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Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Argument. Claims of Virginia and other States to "Northwestern Territory" relinquished, with certain Reservations. "Connecticut Reserve." Virginia military District. "Northwestern Territory" laid off by Ordinance of 1787. Territorial Government provided. Partial Occupation by United States. First Settlement on the Muskingum. Putnam's Colony, from Connecticut, arrives at Fort Harmar April 17th, 1788. Character of the Colonists. Second Colony arrives July 2d. Celebration of 4th of July in the Wilderness. First Clergyman, Daniel Story. Governor St. Clair and territorial Officers arrive. Territorial Government organized. "Washington County" laid off. Arrival of Emigrants. Campus Martius. Settlements formed at Belpre and Newberry. Emigration to Kentucky. Miami Settlements. Symmes's Purchase on the Miami. Settlement at Columbia. Settlement at Cincinnati. Fort Washington commenced. Its Form and Dimensions. "County of Hamilton" organized. Squire M'Millan. Colerain Settlement. Headquarters established at Fort Washington. "Knox County" organized. "St. Clair County" organized. Population of Settlements on Muskingum and Miami in 1790. Indian Hostilities commence. Defensive Measures adopted. Indians exasperated at the unsuccessful Expedition of General Harmar. Destruction of Settlement of Big Bottom, January 2d, 1791. Attack on Wolf Creek Settlement. Attack on Colerain Station. Nathaniel Massie settles Manchester, on the Ohio. French Settlement at Gallipolis, March, 1791. Fraud of the "Scioto Company." General St. Clair also unsuccessful. Indian Audacity and Hostilities increase. President Washington adopts more energetic Measures with the Indians. Indian Outrages multiply in 1792. Cincinnati in 1793. Its Importance as a military Dépôt. First Presbyterian Pastor. Indian Hostilities in 1793. Martial Law paramount. First Newspaper in Northwestern Territory. General Wayne takes Command of the Army. Confidence restored to the western People. Troops concentrate in the Miami Country. Advanced Posts established. Indians defeated and reduced to great Distress. Settlements again advance.
THE territory lying north and west of the Ohio was claimed partly by the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Virginia. The claim of the first three states was based upon their early royal charters, which left their western boundaries undefined. Virginia claimed under the same title; and she also claimed under another title, which was indisputable, the title of conquest. For the amicable adjustment of these claims, each state consented to relinquish its individual interest to the Federal government, for the common use and benefit of the Union, excepting two principal reservations, one in favor of Connecticut, and another in favor of Virginia, for the purpose of liquidating their respective liabilities to Revolutionary soldiers. The reservation of Connecticut was laid in the northeastern section, embracing that region of the
present State of Ohio lying north of latitude 41° and west of the Pennsylvania line. It was bounded on the north by Lake Erie, and was about one hundred and twenty miles in length from east to west, and its greatest breadth from north to south was about sixty-eight miles. The area comprised, by estimate, three millions of acres, and was known and designated as the "Connecticut Reserve."
Virginia, in relinquishing her claim, reserved the lands lying between the Scioto and Little Miami, to be appropriated to the liquidation of the claims of her Revolutionary soldiers. This reservation was known as the "Virginia Military District." Besides these reservations, Congress appropriated a large amount of the lands to liquidate the claims of Revolutionary soldiers upon the Federal government. This reservation was known as the "United States Military District," and laid upon the east side of the Scioto River. With these reservations, the remainder of the territory was relinquished by the states respectively to the Federal government, as the property of the whole Union, and constituting a territory of the United States, to be subsequently organized into new states when the population should be sufficient. 256
[A.D. 1787.] These cessions having been completed, Congress proceeded to establish a territorial form of government for the whole territory, until the increase of population should entitle them to state governments. The jurisdiction of the United States was formally extended over this extensive region, under the provisions of an ordinance of Congress approved July 13th, 1787. This ordinance provided for the subsequent division of the territory into not less than three and not more than five states, agreeably to the stipulations of the compact with Virginia, as a condition of cession.
The following articles in the ordinance were "to remain forever unalterable, unless by common consent:"
"No person shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments.
"No law shall be passed that shall in any manner whatever interfere with or affect private interests or engagements, bona fide, and without fraud, previously formed.
"The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians. Their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress.
"No tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States, and in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than resident.
"There shall be formed in the said territory not less than three nor more than five states. And the boundaries of the states, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall become fixed and established.
"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; provided always that any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any of the original states, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor in service, as aforesaid."
The territory was designated in the ordinance as the "Northwestern Territory," and comprised all the possessions of the United States northwest of the Ohio River. The form of government prescribed by the ordinance consisted of two grades of territorial government prior to the assumption of an independent state government.
The first grade of territorial dependence was to continue until the aggregate number of free white males over twenty-one years should amount to five thousand. During this period the jurisdiction was confided to a governor, appointed for three years, a secretary, appointed for four years, and three superior judges, appointed for four years.
Each judge is required to hold two terms of the Superior Court in his district every year, with the jurisdiction of a superior and appellate court. The three judges, or a majority of them, constitute the Supreme Territorial Court, which is required to meet once every year.
The governor, by the ordinance, is invested with authority as commander-in-chief of the militia, and appoints and commissions all officers in the same below the rank of general; he appoints and commissions all magistrates and civil officers for the preservation of the peace; and, with the advice and concurrence of the judges, or a majority of them, "he shall adopt
and publish such laws of the original states, civil and criminal, as may be necessary and best adapted to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time" for their approbation. "He shall lay off counties, and organize such inferior courts" as he may deem requisite.
"The secretary of the territory shall keep and preserve the acts and laws, and the public records of the territory, and the records of the governor in the executive department, and transmit authentic copies of such acts and proceedings every six months to the secretary of Congress." In the absence of the governor, he shall exercise the authority and perform the duties of that officer.
The second grade provides for the election of a Legislative Assembly and a Legislative Council, which, with the concurrence of the governor, shall enact all laws and regulations necessary for the administration of justice.
The Legislative Assembly consists of representatives elected by the legal voters in the proportion of one representative to every five hundred free white males over the age of twenty-one years. The representatives, when duly elected, shall have authority to elect and nominate to Congress ten persons, from whom Congress shall select and appoint five as a Legislative Council, of whom any three shall be a quorum.
The Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, duly organized in co-operation with the governor, shall constitute the General Assembly, under the second grade of territorial government. The General Assembly shall be vested with all legislative powers for the good government of the territory, and enact such laws as they may deem expedient, not repugnant to the laws and Constitution of the United States. No act of the Legislature shall have the force and sanction of law until it has received the signature of the governor, who shall have power to convene, prorogue, or dissolve the General Assembly when, in his opinion, it may be expedient.
The Legislative Assembly, or House of Representatives, so soon as regularly organized, have power to elect a delegate to Congress, who shall have the right to speak, but not to vote.
The second grade of government was to continue until the whole population increased to sixty thousand souls; at which time the people, expressing their wishes through the General
Assembly, shall be entitled to the right of an independent state government, under the authority and approbation of Congress.
The Muskingum Settlement. In the mean time, colonies were organizing on the Atlantic seaboard for the establishment of the first Anglo-American settlements within the Northwestern Territory. Congress had already entered into arrangements with Manasseh Cutler and Winthrop Sargent, agents of the "Ohio Company," for the sale of large bodies of land, to be located on the west side of the Ohio, between the Muskingum and the Hockhocking Rivers. The purchase was made at one dollar per acre, payable in land scrip and other evidences of debt for Revolutionary services. 257
The company found no difficulty in procuring emigrants for their contemplated colony. Besides the proprietors, forty-seven in number, there were hundreds of Revolutionary soldiers and officers who were ready to embark for the West, to secure a permanent home and to retrieve their exhausted fortunes.
Yet the whole region west of the Ohio was in the occupancy of Indian tribes, who were jealous of the advance of the white population. Although, by treaties made after the close of the Revolutionary war, they had ceded large bodies of lands in this region, yet they still maintained a hostile attitude, and refused to permit the whites to occupy the lands ceded by former treaties. The only occupancy west of the Ohio was that of two military posts, Fort M'Intosh, at the mouth of Big Beaver, and Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum.
Such were the inducements for the New England immigrants. Yet in the autumn of 1787, General Rufus Putnam, a son of the brave General Israel Putnam, and an enterprising pioneer, had already advanced with a colony of forty-seven persons upon the Youghiogeny, to commence the first settlement of the "Northwestern Territory." For nearly eight weeks they had toiled with their families across the mountains,
and through the rugged frontier country of Pennsylvania, before they reached "Simrel's Ferry," on the Yough. The severities of a western winter, in a wilderness region, forbade them to proceed beyond that point, and the colony remained upon the Yough until returning spring.
During the winter they were diligent in preparing to reach their new homes on the Muskingum. A large covered barge, made bullet-proof against the Indian rifle, was built by Jonathan Devoll, the first ship-builder on the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. In remembrance of their pilgrim ancestors, it was called the "May Flower;" it was well adapted to transport the families and their colonial effects to their ultimate destination, and to serve as a floating residence while more permanent ones were erecting on land. 258
[A.D. 1788.] Toward the last of March the "May Flower" was freighted with the new colony at Simrel's Ferry, on the Yough. The colony, composed chiefly of officers and soldiers of the Revolutionary army, proceeded on their voyage by way of Fort Pitt and the Ohio. Early in April they arrived in the mouth of the Muskingum, and on the 7th of April the agents of the Ohio Company formally took possession of their purchase, by locating a portion of the colony, under General Putnam, upon the north bank of the Muskingum, on the point of land opposite to the military post. Some provision for their reception had been made in advance, and the "May Flower" served as a store-house until others were supplied. The colony entered at once upon the work of making a permanent settlement, and erecting the necessary houses for their families. Like the ancient Greek colonies, and unlike some of the American, the colonists of Marietta were chiefly men of science and refinement, and they carried these advantages into the western wilderness.
On the 2d day of July following, the new colony received an accession to its numbers, by the arrival of forty persons from Worcester, Massachusetts. This colony included General Edward Tupper, Major Asa Coborn, Major Nathan Goodale, Major Nathaniel Cushing, and Mr. Ichabod Nye, with their families. Nine weeks had they been toiling in the tedious journey through a rough frontier wilderness, with their wagons, cattle, and stock of every kind. Eight weeks' travel, with
a regular encampment each night, brought them to Wheeling, upon the banks of the Ohio, about eighty miles above the point of their ultimate destination. After several days of preparation, they procured a large Kentucky flat-boat, into which the colonists were crowded with their personal effects, and after two days' floating upon the current, they landed at the wharf, beside the "May Flower," in the mouth of the Muskingum. Here they were welcomed by their joyful friends who had preceded them into the garden of the West. Their greetings and mutual congratulations had not ceased, when the dawn of the 4th day of July was ushered in by the roar of the artillery of Fort Harmar, reminding them of the glorious anniversary of their national independence. The whole colony, with joyful hearts, prepared to pass over to the fort, and unite with the troops in celebrating the joyful day. Thus civilization and patriotism entered the wilderness together, emblematic of the peace and harmony which have since characterized the civil and military powers of the great West. 259
Nor had the proprietors and the colonists been negligent of the more benign influences of religion. Already they had engaged a pious and zealous young minister to teach, not only the principles of religion and morality to the adults and parents, but likewise the rudiments of learning and the elements of religion to their children. This was the Rev. Daniel Story, from Worcester, Massachusetts, who came out with the colonists during the following summer. He arrived, and for many years continued to labor in his vocation within the company's claim, dividing his time between the settlements at Marietta, Belpre, and Newberry, and adhering to his flock through prosperity and adversity for fifteen years. 260
Early in July the officers for the new territorial government arrived at Marietta or Fort Harmar. These were General Arthur St. Glair, governor, Winthrop Sargent, secretary, and three judges for the executive council, agreeably to the first grade of territorial government.
A few days after their arrival, the governor published his commission, and those of his executive council, and also the ordinance of Congress under which they exercised their authority. A public meeting of the settlers and others was called, when the governor made an address to the people, in
which he explained to them the new form of government, to which he asked their cordial support and hearty cooperation.
On the 26th of July the governor called together his council, and proceeded to organize the civil and military departments of the new government. The whole country north of the Ohio River, and between the Muskingum and the Hockhocking Rivers, was designated as the "county of Washington," in honor of the first President of the United States. Marietta was declared the seat of justice for this county.
In the mean time, it was evident, from the hostile bearing of the Indian tribes, that the colony could not expect perfect security in the midst of their savage neighbors. Prudence dictated a timely preparation for any danger which might threaten in this quarter. It was resolved to convert the block-house and other buildings into a regular stockade, or fortified station. Under the direction and superintendence of General Rufus Putnam, the work was commenced on a plan adapted to the security of the colony. The work progressed regularly until the close of the following year, when it was fully completed.
The walls of the main buildings formed a regular parallelogram of one hundred and eighty feet on each side. Each corner was protected subsequently, in 1791, by a strong projecting block-house, twenty feet square in the lower story, and twenty-four feet in the upper. Each block-house was surmounted by a tower, or sentry-box, bullet-proof; and the curtains, or sides of the parallelogram, were protected by a range of sharpened pickets, inclining outward. The whole was surrounded by a strong palisade ten feet high, and securely planted in the ground, beyond which was a range of abattis.
The buildings were constructed of whip-sawed timbers four inches thick, and neatly dove-tailed at the corners, two stories high, and covered with good shingle roofs. The rooms were large and commodious, provided with good fireplaces and brick chimneys.
A guarded gateway on the west and south front gave admission and exit to the inmates; and over the gateway, facing the Muskingum on the south, was a large room, surmounted with a belfry, in which was suspended the church-going bell. The whole range of buildings was amply supplied with portholes for defensive firing. Such is the outline of the first regular
station northwest of the Ohio, known as the "Campus Martins."
Its bastions and towers, all white-washed and glistening in the sun, reminded the beholder at a distance of some ancient feudal tower, with its imposing battlements, rising as if by magic in the western wilderness. 261
Thus began the first settlement and the first regular town west of the Ohio River, and the first made by white men in the present State of Ohio, which now contains, after a lapse of half a century, a population of more than one million of civilized people.
The militia were organized in three companies, with three captains, three lieutenants, and three ensigns. Three justices of the peace were also appointed, and duly commissioned; also, a probate court, and clerk. A court of quarter sessions was also organized, with three associate justices, having jurisdiction over common pleas, and authority to sit as a court of quarter sessions, with a sheriff, duly commissioned for the county. 262
In the mean time, the plan of a regular town was laid off on the bank of the Ohio, above the mouth of the Muskingum, to which was given the name of Marietta, in honor of the unfortunate French queen Marie Antoinette.
During the summer and autumn the settlements in Washington county increased by the arrival of numerous emigrants from east of the mountains, as well as from Western Virginia and Pennsylvania. Early in the autumn Marietta received an accession of twenty families, including those of several of the proprietors of the Muskingum purchase. In December an additional colony from Connecticut arrived by way of the Yough and Pittsburgh. Other accessions were received from the East during the following spring and summer.
The first civil court ever held in the Northwestern Territory convened on the 2d day of September, 1788: it was the "Court of Common Pleas," held in the hall of the Campus Martius, with Rufus Putnam and Benjamin Tupper presiding justices.
The opening of this court in the remote wilderness was attended with an imposing ceremony, for the first time seen in the West. The governor and judges of the territory having collated, examined, and adopted such of the statutes of the states as were deemed appropriate to the condition of the new colony, proceeded to assert the supremacy of the laws by the organization of a regular court.
A procession was formed on the point near the residence of the citizens; the sheriff, with a drawn sword, in advance, followed by the citizens, officers of the garrison at Fort Harmar, the members of the bar, the judges of the Supreme Court, the governor and a clergyman, with the judges of the newly-organized Court of Common Pleas, in the order they are named.
Arriving at the hall of the Campus Martius, the whole procession was countermarched into it, and the judges Putnam and Tupper took their seats on the bench; the audience was seated, and, after the divine benediction was invoked by the Rev. Dr. Cutler, the high sheriff, Ebenezer Sproat, advanced to the door, and proclaimed aloud, "Oyes! Oyes! a court is opened for the administration of even-handed justice to the poor and the rich, to the guilty and the innocent, without respect of persons; none to be punished without a trial by their peers, and in pursuance of the laws and evidence in the case."
Besides the crowd of emigrants and settlers, there were present to witness the ceremonies hundreds of Indians, who had their encampment in the vicinity, for the purpose of entering into a treaty with the Federal government.
The population continued to increase by the arrival of emigrants during the autumn and winter, and by other colonies which arrived subsequently.
In the spring following, it had been determined to make other settlements on the Ohio below the Muskingum, and General Putnam, with a number of families, descended the river to a beautiful level tract about twelve miles below Marietta; and on the 11th day of April, 1789, he commenced a new settlement near a natural meadow, and called it Belpre. 263 The
settlers here were intelligent and hardy men; foremost among them was Nathan Goodale, an enterprising officer of the Revolutionary army. These colonists proceeded to erect a blockhouse and the ordinary family residences. Subsequently, a stockade was added, to secure them from Indian outrage, and the station assumed the name of "Farmer's Castle."
Shortly afterward, a small colony was located ten miles below, upon the bank of the Ohio, and received the name of Newberry. This settlement also augmented its population during the fall and winter, and subsequently was compelled to erect a block-house for protection against the Indians.
Such were the settlements comprised in the first New England colony on the Ohio, included within the limits of the first county of Washington.
Miami Settlement. At the same time that the settlement was made at the mouth of the Muskingum, a colony was on the route to the West for the settlement of the Miami country. Arriving at the Monongahela late in the autumn, they descended to Limestone, where most of them remained during the winter.
Soon after the purchase by the Ohio Company, Judge John Cleves Symmes, of New Jersey, had purchased of the government six hundred thousand acres of land, to be located between the Great and Little Miami Rivers. The value of the government scrip having advanced since the purchase of the former company, Judge Symmes stipulated to pay sixty cents per acre in military warrants, and in other evidences of debt against the United States. 264
During the winter of 1788-89, arrangements were made at Limestone for locating the colony early in the following spring. Large portions of land were sold and distributed in smaller tracts to private companies and individuals, for the purpose of opening the settlements at different points between the Little Miami and the North Bend of the Ohio, twenty-three miles below.
The first purchase from Symmes was made by Major Benjamin Stites, from the Monongahela. This purchase comprised ten thousand acres immediately below the Little Miami River. The colony for its settlement was already on the river from Brownsville.
The first portion of Major Stites's colony embraced some twenty families, originally from New York and New Jersey, who advanced from Limestone late in the autumn, and commenced a settlement three miles below the Little Miami about the 16th of November, 1788, upon the north bank of the Ohio. This little colony comprised some of the most intelligent of all the early emigrants to the Miami country. Among them were Colonel Spencer, Major Gano, Judge Goforth, Francis Dunlavy, Major Kibby, John Smith, and Colonel Brown, all men of enterprise and worth, who have left numerous descendants to perpetuate their names.
A few houses or log cabins were erected for dwellings, a block-house for protection against Indian hostility, and such other out-buildings as were necessary to a permanent settlement. Major Stites then proceeded to lay off a town in the woods, which he called Columbia, in honor of his country. 265
Thus, about the close of the year 1788, commenced the first settlement in the Miami country, about six months after the first on the Muskingum.
The next purchase was made by Mathias Denham, of New Jersey, comprising a large body of lands immediately adjoining, and west of the former purchase. Denham lost no time in making preparations to enter upon his settlement. Forming a partnership with Robert Patterson and John Filsom, a surveyor, both of Lexington, Kentucky, he engaged the latter to survey and lay off the plan of a town immediately opposite the mouth of Licking River, and to superintend the sale of the lots, while himself and Patterson returned to Limestone to make arrangements for the new colony.
Filsom proceeded to survey the purchase of Denham, and to establish the boundaries of the same; but after a short tour he was killed by Indians, and the survey of the town for a time was delayed.
[A.D. 1789.] About the first of January, 1789, Israel Ludlow was employed to complete the survey and to lay off the plan of the contemplated town. Accordingly, about six weeks after the first location of the town of Columbia, Israel Ludlow and Robert Patterson repaired to the site selected, and, in company with twenty persons, began the first settlement in
Denham's purchase, about five miles below Columbia, and opposite the mouth of Licking River. 266
Three log houses were erected, and other preparations were made for the reception of families in the spring. The site was a beautiful wooded first bottom, on the immediate bank of the Ohio, about sixty feet above low-water mark, and stretched away upward of three hundred yards from the river, where a second bank, or terrace, rose gently forty feet higher. The second bottom extended back, gently declining to the base of the bluff, more than half a mile from the shore. The whole was clothed with a heavy forest; on the lower bottom was chiefly sycamore, sugar-maple, and black walnut; on the upper terrace were chiefly beech, oaks, and walnut. 267 The corners of streets were marked upon the trees of the lower bottom, while the corners of lots were designated by stakes driven into the ground.
Thus commenced the second settlement and the second town in the Miami country. By some freak of fancy, the village assumed the name of "Losanteville." But the point was a dangerous one. Immediately in the line of the old Indian war path, emigrants were not anxious to make it their residences; hence it received but few accessions to its population ox houses until near the close of the year. In June the population was eleven families and twenty-four single men, and the whole town consisted of about twenty log cabins.
The summer witnessed a continual line of emigration from the Atlantic States to the Ohio River. Many of these, from the New England States, took up their residence in the Ohio Company's purchase, near the settlements already formed on the Muskingum and the Ohio, above the Hockhocking River. Many from New Jersey and Virginia, desirous of joining the settlers of the Miami country, were induced, by the uncertain peace of the Indian tribes, to take up a temporary residence in Kentucky. Yet the settlements of Colonel Stites and Major Denham, below the Little Miami, received several emigrant parties from New York and New Jersey.
About this time, Judge Symmes, who was indefatigable in settling his lands, laid out and commenced a town at North Bend, sixteen miles below the last settlement, to which emigrants were attracted until the following year, when the erection
of Fort Washington presented greater inducements near the mouth of Licking. 268
In the mean time, these new settlements were gradually increasing, and attracting the attention of the commander of Fort Harmar, from their exposed situation and the frequent indications of approaching hostilities by the Indians. Accordingly, early in the summer, Major Doughty, a brave and efficient officer, was detached from Fort Harmar with one hundred and forty regular troops for the protection of the Miami settlements. He took up his position on the terrace, or second bottom, just above the town of Losanteville, where he encamped his troops until a selection for a post should have been made. Before the expiration of June, he decided to erect his post opposite the mouth of Licking, upon a reservation of fifteen acres belonging to the Federal government. He immediately commenced the, erection of four block-houses, as the outlines of a stockade, upon the margin of the terrace above the town. 269
The body of the new fort and the outline of palisades were soon in a state of perfection, indicating a formidable military post, completely impregnable to any Indian attack.
The principal building was a large two-story house, one hundred and eighty feet in length, constructed of hewed logs, the upper story projecting two feet beyond the lower, and divided off into apartments for the soldiers, and well provided with port-holes for defensive firing: the whole surrounded by an inclosure of strong palisades planted in the ground, and flanked at each corner by strong block-houses or bastions, projecting ten feet beyond the line of stockades, from which cannon could be brought to rake the walls. Through the middle of the lower story was the principal entrance, facing the river, and secured by strong wooden doors, leaving a passage twelve feet wide and ten feet high. On the north or back side it was secured by a strong picket inclosure surrounding the outbuildings, shops, and stables. The front presented a fine esplanade eighty feet wide, with a glacis of thirty feet descent. The whole exterior was thoroughly white-washed, and from a distance presented a handsome and imposing appearance. Around it were the beautiful gardens of the officers, handsomely ornamented with summer-houses, and affording a variety of vegetables in great abundance. Such was Fort Washington after
its completion in 1790, and until after the treaty of Greenville.
About the last of December, 1789, General Harmar, with three hundred regular troops, arrived, and Fort Washington shortly afterward became the headquarters of the northwestern army and the residence of the governor. 270
[A.D. 1790.] In the mean time, the population in the Miami settlements had increased to such an extent that Governor St. Clair deemed it expedient to organize civil government without further delay. 271 In company with the territorial judges, he arrived at Fort Washington, and early in January following convened his executive council in the adjacent village, which by this time, through the influence of some of the officers in the garrison, had assumed the name of "Cincinnati." Without delay he proceeded to organize the civil and military departments of the territorial government in the same manner as Washington county had been organized at Marietta. The whole country contiguous to the Ohio, from the Hockhocking
River to the Great Miami, was designated as the "county of Hamilton," in honor of the Secretary of the Treasury. Cincinnati was declared to be the seat of justice for this extensive county. On the 2d day of January the governor and executive committee completed the civil organization of Hamilton county, which, like that of Washington, comprised three justices of the peace, four captains of militia, four lieutenants, and four ensigns, a court of quarter sessions, constituted of three associate justices, a clerk, and a sheriff. The regular meetings of the Court of Quarter Sessions was fixed by law, ordained and enacted January 5th, to be holden on the first Tuesdays in February, May, August, and November. 272
Cincinnati, being the seat of justice for Hamilton county, as well as headquarters of the army, began to assume a degree of importance unknown to similar towns which had recently sprung up in the wilderness. It became the center of fashion and refinement, and soon attracted many persons of intelligence and enterprise. Frame houses began to appear, and during the following summer nearly forty log cabins were added as the dwellings of so many new families.
A new settlement was made about this time on the Great Miami, seventeen miles north from Cincinnati. This was the settlement of Colerain where a number of families united and erected a stockade for mutual protection and defense. Such was the exposed situation of this advanced settlement, while the incursions of the savages were becoming more frequent and daring, that a small detachment of United States troops, under the command of Lieutenant Kingsbury, with one piece of artillery, was ordered to take post in the station for its defense. 273
Governor St. Clair was ever active. No sooner had he completed his public duties in organizing the civil government of Hamilton county, than he set off for the "Falls of the Ohio,"
where he spent a few days in Clarksville, engaged in similar duties. Thence he proceeded by land across the wilderness, one hundred and thirty miles by an Indian trace, to Vincennes, on the Wabash. Here, with his council, he proceeded to organize the county of Knox, named in honor of the Secretary of War. The limits of Knox county extended from the Great Miami to the Wabash, with the Ohio on the south. Vincennes was the seat of justice. 274
The governor proceeded westward; and at Cahokia, on the Upper Mississippi, he organized the county of St. Clair. This county comprised all the territory from the Wabash to the Mississippi, and southward to the Ohio, and was subdivided into three judicial districts, known as those of Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, and Kaskaskia. 275
Since the first arrival on the Muskingum, more than two years had now elapsed, and the settlements on the Ohio Company's purchase had multiplied, and the number of immigrants upon each had gradually increased. The militia rolls in the county of Washington comprised four hundred and forty-seven men fit for militia duty. Of these, one hundred and three were heads of families. A few persons had been cut off by the lurking Indians. The total population of Washington county was about twenty-five hundred souls.
Since the first arrival upon the Miami purchase, eighteen months had elapsed; and between the Little Miami and the Great Miami numerous settlements had already been commenced, and there had been a rapid increase of settlers in those first planted. The entire population of Hamilton county was about two thousand souls; and the whole number of men upon the muster rolls fit for militia duty was but little less than those of Washington county, besides the regular troops in Fort Washington. 276 But the annoyance and danger from Indian hostilities had been also gradually increasing, and the settlers were now compelled to protect themselves with more care, and confine themselves within their fortified stations and block-houses. The advance of the emigrants was, in fact, checked by the determined opposition of the Indians and the increasing danger of the settlers. Several of those within six
or eight miles of Fort Washington had been so exposed to the lurking savages that General Harmar had furnished them with a few soldiers for their protection.
The Indians had from the first indicated signs of a hostile movement. They had loitered about the settlements, and appeared to observe the nature and extent of the defenses. They had committed sundry depredations on the property of the settlers. They had waylaid the paths and traces which led from one settlement to another, and several persons had been murdered by them near the larger stations. At length the murders became more frequent and daring. The settlers dared not venture out from their inclosures only at the peril of their lives. No precaution or vigilance was sufficient security from the vengeance of the insidious foe, who lurked unseen under every bush and covert. Some would insinuate themselves under the guise of friendship, to enable them the more securely to destroy. Fugitive negro slaves had taken asylum among the savages, and were sometimes emissaries of death.
Such became the dread and apprehension in the settlements on account of Indian and negro treachery, that the executive council ordained it to be a penal offense for any one to entertain any Indian or negro without first reporting him to the commandant. All male settlers and immigrants were likewise required by law to carry their arms with them on all occasions, even to public worship. When at their daily work in the fields and about the stations, one or more sentinels were posted near, upon some stump or other eminence, to give timely warning of any approach of danger.
For nearly twelve months the Federal government had resolved to invade the Indian country with a strong military force, and to destroy their fields and burn their towns, in retaliation for the murders and depredations which had been committed upon the whites on the Ohio for three years past. During the year 1790, active preparations had been in operation for concentrating at Fort Washington a sufficient force of regular troops and militia for the accomplishment of this purpose, provided negotiation and overtures of peace, in the mean time, should fail to induce a suspension of their outrages upon the settlers. The chief towns of the hostile Indians at that time were upon the great branches of the Maumee River, and especially upon the waters of the Au Glaize.
Near the close of summer, a large body of troops had been assembled at the mouth of Licking, and in the vicinity of the Miami River, north of Cincinnati, for the contemplated invasion. Many of the settlers and recent immigrants connected themselves with the army, which early in October was in motion, under General Harmar, for the Maumee towns. Hope gleamed on the new settlements, and foretold better days, with exemption from Indian dangers. But, before one month had elapsed, the remnant of the army returned to Fort Washington, if not defeated, certainly with the loss of many brave men, and with little or no injury to the savages, 277 who, highly exasperated, pursued and harassed the retreating army almost to Fort Washington.
The tide of immigration to the Ohio had been already checked, and the new settlements in the Northwestern Territory were greatly depressed by the unsuccessful campaign under the commander-in-chief. The settlers became more fearful, and the Indians became more audacious. They prowled secretly about the stations, and even through the streets of Cincinnati at night.
[A.D. 1791.] The first massacre upon the Muskingum was on the second day of the year 1791, and gave a fearful import of future vengeance.
This was the destruction of the settlement at Big Bottom, on the Muskingum. This situation had been imprudently occupied a few months before, and against the advice of the more experienced, by a party of young men, who had been delighted with the beauty of the lands. The whole colony consisted of about twenty-five persons, including several female heads of families. They had erected a block-house and several log cabins, and seemed to enjoy perfect impunity from Indian molestation.
On the 2d day of January a party of twenty-five Indians advanced to the brow of the eminence which overlooks the Muskingum Valley. 278 Here they concealed themselves, patiently observing the movements of the little colony during the day, until after the evening twilight, when, descending, they advanced to the assault. The assailants divided off in parties to attack each house simultaneously, directed by the fires within.
The tenants of the block-house were sitting around the supper-table by the cheerful fire-light, and their guns were standing in the corner of the room. The house being surrounded by the Indians, one large Mohawk gently pushed open the door, while his comrades fired upon the men at the table, who dropped one after the other. A woman seized an ax, and made a desperate blow at the Mohawk who held the door, and inflicted upon him a terrible wound. She was immediately dispatched by the tomahawk, with the remaining inmates.
Another cabin was entered at the same time by another party of Indians, who bound the inmates and took them prisoners. The occupants of a third cabin had not been secured, when, alarmed by the report of the guns at the block-house, they escaped into the woods and concealed themselves from the enemy. The Indians failing to find them, proceeded to plunder the houses of every thing valuable, and then set fire to them. They secured the prisoners and regaled themselves by the light of the burning houses. The whole number killed at this settlement was fourteen persons, of whom eleven were young men, besides one woman and two children. Five persons, including four men and one boy, were taken captive to Detroit. 279
Within a few days, all the settlements on the Muskingum beyond the guns of Fort Harmar were broken up, and those who had not made a timely escape were killed or taken prisoners.
Hostile movements were made simultaneously against other neighborhoods, and those around Fort Washington were special objects of savage indignation. A large Indian force had marched for this quarter of the American settlements. Colerain was already a large station, advanced seventeen miles north of Fort Hamilton. On the 8th day of January four men from this station were exploring the lands on the west bank of the Miami, when they suddenly perceived the advance of a large Indian army. They fled with all haste; but two of them, Cunningham and Abner Hunt, were killed; the other two escaped to the station and gave the alarm. The body of Hunt was afterward found most barbarously mutilated, and with a firebrand thrust into the bowels. 280
The Indians did not appear before the station until next
morning, when three hundred warriors demanded its surrender. The demand was promptly refused, and the attack immediately began. The defense was made with equal spirit and perseverance for twenty-four hours. The Indians, apprehending a re-enforcement from the garrison at Fort Washington, suddenly retired, to the great relief of the station. One hour afterward, Captain Truman, with thirty regular troops and thirty-three volunteers from Cincinnati, came to the assistance of the besieged.
During the attack the defense was conducted with the usual frontier courage. Captain Kingsbury, with eighteen regular troops and fourteen other inmates of the station, conducted the defense. The women supplied the riflemen with bullets, and when the lead was expended, they melted their pewter plates and spoons into balls.
But no danger seemed sufficient to deter the emigrants from attempts to obtain a foothold in the delightful country which had been partly explored. New locations were still made near the banks of the Ohio, where a partial security was felt from the vicinity of the Virginia and Kentucky shores.
It was early in January, 1791, that Nathaniel Massie, one of the most enterprising pioneers of Ohio, first made a location on the north bank of the Ohio River, within the "Virginia Military District," twelve miles below the town of Limestone.
In the location at Manchester, he had obligated himself, by a written compact with his colonists, to grant in fee simple to every person who should settle and remain with his family two years, one town-lot and one out-lot, besides one hundred acres in the vicinity, until the number amounted to twenty-five families. About thirty families soon joined him under these stipulations. The settlement was immediately begun, and by the middle of March cabins were erected for their residence, and the whole inclosed with a strong stockade, with a block-house at each angle, for defense. 281
The next colony located within the present State of Ohio was that of Gallipolis, direct from France. This colony, of about four hundred persons, had been made up in Paris, where the principal persons had purchased a large extent of lands from Joel Barlow, "agent of the Scioto Company." They had paid for their lands at the rate of a French crown per acre
while in France, to enable the company to consummate their contract with the government. The agent of the company had accompanied them to the Ohio River, and had selected for them a beautiful site on the west bank, two miles below the Great Kenhawa River, and within the limits, as was subsequently ascertained, of the Ohio Company's purchase. The location having been selected, the immigrants remained upon the Ohio River, whither they had arrived from Philadelphia, during the winter, ready to commence their new settlement. Early in March the colony was all action and enterprise, clearing land, erecting houses and inclosures for their future security from Indian hostility. Peace and joy seemed to smile upon them; and the arduous toils of the day were beguiled by mirth and festivity at night, cheered by the melody of the violin and the gay dance. But soon they found themselves deceived in a strange land, beset by savage foes, and, in fact, without a home and without money. 282 The Scioto Company could not give titles to the land, and were dissolved, and irresponsible for the one hundred thousand francs which they had received from the credulous Frenchmen. 283
During the summer of 1791 the settlements on the Muskingum, and on the Ohio below Marietta, as well as the French colony of Gallipolis, were greatly harassed by Indian depredations and incursions; yet each settlement was re-enforced by a few troops, detailed for their protection by Captain Haskell who commanded at Fort Harmar during the Indian war. 284
The summer had been spent by the officers of the United States army in preparations for another campaign against the Miami towns southwest of Lake Erie. Troops had been drawn
from the different states contiguous; and volunteers from Kentucky and the western parts of Virginia, as well as from the new settlements north of the Ohio River, cheerfully joined the standard of General St. Clair, who was to command the expedition in person. At length, on the 17th day of September, the army set out from Fort Washington, and, by slow and regular marches, advanced on the west side of the Great Miami northwardly as far as the extreme sources of the Wabash River, and by estimate about fifty miles from the principal Miami towns near the mouth of the Au Glaize. Here, on the 4th of November, the army was surprised by the Indians and completely routed, with the loss of nearly half of the troops left on the field of battle. 285 The remnant of the army reached Fort Washington on the 8th of November, spreading consternation and mourning in every family. Nearly one half of the settlers had entered the ranks of the army, and many of them had fallen in the fatal engagement, and others lost friends and relatives among the slain.
The whole settlements in the Miami country were broken up or forsaken, except those in the immediate vicinity of the forts. Many determined to retire, for greater safety, across the Ohio, to the more settled parts of Kentucky, until the imminent danger should cease.
The Indians, encouraged by their late successes, ventured into the streets of Cincinnati by night, and spied out all the movements in the town and about Fort Washington. Others lurked and prowled through the settlements, and destroyed all who were unprotected. 286
[A.D. 1792.] General Washington, President of the United States, had been anxious to see the war prosecuted with that energy and force which the honor and peace of the government required; but he had met with every kind of opposition in his plans from the opponents of his administration in Congress. Now, after two disastrous campaigns, and the destruction of two armies, they had assumed more assurance, and urged the policy of withdrawing the Federal jurisdiction and forces from the Northwestern Territory, conceding the Ohio River as the boundary, and a speedy peace upon this basis with the Indians. 287
The tardy manner in which Congress met the wishes of the president in providing the means of prosecuting the war was ample evidence of its unpopularity east of the mountains.
The whole of the year 1792 had nearly elapsed without any active measures by the general government for the protection of the frontier settlements, or the chastisement of the Indians. At length, in the spring of 1793, Congress authorized and provided for the organization of a strong expedition with regular troops into the heart of the Indian country, to chastise the hostile savages and retrieve the national honor. Recruiting officers were distributed through the western counties, and also east of the mountains, preparatory to the ulterior operations on the frontier.
[A.D. 1793.] Indian hostilities, since St. Clair's defeat, became more regular and systematic; war parties penetrated into every settlement, and killed, with the most cruel barbarities, all who fell into their hands. Having acquired confidence in themselves, and contempt for their enemies on the Ohio, they became more daring in their incursions upon the settlements, as well as upon the immigrants descending the Ohio River to Kentucky.
During the year 1793, about fifty immigrants were added to the population of Cincinnati. Several cabins, three or four frames, and one Presbyterian house of worship were erected, and it began to assume the appearance of a regular place of trade and business. 288 As usual in all such cases, the headquarters of the army and the seat of the territorial government gave an importance and air of business to the place which many years could not have imparted without these influences. The town was now built along the lower terrace, near the river, in a straggling street of log cabins, intersected by short cross-streets extending to the second terrace, which was crowned by the imposing walls and bastions of Fort Washington. The site of the town was still a forest, partly leveled, with its logs and stumps visible in every direction, and bounded in the rear by a heavy forest in its natural state, with a few partial openings.
Religion and morals were not neglected. The rude Presbyterian church recently erected was occupied on Sabbaths by its first pastor, James Kemper, an eloquent divine. A
school had been opened during the summer, and was attended by thirty boys and girls, who were taught the elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic. 289
The greater portion of this year had been spent in raising the new levies for the regular army, and late in the autumn detachments began to arrive on the upper portions of the Ohio, preparatory to opening an early campaign next spring. Advanced detachments of the regular army at Fort Washington and bodies of militia had been posted at Fort Jefferson, seventy miles north of Cincinnati, which served to protect that frontier.
The continual hostile movements of the war parties who scoured the country north and west of the Ohio, during the preparations for another invasion under General Wayne, were such that but few of the settlements increased their population, unless it were those in the immediate vicinity of Forts Harmar and Washington. During this time the Ohio Company's colony kept in continual service about six "spies," who ranged the woods for miles in the vicinity of the settlements, for the purpose of discovering and destroying any small parties of Indians who might be lying about for scalps or plunder. If larger bodies were discovered, they immediately gave notice, and the forts and stations were prepared to receive them. The alarm-gun fired at the fort admonished all within hearing of the danger, and all hastened to the stockade for protection. The same precautions were taken on the Miamis. Yet this year witnessed several murders near the settlements, notwithstanding these precautions. At Belpre several persons had been killed, having ventured too far into the woods when no Indian sign had been seen. Major Nathaniel Goodale, an officer of the old Continental army, having gone into the forest to haul timber, was taken prisoner by two lurking Indians, and carried captive to Sandusky, where he died six weeks afterward. Captain King, from Rhode Island, was shot while cutting wood in sight of the stockade, besides others at other points of the settlement. Newberry settlement lost one woman and two children, killed by Indians near the adjoining field. 290
Notwithstanding all these dangers, civilization was taking deep root upon the north bank of the Ohio. Before the close
of this year, the first newspaper ever published north of the Ohio was issued in Cincinnati. This was the "Sentinel of the Northwestern Territory," the first number of which was issued on the 9th day of November, 1793, by William Maxwell. This paper, like those which had been issued in Pittsburgh in July, 1786, and in Lexington in August, 1787, was a small weekly sheet, badly printed, and of inferior materials. Like all the newspapers in the West for many years afterward, it was printed on an old cast-off press, with worn-out types, having only a few sets of new type for job-work. All the first western papers were published by young printers, who were unable to purchase new presses and type, and were compelled to use those that had been worn out, because they could be obtained cheap. 291
During nearly three years past, while the settlements were driven into forts and block-houses, and harassed with continual alarms and menaced with constant attack, the civil administration of the territorial government had almost ceased, or had been only partially enforced. The military authority, as is common in all countries in time of general danger, had superseded the civil administration, and swallowed up the legislative and judicial functions in the person of the commander-in-chief.
In the mean time, General Anthony Wayne, a distinguished officer of the Revolutionary army, had been appointed commander-in-chief of the northwestern army, and to him were confided the arduous duties of organizing a powerful military force for the effectual invasion of the Indian country. The well-known character of this accomplished and energetic soldier for prudence, system, courage, and command, gave general satisfaction to the western people, and restored the confidence and drooping courage of the frontier settlers.
During the close of the year 1793, military preparations had been active throughout all the western country, and troops were rapidly concentrating upon the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to the "Falls." The ranks were filled not only with regulars enlisted during the war, but with militia and cheerful volunteers. The settlements northwest of the Ohio began to experience some relief from Indian incursions, and a gleam of hope shone again upon their future prospects.
Although the Indians had remitted their depredations partially upon the Ohio River, they were actively engaged in forming alliances with western and southern tribes, and concentrating upon the waters of the Maumee their utmost strength, to meet the hostile invasion with which they were threatened.
[A.D. 1794.] Want, privation, and distress had been experienced by the new settlements, until they had almost despaired of a change. But the movements of General Wayne, upon the opening of the campaign, early in the summer of 1794, withdrew the Indian warriors to the immediate defense of their own towns. A succession of bold advances from Fort Jefferson drove the Indian forces before him, with the loss of all their towns, fields, and possessions, until they made a stand upon the north bank of the Maumee, within two miles of the British "Fort of the Miamis." In a pitched battle, on the 20th day of August, the American army completely routed and defeated the combined army of Indians and Canadians, driving them under the protection of the guns of the British fort. 292
On the other hand, the whites took fresh courage; the settlements near the Ohio began to increase their numbers by the arrival of new immigrants, and those who two years before had retired in despair to the secure settlements of Kentucky, began to return to the occupation of their former improvements.
[A.D. 1795.] Although few or no hostilities were perpetrated upon the inhabitants after the battle of the Miamis, yet suspicion of danger, and the uncertain security from Indian incursions, deterred immigrants from attempts to form new settlements.
The treaty of Greenville, 293 in the following summer, put an end to doubts and fears as to danger from the Indians; and hundreds were ready, waiting the result of the negotiations known to have been undertaken by General Wayne. The whole white population within the limits of the present State of Ohio at that time, exclusive of the army, did not exceed five thousand souls, distributed in the sparse settlements.
Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=monette2.html