||HISTORY OF LOWER SCIOTO VALLEY
Kay L. Mason
Progress of Events-Grouping of Interesting Facts. The First Settlement-Governor Appointed-The Indian War-Wayne's Campaign-A Treaty-Indian Annuities-Progress of the New Northwest-The First Territorial Legislature-Location of Boundary Lands-Formation State Constitution. [Text Version]
The First Settlement.
The settlement of the Scioto Valley, or northwest of the Ohio River, was in 1774. Then quite a number settled within the limits of what is now Ohio. There were small villages at Hocking Falls, at the mouth of the Muskingum, the Scioto, Miami, and along the north bank of the Ohio. The largest appeared to have been Hocking, and there was quite a town on the Mingo bottoms, opposite what is now Wheeling.
In January, 1785, the commissioners to treat with the Indians in possession of the territory, Messrs. George Rogers, Richard Butler and Arthur Lee, were compelled to cease negotiations until the lands west of the Ohio River were dispossessed of the white settlers or pioneers. Ensign John Armstrong was sent by Colonel Harmer to drive those white invaders from the Indian soil. Some failed to leave. The Delawares and Wyandots were in possession. This was in March, 1785. It is very probable that these primitive settlements were formed by soldiers from Lord Dunmore's army, which, after a short campaign against the Indians in Ohio, was disbanded at the mouth of the Hocking River in the fall of 1774. The fact of the disbandment of the army, about 1,200 men, at the time and place above named, has been accepted as conclusive, and as no facts to the contrary have ever been presented, nothing seems more plausible than that parties of these soldiers, on discovering the fertility of these valleys, tarried long enough to test their fruitfulness, and afterward sent for their families or friends.
It is fully evident from the foregoing that the whites had fastened themselves upon the country as early as 1774, but there is no evidence at hand to prove that any fixed settlement was founded for the active development of the country until the close of the Revolutionary war, which proclaimed to the world a nation born and liberty triumphant. The country was then in an exhausted condition, and the people had little means, either for home comforts or to travel to unknown and far-off lands. However, the recuperation of the populations from the devastations of a seven years' war was remarkable for its rapidity, and the desire to explore the then great unknown West became a consuming one. A government of peace, however, had to be founded, laws made, and all the machinery of law, order and the inalienable right of a free people was to be inaugurated that would secure a continuation of that peace which had cost so much, and for a prosperity which was absolutely necessary to the welfare of an impoverished land. This was the labor of years, yet the year 1787 saw the fruition of the work, and a glorious structure was reared which has stood the test of time, the assaults of a foreign foe, and a civil strife unparalleled in the history of nations.
Under the aegis of this law the pioneer left his Eastern home and planted the banner of civilization upon the boundary line of the great Northwest, and from there took up his line of march into the interior, blazing a pathway for others to follow, and, at times, leaving his body as a bloody offering upon the shrine of freedom, and the burning of his cabin a torch to light the footsteps of those who came after. All was not peace in the West when freedom sat enthroned on the Atlantic Coast. The Indians were not willing to give up their hunting grounds without a struggle, and bravely they repelled the palefaces. But destiny had decreed their doom, and the white man was master of the country.
Under the Act of Congress of July 13, 1787, Arthur St. Clair was appointed Governor of the Northwest Territory; Sam'l H. Parsons, James M. Varnum and John Armstrong were appointed Judges; the latter not accepting, John Cleves Symmes was appointed in his place. Winthrop Sargent was appointed Secretary. The officers of the Territory started for their destination and arrived at Marietta on the 9th of July, 1788, excepting Judge Symmes, who joined them, however, soon after, and their commissions were published as well as the ordinance governing the Territory. The Governor called the attention of the judge to the organization of the militia, but they paid no attention to it, but got up a land law for dividing realestate, which was rejected for its crudities and the fact that non-resident land-holders would have been deprived of their land. On the 26th of July, 1788, the county of Washington was organized by proclamation and the Governor appointed Rufus Putnam, Benj. Tupper and Winthrop Sargent, Justices of the Peace.
Its boundary was defined as follows: "Beginning on the bank of the Ohio River where the western line of Pennsylvania crosses it, and running with that line to Lake Erie; thence along the southern shore of said lake to the north of Cuyahoga River; thence up said river to the portage between it and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum; thence down that branch to the forks, at the crossing place above Fort Laurens; thence with a line to be drawn westwardly to the portage of that branch of the Big Miami upon which the fort stood that was taken and destroyed by the French in 1752, until it meets the road from the Lower Shawanese town to the Sandusky; thence south to the Scioto River, down that to its mouth, and thence up the Ohio River to the place of the beginning." He erected a Court of Probate, established a Court of Quarter Sessions, divided the militia into two classes, Seniors and Juniors, then added, Aug. 30, 1788, three more Justices of the Peace in the persons of Archibald Cary, Isaac Pierce and Thomas Lord, and giving them power to hold the Court of Quarter Sessions. They were in fact Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. Return Jonathan Meigs was the clerk of this court.
The Scioto Valley began to attract attention and Chillicothe was laid out, 1796, by Nathaniel Massie, when the ground was covered by a dense forest; Portsmouth was located in 1805, by Henry Massie; Piketon in 1814 and Jackson Court-House in 1817. Pike County was first settled in 1796, and the old salt works in Jackson County were worked by the whites in 1798, while the Indians and French had used them as far back as 1750; a French map in 1755 gave the location of these works or springs.
For a while after the close of the Revolutionary war peace and prosperity had been the lot of the white settlers, and they had been spreading their cabins into the interior, until at last they aroused the red man to a sense of his danger in being dispossessed of his hunting grounds. Then again the frontiersmen, those who in a measure made hunting their occupation, had the impression that an Indian, like a wild beast, was game, and he was generally killed on sight. The Indians were by no means backward in retaliation, and the scalp of a hunter was something they considered a legitimate trophy, and a great one if the hunter was a good fighter. Of course this state of affairs was bound to breed trouble, and when in addition to this the palefaces overran their lands or hunting grounds, they determined upon driving them out of the country. The result was a general rising, in which the shriek of their victims and the light of their burning cabins called upon the Government for immediate action.
The Indians were urged on to their terrible work by British spies and agents, doing their utmost to precipitate an Indian war. The latter were supplied with arms, ammunition, blankets, etc., by these agents, and through their evil and persistent machinations at the last war. The settlers were soon surrounded by hostile Indians, and every pioneer carried his life in his hands-who stepped even beyond their threshold, in many cases. The first display of hostility by the Indians was upon the groups of Government surveyors, who were regarded by the Indians as their especial enemies. Their lining out or surveying the land was definite enough for the Indians to understand something of its nature, and that what they thus marked out was forever lost to them. Their hatred to these bands of surveyors resulted in sudden attacks, and many were killed. It soon became evident that the land could not be surveyed and brought into market until something more definite was determined upon. The Indians all seemed to be united in their determined opposition to the further encroachment of the whites, and to defend their hunting grounds from the invasion of the palefaces. Nothing was to be done but to chastise the Indians and bring them to terms of peace. This was not accomplished without a long and bitter struggle.
Peace overtures having failed and the Indians aggressive to a murderous degree, General Harmer was directed to attack their towns. In September, 1790, with 1,330 men, he marched from Cincinnati through the wilderness to the Indian villages on the Miami, which he burned. On his homeward march he was attacked by a superior force of savages, and, after a desperate battle, was totally defeated. General Harmer was barely able to make good his retreat to Cincinnati. His expedition was a failure and gave the Indians renewed courage and hope. From this time there were four years of uninterrupted war with the Indians, and sad indeed was the condition of the settlers. Wherever the settlements extended, the whole frontier was lighted by the flames of burning cabins and destruction of improvements. An attack was made on the settlement at Big Bottom, in Washington County, on the Muskingum River, Jan. 2, 1791, characterized by the usual horrible features of stealth and sudden surprise by the savages, of quick massacre and scalping of the victims, and of hasty retreat into the wilderness. In this attack twelve persons were killed and five carried into captivity. The surprise and slaughter of the troops under General St. Clair in their camp on the morning of Nov. 4, 1791, was a scene of appalling horror. Then came a rest. The Indians and their British allies were jubilant. A day of retribution, however, was in store for them. Refusing peace overtures, the Government determined to wage a vigorous and relentless war upon the savages until they would cry for peace, but no more overtures would be held out. If peace came it must come from the actions of the forest chiefs who had commenced hostilities.
The next move was to call upon General Anthony Wayne to take full command of the troops and to wage active warfare against the Indians, giving them no rest and destroying as they had destroyed. "Mad Anthony" did not belie his reputation gained in the war of the Revolution. During the negotiation of the commissioners, which he felt would be a failure, he marched to the scene of war with a strong force ready for active operations as soon as negotiations should cease. In the fall of 1793 he marched into the Indian country and commenced fortifying, or finishing the work commenced by the unfortunate St. Clair. He built a fort at Greenville, Darke County, where St. Clair was surprised and defeated, and gave it the name of Fort Recovery, an appropriate name, as it was truly recovered. In the following summer, that of 1794, General Wayne organized his forces and marched to the junction of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers, and there built another fort and called it "Fort Defiance," and as an auxiliary line of defense he erected Fort Adams, at what is known as St. Mary's, in Auglaize County. By August his command, numbering 3,000 men, was ready for active duty, and he at once sought the enemy upon their own ground by marching down the Maumee River to the rapids, and to where there was a British military post. Here, at the foot of Maumee Rapids, he built Fort Miami, and, feeling himself strong enough for offensive action, he offered the enemy peace. This was defiantly refused, but time was asked. This Wayne refused and immediately marched to an open strip of ground, known by the name of "Fallen Timbers", at the head of the Maumee Rapids, not far from the site of the present Maumee City, and then attacked the Indians in force, the 10th of August, and overwhelmingly defeated them. General Wayne followed up his victory, by laying waste the country, destroying the Indian towns and crops, and, moving with celerity, prevented another organization of the Indian forces. From the battle-field of "Fallen Timbers" he marched to the site of the present city of Fort Wayne, Ind., and there erected another fort which he named "Fort Wayne," after himself, the name the town assumed when incorporated. Having garrisoned his forts he returned with his army to Greenville, or Fort Recovery, and there went into winter quarters. During his sojourn there General Wayne issued the following proclamation, which refers to this section as well as to other parts of the State:
"To the Cherokees now settled on the head waters of the Scioto and to all
other Indians in that quarter whom it may concern:
"If, after this friendly warning and invitation, any more murders, or robberies, or injury shall be committed by the aforesaid Indians residing on the waters of the Scioto, the said General does hereby declare that he without distinction, as it will not be in his power to distinguish the innocent from the guilty. He, therefore, advises all peaceable Indians to withdraw themselves from the bad Indians, and leave them to the fate that immediately awaits them.
"Given at the headquarters of the Legion, at Greenville, this 2d day of March, 1795.
The Indians accepted this warning and a treaty of peace was concluded with them Aug. 3, 1795, the preliminaries being partly agreed upon in the previous June. Twelve tribes signed the treaty of peace in Greenville, and by this treaty the Indians ceded to the United States Government the present territory of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, except the Upper Peninsula, besides some sixteen separate tracts of lands including forts. This covered about 25,000 square miles of territory, and the tribes signing this treaty were the Pottawatomies, Delawares, Wyandots, Shawanese, Chippewas, Sankeys, Ottawas, Kaskaskias, Miamis, Senecas and Kickapoos. General Wayne addressed the Indians in well-worked sentences, which met their understanding, and the treaty of Greenville was an established fact, and the pioneer could now live in his rude cabin in peace, with a bright future before him. In connection with this treaty can be mentioned the special treaty with Great Britain, which was one of the results of the subjugation and the Indian treaty above. Under the provision of this special treaty the British Government evacuated all its Western military posts, and no foreign potentate or power was now upon the soil of the United States or her territory. The era of a new prosperity was dawning on the great West.
The United States was bound by that treaty to pay the following tribes, annually,forever, the following sums: To the Delawares, $1,000; Wyandots, $1,000; Shawanese, $1,000; Miamies, $1,000; Ottawas, $1,000; Chippewas, $1,000; Putawatimies, $1,000; Kickapoos, $500; Weas, $500; Eel Rivers, $500; Piankeshaws, $500; Kaskaskias, $500; total, $9,500. The above named were so spelled at the time of this treaty. By the treaty of Fort Industry, July 4, 1805, the Wyandots, Munsee, Delaware and Shawanese tribes were to be paid $1,000 annually, forever, by the United States. The treaty of Detroit, Nov. 17, 1807, the Ottawas and Chippewas were to receive $800 annually, forever, and the Wyandots and Putawatimies $400 annually, forever. In 1809 another treaty was effected with five tribes at Fort Wayne, and the following annuities were to be paid annually forever: Delawares, $500; Miamies, $700; Eel Rivers, $350; Putawatamies, $500; and the Weas, $100. The latter also got $300 annually at the treaty of Vincennes, while the Kickapoos were granted $500 something over a month later.
The treaty of Fort Meigs, Sept. 29, 1817, the tribes below were allowed the following annuities, annually, forever: Wyandots, $4,000; Shawanese, $2,000; Senecas, $500; Putawatamies, for fifteen years, $1,300; Chippewas, fifteen years, $1,000; and the Ottawas, $1,000 for the same length of time. The several treaties concluded at St. Mary's in Ohio, in the fall of 1818, the tribes below named received permanent annuities: The Wyandots, $500; the Senecas and Shawanese, of Lewistown, $1,000; the Senecas, of Upper Sandusky, $500; Ottawas, $1,500; Delawares, $4,000; Miamies, $15,000; Putawatomies, $2,5000, and the Weas, $1,850. The United States was also to give to blacksmith and armories, iron, steel and tool, not less than $5,000 annually, and the Wyandots and Miamies were each to have a saw and grist mill erected for their use by the Government. There was a total of 2,407 Indians within the limits of Ohio in the year 1819.
The era of peace dawned upon as energetic a people as ever pioneered a path of civilization in the wilderness, and not only were those who had lived, fought and defended their homes against the ruthless savages ready to strike giant blows for renewed life, but thousands of others, brave and hardy men, came West, the advanced guard, to blaze the way for men of less nerve to follow, when civilization and Christianity had established a permanent foothold in the Great Northwest. The Ohio River was ladened with flat-boats and pirogues, bearing living freight and household goods. The years 1796 to 1800 showed thousands of people seeking homes in the new country. They came from all the Atlantic States. This immigration was encouraged by Congress, which offered special inducements to the soldiers of the Revolutionary and Indian wars, and they came in large numbers, the river towns from Marietta to Cincinnati becoming places of rendezvous.
Began its session at Cincinnati on Monday, Sept., 16, 1799. The Legislative Council consisted of Jacob Burnet, of Cincinnati; Henry Vanderburg, of Vincennes; David Vance, of Vanceville, Jefferson County, and Robert Oliver, of Marietta. Henry Vanderburg was elected President of the Council or Legislature; Wm. C. Schenk, Secretary; George Howard, Door-Keeper, and Abraham Cary, Sergeant-at Arms. The first House of Representatives under the Territorial Government consisted of Wm. Goforth, Wm. McMillan, John Smith, John Ludlow, Robert Benham, Aaron Caldwell and Isaac Martin from Hamilton County; Ross County, Thos. Worthington, Sam'l Finley, Elias Langham and Edwin Tiffin; Wayne County, now State of Michigan and a portion of then Ohio and Indiana as now known, came Solomon Sibley, Chas. F. Chobert, de Jon Caine and Jacob Visger; Adams County, Joseph Darlington and Nathaniel Massie; Knox County, now Indiana and Illinois, Shadrack Bond; Jefferson County, Ohio, James Pritchard, and Washington County, Ohio, Return J. Meigs.
They elected Edwin Tiffin, Speaker; Jno. Riley, Clerk; Joshua Rowland, Door- Keeper, and Abraham Cary, Sergeant-at-Arms. Mr. Cary serving in that capacity in both Houses of the Legislature.
This was the first Legislature elected by the people for the then Northwestern Territory, now embracing the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Governor St. Clair delivered his first message Sept. 25, 1799. Sept. 30 the first public printer appointed north of the Ohio received office; it was Joseph Carpenter. Winthrop Sargent having been appointed Governor of the Mississippi Territory resigned his office of Secretary, and Chas. Willing Bird was appointed in his place. Following Mr. Bird Wm. Henry Harrison was appointed and held until Oct. 3, when both Houses having met to elect a territorial Representative, or Delegate, to Congress, he was chosen. Harrison received eleven votes to Arthur St. Clair, a son of Governor St. Clair, ten votes. A short time after Francis Dunlevy became Secretary of the territory, which office was vacated by the election of Harrison to Congress.
In the session of the Territorial Legislature in 1800, Wm. H. Harrison, then delegate in Congress, was appointed first Governor of Indiana Territory and Return J. Meigs, of Marietta, one of its first Judges. It is stated that the most efficient member of the first Legislature was Jacob Burnet. He wrote the reply to Governor St. Clair's first session, wrote the address to the President of the United States, and drafted some or most of the laws passed. Governor St. Clair ruled as a military martinet and prorogued the Legislature in true British style. After the first session of the Territorial Legislature the seat of Government was removed to Chillicothe where it remained during the existence of Ohio as a Territory. At this last place the State Constitution was framed and Chillicothe remained the capital until 1810, when it was removed by the "Sweepers," as the party was called who succeeded in getting it removed to Zanesville. This section of the country gained in population, and not long after Ohio became a State, and at the first State session, Scioto County was formed, May 1, 1803, Pike County not being formed until February, 1815, and Jackson County in March, 1816.
The location of the lands appropriate for satisfying military land bounty warrants in the district appropriated for that purpose, granted for service in the Revolutionary war, commenced March 13, 1800; and the location of lands granted to the Canadian and Nova Scotia refugees commenced Feb. 13, 1802. Those lands east of the Scioto, south of the military bounty lands, and west of the fifteenth range of townships were first brought into market and offered for sale by the United States on the first Monday of May, 1801. The western lands ceded by Virginia to the General Government had, upon recommendation of Congress, been ceded upon certain conditions; one of the conditions was, that in case the lands south of the Ohio should be insufficient for their legal bounties to their troops, the deficiency should be made up from lands north of the Ohio, between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami.
The opening of the sale of these lands was to start a regular pilgrimage from the East to the West. Not all came to settle at once, but on prospecting tours for observation in view of a future residence. It was not the soldiers alone who had bounty-land warrants, for services in the cause of their country, but all classes came West to view the grand domain, which at this day has become a mighty empire, peopled with an energetic and enterprising population. The surbyes of these lands had been going on for several years, and had been interrupted by an Indian war and other causes, and when the survey was at last completed and the land offered for sale in May, 1801, as above stated, there was no lack of purchasers, and location by warrants. The settlement of the country was indeed rapid, when the population of that day is considered. As before remarked, all classes of citizens came West to find homes and peace in this fruitful region, and the Ohio and its tributaries were soon peopled with an industrious race, and towns and villages sprang up, while the farmers themselves formed settlements, locating their lands within neighborly distances of each other. Schools and churches, those sure harbingers of a moral and contented people, alive alike to the present and the future, reared their humble roofs, and when the dawn of prosperity began to show itself in field and farmhouse, the school-houses and churches of logs began to disappear and the frame church painted white appeared, and the same arrangements for the advance of the pupils in the Atlantic States were found in the West. Education and Christianity went hand in hand, and the people of the West were in nowise behind those of the East in advancing the work of civilization and enjoying its fruits, albeit their struggles and their trial would cause at times some discouraging thoughts.
The next county established in the State after that of Washington on July 27, 1788, Marietta being the county seat, was Hamilton, erected Jan. 2, 1790. Its bounds included the country between the Miamis, extending northward from the Ohio River to a line drawn due east from the standing stone forks of the Great Miami. The name of the settlement opposite the Licking was, at this time, called Cincinnati. Aug. 15, 1796, Wayne County was established, including all the Northwestern part of Ohio, a large tract in Northeastern Indiana and the whole territory of Michigan. Detroit was the seat of justice. July 10, 1797, Adams County was erected, comprehending a large tract lying on the west side of the Scioto and extending northward to Wayne. Other counties were afterward formed out of those already established, and before the end of the year 1798 the Northwest Territory contained a population of 5,000 free males inhabitants of full age and eight organized counties.
Ross County was organized Aug. 20, 1798; Trumbull, July 10, 1800; Clermont, Dec. 9, 1800; Fairfield, the same date, which made twelve counties organized up to the first of the present area of five States, extending from the Pennsylvania line to the Mississippi River, and from the Ohio River to the northern territorial line. This of course was largely outside the domain of our State, but the organizations of all these counties were formed either at Marietta or Chillicothe. Up to 1803 and including that year, which was the date of Ohio's admittance into the Union as a State, these nine counties were organized within its limits.
On the 30th of April, 1802, Congress passed an act authorizing the call of a convention to form a State Constitution. This convention assembled at Chillicothe Nov. 1, and on the 29th of the same month a constitution of State government was ratified and signed by the members of the convention. It was never referred to the people for their approbation, but became one of the States of the Federal Union. But besides framing a constitution the convention had another duty to perform. The act of Congress providing for the admission of the new State into the Union offered certain propositions to this people. These were, first, that section 16 in each township, or where that section had been disposed of other contiguous and equivalent lands, should be granted to the inhabitants for the use of schools; second, that thirty-eight sections of land where salt springs had been found, of which one township was situated on the Scioto, one section on the Muskingum and one section in the United States military tract, should be granted to the State, never to be sold or leased for a longer time then ten years; and, third, that one-twentieth of the proceeds of public lands sold within the State should be applied to the construction of roads from the Atlantic to and through the same. These propositions were offered on the condition that the convention should provide by ordinance that all lands sold by the United States after June 30, 1802, should be exempt from taxation by the State for five years after sale.
The first General Assembly under the State Constitution met at Chillicothe, March 1, 1803. The Legislature enacted such laws as were deemed necessary for the new order of things and created eight new counties, namely: Gallia, Scioto, Franklin, Columbiana, Butler, Warren, Green and Montgomery. The first State officers elected by the assembly were as follows" Michael Baldwin, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Nathaniel Massie, Speaker of the Senate; William Creighton, Jr., Secretary of State; Colonel Thomas Gibson, Auditor; William McFarland, Treasurer; Return J. Meigs, Jr., Samuel Huntington and William Sprigg, Judges of the Supreme Court; Francis Dunlevy, Wyllys Silliman and Calvin Pease, Judges of the District Court; United States Senators, Thomas Worthington and John Smith.
The first Governor elected by the people was Edward Tiffin, and the first Member of Congress elected was Jeremiah Morrow. The first United States District Judge was Charles Willing Bird. Besides the above counties organized in 1803, Muskingum and Highland counties were organized in 1804, and quite a number of others in 1805, 1806 and 1807. This showed the rapid settlement of the country, for without people counties were unnecessary. Besides the influx of population, other increases of no less consideration were that of stock and fowls. Hogs multiplied rapidly and the domestic fowl was assuming a large share of the farmer's attention. Winters were short, and, little feed being necessary, cattle also began to be numerous, and the country to assume the comforts of life at the end of the first decade.
The year 1810 was not important except for the commencement of the movements for an Indian War. The celebrated Tecumseh had been conspicuously active in his efforts to unite the native tribes against the whites, and to arrest the further extension of the white settlement. His actions and those of his brother, the Prophet, soon made it evident that the West was about to suffer the calamities of another Indian war, and it was resolved to anticipate their movements. In 1811 General Harrison, the Governor of the Indiana Territory, marched against the town of the Prophet, on the Wabash, and in the ensuing action, the battle of Tippecanoe, in what is now Cass County, Ind., the Indians were totally defeated. This year (1811) was also made important to Western history by the voyage from Pittsburg to New Orleans of the first steamboat even launched upon the Western waters.
In 1816 the seat of the State Government was removed from Chillicothe to Columbus, the proprietors of that town, pursuant to an agreement entered into, having erected in good faith a State-house and other public buildings for the accommodation of the Legislature and officers of the State.
From this time on, until the dark days of the civil war fell like a blight upon the land, the State grew and prospered. In the mouth of February, 1825, an act was passed "To provide for the internal improvement of the State by navigable canals." This gave confidence to the people and work for those who depended upon their daily labor for a living. The system of canals thus inaugurated was about completed in the year 1840, and these works doubtless added thousands to the population of the State which would not otherwise have found their homes here. Next came the railroad fever, and that raged for a quarter of a century, until the State became a net-work of iron roads, which are, in the near future, likely to traverse every county within its border.