Ohio History Journal





Enthusiastic interest was manifest at the dedication

of the monument to George Rogers Clark August 8 on

the site of the battle of Piqua near Springfield, Ohio.

It was here on August 8, 1780, that George Rogers

Clark and his little army of Kentucky frontiersmen

vanquished the Shawnee Indians and burned their vil-

lage. This was a punitive expedition provoked by the

incursions of the Indians into the territory south of the

Ohio. Its purpose was completely successful and se-

cured peace to the white settlers south of the Ohio.

Together with his achievements at Kaskaskia and

Vincennes it confirmed the claim of the United States

to the territory northwest of the Ohio River when the

treaty with England was made at the conclusion of the

Revolutionary War.

In honor of this achievement the county which in-

cludes this historic site was named after General Clark.

The site of the Indian village is historic for another

reason. It was here in 1768 that the famous Indian

chieftain Tecumseh was born. He was twelve years

old at the time of the battle. It is said that he never

forgot the fate of his people on this eventful day, the

smoke of their burning cabins and his flight into the


The program of the day opened with a street parade

in the city of Springfield. Companies of the 147th

Regiment of the Ohio National Guard, members of the


George Rogers Clark 493

George Rogers Clark           493

Loyal Veterans organization, uniformed companies of

local fraternal orders, Boy Scouts and school children

marched by the flag-decked stand in front of Memorial

Hall where they were reviewed by Governor A. V.

Donahey and other distinguished guests.

John B. McGrew was grand marshal of the parade

which was in three divisions. Colonel Simon Ross of

the Ohio National Guard was assistant marshal.

The first division was led by the 147th Division

Band, with Merrill H. Mellott as commander. In this

division were the National Guard troops, Spanish-

American War Veterans, members of the Grand Army

of the Republic, American Legion members, local mem-

bers of the Reserve Officers Corps, the George Rogers

Clark Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution

and the fraternal order of Red Men.

The second division was commanded by Charles J.

Gobel, and was composed of various local fraternal


In the third division commanded by Sherman Otstot

were the children from the local schools and playgrounds

marching to music furnished by the children's drum

corps of the K. of P. Home.

Later the distinguished guests were entertained at

luncheon at the Springfield Country Club by the local

committee in charge of the dedication which was headed

by A. D. Hosterman. A great concourse of people at

two o'clock assembled on the hill overlooking the valley

west of Springfield where the battle of Piqua was fought

in 1780. The program opened with music by the 147th

Regiment band of the Ohio National Guard. A

military salute was fired to Major General Omar Bundy

494 Ohio Arch

494       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

of the United States Army, who had been designated

by President Coolidge as official representative of the

President of the United States Government, and to

Honorable A. V. Donahey, Governor of Ohio.

A flag was then raised, the ceremony directed by

General Omar Bundy, followed by flag salute and the

singing of the National anthem.

Prayer was offered by Rev. T. Wallace Gross. The

statue was unveiled by Honorable George Rogers Bal-

lard Thurston of Louisville, Kentucky, a direct descend-

ant from the youngest sister of General George Rogers


Dr. Benjamin F. Prince, President of the Clark

County Historical Society presented the statue to the

State of Ohio.

Following are brief excerpts from his scholarly


One hundred and forty years ago there was enacted here a

deed of more than ordinary character and significance, by the

brave and daring pioneers of Kentucky, then a county of Virginia.

In the spring of 1780 invasions were made into that region led by

the Shawnee Indians from their village here and other places in

Ohio. They were supported by Captain Bird, of the British

Army of Detroit, with a number of soldiers from that post. Two

stations were taken and about three hundred prisoners were car-

ried into captivity. Many of the children were cruelly murdered

by the savages. The hearts of the pioneers of Kentucky were

deeply stirred and a day of vengeance was longed for.

When this invasion of Kentucky occurred General George

Rogers Clark was at Vincennes. He heard of this foray and

hurried back to Kentucky. As commander of the Western Army

he at once issued an order for every man of military age to re-

port at the mouth of the Licking River. These hardy men came

from farms and stations to the number of about one thousand,

ready with Clark as leader to enter the forests for their north-

ward march. * * * Clark and his army approached the Indian

village in three divisions. * * * The battle lasted several hours

with a loss in killed of but twenty on each side. The Indians left

George Rogers Clark 495

George Rogers Clark                495


Piqua as a dwelling place forever. For a short time they rested

on the site of the present city of Piqua and then located in the

region about Fort Wayne.

Here then the men of Kentucky not only warred but shed

their blood that this region as well as their own Kentucky might

resound with the arts of civilized life rather than the war cry of

a savage people.

Honorable James E. Campbell, former governor of

Ohio and President of the Ohio State Archaeological

and Historical Society, on behalf of the state accepted

the monument. In  his remarks he recounted the

pioneer history of Ohio and praised the courage and

fortitude of the early settlers.

He said in part:

The few remarks I shall make are addressed to Governor

Donahey, the titular head of the State, to Mr. Eustice and the

two ladies who are descended from General Clark, to Mr. Alford,

the descendant of Tecumseh, and to all of you who, like myself,

are just simply American citizens.

It is very appropriate that this monument should be given by

the Historical Society of Clark County, through Dr. Prince, a

member of the board of trustees of the Ohio State Archaeological

and Historical Society, the oldest member in point of years, al-

though probably when he looks at me he would like to deny it,

the senior member in point of service and scholastic ability on the

board. Although he is a college president, the rest of us just

graduated from the little red school house. Perhaps you ought to

know something about this Society.

It is supported practically by the State, the members paying

in a little money. They elect nine members of the board of

trustees and the governor appoints six members. The governor

and the head of the educational department of the state are ex

officio members of the board. These seventeen members ad-

minister the affairs of the Society. It has a great building on the

campus of the Ohio State University. It is now building at an

expense of more than three hundred thousand dollars an addi-

tion to be known as the World War Memorial Wing, dedicated

to the soldiers living and dead of the World War, that will be

dedicated, we hope, on next Memorial Day, and it will be a

credit to the state and to our American citizenship.

I am impressed by the audience here gathered to see this

496 Ohio Arch

496       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications


unveiling today. We have not only the governor of the State of

Ohio; we have two United States Senators -- that is all we are

entitled to or they would all be here. We have the Secretary of

State, the Treasurer of State and the Auditor of State -- all five

of these gentlemen are well known Republican politicians. Now

I say that somewhat smoothly, being a Democrat myself, but I

will exonerate them from playing politics today. The Democrats

will come out when occasion demands, I will admit, but Fess and

Willis have their seats nailed down for a long term.

We have here Major General Bundy, commander in this

region of the United States Army, with headquarters at Fort

Hayes in Columbus, Ohio, whom you are to hear later. General

Bundy organized the second overseas division and commanded

it when the American troops started in at Chateau Thierry and

never stopped until they had the German army on the run across

the border.

We have here today four trustees of this Society which I

represent -- your fellow townsmen Dr. Prince and General Kei-

fer, hero of I don't know how many wars, but every war that

ever happened since he was born, and if he lives until the next

war he will be one of the heroes of that; also General Flor-

ence who was with our regiment in the Rainbow Division in

France, and General Orton. You will notice that we deal in

nothing less than generals. I am the only warrior on the board

who was not a general. I was in a war once, just a common

buck private, but they shot at me as readily as they did at these

big fellows with the shoulder straps. We have also on our

Board Dr. William O. Thompson, President of the Ohio State

University, the best educational institution in America.

In conclusion Governor Campbell said:

Dr. Prince said he thought I would accept this monument.

This reminds me of Allen O. Myers. Those of you who knew

him will remember that he was a great mimic. He used to go

around with me to political gatherings. I was running against

Foraker that time. I might tell you I was beaten twice, but then

you know a lot of good men who have been elected governor only

once. Isn't that so, Willis?

Senator Willis: "You bet."

The only difference is that the rest of us relapsed to our

native obscurity and Willis moved up into the United States

Senate, which shows you can't keep a good man down.

Well, Allen used to imitate Foraker's acceptance of his third

nomination. One is enough for some good men, but three is too

many for any man. It was said that Foraker would not accept

George Rogers Clark 497

George Rogers Clark                497

the third nomination, but he was nominated and then Allen would

imitate his acceptance. He said that Foraker marched out and

said, "Gentlemen of the convention, I accept this nomination."

And gentlemen, I am equally ready to accept this monument on

behalf of our Society, for the Society of which I am President,

and I hope and believe it will stand forever as a memorial to a

great man, a great cause and a stimulus to American patriotism.


Mr. Charles Keck of New York City, sculptor of the

memorial statue of General Clark, was presented to the

audience as was also Mr. Thomas W. Alford of the

Shawnee Indian Agency, Shawnee, Oklahoma. Mr.

Alford is a lineal descendant of the noted Shawnee

chief, Tecumseh, who was born in the Indian village

of Piqua which was destroyed by George Rogers Clark

and his followers. Mr. Alford was sent to participate in

the unveiling ceremonies through the Commissioner of

Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C., and Honorable A.

W. Leech, Superintendent of the Indian Agency in


The chairman introduced Governor A. V. Donahey

who spoke in part as follows:

It is my privilege and honor as Governor of Ohio to welcome

and introduce to you the visiting dignitaries of other states, but

before I present them I desire to take a few minutes of your time.

A little more than a century and a quarter ago George Rogers

Clark crossed the Ohio River and wrested the Northwest Terri-

tory from the British. At that time this great territory was a

wilderness with only about two or three hundred white inhabi-

tants. I wish you to visualize in this century and a quarter what

has occurred in Ohio. Today we are six and a quarter millions

of people with a grand tax duplicate of eleven and one half bil-

lion dollars, twenty-two thousand corporations organized and

chartered to do business, ninety-five steam railroads intersecting

the state, with eighty-five thousand miles of highways, with ten

thousand school buildings in Ohio and employing thirty-five

thousand teachers, while twenty-five thousand Buckeye boys and

girls are attending our state-supported universities and colleges.

Vol. XXXIII -- 32.

498 Ohio Arch

498       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

In addition we have ninety-eight hundred churches of all

denominations, and best of all, when a death takes place, vital

statistics record two births in Ohio. If as a people we will edu-

cate ourselves, and approve morality and patriotism, our country,

for which our forefathers fought, will increase blessings for all

the people for all time.

In a few well chosen words Governor Donahey then

presented the representatives of Virginia, Indiana,

Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota who were

present by the authority of the governors of these differ-

ent states and each of whom responded in a well timed

and appropriate address.

The Chairman then introduced the veteran soldier

and statesman, General J. Warren Keifer, ex-speaker

of the national House of Representatives and the hero

of two wars who delivered an eloquent historical ad-

dress.  He pointed out the places of special historic

interest that could be seen from the elevated point on

which the monument stands -- the battleground over

which the Americans under Clark charged the Indians

and the site of the village which they burned and the

birthplace of Tecumseh. He dwelt especially upon the

significance of the results of this battle and its in-

fluence in strengthening the claim of the United States

to the Territory northwest of the Ohio River at the

conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Of Tecumseh

and Clark General Keifer said:

Tecumseh was in that battle and it was his first. He was born

here in 1768. He was twelve years old. Tecumseh became one

of the greatest Indian chieftains of this country. He never com-

pletely forgave the people of the United States for having dis-

possessed his people of their lands. He joined the English later

in the War of 1812, was made brigadier-general in the British

Army and was killed at the battle of the Thames in Canada.

Clark was a great soldier and entitled to be honored through

all the ages. * * * The time came when it was a question

George Rogers Clark 499

George Rogers Clark              499


whether this territory northwest of the River Ohio should be

included with Canada and become British territory. History

tells us that the distinguished patriot, Benjamin Franklin, was

willing to concede that Great Britain held it by treaties with

the Indian tribes. But the new Republic claimed it had acquired

it by conquest, by the victory won by George Rogers Clark; and

it was finally decided that the territory northwest of the Ohio

River and south of the Great Lakes belonged to the United


Dr. W. O. Thompson, President of the Ohio State

University, was then introduced and delivered the prin-

cipal address of the occasion. It is published in full

elsewhere in this issue of the QUARTERLY.

Benediction was then pronounced by Dr. R. H.

Hume and the program closed with music by the 147th

Regiment Band.

Many distinguished guests were present including

a number of state officials, United States Senators,

Frank B. Willis and Simeon D. Fess, and officers of

the Ohio National Guard and the United States Army.

The program was interspersed with flights of United

States airplanes under charge of officers from Fort


Mr. A. D. Hosterman, chairman of the meeting,

presided with dignity and the entire program closed

without a break and on time. The occasion will long

be recalled with pleasure by those who were present.

The Historical Society of Clark County deserves great

credit for its economical application of the funds pro-

vided by the state in the erection of this historic monu-

ment which for generations to come will invite the at-

tention of the passer-by and tourist to the historic Mad

River Valley and the scenes enacted there in the long

ago when the American colonies were struggling to be

free and independent states.