Auglaize County, Ohio

History and Genealogy

History of Auglaize County

Blue Jacket; or Weyapiersenwah

In 1790 Blue Jacket was associated with Little Turtle in command of the Indian forces opposing Gen. Harmar, and was chief commander of the allied Indians who were defeated by Gen. Wayne in 1794. On the night preceding the battle a council was held in which the nations of Miamis, Pottawatomies, Delawares, Shawnees, Chippewas, Ottawas, and Senecas were represented. The council decided to postpone action for the night. The expediency of attacking Wayne at Presque Isle was then considered. Blue Jacket warmly favored this proposition, and Little Turtle as seriously and more ably opposed it. The advice of Blue Jacket, however, prevailed over the wiser counsel of the Turtle. The battle was fought with desperation, and the Indians were disastrously defeated. In the following October Blue Jacket concurred in the expediency of suing for peace, and accordingly, at the head of a deputation of chiefs, was about to visit Gen. Wayne, when he was intercepted by Gov. Simcoe, Col. McKee, and the chief, John Brant, who, with about 150 warriors, arrived at the rapids and invited Blue Jacket and his allies to meet them at the rapids of the Detroit on the tenth of the month. Blue Jacket assented to hear the proposition of the British agents, and Gov. Simcoe urged the chiefs to continue their hostile attitude toward the Americans. He roused their fiery passions by speaking of the encroachments of the whites, told them the Ohio lands were theirs by right, and that he had given orders to the commandant at Fort Miami to fire upon the Americans whenever opportunity presented. He further advised them to obtain a cessation of hostilities until the following season, when the English would be ready to attack the Americans, drive them over the Ohio, and restore to the Indians all this body of land. This action delayed the conclusion of peace until the next summer. When the council met at Greenville in 1795 to form a treaty Blue Jacket was present, and acted with moderation and dignity. He appeared as a Shawnee speaker, although his rank was that of a warrior. When he met Gen. Wayne he apologized for his tardiness, and gave the most solemn assurance of his sincerity. On the second day he explained the relationship of the tribes and justified the position he had taken, as follows: "Brothers, I hope you will not take amiss my change of seat in this council. You all know the Wyandots are our uncles, the Delawares the grandfathers, and the Shawnees the elder brothers of the other nations represented. It is therefore fitting that I sit next my uncles and grandfathers."

Toward the close of the council he rose in the capacity of a warrior and delivered a speech which exhibits the temporary and changing character and relationship of a war chief. He said: "Elder brothers, and you other brothers present, you see me now appear as a war chief to lay down that commission and place myself subject to the village (civil) chiefs who will hereafter command me."

Although his protestations of peace and friendship were positive and assuring, he was afterward found implicated with the visionary but exterminating scheme of the pretenders, Tecumseh and his fanatical brother. Touching his duplicity, a single incident will serve our purpose. In 1800 he agreed to discover to a company a valuable mine on the Kentucky River. His demands for rewards increased with the eagerness of the company. As he was sustained at their expense, he was in no haste to conclude the negotiations. When at length terms were closed, the horses, goods, and moneys delivered, Blue Jacket and an associate chief, and their families, were escorted to Kentucky in great pomp. They were treated in a very flattering manner, their every want being anticipated. When the fabled region was reached the chief spent some time in fasting, praying, and powwowing to obtain the Groat Spirit's consent to reveal the hiding-place of the secret wealth. The answer, obtained in a dream, was about as satisfactory as the usual dream revelation, and many days were spent in fruitless search. Failing to find the promised treasure, he threw the responsibility upon his eyes, which were bedimined by age, and promised to send his son, who was young and knew the exact spot for which they sought. The son, of course, came not, and the Blue Jacket Mining Association, like many others of later date, abandoned the project to enter bankruptcy. Prior to the war of 1812 he lived upon the Auglaize, engaged in the sale of liquor at Wapakoneta, but after the disastrous results of that war he became dissatisfied and discouraged, went West, and is believed to have died in Illinois, at the present site of Peoria.

From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880