Brief History of Auglaize County
|Clay Twp.||Duchouquet Twp.||German Twp.||Goshen Twp.||Jackson Twp.|
|Logan Twp.||Moulton Twp.||Noble Twp.||Pusheta Twp.||St. Marys Twp.|
|Salem Twp.||Union Twp.||Washington Twp.||Wayne Twp.|
The following is a portion of "An Historical Account of the Early Religious and Social Life of the New Knoxville, Ohio Community (1836-1900)," which was written by Edwin R. Kuck, a descendant of F.H.W. Kuckherman, Pastor of the German Evangelical Reformed Church (now the United Church of Christ) from 1843 to 1890. Reprinted here with permission..
While there is no recorded evidence of any white man's activity in the immediate area of the New Knoxville community prior to the year 1830, the nearby locations of St. Marys, Ohio, and Wapakoneta, Ohio, played a distinctive part in Indian life and in the early Indian frontier conquest.
Originally the land now comprising Auglaize County was claimed principally by the Miami Tribe of Indians, although hunting parties of the Wyandotte tribe would sometimes encroach upon the lands. However, when the Miami village of Pickawillamy (near Springfield, Ohio) was attacked by General George Rogers Clark and completely destroyed by fire in 1782, the tribe moved to the state of Indiana.
Almost as soon as the Miami tribe had moved, the strong Shawnee tribe which had been driven from the Carolina's and Georgia moved in and possessed the land formerly occupied by the Miamis. Under the leadership of Chief Blue Jacket and Chief Black Hoof they established themselves at the mouth of the Auglaize River and built the famous Council House at the present site of Wapakoneta, Ohio. At this new location munitions of war were regularly supplied them by the British from Detroit and Canada.
Here at the Council House in the village of Wapakoneta, were to be assembled some of the greatest chieftans of Indian lore: Blue Jacket and his son, James Blue Jacket, Black Hoof, Tecumseh, The Prophet, Peter Cornstalk, The Little Turtle, The Little Snake, and the noted Indian interpreter, Francis Duchouquet, Captain Logan, and others. However, after the treaty of Greenville, segments of the tribe started to migrate to Missouri. The final migration according to treaty was accomplished in 1832 when James Blue Jacket, who had enjoyed a flourishing trade in liquor, moved out with the last contingent.
Because of the favorite Indian portage between the St. Marys River to the north and Loramie Creek to the South, James Girty, one of three renegade brothers, established himself there in 1783 in what is now the site of St. Marys, Ohio, as a trader and the post soon became known as Girty's town. For a number of years he enjoyed a practical monopoly of the Indian trade here, shipping his peltry down the St. Marys River to the Maumee.
With James Girty thus well established with the Indians through his trading post, his brother Simon Girty soon found this relationship to his advantage and made it his chief base of operations. In all American history there is no name more despised and representative of greater infamy, treachery and traitorous behavior than that displayed by this worst of all renegades -- Simon Girty. He betrayed the settlers, planned massacres, scouted for the Indians, and laughed at the torture of his white brethren as they burned at the stake. He was never known to stake out a claim, build a cabin or erect a wigwam. When General Anthony Wayne approached the St. Marys area in 1794, James Girty packed up his goods and fled to Canada, thus ending the notorious Girty Brothers episode in Ohio.
Between the years 1790 and 1794, strong battles were fought by the Indians to hold onto the Ohio lands. In 1790 Gen. Harmar made a road to what is now Ft. Wayne, Indiana, only to be defeated decisively by the combined Indian forces. In 1791 Gen. St. Clair was sent forth by President Washington to quell the Indian uprisings which threatened the western-most settlements of Pennsylvania, Kentucky and all of the Northwest Territory. The journal of John Brickell, a captive of the Delaware Indians from May, 1781 until January, 1795, relates that the Indians in the town on the Auglaize began to prepare for the approach of St. Clair by sending their squaws and young boys north, down the Maumee River. The Indian warriors numbered about 1000 warriors and were led, not by Little Turtle, the chief of the Ottawas, as was generally told, but by the famous Mohawk chief, Brant, who had 150 Mohawk braves with him. Of 1400 soldiers with Gen. St. Clair's army, 890 were slain, and the remainder of the army ran to Ft. Jefferson, while the Indians pursued them only a distance of four miles. This upset resulted in the formation of "The Legion," a well-provisioned army which trained for the upcoming campaign for the ownership of the Northwest Territory and was led by Gen. Anthony Wayne, which victory resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Greenville.
When General Wayne arrived at Girty's town he found the trading post deserted but was impressed with the strategic location of the site at the head of the St. Marys River. He therefore assigned a detachment of his forces to plot the site on which Fort St. Marys was built during 1784 and 1785, and which was commanded by Captain John Whistler for many years.
Later during the war of 1812 Fort St. Marys became the principal headquarters of General Harrison's army for quite a period and was one of the principal depots for the provisions of the armies in the northwestern part of Ohio. The accumulation of cattle, horses, and other army stores was so great that additional storage buildings were needed and a place was built to protect the livestock. The spring located near where the Fort Barbee Hotel now stands furnished an abundance of pure water. When the buildings of the depot were completed, the stockade was given the name of Fort Barbee, in honor of the Colonel who was its commanding officer.
Such were the conditions as they existed during the presettlement days of this area and how the military operations were called upon to guarantee safety to the arriving settlers.
Prehistoric Auglaize Co.
Bones of Mastodons were located three times in Auglaize Co. before 1880. The first skeleton was discovered in the fall of 1870 in Clay Township, 2 1/2 miles east of St. Johns while laborers were excavating a ditch through Muchinippi swamp. The swamp's depth at this point was about eight feet, the upper third of peat moss, and the lower two thirds of marly clay. The bones were in a posture that indicated the mastodon was sinking in the swampy mire, the head and tusks were reaching upward and the right forefoot thrown forward as if to climb out of a hole. The body was estimated to be 19 1/2 feet long from where the tusks entered the cranium to the base of the tail, the length of the tusks were 12 feet, and its height was estimated to be 13 or 14 feet. In December, 1874, also in Clay Township, the partial skeleton of a larger Mastodon was found by another team of ditch diggers. A third Mastodon was found by Mr. Samuel Craig in January, 1878, while surveying in Washington Twp.
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