Ohio History Journal






[Paper read before the Fifth Ohio State Conference, Daughters

of the American Revolution, held at Toledo, October 29, 1903-


The Iroquois War on the Shawanese tribes along the Ohio

gave white men in 1670 their first knowledge of that river; La

Salle's expedition down its waters to the Falls promptly followed;

but eleven years later, when he stood at the mouth of the Missis-

sippi and took possession for the King of France of all the coun-

try watered by its branches, the Ohio was closed to the French

by Iroquois hatred. Before many years by the same enemies

the Shawanese were driven out, and fled east and south of the


French surveyors and traders followed up La Salle's explo-

rations, but they made no attempt to form settlements, and the

Iroquois sold the Ohio country to the English in utter contempt

of other claims.

In 1750 the Ohio Company, an association of Virginia

planters and English merchants, prepared to colonize it and sent

Christopher Gist to explore it and report on the best lands. The

Miamis refused to allow the company to settle north of the Ohio,

though they made a friendly alliance with the English. Jealous

of this friendship, the French sent Indian allies, who surprised

and burnt the Miami towns, including an English stockade. A

chain of French forts was then built from Lake Erie through the

disputed territory to the Illinois. The result was the French

and Indian war and the final loss of this region by France. Before

the English could make any systematic attempts to colonize, they

in their turn were compelled to transfer their title to the United

States after the Revolutionary War.

The Americans received it with a heavy mortgage in the

shape of its savage occupants. This they endeavored to extin-


Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.           273


guish; first, by a second purchase of the Iroquois claims through

conquest, and then by treaties with the western tribes.

The nation of the Cat, or Eries, had ceased to exist a century

before. The Lake which forms our northern boundary, a county

of the Reserve, and several townships, are all the trace of them

left in Ohio.

The Wyandots, or Hurons, who were nearly wiped out at the

same time by the same foe, the Iroquois, were only preserved

from extinction by absorption among their kindred, the Tobacco

Nation, whose tribes were the ones known to Ohio as Wyandots.

The United States acknowledged their claim to central and east-

ern Ohio and compensated them for it. Fifty years before, their

chiefs had permitted the Shawanese and Delawares to come out

from the Potomac and from Pennsylvania. At the time of the

treaty, the Miamis, the strongest and fiercest of the western tribes,

who had held undisputed possession from the Scioto westward

had moved back to the Wabash and the Miami of the Lakes; the

Shawanese were occupying their deserted towns along the Sciotos

and the Miamis; the Delawares were on the Muskingum, while

the Wyandots had their principal villages on the Sandusky.

The ease and frequency with which Indian towns were des-

troyed and rebuilt, the keenness shown in the selection of the

sites, and the general tolerance that existed among the tribes in

their appreciation of a common danger from the white settle-

ments, led to a succession and juxtaposition of villages, which

creates a lack of correspondence between the names of localities

and their occupants. There is hardly an important town in the

State that was not built on the site of an Indian village, though

often not bearing the same name even when of Indian origin.

Thus, there were six well-known Chillicothe towns of the Shaw-

anese; but our Chillicothe is not on the site of any, though in a

region peopled with Indian shades. Thus, also, Christopher

Gist found a Wyandot town at the forks of the Muskingum, now

Coshocton, from the Delaware word, Goschachgunk. He found

a Delaware village at the "Standing Stone" called Hock-hockin.

On a map of the time it is called "French Margaret's Town,"

from the daughter of that strange, forceful character, the half-

Vol. XIV.- 18.

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274       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


breed interpreter, Madame Montour. The first white settlers,

Pennsylvania Dutch, found Shawanese here, and two towns in

full swing, Tarhe town and Tobey town; but they built a third

and dubbed it New Lancaster.   Piqua is on the site of the

Lower Piqua town of the Shawanese, with a Miami name. The

Pickaway Plains and Pickaway County are a mis-spelling of the

tribal name.

The oldest names in Ohio are borne by the water-courses,

and, excepting a few small streams, are all of Indian giving.

Following the north bank of the "beautiful river," (Seneca,

Ohio,) we come first to the Mahoning, " at the Lick," with its

branches, Shenango and the Big Bear. Shenango is a variation

of the Iroquois word Yanangue, "tobacco," and comes from

Wyandot occupation. Indian Cross Creek, now Battle Ground

Run, is where Buskirk's battle was fought in 1793. The Mus-

kingum is Delaware for "elk's eye," with its forks, the Tusca-

rawas, "open mouth," and the Walhonding, or " White Wo-

man's Creek," for the first white woman who dwelt in this wil-

derness.  She was Mary Harris, the heroine of the Deerfield,

Mass., massacre in 1704. Ten years old at the time, she was

carried captive beyond the Ohio, and subsequently married a

French Mohawk. Whitewoman's town stood at the mouth of

the Killbuck. Mary was given a rival in a second white captive,

who was called " the Newcomer." One morning the chief was

found murdered and " the Newcomer " was gone. I will give

you Christopher Gist's account of her end.

"December 26th, 1750.--This day a woman who had been

a long time a prisoner, and had deserted and been retaken and

brought into the town on Christmas Eve, was put to death in

the following manner: They carried her without the town,

and let her loose, and when she attempted to run away, the

persons appointed for that purpose pursued her and struck

her on the ear, on the right side of her head, which beat her

flat on her face on the ground; they then struck her several times

through the back with a dart to the Heart, scalped her and threw

the scalp in the air, and another cut off her head. There the

dismal spectacle lay till the evening, and then Barney Curran

Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.            275

desired leave to bury her, which he and his men and some of the

Indians did just at dark."

At this time there could not have been less than twenty

white traders in the town. Apparently there was not a word

of protest. Only the day before, the Indians had begged Gist

to remain and instruct them in the principles of Christianity

and baptize their children.  Newcomerstown, in Tuscarawas

County, is a reminder of this poor woman's story.

Killbuck, after the noted Delaware chief, and Mohican

are branches of Walhonding. The latter is called from  an

emigration of Connecticut Mohicans. Their old enemies, the

Mingoes, were not in force in Ohio; but Mingo Shaft, a coal

mine at Steubenville, and Mingo Junction, three miles below,

are reminders that they existed here. Jerome Fork of the

Mohican was the home of a French trader with a squaw wife

in 1812, and Jeromeville helps to perpetuate his name. Buck-

horn and One Leg, from a one-legged Indian, are branches

of the Tuscarawas. Licking comes from the salt licks in its

course; the Indian form, Pataskala, is now applied to a town.

The importance of such places to wild animals and man can-

not be overestimated; and among the smaller streams Salt

Licks and Sugar Creeks are numerous, with Buck, Bear, Wolf,

Beaver and Duck Creeks in almost as great number.

In Guernsey County, Leatherwood Creek is from a bush

with tough, stringy bark used for tying bundles of furs; Yoker,

from the Yoker brush that grows along its banks; Little and

Big Skull Forks mark the banks where a pursuing party found

the remains of a captive mother and baby; Indian Camp

Creek is from a deserted camp; there is a town of the same


Next comes the Hock-hocking, "the neck of a bottle,"

from its shape at the falls. Without its first syllable, it is

applied to a county. Of its branches, Sunday and Monday

Creeks were named for the day of their discovery; and Lost

Run, for the skeleton of a lost hunter found propped against

a tree with his rusty gun by his side. Margaret's Creek bears

the name of Mrs. Joseph Snowden, the first white woman in

Athens County.

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Next, the Shade, a narrow, gloomy stream of darkest mem-

ory, for many an Indian war party bound for Kentucky filed

down its banks.

Scioto is Wyandot for "deer;" the two Darby Creeks were

named for an Indian, as well as the plains watered by them.

Mount Logan, once the home of the great Shawnee chief, is

on the Paint. Pea-pea is a branch of Paint Creek. The

first settlers found an old beech tree by a creek with the

initials "P. P." cut in it, and named the run, the meadows drained

by it, and subsequently a township in Pike County from the inci-

dent. Many years afterwards its origin was learned. Some emi-

grants from Redstone Old Fort came down the Ohio and, leaving

their families at its mouth, the men ascended the Scioto to ex-

plore. One Peter Patrick cut his initials on the tree. Being sur-

prised by Indians, and two of the party killed, they fled down

the river, and pulled out with their families for Limestone, Ken-

tucky. If there is any descendant of Peter Patrick present, I

would like her to explain just why her ancestor wanted to leave

the Redstone settlement the very year that my ancestor was lay-

ing out the town of Brownsville in it.

The Big and Little Miami are named for their first occu-

pants-the Ottawa name for "mother;" and the Mad River, the

largest branch of the Big Miami, from its torrent. Tecumseh

Hill is on the Mad. Paddy's Run, on the Big Miami, is in honor

of an Irishman who was drowned there.

The Maumee, or Omee, and the Auglaize unite to form the

Great Miami of the Lakes; the first name is now applied its full

length. Auglaize River and County take theirs from the valley

at the junction called by the French traders "Au Glaize," or

"Grand Glaize," an important trading center. We have adapted

the French, "the Au Glaize," as some people are determined to

adapt the name "the La Grippe." Blanchard's Fork of the Au-

glaize (Indian, "Tailor's River,") is from a domesticated French-

man who plied the needle; also Mt. Blanchard and several Blanch-

ard townships; while Tone-tog-a-nee (Tontogany) Creek and a

town in Wood County are from an Indian chief; and Abanaka,

in Van Wert County, has the name of an early French tribe of


Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.            277


It is in this region that the French have left the most traces.

Presque Isle, a hill on the Maumee, and Roche de Bout, or Stand-

ing Stone, are noted in Wayne's battle. Turkey Foot rock

where a brave Indian of that name made a last memorable stand,

still shows the triangular marks scratched in his memory. Kel-

ley's Island was once "Cunningham's Island," from a French (!)

trader. Loramie's store was a noted landmark and appeared in

all the treaties after 1769. It was fifteen miles up Loramie's

Creek, a branch of the Big Miami. The stream, the post-office

at its mouth and the Reservoir in Shelby County, still bear his

name. Peter Navarre, a French trader and a gentleman, died

some thirty years ago in Toledo. A town in Stark County is

named for him.

Moving east along the Lake we come to the venerable San-

dusky, "at the cold water." The name is now applied to a river

and bay and the county containing them. Sandusky on the Bay

in Erie County, is built on the site of an Ottawa town called

"Ogontz's Place." Its distinguished chief is now remembered

by a street in Sandusky, several civic associations, and the village

of Ogontz. Upper and Lower Sandusky are at Indian towns

of the same name on the Sandusky River; the latter about 1849,

in a burst of enthusiasm for our great explorer, changed its name

to "Fremont." The Tymochtee, "around the plains," and the

Scioto surround Wyandot County.    Next, Huron, from   the

French for "Wyandot," with its town and county; Cold Creek

(Erie County) from its source in a deep, unfailing limestone

spring, called by some scholar "the Castalian fount," hence the

town of Castalia close by it. Vermillion River is from the red

paint the Indians obtained here, with Vermillion at its mouth. It

has retained its obsolete spelling. The Black River is from its

deep romantic gorge crowned with hemlock; while at its mouth

the "Black River Settlement," next "Charleston," is now "Lo-

rain," from the county.

We next reach the Cuyahoga or "Crooked River," whose

source is farther north than its mouth. The county and the

village of Cuyahoga Falls are named from the river. The

name of Chagrin River is older than the various explanations

of its origin. Chagrin, at its mouth, is now  "Willoughby."

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with Chagrin Falls farther up. The Grand River was called

Sheauga, or "Raccoon," by the Indians, hence, Geauga County;

Conneaut, "many fish," and lastly, Ashtabula, "fish," River, Town

and County.

The savages generally had stood by the English during the

Revolution, and were no mean foes to be reckoned with along

the border, and in all military movements towards the west. The

galling aggressions on the settlements south of the Ohio, by the

Shawanese, led to successive expeditions from Pennsylvania and

Kentucky which repeatedly destroyed their towns on the Miamis

and the Mad River and in the Scioto Valley.  Such terrible ven-

geance was exacted that the region earned the name of "the

Miami Slaughter House." The most noted leaders of these ex-

peditions, Generals Clark and Logan, are honored by counties

near the scenes of their exploits.

Two of the Pennsylvania expeditions were less justifiable.

One under Col. Williamson, attacked the Moravian missions on

the Tuscarawas and murdered in cold blood 94 unarmed Chris-

tian Indians, non-combatants, and half of them women and chil-

dren. The same summer a second expedition under Cols. Craw-

ford and Williamson, crossed the Ohio with the same end in view.

Finding the villages deserted, they attempted to follow the refu-

gees to their new homes on the Sandusky, but were surprised by

overwhelming numbers, and after a fierce battle retreated. The

Indians pursued, killing all stragglers. Col. Crawford was taken

prisoner by a Delaware chief, carried back to a Delaware town

on the Tymochtee, and there burned with the most horrible tor-

tures that fiendish ingenuity could devise. Col. Crawford's high

character and his terrible fate have relieved his memory

from the obloquy that a successful expedition would have brought

upon it. The place where he was taken prisoner is within the

former limits of the county that bears his name.

As the facts became known with regard to the first expedi-

tion, public sentiment demanded compensation to the Moravians

and their converts. Congress gave them a large tract of land

on the Tuscarawas, and their villages were rebuilt. There are

still some Moravians at the little town of Gnadenhutten, "tents of

grace," but the other towns and the Indians are gone.

Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.            279


By the first treaty with the Ohio Indians at the close of the

Revolution the boundary line ran from the mouth of the Cuya-

hoga south to Fort Laurens on the Tuscarawas, west to Loramie's

store near the Big Miami, along the Portage to the Maumee and

down it to its mouth. The country south and east of this line com-

prised two-thirds of the present State, and was erected into Wash-

ington County. The original designation of the entire region

was the "territory northwest of the Ohio;" but when it was di-

vided into two territorial governments the first settled portion

(Ohio) received the name of honor which the State was proud

to keep.

The next step was to clear off the claims of the old colo-

nies. New York surrendered hers; Virginia also, except a reser-

vation between the Scioto and the Little Miami for bounties for

her Continental troops, in case the State lands in Kentucky should

not hold out. Connecticut reserved the property in 3,500,000

acres, but surrendered the jurisdiction.

Then was passed the ordinance of 1787, that greatest of

charters of liberty, and immediately thereafter the New England

Ohio Company purchased 1,500,000 acres of land on the Ohio

River from the Muskingum west, and the black canvas-topped

wagon started for the Ohio country. April 7th, 1788, the emi-

grants landed at the mouth of the Muskingum River, pinned a

code of laws for the colony to a tree, and named the settlement

Marietta, after Marie Antoinette, one of the last acts of rever-

ence vouchsafed that unhappy queen.

Another large tract lying to the west was contracted for at

the same time and given to the Scioto Land Company, who un-

dertook to sell surplus shares in France in advance of payment.

It was the beginning of the reign of terror; many of the middle

and upper classes were glad to emigrate to a romantic wilderness,

a nobler Bois du Boulogne-there were no savages marked on

the advertisement maps. About 200 carvers and gilders, wig-

makers, jewellers and gentlemen, with a very few farmers, landed

at the mouth of the Scioto. Between incompetence and fraud the

company failed, and the settlers lost both money and lands, be-

coming reduced to absolute penury. Some years later from a

sense of national pride, Congress gave them a portion of their

280 Ohio Arch

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tract; but they gradually scattered or perished and have left few

descendants in that region. Gallipolis, the first settlement, with

Gallia County, are all the names left.

But before Gallipolis, the second group of settlements was

made at Columbia, Cincinnati and North Bend, at the most

northerly bend of the river. Judge Symmes, of New Jersey, laid

out the last as "Symmes City," but nobody paid attention to that,

and Cleves in Hamilton County, is his only namesake. Cincin-

nati was originally "Losantiville," a truly American hodge-podge

of Greek, Latin and French for "the city opposite the mouth" of

the Licking River in Kentucky. The next year, to please Gover-

nor St. Clair, who was a member of the order of the Cincinnati,

the name was changed. The patriotic enthusiasm of the early

christeners has been somewhat curbed by the general post office

which has limited the number of towns of the same name. Still

there is Washington Court House, Washington, Washingtonville,

and -burg, New, Mount and Fort Washington, and finally Mt.

Vernon. In a lesser degree the other Revolutionary favorites

have been honored. Fortunately the national authorities cannot

interfere with our townships, and half of them in each of the

southern counties are the same. Patriot, Liberty Center, Union,

town and county, with its variations by compass and in com-

pounds; several Columbias, and Columbus laid out the day war

was declared against Great Britain in 1812, all attest the same

spirit. Of the counties formed before 1833, thirty-three were

named for Revolutionary heroes, almost all generals, many of

whom had direct relations with Ohio; while the war of 1812 is

represented by nine more, all but Jackson winning their laurels

within our borders. Meigs, Lucas and Morrow were early gov-

ernors; Vinton was a distinguished Ohio statesman, and Noble

honored its first settler regardless of the lack of a national repu-


The Virginia reservation comprised the greater part of thir-

teen modern counties. The first settlers naturally were from

Kentucky and Virginia, Col. Nathaniel Massie, with a party of

Kentuckians, making the first permanent settlement at Manches-

ter on the river twelve miles above Maysville. The region is

under great obligations to Massie for his enterprise, energy and

Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.             281


daring in surveys and settlements; but its appreciation on the

map is only shown by Massie's Creek, and Massie township, in

Warren County. Such names as Williamsburg, Point Pleasant,

Bainbridge, Frankfort, Lynchburg and Jamestown, all speak of

their origin; while scattered through the State are Richmond,

Alexandria, Loudonville, Moorefield, and several Court Houses

that have a pleasant "Faginny" twang. There is a touch of ro-

mance in the naming of Bowling Green shown by a grizzled old

mail-carrier who had carried mails between Kentucky and Tenn-

essee in 1802; thirty-seven years later he was on the line between

Findlay and Bellefontaine. A little settlement further on drew up

a petition for a post office, but could think of no appropriate

name. The postman, happening to ride up, learned of the diffi-

culty and, seizing a glass of cider, he waved it from north to south

-"Here's to Bowling Green!" A green clearing in the forest

made by an army encampment in 1812, made the Kentucky name

all the more fitting.

The Government did its best to protect its infant colonies.

Forts Harmar, Finney and Washington were built along the Ohio

River. The savages, paid and armed by the British, committed

constant outrages on the settlements. Col. Hardin, sent on a

nission of peace to them, was murdered where the town of Har-

din now stands. Harmar and St. Clair led two unsuccessful

expeditions against the Indians of the Maumee, the latter suffer-

ing a most disastrous defeat. The third was in charge of General

Wayne, who routed the enemy in the Battle of Fallen Timbers,

August 20, 1794, and laid waste a populous country for fifty miles

around. Previous to and during Wayne's march a line of forts

was built from  Fort Washington, at Cincinnati, north-Fort

Hamilton at the crossing of the Big Miami, Forts St. Clair, Jef-

ferson and Greenville, Fort Recovery on the scene of St. Clair's

defeat, as recovered from the Indians; Fort St. Mary's, in Mer-

cer County, and Fort Defiance, at the junction of the Auglaize

and Maumee. The towns of Hamilton, Greenville, Fort Recov-

ery, St. Mary's and Defiance still show the line of march. Wayne

named Shane's Crossing on the upper Wabash from a half-breed

trader, and destroyed the trading house and stores of the infa-

mous British agent, McKee, who has left his memory in Mc-

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Kee's Creek, and the Ottawa River, sometimes called "the Hog,"

because, in seeking to save his property, he drove his hogs down

the steep banks of the stream.

Wayne made a firm peace with but little accession of terri-

tory. Shortly after, Ebenezer Zane's trace was cut from oppo-

site Wheeling to opposite Limestone, Kentucky, which opened

up immigration to the central counties. Zanesville was laid out

on one of his reservations. The Western Reserve of Connecti-

cut was erected into the County of Trumbull, than which there

is no better name in American history. It comprised twelve

counties in the northeastern part of the State. With the ex-

ception of the Firelands, at the western end, which were not

yet purchased from the Indians, the lands were sold in a lump

to a Connecticut syndicate and resold in large tracts, frequently

by whole townships; naturally many of these townships bear the

names of their original owners. The first permanent settlement

was made in 1796, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga, and named for

General Moses Cleaveland, the leader of the surveying party. It

is said to have had an "a" in its name until 1832, when the first

issue of the "Cleveland Advertiser," owing to a lack of proportion

between the type and the page, was obliged to leave the "a" out of

its title, and it soon went out of general use.

The names of the towns in the Reserve show a decided

remembrance of the settlers' early homes; as West Andover,

Deerfield, New London. North Amherst, Danbury, Saybrook

and Farmington; while other characteristic New England

names show Yankee colonies all over the State. In many in-

stances a township organization was completed and a minister

chosen before the emigrants left home. The first act of the

Granville colony was to hear a sermon. Such communities were

more law-abiding than those that grew up hap-hazard, and their

distinctly religious character has left its mark on the whole State.

Other Eastern States are remembered by Rome and Utica,

from New York; New Philadelphia, Germantown, and Somerset,

from Pennsylvania; Newark from New Jersey; Dover, Delaware;

Wilmington, North Carolina; and Baltimore and Fredericktown,


Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.            283


Next in importance is the German immigration, direct and

indirect. The Hollanders and Germans known as "Pennsylvania

Dutch," were early settlers, and such towns as Antwerp and New

Holland probably came through them. German, Berlin, Berne and

Bremen Townships are without number; while, of the cities,

Leipsic, Dresden, Strasburg and many Berlins are the most im-

portant. A German emigration in 1832, from Cincinnati to

Auglaize County gave a New Bremen, a Berlin and a Minster

within six miles. There was a large emigration to Ottawa County

in 1849. In one township in Erie County are Berlin, Berlin-

ville and Ceylon. Switzerland township in Monroe County,

takes its name from Father Tisher's large settlement of Swiss

from Berne in 1819.

Though Scotch-Irish descendants are all through Ohio,

there are but few national names: Antrim township, in Wyan-

dot County, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Caledonia, are all.

Guernsey County gets its name from about twenty families from

that little island in 1806. The Welsh, probably, are of too recent

immigration to affect our nomenclature; Welsh Hills, a town

quarter in Granville; Radnor township, in Delaware County, and

Venedocia, the Latin for "North Wales," being about all.

From the Scriptures we have numerous Goshens, Gileads and

Canaans (usually by way of New England) Rehoboth, Sardis,

several Bethels and Zoar, a Tuscarawas County settlement in

1817, of two hundred poor German sectarians, whose desperate

struggle for existence finally forced them to adopt the Com-

munistic plan with ultimate success. Quaker City and several

Salems mark our numerous Friends; and Lebanon, the Shakers.

Batesville is for an old Methodist preacher, the only town named

for that grand group of men, one of the best types of muscular

Christians that the world has ever seen. The first Bethel in the

State was by Obed Denham in 1797, who freed his slaves when he

founded the town. Other Kentuckians and Virginians in divers

settlements did the same, and many more came to escape the air

of slavery. It is indeed "holy ground" where men, after a hard

won fight for their own liberty, will begin life over again to make

the lives of others worth having.

284 Ohio Arch

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Ancient history is still further represented in our towns by

several Palmyras and Carthages, Sparta, Iberia, Delphos and Scio

-which smacks of Wyandot-and our learning has provided us

with Xenia, "gifts;" Kalida, "beautiful;" Neapolis, "new city;"

and Eldorado, which has not kept its promise.

The Capitals of the modern world and of the old Italian

republics are all sponsors for the future glories of our towns;

while Poland township, Pulaski, Moscow, Marengo and Napoleon

warn us of the fleeting nature of earthly grandeur; the knightly

Sir Philip Sidney has a namesake; and Caesarville is on Caesar's

Creek, but whether black or white Caesar, I am sure I cannot tell.

Our first college town, Athens, had a proper ambition to

which Oxford makes a good second; Kenyon College and Gam-

bier, the town where it is situated, were named for generous

English nobleman who made the college foundation possible; while

Oberlin is in honor of the noble Alsatian pastor whose deeds of

philanthropy were ably seconded by the founders of this college.

It may not be familiar to all of you that, in 1814, a company

of infantry was recruited at Athens College, and formed a part

of General Meigs' large command which reached the scene of war

only in time to disband. When the recruits were gathered in the

college chapel for a farewell service, the old president prayed

fervently for the souls of the British and Indians whom these

young men were about to kill. My grandfather, who was one of

them, used to say that the boys never felt positive whether or

not the old gentleman was poking fun at them.

The names concerning the oldest human events in the State

are those applied to the remains of the mound builders. Fort

Ancient, in Warren County, Fort Hill, in Highland are famous

fortifications;  Serpent  Mound  in  Adams    County,  and

Alligator Mound, in Licking, religious edifices, the finest in the

west.   There was formerly a large circular earthwork in

Pickaway County with fortified gates on which the town of Cir-

cleville was built with the court house in the center; but time

wore away the mound, and a vandal council levelled it, rebuilding

the center on a square; so the name is now but a reminiscence.

Our primeval forests are kept in rememberance by such

names as Oak Hill, Oak Harbor and Oakwood, Locust Grove,

Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.             285


Cherry Valley, Hazelwood, Maplewood and Elmwood, Sycamore,

Laurelville, Sylvania, Rushsylvania and Forest; while the Buck-

eye characterizes the people and the State. Three Locusts is from

a group on the village green, but Magnolia must be more what was

hoped than what existed. Cranberry township, in Crawford

County, comes from a cranberry marsh once 2,000 acres in extent,

and well known to Indians, trappers, wild animals and snakes.

Our mineral wealth is attested in the east and south by such

names as Irondale, Galena, Ironton, Minersville, Coalport, Coal-

ton, Carbon Hill and Mineral City; Syracuse and Salineville are

named for their salt; Jobs is not connected with dishonest specu-

lation, as the name might indicate, but with an energetic miner

named Job, who has become a very capable operator. We are not

without a poetic fancy in the mining region, and Glen Roy and

Dell Roy indicate this, as well as the respect shown to a mining

inspector; so does Coal Gate, which the maps are beginning to

misspell, as if associated with soap.

Rockbridge, in Hocking County, is near a natural bridge

100 feet long and ten to twenty feet wide; Lithopolis (Fairfield

County) is from a good grade of freestone; Hanging Rock, in

Jackson County, which lends its name to an ore region 1,000

square miles in extent in three States, is a sandstone cliff 400

feet high whose top projects like the eaves of a house; Put-in-

Bay, on Lake Erie, has an original and expressive name; Gib-

ralter Island, at the entrance, is a rock eight acres in extent

which rises forty-five feet above the Lake to support its am-

bitious name; Rattlesnake Island, from a succession of rocky

humps, claims precedence among the once snake-infested

islands; Carryall township, in Paulding County, is from the re-

semblance of a rock in the river to the old-fashioned carriage;

Buckhorn Cottage is from the shape of a hill; Clifton, in Greene

County, is from a wild and picturesque gorge of the Little Miami;

Plain City is on the rich Darby plains; Pigeon Roost Ridges are

no longer true to their name; while many valuable springs give

various appropriate names to towns in their vicinity.

Summit and Portage Counties remind us of the water-shed

in the center of our State, and the old eight-mile portage between

the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas; Ridgeway, on that same wa-

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286       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

ter-shed, is where the time-honored house stands whose roof

sheds its rain into Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico. Crestline

was thought to be the highest point in the State when founded;

Akron is the Greek for "elevation," while Flint Ridge provided

the Indians from far and near with their arrow-heads. Lock-

port, Lockington and Lockland are towns on canals, the last hav-

ing four locks.

A very few town founders have been gallant enough to re-

member their daughters and wives: Aurora was named, in

1800, for the daughter of a surveyor; Athalia, Marysville, Clar-

ington (from Clarinda) and Anna are all named for daughters

of the founders. Amanda township, Allen County, perpetuates

Fort Amanda and the wife of Col. Poague. There are many

more Amandas, but I don't know their true knights.

We have our literary favorites, though not many; Waverly

was named by an engineer, on the Ohio canal, who was addicted

to Scott; Massillon, by Mrs. James Duncan for her favorite

French author; we have Homer and Roscoe, and Murdoch, for

the distinguished actor and reader who lived there twenty-five

years, whom many of us will always remember with pleasure.

Many of our names are unique : Bucyrus was called for

Busiris in Ancient Egypt with the spelling altered; Ivorydale,

for the soap made there; Leetonia, for a member of its mining

company named Lee; Elyria, town and township, for their

owner, Heman Ely; through his efforts the county was admitted

in 1821-2 and called "Lorain" from his pleasant recollection

of time spent in the Rhine province; Amity, Tranquillity, Har-

mony township, Urbana (from "urbanity"), from the tempers

and expectations of the settlers; Felicity is, perhaps, somewhat

indebted to an early settler, William Fee; College Hill is named

from two colleges; College Corner, with similar educational ad-

vantages, has one Indiana and two Ohio counties cornering in it.

The town of Medina was originally called Mecca, but both town

and county were later named for the rival Arabian town; Utopia,

founded about 1847 by a Fouierite, was for a good while run on

Utopian principles. Celina was named for Salina, N. Y., from a

resemblance in the situation, but with the spelling changed.

Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.             287


Silas Wells, of Miami County, always wore a gingham coat,

and went by the name of "Gingham." His eccentricity is kept in

remembrance by the town of Ginghamsburg. At Junction City

three railroads cross; at Gore, a little corner of Hocking County

is neatly inserted into Perry; Stringtown may have suggested the

title of a recent novel. Our most successful manufacture has

been Columbiana County-a compound of Columbus and Anna.

A waggish legislator, when the name was under consideration,

suggested that "Maria" be added, to read "Columbi-Anna-Maria."

By a treaty at Fort Industry, now Toledo, July, 1805, the

Indian title to the Firelands was extinguished, and Connecticut

gave them to such of her citizens as had been burnt out by the

British during the Revolution. They were erected into Huron

and Erie Counties, and Norwalk was appropriately named for

the town that had suffered the most. The Indians were quiet

until about 1810, when, fomented by Tecumseh and his brother,

the Prophet, aggressions began again. Harrison's victory at

Tippecanoe destroyed the power of the Prophet, but Tecumseh

joined the British in the war of 1812, and showed himself a better

man than his associates. The latter part of that war is marked

by some brilliant victories. several within our borders: the stub-

born defense of Fort Meigs; Croghan's gallantry at Fort Steph-

enson, this fight commemorated by Croghansville and Balls-

ville, which, with the Fort, have long been swallowed up by Fre-

mont; and Perry's victory off Ottawa County, which is marked

by a southern county and the town of Perrysburg, just below

Fort Meigs.

The war deprived the Indians of the remainder of their

lands in Ohio. In 1818, the northwest portion of the State was

purchased, certain reservations being given to them. These were

subsequently ceded to the United States, the latest by the Wyan-

dots in 1842, and the last of the Ohio Indians were moved beyond

the Mississippi.*

* Among the Delaware Indians who were moved to Kansas in 1829

was Chief Johnny Cake. At the beginning of the Civil War he was more

than once a caller at my father's house in Leavenworth. On one occa-

sion the baby shook hands with him and said, "How do you do, Mr.

Patty-cake?" at which the Indian's gravity was overcome and he laughed


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288       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

Eighteen new counties were now formed, mostly from this

territory, and were opened up for settlement. Of these coun-

ties, Seneca, Wyandot, and    Ottawa   ("a  trader")  were

named for the tribes having reservations therein. The Shaw-

anese were given theirs in Auglaize County. (The town of

Shawnee is near their old haunts in the Hocking Valley.) The

region was largely black swamp covered with a heavy forest

growth except for the clearings about the Indian villages.

Cutting down the forests and draining the swamps has given

some of the richest land in the State; it required very hard work

from the settler, but without annoyance from the Indians.

Rising parallel with the Lake along almost the entire north-

ern border are ancient lake beaches which have afforded the best

natural roads in the State, and which have been used in succes-

sion by buffaloes and Indians, and for the wagons of white men,

at a time when the region was elsewhere impassable. These

ridges are called in Lorain County North, Center and Butternut

Ridges, five, seven and nine miles from the Lake, the Central

ridge running almost the length of the Lake. Sand, Oak and

Sugar Ridge are local names. Near the town of Ridgeville, in

Lorain County, there are four ridges; in other places they are

broken up into knolls or disappear entirely.

These counties have the latest and the friendliest associa-

tion with the Indians, and many interesting local traditions.

Wauseon, "far off," and Ottokee, are towns in Fulton County

named for two great chiefs, by a man who loved them     as

brothers.  There are several Roundhead  townships.  Zanes-

field was owned by Isaac Zane, a Virginia captive, raised and

married among the Wyandots;      Wapakoneta, in   Auglaize

County, succeeded a Shawanese village of the same name, built

by refugees from the Piqua towns. Lewistown, an Indian vil-

lage, named for Capt. John Lewis, a Shawanee, was the center

of the Seneca reservation. The Lewistown reservoir is his me-

morial to-day.

The last war known to Ohio soil, until the Morgan raid,

which left no names behind it, was the Ohio and Michigan

Boundary War in 1835. It was settled by a decision of Con-

gress in favor of Ohio. Toledo was the center of activities and

Origin of Ohio Place Names

Origin of Ohio Place Names.             289


the victory named the county for Governor Lucas. It is largely

due to the oratory of Samuel Vinton, in the House, and Thomas

Ewing, in the Senate, that we can have to-day a State D. A. R.

Conference in Toledo.

The time limit of this paper has compelled a bare recital of

the naming of our early towns while omitting a description of

their settlement. The dangers and privations of the pioneers in

this State are well known to us, but the horrors are somewhat

worn off by time. We have a feeling that if they did not ex-

actly enjoy their hardships, at least they were constituted differ-

ently from ourselves. One who was scalped as a child, but lived

to marry and settle on our frontier, would naturally be somewhat

inured to suffering and immune from nervous prostration. But

there were as tender and beautiful women who crossed the river

in those early days as among the ones who are enjoying the civ-

ilization that their heroism won. They followed their husbands

as Rachel followed Jacob-and what brought them?    Poverty,

restlessness, the call of the wild, which at times dim and far off

we still can hear, a desire for a democracy purer and stronger

than the old colonies could produce brought them here. We do

well to honor our forefathers of the Revolution, but Ohio

Daughters are twice happy, for it is a mighty poor pioneer that

doesn't make a glorious ancestor.

Our knowledge of the French in the Ohio Country is spec-

tacular and evanescent. The associations of the British produce

neither admiration for their courage, nor respect for their hu-

manity. But we had a foe, during forty years of the occupation

of Ohio, whose savage virtues at times shone brighter than our

civilization. It is our boast that every foot of soil was honorably

purchased from the Indians; but they sold with the bayonet at

their throats, or to get them rum which white men had made a

necessity to them. The Shawnee chief's message to Governor

Gordon when leaving the Potomac, was: "The Delaware In-

dians some time ago bid us depart for they was Dry and wanted

to drink ye land away, whereupon we told them since some of you

are gone to Ohio we will go there also; we hope you will not drink

that away, too." Yet afterwards in Ohio the other tribes bitterly

blamed the Shawanese, who were as guests in the land, for being

Vol. XIV-- 19

290 Ohio Arch

290        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

the first to sell. White men easily become savages, but the Indian

has not been civilized. Their tribes-have all been honored in our

nomenclature; some of the greatest chiefs have not; but there are

many, like Tecumseh and Little Turtle, whose valour and high

character would ennoble even a ridiculous name. Their deeds,

too, are our heritage. But for us their tribes will pass away and

leave not even the mounds of the earlier races. Let us hold fast

what we have of their memories in this State, and, especially, let

us not dissever

"Old places and old names;" but

"Guard the old landmarks truly,

On the old altars duly

Keep bright the ancient flames."