Ohio History Journal






A long time ago Pericles once said in a memorial day ad-

dress outside the walls of Athens that it was fitting to remember

the dead who had fallen on the fields of battle, but also Athenians

must never forget by what principles of action and deeds of valor

Athens had risen to power and become great. When we turn to

our own history we can discover principles of action, and deeds

of valor to defend them, that stir our souls. It's that thrill that

constitutes the glamor of our history.

I have been reading anew the story of our Revolution, and

I have felt as never before that our emergence from that struggle

as a free and independent people is one of the miracles in the

long, long narrative of human progress. And I am afraid that

in the teaching of the history of that period and of later times,

also, we have turned away from any real glorification of our

achievements, as if to display such enthusiasm was unscholarly

and unscientific. We have even leaned so far over backwards

in that attitude that some of our historians have displayed more

zeal in debunking trifles than in magnifying greatness. Under a

worked-up feeling of disillusionment following the outcome of

the Great War, plus the havoc of the lean years of the Great

Depression, speakers, teachers, preachers, writers have been in-

clined to lament how capitalism, poverty, lack of opportunity

were robbing us of our birthright as a free people. Our books

of history, civics, and political and social economy were quick to

reflect this and were streaked with pessimism, not to say social-

ism and radicalism. To own up quickly to being a Son of the

American Revolution was regarded as naive, for the causes of

that struggle were now discredited; our War of 1812 was unneces-

sary and ill-advised, and a retired admiral has recently said that

we lost it; and one may hear from the pulpit that before we pour





out our wrath on Hitler for the rape of Poland, or on Japan for

her war on China, we should go back to our own Mexican War

which was also an offense against civilization. We must not be

too proud, either, of our ancestors who starved at Valley Forge,

or fought with Perry on Lake Erie, or stormed Chepultepec, or

took their covered wagons across the plains and mountains to the

Pacific. No! Forget the past, and turn our faces toward the

future where all wrongs are to be righted!

Well, in my opinion that attitude is both foolish and fatal.

As a people, young though we are, we have a proud heritage, and

it should not be reserved for Fourth of July orators alone to

recall it. We, and our children and our children's children,

should be nurtured in it. What is better calculated to awaken a

feeling of pride in ourselves as citizens of a great republic than

to be reminded till we everlastingly remember how our fore-

fathers on this continent struggled and carried on till they won

through? Softness won't get us anywhere. Stamina, courage,

high resolve, unceasing vigilance and toil are the qualities which

exalt and save a nation. As Walter Lippman says, "The con-

sciousness of greatness can be preserved only by the memory of

greatness." That is why we are lauding the memory of General

Anthony Wayne throughout the length of the Maumee Valley and

in this city of Fort Wayne which, let us hope, will be a monument

to his name forever.

The setting up of the Northwest Territory by our Federal

Government was an event of far-reaching consequences in our

expansion westward beyond the Alleghenies. Let me for a mo-

ment recall the salient historical facts connected with the found-

ing of this empire, or better, maybe, of this great province of an

empire, for the vague region called the Northwest occupied the

valley of the Ohio and that expanse of country northwards to

the remotest confines of the Great Lakes. The French had owned

it to begin with, and understood its strategic importance, and

dotted over it were posts and forts which they had planted. When

French supremacy and sovereignty were surrendered at the close

of the French and Indian War by the Treaty of Paris in 1763,




the vast region became British and was occupied, in part at least,

as early as 1760. A British fort was located here at the forks of

the Maumee in that year, but it was captured in 1763 by Pontiac's

Indian allies and was never reestablished. However, British in-

fluence gradually penetrated and dominated the country and won

over the allegiance of the Indian tribes. From the settlement of

Miami villages on the site of the city of Fort Wayne, Miami

Town, as the English called it, war parties set out to harry

the western border all through the period of the Revolution. In

that conflict the only bright spot in the history of the Northwest

was George Rogers Clark's taking of Kaskaskia and Cahokia,

climaxed by the spectacular capture of Vincennes, and along with

it, of Governor Hamilton, the "Hair Buyer." Up to date, no

one, as far as I know, has attempted to whitewash the record of

Governor Hamilton and argue that his hair-buying zeal was only

a scientific interest in the various types of the American coiffure.

When the Revolution was over in 1783, and the second

Treaty of Paris gave us the entire Northwest extending to the

Mississippi and Lake Superior, our difficulties commenced in

earnest. The advancing tide of settlement was irritating to the

Indians, and the British refused to withdraw from the country,

taking refuge behind what they claimed were the vague pro-

visions of the treaty. Detroit, their western capital, and their

trading posts on the Maumee, and Fort Miami on the river near

present-day Toledo, toward the end of their occupation, were a

spearhead of influence in the Indian country. Their propaganda

was effective: the Ohio River ought to be the boundary between

the Americans and the Indians of the Northwest. This was

welcome support, for the Indians had long made this their con-


As I have said, the Revolution ended in 1783, and the Con-

tinental Congress began at once to toy with the troublesome ques-

tion of how to administer this vast region. In 1780 Congress

pledged that if the various states would renounce their territorial

claims founded on their old charters, these lands should be dis-



posed of for the common good, and be admitted into statehood

on an equality with the original thirteen states.

In 1784 Jefferson proposed a fantastic plan of government,

cutting up the Territory like a checker-board by meridians and

parallels. The resulting areas were to be states for which he had

devised "highfalutin' " classical names. I wonder if you know,

ladies and gentlemen, that your city of Fort Wayne is located

somewhere near the interlocking corners of Assenisipia, Illinoia,

Mesopotamia and Saratoga?

But Jefferson was not alone in his whimsy of names. Our

University of Michigan is a successor of the Catholepistemiad, or

University of Michigan, where the professors were called didac-

tors, and a chair of learning a didaxia. A man who taught

literature was a didactor of Anthropoglossica; if it was historical

science, he was professor of Diegitica. If he was a little more

ambitious, he might hold the chair of Ennoeica, "embracing all

epistemiim or sciences relative to the mind of animals, to the

human mind, to spiritual existences, to the deity, and to religion,

the didactor of which shall be vice-president of the institution."

With all the personified learning that has come to the Uni-

versity of Michigan, no one has yet been found to qualify for

that position.

In 1785 Congress made a provision to survey the lands of

the Territory and at once settlers began to move in.

But it was the famous Ordinance of 1787 which gave a

practical constitution of government to the Northwest Territory.

Our Declaration of Independence was a great document; the

Constitution, as written in blood and iron, was an immortal docu-

ment; but we must not forget that the Ordinance of 1787 "set

forth for the first time in unified form the essence of American

thought as to the relations of our government to the rights of

man--the crystalized expression of what America had fought for

--the principles under which the people willed to live."

For temporary government the whole Territory was to be

regarded as one district, with a governor, a secretary, and three

judges appointed by Congress. Until a legislature could be




elected, these officials were to set up a body of laws adopted

from the eastern states, subject to the approval of Congress.

When 5000 male votes were registered in the Territory, a legis-

lature was to be called into existence. In October of 1787 Gen-

eral Arthur St. Clair was made first governor, and in July of

that year came on to Marietta, the seat of the Territorial gov-


Washington entered upon his second term   as President,

March 4, 1793. His first term had been successful, but he had

had his troubles at home and abroad. Not the least of his worries

centered around the turbulent conditions which existed in the

Northwest Territory. More and more settlers were venturing

into the valley of the Ohio; the British still held the border

posts and were constantly irritating and obnoxious; and the

Indians were vindictive and war-like, encouraged by the British

and provoked by the Americans. As an example of the way we

fell upon our knees and then upon the aborigines, as Macaulay

says, a hundred frontiersmen in 1782 cruelly butchered a whole

village of Christian Indians in the Ohio country west of Pitts-

burgh. The next year the Indians retaliated by defeating Colonel

Crawford and burning him at the stake. Things went on from

bad to worse, and Washington, not unmindful of the rights and

grievances of the tribes, still felt in duty bound to repress them

in the interest of the whole country. There could be no success-

ful colonization in the new Territory without it. And another

thing: he feared that the governor of the Territory, General St.

Clair, lacked those qualities that a proconsul should have on the

border marches of a republic. He had no real genius for ad-

ministration of Indians or white men.

It is the fateful year of 1791 and Governor St. Clair, who is

also commander-in-chief of the army of the United States, is

leading his troops into the Indian country toward the head of the

Maumee Valley. His mission is to subdue the defiant Indians

once for all. Only the year before they had defeated General

Harmar on this very spot, and then Scott, and then Wilkinson,

and now General Arthur St. Clair is to retrieve these disasters.



He is encamped with 1400 men on a branch of the Wabash some

fifty miles or so from where we are today. The Indian onslaught

began on the 4th of November, and when the attack was over

650 of St. Clair's men were dead. Thirty women, too, out of

two hundred, for his army "had taken along as many women

as cared to sleep on the snow-covered ground among a host of

border hoodlums." (Boyd.)

It was the worst defeat our armies have ever suffered at

the hands of the Indians, not excepting even the battle of Little

Big Horn.

When the news of the disaster reached President Washing-

ton, he burst into a fury compounded of anger and humiliation,

for he had expressly warned St. Clair against surprise. Some of

what he said has been recorded, some has been left to the imagi-

nation. But since the day he addressed General Lee at the Battle

of Monmouth, when, as a bystander reported, he swore like

an angel from Heaven, historians have always believed that he

had an adequate command of language for any occasion.

We have now reached the situation where General Anthony

Wayne comes into the history of the Northwest. It was high

time something was done. If the region was ever to open to

settlement in any permanently successful way an end must be

put to these Indian troubles, first by force, and then by con-


General St. Clair resigned as commander-in-chief of the

army, retaining, however, the governorship of the Territory.

Washington began at once to cast around for a successor and

immediately Wayne's name came up for consideration. He was

about the last of the distinguished generals of the Revolution

whose reputation yet endured. His rivals and enemies said he

was still "Mad" Anthony Wayne, which meant that he was im-

petuous, dashing, confident, a little difficult for superiors, but

at the same time admired by fighting men. After a good long

discussion of his merits and demerits, Congress finally confirmed

his appointment as head of the army in April, 1792. Everybody



knew that his job was to bring order into the forests of the


He said good-bye to wife and children in the old manor at

Waynesboro near Philadelphia, and within two months was at

Pittsburgh beginning the building of an army. The material

was worse than he had had to deal with in the Revolution. The

men carroused and slouched around; and his under officers were

quarrelsome and insubordinate. When winter came he moved

out of Pittsburgh thirty miles away and at a camp which he

called Legionville, he began the hard task of licking his con-

glomerate Legion into shape. Work with axe and cross-cut saw,

and drill, drill, drill with musket and spontoon under his watch-

ful eye did it. His men were toughened into soldiers at last.

Mindful of President Washington's desires Wayne tried to

hold a friendly council with a few neighboring chiefs, but the

only result was a firm declaration from them that the Ohio

River must always be the boundary between them and the Amer-


Spring came and with it more volunteers from the seaboard

states, then in May of 1793 a flotilla of a hundred barges and

flatboats moved his army of more than a thousand men and

officers down the Ohio. He landed at Fort Washington on the

site of modern Cincinnati, and waited for a last word from fur-

ther negotiations with the northern tribes. It came in the sum-

mer--the Ohio River must forever remain the dividing line be-

tween the red man and the white. At once he moved northward

into the forest, slowly, deliberately, cautiously, but always for-


By middle of October the Legion, as his force was called,

had reached a prairie a few miles beyond Fort Jefferson, seventy

miles north of the Ohio, and here it was that Wayne decided

to spend the winter. His men, handy now with both axe and

musket quickly built a log fort and stockade which he named

Fort Greenville after dead Nathaniel Greene, a comrade in arms

of the Revolution whom he loved like a brother. There was a




man for you after his own heart, a man who could smell powder

and not get sick!

In the meantime the Indians were ever prowling like wolves

on the trail and flanks of the Legion, ready to pick off stragglers

or a straggling convoy. But they perceived that the leader of

this expedition was not a Harmar or a St. Clair. Had not their

keen-eyed scouts seen him making the rounds of his camp at

all times of day and night? He was the fox who never slept.

Twenty-five miles beyond Fort Greenville was the scene of

St. Clair's Defeat, and the bones of the slain still bleached there

in the weather. In late December Wayne sent eight companies

forward to the spot, scraped away the bones, pitched a camp and

proceeded to build Fort Recovery, defended by the same six-

pounders that St. Clair had lost.

Such an outpost was a humiliating threat to the Indians and

a deputation of chiefs and warriors went down from the Maumee

Valley to hold a council with the invader. Both sides were full

of fine talk. The Indians were tired of war, they desired nothing

so much as peace; and General Wayne--he, too, wished that

peace might settle down over the Ohio country. If the tribes

would bring in all their American prisoners, he would treat with

them. Like the man of the Scriptures, the warriors went away

sorrowful and did not return. Instead, they decided to take his

Fort Recovery. They made the attempt and failed.

On July 26 (1794) a thousand mounted men from Kentucky

arrived, and two days later the army was again in motion, with

no straggling, no lack of caution. It was not unusual for Wayne

himself to turn up at a sentry-post at three o'clock in the morn-

ing, as the Indians had discovered. No guard dared to go to

sleep--there were the Indians outside, and this devilish martinet


By the 8th of August the Legion was where the Au Glaize

pours its muddy waters into the Maumee, and in the midst of

Indian settled country. Their clearings stretched up and down

the valley--cornfields waved green in the summer sun. It was

a lovely view and strategically the place for a fort. He would



build one here in the very heart of the Indian country, and give

it a good name, too--Fort Defiance. It took him only a week.

And then he made another offer of peace to the tribes, but

refused to delay for long drawn-out negotiations, and advanced

on the alert along the north side of the Maumee to the head

of the rapids. A few miles below, the Indians under Blue Jacket

had taken their position behind the barricade of windrowed tim-

ber which a cyclone had levelled. Here they would await the

enemy whom they had lured to sure destruction.

On the night of the 19th of August a council was held in

Wayne's tent and a young aide by the name of William Henry

Harrison presented a plan for the ensuing battle that was imme-

diately adopted. This was the same William Henry Harrison

who defeated the Indians at Tippecanoe in 1811, and the British

and Indians on the Thames in 1813. Being along with General

Wayne was a good way to learn how to fight.

The Indians too, went into council that night. Chief Little

Turtle, a clever general himself, who was largely responsible for

the defeat of General Harmar and later of General St. Clair,

advised prudence and submission. He said:

We cannot expect good fortune to be with us always. The Americans

are now led by a chief who never sleeps. Day and night are the same to

him. During all the time he has been marching on our villages, notwith-

standing the watchfulness of our young men we have not been able to sur-

prise him. Think well of it. Something whispers to me that it would be

well to listen to his offers of peace.

But his advice was not heeded.

The morning of August 20 dawned bright, with a little pall

of haze overhanging the valley. General Wayne was freshly

barbered and powdered, wearing his best uniform and his pistols.

His leg which had been wounded by a bewildered sentry in the

campaign around Yorktown hurt him terribly, and it was steadily

getting worse. The army was ready and in motion; the baggage

and camp equipment was stacked in a hastily prepared camp

under the guard of Captain Zebulon Pike.

It is interesting to note the men, young and old, whom

Wayne had with him who were in the line of coming fame:



Zebulon Pike, soldier and father of the explorer; William Henry

Harrison, soldier, statesman and President of the United States;

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, empire-builders and ex-

plorers beyond the Rockies; and George Washington Whistler,

army engineer and grandfather of Whistler, the artist.

But to go back to the 20th of August and the Battle of

Fallen Timbers, a most important and conclusive action in the

history of the Northwest Territory. It is not necessary to go

into detail. Wayne's legionnaires did their duty with musket and

pike; and the fierce Kentucky militia did well, too, on that bloody

day and rode down the enemy wherever they could get at them.

It was a new kind of fighting for the Indians, for the initiative

was no longer with skulking warriors behind trees. And the

leader of the Long Knives was as crafty as themselves--he was

not like Harmar or St. Clair. "If I fall," he said, "remember the

standing order is, 'Charge the damned rascals with the bayonet'."

The Indians were routed, and they fled down the valley

behind them toward Fort Miami where floated the flag of their

allies, the British. But they found the gates barred against them

--their old friends had let them down. They never gave the

English their entire confidence again.

The real campaign was about over. Wayne and his Legion

turned back to Fort Defiance which he put into shape to stand

any sort of siege, even that of winter. Then he moved on west-

ward to the little prairie of Ke-ki-on-ga between the forks of

the Maumee where the streams, St. Joseph and St. Mary, meet.

Here was the famous Miami Town, the Indian capital, the cross-

roads of the wilderness, and here he proceeded to build another

fort to show the Indian world, and the British, and all the French

and half-breed traders that the Americans had come to stay.

At the suggestion of Colonel Hamtramck the fortress was

named Fort Wayne. The drums beat, the troops defiled in

parade, the chaplain preached from the text, "If the Lord be

for us, who can be against us?" Then Hamtramck took over

command with six companies of infantry and two batteries, and




a week later the Legion departed with creaking baggage train

on its way back to Fort Greenville to go into winter quarters.

The closing events of Wayne's campaign in the Northwest

were climaxed by the famous Treaty of Greenville which was

signed, August 3, 1795, by ninety-odd chiefs of the Ohio and

Michigan Indians. It is safe to say that no more able and dis-

tinguished assemblage of savage leaders ever engaged in treaty

making with the United States, and no more important treaty

was ever signed.

The council fire had been lighted the middle of June, and

there was much ceremonial and parade as the preliminary dis-

cussions got under way. Some of the Indian chiefs were slow

to appear. Blue Jacket, the unyielding, who had suffered defeat

at Fallen Timbers, held off sullenly, but came in on the 18th

of August. However, Little Turtle who had been the undoing of

Harmar and St. Clair appeared early and that was a good augury


As in all such councils there was much talk, much wise talk

even, though the Indians knew that the end of such palaver was

usually submission, cession of lands, solemn promises that the

white man was the first to break. After much debate in which

Little Turtle more than held his own, he finally signed on the

last day of the council, saying, "I am the last to sign the treaty,

and I shall be the last to break it."

He kept his word to the day of his death.

When the council was over the 1100 Indians dispersed,

sad and disappointed in spite of the double allowance of rum

as parting gesture of good will. They had lost all but a third

of their lands above the Ohio, and even this remainder was

patched over with cessions of little tracts here and there. Twenty-

thousand dollars' worth of trade goods, and annuities promised

them forever, were not sufficient "appeasement," to use a very

common word now.

Perhaps it is appropriate to pause here and say a kindly word

for the Indian who had figured so largely in our history. The




white man's scheme of government and politics confused him,

and those to whom he gave his confidence often betrayed him.

The frontiersmen and the pioneers regarded him as a cruel sav-

age, fit only to be exterminated. Still he had many noble and

heroic qualities.  Chief Little Turtle whose body rests within

the confines of Fort Wayne was called by those who knew him

a brave warrior, a man of ability and character. One reads with

much sympathy his answer to Count Volney who asked him why

he did not accept the invitation of the Quakers and settle per-

manently in Philadelphia:

Yes, I am pretty well accustomed to what I find here. I think this

dress [he was wearing white man's dress] is warm and comfortable. These

houses are good to keep out wind and rain, and they have everything con-

venient. This market [he was looking down on Market Street] gives us

everything we want without the trouble of hunting in the woods. All things

considered, you are better off than we are. But here I am deaf and dumb;

I do not speak your language; when I walk the streets I see everybody

busy at something; one makes shoes, another hats, a third sells cloth, and

all live by their work. I can make a bow, catch fish, kill a deer, and go to

war, but none of these things is done here. To learn to do what you do

would take much time, be very difficult, and be uncertain of success. And

meanwhile, old age hurries on. Were I to stay with the whites, I should

be an idle piece of furniture, useless to myself, useless to you and to my

people. What must be done with useless lumber? No, I must go back.

Listen to Francis Parkman's appraisal of the Indian:

Some races of men seem moulded in wax, soft and melting, at once

plastic and feeble. Some races seem like metals, and combine the greatest

flexibility with the greatest strength. But the Indian is hewn out of rock.

You can rarely change the form without destruction of the substance.

Races of inferior energy have possessed a power of expansion and assimi-

lation to which he is a stranger; and it is this fixed and rigid quality which

has proved his ruin. He will not learn the arts of civilization, and he and

the forest must perish together. The stern unyielding features of his mind

excite our admiration from their very immutability; and we look with deep

interest upon the fate of this irreclaimable son of the wilderness, the child

who will not be weaned from the breast of his rugged mother. And our

interest increases when we discern in the unhappy wanderer, mingled among

his vices, the germs of heroic virtues--a hand bountiful to bestow as it is

rapacious to seize and even in extremest famine imparting its last morsel

to a fellow sufferer; a heart which, strong in friendship as in hate, thinks




it not too much to lay down life for its chosen comrade; a soul true to its

own ideas of honor and burning with unquenchable thirst for greatness

and renown.

General Anthony Wayne left for the East soon after the

great council at Greenville.  Back in the ancestral home at

Waynesboro a partial feeling of contentment came over him.

Congress had bestowed upon him and his army the thanks of

the Nation, and his vindication as a leader in the field and before

the council fire was complete. And his friends and neighbors

were glad to see him back after four long years in the wilderness.

Only one sorrow weighed upon him--his wife was dead, she had

died while he was away on campaign.

On the 30th of April, 1796, Congress approved Jay's Treaty

which he had negotiated with England to settle all questions of

border occupation, and some other difficulties as well. Wayne

was now ordered to return at once to the regions beyond the

Ohio and take over the disputed posts, which command, of course,

was to be regarded as a mark of the country's confidence and

admiration. And so he journeyed westward again.

He floated down the Ohio in the same barge that had taken

him with his army three years before. He landed as before

at Fort Washington and immediately headed northward to the

Maumee, past Fort Recovery and Fort Defiance. Things out-

wardly had not changed much; the same unbroken forests

stretched across the land, and Indian cornfields were ripening in

the sun. But the American flag now floated over Ft. Miami

below the rapids where the Union Jack had greeted him after

the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He visited the battlefield and felt

a glow of pride as he reviewed the happenings of that historic

day. Three days later he was in Detroit and saw the American

flag flying at last over that stronghold on the Lakes, thirteen

years after a solemn treaty had ceded it to the United States.

Through the rest of the summer and autumn of 1796 he

remained at Detroit, hard at work adjusting military matters con-

cerned with the American occupation of the country. And then,

late in the season, he heard rumors that General Wilkinson who



had been in command of Fort Greenville was preferring charges

against him to the secretary of war--he did not know for what.

He had only one desire now, namely, to get back home and meet

his accuser face to face. By God, he had faced one court-martial

in the Revolution with honor, and he'd be only too glad to meet

Wilkinson before another!

He left Detroit on the sloop Detroit and had a tempestuous

voyage across Lake Erie to Presque Isle. His leg was causing

him intense agony--something malignant was the matter with it.

He was carried ashore and put to bed in the fort. A few weeks

of suffering went by and it grew to be mid-December. And

then came the end. He died on the morning of December 15,

1796, at the age of fifty-one. His last words were, "Bury me at

the foot of the flagstaff, boys," which spot, as his sympathetic

biographer, Thomas Boyd, says, was as close home to him as if

he had died in the old stone house of his fathers.

And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his fathers,

and the temples of his gods?

Such is the glamorous chapter in our history that we are

calling to mind on this occasion, a chapter full of courage and

adventure, of pioneer endeavor and struggles with the wilder-

ness; full of great deeds, great hopes, great adversities; full

of ideals and belief in ourselves as a people destined to found a

new nation under God on this western continent. May we not

forget those principles of action and deeds of valor by which we

have risen to power and become great.