Ohio History Journal



Archaeological and Historical






[The following articles concerning the stations, forts and early set-

tlements known respectively as Pickawillany and Loramie were obtained

by the Editor of the Quarterly from the Rev. William Bigot, now a

resident of Dayton. These articles contain much first-hand information

relating to the location of the historic points in question. The sketch

of Father Bigot - pronounced Bego - is by the Editor. For further dis-

cussion on this subject, see article on Forts Loramie and Pickawillany

by Prof. R. W. McFarland, in Vol. VIII, p. 479 Ohio State Archaeological

and Historical Annuals- E. O. R.]

Among the earliest white settlements in Ohio of which we

have definite record are those known respectively as Pickawillany

and Loramie. The origins of these places and their proper dis-

tinctive locations are much confused by tradition and the histor-

ical accounts. Mr. Henry Howe was one of the first to attempt

to give accurate statement concerning these memorable stations,

in his first edition of Ohio Historical Collections, published in

1846. He relied mainly upon tradition, which is more likely to

be faulty than otherwise. In his second edition (1893) he some-

what revised his former recital. With the purpose of securing,

as far as possible, correct data concerning the points in question

the Editor of The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical

Quarterly not only visited the respective sites of Pickawillany

and Loramie station, but availed himself of interviews and

correspondence with the Reverend William Bigot, a Catholic

priest, who for thirty years resided at Loramie, now Berlin, and

made a thorough study of the origin and history of both Picka-

Vol. XVII-1.             (1)

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willany and Loramie. Father Bigot deserves more than a pass-

ing word. His career is quite unique and worthy of record, for

he is a man of remarkable ex-

perience, scholarly attain -

ments and    distinguished

achievements. He was born

December 4, 1838, near Al-

kirch, Upper Alsace, which at

the time of his birth was a

French possession, later and

now a German province. By

parental decree he was des-

tined for the priesthood. He

was fitted for his calling by a

period of industrious study

extending through some thir-

teen years, portions of which

were spent respectively in a

Swiss Gymnase; in the col-

lege of the Congregation of

the Holy Ghost in Bretagne,

Western France; and the Catholic College of Paris. He became

proficient not only in the classics and leading modern lan-

guages, French, German, Celtic and English, but also ac-

quired profound scholarship in Philosophy, Theology, History,

and the Liturgy of his church. He was ordained a priest in

1864 and sent to the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, where

he was made Director of the Institute for Aged and In-

valid priests at Kaiserwerth (Caesaris Insula) near Dusseldorf.

When the Franco-Prussian war arose Father Bigot was sent as

Military Chaplain to Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, and other points,

having the religious care of over 15,000 French captive soldiers

and nearly a thousand wounded and sick. After eight months

of severe service among the French prisoners he was made Su-

perior of the Old Monastery at Marienthal in the Archdiocese of

Cologne.  The Franco-Prussian war over, Father Bigot was

designated by both the French Minister of War and the German

Minister of War to be chief commissioner of a bureau for the

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.               3


collecting and tabulating officially the death records of all the

French soldiers who died as prisoners of war in Germany. It

was a great undertaking. Thousands of circulars of inquiry

were sent to all the fortresses and localities, some 260 in number,

where the 400,000 of the French soldiers had been quartered, were

in action or confined in prison. More than eighteen thousand of

these mortuary records were secured. This work was followed,

under his direction, by the erection of monuments in all the ceme-

teries where the fallen French soldiers found their final resting

places. For his faithful execution of this great commission the

French government bestowed upon Father Bigot the Cross of

Chivalry, the badge of the Legion of Honor. By the order of

the Culturkamp Law, the Monastery of Marienthal, where he

had taken refuge, was suppressed June, 1873. The members of

the monastic community were expelled and driven homeless into

the world. Father Bigot chose the United States for the home of

his remaining life.  Hither he came in January, 1874.  He

offered his services to Archbishop Purcell, then a resident in

Cincinnati. The Archbishop gave him warm welcome and as-

signed him the parish of St. Michael in Loramie, Shelby county,

Ohio. Loramie was then a small berg, the settlers of which were

almost exclusively immigrants from Germany. It was indeed a

typical village of the Fatherland, transplanted to the banks of the

little Loramie Creek. Here for thirty years the good Father was

the Parish Priest, beloved and respected not only by his own

people, but by all with whom he came in contact. Under his un-

tiring efforts, the little modest church edifice was replaced by a

magnificent church costing $60,000, with a beautiful priest resi-

dence costing $10,000. It is a worthy and enduring monument to

the zealous work of the Father. In 1890 Rev. Bigot made an

extended journey to Europe, visiting his former friends and rel-

atives in France and Germany. He was given audience by the

Pope at Rome and celebrated Christmas in Bethlehem. He has

written a history of the Parish of Loramie (now Berlin) which

is now in process of publication. His devotion to historical re-

search led him to acquire all information possible concerning the

old Loramie Fort and Station and its relation to Pickawillany.

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Concerning these most historic of Ohio sites, Father Bigot

furnished the editor of this Quarterly with the following memo-



The history of Pickawillany is comparatively well known.

After the destruction of the stockade and the big Indian village

(1752) this post was never rebuilt. All authors agree on this

except Knapp (History of Maumee Valley) who says: "The

commandant of Vincennes, Ind., tried to establish some business

place at Pickawillany, but the place did not possess enterprise or



Various vocations are given to Pierre Loramie and various

places named whence he came. I. Howe and Sutton called

him:        "The first white man in Ohio and French-Canadian

trader."   2. Colonel Johnston-"The French Father."  3. Ed-

itor C. W. Williamson (History of Auglaize County) called him

"The French Jesuit and trader." 4. Professor H. Wildermuth

describes him as a "Jesuit priest and missionary." 5. Editor J.

O. Amos (Shelby County Demlocrat), Sidney, gives to Loramie

the designation of "French Jesuit priest."  6.  Various other

writers in Shelby county give him the latter title.

In the first edition of his Historical Collections (1846)

Henry Howe says: "The first white man, a French-Canadian

trader, came to the Indians in Northern Ohio (Shelby county)

in 1769, where he established a store and station which was

destroyed in 1782." When Howe called Loramie a Canadian

trader he accorded to him the fact that he came from Canada

(Quebec) by way of Vincennes to his place at Pickawillany

stream. In his first edition Howe located Loramie's store and

station at Pickawillany on the Miami. But Loramie was not the

first white man at Pickawillany, because other white men were

there prior to his time. White men were there in 1749. In his

second edition (1893) Howe was better instructed and located

Loramie's store on Pickawillany stream, 17 miles north of the

Pickawillany village, at the same place, where 13 years later,

General Anthony Wayne built the Fort Loramie. Howe says:

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.               5


"The fort was erected at the same place as was the store and


Knapp located Loramie's store at Pickawillany village

(Miami) and the Fort Loramie at the right place, 17 miles north

on the Pickawillany stream. Knapp, like many others, con-

founded Pickawillany village with Pickawillany stream.

Colonel Johnston says: "The French Father Loramie pos-

sessed entire control over the Indians, and was in this respect

fully equal, if not superior, to any of his countrymen. The

reason why he possessed the control over the Indians in a higher

degree than his countrymen was because he possessed a higher

character and not because he was a priest and Jesuit."

Professor Williamson, in his History of Northern Ohio and

Auglaize County, and in also his address to the Pioneers of Shel-

by County at Sidney (1896), says: "Loramie was a Jesuit and

trader." To me personally, Williamson said: "As a boy, my

grandfather living in Auglaize county, told me many times it

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was generally known that Loramie was a Jesuit and priest."

The grandfather of Williamson could easily have received this

information from people living at the time when Loramie's store

and Fort Loramie were still flourishing.

Henry Wildermuth, an able young editor who died of con-

sumption about 1887, wrote some articles in German concerning

the life of Loramie as a priest and missionary. He says: "After

the Braddock war for the purpose of saving and restoring the

Catholic missions among the colonists and the Indians in Illinois

and Ohio, the Archbishop Oliver Berand of Quebec, sent three

missionaries to his Vicar General Gibault at Vincennes. One of

these priests was Pierre Loramie, who was sent back to the

Northern Ohio, by way of the Wabash, the Miami and the west

branch of Pickawillany, 17 miles north, where he established his

store and station." Wildermuth furthermore says he gathered

all his knowledge from good English authority and authors. The

statement of Wildermuth is in accordance with the Church His-

tory of J. G. Shea. In this history it is said: "In the year

1769, Vicar General Gibault of Vincennes and Father Meurin,

S. J., of Kaskaskia on the Mississippi, asked the Archbishop of

Quebec to send some priests for the purpose of safeguarding the

privileges accorded to the Catholics and Indians by the treaty of

peace after the Braddock (French and Indian) war at Paris in

1763. The archbishop sent the above mentioned priests, and

Loramie was sent to the Wyandottes and the Shawnees in North-

ern Ohio. Neither the archbishop nor V. G. Gibault nor T.

Meurin could have had any idea that all the Jesuit missions

would be destroyed and annihilated by the suppression of the

Jesuit order by the Pope Clement XIV, in 1773. From that

date, therefore, Loramie could not publicly exercise any function

as priest or Jesuit. But it is concluded, in my opinion, that

Loramie was a Jesuit priest and a trader and that he came from

Quebec by way of Vincennes to this place (Loramie)." Editor

J. O. Amos in his article on the Centennial of the Village of

Loramie gives many proofs which corroborate the above men-

tioned opinions.

James Furrow, one of the oldest pioneers of Shelby county,

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.              7

died at the site of Fort Loramie in 1866. He was the first owner

of land after the evacuation of the fort in 1812. Furrow was liv-

ing at the time when Loramie's store was burned in 1782. He

told to many people, that in the night, when the store was plun-

dered and burned, a high American officer was killed and buried

not far from the ruins of the store. After the evacuation of the

fort by the military post,

F u r r o w purchased there

many acres of land for farm-

ing purposes.  The main

building of the fort was torn

down and in some of the

minor buildings Furrow es-

tablished a country store and

trading post. After Furrow

died, the trading post was

transferred to the increasing

town of Berlin, on the canal,

and some time after this post

was officially approved as

Loramie's Postoffice.

In his last will, Furrow

stated he wished to be buried

at the side of the American

officer on his farm. The fact

is, that Furrow, his wife and

son are buried there. This

graveyard is located to-day

on Arkenburg's farm, and is

surrounded by a stone wall.

The graves of Furrow's

family are designated by lit-

tle stones, but not the grave

of the American officer. Furrow owned the farm from 1812

to 1846.

Jonathan Schell, an old pioneer of Loramie, died at Berlin in

1867, an octogenarian. He was a young man in 1810-1820, and

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he told many young people at Loramie that he saw the fort

standing and many times (he said), "we were there playing and


Messrs. Short and Harper, very old people, when I came to

Loramie (1874) like Bernhard Pille, Sr. (94 years old), told me

that Loramie's store was at the same place as Fort Loramie, and

they heard from other old people that Pierre Loramie was a

missionary priest.

I have in my possession the silver cross, nine by six inches,

found in 1873, at the site of Loramie's store, and some silver

coins and fire stones and other evidences of the existence of the

store and fort.

By order of the government, General George Rogers Clark,

left Cincinnati in the fall of 1782, to punish the Indians

in the northern part of Ohio, especially the Wyandottes and

Shawnees at Loramie's store. On his way Clark destroyed many

big Indian villages and their crops. When he reached Lower

Piqua at the Great Miami, he met a peaceful people and no dam-

age was done them. From there he reached Upper Piqua, about

a mile north from Lower Piqua. At Upper Piqua, Clark de-

stroyed the terrible Indian fort. This place was widely known as

an old Indian fort. Some monuments may be seen there and

some relics were found there. Clark did not reach Old Picka-

willany, about nine miles northeast from Piqua.

From Upper Piqua Clark with his army was going north

through the forest, to the place now called Houston or Jefferson.

From there he had to go six miles further north to Loramie's

store. He reached this important place in October, 1782. He

took the store by surprise, plundering and burning the property.

Some old people have told me the surprise was accomplished

by use of whisky. One or two days before the surprise, Clark

sent spies with some kegs of whisky to the Indian village near the

store, with the assertion that the Indians might rest in quiet, as

Clark would not be ready for an attack at that time. In the com-

ing night the Indians became drunken and the surprise was ac-


Pierre Loramie escaped that night from the hands of his

enemy and took refuge with the Shawnees at Wapacanatre.

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.                9


Some time after the destruction of the store, Loramie made ar-

rangements with Col. Johnston, agent for the Indians, by which

he was permitted to emigrate with several hundred Shawnees to

the country west of the Mississippi. The country is known today

as Wyandotte and Shawnee Reservation. After this first emigra-

tion nearly all the Indians in the Loramie locality later followed

their dear French father Loramie to the western country. Some

years after this Loramie died in the west among his Indians.

General Harmar left Cincinnati in October, 1792. On the

loth day of October, he reached the ruins of Loramie's store,

passed over it and was defeated at all points.

In 1794, General Anthony Wayne and General Scott came

with an army from Greenville to the Wabash, where they defeated

the Indians and built Fort Recovery. From here he continued

north to the big Indian village (Maumee) captured them and

built a fort with his own name, Fort Wayne. From Fort Wayne

he came to Defiance, St. Mary's and Loramie's store. He admired

the mighty ruins and ordered the rebuilding of Fort Loramie.

The people in their enthusiasm called from this hour the old

Pickawillany stream, Loramie's creek; then came Loramie's Res-

ervoir; Loramie's Postoffice; Loramie's village and Loramie's

township; all Loramie's. The place of Loramie's store was held

by Wayne as an important strategic point in the war for a pro-

visioning post for the army.

The Fort Loramie built by Wayne in 1794, was occupied as

a military post till 1812, when the fort was evacuated and by

James Furrow converted into a trading post on the line between

Dayton and Piqua, St. Mary's and Fort Wayne.




[This article is by J. O. Amos and appeared in the Shelby County

Democrat October 12, 1894, in which year Loramie celebrated its centen-

nial anniversary. - EDITOR.]

There lurks around the early history of Loramies some of the

most interesting portions of the early history of Ohio. Located

away from the rivers, the great highway of travel by early traders

and adventurers of this country, much of its early history and tra-

ditions can only be gathered together from fragments. The

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writer of this article has from time to time given the early history

of the place his study, and in what we have gathered together

we have been greatly aided by a lecture delivered recently at Lo-

ramies by Father William Bigot and the address of Prof. W. C.

Williamson before the Shelby County Pioneer Association.

In 1749 a company of about twenty English traders estab-

lished themselves at Pickawillany for the purpose of forming

friendly relations with the Twigtwee Indians and trading in the

northwest. This was done the year after Governor Hamilton had

formed an alliance and made a treaty with the Twigtwees. In view

of the fact that the Indian population in the Miami and Maumee

valley were very numerous, this trading station became prosper-

ous and a large population of Indians was drawn around it. The

French and English were trying to control the Ohio valley and

each looked upon the advance of the other in the valley with a

very jealous eye. In 1752 an expedition of French and Indians

was sent to drive off the English traders and bring the Indians

around the station over to the French. A battle was fought re-

sulting in killing and capturing the English and destroying the

station. In 1750 Christopher Gist, an agent of the Ohio Land

Company, of which Washington was the head, traveled through

the Ohio Valley and visited the Pickawillany station. No suc-

cessful efforts were made to revive this settlement until after

Wayne's victory on the Maumee in 1794, although numerous ex-

peditions were sent against the Indians.

Just where the station of Pickawillany was is a matter of

doubt. Sutton's history fixes the place on the Miami river at the

entrance of the Loramies creek in Shelby county. He is in error

about the county. The mouth of the Loramie is in Miami county.

Father Bigot in his lecture says it might have been at Locking-

ton, that when the country was covered with forests, and waters

of the streams were at a higher stage and the boats and canoes

used for travel could have come up to a point near Lockington.

Howe in his late history of Ohio, printed in 1893, says, "it was at

Johnston's prairie, one mile south of the mouth of the Loramie."

In his history published in 1846, Howe says: "The forks of Lo-

ramie creek, in this (Shelby) county, sixteen miles northwest of

Sidney, is a place of historic interest. It was the first point of

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.              11


English settlement in Ohio. As early as 1752, there was a trad-

ing house at this place called by the English, Pickawillany, which

was attacked by the French and Indians that year; but little is

known however of its history" Howe in his new history makes

no explanation why he named a different location in his late his-

tory than is given in his first history.

Again in his history of 1846, Howe says: "In 1749 it ap-

pears that the English built a trading house upon the Great Miami

at a spot since called Loramie's store. * * * The fort or

trading house was called by the English Pickawillany." In some

of the old journals and reports, Pickawillany is referred to as

on the west branch of the Miami river at the point where Fort

Loramies was afterwards built. All agree where Loramie's

store was located. In the library of Hon. F. Bourguin, of Cam-

den, New Jersey, is an old French atlas, a copy of which we have

examined. The title of it is, "Atlas published at Paris, France,

Par C. Rouge, Ing'r, Georgraphe da Roe, rue des Grands Au-

gustine, 1777, and corrected by Brig. Gen'l. of the King's army

in 1776." This map has upon it portages, lines of travel made

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by traders, dates of settlements, times forts were erected, etc.

There are two routes marked upon it. One, "Route de march-

ands," or route of traders running east and west, through the In-

dian towns of "Hockhocken, Delaware, Villa Margaret and Pick-

awillanees," and on westward. The other a south easterly course,

through the last named point to the mouth of the Scioto river,

called the "Bampal Route des Marchands," or principal route of

of the traders. "Pickawillanees, L. Ohio" is marked "Fort Eng-

lois established in 1753." The portage is marked from this latter

point to the St. Mary's river. A comparison of these lines mark-

ing of lines of degrees of latitudes and longitudes on this map

with maps of the present day would fix this "Englois" Fort at or

near the present location of Loramies. There is an old book

called "A Journey From Niagara to Pickawillany" which refers

to this place as the same point as Loramie's store.

After the destruction of Pickawillany station, the Indians

still remained in possession of the country. It was their best

hunting ground and they were loth to give it up. The French

Catholic priests, who were the pioneers of the French settlers in

Canada and all the northwest were very successful in retaining the

friendship of the Indians by personal kindness to them and giv-

ing to them such things as they needed. In 1769, Bishop Ryan,

of Quebec, authorized his Vicar General, whose name was Father

Gibault, and who was established at Kaskaskia to send priests to

the Indians on the Miami river. He went to Vincennes, another

important French post to do so. On his arrival there he found

that Peter Loramie, a Jesuit priest, and some others had already

gone to convert the Indians on the Miami. They went by way

of the Wabash, Ohio river and up the Miami and established

their headquarters at what was called, Loramie's store. St.

Mary's was made another missionary and trading point shortly


Father Bigot says that Loramie and those who first came

with him, brought with them at first only such articles as would

enable them to gain the love and friendship of the Indians, and

that the traders came afterwards and reaped the benefit of the in-

fluence exercised by Loramie upon the Indians It is his opinion

that Loramie had a chapel in connection with the store. This is

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.              13


no doubt correct as Loramie exercised great influence over the


During the time that the French held Canada and England

the colonies, there was great rivalry between the colonies of

the two countries as to which should gain control of the

Ohio valley. The Indians were jealous of both, but were

controlled most by the influences that were most kindly to them.

The Jesuit priests, who were zealous for their conversion,

usually exercised the greatest influence upon them, hence the

Indians were generally the allies of the French. After Canada

passed to the control of England, this feeling still existed in the

northwest and when the Revolution broke out the English took

advantage of it and encouraged the Indians in their hostility to

the colonies. They managed to keep up this hostility until after

the Greenville treaty in 1795. Under these circumstances the

large Indian population in this part of Ohio was very hostile

to the advance of the American civilization in the Ohio valley

and they had the encouragement of Loramie and the French

traders who resided among them.

In 1780, on account of the Indian depredations in Kentucky,

General George Rogers Clark marched an army into the Ohio

country and fought a battle with the Indians in Clarke county,

destroyed their towns and corn crops. In 1782 Clark organized

an army in Kentucky of 1,500 men and marched into this coun-

try again. A battle was fought with the Indians in the vicinity

of Loramies and the Indians were defeated and dispersed. Lor-

amie's store and the mission he is supposed to have organized

was broken up. Clark in his journal says "Loramie's store at

old Pickawillany stream was destroyed. The property destroyed

was of great amount and the provisions surpassed all idea we

had of Indian stores." He describes the store as being at the

south end of the portage between the head waters of the Miami-

of-the-lakes (now the Maumee), and the Miami of the river, or

Great Miami. The headwaters of the Miami-of-the-Lakes is the

St. Mary's river, and the headwaters of the Great Miami, as

involved in the portage, alludes to the "west branch of the Big

Miami river," or Loramie creek. The Greenville treaty de-

scribing the line between the territories ceded by the Indians and

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what they reserved has this clause, "thence westerly to a fork

of that branch of the Great Miami river running into the Ohio

at or near which fork stood Loramie's store and where com-

mences the portage of the Miami of the Ohio and the St. Mary's

river." This treaty was made one year after Wayne had rebuilt

Fort Loramie, and he evidently knew when he described the

portage as commencing at Loramie's store, that supplies had

been brought there by boats for his army.

When these facts are all taken together, they lead to an

uncertainty as to just where Pickawillany was located. Its ex-

act location is clouded with uncertainty. It would seem that first

the French in 1752 and the Americans in 1782 were determined

to destroy every evidence of what was there before. The bulk

of the evidence, as we have been able to collect it in scraps from

different sources, would seem to point out the fact that Picka-

willany and Loramie's store were located about the same place.

Howe says the destruction of Pickawillany must be considered

the real beginning of the French war, that resulted in Canada

being ceded to Great Britain. This station was a wooden fort

and at times contained as many as fifty traders. Most of them

were absent when it was destroyed. It is very evident that Lor-

amie and those who were with him did not remain where they

were for thirteen years without building a fort of some kind to

prevent surprises. Clark does not mention the fort, but it is fair

to presume there was one that was destroyed by him.

Howe says that Loramie with a colony of Shawnees emi-

grated to the Spanish territories west of the Mississippi and

settled at a spot assigned them at the junction of the Kansas

and Missouri rivers where the remaining part of the nation at

different times joined them. General Clark was a man of great

ability and conducted several expeditions against the Indians.

He was also chosen as commissioner to make treaties with the

Indians, and was several times a member of the Kentucky Leg-

islature. The place was considered of sufficient importance as

early as 1749 for the Governor of Canada to send as distin-

guished an officer as Celoron de Bienville to visit it on his way

burying plates announcing the possession of the country by the

King of France.

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.               15


No further effort was made to establish a post here again

until 1790, when it was occupied by General Harmar. He here

first saw Indians in his march northward and captured three of

them. He made no effort to rebuild the fort. There is no evi-

dence that St. Clair visited the place with his army in 1791. In

1794, General Wayne built Fort Loramie. That it was built of

timber is evident from the fact that there is no indications of

earth works, the outline of which could still be seen had it been

an earth work fort instead of being built of logs. Forts built

of logs were sufficient protection against such arms as the In-

dians had.

Fort Loramie stood on the bank of the creek, one-half mile

north of the present town and about where the Arkenberg house

and farm buildings stand. This is also supposed to be the site

of the Loramie store. There are two reasons why this place

should be selected by the Indians as a headquarters, the mission-

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aries and army officers. First, the large springs of excellent

water in the vicinity-a matter of great importance, as the water

in the streams and ponds in the unbroken forest was very bad.

Second, it was near the fork of the creek and the highest point

to which small boats were pushed during high water. A man

who would attempt running boats up the Loramie, or even the

Miami river now, would be considered crazy, but when the forest

was unbroken both streams were used for canoes and light boats

for shipping furs out and bringing in articles to trade with the

Indians and supplies for the army.

Fort Loramie became a prominent point in the Greenville

treaty line. That line extended in a southwesterly direction from

Fort Laurens on the upper Muskingum to Fort Loramie

where it changed to a northwesterly direction to Fort Re-

covery. All south of it was credited to the United States by

the Greenville treaty. A land section, six miles square at the

fort and north of the line became a government reservation.

The fort remained in command of Captain Butler for some time

after the Greenville treaty. History says his family remained

with him while in command at the fort, and one of his children

died while at the post. The grave was marked, but during the

war of 1812 the fence around it was destroyed. The fort was a

military post in the war of 1812, but was only used as a way

station when sending forward supplies to the army at Detroit.

About the only importance attached to it after 1795, was that it

was one of the line of posts from Cincinnati to Fort Wayne,

along which government trains and traders made their way until

the country became sufficiently settled to furnish accommoda-

tion to these civil or military trains. After 1815 it ceased to

have any importance as a military post and was used only as a

hostelry or tavern. The land passed into the hands of a private

owner for farming purposes. James E. Furrow is believed to

have been the first purchaser of the land where the fort stood,

and the first permanent resident of the place.

It is not known who were the first settlers at Loramies for

farming purposes. Those of the earlier date being either trad-

ers, hunters or soldiers. Among the first to take up land for

farming purposes were James E. Furrow, who settled at Fort

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.              17


Loramie, Joseph, Christian and Nathan Mendenhall, and Wil-

liam Prillman. James Pilliod came after these early settlers and

took up a farm west of Loramies. Isaac Edwards came in the

year 1833 and was the first school teacher in the bounds of what

was afterward made into McLean township. This was several

years after the first settlers came to the township. The first

school house stood not far distant from where the boat yard is

now located north of Loramies. From John Edwards and Mike

Schiltz we gleaned the following facts about the early settle-

ment of the town. The original proprietor of Loramies was

William Prillman. It was laid out west of the canal and was a

part of Prillman's farm.  His brother, Christian Prillman,

owned the land on the east side and both their farms were north

of the Greenville treaty line. The town plat was surveyed by

Hon. Jonathan Counts. The land south of the street passing the

Tecklenburg hotel was at that date government lands. The canal

was staked off, when the town was laid out, but no work had

been done on it. The postoffice was kept by James E. Furrow at

the old Fort near where the Arkenberg homestead now stands.

Mr. Furrow kept a small store and a little general store was

kept by J. M. Pilliod west of Loramies.

The original road cut through the country was made by the

army when the campaigns were made against the Indians. These

Vol. XVII -2.

18 Ohio Arch

18       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


roads were corduroyed in the worst places by laying logs and

poles over them  As soon as settlements began at Piqua, Min-

ster, New Bremen and St. Mary's, these towns were supplied with

groceries, clothing and other necessaries by wagoners, who made

regular trips through from Dayton to Ft. Wayne. That they

might assist each other through the swamps the teamsters went

in parties of half a dozen or more at a time. When night came

on these teamsters stopped with the settlers along the road or

camped out. Almost every resident along the road from Piqua

to Ft. Wayne was known as a tavern keeper. Returning from

the north they carried south furs and other things purchased from

the Indians and such produce as the farmers sent to market. As

population increased these wagon trains became more numerous

and afforded better facilities of reaching the markets with grain,

pork and hoop poles, which were the principal articles the farm-

ers had to sell. Taxes were low but had it not been for the hoop

poles that were sent to market in these wagon trains many a set-

tler would not have been able to pay his taxes.

The first farmers in the vicinity of Loramies were of En-

glish descent. The first German who settled in this vicinity was

named Whitebread. He located near where the reservoir bulk-

head now is and was called "The Dutchman" by his neighbors.

When the town was laid out the lots were sold at auction and

sold readily. J. M. Pilliod was the largest purchaser and at one

time he was the largest land holder in the neighborhood, owning

about four hundred acres. Joseph Mendenhall, who was after-

wards a county commissioner, kept a tavern in a log house where

John Gaier's new bakery now stands. The old log house was

torn down to make room for Gaier's house about two years ago.

The first frame house was built as an addition to this tavern by

Joseph Mendenhall. Dr. Clark Ayres was the first resident phy-

sician and built the first brick house, a small one story residence,

on the ground where Stephen Kirner's house now (1894) stands.

The nearest mills were Sidney, Piqua and St. Mary's. The town

was called Berlin and the name was given to it by J. M. Pilliod

and Charles Schiltz, who had come from New Berlin in Stark

county. It was named for their former home. The first build

ing erected after the town was laved out was put up by Ishmael

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.              19


Lattimore and stood south east of the old warehouse. Bernhard

Meyer started the first store in the town. He carried his goods

at first on his back from Piqua.

When work was commenced on the canal there was a large

immigration of people, most of whom were low Germans and

Catholics. Among these were H. H. Dressman, Bernhard Pille,

Ignatz Schell and others. Mr. Pille is still living near Loramies.

They first came as laborers on the canal, but soon took up land

and become permanent settlers. The first cemetery was the old

army cemetery near Fort Loramies. It is not now known just

where it was, but is supposed to be adjoining where the Furrow

family are buried on the Arkenberg farm. James E. Furrow,

who died March 11, 1842, told the old settlers that during the

Indian wars a general in the American army was killed at a bat-

tle fought at Loramies with the Indians and was buried at what

is now the Furrow cemetery. Furrow marked the place where

the general was buried and requested to be buried by his side.

His request was complied with. The grave of the officer is not

marked and neither history nor tradition records who he was. In

excavating in a gravel pit one-fourth of a mile further north re-

mains of human bones have been found who some suppose to be

soldiers, but it is more probable they are Indian remains of an

earlier date as it is known that these forts built by Wayne and

other officers were only for temporary purposes and soldiers, who

died were buried a short distance from the forts. The Furrow

family cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall and this family is

supposed to be the first settling near Loramies. An old ceme-

tery was established near the canal on an elevation about one

half mile north of the town. Many of the early settlers are

buried here, but time is rapidly effacing the evidence that it ever

had been a cemetery, and unless some one takes charge and has it

enclosed the graves of the early settlers will soon be unknown.

The Catholic cemetery near the St. Michael's church was conse-

crated shortly after the work was commenced on the canal and

before any steps were taken to build a church.

The canal was finished in 1841 and as soon as it was opened

the wagon trains, which had done a flourishing business, stopped,

and the taverns along the road became simple farm houses. The

20 Ohio Arch

20       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


first boat to arrive at Berlin was the State boat. It came up on

Sunday and stuck in the mud just south of town. It was visited

by the whole population of the place and its arrival hailed with

great joy. The first packet freight boat that went through was

called the Belvedier. It was commanded by Captain Ira Wilder.

As soon as the canal was opened the trade became extensive.

Merchants from Cincinnati shipped their dry goods, groceries,

salt, hardware and such articles around through the Erie canal,

of New York, Lake Erie and down the canal, while they sent

north in exchange sugar, grain, pork, whisky, etc. The produce

of the country was bought by local dealers and shipped north or

south as the best markets demanded it. Hoop poles and cord

wood always found a ready market south. Grain was usually

sent north. Every town along the canal was a busy place of

trade and grew rapidly. Business was prosperous and packet

boats numerous. The railroads have worked a great change in

business since.

The Catholic church was organized about the year 1838.

The first brick church was built in 1849. It was a plain structure

thirty by sixty feet, afterwards an addition of twenty feet was

built to it. In 1853 Father August Berger came to Loramies and

took charge of the congregation. He remained until 1857. Dur-

ing the time he was there the priest house was built. He was

succeeded by Father Nuckerheide, who remained until 1863. He

was succeeded by Father Meyer, who remained until 1873, when

his health failed and he was succeeded by Father William Bigot,

who is the present pastor of the church. When Father Bigot

came to Loramies he was told by Archbishop Purcell that he

would find enough to do; that besides the regular work as pastor

there was need of a new church. The work was commenced and

October 21, 1879, the cornerstone for the new church was laid.

The day was as hot as midsummer and 2,000 people stood in the

sun and witnessed the ceremony of laying the cornerstone. On

the 2d day of July, 1881, the church was completed and was con-

secrated by Bishop Elder in the presence of 3,000 people. It is

sixty feet wide and one hundred and sixty-five feet long. It is

well finished both inside and outside and one of the finest country

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.               21


churches in the State. It has a congregation made up of over

two hundred families.

From the earliest history of Loramies its population as well

as the country around the place have been members of the Cath-

olic church. This is not only the case with the actual settlers for

farming purposes, but when under the control of the French at

the earliest period of which we are able to gather from traditions

and early history of the northwest. As stated before, and we

think conclusively proven, Peter Loramie was a Catholic mis-

sionary among the Indians at Loramies for thirteen years, and

his great influence among them is to be attributed to that fact.

Another evidence aside from these given is that in the year 1871

Mathias Utes while making an excavation west of Loramies dug

up a solid silver cross about eight inches long that had been lost

or buried there. This cross was fashioned after those worn by

French and Spanish officers during the eighteenth century. The

finding of this cross and the gold cross found near Rhine, as de-

scribed by a resident of Botkins, together with the scraps of his-

torical facts that we are able to obtain, prove the fact that Lora-

mies and the early French posts in this section of Ohio were

Catholic missionary stations among the Indians as well as trading


Loramies has had a very popular hotel for many years. It

was formerly called the Vondrelie House. It is now called the

Tecklenburg House and is under the management of Henry Teck-



[An essay read before the Shelby County Pioneer Association at

Sidney, Ohio, Sept. 1st, 1894, by Prof. C. W. Williamson.- EDITOR.]

Nearly two hundred years have passed since adventurous

white men began to penetrate the wilderness of western Ohio. It

was the greatest wilderness west of the Allegheny mountains, and

was the ideal hunting grounds of the Indians. Game of nearly

every description was found here in greater abundance than in

any other section of the Mississippi valley. It is not to be won-

dered at that the Indians parted with this vast domain with such

great reluctance. The forest of that time is not represented by

22 Ohio Arch

22       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

the few patches of timber, now to be seen at remote distances over

the country.

In the year 1680 the French governor of Canada, Count de

Frontenac, sent a detachment of men up the Maumee river to

establish a trading post. They chose a site just below what is

now known as Maumee City and built a small stockade. This

was the first point occupied by white men in western and north-

western Ohio. About 1698 the same party abandoned the Mau-

mee post and moved further to the northwest and established a

trading post at what is now known as Fort Wayne. Between

the years 1698 and 1770 French trading posts were established

at Vincennes, Loramies, St. Mary's, Wapakoneta, and at points

on the Ohio river. The colonists always jealous of the French,

also established posts in Ohio and Indiana and along the great

rivers of the west. From 1740 until after the American revolu-

tion a great rivalry existed between English and French traders

each endeavoring to control the trade with the Indians. As a

consequence of this rivalry, there were frequent conflicts be-

tween the occupants of the different posts. The Indians em-

ployed by the contending parties, having no regard for the rights

of property or feelings of mercy, frequently robbed the weaker

posts and devastated their inmates. In the year 1748 Governor

Hamilton, of Pennsylvania, negotiated a treaty with the Twig-

twee Indians, who occupied the country to the south of this place,

and to preserve the relations established by the treaty, he sent out

in the fall of 1750, a company of twenty-five traders who estab-

lished a trading post at the mouth of Pickawillany creek, a point

on the Miami river about eight or nine miles from Sidney. Be-

fore the next spring a blockhouse was completed and several

stores and dwellings were erected. The traders did a flourishing

business until an incident occurred which gave offence to the

French. In the fall of 1751 four deserters from some French

trading post delivered themselves to the English traders at Pick-

awillany. The Twigtwees who had suffered much at the hands

of the French and their Indian allies, wanted the deserters de-

livered to them for purpose of revenge. This the traders hu-

manely refused to do, and to save their lives sent them to an

English trading post on the Muskingum river, commanded by

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.              23


Colonel George Croghan. When the French governor of Canada

heard that deserters from his service were received and protected

at Pickawillany, he became greatly enraged and ordered a de-

tachment under Sieur de Joncaire to proceed to Pickawillany

and destroy the post. In May, 1752, he left Detroit and on the

twenty-first of June at early dawn reached Pickawillany. An at-

tack immediately commenced and after a spirited resistance

the fort was surrendered. In the skirmish fourteen Twigtwees

and one trader were killed. At the conclusion of the surrender

the buildings were all burned and the goods appropriated. The

English traders were taken to Canada, but tradition says but few

of them reached there. The Twigtwees king, Old Britain, was

killed and boiled in a kettle and eaten by the Canadian Indians

who accompanied the expedition. At the time of the attack

Pickawillany numbered four hundred Indian families. After the

defeat of the English traders the Indian village was broken into

and the fort was never rebuilt. The French paid no further at-

tention to this location until Peter Loramie, a French Jesuit and

24 Ohio Arch

24       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

trader came over from Vincennes and established a store on

Pickawillany creek about nine miles north of its junction with

the Miami river. Loramie was a great hater of the Americans,

and his store was, for thirteen years, the headquarters from which

expeditions were sent against the pioneers of southern and east-

ern Ohio. Loramie so endeared himself to the Indians, that he

was able to exercise absolute control over them. "I have," says

Colonel Johnston, "seen the Indians burst into tears when

speaking of the time when their French father had domain over

them." Soon after Loramie established his store, other stores

were established in what is now Auglaize county. One of them

was located on the St. Mary's river, about two miles east of the

village of St. Mary's. It was what is called in the west, a dug-

out, that is, the apartments occupied by the traders were excava-

tions made in the bank of the river, protected in front and on the

sides by pickets. But little is known concerning this post, be-

yond the fact that it was occupied by French traders. They no

doubt left at the time General George Rogers Clark visited

Loramie's store. About the same time that the St. Mary's post

was established, Francis Deuchouquette and two other French-

men established a trading post at Wapakoneta. They built a

stockade on the Auglaize river on what is known as the Shafer

farm. A spring in the southeast corner of the stockade fur-

nished the inmates with an abundance of good water. This

stockade is called Fort Auglaize in some of the earlier histories.

I must recur again to the date of 1782. In that year and

for four or five years prior to that date the pioneers of Cincin-

nati suffered much from the atrocities committed by the Indians

sent out from Loramie's store. So noted had the place become

in 1782, that General George Rogers Clark marched against

the place with a regiment of Kentucky volunteers. The post

was taken by surprise and Loramie had barely time to make his

escape. The Indian village was destroyed and Loramie's store

was plundered and burnt. For a few years afterward the pio-

neers around Cincinnati were not molested. Seven years after

the dispersion of the Indians at Loramie, General Harmar re-

ceived orders from General Washington to proceed to Cincin-

nati, and from there to march on the Indian towns adjacent to

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.             25


the lakes and inflict on them such signal chastisement as should

protect the settlements from  future depredations.  On the

thirtieth of September, 1790, he left Cincinnati and on the

eleventh of October passed through Pickawillany. The next

day they passed the ruins of Loramie's store, taking a northerly

direction. He must, therefore, have passed through where the

villages of Berlin, Minster, New Bremen and St. Mary's now

stand to the Auglaize river and the towns on the Wabash. Har-

mar's campaign was a failure, owing mainly to the incompetency

of the commander. The subjugation of the Indians was next

intrusted to General Arthur St. Clair, who, with 2,300 men,

left Cincinnati on the seventeenth of September, and reached

Greenville, Darke county, on the twenty-fourth. On the second

of November they left Greenville and on the third of November

reached what is now called Fort Recovery. It will not be nec-

essary for me to rehearse the particulars of the terrible battle

26 Ohio Arch

26       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


that occurred the next morning. Shelby county and Auglaize

furnished their full quota of Indians on that occasion. Two

hundred Shawnees left Wapakoneta a little after midnight on the

fourth and arrived at Recovery while the battle was in prog-

ress. Their arrival was announced by hideous yells and cheering

which was noted by the soldiers in St. Clair's army. By nine

o'clock the defeat was complete. Nine hundred dead and wound-

ed soldiers lay on the field of battle. No prisoners were taken

by the Indians. Every prisoner found on the field was toma-

hawked and scalped. I saw the bones of these dead men at the

time I attended the centennial exercises at Fort Recovery in

1891. The cut of the tomahawk and marks of the scalping knife

were noticeable on nearly every skull in the large coffins exposed

to view in the church. The Indians from around Sidney, Wapa-

koneta and St. Mary's, the day before the battle, sent all their

women and children and old men to a point on the Auglaize river

somewhere near Fort Amanda. Among the number was a cap-

tive boy, John Bickwell, who afterward stated that on the fifth,

the day after the battle, he and a large number of women and

men went over to the battlefield to gather plunder. On the road

somewhere between St. Mary's and Recovery they found the

bodies of three white men who were horribly mutilated. The

Indians remarked to him that it was too bad. That it had been

done by Indians from Canada, who had eaten portions of them.

After they returned to the Auglaize river in the evening an old

squaw told him that her arms were so tired from scalping white

men that she could hardly raise it to her head. It will not be

necessary for me to repeat the remainder of the history of this

disastrous defeat. The return of the routed army spread con-

sternation throughout the country. Many people thought it best

to relinquish all the country north of the Ohio river to the In-

dians and make that river the northern boundary of the United

States. On the return of the remnant of the army to Cincinnati,

General St. Clair was relieved of his command, and was suc-

ceeded by General Anthony Wayne. The government decided

upon a third campaign against the Indians of the northwest.

Wayne was appointed by the government as the one above all

others most capable of managing a critical campaign. On the

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.            27


seventh of October, 1793, he left Cincinnati, and on the twenty-

second reached a point six miles north of Port Jefferson, where

they erected Fort Greenville and went into winter quarters. The

army remained here for nearly a year. The soldiers in the mean-

time were being drilled preparatory to the great campaign of the

next summer. On the sixteenth of July, 1704, he was joined by

General Charles Scott, with 1,600 mounted Kentuckians, who on

the twenty-eighth commenced the construction of a road to Lora-

mies where they built a bridge and erected a fort. From there

they constructed a road on Harmar's trail to St. Mary's and

erected a fort and called it Fort St. Mary's. After its completion

General Scott marched to Fort Recovery and joined General

Wayne on his way to Defiance. It would be a waste of time for

me to give the details of that campaign, knowing that it is related

in many histories.

From Defiance, Wayne marched down the Maumee, fought

the battle of the Fallen Timbers, gaining a victory that forever

settled the Indian controversy concerning the northwest. The

28 Ohio Arch

28       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


horde of savages who had assumed to dictate terms to the Ameri-

can nation, abandoned themselves to flight. They were compelled

to sue for peace on the conquerors' own terms. Negotiations

with the Indians commenced in the winter and continued until

August 3, 1795, when the red men came to a permanent peace

with the Thirteen Fires. The treaty sent a thrill of relief through

the country. The treaty ceding to the Union two-thirds of the

present state, guaranteed the safety of all settlers who respected

the Indian's rights and set in motion once more the machinery

of immigration.  When it became known that a treaty was

Loramie and Pickawillany

Loramie and Pickawillany.             29


about to be made, people with anxious faces from Pennsylvania,

Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, began to assemble at Greenville.

The word had gone out that the white captives among the In-

dians were to be brought in. They were there to meet the lost


During the war everything had been at a standstill. At the

return of peace the settlements broke into cheerful activity and

new schemes of peaceful invasion were set on foot. Within three

weeks after Wayne's treaty General Jonathan Dayton and others

marked off the town of Dayton. Cincinnati at the time of St.

Clair's defeat had but thirty log cabins. Four years later it had

a hundred and thirty, and over five hundred inhabitants. At each

succeeding month the tide of immigration become stronger. Set-

tlements were commenced at Hamilton, Greenville, Piqua and

Sidney. These conditions of peace and prosperity continued un-

til the breaking out of the second war of the revolution; com-

monly called the war of 1812. The pioneers of southern Ohio

were not so much affected by the war, as were those who were

located at points along the lake. During the time of the war

the armies formed a barrier between the pioneers of southern

Ohio and the troublesome Indians of northern and northwestern

Ohio. Three more years of war again brought peace to the

pioneer state of the west. The armies of Wayne, Scott and

Harrison were composed of men who were looking for homes.

They were fascinated with the beauty of the scenery and the

fertility of the soil in the Miami and Maumee valleys. Large

numbers of them made immediate preparation upon their return

home to immigrate to the valleys of Ohio. Covered wagons

from the east and the south were to be seen every hour of the

day traveling along the great army roads leading to the north.

Flat boats could be seen every hour of the day coming down the

Ohio river and landing at Marietta, Cincinnati and other towns

lower down the river. My paternal grandfather, who was a

civil engineer, came down the Ohio river and settled at Marietta.