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Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 24 November 2004

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Chapter II. The Indian Owners
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)


The Indians who roamed over the territory now forming Warren County, and retarded its settlement, lived in villages along the upper waters of the two Miamis. The nearest of these was the Shawnee town, Old Chillicothe, on the Little Miami, about three miles north of the site of Xenia. Here Daniel Boone was a prisoner in 1778 for some months, and ingratiated himself into the favor of his captors by mingling in their sports, hunting, fishing, shooting and swimming. Boone names five towns on the Miami Rivers which were destroyed by Gen. George Rogers Clark—Old Chillicothe, Pickaway, New Chillicothe, Will's Town and Chillicothe. Their huts were generally built of small round logs, and covered with bark or skins. Old Chillicothe was built somewhat after the manner of a Kentucky station—that is, a hollow square. A long council house extended the entire length of the town, in which embassies were received and the chiefs met to consult on grave questions. Some of the houses are said to have been covered with shingles or clapboards. Many Indian huts were made by setting up a pole on forks and placing bark against it; there being no chimney, the smoke passed through an opening at the top. Long before the first settlement of the Miami country by the whites, the habits of the Indians had been modified by their contact with Europeans. The French and English traders had supplied them with fire-arms, scalping-knives and tomahawks. They had iron pots and brass kettles for cooking and sugar-making. They had learned to love strong drink, and were given to great excesses in eating and drinking. Some of their own arts showed great skill and ingenuity. According to James Smith, a captive among the Delawares in Ohio, the Indian squaws in the sugar-making season of 1756 made vessels for collecting sugar-water in a very curious manner, from freshly peeled elm bark. The manner of construction he does not describe. They raised gourds and used them for cups and dishes. The agriculture of the Indians was confined chiefly to the growing of corn and beans, to which potatoes were afterward added. The extent of their corn-fields was much greater than is generally supposed. A journal of Wayne's campaign, kept by George Will, under the date of August 8, 1794, says: "We have marched four or five miles in corn fields down the Auglaize, and there are not less than one thousand acres of corn around the town." The same journal describes the immense corn-fields, numerous vegetable patches and old apple-trees found along the banks of the Maumee from the mouth to Fort Wayne. It also discloses the fact that the army obtained its bread and vegetables for eight days, while building Fort Defiance, from the surrounding corn and potato fields. Four years before, Gen. Harmar, in his expedition, burnt and destroyed at least twenty thousand bushels of corn. In the cultivation of these large fields, nearly all the work was performed by the women. In addition to field work, the Indian women procured water and fire-wood, dressed skins, made garments and moccasins, and were little more than mere slaves of the men. The men went to war, procured game, manufactured such arms and implements as were not ob-

tained from the whites, and kept them in repair. They disdained ordinary labor, except upon an object of such dignity and importance as a canoe or a dwelling. Their hunting-grounds were often a great distance from their villages. Thus, while the Indian squaw was cultivating these fields or gathering the corn, her warrior lord may have been hunting in the valley of Turtle Creek, and have shot the arrow whose flint head the Warren County farmer today turns up with his plow.

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This page created 24 November 2004 and last updated 21 November, 2006
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