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American Indian Room

AMERICAN INDIAN HISTORY

Logan County has a long history of people living in it. Artifacts dating from the Archaic Indians (8000 B.C.-1000 B.C.) have been found in the county. Artifacts have also been found of the pre-Contact Indians who followed the Archaic. These people included the Adena (800 B.C.-300 A.D.), the Hopewell (100 B.C.-600 A.D.) and the Fort Ancient (800 A.D.-1300 A.D.). These artifacts, such as spear points, arrow points, scrapers, knives and other tools show that people have lived, or at least hunted, in Logan County for 3000 years. They may have been here even earlier. Paleo-Indians (13,000 B.C.-1000 B.C.) may have also hunted on these lands. A tooth from a mastodon, an important animal to the Paleo Indians, was found near West Liberty. 


Many historic American Indians called Logan County home. This area was in the traditional homelands of the Miami. However, they probably shared this land with other tribes as a communal hunting ground that stretched from southwestern Ohio through Kentucky to Tennessee. The Miami, Shawnee, Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Mingo, Seneca, Cherokee and many other tribes hunted on this large tract of land.

The first known villages appeared in Logan County during the 1760s and 1770s. There were anywhere from 12 to 15 Indian towns here. Most of these villages belonged to the Shawnee Nation. The Shawnees were forced by the encroachment of whites to move from their villages in southern Ohio to newer sites in Clark and Greene counties, and later into Miami, Champaign, Auglaize and Logan counties. The Shawnees built several villages along the Mad River called the Mac-A-Cheek towns. These included Moluntha's Town (near present-day West Liberty), named after the principal chief of the Maykujay sept of the Shawnee tribe, and Wapatomica (near present-day Zanesfield), the capitol of the Shawnee nation at that time. Other villages included Blue Jacket's Town (Bellefontaine), Lewis' Town (Lewistown), Old Town (near DeGraff), Stony Creek (near DeGraff), Reed's Town (east of Bellefontaine) and Pigeon Town (northwest of West Liberty). 
 

Other tribes also lived in Logan County. The Wyandot had several villages including Zane's Town (Zanesfleld) and Solomon's Town (north of Huntsville). Bokengehelas' Town (northwest of Bellefontaine) was a major village of the Delaware. The Mingo, Seneca and Cherokee also lived in villages in Logan County. McKee's Town (south of Bellefontaine) was the home Alexander McKee, a British Indian agent and trader. Most of the tribes in the county and surrounding areas went to McKee's trading post to get the goods they needed like weapons, blankets, cooking utensils and clothes. 

 

In the fall of 1786 General Benjamin Logan led a force of U.S. soldiers and mounted Kentucky militia against the Mac-A-Cheek towns. Most of the Shawnee men were on raids against the Kentucky forts. This left only the elderly, women, and children to defend the Indian homes. Logan's forces burned the towns and food supplies.

 

They killed several of the Shawnee and captured many more, including Chief Moluntha. He surrendered himself and his family to Logan. The General put the Shawnee chief under the protection of guards. However, Colonel Hugh McGary broke through the guard and murdered Moluntha with a tomahawk. Logan then had McGary arrested. The death of one of their most respected chiefs angered the Shawnees, who retaliated by fighting even harder against the whites. The Shawnees eventually rebuilt many of their burnt towns on the Mad River and stayed there for another 20 to 25 years. 

 

The native tribes of the Northwest Territory (the present-day states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) experienced two great victories over the Americans in 1790 and 1791 under the leadership of Little Turtle of the Miami and Blue Jacket of the Shawnee. However, in 1794 the Northwestern Indian confederacy under Blue Jacket suffered a great defeat to the United States' army led by General "Mad" Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in northwest Ohio. The defeat at Fallen Timbers led to the Treaty of Greenville. This treaty gave the U.S. 2/3 of Ohio. The treaty line ran through western and northern Logan County. The lands south of this line now belonged to the Americans and the land north remained in tribal hands. However, most of the American Indians in Logan County continued to live south of this line for another 10 to 15 years because very few whites had moved into the area. This was a time of relative peace between the Indian tribes and the Americans. However, in 1806 the Shawnee warrior/leader held a council at Old Town near present-day DeGraff where he promoted his call for a pan-Indian Confederation to retain tribal lands. Tecumseh would spend the five years traveling to the tribes of the Old Northwest, Southeast, and southcentral Canada recruiting members for his confederation. After General William Henry Harrison defeated his brother Tenskwatawa’s at the Battle of Tippecanoe in November of 1811, Tecumseh was forced to join his confederation with the British to fight the U.S. in the War of 1812. Tecumseh’s death at the Battle of Thames in Ontario, Canada ended the American Indian resistance in this area.
 

The Shawnee and other tribes in this area signed a treaty in 1817 that placed them on reservations. Many of the county's Shawnees and Seneca went to live on the Lewistown Reservation in the northwestern part of the county. The U.S. created another Shawnee reservation in present-day Auglaize County. The tribes stayed on the reservations until 1832, when a third treaty forced all Ohio Indians to leave the state. Most of them moved to reservations in Kansas and Oklahoma.

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