Ohio History Journal



With Mention of Other Forts in and Near the Maumee

River Basin.



There were at least five forts, or stockades of defense, in

the "Territory Northwest of the Ohio River" in its earlier his-

tory, that were called Fort Miami, namely:

1. The first one was built in November, 1679, by Rene-

Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle by the River St. Joseph of

Lake Michigan, on rising ground near its mouth. (Parkman's

La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, page 149.)

The builders were few in number, and their work was well ad-

vanced after twenty days, so it could not have been much of a

fort; but it served its purpose. Evidently it served as a shelter,

also, for the Aborigines thereabouts, and the occasional French

wanderer through its vicinity, for several years; for Charlevoix

wrote "I left yesterday (16th September, 1721,) the Fort of St.

Joseph River *    *"

2. The second Fort Miami was built by order of the French

Governor of Canada in the year 1686 (Harper's Ency. U. S.

His., vol ix, page 486. Paris Doc. V, N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. ix,

page 569), on the right bank of the River St. Mary, within the

limits of the present city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. When vis-

ited by M. de Celoron's expedition in September, 1749, the build-

ings of this fort were small and in poor condition. The stock-

ade timbers were rotten and falling. "Within there were eight

houses, - or, to speak more correctly, eight miserable huts, which

only the desire of making money could render endurable." The

twenty-two French occupants were all afflicted with fever. This

fort was soon thereafter abandoned. (Jesuit Relations, vol. lxix,

page 189.)

3. The third fort of this name was built to replace No. 2.

It was located on the left bank of the River St. Joseph of the

Maumee, not far above its mouth, "a scant league," say two miles


Forts Miami and Fort Industry

Forts Miami and Fort Industry.          121


or less, from No. 2, and also within the present City of Fort

Wayne. It was built in 1749-50 by Commandant Raimond who

thought it advisable at that time to abandon Fort Miami No. 2

for the more desirable site by the St. Joseph.

Fort Miami No. 3 was surrendered to the British at the

time of their conquest of the French in 1760; and its small

British garrison was captured by the sympathizers with Pontiac in

1763. It was then abandoned as a military post, but the build-

ings were occupied by French traders and Aborigines until they

were decayed and more desirable ones were obtained.

4. A small body of United States troops in passing along

the Ohio River about the year 1790, stopped a short time just

below the mouth of the Little Miami River. Their camp, hastily

protected by logs as was usual by soldiers and even families in

those days of prowling hostile savages, was called Fort Miami.

5. The strongest of all forts of the name Miami, includ-

ing the buildings, garrison and equipment, was built by the Brit-

ish in the spring of 1794 about two miles below the lowest rapids

and on the left bank of the Maumee River, the site being within

the limits of the present Village of Maumee. This was a wide

invasion of United States territory by the British for the

purpose of opposing General Wayne's advance against the sav-

ages themselves directly, or for the better encouragement of the

savages in their opposition. This fort was built according to

the best military plans of that day with the material at hand; and

was surrounded by a broad, deep ditch which was also protected.

It was fully equipped with artillery, and its garrison in 1794

numbered several hundred men. General Wayne wisely decided

not to attack it; but his reconnoiterings of the fort-"within

pistol-shot" distance -would have brought disaster upon him

had a less conservative and considerate officer than Major Camp-

bell been in command.

According to the terms of the Jay Treaty this Fort Miami

was surrendered to United States troops 11th July, 1796, to-

gether with Detroit and the other forts wrongfully held by the

British in United States territory from the close of the Revolu-

tionary War.

122 Ohio Arch

122       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


This Fort Miami is the first military post or station authori-

tatively mentioned as existing by the lower Maumee River. Mr.

Knapp, in his History of the Maumee Valley, or the person from

whom he copied, probably confused the Maumee with the Fort

Miami No. 1, built by La Salle by the River St. Joseph of Lake

Michigan, which he called the River of the Miamis. There has

been a lamentable number of copyists, since the first confused

statement, to place a Fort Miami on the lower Maumee in the

year 1680.

There has also been much of conjecture with unauthorita-

tive statements regarding Fort Industry, the site of which tradi-

tion places about the crossing of Summit and Monroe Streets

in the present City of Toledo, Ohio.  Henry Howe, in his

Historical Collections of Ohio in 1846, also in his edition of 1896

volume ii, page 148, wrote that Fort Industry was "erected about

the year 1800."  H. S. Knapp, in his History of the Maumee

Valley, 1872, page 93, wrote that it was built by order of Gen-

eral Wayne immediately after the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Neither of these writers give any authority; and their statements

are negatively disproved by official records, as follows:

1. The Battle of Fallen Timbers occurred 20th August, 1794,

and General Wayne's army was very busy caring for the wounded

and dead, in searching the country for savages and in destroy-

ing their crops, during the two days before the countermarch

began. The night of the 23rd, according to Lieutenant Boyer's

Diary, the army bivouacked at Camp Deposit, Roche de Bout

(not Roche de Bouef as written by some early chroniclers), and

the morning of the 24th the march was continued up the Maumee

River. This shows that there was not sufficient time between the

Battle and the return march to build even a stockade, with all

the other work on hand, and this, also immediately after the

great excitements and exhaustions of the Battle.

2. No mention is made of Fort Industry, nor of building a

post on the lower Maumee, in the Diary of General Wayne's Cam-

paign, nor in the reports.

3. The report to General Wayne that on the 30th August,

1794, the British Agent, Alexander McKee, had gathered the

Aborigines at the mouth of Swan Creek to feed and comfort

Forts Miami and Fort Industry

Forts Miami and Fort Industry.           123


them ("fix them"), is also presumptive evidence against the ex-

istence there or thereabouts of an American fort or body of troops

at that time. (American State Papers, Aborigine Affairs, vol.

ii, page 526. Also McKee's letter to the British Colonel Richard

England at Detroit.)

4. Timothy Pickering, then acting Secretary of War, re-

ported to the Congressional Committee on the Military Estab-

lishment 3rd February, 1796, the names of the then existing

Military Stations. In this list the name Fort Industry does not

appear. The stations then existing in and near the Maumee

region were Forts Defiance, Wayne, Miami, and Sandusky, all

of which aggregated a force of one battalion of infantry, one

company of riflemen, and one company of artillery at Fort Wayne

which was the headquarters for these posts. Also Forts Adams,

Recovery, Jefferson, Loramie, Head of Auglaize, and Greenville

the headquarters, had one battalion of infantry and one company

of riflemen divided among them.

5. The 29th March, 1796, James McHenry, Secretary of

War, with his thoughts on economy, particularly "ought the mili-

tary force of the United States to be diminished," gave to the

before mentioned Committee the list of forts to be mentioned in

this region, with the garrison each should have, as follows: De-

fiance, Wayne, Adams, Recovery, head of Wabash, [Auglaize?],

Miami, and Michillimackinac, each fifty-six men, and Detroit 112

men. In these reports Forts Miami and Detroit were recognized

as the property of the United States, but they were not evacuated

by the British until the 11th July, 1796, according to the report

of Lieutenant Colonel Hamtramck and others.

6. With the date of "War Department 23rd December, 1801,

the estimate of all the Posts and Stations where Garrisons will

be Expedient, and the number of men requisite for each garrison,"

does not contain the name Fort Industry.

7. An official statement of the reduced army under the Act

of March, 1802, and its distribution 1st January, 1803, names

Fort Wayne, with a garrison of sixty-four men, as being the only

fortification or military station then in or near the Maumee


2  ol. XII-2

124 Ohio Arch

124       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


8. The report issued from "Head Quarters, Washington,

February 4, 1805, for the year 1803, designating every post and

point of occupancy," does not contain the name Fort Industry.

9. Nor does the name Fort Industry appear in the schedule

of "Posts and places occupied by the Troops of the United

States in the year 1804, taken from the latest returns, and desig-

nating every post and point of occupancy; to which is annexed

the number wanting to complete the Peace Establishment." The

only fort, or United States troops in the Maumee region at this

date was at Fort Wayne with an aggregate garrison, October

31st, 1804, of sixty-eight men. (See American State Papers,

Military Affairs, vol. ii, pages 113, 115, 156, 175, 176.)

In fact, the only authoritative statement that Fort Industry

ever existed is the mere mention of it, "Fort Industry on the

Miami of the Lake," as the place where was held an important

treaty with Aborigines 4th July, 1805, (American State Papers,

Aborigine Affairs, vol. i, page 695); nothing more, nothing be-

fore, and nothing after this date, so far as the writer has been

able to find by several inquiries, in person and by letters, at the

War Department, at the United States Library, and other large

libraries; and there is nothing but tradition to designate its site

within the limits of the present City of Toledo.

The negatives here adduced are equal to positives; hence we

may rest with the belief that "Fort Industry" was little more than

a stockade built hurriedly, industriously,- if a former stockade

inclosure as a trading post there was not repaired instead - in

the summer of 1805 solely for the treaty there held, and called a

"Fort" to make it more impressive to the Aborigines. It was

soon thereafter abandoned by the troops who were then necessarily

present, as at former treaties.

The authenticity of the frontispiece to Knapp's History of

the Maumee Valley is completely set aside in an editorial from

the able pen of S. S. Knabenshue in the Toledo Blade of January

24th, 1903 0. J. Hopkins who drew this view and engraved it

on wood, asserted that his drawing was without foundation, in

fact, and purely a work of his fancy. And such is the case, also,

with the "old painting in oil" that is sometimes referred to, and

of many statements that have been written regarding this fort.

Forts Miami and Fort Industry

Forts Miami and Fort Industry.          125


Before the grading for streets began, two prehistoric semi-

circular earthworks, presumably for stockades, were surveyed in

Toledo; one at the intersection of Clayton and Oliver Streets

on the south bank of Swan Creek, and the other at Fassett and

Fort Streets on the right bank of the Maumee. A third work

of this character was recorded over fifty years ago by the late

Colonel Charles Whittlesey as existing at Eagle Point about two

miles up the river from the Fassett Street work.

From the early records we catch glimpses of different traders

with the Aborigines along the lower Maumee River; and there

can be no doubt that stockades were employed for the protection

of their goods and peltries, from the beginning of the 18th cen-

tury, or before.