History of Auglaize County
The county seat is situated on the Auglaize River, in the south part of Duchoquet township, and derives its name from a noted chief, Waughpaughkonetta, who lived here several years. It is the site of an Indian village which occupied the cetre of the Shawnee reserve, and the town centre became the site of the council house of the bands residing on and near the Auglaize River. During the period of Shawnee occupancy it was the headquarters of the tribe, and the councils here convened, summoned many of the greatest orators and warriors of the surrounding nations. This spot is the old home of Logan, as true a friend of the whites as the celebrated Mingo chief of the same name, but a man who never sullied his nobler character by gratifying a thirst for revenge. Here is the old council spot of Blackhoof, whose ripe experience looked back over a century, and whose council was the oracle of inspiration. Even here Blue Jacket and the Turtle must needs come in search of warriors worthy their leadership; and here they found warriors worthy even of the ancient Shawnee fame.
Here Tecumseh, in private a man, in public something less, sought assistance in his project of confederation, but was stripped of his mask by Blackhoof, and repudiated as a pretender.
Tecumseh was only half himself, and when that half failed, the other half appeared in the person of his Prophet brother, who came here to substitute cruel fanaticism for the lofty oratory of Tecumseh, and sought to accomplish by superstition, what could not be accomplished by honorable means. If Tecumseh was opposed and denounced as a pretender, the Prophet was defeated and denounced as a fiend.
The town being on the old route between Detroit and Cincinnati, it became a stopping place, at which judges and associates rested on their wearisome rides across the wilderness. The seat of a nation, it was regularly visited by the United States Indian agent and numerous traders, hunters, and trappers.
Here Captain Johnny and Brighthorn met their mutual friend Logan, and Col. Johnston sought scouts upon whom he could rely, and in this inseparable trio found men whose fidelity and courage never wavered. To this spot the remains of Logan were brought for burial, and at the approach of the cortege to the council-house Captain Johnny fired a salute of twenty guns in honor of his friend. To the same council came Major Hardin, asking the privilege of taking the children of the dead chief to be educated, in obedience to the request of his lamented friend.
Again to this council spot came Tarhe, the Crane, to consult Blackhoof concerning the plans of Tecumseh, and this council resulted in the opposition of those great chiefs to the plans of the pretender. Then came the mighty but cruel chief Winnemac from his Ottawa towns to conciliate the Shawnees, at whose hands he was destined to fall. Again came the warrior Roundhead to meet the Prophet of supernatural claims and infamous designs. On the spot where was taught the destruction of witches, Isaac Harvey met the Prophet and tribal chiefs, and induced the latter to abandon the former, and denounce his pernicious and diabolical doctrine of witchcraft Here came Col. Johnston to distribute the annuities to the Shawnees, Wyandots, Senecas, Delawares, and Ottawas.
To this Indian capital came the United States agents and the chiefs of the surrounding tribes to transact the business of western Ohio, for a period of thirty years.
To this council was addressed the letters of President Jefferson, Secretary Cass, Gen. Harrison, and here came the committee of the Richmond annual meeting, to look after the interest of the tribes after the dishonest Gardner had taken advantage of their credulity. Here met the committee appointed by the Richmond annual session, and consulted the dignified and solemn assembly of Shawnees who were represented by Wayweleapy, an orator and warrior, without weakness, and a stranger to fear, but who, when he thought of the wrongs of his people, was overcome by emotion and sank speechless to his seat.
From here proceeded the joint deputation consisting of Henry Harvey and David Baily of the whites, and Wayweleapy, Blackhoof, Spy Buck, and John Perry of the Indians, who, accompanied by Francis Duchouquet and Joseph Parks as interpreters, visited Washington to prevent the consummation of a blasting giant wrong.
Again, on account of its importance, it became the seat of a Quaker mission, which labored for the improvement and enlightenment of the nation. It was with these tribes of the Auglaize that Isaac and Henry Harvey devoted a portion of their lives in the almost hopeless effort to amelioriate the condition of a nation against which the hand of civilization was uplifted. The constructiveness of civilization is ever complemented by an initial destructiveness which levels the old to make way for the new. Who will say the excrescences, the stake, witchcraft, polygamy, and torture in all its forms did not first demand the pruning hook of destruction?
These were lopped off, for the constructive force sought the elevation of a nation, and the forerunner, Destruction, found little fit, and so left little of the nation to be improved. Thus the foundation was narrowed; but the work gained in beauty what it lost in size; for who will say, hundreds free from superstition, with its concomitants, witchcraft and torture, are not preferable to thousands revelling in those horrible barbarities? The hundreds who can read and write and dispense justice to their fellows, are of vastly more service to the race than the millions who can do none of these. But at this juncture, Avarice stalked upon the ground made sacred by the transformation of a race, and determined to risk all these fruits of toil—all these results of years, in its eager grasp for land. It asked for this without pausing to consider the welfare of the tribe, for avarice knows no sympathy and practices no philanthropy. It urged its demand until no Indian lands remained within the borders of the State. But if avarice stalked forth here with icy brow and chilly touch, the Quaker too was here with tearful eye and sympathetic touch—the guardian of the children of nature. He knew the weakness and wrongs of his wards, and he stood the protector of their rights until humanity came to his relief.
Here, then, where Judge Burnet witnessed the field game of this tribal offspring of an ancient nation, Isaac Harvey witnessed the social advancement, and agent Johnston witnessed the decline of the same traditional tribe. This decline reduced their number from 2000 to 800, while it is to be observed that emigration had no voice in the disintegration. This remnant left this spot, which, notwithstanding its bitter remembrance of wrongs, was still endeared to them by its memories of social improvement and kindly association. The long march was gloomy, for their star had disappeared, but after they reached their destination the cloud lifted and the star was and is still in view.
We turn, then, from a picture of rudeness to one of finish; from a condition of death to a condition of life, from the despair, wrongs and tearful clouds of the savages, to the hope, rights, and smiling sunbeams of the whites. That was the dispensation of centuries, comprehending years of casts and colors and races; this is the dispensation of years comprehending days of universal brotherhood. We drop no apologetic curtain upon the past, but leaving it in full view, glorify its virtues and denounce its barbarities; for if under the glorious dawn of a grander day we cannot advance without contamination, or produce a light of sufficient brilliancy to dissipate that darkness, we are unworthy that grander and better age.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880