Ohio History Journal

26 Ohio Arch

26       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


The largest was Cincinnati with 115,000, and in them all there

were less than 200,000 of population. The following year the

convention assembled which framed the new constitution for the

state of Ohio. That convention provided and laid down an iron-

clad rule that all cities should be governed by a general law,

and that there should be no special charters. That, perhaps, was

not an unreasonable rule at that time, for then there were but

the nine cities, the largest 115,000, altogether less than 200,000

people. It would not be a very hard thing to provide one law

which should control those nine cities.

Another fifty years went by, and the supreme court of the

state had reaffirmed the iron-bound rule of the constitution.

The general assembly was called in extra session. Then we found

that Ohio had seventy-one cities with more than 5,000 people.

The largest was your own splendid city of Cleveland with its

370,000. In them all there were 1,800,000 people to be governed

by the new law. What was an easy task in 1851 was a most diffi-

cult task in 1902. A new general law was made for the govern-

ment of our cities. The general assembly, considering all its

difficulties, did the best that it could; but, from the din which

has surrounded my ears for the last few months, I am quite

sure there are quite a few people among the 1,800,000 who are

not satisfied. (Laughter.) But I trust, fellow citizens and mem-

bers of the Chamber of Commerce, that you will remember that

the best code can be spoiled by bad administrators, and that

the poorest code will seem to be the best with good adminis-

trators. I therefore hope that you as good citizens of Cleveland,

that all good citizens of the state, will take the new code and do

the best they can with it by seeing that honest, intelligent and

upright men are elected to your municipal offices in April next.


Going back to  1805, I discover that Cleveland under the

census had but 17,100 inhabitants, and I also discover that my

own city of Columbus had 17,800. We were ahead of you then,

but we have given up the race. We are willing to take off our

hats and say 'Cleveland men go ahead, for this place belongs to

you.' (Applause.)  But Cincinnati still thinks that she is in the

race. To be sure, since 1850, Cleveland has become twenty-two

A Century of Statehood

A Century of Statehood.               27


times as large as she was then and Cincinnati only three times

as large as she was then. (Applause.) Sometimes I have won-

dered at the growth and prosperity of this great city of Cleveland.

It has been a mystery to me, but tonight the mystery is solved.

When I have looked upon this splendid assemblage of represen-

tatives of Cleveland citizenship I do not wonder that you have

grown and prospered. I almost believe if the great lake was

taken away from your doors that Cleveland would still continue

to grow and prosper.

In these 100 years not only has our population increased,

but we have also increased in manufacturing, in mining, and in

all the paths of industry. There were no mines developed in

Ohio when she became a state. Now, last year 25,000 men were

employed in coal mining; they produced more than 20,000,000

tons of coal of the value, upon the cars at the mines ready for

shipment, of more than $23,000,000. Our railroads not only have

been commenced, but they have grown until all parts of the state

are crossed by them and last year we had 8,700 miles of railroad.

Their employes numbered more than 67,000. The wages paid

to these employes amounted to more than $42,000,000. The gross

income of these railroads was $101,000,000 and their net earnings

about $13,000,000.

Then in agriculture we have grown and prospered as well

as in the other industries. The value of all the farm products

produced in Ohio during the year 1900 was more than

$200,000,000. I want to call attention to our manufacturing

industries. In our manufacturing establishments last year we

employed an army of 345,000 men. Their wages amounted to

$123,000,000, and the things which they made were of the value

of more than $800,000,000. (Applause.) This shows how our

state has grown and prospered.

But it is not of our material wealth of which we should be

most proud. Ohio has been engaged in better business. During

all these 100 years she has been engaged in the work of raising

splendid men and women, who have added fame and luster to

her name, have done splendid service for our state as well as

for our whole nation. (Applause.)  This has been the result,

because one of the characteristics of the state, from the very

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28       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


beginning has been the pride which our people have taken in their

public schools. During the last thirty-five years the people of

Ohio have spent upon her public schools the sum of $360,000,000

(applause), and during her whole history the sum thus expended

has been more than half a billion dollars.

Then, again, the people of Ohio have been and are a patriotic

people. Our foundation stone was the great ordinance of 1787.

It has been said that a better law for the government of mankind

has never been conceived by the mind of man. One of the pro-

visions of that great ordinance was, that human slavery should

never exist in the states created out of that territory. Another

of its provisions declared that education and religion are necessary

for the happiness of mankind. Therefore, our people have made

provision for that.

Butt of all the good provisions of that great law, I think

the one was the best which declared the said territory, and the

states which may be formed therein, shall forever remain a part

of this confederacy of the United States of America. (Applause.)

Calhoun and his followers, those who afterwards took part as

members of the southern confederacy, contended that this nation

was a mere confederation of states, which could be broken at the

will of any state. The people of the north contended that this

was not the case. About this controversy we waged cruel war

for four long years. It seems to me that this extract from the

ordinance of 1787 destroyed forever the argument then put forth.

If the old constitution was an unstable compact from which any

state could be withdrawn, the passage of this ordinance of 1787

by the congress of the United States, with all the votes of the

members of that congress, north and south, except one destroyed

that doctrine, and declared that this union should last forever,

because they provided that the states erected in the northwest

territory should be forever a part of the confederacy of the

United States. (Applause.)

When Ohio sent forth her soldiers from  1861 to 1865 to

fight for the union of states she was simply upholding the declara-

tions of their fathers put forth in this ordinance of 1787. Hap-

pily, this contest is over. Every state in this union, not only

those which existed in the northwest territory, not only the states

A Century of Statehood

A Century of Statehood.                29


of the north, but also the states of the south, are united in the

declaration of the old ordinance of 1787, and now are willing to

say that the confederacy of the United States of America shall

last forever.







Away back in the thirties of the 19th century, a literary

magazine of high order called "The Hesperian of the West" was

published in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, it is the only literary

periodical that ever was published in the Capital City of Ohio.

In the publication of this magazine,

William D. Gallagher and Otway

Curry, both men of high literary at-

tainments were associated together as

editors. Poems from the pens of both

of these writers have been published

largely throughout the west, with the

writings of Geo. D. Prentice, Phoebe

and Alice Cary, Piatt, Mrs. Sigour-

ney and other distinguished authors,

in a book published somewhere in the

fifties under the caption "Poets and

Poetry of the West." I have in my

possession, two volumes of the "The

Hesperian" in which are published

several articles which are of historical interest to the citizens of

Columbus and Franklin County. Almost within sight of the

capitol building on the west bank of the Scioto River, ten miles

north of Columbus, where the "Wyandot Club" has erected a

monument to mark the spot where the noted Indian Chief, Leather

Lips* was executed was enacted a thrilling tragedy in the summer

of 181O.

While some of the pioneers residing along the Scioto can

relate incidents connected with the execution of this Indian Chief,

handed down by their ancestors, the Sells' Davis' Currys' and

others, still these stories are largely traditional.

*His Indian name was Shateyaronyah.


The Wyandot Chief, Leather Lips

The Wyandot Chief, Leather Lips.          31


When a young boy, I remember distinctly hearing my father

and my Uncle Captain James Curry who served in the war of

1812 with Asa Davis and who was also an intimate friend of

Captain Samuel Davis a famous Indian fighter with Simon Ken-

ton and Lewis Whetzel, relate in every detail the story of Leather

Lips, as told to them by these old pioneers. In a volume of the

Hesperian, published in 1838, is an article written by Otway

Curry which gives the full particulars of the execution as related

to the writer by Mr. Benjamin Sells and other witnesses to the

execution who were living at the time the article was written

and so far as can be ascertained, it is the only authentic history

ever published. The article written by Mr. Curry is prefaced by

a brief history of the Wyandot tribe to which Leather Lips be-

longed, as follows:-


The great northern family of Indian tribes which seem to

have been originally embraced in the generic term Iroquois, con-

sisted, according to some writers, of two grand divisions, the

eastern and the western. In the eastern division were included

the five nations or Maquas, (Mingos) as they were commonly

called by the Algonkin tribes and in the western the Yendots

or Wyandots, (nick-named Hurons by the French) and three or

four other nations, of whom a large proportion are now entirely

extinct. The Yendots, after a long and deadly warfare, were

nearly exterminated by the Five Nations, about the middle of

the seventeenth century. Of the survivors, part sought refuge

in Canada, where their descendents still remain; a few were

incorporated among the different tribes of the conquerors, and

the remainder, consisting chiefly of the Tionontates retired to

Lake Superior. In consequence of the disastrious wars in which

they afterwards became involved with other powerful nations of

the northwestern region, they again repaired to the vicinity of

their old hunting grounds. With this remnant of the original

Huron or Wyandot nation, were united some scattered fragments

of other broken-up tribes of the same stock, and though com-

paratively few in number they continued for a long period, to

assert successfully the right of sovereignty over the whole extent

of country between the Ohio River and the Lakes, as far west as

32 Ohio Arch

32        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


the territory of the Piankishaws or Miamies, whose eastern bound-

ary was probably an irregular line, drawn through the valley

of the Great Miami, (Shimeamee) and the Ottawah-se-pee or

Maumee, river of Lake Erie. The Shawanese and the Dela-

wares, it is believed, were occupants of a part of the fore-men-

tioned country, merely by sufferance of the Wyandots, whose

right of dominion seemed never to have been called in question,

excepting by the Mingoes or Five Nations. The Shawanese

were originally powerful and always war-like. Kentucky re-

ceived its name from them, in the course of their migrations

between their former place of residence on the Suwanee river,

adjacent to the southern sea-coast, and the territory of the Yendots

in the North. The name (Kantuckee) is compounded from the

Shawanese, and signifies a "land or place at the head of a river."

The chosen residence of the Wyandots, was at an early

period, as it is now, on the waters of the Saun-dus-tee or San-

dusky. Though greatly reduced in numbers, they have, perhaps,

attained a higher degree of civilization, than any other tribe in

the vicinity of the north-western Lakes. For the following speci-

men of the Wyandot language and for the greater part of the

statements given above, we were indebted to the Archaeologia


One, Scat.                                               It rains, Ina-un-du-se.

Two, Tin-dee.                                         Thunder, Heno.

Three, Shaight.                                        Lightning, Tim-men-di-quas.

Four, An-daght.                                       Earth, Umaitsagh.

Five, Wee-ish.                                         Deer, Ough-scan-oto.

Six Wau-shau.                                          Bear, Anu-e.

Seven, Soo-tare.                                       Raccoon, Ha-in-te-roh.

Eight, Aultarai.                                        Fox, The-na-in-ton-to.

Nine, Ain-tru.                                          Beaver, Soo-taie.

Ten, Augh-sagh.                                      Mink, So-hoh-main-dia.

Twenty, Ten-deit-a-waugh-sa.                  Turkey, Daigh-ton-tah.

Thirty, Shaigh-ka-waugh-sa.                    Squirrel, Ogh-ta-eh.

Forty, An-daugh-ka-waugh-sa.                  Otter, Ta-wen-deh.

Fifty, Wee-ish-a-waugh-sa.                      Dog, Yun-ye-noh.

Sixty, Wau-shau-waugh-sa.                       Cow, Kni-ton-squa,ront.

Seventy, Soo-tare-waugh-sa.                                         Horse, Ugh-shut te.

Eighty, Au-tarai-waugh-sa.                                            Goose, Yah-hounk.

Ninety, Ain-tru-waugh-sa.                        Duck,Yu-in-geh.

One Hundred, Scute-main-gar-we.             Man,Ain-ga-hon.

The Wyandot Chief, Leather Lips

The Wyandot Chief, Leather Lips.             33


God, Ta-main-de-zue.                               Woman, Uteh-ke.

Devil, Degh-shu-re-noh.                           Girl, Ya-weet-sen-tho.

Heaven, Ya-roh-nia.                                 Boy, Oma-int-sent-e-hah.

Good, Ye-waugh-ste.                                 Child, Che-ah-hah.

Bad, Waugh-she.                                      Old Man, Ha-o-tong.

Hell, Degh-shunt.                                     Old Woman, Ut-sin-dag-sa.

Sun, Ya-an-des-hra.                                  My wife, Uzut-tun-oh-oh.

Moon, Waugh,sunt-yu-an-des-ra.             Corn, Nay-hah.

Stars, Tegh-shu.                                        Beans, Yah-re-sah.

Sky, Cagh-ro-niate.                                  Potatoes, Da-ween-dah.

Clouds, Oght-se-rah.                                 Melons, Oh-nugh-sa.

Wind, Izu,quas.                                         Grass, E-ru-ta.

The foregoing sketch of the history and language of the

Wyandots, though certainly not strictly necessary, will, it is hoped,

be deemed not altogether inappropriate as an introduction to the

following narrative of the circumstances attending the death of

a chief of that nation. The particulars have been recently com-

municated by persons who were eye-witnesses to the execution,

and may be relied upon as perfectly accurate.

In the evening of the first day of June in the year 1810,

there came six Wyandot warriors to the house of Mr. Benjamin

Sells on the Scioto River, about twelve miles above the spot where

now stands the City of Columbus. They were equipped in the

most war-like manner and exhibited during their stay, an un-

usual degree of agitation. Having ascertained that an old Wyan-

dot Chief, for whom they had been making diligent inquiry was

then encamped at a distance of about two miles farther up on the

bank of the river, they expressed a determination to put him to

death and immediately went off, in the direction of the lodge.

These facts were communicated early in the ensuing morning,

to Mr. John Sells, who now resides in the City of Dublin on the

Scioto about two miles from the place where the doomed Wyan-

dot met his fate. Mr. Sells immediately proceeded up the river

on horse-back in quest of the Indians. He soon arrived at the

lodge which he found situated in a grove of sugar trees, close

to the bend of the river. The six warriors were seated, in con-

sultation at a distance of a few rods from the lodge. The old

chief was with them, evidently in the character of a prisoner.

3 Vol. XII.

34 Ohio Arch

34       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


His arms were confined by a small cord, but he sat with them

without any manifestation of uneasiness. A few of the neigh-

boring white men were also there and a gloomy looking Indian

who had been a companion of the Chief, but now kept entirely

aloof,-sitting sullenly in the camp. Mr. Sells approached the

Indians and found them earnestly engaged in debate. A charge

of "witch-craft" had been made at a former time against the chief

by some of his captors, whose friends had been destroyed as they

believed by means of his evil powers. This crime, according to

the immemorial usage of the tribe involved a forfeiture of life.

The chances of a hunter's life had brought the old man to his

present location, and his pursuers had sought him out in order

that they might execute upon him the sentence of their law.

The council was of two or three hours duration. The ac-

cusing party spoke alternately with much ceremony, but with

evident bitterness of feeling. The prisoner, in his replies, was

eloquent, though dispassionate. Occasionally, a smile of scorn

would appear, for an instant, on his countenance. At the close

of the consultation it was ascertained that they had affirmed the

sentence of death which had before been passed upon the chief.

Inquiry having been made by some of the white men, with refer-

ence to their arrangements, the captain of the six warriors pointed

to the sun and signified to them that the execution would take

place at one o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. Sells went to the

captain and asked him what the chief had done. "Very bad

Indian," he replied, "make good Indian sick"-"make horse sick,

- make die, -very bad chief." Mr. Sells then made an effort

to persuade his white friends to rescue the victim of superstition

from his impending fate, but to no purpose. They were then in

a frontier situation, entirely open to the incursions of the northern

tribes and were, consequently unwilling to subject themselves to

the displeasure of their savage visitors by any interference with

their operations. He then proposed to release the chief by pur-

chase-offering to the captain for that purpose a fine horse of the

value of $300. "Let me see him," said the Indian; the horse

was accordingly brought forth, and closely examined; and so

much were they staggered by this proposition that they again

The Wyandot Chief, Leather Lips

The Wyandot Chief, Leather Lips.          35


repaired to their place of consultation and remained in council

a considerable length of time before it was finally rejected.

The conference was again terminated and five of the Indians

began to amuse themselves with running, jumping and other

athletic exercise. The captain took no part with them. When

again inquired of, as to the time of execution, he pointed to the

sun, as before, and indicated the hour of four. The prisoner

then walked slowly to his camp,-partook of jerked venison -

washed and arrayed himself in his best apparel and afterwards

painted his face. His dress was very rich -his hair grey, his

whole appearance graceful and commanding. At his request,

the whole company drew around him at the lodge. He then

observed the exertions of Mr. Sells in his behalf, and now pre-

sented to him a written paper, with a request that it might be

read to the company. It was a recommendation signed by Gov.

Hull and in compliance with the request of the prisoner, it was

fixed and left upon the side of a large tree, at a short distance

from the wigwam.

The hour of execution being close at hand, the chief shook

hands in silence with the surrounding spectators. On coming to

Mr. Sells he appeared much moved, - grasped his hands warmly,

spoke for a few minutes in the Wyandot language and pointed

to the Heavens. He then turned from the wigwam, and with a

voice of surpassing strength and melody, commenced the chant

of the death-song. He was followed closely by the Wyandot

warriors, all timing with the slow and measured march, the

music of his wild and melancholy dirge. The white men were

all, likewise, silent followers in that strange procession. At the

distance of seventy or eighty yards from the camp, they came

to a shallow grave, which, unknown to the white men, had been

previously prepared by the Indians. Here the old man knelt

down, and in an elevated, but solemn voice, addressed his prayer

to the Great Spirit. As soon as he had finished, the captain of

the Indians knelt beside him and prayed in a similar manner.

Their prayers, of course, were spoken in the Wyandot language.

When they arose, the captain was again accosted by Mr. Sells,

who insisted that if they were inflexible in their determination to

shed blood, they should at least remove their victim beyond the

36 Ohio Arch

36       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


limit of the white settlement. "No!" said he, very sternly, and

with evident displeasure, "No; good Indian fraid,--he no go

with this bad man-- mouth give fire in the dark night, good

Indian fraid-he no go!" "My friend," he continued, "me

tell you white man, bad man, white man kill him, Indian say


Finding all interference futile, Mr. Sells was at length com-

pelled reluctantly, to abandon the old man to his fate. After

a few moments delay, he again sank down upon his knees and

prayed, as he had done before. When he had ceased praying, he

still continued in a kneeling position. All the rifles belonging to

the party had been left at the wigwam. There was not a weapon

of any kind to be seen at the place of execution, and the specta-

tors were consequently unable to form any conjecture as to the

mode of procedure, which the executioners had determined on for

the fulfilment of their purpose. Suddenly one of the warriors

drew from beneath the skirts of his capote, a keen, bright toma-

hawk, walked rapidly up behind the chieftain brandishing the

weapon on high for a single moment and then struck with his

full strength. The blow descended directly upon the crown of

the head and the victim immediately fell prostrate. After he

had lain a while in the agonies of death, the Indian directed the

attention of the white men to the drops of sweat which were

gathering upon the neck and face; remarking with much appar-

ent exultation that it was conclusive proof of the sufferer's guilt.

Again the executioner advanced and with the same weapon in-

flicted two or three additional and heavy blows.

As soon as life was entirely extinct, the body was hastily

buried with all its apparel and decorations and the assemblage

dispersed. The Wyandots returned immediately to their hunting

ground and the white men to their homes. The murdered chief

was known among the whites by the name of Leather Lips.

Around the spot where the bones repose the towering forest has

given place to the grain fields and the soil above him has for years

been furrowed and re-furrowed by the plow-share.





The ancient earthworks at Marietta, Ohio, have received

much attention, and have been written about more than any of

the prehistoric remains of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys.

These structures were great and ranked high in importance, al-

though not so extensive and complicated as certain other remains

which have been fully considered. At the time of the opening of

the great West the Ohio river was the main artery that led into

the wilderness, and hence the Marietta antiquities invited early

notice; but the first to be recorded were those at Circleville.

Rev. David Jones, of Freehold, New Jersey, in 1772-3, spent

some time among the western Indians, and in his journal makes

mention of some of the works on the Scioto. On October 17,

1772, he made a plan and computation of the works at Circleville.

The company of settlers, organized by Gen. Rufus Putnam,

arrived at the mouth of the Muskingum April 7, 1788, and then

took possession of the land purchased of the United States Gov-

ernment. The Directors of the company, appreciating the im-

portance of the ancient remains, took immediate measures for

their preservation. One of their earliest official acts was the

passage of a resolution, which they caused to be entered upon

the journal of their proceedings, reserving the two truncated

pyramids and the great conical mound, with a few acres attached

to each, as public squares. The great avenue, named "Sacra

Via," by special resolution was "never to be disturbed or de-

faced, as common ground, not to be enclosed." These works

were placed under the care of the corporation of Marietta, with

the direction that they should be embellished with shade trees

of native growth, the varieties of which being specified.

It is of no credit to the people of Marietta to examine into

the cause of their falseness to their trust. When I visited these

works in 1882, I found the truncated pyramids denuded and

the walls of the Sacra Via gone. On inquiring what had become


38 Ohio Arch

38       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


of these walls I was informed that the material had been moulded

into brick; that a brick-maker had been elected a member of

the town council, and he had persuaded the other members to

vote to sell him the walls. This unpleasant fact has also been

reported by Prof. Wright. Quite a voluminous report of the

Centennial Celebration of Marietta is given in volume II, OHIO


tory and glorification, but no word concerning what has really

made Marietta known. The editor of the QUARTERLY, more con-

siderate, accompanies the account with a cut of the remains, taken

from Squier & Davis' "Ancient Monuments," and an original

picture of the conical mound in the cemetery.

With but little exaggeration it may be stated the antiquities

at Marietta are principally obliterated. What few remain do

not exhibit the value of what existed at the time the Ohio Com-

pany took possession. For all archaeological purposes we must

depend on the integrity of those who made surveys and plans

of the works when they were practically complete. Fortunately

we are not at a loss in this matter. The works were of sufficient

note, not only to call the attention of military men and travellers,

but also to excite the curiosity of the intelligent in the older

states. The descriptions and plans of these early observers have

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.          39


been preserved. The changes that have taken place in the con-

dition of these structures, and the variations noted by the dif-

ferent observers, all point to value in summing up the evidence.

When the works were denuded of their trees and the iconoclastic

hand of the white man protruded itself, the change in the appear-

ance of the remains must have been very rapid.




In all probability the first of the ancient earthworks west

of the Alleghanies that were carefully surveyed were those under

consideration. During the years 1785 and 1786 many letters

from army officers found their way into the public prints giving

an account of these remains, some of which were highly exagger-

ated. It was due to Gen. Samuel H. Parsons, that an authentic

character should be given to the reports. In a letter addressed

to President Willard, of Harvard College, dated October 2, 1786,

he described the Grave Creek mound - Moundsville, W. Va. -

and referred to the remains at Marietta, a description of which

he had sent previously to President Stiles, of New Haven.

The first plan and description of the works have been ascribed

to Capt. Jonathan Heart. General Harmar, in a letter dated Fort

Pitt, March 17, 1787, to General Thomas Mifflin, of Philadelphia,

says: "Be pleased to view the inclosed plan of the remains of

some ancient works on the Muskingum, taken by a captain of

mine (Heart), with his explanations. Various are the con-

jectures concerning these fortifications. From their regularity

I conceive them to be the works of some civilized people. Who

they were I know not. Certain it is, the present race of savages

are strangers to anything of the kind." *

Daniel Stebbens states,+ under date of Northampton, Mass.,

May 1842, that the drawing sent to Dr. Stiles, was copied by

him, to be preserved in the archives of Yale College. In his

letter he explains the drawing. "No. I, Town. No. 2, The Fort.

No. 3, The Great Mound and Ditch. No. 4, The Advance Work.

No. 5, Indian Graves. No. 6, Covered Way from the town to

the then locality of the river, which is supposed at that time to

* Butterfield's Journal of Captain Jonathan Heart, p XIII.

+ American Pioneer, Vol I, p. 339.


Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.          41


have run along the edge of the second bottom. These walls are

now twenty feet high, and the graded road between them was

one hundred feet wide, and beautifully rounded like a modern

turnpike. No. 7, A Second Covered Way with walls of less

elevation.  No. 8, Caves. Nos. 9 and 10, Elevated Squares.

These works were interspersed with many small mounds as repre-

sented in the drawings."

The Columbian Magazine, for May 1789, contains Capt.

Heart's plan with an elaborate description.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 22, 1788, contains a

letter from a gentleman at Marietta, to his friend in Massachu-

setts, dated September 8, 1788, from which the following is ex-

tracted: "An accurate survey of the ancient ruins within the

limits of our city has been made in presence of the governor,

judges, directors of the company, and a number of other gentle-

men, that we may be able to ascertain all the facts respecting

them; in the course of this survey we had several of the large

trees, on the parapet of those works, cut down, and have examined

their ages by the rings of grains from the heart to the surface,

computing each grain to be one year's growth. We found

one tree to have stood 443 years, another 289, situated so as to

leave no room to doubt of their having began to grow since those

works were abandoned. We find the perpendicular height of

the walls of this covert to be at this time twenty feet and the

base thirty-nine, the width twelve rods."++

In the third volume of the American Philosophical Society,

appears Captain Heart's replies to inquiries, which he wrote in

January 1791. In this paper he treats the subject in a judicious

manner observing "that the state of the works and the trees grow-

ing on them indicated an origin prior to the discovery of America

by Columbus; that they were not due to the present Indians or

their predecessors, or some tradition would have remained of

their uses; that they were not constructed by a people who pro-

cured the necessaries of life by hunting, as a sufficient number

to carry on such labors could not have subsisted in that way;

and, lastly, that the people who constructed them were not alto-

gether in an uncivilized state, as they must have been under the

* Journal and Letters of Colonel John May, p. 58.

42 Ohio Arch

42        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


subordination of law, with a strict and well-governed police, or

they could not have been kept together in such numerous bodies,

and been made to contribute to the execution of such stupendous


It was most unfortunate that two such intelligent observers

as Gen. Parsons and Capt. Heart should meet with death so soon

after their interest in western antiquities had been awakened.

The former was drowned in the Ohio river in December 1791,

and the latter was slain in the disastrous defeat of St. Clair, in

November 1791, while, with a handful of men, he was covering

the retreat of the army.

Col. Winthrop Sargent, in March, 1787, wrote a more

elaborate and finished sketch than that of Capt. Heart, and sent

it to Governor Bowdoin, which was not published until 1853,

when it appeared in "Memoirs American Academy of Arts and



In the year 1803, Rev. Dr. Thaddeus M. Harris, of Massa-

chusetts, examined some of the ancient structures, and published

his "Journal of a Tour" in 1805. The following is the oft

repeated description taken from his book (Page 149) : "The situ-

ation of these works is on an elevated plain, above the present

bank of the Muskingum, on the east side, and about half a mile

from  its junction with the Ohio. They consist of walls and

mounds of earth, in direct lines, and in square and circular forms.

The largest square fort, by some called the town, contains

forty acres, encompassed by a wall of earth, from six to ten feet

high, and from twenty-five to thirty-six in breadth at the base.

On each side are three openings, at equal distances, resembling

twelve gateways. The entrances at the middle, are the largest,

particularly on the side next to the Muskingum. From this out-

let is a covert way, formed of two parellel walls of earth, two

hundred and thirty-one feet distant from each other, measuring

from center to center. The walls at the most elevated part, on

the inside, are twenty-one feet in height, and forty-two in breadth

at the base, but on the outside average only five feet in height.

* Haven's Archaeology of the United States, p. 24.

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.         43


This forms a passage of about three hundred and sixty feet in

length, leading by a gradual descent to the low grounds, where

at the time of its construction, it probably reached the river.

Its walls commence at sixty feet from the ramparts of the fort,

and increase in elevation as the way descends towards the river;

and the bottom is crowned in the center, in the manner of a well

founded turnpike road.

Within the walls of the fort, at the northwest corner, is an

oblong elevated square, one hundred and eighty-eight feet long,

one hundred and thirty-two broad, and nine feet high; leve on

the summit, and nearly perpendicular at the sides. At the center

of each of the sides, the earth is projected, forming gradual

ascents to the top, equally regular, and about six feet in width.

Near the south wall is another elevated square, one hundred and

fifty feet by one hundred and twenty, and eight feet high, similar

to the other, excepting that instead of an ascent to go up on the

side next to the wall, there is a hollow way ten feet wide, leading

twenty feet towards the center, and then rising with a gradual

slope to the top. At the southeast corner, is a third elevated

square, one hundred and eight, by fifty-four feet, with ascents

at the ends, but not so high nor perfect as the two others. A

little to the southwest of the center of the fort is a circular

mound, about thirty feet in diameter and five feet high, near

which are four small excavations at equal distances, and opposite

each other. At the southwest corner of the fort is a semicircular

parapet, crowned with a mound, which guards the opening in

the wall. Towards the southeast is a smaller fort, containing

twenty acres, with a gateway in the center of each side and at

each corner. These gateways are defended by circular mounds.

On the outside of the smaller fort is a mound, in form of a

sugar loaf, of a magnitude and height which strikes the beholder

with astonishment. Its base is a regular circle, one hundred and

fifteen feet in diameter; its perpendicular altitude is thirty feet.

It is surrounded by a ditch four feet deep and fifteen feet wide,

and defended by a parapet four feet high, through which is a

gateway towards the fort, twenty feet in width. There are other

walls, mounds, and excavations, less conspicuous and entire."

44 Ohio Arch

44       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


Mr. Harris adopted from Clavigero his account of the emi-

gration of the Toltecs, and to them ascribed the construction of

all similar works, and maintained that the mural works had been

surmounted by palisades, intended for protection in the gradual

progress made by these people through the territories of less

civilized tribes.


At the same time Mr. Harris was engaged in making his

observations on one side of the Ohio river, on the other, James

Madison, then episcopal bishop of Virginia, was likewise enter-

taining himself. The result of his observations he communicated

in a letter which was read before the Philosophical Society, and

subsequently appeared in one of its volumes. It appeared to

Bishop Madison that such remains were too numerous and vari-

ous in form, besides being too unfavorably situated to be re-

garded as places of defence; and their striking figures indicated

one common origin and destination. He regarded the mounds as

burial places.


At the request of the President of the American Anti-

quarian Society, and by him assisted with pecuniary means, Caleb

Atwater undertook to prepare a comprehensive account of the

antiquities of the Western States. This contribution was pub-

lished by the society in 1820, and comprises 164 pages of Vol.

I. of its Transactions. Seven pages are devoted to the Marietta

works. The text is accompanied by a plan taken from a survey

made by B. P. Putnam.

The contribution, with accompanying plates, was republished

by the author, in 1833, together with his Tour to Prairie Du

Chien, under the title of "Western Antiquities."  A reduced

plan of the work is given in Howe's "Historical Collections of

Ohio." The account given by Atwater is drawn from descrip-

tions written by Dr. Hildreth and Gen. Edward W. Tupper.

He quotes in extenso from Harris's "Tour."  He concludes his

narrative in the following language:

"It is worthy of remark, that the walls and mounds were not

thrown up from ditches, but raised by bringing the earth from a

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.         45


distance, or taking it up uniformly from the plain; resembling

in that respect, most of the ancient works at Licking, already

described. It has excited some surprise that the tools have not

been discovered here, with which these mounds were constructed.

Those who have examined these ruins, seem not to have been

aware, that with shovels made of wood, earth enough to have

constructed these works might have been taken from the sur-

46 Ohio Arch

46      Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


face, with as much ease, almost, as if they were made of iron.

This will not be as well understood on the east as the west side

of the Alleghanies; but those who are acquainted with the

great depth and looseness of our vegetable mould, which lies on

the surface of the earth, and of course, the ease with which it

may be raised by wooden tools, will cease to be astonished at

what would be an immense labor in what geologists call 'primi-

tive' countries. Besides, had the people who raised these works,

been in possession of, and used ever so many tools, manufactured

from iron, by lying either on or under the earth, during that long

period which has intervened between their authors and us, they

would have long since oxydized by rusting, and left but faint

traces of their existence behind them."

Under the genius of Atwater a highly creditable and au-

thentic representation of the ancient structures and other objects

of interest and curiosity was systematically connected. Some of

the structures he believed to have been fortifications; others

sacred enclosures, such as mounds of sacrifice, or sites of temples;

other mounds were for burial, and some places were for diver-

sion. The accuracy of the regular works, which enclose large

areas, is adduced as proof of scientific ability, and that the grad-

ual development of the works would indicate that the strain of

migration was toward the south. The growth of generations

of forest trees over the remains, and the changes in the courses

and bends of the streams on whose banks the ancient works are lo-

cated are given as evidence of antiquity.




Dr. Hildreth's "Pioneer History of the Ohio Valley" and

"Biographical and Historical Memories of the early Pioneer Set-

tlers of Ohio," will long remain standard works. For upwards

of forty years he was a constant contributor to scientific jour-

nals. While he published no book on western antiquities, yet he

wrote fully on the works at Marietta, all the details of which

were perfectly familiar to him, as well as all that had been writ-

ten on the subject. He was very much interested in those at

Marietta, besides being well informed on the general subject,

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.           47


What he has written is worthy of candid consideration. In a

letter sent to Caleb Atwater, and dated June 8, 1819 he says:

"Mr. Harris, in his 'Tour,' has given a tolerably good account

of the present appearance of the works, as to height, shape and

form. The principal excavation or well, is as much as sixty feet

in diameter, at the surface; and when the settlement was first

made, it was at least twenty feet deep. It is at present twelve

or fourteen feet; but has been filled up a great deal from the

washing of the sides by frequent rains. It was originally of the

kind formed in the most early days, when the water was brought

up by hand in pitchers, or other vessels, by steps formed in the

sides of the well.

The pond, or reservoir, near the northwest corner of the

large fort, was about twenty-five feet in diameter, and the sides

raised above the level of the adjoining surface by an embankment

of earth three or four feet high. This was nearly full of water

at the first settlement of the town, and remained so until the last

winter, at all seasons of the year. When the ground was cleared

near the well, a great many logs that laid nigh, were rolled into

it, to save the trouble of piling and burning them. These, with

the annual deposit of leaves, etc., for ages, had filled the well

nearly full; but still the water rose to the surface, and had the

appearance of a stagnant pool. In early times poles and rails have

been pushed down into the water, and deposit of rotten vege-

tables, to the depth of thirty feet. Last winter the person who

owns the well undertook to drain it, by cutting a ditch from the

well into the small 'covert-way;' and he has dug to the depth

of about twelve feet, and let the water off to that distance. He

finds the sides of the reservoir not perpendicular, but projecting

gradually towards the center of the well, in the form of an in-

verted cone. The bottom and sides, so far as he has examined,

are lined with a stratum of very fine, ash colored clay, about

eight or ten inches thick; below which, is the common soil of

the place, and above it, this vast body of decayed vegetation.

The proprietor calculates to take from it several hundred loads

of excellent manure, and to continue to work at it, until he has

satisfied his curiosity, as to the depth and contents of the well. If

48 Ohio Arch

48       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


it was actually a well, it probably contains many curious articles,

which belonged to the ancient inhabitants.

On the outside of the parapet, near the oblong square, I

picked up a considerable number of fragments of ancient potters'

ware. This ware is ornamented with lines, some of them quite

curious and ingenious, on the outside. It is composed of clay and

fine gravel and has a partial glazing on the inside. It seems to

have been burnt, and capable of holding liquids. The fragments,

on breaking them, look quite black, with brilliant particles, ap-

pearing as you hold them to the light. The ware which I have

seen, found near the rivers, is composed of shells and clay, and not

near so hard as this found on the plain. It is a little curious, that

of twenty or thirty pieces which I picked up, nearly all of them

were found on the outside of the parapet, as if they had been

thrown over the wall purposely. This is, in my mind, strong pre-

sumptive evidence, that the parapet was crowned with a palisade.

The chance of finding them on the inside of the parapet, was

equally good, as the earth had been recently ploughed, and planted

with corn. Several pieces of copper have been found in and near

to the ancient mounds, at various times. One piece, from the de-

scription I had of it, was in the form of a cup with low sides, the

bottom very thick and strong. The small mounds in this neighbor-

hood have been but slightly, if at all examined.

The avenues or places of ascent on the sides of the elevated

squares are ten feet wide, instead of six, as stated by Mr. Harris.

His description as to height and dimensions, are otherwise cor-


In the "American Pioneer," for Oct. 1842, (Vol. I. p. 340),

Dr. Hildreth has the following extended notice of the conical


"The object of the present article is not to describe the whole

of these works, but only 'the mound,' which beautiful structure is

considered the pride and ornament of Marietta.

The venerable and worthy men, who were the directors of

the Ohio company, and superintended the platting of the city of

Marietta, viewing with admiration this beautiful specimen of the

*Archaeologia Americania, Vol. I, p 137, also Western Anti-

quities, p. 39.

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.          49


arts amongst the ancient proprietors of this region, reserved a

square of six acres around this mound, and appropriated it to

the use of a burying ground, thus giving a hallowed aspect to

that spot, and preserving it front the violation of private individu-

als. It yet remains in all its pristine beauty, a monument of the

industry and arts of the ancient inhabitants of the valley, and a

lasting memento of the classic taste of the directors of the Ohio

company. Every provision was made that could be, for the pro-

tection of the two elevated squares, or truncated pyramids, about

half a mile northwest of the mound, by appropriating three acres

around each of them as public squares, and placing them under

the authority of the future mayor and corporation of the city.

They also remain uninjured; while some of the parapets of the

ancient fort and city have been dug away in grading the streets,

and in some instances by individuals, where they fell within their

inclosures; but to the credit of the inhabitants, it may be said,

that the old works have been generally preserved with more care,

than in any other towns in Ohio. 'The mound,' a drawing of

which accompanies this article, was, when first measured, fifty

years since, about thirty feet in height; it is now only about

twenty-eight feet. It measures one hundred and thirty yards

around the base, and should be one hundred and thirty feet in

diameter. It terminates not in a regular apex, but is flat on the

top, measuring twenty feet across it. The shape is very regular,

being that of a cone, whose sides rise at an angle of forty-five

degrees. It stands in the center of a level area, which is sixty-

4 Vol. XII.

50 Ohio Arch

50       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


six yards in diameter. This is surrounded by a ditch one hun-

dred and ninety-seven yards in circumference; it is now about

four feet deep, and ten feet wide at the top, sloping evenly and

regularly from the top of the parapet, and inner edge of the

ditch to the bottom. Outside the ditch is a wall of earth, being

apparently that thrown out of the ditch, and elevated about four

feet above the adjacent surface of the earth. The parapet is two

hundred and thirty-four yards in circumference. On the north

side is an avenue, or opening of fifteen feet in width, through

the parapet, across which no ditch is dug. A few rods north,

in a line with the gateway or opening, are three low mounds;

the nearest is oblong or elliptical, sixty feet in length, and about

twenty in width, with an elevation of six or eight feet in the

centre, tapering gradually to the sides. These mounds communi-

cate with the fort, as seen in the old plan.* The parapet, ditch,

circular area, and mound itself, are now covered with a vivid

and splendid coat of green sward of native grasses, which pro-

tects them from the wash of the rain. There are several beauti-

ful oaks growing on the sides of the mound. When first noticed

by the settlers, it was covered with large forest trees, seven of

them  four feet in diameter. A few years since, sheep were

allowed to pasture in the cemetery grounds. In their repeated

and frequent ascents of the ground, they had worn paths in its

sides, down which the wintry rains taking their course, cut deep

channels, threatening in a few years to ruin the beauty of the

venerable structure, if not to destroy it entirely. Some of the

more intelligent inhabitants of Marieta, observing its precarious

state, set on foot a subscription for its repair, and for building a

new fence, and ornamenting the grounds with shade trees.

Four hundred dollars were raised by subscription, and four

hundred were given by the corporation, and a very intelligent man

appointed to superintend the work. Three hundred dollars went

to the mound, and five hundred to the fencing, planting trees,

and opening walks, etc. Inclined planes of boards were erected,

on which to elevate the earth in wheel-barrows. At this day it

would require a sum of not less than two thousand dollars to

erect a similar mound of earth. At the same time a flight of

* Reference here is made to Figure 2.

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.          51


forty-six stone steps, was made on the north side, making an

easy ascent to the top. A circular seat of planks is built on the

summit, protected in the outer edge by locust posts, with iron

chains from post to post. The scene from this elevation is one

of the finest in the country, commanding a prospect of eight or

nine miles up and down the Ohio river, with a broad range over

the hilly region which skirts the Muskingum. No examination

has ben made by digging, to discover the contents of this mound,

with the exception of a slight excavation into the top, many years

ago, when the bones of two or three human skeletons were found.

The public mind is strongly opposed to any violation, or dis-

figuring the original form of this beautiful structure, as well as

of the old works generally. Several curious ornaments of stone

and copper have been brought up at various times in digging

graves in the adjacent grounds.

From the precaution taken to surround this mound with a

ditch and parapet which was probably crowned also with palisades,

it has been suggested that it was a place of sacrifice, and the de-

52 Ohio Arch

52       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


fenses for the purpose of keeping off the common people, while

the priests were engaged in their sacred offices."

The last article taken from Dr. Hildreth appeared in the

"American Pioneer" for June, 1843 (vol. II, No. VI), and treats

of the mounds;    "PYRAMIDS AT MARIETTA.-This beautiful

specimen (see Fig. 5) of the skill and good taste of that ancient

race of inhabitants who once peopled the rich bottoms and hillsides

of the valley of the Ohio, stands on the western border of that

high sandy plain which overlooks the Muskingum river, about

one mile from its mouth. The elevation of this plain is from

eighty to one hundred feet above the bed of the river, and from

forty to sixty feet above the bottom lands of the Muskingum. It

is about half a mile in width, by three-fourths of a mile in length,

and terminates on the side next the river by a rather abrupt

natural glacis, or slope, resting on the more recent alluvious or

bottom lands. On the opposite side, it reclines against the base

of the adjacent hills, except where it is cut off by a shallow ravine

excavated by two small runs, or branches, which head near each

other at the foot of the hills. On this plain are seated those an-

cient works so often mentioned by various writers. The main

object of this article is to describe the two truncated pyramids, or

elevated squares, as they are usually called. Since reading the

travels of Mr. Stevens in Central America, and his descriptions

of the ruins of Palenque and other ancient cities of that region,

I have become satisfied in the belief, that these two truncated

pyramids were erected for the purpose of sustaining temples or

other public buildings. Those which he describes were generally

constructed of stone, and the temples now standing on them are

of the same material. He however saw some that were partly

earth, and part stone. They are the work of a people further

advanced in the arts than the race who erected the earthworks

of Ohio; but that they were made by a people of similar habits

and policy of government, there can be little doubt by anyone

who has taken the trouble to compare the two. It may be ob-

jected that they are too distant from each other ever to have

been built by the same race. Allowing that they were not of

the same nation; yet similar wants, and similar habits of think-

ing, would probably lead to very similar results. But there can

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.        53


be no reasonable objection to their being erected by a colony from

Mexico, where the same works are found as in Central America.

Neither is there any serious objection to their being the parent

tribe of the Mexicans, driven away southerly by the more north-

ern and warlike tribes; and these the structures which precede

the more perfect one of stone. In Illinois there are similar

earthen structures nearly one hundred feet high and three hun-

dred in length.*  Broad, elevated basements of this kind were

no doubt intended for the support of public buildings or temples

and must have been thrown up by the joint labor of the tribe for

their general benefit.

While the structures of this character in the valley of the

Mississippi were made of earth, and the superstructures or build

ings which crowned them, of wood, those in Central America

were built of stone, the imperishable nature of which has pre-

served them to this day. The wood has decayed and returned

again to its parent earth hundreds of years since, while the clay

on which the buildings rested, being also imperishable, remains

to this day, bearing the outlines of the truncated pyramid in all

its original beauty of form and proportion. The sides and top,

where not covered with buildings, were probably protected from

the action of rains and frosts by a thick coating of turf, which

prevented the wasting action of these powerful agents of destruc-

tion. And when, in the course of after years, the primeval forest

had again resumed its empire, that served as a further protec-

tion and preserved them in the state in which they were found

by the first white inhabitants of this valley. Our own opinion

is, that these earthworks of the valley of the Ohio, were more

likely to have been built by the ancestors of the Mexicans,

lather than by a colony from that country. One principal rea-

son is, that if they proceeded from Mexico they would have left

some relics of their labor in stone, as the Mexicans worked the

hardest varieties with their indurated copper tools, with great

neatness and facility. Nothing, however, of the kind has yet

been discovered, unless the sculptured impressions of two human


* In all probability Dr. Hildreth refers here to the great Cahokia

mound near East St. Louis, which is ninety feet high, seven hundred feet

long and five hundred in breadth.

54 Ohio Arch

54        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


feet in the hard limerock near St. Louis be samples of their skill

in the use of metallic implements. Further researches and care-

ful analysis of known facts may yet throw more light on this

dark subject. Dr. S. G. Morton, of Philadelphia, who has spent

several years in examining the skulls of the aboriginal inhabitants

of America, collected from the mounds and cemeteries from all

parts of this continent, has come to the conclusion that the numer-

ous tribes of dead and living Indians form but one race, and

that race is peculiar to America.  (Here follow several excerpts

taken from  Dr. Morton's paper delivered before the 'Boston

Society of Natural History,' in April, 1843.*)

But to return to the description of the truncated pyramid, a

figure of which stands at the head of this article. The spectator

is standing on the top of one of the earthen parapets which

form the walls of this 'ancient city,' within which the pyramid

is situated. It is distant less than one hundred yards, north-

easterly, from the opening of the 'via sacra,' or covered way,

which leads down to the Muskingum river; a drawing and de-

scription of which also accompanies this article. The dimensions

are as follows: The form is a parallelogram, one side of which

is forty yards and the other sixty-five yards; the longer direction

is southerly. The height is four yards, or twelve feet, above the

adjacent surface of the plain; a regular glacis or avenue of

ascent is thrown up on each side near the centre of the work;

these are ten yards wide and eighteen yards long, rendering the

ascent very easy. The foot of the south glacis terminates directly

opposite the north wall of the 'via sacra,' which is about one

hundred yards distant. The top of the pyramid is entirely level.

LESSER TRUNCATED PYRAMID: - This work is seated near

the southeast corner of the 'ancient city,' distant about forty rods

from the larger one. Its dimensions are as follows: Fifty

yards long by forty-five yards wide; its height is eight feet above

the surface of the plain. It has a glacis or avenue of ascent on

three sides only, viz. the south, west, and east. Those on the

west and east sides are not in the centre, but near to or only nine

* Dr. Hildreth contributed to crania taken from the mounds, in Mor-

ton's Crania Americana. See pp. 219, 220, and also from the caves, pp.

235-6. None from Marietta.

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.          55

yards from the north side; that on the north side is near the

centre. On the south side there is a recess or excavation in place

of a glacis. It is sixteen yards long, and ten yards wide, and

eight feet deep. This opening was probably covered by the

building which stood on the pyramid, and formed a dark or secret

chamber, in some way connected with their religious rites. The

other three glacis are each ten yards wide and sixteen yards long.

The whole is in fine preservation, and coated over with a nice

turf of native grasses.

'VIA SACRA,' OR COVERED WAY.- This work, which exceeds

all the others in magnitude of labor, is finely represented in the

drawing. The observer is standing a little past the middle of the

work towards the upper end of the way next to the truncated

pyramid, and facing upon the Muskingum river, which runs at

the foot of the little ridge between the trees figured on its banks.

On the opposite shore are the Harmar hills. This road or way

is two hundred yards long, and proceeds with a very gradual

descent from near the western parapet walls of the city to the

present bottom lands of the Muskingum. It is supposed that at

the period of its construction the river ran near the termination

of the road; but this is quite uncertain. It is fifty yards or one

hundred and fifty feet in width, and finished with a regular

crowning in the centre like a modern turnpike. The sides of

this ancient 'Broadway' are protected by walls of earth rising in

height as they approach the river, commencing with an elevation

of eight feet and ending with eighteen feet on the inside; on

the outside the wall is about seven feet above the adjacent sur-

face in its whole length; the increased height within, as it ap-

proaches the river, being made by the depth of the excavation in

digging away the margin of the elevated plain to the level of

the Muskingum bottom lands. The average depth of the exca-

vation in constructing this avenue, may be placed at ten feet,

which will make one million of cubic yards of earth to be removed

in constructing this grand way into the city. This earth was

probably used, as we see no other source from which it could

come so readily, in the erection of the larger truncated pyramid,

and a portion of the adjacent walls of the 'fenced city.' But as

this would consume but a small portion of the earth removed,


Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.          57


the balance was probably used in constructing a quay for the

convenience of their boats. The earth from which the pyramid

is made, was apparently not taken from the immediate vicinity,

as there is no appearance of holes, or sunken spots, or vestiges of

my earth being removed.

The transportation of this earth must have been an immense

labor, as there is no probability that the inhabitants had any

domestic animals to assist them in the work. The supposition

is, that it was carried away in baskets on the shoulders of the

men and women, a distance of one or two hundred yards, and

placed where we now see it. This mode of removing earth is

still practiced by several rude nations. The population of this

ancient city must have been very considerable to have required

so broad an avenue for their ingress and egress from its gates.

Traces of their hearths may yet be seen by digging away the

earth in the inside of the parapets or walls, along the borders of

which their dwellings would seem to have been erected. Numer-

ous relics of copper and silver have been found in the cinders

of these hearths. They are generally in the form of ornaments,

rings of copper, or slender bars of copper that had been used as

awls. In the mounds have been found several curious articles

of metal. The bowl of a brass spoon is in the possession of the

writer, taken from one of the parapets in the northwest corner

of the old city, at the depth of six feet below the surface. Large

quantities of broken earthenware was found when Marietta was

first settled, lying on the surface, and especially in the bottom

of an excavation called 'the well,' about one hundred yards from

the lesser pyramid in a southerly direction. It was sixty or

eighty feet wide at the top, narrowing gradually to the bottom

like an inverted cone, to the depth of fifty feet. Numerous frag-

ments of broken vessels were found here, as if destroyed in the

act of procuring water from the well."



The work of Josiah Priest, entitled "American Antiquities,"

originally published in 1833, is a sort of curiosity shop, made up

of odds and ends of theories and statements pertaining to Amer-

58 Ohio Arch

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ican antiquities. It is of value in this connection only as contain-

ing a plate of the Marietta works made from a survey by S.

De Witt in 1822. (See Fig. 7).



In the year 1848 "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi

Valley," by Squier and Davis, was published by the Smithsonian

Institution. The result of this work was to promote a more

active spirit of inquiry upon all questions connected with the

ancient remains in the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi. In

one form or another it has become the real basis of all books

written on the subject since its advent. In short it is the one

standard authority on the subject. Although it has been criti-

cised and even assaulted, yet it has maintained its position while

its detractors have either or else are passing into oblivion. Both

men, who engaged in its compilation, were singularly fitted for

the task they essayed to perform.

"Ancient Monuments" publishes a map (Plate XXVI.) of

the Marietta works taken from the survey and plan made by

Colonel Charles Whittlesey in 1837. At that time Colonel Whit-

tlesey was topographical engineer of the state. The great ability,

well known accuracy and integrity of the man will always make

this survey the authoritive one, however meritorious the others

may be. The plan of the works (Fig. 8.) is supplemented

(Fig.9) by cross and longitudinal sections which greatly enhance

the value of the plate.

"Ancient Monuments" gives a view (Fig. 1) of the remains

as they appeared just after the forest trees were cut away.

This illustration has been made to do service in several different

publications. A full page, colored illustration (Fig. 10) of the

conical mound also appears in the contribution.

The account accompanying the plan embraces four and one-

half pages. The description of the two truncated pyramids is

taken from that of Dr. Hildreth which first appeared in the

"American Pioneer," for June 1843, and as I have already given

it, there is no necessity for its repetition.

"In the vicinity (of the conical mound) occur several frag-

mentary walls, as shown in the map. Excavations, or 'dug holes,'

Click on image to view full size

Click on image to view full size


Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.         61


are observable at various points around these works. Near the

great mound are several of considerable size. Those indicated by

m and n in the plan have been regarded and described as wells.

Their regularity and former depth are the only reasons adduced

in support of this belief. The circumstance of regularity is not

at all remarkable, and is a common feature in excavations mani-

festly made for the purpose of procuring material for the con-

struction of mounds, etc. Their present depth is small, though it

is represented to have been formerly much greater. There is

some reason for believing that they were dug in order to procure

clay for the construction of pottery and other purposes, inas-

much as a very fine variety of that material occurs at this point,

some distance below the surface. The surface soil has recently

been removed, and the manufacture of bricks commenced. The

'clay lining' which has been mentioned as characterizing these

'wells,' is easily accounted for, by the fact that they are sunk in

a clay bank. Upon the opposite side of the Muskingum river

are bold precipitous bluffs, several hundred feet in height.

Along their brows are a number of small stone mounds. They

command an extensive view, and overlook the entire plain upon

which the works here described are situated.

Such are the principal facts connected with these interesting

remains. The generally received opinion respecting them is, that

they were erected for defensive purposes. Such was the belief

of the late President Harrison, who visited them in person and

whose opinion, in matters of this kind, is entitled to great weight.

The reasons for this belief have never been presented, and they

are not very obvious. The numbers and width of the gateways,

the absence of a fosse, as well as the character of the enclosed

and accompanying remains, present strong objections to the hypo-

thesis which ascribes to them a warlike origin. And it may be

here remarked, that the conjecture that the Muskingum ran at

the base of the graded way already described, at the period of its

erection, seems to have had its origin in the assumption of a

military design in the entire group. Under this hypothesis, it was

supposed that the way was designed to cover or secure access

to the river,- an object which it would  certainly not have re-

quired the construction of a passage-way one hundred and fifty

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feet to effect. The elevated squares were never designed for

military purposes,--their very regularity of structure forbids

this conclusion. They were most likely erected as the sites for

structures which have long since passed away, or for the celebra-

tion of unknown rites, - corresponding in short, in purpose as

they do in form, with those which they so much resemble in

Mexico and Central America. Do not these enclosed structures

give us the clue to the purposes of the works with which they

are connected?  As heretofore remarked, the sacred grounds of

almost every people are set apart or designated by enclosures of

some kind. *  *   *

There are no other works in the immediate vicinity of

Marietta. At Parkersburgh, Virginia, on the Ohio, twelve miles

below, there is an enclosure of irregular form and considerable

extent. There are also works at Belpre,* opposite Parkersburgh.

The valley of the Muskingum is for the most part narrow,

affording few of those broad, level and fertile terraces, which

appear to have been the especial favorites of the race of Mound-

builders, and upon which most of their monuments are found.

As a consequence, we find few remains of magnitude in that

valley, until it assumes a different aspect, in the vicinity of Zanes-

ville, ninety miles from its mouth."

The supplemental plan (Fig. 9) is of very great importance

on account of the relative proportions of the works. The section

marked z h gives the Via Sacra, and i u the conical mound with

accompanying wall.



As heretofore remarked all books published since that by

Squier & Davis, and which treat of the Marietta antiquities,

are largely indebted to "Ancient Monuments." Some of these

later publications are of value, while others use the descriptions

to bolster up a theory. It is not the object here to give an

* In my paper on Blennerhassett's Island (Smithsonian Report for

1882, p. 767), I called attention to the miniature representation of the

conical mound at Marietta, located on the plain of Belpre, opposite the

isle, having the wall, interior ditch, and the elevated gateway leading

from the mound to the gateway.

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio

Ancient Works at Marietta, Ohio.


account of these more recent books, however interesting and

important their contents may be.




With the mass of information now before us we learn the


At the junction of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers is a

high sandy plain, from eighty to one hundred feet above the bed

of the river, and from forty to sixty above the bottom lands of

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the Muskingum, being about three-fourths of a mile long by

half a mile in width.

Upon this plain, in 1785, and for many years afterwards,

were located a series of ancient works, consisting of two irregu-

lar squares, containing respectively fifty and twenty-seven acres

area, in connection with a graded way, truncated pyramids, sundry

other mounds, exterior embankments, and large artificial wells or


The Graded Way, or Via Sacra, was exterior to and discon-

nected from the major square and was six hundred and eighty feet

long and one hundred and fifty feet in width, the bottom of which

was regularly finished by  a crown form  of construction. This

ancient way was covered by exterior lines of embankment seven

feet in height above the adjacent surface. The depth of the exca-

vation near the square was eight feet, but gradually deepened to-

wards the farther extremity where it reached eighteen feet on the

interior,-the average depth of the avenue being about ten feet.

The largest of the truncated mounds was one hundred and

twenty feet by one hundred and ninety-five feet, and twelve in

height, while the second is one hundred and fifty feet long, by one

hundred and thirty-five in breadth and eight in height. The coni-

cal mound, when first measured was thirty feet in height, with a

diameter at the base of one hundred and thirty feet. This mound

is surrounded by a ditch five hundred and ninety feet in circumfer-

ence. On the exterior of this ditch was a wall four feet in height.

It will be noticed that in Fig. 8 Colonel Whittlesey gives a

single embankment between the circle and the lesser square. I ex-

amined the structure in 1882 and noticed the double wall, with

slight depression between them, as given in Fig. 10.

Partly enclosed by an exterior wall, the lesser square and the

conical mound was a well fifty feet deep and between sixty and

eighty feet in diameter at the top.

From the general study of these and other ancient remains of

the Ohio valley, we may obtain the following results:

That it was the same race who built the mural structures and

great mounds.

The extent of teritory covered by this people prove them to

have been very numerous.

5 Vol. XII.

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The people had arrived at a considerable degree of civilization

and had made great progress in the arts.

The builders were skilled in the art of fortification and the

construction of regular geometrical works.

The ancient remains show an antiquity long ante-dating the

advent of the white man.

The crania, from the mounds, indicate that the people belonged

to the great divisions, denominated by Cuvier, the "American

Family." The ancient structures prove they were greatly re-

moved from the wild tribes that inhabited the Ohio valley at the

time of the discovery. There is not a scintilla of proof that the

wild tribes descended from the Mound Builders, or vice versa.

The regular structures are usually classed as sacred en-

closures. The graded avenues are only found in connection with

such works. The object of the Via Sacra at Marietta must be left

to our consideration of the Graded Way at Piketon, in Pike

county, Ohio.

Franklin, O., Nov. 9th, 1902.





The French were the first to discover and explore the Ohio

and Mississippi Valleys. While the English were establishing

colonial settlements between the Alle-

ghany mountains and the Atlantic

coast, the French adventurers were

locating missionary stations, military

posts and trading centers on the Great

Lakes and the river ways of the North-

west. Such lodging places in the

western wilderness were Detroit, Vin-

cennes, Kaskaskia, Cahokia and others.

The English colonies in the east were

permanent and    progressive.  The

French lodgments in the west were

thriftless and deteriorative. The Eng-

lish race thrives in colonization. The

French stock is not adapted to trans-

plantation. By the middle of the

eighteenth century the English popu-

lation in the New England colonies

was a million and two hundred thousand, while the French in-

habitants of New    France numbered but eighy thousand.        For

a century and a half these rival races, the Latin and the Teuton,

had contended for the American possessions. That rivalry cul-

The material for this article was found mainly in "Clark's Letter

to Mason;" "Joseph Bowman's Journal;" "Clark's Memoir;" and the un-

published manuscript of "Clark's Illinois Campaign," written by Consul

Wilshire Butterfield. The writer has also freely availed himself of "The

Conquest of the Northwest" by William H. English, and "The Winning

of the West," by Theodore Roosevelt. The Butterfield manuscript is a

most valuable and accurate account of the Illinois Campaign. It is now

the property of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society,

which expects to publish the same at no distant day.-E. O. R.


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minated in the dramatic battle between the forces of the in-

trepid Montcalm and the invincible Wolfe on the Plains of

Abraham before Quebec. It was the decree of destiny that the

Anglo-Saxon civilization should conquer, and by the treaty

of Paris, 1763, the French empire in North America ceased to

exist. The Northwest with its French stations became the prop-

erty of England. But this vast domain was still to be forbidden

ground to the American colonists. The British government pre-

empted the country between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi

and the Ohio and the Great Lakes, as the exclusive and peculiar

reservation of the Crown. It was to be directly administered

upon from the provincial seat of authority at Quebec. It was to

remain intact and undisturbed for the continued abode of the

Indians whom the British power thus proposed to propitiate and

secure. Thus matters stood until Dunmore's War, the prelude

to the Revolution, opened the Kentucky country to the Virginian

settlers. The exclusion of the colonists from the Northwest was

one of the causes of the revolt against the mother government.

The fire of the Revolution swept the seaboard colonies. The

Northwest was in the powerful and peaceful clutch of Great

Britain. It was almost solely inhabited by the Indians and the

few and far between French settlements, which had now become

British garrisons and supply posts. It was not only the policy

of England to hire Hessians to fight its battles on the colonial

front, but also its more dastardly determination to subsidize the

Savages of the West and bribe them to assault and massacre the

colonial settlers on the western frontier. The commander of the

British posts at the west and northwest spared no effort to insti-

gate the Indian tribes against the Americans. They armed, sent

forth and directed the hostile and merciless expeditions of the

red men. It remained for some brave and sagacious colonial

leader to comprehend the vast importance of checking and de-

stroying this British power in the Northwest and conquering that

territory for the colonial confederacy. The man to conceive that

idea, plan and carry out its execution, was George Rogers Clark.

George Rogers Clark, deservedly called the "Washington of

the West," was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, November

19, 1752. His birthplace was within two and a half miles of

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.               69


that of Thomas Jefferson, who was nine years the elder of Clark,

but through life his steadfast friend.     Clark's schooling was

that of the frontier boy, rude and slight, consisting mostly of

mathematics and surveying, the subjects most useful to the back-

woodsman. When but nineteen years of age he caught the

"western fever," and from Fort Pitt went down the Ohio to the

Kentucky country on an exploring and surveying tour. In 1774

he was with Dunmore's army in that famous expedition to the

Shawnee villages on the Scioto. The subsequent year (1775) he

spent mostly in the interior of Kentucky where he decided to

locate, and among the settlers of which he became a recognized

leader. It was at this time that the Henderson company under-

took to establish a political organization in this section of Ken-

tucky to be known as the state of Transylvania.*

This proposed new colonial state was, however, short lived.

The people of Kentucky not in the "Transylvania state" did

not favor it, and Virginia annulled the Henderson purchase and

plan. All Kentucky at this time was still considered part of

Fincastle county, Virginia, and the inhabitants thereof were

unrepresented at the state capital.  They desired representation,

and in June 1776, a meeting of the settlers was held at Harrods-

town, at which two delegates were chosen for the state legis-

lature. These proposed members were George Rogers Clark

and John Cabriel Jones. These delegates did not reach Wil-


*Richard Henderson, of North Carolina, with whom were associated

Daniel Boone, James Harrod, and others, purchased of the Cherokee

Indians for a few wagon loads of goods a great tract of land on the banks

of the lower Kentucky river (Madison county, Ky.) Delegates, seven-

teen in all, from Boonesboro, Harrodsburg and two other settlements

(Boiling, Spring and St. Asaph) met at Boonesboro, May 23, 1775, and

organized themselves into an assembly of a state, which they named

Transylvania, desiring that it be added to the United Colonies. They

endeavored to perfect a political organization with methods of election,

taxation, courts, et cetera, and choose one James Hogg a delegate for

Transylvania to the Continental Congress, then in session at Philadelphia.

But the claim of Virginia to the same territory was a bar to his ad-

mission. The Legislature of Virginia afterward annulled the purchase

of Henderson, and the inchoate state of Transylvania disappeared. This

state scheme is interesting as being the first organized attempt of an anglo-

American government west of the Alleghany Mountains.

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liamsburg, the Virginia state capital, seven hundred miles distant

from Harrodstown, until the legislature had adjourned. They

found, however, "much doing" in that part of the country. The

colonies had declared their Independence. The British troops

after the victory of Long Island had entered New York and later

taken Fort Washington. The tide seemed to be against the

fight for liberty. Commissioners had been sent to France to solicit

her aid. Clark was fired with the desire to assist the new, and

his, struggling nation. He conferred with the Virginia gover-

nor who was none other than the patriotic Patrick Henry. The

Legislature again met. Clark and Jones were not admitted as

members but were heard as advisors on the condition of Ken-

tucky affairs. They succeeded in securing legislation creating

the Kentucky section and its organization into a county, with

the same name and boundaries it now has as a state. This was

a great achievement for Clark. With Jones and a party of ten

he started in January 1777, from Fort Pitt (Pittsburg) down

the Ohio on their return to Harrodstown.* They had with them

a large supply of ammunition for the Kentucky settlements. It

was a perilous journey in which some of their number were

killed by the Indians. On his arrival the fort at Harrodstown

was strengthened as were the adjacent settlements. The settlers

were encouraged and enthused by the new order of things.

Clark had secured a regularly organized government for Ken-

tucky and a supply of ammunition. Thus far his effort had

been for preparation and defense. He next turned his thoughts

to an aggressive warfare against the enemies of his young

country. In the fall, winter and spring of 1776-7, the British

authorities were active in the Northwest, preparing to prosecute

the war in that region. Henry Hamilton was the British lieu-

tenant-governor of the northwestern region with headquarters

at Detroit. The conduct of the war in the west, as well as the

entire management of frontier affairs, was intrusted to him. He

was ambitious, energetic, unscrupulous and cold-blooded. From

the beginning he was anxious to engage the Indians against the

American settlers. He summoned great councils of the North-

western tribes, persuading them by every possible means to

*Harrodstown was later, and now, known as Harrodsburg.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.          71


espouse the British cause and combine in hostility to the "rebels"

as he called the colonist settlers. He openly offered premiums

to the Redmen for every white rebel scalp they would bring to

Detroit. Naturally the backwoodsmen held him in peculiar ab-

horrence and called him the "hair-buyer" general. Hamilton in

all this brutal, but thoroughly British business, was sustained,

if not actually directed, by Sir Guy Carleton, governor-general

of the Province of Quebec and even by Lord George Germain

(Viscount Sackville) Colonial Secretary in the British cabinet

and appointed by George III to superintend the British forces

during the Revolutionary War. Surely the settlers in the Ohio

country were facing a war more appalling and savage than that

waged against the colonists east of the Alleghanies. On the

Pennsylvania and Virginia frontier the panic was wide spread.

They fled to their village centers and block-houses and defended

themselves as best they could. The Indians armed by the British,

and roused to fury with rum and urged on with bribes, scoured

the forests far and near for their prey. Their deeds of atrocity

baffle description. The events that were being enacted in the

thirteen colonies, had for their background, this great North-

west wilderness with its scenes of terror, rapine and savagery,

to which civilized warfare was not to be compared.

Clark proposed to strike this monstrous power in its very

heart. He proceeded to organize his military expedition for the

conquest of the Northwest. He would march to Detroit by way

of the chief British strongholds, capturing them as he went. It

was a bold and brave undertaking. It was the project of a

courageous general and a far-seeing statesman. In the fall of

1777 he again visited Williamsburg. The Revolution in the east

had assumed a more hopeful aspect. The battles of Trenton,

Princeton and Bennington in the winter, spring and summer of

1777 had brought victory to the American arms. The defeats

at Brandywine and Germantown were followed by the surrender

of Burgoyne at Saratoga in October.* In November the articles

of confederation of the United States were adopted by Congress.

*Trenton, December 26, 1776; Princeton, January 3, 1777; Benning-

ton, August 6, 1777; Brandywine, September 11, 1777; Germantown, Oc-

tober 4, 1777; Saratoga, October 17, 1777.

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It was in December that Clark presented his deep laid plans to

Governor Patrick Henry. The latter called in as counsellors

Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe and George Mason. This il-

lustrious trio appreciated the dangers and the extent of the

enterprise, but also comprehended its importance and possibility.*

They approved the proposed campaign, for they had confidence

in Clark's ability and hardihood to succeed. On their approba-

tion the Virginia Legislature authorized the governor "to or-

ganize an expedition to march against and attack any of our

western enemies, and give the necessary orders for the expe-


Governor Henry gave Clark the commission of Colonel and

authorized him to raise seven companies, each of fifty men, who

were to act as militia, and be paid as such. But these soldiers

were to be raised solely from the frontier counties west of the

Blue Ridge, "so as not to weaken the people of the seacoast

region in their struggle against the British." Colonel Clark's

troops did not belong to the regular Continental Army. His

"regiment" was authorized and entirely paid for by Virginia,

though some of the soldiers were from      Pennsylvania. Many

were from the Kentucky country, which it must be remembered

was at this time a county of Virginia.+

As a further incentive to recruits for Clark's regiment, it

was held out by the Virginia authorities that in case of success

each volunteer would be given three hundred acres of land, and

officers in proper proportion, "out of the lands which may be

conquered in the country now in the possession of the Indians."++


* Clark's plans were fully and minutely thought out. He had weighed

the consequences and, moreover, had in the summer of 1777 sent two spies

through the Illinois and Wabash country to get information of the

enemies' situation and strength.

+ The main burden of the expedition was on Clark's shoulders.

He is rightfully entitled to the whole glory. It was an individual, rather

than a state or national enterprise.- Roosevelt.

++ The Virginia Legislature in 1781-3 set aside 149,000 acres located in

Clark, Floyd and Scott counties, Indiana. This is the "Clark's Grant,"

and was divided among 300 soldiers, including officers, according to their

rank. Clark received 8,000 acres.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.           73


Clark estimated it would require at least five hundred men to

successfully carry out this campaign. He only succeeded in rais-

ing about one hundred and fifty, which were divided into three

companies respectively under captains Joseph Bowman, second in

command, Leonard Helm and William Harrod. All three had

seen much frontier service and had been associated with Clark in

his Kentucky experience. They were worthy subordinates of

the doughty colonel.

Governor Henry gave Clark the sum of twelve hundred

pounds and an order on the authorities at Pittsburg for boats,

supplies and ammunition. With this outfit the "army" that was

to conquer the Northwest, a territory of 2,400,000 square miles,

inhabited by countless savages and occupied at various points

by British garrisons, set out May 12, 1778 from Redstone on the

Monongahela.    His expedition comprised "those companies"

- named above -"and a considerable number of families and

private adventurers." * Touching at Pittsburg and Wheeling to

get his supplies, "his flotilla of clumsy flat boats, manned by tall

riflemen" floated down the Ohio.

His voyage down the Ohio occupied about two weeks when

he landed at the Falls, where the river broke into great rapids

of swift water. He selected as his camping ground an island in

the center of the stream widely known as "Corn Island," located

immediately opposite the present site of Louisville, Kentucky.+

At this point a fourth company under Captain John Mont-

gomery, was added to Clark's forces, which still numbered, all

told, less than two hundred.++ Simon Kenton, the famous scout

and Indian fighter was one of Clark's new recruits. The ap-

parent insufficiency of his army was a severe disappointment,


In the whole I had about one hundred and fifty men collected and

set sail for the falls. - Clark's Memoirs.

+ This island, which has since disappeared, was about four-fifths of

a mile in length and five hundred yards wide at its greatest breadth.

Several of the families who came with Clark permanently settled on the

island. Some of these islanders moved over to the Kentucky shore and

thus Clark was the real founder of Louisville (1778), thus named at

the time in recognition of the friendly ally, the French King Louis XVI.

++ Actual number said to be 179. Butterfield says about 180.

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though not a decisive discouragement to Colonel Clark. His

heart was never faint. "I knew," he wrote, "my cause was des-

perate but the more I reflected on my weakness the more I was

pleased with the enterprise." His bravery was further buoyed

by the reception of the news that the American colonies had

formed an alliance with France. He realized this would have

great and favorable influence with the French in the garrison

towns which he proposed to occupy.




Clark remained on Corn Island about a month getting a

"good ready," when on June 24 he embarked in big flat boats

prepared to transport his force down the Ohio. Their setting

forth and shooting the river rapids was signalized by the singular

event of an almost total eclipse of the sun. But these backwoods

soldiers were too hard-headed and steady nerved to give way to

any superstitious foreboding. Rather did they regard it as a

propitious omen. Doubtless they jested that it meant the sun

which the British boasted never set on Britain's domain was at

last to be obscured by the new American nation. They valiantly

pushed on, double manned their oars and proceeded day and night

until they ran into the mouth of the Tennessee river. Here he

was met by a small party of hunters who had left Kaskaskia

but a week before and who imparted much information as to

the condition of that post. They desired to join Clark's forces.

He cautiously received them "after their taking the oath of al-

legiance" and one, John Saunders, was chosen by Clark as his

guide to Kaskaskia. Rejecting all unnecessary luggage, Clark

now crossed the Ohio to the north side at about the site of Fort

Massac, and after "reposing themselves for the night," set out

in the morning upon their route for Kaskaskia. The little army

had boldly struck into the northwest wilderness nearly a thou-

sand miles from their base of supplies. Did any Continental regi-

ment in the east display greater hardihood or patriotism?  Rey-

nolds in his Pioneer History of Illinois says; "Clark's warriors

had no wagons, pack horses or other means of conveyance of

their munitions of war or their baggage other than their robust

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.         75


and hearty selves.* Colonel Clark himself was nature's favorite

in his person as well as mind." He adds that "the country be-

tween Fort Massacre (Massac) and Kaskaskia at that day (1778)

was a wilderness of one hundred and twenty miles, and contained,

much of it, a swamp and difficult road." On the 4th of July,

according to Clark's Memoirs, he arrived within three miles of

the town of Kaskaskia, having the river of the same name to cross

in order to reach the town. Having made themselves ready for

anything that might happen they marched after night to a farm

that was on the same side of the river about a mile above the town,

took the family prisoners, and found plenty of boats to cross in,

and in two hours transported themselves to the other shore with

the greatest silence. Preparing to make the attack he divided

his little army into two divisions, ordered one to surround the

town, with the other he broke into the fort and secured the Gov-

ernor, Phillip Rochblave. In Mason's letter Clark reports, "In

fifteen minutes had every street secured, sent runners through the

town, ordering the people, on pain of death, to keep close to

their houses, which they observed, and before daylight had the

whole town disarmed." Curious capture and seldom, or never,

one so important in so brief a time, and in so bloodless a manner.

Not a gun was fired, not a man was injured, no property de-

stroyed. A town of twenty-five hundred inhabitants, a fort in

prime condition, well equipped with soldiers, cannon and pro-

visions - a garrison "so fortified that it might have successfully

fought a thousand men" -taken in silence at night by less than

two hundred worn and weary, footsore and hungry backwoods-

men with no accoutrements, but their trusty rifles. They had been

four days on the river rowing day and night, and six days march-

ing through a dense and almost trackless wilderness, picking their

way slowly but steadily through thickets and swamps. This

strategic seizure was not without its romantic touches. One ac-

count+ relates that the night of the capture the lights in the

fort were ablaze, and through the windows came the sound of


* Butterfield says they had no tents or other camp equippage and not

a horse.

+ Memoir of Major Denny who claimed to get the story from Clark


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revelry. The officers of the fort were giving a dance, and the

merry makers were tripping the "light fantastic" to the tune

of violins in which the unsuspecting sentinels, deserting their

posts, were taking part.   Clark, some recounters state, unob-

served entered the room of the revellers and stood "silently and

with folded arms," gazing at the scene.      His discovery was

made known by the war whoop of an Indian, creating instant dis-

may and dire confusion, but Clark bade them dance on, only to

remember they were now dancing to Virginia and not Great

Britain. At any rate then fell Kaskaskia.*

Its commander was Governor Philip Rochblave a defiant but

evidently careless officer, devoted to the British cause. He was

peacefully sleeping by the side of his wife when Clark and some

of his officers entered his bedroom and aroused+ him with the

startling news that he and his quarters were in the hands of the

Americans. He was promptly sent, under escort, as a prisoner to

Williamsburg, where he was paroled and whence he escaped to

New York. His family were retained in Kaskaskia, and his slaves

and property, of which he had a goodly amount, were sold and the

proceeds distributed among Clark's soldiers.

Naturally the surprise and consternation of the Kaskaskians

was great when they became fully aware of the fact that the

Americans had "met" them and won them. They were moreover

in mortal terror as the British officers had made them believe that

Americans were little better than savage brutes, and would inflict

untold indignities. They plead most piteously for mercy. Among

* Kaskaskia had a memorable history. It is situated upon the Kas-

kaskia river five miles above its mouth, but owing to the river's bend,

but two miles from the Mississippi. From the days of La Salle (1682),

during the dominion of France, England and Virginia, it was the capital

of the Illinois country. The flags of three nations respectively, floated from

the battlements of its block fort. It was the leading town of the North-

west Territory from its organization to 1800, and then of Indiana ter-

ritory to 1809. It was the capital of Illinois during the territorial period

and for sometime after the organization of that state. It was a Jesuitical

stronghold. In 1721 it became the seat of a Jesuit Monastery and Col-

lege. Kaskaskia was, so to speak, a western metropolis before Pittsburgh,

Cincinnati or New Orleans sprang into existence.

+ Other authorities say Simon Kenton "woke up" Rochblave. Very

likely he was with Clark.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.         77


their number was the illustrious Father Pierre Gibault++ who for

ten years had been their trusted and devoted spiritual advisor.

Father Gibault, with many followers, waited upon Colonel Clark

and requested that the captive citizens be permitted to assemble in

their church to confer together on "their desperate condition and

to hold religious services." Colonel Clark graciously assented

and took occasion to correct their mistaken ideas of the intentions

and character of their American captors, and to assure them of

courteous and generous treatment. He explained to them the po-

litical situation, the cause of the American Revolution, the friendly

alliance between the United Colonists and France. It was a wel-

come revelation to them. They were convinced, and appeased.

Clark announced that those who chose "were at liberty to leave the

country with their families." From those who decided to re-

main he should require the "oath of fidelity." They were given

a few days to ponder and conclude this matter. In all this Colonel

Clark displayed great tact, diplomacy and knowledge of human

nature. The French were not only persuaded to his cause, but be-

came his personal adherents, admiring his bravery and humanity,

and confiding in his integrity. Father Gibault, of all others,

quickly understood and appreciated the noble qualities of the

sturdy and straightforward Clark, and was thenceforth, not only

the warm and steadfast friend of the colonel, but of the American

nation, and his subsequent loyal and sacrificing services were of

greatest value to the promotion of Clark's plans and purpose.

Gibault was to be a conspicuous and unique figure in the events

leading to the conquest of the Northwest.




The ulterior destination of Clark was Detroit, but the more

immediate point for attack and occupancy was Vincennes on the

Wabash river. Before entering upon the movement to secure that

important station be decided to take possession of the French vil-

lages up the Mississippi, and especially Cahokia, which was then

a place of one hundred families on the east side of that river, a few

miles below where St. Louis is now located, and some seventy

++ Butterfield says Gibault was Vicar-General of the Bishop of Quebec

for the Illinois and adjacent countries.

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miles from Kaskaskia. Colonel Clark remained in Kaskaskia to

hold matters in the proper level and still further win the inhabi-

tants to his side. He detailed Captain Joseph Bowman for the

Cahokia expedition. The captain was assigned thirty mounted

men. They were weary from fatigue and loss of sleep, but it was

thought no time should be lost in hastening upon the French vil-

lages before the citizens of the latter could hear of the capture of

Kaskaskia and prepare to defend themselves. Captain Bowman

and his chosen "cavalrymen" therefore set out the evening of the

first day that Kaskaskia was occupied. Bowman wrote a very

concise account of this trip.* His company in the journey to Ca-

hokia was three successive nights and days. The first town they

reached was Prairie du Rocher about fifteen miles distant from

Kaskaskia. "Before they (the inhabitants) had any idea of our

arrival we had possession of the town. They seemed a good deal

surprised and were willing to come to any terms that were re-

quired of them."+ Bowman then hastened on to St. Phillips about

nine miles higher up. It was a small town and straightway capit-

ulated to the invader. Bowman says: "Being in the dead time of

the night they seemed scared almost out of their wits, as it was im-

possible they could know my strength." From St. Phillips, Bow-

man hurried on to Cahokia where he arrived on the third day, and

riding up to the Commander's house demanded a surrender. The

commandant and all the citizens promptly complied, whereupon

Bowman stated they must take "the oath to the states," or he

would still treat them as enemies. They waited till the next morn-

ing to consider. That night Bowman's force "lay on their arms"

to prevent surprise, a precaution well justified as one of the inhab-

itants proposed "to raise one hundred and fifty Indians" and rush

on Bowman. The next morning, however, the Cahokians were

compelled to swear allegiance to the American cause. And so

Cahokia was added to the peaceful captures of Clark's army. Ca-

hokia was at that date a town of much importance. It is a site

with a past reaching into the realms of the pre-historic, for here

are located some remarkable earthworks of the Mound Builders.


* This account of Bowman is copiously quoted from as found in

English's conquest of the Northwest.

+ Bowman's account.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.         79


It is claimed by some authors that Cahokia was the location also

of the earliest white settlement on the Mississippi river, the name

at first being Cohos, indeed Clark so spoke of it in his letter to

Mason describing Bowman's capture. In 1764, when the terri-

tory passed from France to England and the last French com-

mandant withdrew to give way to the English occupancy, many

French families at Cahokia and the other towns removed west or

south out of the British jurisdiction in order to escape being sub-

ject to English rule. The population still remaining at these

points was mainly French or French descent and maintained an

antipathy to their Great Britain conquerors. They therefore

readily "fell into the hands" of Clark's forces and espoused the

side of the united Colonies in their contest with the mother but

oppressing country. Both Kaskaskia and Cahokia were not only

French settlements and British posts, but also rallying places for

the Indian tribes of the adjacent country. Generally the Indians

were in greater or less force at these stations receiving aid or

advice from the British commanders. At the time of Clark's in-

vasion of the towns named the redmen happened to be mostly

absent and thus the savages could not be summoned to Clark's

discomfiture. The reception of Clark's forces were rendered

therefore not only bloodless but really sympathetic. In view of

these facts the procedure of Clark's troops from Fort Massac to

Cahokia has, by some writers, been described as an expedition

without peril and without any credit to Clark. The danger, how-

ever, was there, the well equipped garrisons, the lurking savages,

the roadless country, the fatiguing forced march. Be that as it

may, Clark took complete possession of the country as he pro-



Clark had secured without diminution of his number or

detriment to his project all the towns of the white people in the

Illinois country west of the Wabash. "Post St. Vincent, a town

about the size of Williamsburg was the next object in my view,"

wrote the hopeful Colonel. Vincennes was next to Detroit, the

greatest stronghold of the enemy in the Northwest. Father Gi-

bault had become the warm friend and ally of Clark. From the

faithful priest the Colonel learned that Edward Abbott, the Brit-

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ish governor of the town, had left Vincennes shortly before

Clark's entrance into the enemy's country, and that both fort and

town were then almost exclusively in the possession and con-

trol of the French settlers.  Father Gibault believed that he

could "win over" Vincennes by proceeding there without martial

accompaniment, or warlike demonstration and by presenting to

the citizens the true inwardness of the situation. He could tell

them of the French and American alliance, give them assurance of

their security under and friendly treatment by the Americans, and

that if this logic was not sufficient, gently remind them that Clark

had an army and might, if compelled, use arguments other than

those of reason. Clark says, "the priest (Gibault) gave me to

understand that although he had nothing to do with temporal busi-

ness, yet he would give them (people of Vincennes) such hints

in a spiritual way, that would be very conducive to the business."

Evidently the Jesuitical disciple of the Prince of Peace was as

"foxy" in his methods as were his more distinguished papal proto-

types Wolsey and Richelieu. The plan was immediately accepted

by Clark. Pierre Gibault, accompanied by one Doctor Jean Le-

font, as a "temporal and political agent," with a few compan-

ions who served as a retinue and confidential observers for Col-

onel Clark, started out on the 14th of July carrying a pronun-

ciamento of Clark to the people of Vincennes authorizing them

to garrison their own town themselves, which concession was

well calculated to convince them of the implicit confidence the

American Colonel had in them. Father Gibault and escort safely

reached Vincennes and diplomatically made known their peculiar

errand. The few emissaries, left by the British commander Ab-

bott, naturally resisted the proposal, but being helpless were al-

lowed to leave the town, the French inhabitants of which readily

acceded to Gibault and all "went in a body to the church, where

the oath of allegiance was administered to them in the most sol-

emn manner" by Father Gibault. The people at once proceeded

"to elect an officer, the fort was immediately garrisoned," says

Clark in his Memoir, "and the American flag displayed to the

astonishment of the Indians, and everything settled far beyond

our most sanguine hopes. The people immediately began to put

on a new face and to talk in a different style, and to act as perfect

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.         81


freemen. With a garrison of their own and with the United

States at their elbow, their language to the Indians was immedi-

ately altered. They began as citizens of the state, and informed

the Indians that their (people of Vincennes) old Father the

King of France, was come to life again and joined the Big Knives

(Americans) and was mad at them (Indians) for fighting for

the British; that they advised the Indians to make peace with

the Americans as soon as possible or they might expect the land

to be very bloody," and then Clark laconically adds, "the Indians

began to think seriously." Father Gibault and his party returned

to Kaskaskia about the first of August with the welcome news

of the tranquil occupation of Vincennes and the transfer of that

station from British to American control. Clark's advance and

achievements seemed to be under the star of propitious fate.

But at this point in his proceedings the plucky Colonel faced a

serious situation. He was master of a vast territory and many

posts with but a bare handful of soldiers. He was hundreds of

miles from the nearest station harboring any American troops,

and still farther from the seat of government. It would be

months before he could get any re-enforcements. He was without

instructions or authority as to further action. He had to rely en-

tirely upon his own resources and judgment. His soldiers were

getting restless and dissatisfied. Their time of service had ex-

pired, and they were ready and anxious to return home. Clark

was beset with troubles. But he was resourceful and determined.

His perplexities only served to test the strength of his character

and the qualities of his mind. He could not abandon the country;

that would be to relinquish all he had so adroitly gained. He re-

solved to "usurp authority" and continue unflinchingly in his

plans. He at once, by presents and promises, succeeded in re-en-

listing most of his soldiers on a new basis for eight months. He

then publicly threatened to leave "the French station to their

fate to which they naturally remonstrated and renewed their al-

legiance and offers of assistance." He thereupon commissioned

some French officers and recruited a sufficient number of ad-

venturous young creoles to fill up his four companies to their ori-

ginal complement. He established a garrison at Cahokia under


6 Vol. XII.

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Captain Bowman. He placed Captain Williams in command of

Kaskaskia, Captain Montgomery was dispatched to the Virginia

capital, Williamsburg, to report to the governor the result of the

expedition and ask for re-enforcements and supplies.  Captain

Helm, with a contingent of French volunteers and friendly In-

dians, was sent to assume direction of Post Vincennes. Clark

now gave his attention to strengthening his situation. He drilled

his men, both Americans and French, entered into friendly rela-

tions with the Spaniards of the scattered creole towns on the op-

posite side of the Mississippi.  The Spanish were hostile to the

British and readily sympathized with the Americans. Clark now

took up the more difficult task of pacifying the various Indian

tribes, the "huge horde of savages" who roamed the forests

from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi.  Clark followed the

tactics of Hamilton at Detroit. He summoned the chiefs and

their braves to Cahokia for a council. "It was," he says, "with

astonishment that he viewed the amazing number of savages that

soon flocked into the town of Cohos to treat for peace and to

hear what the Big Knives had to say." They came from all over

the Illinois and Wabash country, some of them from a distance

of five hundred miles; "Chipaways, Ottoways, Potowatomies,

Misseogies, Puans, Sacks, Foxes, Sayges, Tauways, Maumies

and a number of other tribes, all living east of the Mississippi,

and many of them at war against us." Clark in handling these

treacherous redmen showed great alertness, shrewdness, ability

and tact. Some Indian leaders conspired to capture Clark. He

learned of the plot, promptly seized the chiefs of those guilty and

put them in irons, though the town was then swarming with the

savages. He taught them to fear him and to trust him. His suc-

cessful treatment of the Indians was notably remarkable for the

fact that he was wholly destitute of presents for the children of

the forest, and presents they had always received in profusion

from the British. Clark under all the adverse circumstances sur-

rounding him secured treaties of peace with a dozen different

tribes. He knew the Indians, however, and secretly sent spies

throughout all the Indian country, even as far as Detroit, toward

which he "was now casting a wistful eye."    The result of

Clark's policy with the tribes was to secure peace in the Illinois

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.          83

country. The Indians remained friendly for a long time and the

French were of course more than ever attached to the American


Clark's expedition thus far had been so stealthily, swiftly

and skillfully executed that the British authorities scarcely knew

of it until its success was complete. On the 8th of August,

however, a French missionary reached Detroit and imparted to

Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton the startling intelligence that the

American "rebels" had invaded the Illinois country, captured

Kaskaskia and Cahokia and were approaching Vincennes. The

British at once began to bestir themselves. Hamilton hurried

the news on to the commander-in-chief at Quebec, Governor Guy

Carleton, to Lieutenant Colonel Bolton, Commandant at Niagara

and to Captain De Puyster, Commandant at Michilimackinac. The

order was speedily passed around that the American soldiers must

be dislodged from the Illinois and Wabash country, and the In-

dians set upon the warpath to devastate the American frontier



On October 7 Hamilton set out from Detroit for a journey

of six hundred miles to Vincennes with a force less than two

hundred, indeed, just about the same number as Clark had

started with on his expedition from the Ohio Falls to Kaskaskia.*

Hamilton provided himself with some fifteen boats well

loaded with food, clothing, ammunition and presents for the

Indians. With this armament Hamilton went down the Detroit

river, thence thirty miles across lake Erie to the mouth of the

Maumee, up which he proceeded arriving at the "Miami Town"

(site of Fort Wayne) on the 24th. Here several parties of

Indians were met and united to the army. From the head-

waters of the Maumee (or Miami as then called) they fol-

lowed the portage, a distance across land of nine miles, to a

stream called the Little River, one of the sources of the Wabash.

* Hamilton gave his number on leaving Detroit as 179. There were

41 of the Kings Eighth Regiment of regulars, 8 "irregulars;" 70 trained

militia and 60 Indians, altogether with himself, 180. This number was

increased by Indians on the way until he had 500 on reaching Vincennes.

The statistics given by Roosevelt vary in detail but make the aggregate

about the same.

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Over this portage they were obliged to carry their boats and

baggage. The journey down the Wabash-- (Ouabache) -was

beset with many difficulties and obstacles. The water was shal-

low and often frozen over with a thin layer of ice, and the boats

had to be lifted over or carried around the shoal places. When

within a few days' journey of Vincennes they were met by a

scouting party sent out from Fort Sackville, the fort lying

partly within and protecting the town of Vincennes. Captain

Helm was therefore warned of the enemy's approach. Helm's

force, less than fifty soldiers, only two of whom were Americans,

was utterly inadequate to defend the fort and town against the

attack of Hamilton. The fort was a "wretched, miserable stock-

ade without a well, barrack, platform for small arms, or even lock

to the gate. Helm knowing he could not make a successful de-

fense, determined to play a brave part, and this he did to an

astonishing degree. Major Hay with a company advanced to

the fort. Demanding admittance Captain Helm pointing a loaded

cannon at the enemy ordered them to halt, exclaiming, "No man

shall enter here until I know the terms." The reply was given,

"You shall have the honors of war," whereupon Captain Helm

surrendered and Fort Sackville and Vincennes was once more

in the possession of the British. This was on December 17, 1778,

seventy-two days after Hamilton had left Detroit. Two days

after the occupation Hamilton required the inhabitants* to fore-

swear the oath of allegiance they had taken a few months before

to the American cause, and to renew their fealty to the British.

Thus the French victims of Vincennes were shifted from side

to side as the fortunes of circumstances demanded. And to this

shifting they seemed easily adjusted. They readily fell in with

the winning party. Hamilton restored the Fort to good condi-

* The citizens of all ages in Vincennes at this time were estimated

by Hamilton to be 621, of whom 217 were qualified for military service.

The oath to which they were obliged to subscribe was as follows: "We

the undersigned, declare and aver that we have taken the oath of allegiance

to Congress, and, in so doing, we have forgotten our duty towards God

and have failed towards men. We ask the pardon of God, and we hope

for the mercy of our legitimate sovereign, the King of England, and

that he will accept our submission and take us under his protection as

good and faithful subjects, which we promise and pray to be able to

become before God and before men."-Butterfield manuscript.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.          85


tion; built a guard house and barracks; sunk a well, erected

two large blockhouses and embrasures above for five pieces of

cannon. Hamilton now rested securely on his laurels. He felt

no uneasiness over the situation. He knew Clark's force was

paltry and widely scattered, he (Hamilton) with five times the

number of Clark was safely intrenched at Vincennes which lay

directly in the path between Clark's posts and his source of

supplies in Virginia or Kentucky. In due time he could move on

to the towns occupied by Clark and retake them.



Colonel Clark clearly understood that Hamilton would in

due time move upon the American garrison at Kaskaskia and

Cahokia. With Napoleonic nerve he decided to move on Vin-

cennes. It was the extreme of bold determination. He had only

about one hundred American soldiers. His French soldiers num-

bering about the same were uncertain in their courage and sta-

bility. The French settlers of the Illinois towns were scared

and "shaky" in their allegiance. The Indians were wavering and

susceptible of influences from the British. The way to Vincennes

was long and the country flooded with the winter waters. None

but a leader of indomitable pluck and consecrated patriotism

would have entered upon such an undertaking against such des-

perate odds.*

His resolve to push on to Vincennes was strengthened by

the arrival of Francis Vigo from Vincennes. Vigo was an Ital-

ian, who had been a soldier in a Spanish regiment and was now

a trader among the French, British and Indians and resided at

St. Louis. He was made a prisoner by Hamilton and paroled. He

hastened to Kaskaskia+ and offered his services to Clark, in-

* Clark's soldiers and the citizens of both Cahokia and Kaskaskia

were constantly in more or less of a panic, caused by rumors that Ham-

ilton was coming. Clark was at a ball in Cahokia when the alarm was

sounded that the British were without the city. A few days later similar

false reports caused him to resolve to burn the fort at Kaskaskia, and

he did tear down some of the adjacent buildings. At another time while

going to Cahokia he barely escaped being captured by a party of Ottowas

and Canadians - scouts from Vincennes.

+Vigo arrived at Kaspaskia January 27, 1779. He was caught by

Hamilton's scouts while on his way to take supplies to Captain Helm,

not then knowing Hamilton had repossessed Vincennes.

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forming the latter that Hamilton proposed to rest on his

oars till spring and had sent his Indian allies out about

the country in various foraging and devastating parties. Clark

must start instanter. He summoned Captain, now Major Bow-

man, from Cahokia, who was to be second in command. He

marshalled his land forces Into three companies officered re-

spectively by Captains Richard M'Carty, John Williams and

Francis Charleville, the latter a Frenchman, with a company of

Kaskaskia recruits.+ This army was augmented by a "navy"

consisting of "a large boat prepared and rigged, mounting two

four pounders (each), four large swivels with a fine company

commanded by Lieutenant John Rogers."++

This "gunboat" was named the Willing and was manned by

forty-six soldiers. "The vessel," says Clark, "when complete was

much admired by the inhabitants as no such thing had been seen

in the country before."  The Willing was loaded with supplies

and was to be rowed down the Kaskaskia river to its mouth at

the Mississippi, thence up the Ohio and the Wabash to a desig-

nated point below Vincennes, probably the mouth of the White

river and there await further orders. On the afternoon of Feb-

ruary 4, (1779), the Willing cast her moorings and dropped

down the river amid the cheers of her "crew" and the shouts

of the soldiers on shore and the excited populace of Kaskaskia.

On the 5th Colonel Clark with his force of one hundred and

seventy men marched out of Kaskaskia, with Father Gibault's

blessing, and the farewells of the citizens. It was to be a tedious

tramp of two hundred and forty miles, as the route was selected,

it being what was then known as the St. Louis trail or trace.*

Both Clark and Bowman wrote accounts of this marvelous march.

It is to be recalled that it was conducted in the late winter or

early spring when the streams were swollen, the rains frequently

interspersed with sleet and snow. The land was everywhere

water soaked and more or less ice crusted. The fatigues, hard-


+ Bowman's old company was probably captained by one of the

Worthingtons, Edward or William, it is not certain which.

++ Description from Clark's letter to Mason.

* It led through the later sites of Sparta, Coultersville, Oakdale,

Nashville, Walnut Hill, Salem. Olney and Lawrenceville.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.          87


ships and privations of those plucky, patient, persistent and patri-

otic soldiers are not surpassed by the annals of any similar expedi-

tions in history. It was the Valley Forge of the American Revo-

lution in the Northwest, and of Clark's men, Bancroft might have

written as he did of Washington's soldiers: "Love of country,

attachment to their general, sustained the army under unparalleled

hardships. Under any other leader the armies would have dis-

solved and vanished." Day after day for nearly three weeks

they waded the creeks, the swamps, and the flooded districts,

sleeping on the water-soaked or hard frozen ground; without

sufficient food, often without any, frequently submerged to their

waists and sometimes almost to their armpits, they struggled on.

Clark, in his own account, says: "It was a difficult and very

fatiguing march. My object was to keep the men in spirits. I

suffered them to shoot game on all occasions and to feast on it

like Indian war dancers. Each company by turns invited the

others to the feasts, which was the case every night, as the com-

pany that was to give the feast was always supplied with horses

to lay up a sufficient store of wild meat in the course of the day,

myself and personal officers betting on the woodsmen, shouting

now and then and running as much through the mud and water

as any of them. Thus insensibly, without a murmer, were those

men led on to the banks of the Little Wabash which was reached

on the 15th through incredible difficulties far surpassing any-

thing that any of us had ever experienced." Often in wading

the streams or wide fields of water is was necessary to stop and

make boats or rafts with which they could transport their bag-

gage and accoutrements. Captain Bowman, in his Journal, has

the following: "16th. Marched all day through rain and water,

crossed Fox river, our provisions began to be short. 17th.

Marched early, crossed several runs very deep. Sent Mr. Ken-

nedy our Commissary with three men to cross the river Embar-

rass,* if possible and proceed to a plantation opposite to Fort

Vincennes in order to steal boats or canoes to ferry us across the

Wabash. About an hour by sun we got near the river Embarrass,

found the country all overflowed with water. We strove to


* Embarrass was a stream running southeast and emptying into the

Wabash about three miles below Vincennes.

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find the Wabash, traveling till eight o'clock (at night) in mud

and water but could find no place to encamp on. Still kept

marching on. After some time, Mr. Kennedy and his party

returned. Found it impossible to cross Embarrass river. We

found the water fallen from a small spot of ground; stayed

there the remainder of the night. Drizzly and damp weather.

And 18th. At break of day heard Governor Hamilton's morn-

ing gun; set off and marched down the river. About two

o'clock came to the bank of the Wabash. Made rafts for four

men to cross and then up to town and steal boats, but they spent

a day and night in the water to no purpose and there was not

one foot of dry land to be found.  19th. * * * Captain

M'Carty's company made a canoe which was sent down the river

to meet the batteau (the Willing) with orders to come on day

and night that being our last hope and we starving. No pro-

visions now of any sort for two days."

On the 21st, the whole army was transported across the

river "rain all day and no provisions," the continued exposure

without suitable food, shelter or rest began to wear out the

men, especially the French. Clark resorted to every ingenuity

to keep up the spirits and strength of the soldiers. The sea of

water seemed to be unending. Upon one occasion Clark em-

ployed the following amusing expedient. In Bowman's com-

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.         89


pany was a little fourteen year old drummer boy, also a giant

sergeant, six feet two inches in his stockings. Clark mounted

the little drummer on the shoulders of the stalwart sergeant and

gave orders to him to advance into the half-frozen water. He

did so, the little drummer beating the charge from his lofty

perch, while Clark with sword in hand followed them, giving

the command forward march as he threw aside the floating ice.

Elated and amused at the scene, the men promptly obeyed, hold-

ing their rifles above their heads, and in spite of all obstacles

reached the high land opposite them, taking care to have the

boats try to take those who were weak and numbed with the

cold, into them.*  Other expedients were employed to stimulate

the dejected and despairing soldiers, such as blacking the face

with powder, raising the Indian warwhoop, joining in patriotic

songs, etc., but after all the most potent and least jocose per-

suasion was no doubt Clark's order to Captain Bowman, who

was his second self, to keep in the rear twenty-five picked men

with orders to shoot down anyone refusing to march, or attempt-

ing to desert. But the flood, like Tennyson's brook, went on

forever. It grew worse as they neared Vincennes. Clark him-

self says: "This last day's march (the 21st) through the water

was far superior to anything the Frenchmen had an idea of.

The nearest land to us was a small league called the Sugar Camp.

A canoe was sent off and returned with signs that we could pass.

I sounded the water and found it as deep as my neck. We had

neither provisions nor horses. Finally they found a sort of a

path or elevated ridge of earth which they followed and upon

which they walked, though even above that the water was nearly

waist deep. That night was the coldest fight we had, the ice

in the morning was from a half to three-fourths of an inch thick.

I addressed the soldiers after breakfast, such as it was, telling

them that beyond the immediate woods they would come in full

view of the town which they would reach in a few hours. They

gave a cheer and courageously stepped into the water once

more. They still continued to be waist deep. A canoe with a

few inmates was sent forward with instructions to cry out

'land' when they found a dry lodging place. Many of the men

*English's Northwest.

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were so weak they had to be supported by companions and had

to be literally carried out of the water. Some of them hung to

trees and floated on the old logs. Finally dry land was reached

at last."*

One of the most remarkable forced marches on record which

had lasted fourteen days was at an end. Hamilton had had no

intimation of the approach, indeed was entirely disarmed by the

idea that no troops could reach the Fort through the watery

surroundings, therefore when Clark's soldiers appeared before

Fort Sackville, Hamilton was as startled and amazed as if he

had received an electric shock. Clark's men had halted "on a

delightful dry spot of ground of about ten acres."  They found

that the fires which they built had little or no effect upon the men

who were literally water-soaked and cold-benumbed.    The weak

ones had to be walked about and their limbs exercised by the

stronger ones. They took what little refreshment they had, and

* The strong and the tall got ashore and built fires. Many on reach-

ing the shore fell flat on their faces, half in the water, and could come

no farther. It was found the fires did not help the very weak, so every

such a one was put between two strong men who run him up and down

by the arms, and thus made him recover. - Clark's Memoirs.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.          91

faced the attack upon the Fort. They were in a truly critical

condition no prospect of retreat presented itself in case of defeat.

They faced in full view a town that had some six hundred men in

it, troops, inhabitants and Indians. Clark, with the bravery of

Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga, wrote out and sent to the Fort the

following proclamation: "To the inhabitants of Fort Vincennes,

Gentlemen: Being now within two miles of your village with my

army determined to take your fort this night and not being able

to surprise you I take this method to request such of you as are

true citizens and willing, to enjoy the liberty I bring you to

remain still in your houses -and those if any there be that are

friends to the King will instantly repair to the Fort and join

the Hair Buyer General and fight like men, and if any such as

do not go to the Fort shall be discovered afterward they may

depend on severe punishment. On the contrary those who are

true friends to liberty may depend on being well treated and I

once more request them to keep out of the streets. For every one

I find in arms on my arrival I shall treat him as an enemy. Signed

G. R. Clark." The sending of this proclamation was followed

by a bold advance upon Fort Sackville and the town, in full view

of the inhabitants. They made themselves appear as formidable

as possible, marching and countermarching in such a manner as

to apparently double the number of the soldiers, and nearly all of

them had flags which they waved in such a manner as to dis-

guise their actual number, and increase the formidableness of

their appearance. The land just before the village lay in ridges

so that the soldiers as they scrambled over them would appear

above and then dissappear in the declivities. This aided them

again in appearing to be far more numerous than they really

were.* They reached the space immediately in front of the

Fort walls on the evening of February 23d. The drums were

beat and the firing upon the Fort commenced. At the same time

portions of the force entered the town, where they received im-

mediate assistance from friendly inhabitants who furnished them

with ammunition, and Tobacco's son, Chief of the Piankeshaw

* This account of Clark's advance upon Vincennes is from the

Memoir of Clark supposed to have been written about 1791. Many state-

ments in it have been discredited. Roosevelt, in his "Winning of the

West," particularly doubts the accuracy of this Vincennes parade.

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tribe, promptly mustered his warriors and offered his services

to Colonel Clark. This Indian assistance was diplomatically de-

clined with thanks as Clark was afraid to allow the Indians any

license, not wishing to be responsible for savage barbarities upon

the British. The siege of the Fort and town continued during

the night. Clark's men had decidedly the advantage of position,

for they could conceal themselves behind the houses and fire upon

the Fort from all directions without being injured or even seen.

On the morning of the 24th Colonel Clark sent a flag of truce

to Governor Hamilton with a message which read as follows:

"In order to save yourself from the impending storm that now

threatens you I order you to immediately surrender yourself with

all your garrison, stores, etc. For if I am obliged to storm, you

may depend on such treatment as is justly due to a murderer.

Beware of destroying stores of any kind or any papers or letters

that are in your possession, or hurt one house in town; for by

heavens if you do, there shall be no mercy shown you. Signed

G. R. Clark." Hamilton replied: "Lieut. Governor Hamilton begs

leave to acquaint Colonel Clark that he and his garrison are not

disposed to be awed into any action unworthy of British sub-

jects." The firing was resumed and was continued for some time

when a second exchange of messages was made. Governor Ham-

ilton with an aid then held a consultation with Colonel Clark and

Captain Bowman in St. Xavier's Church. While the negotia-

tions were ensuing a party of Indians friendly to the British

approached the Fort, were captured by the Americans and toma-

hawked, and their bodies thrown into the river in full view of the

British occupants of the Fort. This horrifying spectacle was

reluctantly enacted by the men under Clark in order to terrorize

the British soldiers. It was successful, and Lieutenant Governor

Hamilton promptly surrendered upon the conditions laid down

by Clark. The soldiers, seventy-nine in all, marched out of the

Fort and delivered themselves as prisoners of war.*                          The cam-

paign and siege of Fort Vincennes was at an end.+                             Two days

* Hamilton subsequently acknowledged, in a letter, his chagrin in

having to yield "to a set of uncivilized Virginian woodsmen armed with


+ Clark had but one man wounded. Six or eight of Hamilton's

force were killed or severely wounded.

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest

Clark's Conquest of the Northwest.         93


after the capture the batteau "The Willing" which had come by

water arrived with her forty-six men. It was the extinguish-

ment of the British domination in the Wabash and Illinois country.

Captain Leonard Helm immediately proceeded up the Wabash

river, where at a point about one hundred and twenty miles from

Vincennes, they surprised and captured seven British boats

manned by forty men and loaded with valuable goods and pro-

visions intended for Fort Sackville, and sent from Detroit. If

Clark had then been in a condition to march against Detroit he

would probably have been successful, but his soldiers were so ex-

hausted that for the present he abandoned the idea. Hamilton and

his principal officers were sent as prisoners to Virginia where they

were paroled. Hamilton later served the British government in

important stations. Most of the British prisoners taken by Clark

remained at Vincennes under oath of neutrality. A few joined

Clark's regiment. The French citizens were again sworn to the

American cause. By this time they had become adepts in the

practice of oath taking. During Clark's expedition to Vincennes

his messengers had reached Williamsburg and reported the doings

of the intrepid Colonel. He was complimented by the Virginia

Legislature and that same body, on March 10, 1779, passed an

act organizing the Illinois country into the County of Illinois.

Further legislation provided for the appointment by the gover-

nor and council of Virginia of a county lieutenant or command-

ant, who was authorized to appoint deputies and military officers

requisite for the proper organization and control of the county.

In the summer of 1779 this county government was established

at Vincennes with Colonel John Todd, Jr., as Lieutenant or

Commandant of the county. The Virginia legislature also di-

rected that some five hundred men be enlisted, properly officered

and ordered to the Illinois county to garrison the forts therein.

But a portion of that number, however, were forthcoming. Thus

was the Northwest occupied and secured to the American Colon-

ists. It was almost a bloodless and battleless conquest, but a sub-

jugation nevertheless of the most far reaching character. It pre-

vented the western country from being a vast field for the rendez-

vous of the British troops and the arena for the centralization and

confederation of Indian tribes against the colonial frontiers of

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Pennsylvania, Virginia and the southern states. Clark checkmated

the British scheme to attack and destroy the colonies from the

rear. More than all Clark saved to the Union the Northwest

Territory. Had it not been for him and his little band of back-

woodsmen, although the armies of Washington were victorious,

without doubt in the settlement of the result between the two

countries, the Illinois and the Wabash country, including Ohio,

would have been retained as British territory, precisely as was

Canada. Had it not been for Clark the colonial western frontier

would have been the Alleghany range.    Clark changed the des-

tiny of the United States and perhaps the destiny of the English

speaking race.*


* Clark himself, towards the end of 1779, took up his abode at the

Falls of the Ohio, where he served in some sort as a shield both for

Illinois and Kentucky, and from whence he hoped some day to march

against Detroit. That was his darling scheme, which he never ceased

to cherish. Through no fault of his own, the day never came when he

could put it into execution. - Roosevelt.






(Read at the dedication of the Malta-McConnelsville steel bridge,

July 8th, 1902. The flew steel bridge superseded the old wooden toll

bridge built in 1867.)


The old river-bridge, grown decrepit and gray

In the warfare of years, has, alas, passed away;

For Time the remorseless has triumphed at last-

And the faithful old bridge is a part of the past.

Like a warrior it stood, with its feet in the tide

And its lean arms outstretched to the bridegroom and bride

Saying: "Lovers unwitting, God's will has been done!

I've blessed ye and bound ye; ye twain are made one!"


When the elements battled, and thunderbolts fell-

Like arrows God-flung at the ramparts of hell;

When a crash of the storm sent a chill to the blood,

And the highway of man was the gateway of flood;

Then the sturdy old bridge strained its sinews of wood,

And stiffened, and quivered, and tottered-but stood!

And the message it sent o'er the turbulent tide

Was: "I've bound ye and blessed ye; no storm shall divide!


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At night-in midwinter, when snowdrifts lay deep,

And the wind was awake and the world was asleep;

Or in summer, when hilltop and housetop and stream

Were aglint with the touch of the moon's paly beam;

Then the old wooden bridge, that no ill might betide,

Kept guard o'er the slumbering bridegroom and bride.

And the words that it murmured at daybreak's release

Were: "I've guarded and kept ye; sleep on - sleep in peace!"


Ah, the old river-bridge felt the terrors and tears

Of the twain it had joined - all their sorrows and fears !

And it, also, partook of their pastimes and joys-

Knew their frolicsome girls and their rollicksome boys!

And its rigid, impassive, old features of oak

Went aquiver with smiles, at the crack of a joke

Or the trill of a laugh and it whispered: "Ah, me!

May their lives full of pleasure and happiness be!"


But there came in the year of the century's birth -

Sent by Time the remorseless, the ruler of earth -

A panoplied knight in a harness of steel;

And the old wooden bridge felt the conqueror's heel!

Knowing well that its battles and triumphs were o'er-

That the friends it had loved would now need it no more,

It sank down to its rest, with the tremulous sigh:

"I've blessed ye and served ye; God keep ye-good bye!"




The International Congress of Americanists, made up of delegates

from the leading states of Europe, and nearly all of the Countries of the

Americas, held their biennial meeting in New  York City, beginning

October 22, 1902. At this meeting many addresses were made, and