sho-

toh, and probably other aliases, acting for the Upper Sandusky

Wyandots, while Tarhe and Abraham Kuhn specially repre-

sented the Lower Sandusky Wyandots. That Zhaus-sho-toh

was one of Half King's names. See Crawford's campaign by

Butterfield, pp. 166, 172, 184, 206, 207. Especially p. 194.

"Zhaus-sho-toh, or Half King."

The name Pomoacan was given the Half King by the Del-


Drake's Indians of N. A. note to pp. 531.

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70       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


It may not be amiss to here state that the Half King men-

tioned in the text of Drake, pp. 531, 532, died in 1754. See

same author, p. 747, Title "Half King." See letter herewith

from American Bureau of Ethnology as to name of that Half

King. Also Irving's Works, Life of Washington, Part One,

pp. 147, 148, and foot note citations.

The name "Sandusky" was generic, and sometimes used

with reference to forts and localities along the waters of the

Sandusky River and Bay, by historians, without designation as

to whether upper or lower rapids, or the bay were intended.

Fort Stephenson was known as Fort "Sandusky" until occupied

by Col. Stephenson. Other forts on these waters were thus

named. The medals voted to Croghan are stamped "Sandusky."

Traders and others in their correspondence, sometimes used

"Sandusky" only, when upper or lower was evident from the


See Meek's History of Sandusky County, p. 76. "Inter-

esting old Letters."

(Literal Copy from Original, in Birchard Library, Fremont.)

"Conditions of an agreement between the Wiandot Chief

(Crain) under the immediate directions of William Walker sub

Indian agent at Upper Sandusky and Morris A. Newman at

Lower Sandusky made the twenty-second day of October 1814

as follows (towit) the said Indian Chief (Crain) hereby con-

stitute and appoints the said Morris A. Newman his agent to

act and to dispose of timber and stone (& for other purposes)

upon the lands belonging to the said Nation of Indians in the

vicinity of Lower Sandusky, Ohio, on the following conditions

towit: for stone by the Load or pearch at twelve and half

cents each and all timber on the following conditions or rates,

that is, for Cabin Logs fifteen feet square, a sufficient number

to raise it one story high three Dollars eighteen feet one story

and half four dollars and twenty feet square (five dollars) one

story and half; and all timber for clabboards punchons and

shingles and for such purposes is hereby left to said Newman's

own Judgment as to their value What grass that may be cut

on the lands aforesaid shall be at One dollar per acre and all

Tarhe-The Crane

Tarhe-The Crane.                   71


wood used for the burning of lime at twenty five cents per cord

It is also the further conditions of said agency that said New-

man will not suffer any trespass on the Land aforesaid with-

out giving information thereof to the chief aforesaid the said

Newman agrees that all the monies arising under said agency

he will punctual pay over to said Chief.

In testimony whereof the said parties have hereunto set

their hands the day and year before mentioned."










We know that the principal seat of the Wyandots upon

their return about 1700, from exile, was near Detroit; and the

Sandusky and other settlements were, in the nature of Colonies.

James Taylor's Ohio, p. 38.

When the war upon the frontiers began to assume a serious

aspect, their Half King (Pomoacan) took up his temporary

abode at Upper Sandusky.

Butterfield's Crawford-Campaign, pp. 161, 162, 168, 190,


Pomoacan was then a great chief, usually called "Half


Same work, p. 180, and foot note, and p. 190.

In 1782 he was Half King; same work, pp. 190, 191, 194.

Washington-Irvine Correspondence, Note 6, page 18.

Heckewelder's Narrative p. 235, note.

James Taylor's Ohio, pp. 339, 340, 351, 352, 421.

Under his Indian aliases (See them mentioned above) he

must have occupied the Upper town during the Revolutionary

War and Border War Periods, and exercised his jurisdiction

from there over the Sandusky Valley region, until the close of

the wars. Lower Sandusky at the head of navigation for large

72 Ohio Arch

72        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


water crafts, was a place of strategic importance; hence the

war chief, Kuhn, was most probably located there during the

same periods. As to this Chief, see

James Taylor's Ohio, p. 352, et seq.

Heckewelder's Indian Nations, pp. 162, 163.

History of the Girtys, pp. 149, 150, 151.

Furthermore,-if this confederacy was similar in its form

to that of the six Nations, which is probable, as has been men-

tioned, two war chiefs might be chosen with equal powers to

conduct wars. Here, presumably, one at the Upper waters, and

one at the lower waters of Sandusky.

Ohio Arch. & Hist. Society Pub. Vol. XVI, p. 431, and

notes -"Propositions" IX and X.

It seems that the peace Sachem, was subject to these war

chiefs, except in the matter of making peace.

"Half King" seems to have disappeared from historic men-

tion in 1812 or that war, and Tarhe, the Crane, appears to the

front, with the Sandusky Wyandots siding with the Americans.

The   Detroit Wyandots with Walk-in-the-Water sided with

Tecumseh and the British

Drakes N. A. Indians, pp. 626, 627.

See page 12.





OCTOBER, 24, 191O.

DEAR SIR:-Your communication of October 7 has been re-

ferred to Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt of this Bureau, who states, in

answer thereto, that

"The designation of 'Half King' had its origin in the

colonial policy of the Six Nations who placed in con-

quered territories subject tribes under the viceregency of

an officer, i. e., a chief, who presided over the local affairs

of the said subject tribes; but who referred all matters of

a federal nature to the great federal Council of the Six

Nations at Onondago.   The Six Nations had subject

Tarhe--The Crane

Tarhe--The Crane.                   73


tribes on conquered lands in the Susquehanna valley and

in the Ohio valley; and they placed Shikillimus as the first

viceregent over the tribes of the Susquehanna, and at his

death, he was succeeded by his son. In the Ohio valley,

Tanacharison* was the first viceregent, and when he died

he was succeeded by Scarroyadi. These, in view of the

fact that the colonists and interpreters were accustomed

only to imperial titles, were designated by the name of

'Half King.' The French and Indian war and the Revolu-

tion resulted in the practical independence of the subject

tribes who were not absorbed into the organization of the

Six Nations, and so the colonial organization came to

naught. The Wyandot 'Half King' was so called from

analogy with the officer so-called in the Ohio valley, be-

cause he ruled over several remnants of tribes in the ter-

ritory of the state of Ohio."

Very truly yours,




Secretary, Sandusky County Pioneer and Historical Associa-

tion, Fremont, Ohio.


* Death of Tanacharison. - See Drake's Indians of N. A. Notes,

etc., page 747, "Half-King."