Ohio History Journal






This section of Ohio is replete with historical events, many

of which have been chronicled, while some have come down to

us in the guise of legends. In the early days of the pioneers

many soul-stirring events occurred with but few participants

who realized that the recording of the same would be of value

and of great interest to later generations.

One of the men very prominent in the early history of this

section of Ohio was Major George Adams. This short sketch

cannot claim to reveal any more than occasional facts, "until

now hid away in the past's valley of Avilion." Written about

eighty years after the death of the man of whom it treats, this

review includes nothing ascertained from the chief character

himself, and nothing is stated that was told to the writer by any

one who knew him.

The facts related were previously "precipitated into the

opaque sediment of history," and have been gleaned from various

publications. Edgar's "Pioneer Life in Dayton & Vicinity," as

well as Beers' History of Montgomery County is authority for

the statement that George Adams was born in Virginia, October

26, 1767; served as a drummer boy in the War of the Revolu-

tion, and in 1790 came to Fort Washington with dispatches to

General Harmar.

Another authority states that Adams and another man came

down the Ohio River from Pittsburg in a canoe with an express

to General Harmar at Ft. Washington. Harmar's army had

marched a few days before they arrived. Governor St. Clair,

who was there, wished Harmar to get the express, and proposed

to furnish Adams with a good horse, saddle and bridle, if he

would follow the army. He agreed to the proposal and was

furnished with rifle and ammunition, parched corn, a little flour

and a piece of pork and started to find Harmar. On the fourth


Major George Adams

Major George Adams.                523

day he overtook the army at the old Indian town of Chillicothe,

near Xenia, Ohio, about fifty miles from Ft. Washington. He

delivered the dispatches to General Harmar, joined the Kentucky

mounted men and continued with the army.

Harmar's command consisted of three hundred and twenty

regular troops from New Jersey and Pennsylvania and 1133

drafted militia, (which really meant indiscriminate volunteers,

aged men, and inexperienced boys) from Pennsylvania and


According to Frazer E. Wilson (History of Darke County)

"The militia advanced up the Mill Creek valley on Sept. 26th,

1790, and the main army followed on the 30th. The forces were

united on the 3rd of October and took the trace made by Geo.

R. Clark up the Little Miami valley, passing near the present

sites of Lebanon and Xenia, Ohio; crossing Mad river at old

Piqua town (between Dayton and Springfield, 0.); proceeding

northwesterly and crossing the Great Miami above the present

site of Piqua, Ohio; thence to the site of Loramie's store (Ber-

lin, 0.), across the old Indian and French portage to the St.

Mary's river (near St. Mary's, 0.), and on toward the Miami

villages (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

Moorehead in his article on the Indian Tribes of Ohio, in

Vol. VII. of said publications affirms that Harmar advanced

northward from Cincinnati about twenty-five miles to a position

on the great Miami, at which place Fort Hamilton was estab-

lished the following year, and there united with the volunteer

militia troops from Kentucky and Pennsylvania, whereupon he

moved northeastwardly upon the chief town of the Shawnees,

Chillicothe. On Harmar's approach he found the smoking ruins

of a burned and abandoned village; not an Indian was to be

seen. The had sacrificed their "Moscow," and retired ten miles

in the direction of the confluence of the Mad River and the

Great Miami; took up an advantageous position and awaited

Harmar's movements who played into their hands by sending

a small detachment under General Hardin of but two hundred

and ten men to attack them. Moorehead's apparent confusion

in this matter arose, probably from the fact that the Maumee

in early days was called the Miami of the Lake, and that Chilli-

524 Ohio Arch

524       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

cothe is simply the Shawnee name for town, there being one of

that name near Xenia and another on the Maumee as well as in

other localities.

According to Major Denny's journal on October 18th, the

men moved off with great reluctance, and when about three

miles from camp not more than two-thirds of his command re-

mained, the others having dropped out of ranks and returned to

camp. Hardin proceeded and about ten miles from camp, not

expecting to be near the enemy, he suddenly came upon a party

supposed to be about one hundred only, and owing to the bad

order of his men and their dastardly conduct, was entirely de-

feated. The Indians made the first discovery and commenced

a fire at the distance of 150 yards, and advanced. The greatest

number of the militia fled without firing a shot; some few with

thirty regulars that were of the detachment, stood and were

cut to pieces. Contrary to Moorehead this happened at the Miami

village or Maumee towns on the Maumee River, about one

hundred and seventy miles from Fort Washington. Two very

considerable branches meet here, the St. Joseph from the north-

west and the St. Marys from the southwest near Fort Wayne.

On the same day the army moved from the Miami village and

encamped at Chillicothe, two miles east. This last statement

of Denny's does not conform to Moorehead's article, which

states that this chief town of the Shawnee is three miles north

of Xenia, and can be explained that Chillicothe signified "the

town" and that there were several of that name in the country

of the Shawnees.

On the twenty-first, quoting Denny, the army, having burned

five villages besides the capital town, and consumed and destroyed

twenty thousand bushels of corn in ears, took up their line of

march back toward Fort Washington, and encamped eight miles

from the ruined villages. At nine o'clock at night the General

ordered four hundred choice men, militia and regulars, under the

command of Major Wyllys, to return to the towns intending to

surprise any parties that might be assembled there, expecting the

Indians would collect to see how things were left. The Major

about midnight marched in three divisions at the distance of a

few hundred yards apart, intending to cross the Omee (Maumee)

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.            525

526 Ohio Arch

526       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

as day broke, and come across the principal ruins all the same

instant, but at different quarters.

Without giving all the details of the combat that ensued

when the whites and the Indians met on the morning of the

22nd, it is sufficient to state that the Federals lost forty-eight

men and two officers, and the militia not so many. Major

Fontaine, who commanded the Cavalry and was with the center

division, charged the enemy but was not supported-His men

faltered; himself far in front, was singled out and fell. Among

those who faltered not was George Adams. One of the rare

and valuable Irwin manuscripts appears in Vol. VIII of Hul-

bert's Historic Highways and is quoted with the spelling and

capitalization from the original manuscript. "Major Fountain

had the Command of The Light horse and mounted men he

Charged right in among The Enemy fired off his pistols and

Drew his Sword Before They Could recover The Shock George

Adams informed them that he was Near The Major at That

Time That it appeared when The Enemy got over Their sur-

prise Ten or Twelve Indians Discharged Their guns at him

The Major kind of fell or hung on his horse They then Dis-

charged Several Guns at said Adams he received Several flesh

wounds But recovered By this Time The Militia and regulars

Come up." It is also reported that when the Major found that

his troops would not charge with him he called out to Adams,

"stick to me my brave fellow."

McBride's Pioneer Biography (Vol. II, page 182) is au-

thority for a statement that among the wounded was George

Adams, who had killed five Indians while out on the expedi-

tion and had himself received four wounds. One ball entered

his thigh; one broke his arm; another passed under his arm,

grazed his body and lodged under his under arm and the fourth

went through part of his breast and lodged under his shoulder


In the History of Darke County John Wharry is authority

for the statement that Adams was five times shot and severely

wounded, which statement is confirmed by Edgar, above re-

ferred to.

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.             527


In writing to C. E. Cist in August, 1845, Irwin recalls that

Adams received four or five flesh wounds by a volley from the

Indians. Elsewhere I found a memorandum to the effect that

Irwin went to see Adams in the evening after the fight, that he

looked bad and was very weak from the loss of blood before

his wounds were dressed.   Edgar continues "The Surgeons

dressed his wounds but said he could not live until morning, and

ordered his grave dug." Wharry confirms this and says he was

carried on a litter between two horses to Cincinnati, although

on the way a grave was dug for him three evenings in suc-

cession. Beers' history is authority for the statement that he

was about five feet, eight inches tall and had red hair, which

he wore very long. At Fort Washington he recovered entirely,

becoming a strong and robust man. Mr. Adams was constantly

in the service scouting through the Indian countries and was

with St. Clair at the disaster of Fort Recovery, November 4,

1791, He is referred to in the testimony of Captain Slough, at

the Court of Inquiry, requested by the defeated General. Re-

ferring to the evening before the battle, Slough testifies, "George

Adams, who had gone out with us as my guide, came up by

this time, and said he thought it would be prudent for us to

return; and, as I found the men uneasy I ordered them to fall

into the path in Indian file and return to camp, and, if they

were attacked, to defend themselves with the bayonets altogether,

and not fire their pieces. Every fifteen or twenty yards we

heard something moving in the woods, on both sides of the path,

but could not see what it was. We pushed on, gained the militia

camp as soon as possible. I gained my party near Colonel

Oldham's tent and went into it and awakened him, about, I

believe, twelve o'clock. Adams was with me when I went out,

and returned, and heard the conversation. I told Col. Oldham

that I was of the same opinion with him that the camp would

be attacked in the morning, for I had seen a number of Indians."

In the testimony of Col. Semple it appears that "just after

the taps of the drums, on the morning of the fourth, I heard

Major Butler interrogating Adams, about the success of the

enterprise of Captain Slough, the preceding night; Adams re-

plied that they had seen a number of Indians; that he (Adams)

528 Ohio Arch

528        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


had shot at, and he believed that he had killed one, and wished

a party to go out with him and endeavor to find the Indian.

Major Butler seemed displeased that they had taken no prisoners;

about this time the firing began, the attack having been made

on the militia."

This defeat has been fully treated in the two Volumes of

the St. Clair papers, in the various addresses delivered at Fort

Recovery, and in Wilson's, "Peace and Mad Anthony." Adams

assisted in the retreat, as appears in the Irwin manuscript (see

Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publication, Vol. X,

page 379) as follows:-


"George Adams, who afterwards lived and died in Darke County,

and was on that campaign I think as a spie. St. Clair placed great con-

fidence in him for former services. He was with the gen'l. A short time

before the army retreated he came to that part of the line, near where

the trace was, give three sharp yells and said-'Boys let us make for

the trace.'-He took the lead, a charge was made. I was within five or

six feet of him. The Indians give way, a few guns was shot from both

sides. When we had got perhaps about thirty rood Adams ordered them

to halt and form a line. They were then on the trace and could not be

stopped. The race continued perhaps four or five miles when they slack-

ened their pace and arrived at Fort Jefferson a short time after sun set."


Edgar is authority for the further statement that Adams

was made Captain of the Scout of Wayne's army and on one

of his trips a comrade pointed out his two graves, neither of

them occupied.

It appears that Adams was with Wayne in 1794 after the

army left the garrison at Greenville, and on the way to the site

of the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wharry says that "On the

third night after leaving Greenville Wayne's forces were en-

camped in the southeastern part of what is now      Patterson

Township, Darke County, and the main body of the Indians were

not more than two miles distant from him on the bank of Black

Swamp Creek, in the same township.       On that night, at a

Council held in the Indian camp, at which Major Adams was

present, disguised in full Indian rig and paint, Little Turtle, one

of the Indian Chiefs, strongly urged that the onslaught be made

before morning."

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.              529


Adams was probably with Wayne at the victory on the

Maumee and at Fort Greenville in 1795 during the negotiation

which resulted in peace.

For services as drummer boy in the Revolutionary War

Adams received a warrant from the Government for one hundred

acres of land, which he located south of Hamilton, Ohio, and

upon which he lived for a short time. Knowing thoroughly of

the rich lands of the Miami toward Mad River, the profusion of

luxuriant verdure and native vegetation to be found in its rich,

splendid bottoms and over the rolling timber lands, Adams ven-

tured further into the forest with his little family when it was

found that the Indians would respect the treaty.

His services in the Indian war entitled him to a large tract

of Government land. He entered four hundred acres of first

rate land in sections 21, 27 and 28, range 6, Township 1, East

bank of the Miami and built his cabin in the bend of the river,

below, near to Silver Creek (Hole's). With his family he

brought their scanty cabin furniture and supplies, his rifle, axe

and one horse critter; beginning life in the back woods by cul-

tivating (that year, 1797) a little garden and corn patch at the

edge of the prairie on his land.

In the river were fish in abundance, and in the woods game

and wild honey, so that even in that first year there was but

little privation for his family. With each year his farm was

improved and the furniture and the cabin were made more

comfortable. In the fields were cattle and hogs, and the fertile

soil yielded abundant crops. The farmer and his family had

bread and butter, milk, meat and vegetables in plenty for them-

selves and gave freely of it to hungry travelers and wandering


At the Indian alarm of 1799 Adams organized with settlers

of the neighborhood a garrison for the defense of a blockhouse

on Zechariah Hole's land and the cabins around. There were

no Whites west of the river and it was feared that the Indians

might come down the Bear Creek trail to destroy the feeble

settlements along the river. For some time, possibly a month,

scouts were kept out and the families repaired to the blockhouse

Vol. XXII.- 34.

530 Ohio Arch

530       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


each night, but the danger passed without the settlement being


That part of his farm near the mouth of the creek was

known as Adams prairie, where in after years militia camps

were located and camp meetings were often held.

For medical services rendered by Dr. John Hole, who had

settled not far from where Adams had located there was issued,

because money was scarce, the following due bill:-


"November 1, 1801: I agree to deliver to Dr. J. Hole a winter's

smoking of tobacco, or five venison hams."


Several uneventful years elapsed during which his cabin

was headquarters for various meetings. About this time he be-

came religious and joined the New Light Church, although the

family Bible states that in the year 1806, George and Elizabeth

Adams joined the Baptist Church, called the Union Church,

near Dayton on the Great Miami.

The War of 1812 breaking out, President Madison issued

orders in April calling out a force of 1200 Ohio Militia for one

year's service. On April 11th The Ohio Centinal, published

at Dayton, Ohio, announced that, "Governor Meigs is expected

in Dayton on the 20th to inspect the Company of Rangers that

was being raised in that neighborhood."  Later it states that

"Orders were read at a Battalion Muster and also the Volunteer

Bill passed by Congress February 20." It was expected that a

sufficient number would volunteer to obviate the necessity of a

draft, but only twenty stepped forth at the call of their country,

thus confirming as Upton states in his most valuable book,

"The Military Policy of the United States," that the great

lessons of the Revolution, as well as those taught by the In-

dian expeditions were wasted upon the Government. The cry

of "On to Canada" resounded from one end of the land to the

other. Instant invasion was loudly advocated by the orators of

the day, and many of our statesmen profoundly ignorant of the

preparations needed for meeting a disciplined foe, did not hesi-

tate to insist that a small body of volunteers and militia would

amply suffice for the end in view.

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.                 531


In consequence of the lack of volunteers, the battalion was

ordered to assemble on April 16th at Adams' Quarry near the

mouth of Hole's Creek, five miles from Dayton. George Adams

was one of those who promptly came to the front and was or-

dered to report with his battalion at that place "to have a draft

if necessary."  The coats of the soldiers in the army of 1812

were blue, with scarlet collar and cuffs, and they wore cocked

hats, decorated with a cockade and white feather. April 29th

a man was killed and scalped near Greenville and three murdered

men were found in the woods near Fort Defiance. The Governor

had appointed April 30th as a day of fasting and prayer, re-

ligious services were held at the Dayton Court House. The

order, making Dayton the rendezvous of the militia, had been

issued by Governor Meigs early in April, but when on May 1st

the first companies arrived no preparation for their accommo-

dation had been made. They bivouacked on the Common, now

Cooper Library Park, without tents or other camp equipage

till the middle of the month. Many of them were even with-

out blankets. There were 2000 Indians in Ohio in 1812, most

of them in the northwest corner of the State. It became neces-

sary on account of the hostile attitude of the Indians to build

several block houses in Montgomery County as rallying places

for the settlers of Preble, Darke and Miami Counties.

At noon on Saturday, August 22nd, the news of the sur-

render of Hull's army reached Dayton. The people of this

neighborhood and on the frontier were much alarmed by this

terrible disaster. General Hull who was a tried hero of the

Revolution and a favorite of Washington, in his appeal to the

public, after he had passed the age of three score and ten, refers

to the lack of discipline of his troops, and that a mutinous

spirit prevailed, one hundred and eighty of the Ohio militia re-

fusing to cross the river at Detroit "alleging as a reason that

they were not obliged to serve outside of the United States."

Again quoting Upton, "The value set upon the militia by

our opponents was shown by the fact that they permitted them

to return to their homes, while the regulars were sent as prisoners

to Montreal." The need of prompt action became apparent. As

soon as the news of Hull's surrender had reached Governor

532 Ohio Arch

532       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


Meigs he ordered $40,000 worth of the public property to be re-

moved from Piqua to Dayton. It is impossible for the present

generation to realize the horrors and sufferings of the first year

of the war. In King's History of Ohio it is stated that "An eye

witness described the country as depopulated of men, and the

farmer women weak and sickly, as they often were, and sur-

rounded by helpless little children, were obliged, for want of

bread, to till their field until frequently they fell exhausted and

dying under the toil to which they were unequal."

That our Nation's natal day was as usually celebrated, not-

withstanding adverse conditions is shown by a news item to the

effect that the Fourth of July was celebrated at Greenville by a

a volunteer company under command of Capt. VanCleve, all meet-

ing at Mrs. Armstrong's for dinner and toasts.

I found in the Centinal of August 26th (which paper has

since been destroyed in the Dayton Library by the flood) that

"In the course of the morning of that date six companies con-

sisting of upwards of four hundred men were organized into a

battalion and chose Maj. George Adams their commandant. In

the afternoon Major Adams marched from town with three

hundred and forty-one men completely equipped."

Shortly after this time two regiments of Montgomery

County militia were stationed at Piqua; Major Adams' battalion

was ordered to St. Marys, and Col. Jerome Holt and his regi-

ment to Greenville, where they were directed to build a block

house and stockade. Later, as the Indians were threatening

Fort Wayne, it became necessary to obtain reinforcement for

Major Adams' battalion, who were about to march from St.

Marys to the relief of that post. On September 2nd, 1812,

Governor Meigs issued an address appealing to the valor and

patriotism of the citizens, and General William H. Harrison

asked for "any number of volunteers, mounted and prepared for

active service, to continue for twenty-five or thirty days" adding

that "those brave men who may give their country their serv-

ices on this occasion, may be assured that an opportunity of dis-

tinguishing themselves will be offered."  Several days later

Harrison published another address, "I have now a more press-

ing call for your services! The British and Indians have in-

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.              533


vaded our country and are now besieging, (perhaps have taken)

Fort Wayne."

From the Centinal of September 9th we glean the informa-

tion that "The Ohio Volunteers under Col. Adams, who marched

from Piqua for the relief of Fort Wayne, proceeded as far as

St. Marys where they found it prudent from the report of their

spies to wait for reinforcements. On Sunday last the Kentucky

Volunteers proceeded from Piqua to reinforce them; on Monday

General Harrison left Piqua to take command of the whole in

person." The army thus collected at St. Marys is said to have

numbered four thousand and with General Harrison marched

for Fort Wayne on September 9th. The distance was fifty-

five miles and he arrived on the twelfth. The army destroyed

the Indian villages and then returned to St. Marys.

From a roster examined by me in the Adjutant General's

office at Columbus I find that Adams was Major and Lieutenant

Col. for one month from August 23rd, 1812. The Centinal of

September 23rd confirms the record by stating "Colonel Adams'

regiment of Ohio Volunteers was discharged at Fort Wayne.

They returned home where their prompt patriotism shown in

volunteering for the defense of the frontier, without an in-

stant's delay, was highly appreciated."

In September General Harrison was commissioned Major-

General in the United States army and Commander-in-Chief of

the troops in the northwest territory, and ordered to take De-

troit. His troops were neither drilled nor supplied with suf-

ficient ammunition, provisions and other necessaries. From his

headquarters at St. Marys September 29th, 1812 he sent an ap-

peal "presenting his compliments to the ladies of Dayton and

soliciting their assistance in making shirts for their brave de-

fenders, who composed his army, many of whom are almost

destitute of that article, so necessary to their health and comfort."

The Ohio Centinal of October 7th contains a notice that,

"Colonel George Adams wishes to raise a company of mounted

riflemen, to join General Harrison as soon as possible. All

those brave men who are disposed to aid the cause of their

country in her present struggle are invited to meet at Dayton

on Saturday next for the purpose of organizing themselves into

534 Ohio Arch

534       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

a company to march immediately to Fort Defiance." Steele in

his History of Dayton is authority for the statement that "Early

in October Major Adams raised a company of mounted rifle-

men, who expected to proceed at once to Fort Defiance, but as

the Indians from the Mississinewa region were becoming very

troublesome to the inhabitants of Preble and Greene Counties

the new Dayton company was ordered to Fort Greenville. The

Indians murdered any of the people of those countries whom

they found outside of the block houses and stole many horses

and cattle. Two little girls were killed on the second of October

within half a mile of Greenville."

It will not be inappropriate at this place to insert an ac-

count of the murder of the Wilson children, which George W.

Wolfe in his outline of History of Darke County states occurred

in July 1812. The last named issue of the Centinal, which was

published on a Wednesday, refers to the murder as having been

committed "on Saturday last," which would make the date

October 3, 1812, and would not be much of a variance from

Steele's account above quoted. Combining the account in the

Centinal with Wolfe's article it would appear that Patsy and

Anna Wilson, daughters of "Old Billy Wilson" and aged re-

spectively fourteen and eight years (Centinal says eleven) ac-

companied  by  their brother, older than   they, left the

stockade in the afternoon to gather berries, probably crossing

Greenville Creek where Locust street intersects the creek, near

N. Kuntz's saw mill. The Centinal states that the girls were out

gathering grapes with their brother, a boy of about seventeen,

not more than two hundred yards from Mr. Terry's stockade,

where they were discovered by three lurking Delaware Indians.

The Indians had two guns, both of which they discharged at

them but without effect. The girls were too much terrified to

be able to make their escape; they both fell victims to the savage

tomahawk. Wolfe says that the brother had left his gun nearby

and the three were some distance apart at the time of the sur-

prise. Not being able to secure his gun, the brother escaped by

swimming the stream. The account in the Centinal is to the

effect that the boy had a shotgun with him, loaded with small

pigeon shot, and that he was pursued by one of the Indians

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.                 535


armed with a tomahawk and scalping knife, as far as Mr.

Terry's mill pond, which lay between them and the stockade. He

there wheeled and aimed at the Indian who instantly retreated;

this enabled the boy to swim the pond and reach the stockade

in safety. His cries and the screams of the girls attracted the

attention of Abraham Scribner and William Devor, who im-

mediately ran to the spot, but the Indians had fled after killing

the girls by blows on the head with the poll, or back of their

tomahawks.   The Centinal states that the alarm was so soon

given that the savages succeeded in scalping only one of the girls,

the eldest, they cut across the head of the other but did not get

the scalp off. The dead bodies were carried into the fort, where

three companies were stationed under command of Major Lanier.

The sisters were buried under the tree near where they were

murdered and this was the last tragedy of its kind in those

perilous times. About the first of July, 1871, the remains of

those two sisters were taken up and in the Greenville Journal

of June 8th, 1871, appears the lengthy program of the pioneer

basket meeting to be held July 4th at the grove of N. Hart,

half mile north of Greenville, at which appropriate orations and

ceremonies were to be held. A committee of young girls carried

the remains to the new Greenville cemetery where they were

deposited, a large assembly of people being in attendance to show

their respect for the dead. On the same day a large granite

bowlder, weighing perhaps four tons swung under a wagon,

drawn by six horses, was driven into the cemetery and placed

over their graves. Here let them rest in peace, and may their

monument be a constant reminder to us of the trials and dangers

through which the early settlers passed and may it admonish

us of the importance of properly appreciating the privileges and

blessings we enjoy.

Reverting now to Major Adams, who as we stated raised a

company of mounted riflemen, and proceeded to Fort Greenville,

we find the following notice in the Centinal of December 16th,



Sometime in November was taken up at the hedge of Still Water

by a scouting party from Fort Greenville, a sorrel MARE, with a blazed

536 Ohio Arch

536       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


face, two near feet white, fourteen and a half hands high, supposed to

be six years old next spring. She is supposed to have strayed or been

stolen from the army. The owner can have his property by applying to

the subscriber, commanding at Fort Greenville.



The savages did not make their way to Dayton but ap-

proached near enough to alarm the people. On the first of De-

cember a detachment of regulars arrived in Dayton where, as

they were only partly mounted, they remained until the 11th to

procure horses. On the 11th, leaving their heavy baggage at

Dayton, they proceeded northwesterly on an expedition against

the Indians in the Miami villages near Muncie town on the

Mississinewa, a branch of the Wabash. Thirty Indians were

killed during this expedition, fully sixty wounded and forty-

three taken prisoners. While on their return to Dayton the

men exhausted their supply of provisions and forage; snow and

ice rendered the roads almost impassable; the wounded were

suffering from cold and exposure and from lack of surgical at-

tention and nursing, and the hands, feet and ears of nearly every

man in the force were frosted. On the 22nd of December Major

Adams arrived from Greenville with ninety-five men, and im-

mediately supplied the almost starving soldiers with a half ration

each. The next day Colonel Holt also came to their assistance

with provisions so that they were able to march to Greenville,

which they reached on the 24th. While in camp twelve miles

south of Greenville a resolution of thanks to Colonel Holt and

Major Adams and their men for the prompt and efficient re-

lief they had afforded them, was voted by Colonel Campbell's

command. They arrived at Dayton on Sunday the 27th where

they rested for several days before proceeding to their head-

quarters at Franklinton, (Columbus, Ohio). The Centinal says

that "Their solemn procession into town with the wounded ex-

tended on litters, excited emotions which the philanthropic bosom

may easily conceive but it is not in our power to describe them."

The following is a copy of a letter from Major George

Adams to Major Reid, dated Fort Greenville, December 27,


Major George Adams

Major George Adams.                 537


"The Indians taken in the late battle, forty-one in number, were

left at this place, and yesterday were sent to Piqua guarded by twenty-

tive of my men. On yesterday evening the Indians, sent by Col. Camp-

bell to the Delaware towns arrived at Greenville. They state that all

the Delaware Indians will be here within six days, and that a number of

them may be expected this evening."


More than two years later came the glorious news that peace

had been concluded between the United States and Great Britain,

but in the meantime there had been a treaty of peace between

the Indians and the Whites under General Harrison, all differ-

ences being reconciled at the second Treaty of Greenville, July

22nd, 1814. Edgar states that Adams was in command at Fort

Greenville when peace was declared, but was not released from

duty until the Indians were quieted, but this statement is open

to question.

McIntosh's History of Darke County is authority for the

statement "Soon after Harrison's Treaty, Major Adams, an old

soldier of Wayne's army, erected a kind of chopping mill, five

miles below Greenville upon the later site of the mill of Oliver

& Co.," but Edgar says that "while located at the Fort, Adams

entered land on Greenville Creek, where he built a cabin and

moved his family and later built a corn cracker and saw mill."

Under the History of Adams Township, Darke County, occurs

the statement that "very soon after the cessation of hostilities,

Major George Adams came to the township and, studying the

needs of the pioneers and his own interest as well, erected a

flouring mill on Section 33, where now    stands the mill of

Stoltz and Coppess. This was the pioneer mill of the county,

and became known far and wide and there are many pioneers

now living (1880) who have a pleasing recollection of the gal-

lant Major and his old time mill."

Similarly it is stated that while out scouting in the vicinity

of Greenville he became acquainted with the fine mill site that

he afterward occupied.   Adams' mill turned out very coarse

meal and very little of that. Wheat was also ground, but cus--

tomers were obliged to bolt their flour by hand, and it would

have satisfied any Grahamite to have used the product of the

mill. Still, the mill was a popular resort, all the more so after

538 Ohio Arch

538       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


a little grocery had been established where whisky and tobacco

were retailed. Here was a place at which shooting matches,

quoit throwing and an occasional fist fight were common. Adams

was a genial, fun-loving man, widely known and deservedly

popular; a crowd of congenial spirits gathered about him, and

the little settlement took the name of "Adams' Mill," and when

the township was finally organized, (1819) it was named in

his honor. A more recent structure at the old site is now known

as "Baer's Mill."

Adams is also referred to in Charlotte Reeve Conover's

volume "Concerning the Forefathers," Mrs. Catherine Patter-

son Brown stating in her Memoirs "Colonel Hawkins, Major

Adams, Dr. Hole, with father and possibly others whom I may

have forgotten, made up a circle of Revolutionary soldiers, re-

spected in the community and honored on all public occasions

during their lives."  This volume confirms the activities of

Major Adams, adding "Major George Adams, Colonel Patter-

son and his sons-in-law Captain Nisbet and Henry Brown, were

closely associated in frontier affairs from the opening to the

close of the War of 1812."

On January 20th, 1819, the first bridge to cross the Miami

at Dayton was open for travel and Ashley Brown writes, "It

was shortly after the opening of this bridge that Captain and

Mrs. Nisbet visited the Rubicon, and returning to Twin Creek

took Colonel and Mrs. Patterson with them, the intention of the

two men being to ride over to Greenville creek to call upon Major

George Adams; but this project they abandoned in order to en-

joy several days' hunting, as deer had been plentiful."

I find no further reference to Major Adams in any volumes

at my disposal, but it is known that the two Houses of the Ohio

Legislature in joint session on the 15th of December, 1826, and

the 22nd of January, 1827, elected an Auditor of State, a keeper

of the Penitentiary, a State Librarian and other officers, George

Adams being appointed Associate Judge for Darke County. Ed-

gar states that, "Adams held this office until his death, No-

vember 29th, 1832," but we find only the one appointment in the

Official Records.

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.                    539

540 Ohio Arch

540       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

Upon inquiry at the Pension Department we find that it does

not appear on the records of that Bureau that Major George

Adams ever made application for a pension for services in any

of the Indian Wars and

the War of 1812, but

upon inquiry at the War

Department we are in-

formed "no record has

been found of the ser-

vice of George Adams,

in the Indian Disturb-

ances referred to." The

name George Adams,

however, appears as that

of Lieut. Colonel in the

Caption of the Company

Rolls of a regiment of

Ohio  Militia covering

the period of August

and  September, 1812,

and as that of Major in

the  Captions  of the

Company rolls of a Bat-

talion of Ohio Militia

for the period from Sep-

tember, 1812, to May,


Major George

Adams was married Jan-

uary 26th, 1792, prob-

ably at Limestone, Ky.,

to Elizabeth Ellis, who

was born   March  1st,

1773, in northwest Vir-

ginia and who died February 22nd, 1847. It is to be deplored

that no additional facts-are at hand concerning this worthy

pioneer woman. As years pass on, the gatherings of facts

like the foregoing becomes more and more difficult because

Major George Adams

Major George Adams.                 541


original sources become obliterated or destroyed, but the ben-

eficent influence of the pioneer woman must ever be ac-

knowledged.  Patriotic mothers nursed the infancy of free-

dom. Their counsels and their prayers mingled with the de-

liberations that resulted in a Nation's assertion of its Inde-

pendence. They animated the courage, and confirmed the self-

devotion of those who ventured all in the common cause.

They willingly shared inevitable dangers and privations, re-

linquished without regret prospects of advantage to themselves,

and parted with those they loved better than life, not knowing

when they were to meet again. We have no means of showing

the important part women bore in maintaining the struggle, and

in laying the foundations on which so mighty and majestic a

structure has arisen. History cannot do them justice; for his-

tory deals with the workings of the head, rather than the heart.

Family tradition has it that Miss Ellis' mother was Marraby

Ellis, probably the wife of General Ellis of Marietta, Ohio. The

family Bible gives a record of twelve children. The first, John,

born 1792, died five years later; the second son, George Adams,

was born in 1794. The first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in

1796, at which time it is probable that Adams was still living

near Cincinnati, which had ceased to be known as Fort Wash-

ington in January, 1790, upon the arrival of Governor St. Clair.

The Illustrated News of Cincinnati under date of September 11,

1886, has an item to the effect that Elizabeth Adams was born

in Fort Washington, and that she was the first white female

child born in Cincinnati. Inasmuch as the same writer reveals

his historical inaccuracy by stating that George Adams was a

cousin of Daniel Boone, and was a Major in the regular army

at Fort Washington, and was badly wounded in Harmar's de-

feat in 1812, not much reliance can be placed upon the informa-

tion he endeavors to convey. It is a fact, however, that Elizabeth

Adams at about the age of twenty married Caleb Worley, and in

1823 removed to Covington, Miami County, where she resided

until she was past ninety years of age.

Another son, Thomas, was born in 1798, and died at the age

of thirty-three; Isabella Adams was born in 1800 and died at

the age of fourteen; Mary, born in 1802, lived but two years

542 Ohio Arch

542       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

and Nancy, born in 1803, lived until near the close of the Civil

War. Another son, William Adams, was born in 1806, but the

date of his death is to me unknown, while Margaret, born in

April, 1808, died in the same month; Caleb, born in 1809, died

in 1842, and Cynthia was born in 1811. The last child, Martha

Adams, born in 1816, married Robert L. Harper, died in 1894,

and the family Bible was last known to be in the possession of

her daughter, Martha Brubaker, a grand-daughter of George

Adams. A grand-daughter of Elizabeth Adams, who married

Caleb Worley, resides in Greenville, and her oldest son, Oscar

Kerlin, Jr., was one of the two boys who unveiled the Treaty

Tablet, in Greenville on August 3rd, 1906.

Without a doubt other facts concerning Major George

Adams are obtainable from records and from descendants of

him who has fallen into the deep tranquility of endless sleep.

Major Adams lies buried in the Martin cemetery near Green-

ville, and in his grave are doubtless a number of the bullets which

the surgical skill of early days could not remove.

The purpose of this article has been to do justice to the

memory of one whose military and civil life was so closely in-

terwoven with the early history of Western Ohio and of Darke

County in particular.


"A braver, bolder, gentler man,

Ne'er served his native land."