HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
BY R. C. BROWN
THE MOUND-BUILDERS-THEIR GREAT ANTIQUITY-CHARACTER OF THEIR WORKS-THE WONDERFUL MONUMENTS WHICH ATTEST THEIR OCCUPATION OF THIS STATE-SOME EVIDENCES OF THEIR PRESENCE IN HANCOCK COUNTY-THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS, AND THEIR SUPPOSED ORIGIN BRIEF SKETCH OF THEM-THE OHIO TRIBES-PURCHASE OF THEIR LANDS BY THE UNITED STATES-OHIO RESERVATIONS, AND FINAL EXTINCTION OF THE INDIAN TITLE-INDIAN VILLAGES IN THIS COUNTY-EXTRACTS FROM THE "PERSONAL REMINISCENCES" OF JOB CHAMBERLIN -HIS RECOLLECTIONS OF THE INDIANS WHO FREQUENTED THIS PORTION OF THE STATE-THEIR SOCIAL RELATIONS WITH THE FIRST SETTLERS.
And did the dust
Of these fair solitudes once stir with life
And burn with passion? Let the mighty mounds
That overlook the rivers, or that rise
In the dim forests crowded with old oaks,
Answer. A race that long has passed away
Built them; a disciplined and populous race
Heaped with long toil the earth, while yet the Greek
Was hewing the Pentelicus to forms
Of symmetry, and rearing on its rock
The glittering Parthenon.-Bryant.
IT is now generally believed that a very numerous race of people occupied a large portion of this continent long anterior to the coming of the North American Indians, but there is no authentic history regarding them further than can be gleaned from the multiplicity of massive works stretching from the great lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. These works all bear the same general characteristics, and are either mounds, effigies, or defensive inclosures, some of which are of a very marked and extraordinary character. This long forgotten race, called Mound-Builders, in lieu of a more accurate designation, evidently possessed a distinctive civilization, and from the peculiar hieroglyphic characters sometimes found upon their stone implements, it has been thought probable they may have had a written language, though there is little evidence on which to found such a conclusion. But, beyond their almost imperishable monuments, the archaeologist seeks in vain for a further solution of the grand problem of the coming, subsequent
188 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY,
life and disappearance of this pre-historic race. On opening a mound he finds only moldering skeletons, scattered remnants of earthenware, rude weapons of warfare, aces of stone, flint drills, spear-heads, pestles, badges, and many other specimens of stone ornaments cut and polished from material rarely indigenous to the place where found, showing their owners to have been a migratory people or a conquering nation.
A thousand interesting queries arise respecting them, but the most searching investigations only give us vague and unsatisfactory speculations as an answer. If we knock at their tombs, no spirit reposing within responds to the summons, but a sepulchral echo comes ringing down the ages, reminding us how fruitless the search into that inscrutable past, over which the curtain of oblivion seems to have been irrevocably drawn. Whence came these people; who and what were they, and whither did they go? Some writers have discovered evidences, convincing, apparently, to themselves, that this pre-historic race came from the other side of the globe, and that their advent was made at different times and from different points of a general hive in the supposed cradle of humanity-Central Asia. Others think them to have been the forgotten ancestors of the degenerate and now decaying American Indians, from whom, they having no preservative written language, the memory of their ancestors has gradually slipped. Still others fancy them to have been the original indigenous, spontaneous product of the soil. Regardless, however, of the origin, progress and destiny of this curious people, the fact of their having been here is certain; therefore the best that can be done by the archaeologist is to examine their works and draw from them the conclusions that seem the most probable.
The mounds vary in height from about five to thirty feet, with several notable exceptions, when they reach an altitude of eighty to ninety feet. The inclosures contain villages, altars, temples, idols, cemeteries, monuments, camps, fortifications and pleasure grounds. They are chiefly of some symmetrical figure, as circle, ellipse, rectangular parallelogram, or regular polygon, and inclose from one or two acres to as high as fifty acres. The circumvolutions generally contain the mounds, although there are many of the latter to be found standing isolated on the backs of a stream or in the midst of a broad plateau, being evidently thus placed as outposts of offense or defense, for the fact that they were a very warlike, and even conquering race, is fully attested by the numerous fortifications to be met with wherever any trace of them is found.
The works of the Mound-Builders in the United States are divided into three groups: The first group extends from the upper sources of the Allegheny River to the headwaters of the Missouri; the second occupies the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, and the third stretches across the country, with very little interruption, from South Carolina to the western limits of Texas: These groups are subdivided into three varieties of elevations mounds, inclosures and effigies-which are designated as mounds of sepulture, sacrifice, worship, observation, commemoration and defense. Mounds of sepulture are more numerous than the others, and conical in shape. They usually contain the bones of one or more skeletons, accompanied by ornaments and implements of stone, mica, slate, shell 'or obsidian; besides pottery, whole and fragmentary; bone and copper beads, and the bones of animals. Mounds of sacrifice are recognized by their stratification, being
HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY. - 189
convex and constructed of clay and sand on the normal level of the soil, on top of which can be found a layer of ashes, charcoal and calcined bones, which in turn has a layer of clay and sand, followed by more ashes, charcoal, etc., till the gradual upbuilding resulted in the manner we now see. These mounds also often contain beads, stone implements, pottery and rude sculpture, and occasionally a skeleton, showing that they may have been used as burial places. Mounds of worship, which are comparatively few, have generally a large base and low elevation, and are in some instances terraced with inclined ways to the top. Their size and character have led to the inference that these flat-topped mounds originally were crowned with temples of wood, for had they been stone, traces of that material would be found. Mounds of observation, or beacon or signal mounds, are generally found upon elevated positions, and apparently could have subserved no other purpose than as "look-out" stations, or beacon points, and as confirmatory of the latter purpose, ashes and charcoal have been found imbedded in their summits. These mounds occur on the line of what are considered the outposts of these pre-historic conquerors. Mounds in commemoration of some important event or character are here and there to be found, and they are thus classed because, from their composition, position and character, they are neither sepulchral, sacrificial, temple, defensive nor observation mounds. They are generally constructed of earth, but in some instances in Ohio, where they are stone erections, they are considered to be monumental. Mounds of defense, however, with the exception, possibly, of one or two effigies in Ohio, are the most remarkable. These mounds in some instances give evidence that their builders were acquainted with all the peculiarities in the construction of the best defensive earth and stone works. They are always upon high ground and precipitous bluffs, and in positions that would now be selected by the accomplished strategist. The gateways to these forts are narrow and defended by the usual wall in front of them, whilst the double angle at the corners and projecting walls along the sides for enfilading attack show a knowledge of warfare that is phenomenal in so rude a people as their implements would indicate. Moats are often noticed around these fortifications, and cisterns or wells are to be found within the inclosures.
When the first settlers arrived at the sites of Marietta and Circleville, Ohio, a number of these earthworks were discovered, same of which yet exist; and at Newark when the circumvolution, known as the "fort," was first seen by those who settled there in the early years of the century, a large tree, whose age was possibly not less than six hundred years, stood upon one of the embankments over twenty feet above the general level, thus giving great antiquity to the erection. Ohio contains many curious forms of these works, two of the most singular being in Licking County and known respectively as the "Eagle" and "Alligator" effigies. The first is a bird with outstretched wings raised about three or four feet above the ground in the same manner as a bas-relief of the sculptors; the other is an animal closely resembling an alligator. They are supposed to have been idols, or in some way connected with the religion of the people who built them.
In Ross County a defensive inclosure occupies the summit of a lofty, detached hill; twelve miles west of Chillicothe. This hill is not far from 400 feet in perpendicular height, and some of its sides are actually inaccessi-
190 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
ble, all of them being abrupt. The defenses consisted originally of a stone wall carried around the hill a little below the brow, the remains of this wall existing now only in a line of detached stones, but showing plainly their evident purpose and position. The area inclosed embraced about 140 acres, and the wall itself was two and one-quarter miles in length. Trees of the largest size now grow upon the ruins of this fortification. About six miles east of Lebanon, Warren County, on the Little Miami River, is another extensive fortification, called "Fort Ancient." It stands on a plain, nearly horizontal, about 236 feet above the level of the river, between two branches with very steep banks. The extreme length of these works in a direct line is nearly a mile, although following their angles, retreating and salient, they probably reach a distance of six miles. Another of these inclosures is located in the southeastern part of Highland County, on an eminence 500 feet above the level of Brush Creek, which washes its base. The walls of the fortifications are over half a mile long, and the works are locally called "Fort Hill." The remains of an inclosure may yet be seen near Carrollton, a few miles south of Dayton, Montgomery County. All of these inclosures were evidently constructed for defensive purposes, and give signal proofs of the military knowledge of their builders.
Burial mounds are very numerous in this State, and there are few counties that have not a greater or less number of these tumuli. The moat remarkable of this class was a mound opened by John S. B. Matson, in Hardin County, in which over 300 human skeletons were found. Some antiquarians, however, entertain the belief that they were not all the remains of Mound-Builders, but many of them Indian remains, as it is well known that the latter often interred their dead in those monuments of their predecessors. When the first band of pioneers to the Western Reserve arrived at the mouth of Conneaut Creek, July 4, 1796, they discovered several mounds, and could easily trace the outline of a large cemetery then overgrown with forest. Explorations were subsequently made, and some gigantic skeletons exhumed from mounds which stood on the site of Conneaut, Ashtabula County. The frames and jaw-bones were those of giants, and could not have belonged to the race of Indians then inhabiting any portion of this country. Several years ago a burial mound was opened in Logan County, from which three skeletons were taken. The frame of one was in an excellent state of preservation, and measured nearly seven feet from the top of the skull to the lower part of the heel. In 1850 a mound lying on the north bank of Big Darby, about one mile northwest of Plain City, in Union County, was opened and several massive skeletons taken therefrom. The lower jaw-bones, like those found at Conneaut, could be easily fitted over the jaw of a very large man, outside the flesh. These bones-and they are usually large wherever found-indicate that the Mound-Builders were a gigantic race of beings, fully according in size with the colossal remains they have left behind them.
The largest mound in Ohio, called the "Great Mound," is located on the east bank of the Miami River, a shot distance southeast of Miamisburg, Montgomery County. The surface elevation at this point is more than 150 feet above the level of the stream. The mound measures 800 feet around the base, and about sixty-five feet in height, though archaeologists claim that it was originally more than eighty feet high. Explorations and the wear and tear of the elements have worn off the summit about fifteen feet. At the
HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.191
time the pioneers first came to the Miami Valley this mound was covered with trees, a large maple crowning the top, from which, it is said, the few cabins then constituting Dayton were plainly visible. In 1869 a shaft was sunk from the top of the mound to a distance of two feet below the base, and about eight feet from the surface a human skeleton was found in a sitting posture, facing due east. A deposit of vegetable matter, bones of small animals, also wood and stone surrounded the skeleton, while a cover of clay, ashes and charcoal seems to have been the mode of burial.
Few traces of the Mound-Builders are now left in Hancock County, although it has been stated by several intelligent pioneers that many small mounds were found by the first settlers, who regarded them as "Indian graveyards." All of the tumuli in this portion of the State were each about five feet high and thirty feet in diameter, and on being opened exhibited the same evidences of construction as those previously mentioned. Three of these mounds were located northeast of Cannonsburg, in Union Township; two on Section 11, and one on Section 13, Orange Township; one on the old John Povenmire farm in Section 21, Liberty Township, and one about a mile south of Mount Blanchard, on the farm of Isaac Elder. Those in Orange and Union Townships were opened by William M. McKinley and Fayette Ballard, who found human remains in each mound, also flint arrow heads and other implements of stone, some of which Mr. McKinley has now in his possession. Most, if not all of these tumuli have been nearly obliterated by cultivation, as no effort was ever made toward preserving them from the iconoclastic wantonness of the agriculturist. No doubt many more small mounds once existed in other townships of Hancock County, which the plow has long since obliterated. Numerous evidences of this strange people cannot be looked for here, but that they once inhabited the valley of the Blanchard is beyond all reasonable doubt.
"The red man came
The roaming hunter tribes, warlike and fierce,
And the Mound-Builders vanished from the earth."
The question of the origin of the North American Indian has long interested archaeologists, and is one of the most difficult they have been called upon to answer. The commonly accepted opinion is that they are a derivative race, and sprang from one or more of the ancient peoples of Asia. Some writers have put forward the theory that the Indiana, from their tribal organization, faint similarity of language and religion, and the high cheekbone in the well developed specimen of the race, are the descendants of the two lost tribes of Israel. Others contend that they descended from the Hindoos, and that the Brahmin idea, which uses the sun to symbolize the Creator, has its counterpart in the sun-worship of some Indian tribes. They have lived for centuries without much apparent progress-purely a hunter race-while the Caucasian, under the transforming power of Christianity the parent of art, science and civil government-has made the most rapid advancement. Under the influences of the church, however, the Indian has often shown a commendable capability for accepting the teachings of civilization; but the earnest efforts of her devoted missionaries have often been nullified or totally destroyed by the unwise policy pursued by the governing power, or the dishonesty and selfishness of the officials in charge. Stung to madness at our injustice and usurpation of his hunting grounds, he has remained a savage, and his career in the upward march of man is forever
192 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
stunted. The Indian race is in the position of a half-grown giant cut down before reaching manhood. There never has been a savage people who could compare with them in their best estate. Splendid in physique, with intense shrewdness and common sense, and possessed of a bravery unexcelled, there never was a race of uncivilized people who had within them so much to make them great, as the red man. Whatever he has been or is, he was never charged with being a coward or a fool, and as compared to the barbarians of other portions of the globe, he is as "Hyperion to a satyr.''
The advent of the whites upon the shores of the Western continent engendered in the bosoms of the aborigines a spark of jealousy, which, by the impolitic course of the former, was soon fanned into a blaze, and a contest was thereby inaugurated that sooner or later must end in the extermination of the latter. The struggle has been long and bitter; many a campaign has been planned by warriors worthy and able to command armies for the destruction of the pale-faced invaders. When Philip struck the blow which he hoped would forever crush the growing power of the white man, both recognized the supreme importance of the contest, and the courage and resources of the New England colonists were taxed to the utmost to avoid a defeat, which meant final destruction. The fierce resistance of later days, as the Indians were driven farther and farther toward the setting sun, are historic facts with which the student is already familiar. The conspiracy of Pontiac, the famous Ottawa chieftain, in 1763, failed in its object of extermination, and the bravery and sagacity of the celebrated Indian leaders, Brandt, Red Jacket, Cornplanter, Cornstalk, Logan, Black Hoof, Tarhe, Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, could not prevail against the heroes of the Revolution, and the triumph of Wayne in 1794 closed a long series of bloody Indian wars. A few years passed by when Tecumseh flashed out like a brilliant meteor in the firmament of great Indian leaders, and organized the Western tribes for a last desperate effort to hold their own against the advancing tide of civilization. But he too went down in defeat and death before the prowess of Harrison's legions. When the Creeks, in 1813, through the intrigue of Tecumseh, challenged the people of the South to mortal combat, it required the genius of a Jackson, and soldiers worthy of such a chief, to avert a serious calamity. But since the decisive battle of Tohopeka, March 27, 1814, there has been but one Indian war of any considerable magnitude, viz.: the Seminole war in Florida. The Black Hawk outbreak in Illinois, in 1832, required but a few weeks' service of raw militia to quell, but the Seminoles of Florida, led by the indomitable Osceola, a half-breed of great talents, carried on a bitter struggle from 1835 to 1839, when their power was completely crushed, and they were soon after removed beyond the Mississippi. Since then campaigns have dwindled into mere raids, and battles into skirmishes. The massacre of Custer's command in Montana must be regarded as an accident of no permanent importance, and a dozen such melancholy events would not in the least alarm the country. Indian fighting, though not free from peril, now serves a useful purpose for the army graduates of West Point, who might otherwise go to their graves without ever having smelled hostile gunpowder.
Two hundred years ago the white man lived in America only by the red man's consent, and within that period the combined strength of the red man might have driven the white into the sea. Along the Atlantic coast are still to be seen the remains of the rude fortifications which the early settlers
PAGE 193 - PICTURE OF JONATHAN PARKER
PAGE 194 - BLANK
HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY. - 195
built to protect themselves from the host of enemies around; but to find the need of such protection now one must go beyond the Mississippi, to a few widely scattered points in Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon. The enemy that once camped in sight of the Atlantic has retreated toward the slope of the Pacific, and from that long retreat there can be no returning. East of the stream which he called the Father of Waters, nothing is left of the Indian except the beautiful names he gave and the graves of his dead, save here and there the remnants of once powerful tribes, living on reservations by the sufferance of their conquerors. The Indian has resisted and will continue to resist every effort to civilize him by coercion, every attempt to force at the point of the bayonet the white man's ideas into his brain. He does not want and will not have our manners or our code of morals forced upon him. The greatest redeeming feature in the Indian character and career is that he has always preferred the worst sort of freedom to the best sort of slavery. Whether his choice was a wise one or not the reader can determine; but it is impossible not to feel some admiration for the indomitable spirit that has never bowed to the yoke, never called any man "master." The Indian is a savage, but he never was, never will be, a slave. We have treated him like a dog and are surprised that he bites. In a speech in New York City, not long before his death, Gen. Samuel Houston, indisputable authority on such matters, declared with solemn emphasis that "there never was an Indian war in which the white man was not the aggressor." Aggression leading to war is not our heaviest sin against the Indian. He has been deceived, cheated and robbed to such an extent that he looks upon most of the white race as villains to whom he should show no quarter. A very decided feeling of justice to the abused red man is gaining ground of late years, and numerous able writers have been engaged in defending him, among whom are Joaquin Miller, the poet, and Hon. A. B. Meacham. But we can well afford, after getting all his land and nearly exterminating him, to extend to him a little cheap sympathy.
The Indians of this continent were never so numerous as has generally been supposed, although they were spread over a vast extent of country. Continual wars prevented any great increase, and their mode of life was not calculated to promote longevity or numbers. The great body of them originally were along the Atlantic seaboard, and most of the Indian tribes had traditions that their forefathers lived in splendid hunting grounds far to the westward. The best authorities affirm that, on the discovery of this country, the number of the scattered aborigines of the territory now forming the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan could not have exceeded 18,000.
The earliest date of any authentic knowledge of the Indian in this section is 1650, when the Eries held possession of the northern portion of what is now Ohio. They lived along the southern borders of the lake which bears their name, but when their domains were invaded by the Iroquois, about 1655, most of them fell before their relentless foes, whilst the remainder became incorporated with other tribes, were driven farther southward, or adopted into those of their conquerors. During the first half of the seventeenth century the Shawnees were living along the valley of the Ohio, but they, too, were dispersed by the Five Nations, or Iroquois, and dispossessed of their lands, though they subsequently returned to their early hunting grounds. For many years before and after 1700 this entire territory was
196 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
occupied by the remnants of defeated tribes, who were permitted to remain by sufferance of their conquerors, the latter exacting a tribute, collected at will from the wandering and unsettled tribes. In 1750, however, something like permanent occupation had again taken place, and we find in what is now Ohio the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, Munsees, Ottawas, Senecas, Cayugas, Mohawks, Oneidas and Onondagas, the last five being known in history as the Mingoes of Ohio.
The Wyandots then inhabited the valleys of the Sandusky River and its tributaries, and also dwelt around Sandusky Bay, and along a few other streams $owing into Lake Erie. The Delawares and Munsees occupied the Muskingum Valley. The Shawnees lived along the Scioto from the Ohio to the Scioto Marsh, and also had a few towns on the Miami and Mad Rivers. The Miamis occupied the country drained by the headwaters of the Maumee, Wabash and Great Miami Rivers, from the Loramie portage across to Fort Wayne and down the Maumee Valley. The Ottawas were scattered along the Lower Blanchard, Auglaize and Maumee Rivers, and around the western end of the lake; while the Mingoes, composed of Senecas, Cayugas, Mohawks, Oneidas and Onondagas, were settled in the eastern and northeastern portions of the State, but, like the other tribes, were gradually pushed westward.
By the Greenville treaty, ratified August 3, 1795, the United States acquired from the Indians about two-thirds of the present territory of Ohio. The boundary line began at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River; thence up that stream to the portage leading to the Tuscarawas River; thence along the portage and down the Tuscarawas to the forks (the town of Bolivar); thence in a southwesterly direction to Loramie's store, on the Great Miami River (in Shelby County); thence to Fort Recovery (in Mercer County); thence southwest to the Ohio, opposite the mouth of the Kentucky River. All of the lands east and south of this line were ceded by the Indians to the Government. The previous treaties of Fort McIntosh, in 1 I85, Fort Finney, in 1786, and Fort Harmar, in 1789, had a similar object in view, but failed in accomplishing a peace of sufficient permanence for the whites to obtain possession of the coveted territory. The Indians also ceded to the Government, by the treaty of Greenville, several tracts within the territory still retained by them, for the establishment of trading posts or settlements. Those in Ohio were located at or near Loramie's store, and on the St. Mary's, Auglaize, Maumee and Sandusky Rivers, and Sandusky Bay. The tribes likewise guaranteed to the people of the United States free passage by land and water between said posts. By a treaty made at Fort Industry (Toledo), July 4, 1805, all of the Western Reserve west of the Cuyahoga River was secured. In November, 1807, the lands north of the Maumee were purchased by treaty at Detroit, Mich., from the Ottawas, Wyandots, Pottawatomies and Chippewas; and in November, 1808, the same tribes, with the Shawnees, by a treaty at Brownstown, Mich., granted a tract two miles wide for a road through the Black Swamp, from the Maumee Rapids to the east line of the Western Reserve. On the 29th of September, 1817, a treaty was made at the foot of the Maumee Rapids, with the Wyandots, Ottawas, Shawnees, Delawares, Senecas, Pottawatomies and Chippewas, and all of the lands in this State then remaining in possession of the Indians were ceded to the United States. Certain reservations were set aside by this treaty for the uses of the sev-
HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY. - 197
eral Indian tribes, to which large additions were made by a treaty concluded at St. Mary's, Ohio, with the Wyandots, Senecas, Shawnees and Ottawas, September 17, 1818. The Wyandot Reservations embraced a tract of twelve miles square around Upper Sandusky, one mile square on Broken Sword Creek, 55,680 acres lying on the north and east of the Upper Sandusky Reserve, and 16,000 acres surrounding the Big Spring at the east end of the marsh (in what is now the southwest corner of Seneca County, and extending across the line into Big Lick Township, Hancock County), the last mentioned tract being " for the use of the Wyandots residing at Solomon's Town and on Blanchard's Fork." The Delawares had a reserve of three miles square immediately south of the Wyandots, extending into Marion County. The Ottawas had three tracts set aside for their residence, viz. : five miles square on the Blanchard River around the village of Ottawa (Putnam County), three miles square on the Little Auglaize around Oquanoxa's Town, and thirty-four square miles on the south side of the Maumee, including the village of the Indian chief McCarty. The Shawnees had reserved ten miles square around their village of Wapakoneta (Auglaize County), twenty square miles adjoining it on the east, twenty-five square miles on Hog Creek, also adjoining the first mentioned tract, and forty-eight square miles surrounding the Indian village of Lewistown (Logan County). Another tract containing 8, 960 acres, lying west of the Lewistown Reservation, was set aside for mixed bands of Shawnees and Senecas. The "Senecas of Sandusky" were given 40, 000 acres on Sandusky River, lying in what is now Seneca and Sandusky Counties. Besides the foregoing reservations, numerous smaller tracts were granted at different points to individual chiefs, half-breeds and adopted whites then living with the Indians. In 1818 the Miamis, whose reservation included lands on St. Mary's River, near the west line of the State, ceded the same to the United States. In 1829 the Delaware Reserve was purchased, and, in 1831, the reservations located in Logan, Auglaize, Seneca, Hancock and Sandusky Counties, were likewise obtained, and those of the Ottawas in 1838. In March, 1842, the Wyandots ceded their lands to the Government, and in July of the following year the last Indian left Ohio for the far West. Thus, after a struggle of more than three-quarters of a century, the red man was at last forced to succumb to the strength and prowess of a superior race, and his bloodthirsty efforts were futile to stem the onward march of American civilization.
The territory embraced in Hancock County lay between the Indian towns in what is now Wyandot and Seneca Counties and those located on the Blanchard, Auglaize and Maumee Rivers. It was a portion of the hunting grounds of the Wyandots and Ottawas, who within the period of American history roamed at will through its unbroken forests. The Wyandots had a small village on the site of Findlay, and cultivated corn along the river within the present limits of the city. Howe, in his "Historical Collections," speaking of the settlement of Wilson Vance at Fort Findlay, in 1821, says: "There were Then some ten or fifteen Wyandot families in the place, who had made improvements. They were a temperate, fine-looking people, and friendly to he first settlers." Howe was, probably, mistaken, as under the treaty of 1817 the Indians gave up all claims to these lands and removed to certain reservations set aside for their benefit, one of which was "reserved for the use of the Wyandots residing at Solomon's Town and on Blanchard's Fork." This plainly indicates that there were
198 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
settlements of Wyandots on the Blanchard, and we believe Findlay was the site of one of these villages.
The writer called upon Mrs. Elizabeth Eberly, a daughter of Benjamin J. Cox, who now resides near Portage, Wood County, and in reply ;to his questions she gave the following information: "When my father settled at Fort Findlay, in 1815, there were eight or ten families of friendly Wyandots living around and in the block-houses of the fort. They tilled two fields, one above and the other below Fort Findlay, on the south bank of the Blanchard. Kuqua was the chief, and one of his sons, Tree-Top-in-The-W ater, died in a cabin west of the fort before the Indians removed to Big Spring Reservation. New Bearskin, another of Kuqua' a sons, lived in one of the block-houses, and the old chief also occupied one of the same buildings. Six or seven miles down the river the Wyandots had another village, which my father sometimes visited. Solomon, who once lived in Logan County, dwelt at the latter village, and often came to our house. We never had any trouble with the Indians who lived upon the Blanchard, and when they removed to Big Spring, Kuqua offered my father a tract of land near the spring if he would go and live with them, but he did not care to go, and refused the kind offer." The foregoing may be regarded as indubitable proof that the Wyandots had two villages on the Blanchard, in what is now Hancock County, and also that the sites of these towns were at Findlay and " Indian Green," in Liberty Township.
As further evidence of the existence of an Indian village on the site of Findlay, an excerpt is here given from the work of Squire Carlin, who is recognized as a reliable authority on local pioneer history: "When I settled at Findlay, in the fall of 1826," says Mr. Carlin, "several small cabins stood west of the old fort, and others southwest of the residence of Wilson Vance, in the rear of the Sherman House site. There were no Indians living here at that time, but I understood these cabins were built by the Indians, and that they also had raised corn on the river bottoms above the fort. It has always been my impression that an Indian village once existed at this point, though I believe the occupants moved away soon after the treaty of 1818 and before the erection of Hancock County in 1820."
In the history of Liberty Township, the Indian village that once stood on the north bank of the Blanchard, in Section 7, is spoken of. It is generally believed that the Wyandots had a settlement here up to the treaty of 1818, when all these lands having been ceded to the Government, this band removed to their reservation at the Big Spring. Further down the river, in Putnam County, the Ottawas had, up to the time of their removal to the West, two villages, one on the site of Ottawa, and another two miles above that point. These towns were known as Upper and Lower ' Tawa, the latter being on the site of Ottawa, and the former between that and Gilboa. The Wyandot village in Liberty Township was surrounded by a clearing of some twelve acres, whereon the Indians had a graveyard, and a plum orchard. It has been claimed that an earth fortification once ran along the brow of the hill overlooking the river. Careful examination of what is said to be the remains of this defensive work leads the writer to believe the cut back of the elevation was made by the washings of the surface drainage into the river. There is nothing here to sustain the theory of an artificial earthwork, and no reasonable grounds upon which to base such a conclusion. The site of this village was deserted prior to the coming of any white set-
HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY. - 199
tlers to its vicinity, and was subsequently owned by Robert McKinnis. A man named Ellison settled upon this tract and began opening the graves for the purpose of obtaining the ornaments or valuables usually interred with the Indian dead. The Indians, learning of the desecration, visited Ellison, and so thoroughly scared him that he soon afterward left the county. Some of the pioneers tell us it was the general belief that Ellison stole about a half bushel of jewelry from these graves, but this is, no doubt, an exaggeration. There is scarcely a township in the county where Indian remains have not been discovered, as they buried their dead in any spot which fancy dictated. Ornaments of gold, silver or copper were usually found in each grave. Some of the pioneers have claimed that Mount Blanchard is also the site of an Indian village, and, from the large number of relics found there by early settlers, it is highly probable that a band of Wyandots once dwelt at that point.
The character of the Indians who frequented this county cannot be more appropriately illustrated than by giving a few extracts from the " Personal Reminiscences" of Job Chamberlin, Esq., of Findlay, written in 1874: "The county," says Mr. Chamberlin (speaking of the early years of settlement beginning with 1822), "was full of Indians, chiefly Wyandots. Those that we became the best acquainted with were Solomon, Bigpan, Bearskin, Kuqua, Johnnycake, Half John, Isaac Hill and Armstrong. Solomon had been a chief in the war of 1812, and he had the temerity to boast, to some of his white friends here, of his barbarous feats and inhuman treat ment of his captives. He said at one time he cut his prisoners' tongues off. He compelled them to put their tongues out, and as he could not bold them with his bare brand, he would take a piece of flannel in his hand and catch hold of the tongue with that, then he could hold it and pull it out as far as possible to cut it off. He would make a gurgling noise down his throat to mimic the victims of his cruelty in their efforts to talk. He also boasted of having killed twenty women at one time. He and another Indian went to a house where twenty women were collected together for safety, when he broke open the door and went in, whilst his companion stood at the door to prevent their escape: He said there was one woman who fought him with a chair, and came very near overpowering him, while the others crawled under the beds. But he finally killed the one who gave him battle, and then had nothing to do but drag out the others and tomahawk them.
"Kuqua was their doctor, and practiced divination. To cure the patient he would pow-wow around the sick bed, and thump around the room until the demons, which were supposed to be the cause of the disease, would be driven away; and the patient restored to health. * * * The Indians possessed the same fanatical belief in witchcraft that was so disgraceful to the Pilgrim Fathers, and like them would inflict capital punishment on the victims of their suspicion. Just after we came here, there was a squaw living in the eastern part of the county, whom the Indians decided had lived to such an extreme old age as to have outlived all usefulness, and must therefore be a witch. So they appointed two of their braves to execute the death sentence previously passed upon her for the crime of witchcraft. They took her into the woods, and each taking hold of an arm raised it up and thrust his knife into her side, which soon terminated her life. They very indifferently buried her, and the hogs were afterward seen feasting upon the remains. * * * * *
200 - HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY.
" The Indians were generally peaceable, but sometimes there would be a difficulty between them and the white settlers, usually as to the ownership of stock. Their hogs ran wild in the woods, and occasionally a reckless white man would kill some of them, and then the innocent would be blamed. My father had a yearling heifer stray away to town, and when he went after it the Indians had caught and fastened it with a cord, and refused to surrender the animal. My father, somewhat incensed, commenced untying the cord, when Bigpan came up and took hold of his hand, saying, `No! no! no!' but father persisted, and untied it, and let the calf free. The Indian said, `Now you steal my cow, and maybe you steal hog.'
"There were a few drunken Indians came into my father's cabin one day. My sister was sitting in a chair in front of the fire, when one of them came up behind her and flourished his big knife over her head, making murderous demonstrations; but the squaws quickly came forward and took the knife away from him. They also took the weapons from the other Indians and carried them to a safe distance, and the band soon departed with out further trouble. But the Indians were a fruitful source of wealth to traders and dealers in furs and deer skins.
"I have seen some of the Indians with their ears cut from the ear-lap about half-way around, close to the rim, but not cut hose at either end. The flesh would heal and hang in a cord, on which they would place their rings. They would wear moccasins on their feet, made of well-dressed deer skin, handsomely ornamented with colored beads cut from porcupine quills, and beautifully arranged around the ankle and over the top of the moccasin. Some would wear a silver tube, three or four inches long and about one inch in diameter, on top of the head, which was held in place by drawing the hair firmly through it. The warriors occasionally would paint their cheeks red, put a red stripe over each eye-brow, one down the bridge of the nose and one on the chin. The whites thought these marks significant of war, and that the Indians thus marked were the allies of some warring tribe of the West. Some of the whites were fearful they would be victims, but they were never molested, except in a few personal encounters, one of which took place on the premises of John P. Hamilton, Esq. Asa Lake had called to stay over night, and the Indian, Armstrong, who had been drinking too much whisky. also came there for the same purpose. They went to the stable to feed their horses, and when Mr. Hamilton went up in the mow to throw down hay, Lake thought he would have some sport with the Indian, and taunted him about decorating his face, until the redskin got mad, drew his knife, and thrust it at Lake's breast with all his might, but missed his aim, the knife passing under Lake's arm and cutting along slit in his coat. Lake sprang for a club, knocked the Indian down, and perhaps would have killed him had not Mr. Hamilton interfered and pacified Lake, by reminding him that he had provoked the trouble and should not blame the drunken Indian. Mr. Hamilton took the Indian into the house and kept him all night, which kind act made Armstrong his friend ever afterward. * *' *
"But the Indians, like the wild animals, were `under cow' to the white man, as the following instance will fully illustrate: Mr. Hamilton set a trap to catch wolves, and one morning on going to where his trap had been set, found that it had disappeared. He concluded it had been stolen, and accused Half John with taking it, but the Indian declared positively that he was innocent. Mr. Hamilton, however, was so sure he was the thief
HISTORY OF HANCOCK COUNTY. - 201
that he told the Indian he would shoot him unless he returned the trap. Half John, thoroughly frightened, hunted all day for the missing trap, and in the evening came to Hamilton and requested the latter to go with him, that he had found the trap. Hamilton went, and was considerably chagrined to find his trap on the leg of a big hog."
Prior to the departure of the Wyandots for the far West, in July, 1843, the pioneers of Hancock County were greatly annoyed by the numerous bands of Indian hunters, who roamed the forest in search of game. Many of these Indians regarded the produce of the whites as a part of their legitimate spoils, and would bring venison and other game to the isolated cabins to exchange for other commodities, and always managed to get what they were most in need of. The struggling settler very often had to share his scanty meal with any Indian who called at his cabin, and they were always ready to eat. The Indians were, as a rule, gourmands, and we can easily imagine the feelings of the needy family upon whom one or more of these lazy fellows would call for food. It is true they sometimes repaid such hospitality, nevertheless their frequent coming was often a heavy drain upon the meager resources of the pioneers, who were not sorry when they finally left the country. It was a part of the inevitable that the red man should depart and the white man take his place, and no thoughtful, civilized person would prefer a land covered with forests and ranged by semi-savages, to a great State embellished with all the improvements that art can devise or industry execute.