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About 1794 the Society of Friends became interested in the welfare of the Indians and frontiersmen of the Northwest Territory. A fresh war had broken out, drenching the frontier with blood, until deeply moved by this horror the "Yearly Meeting of Friends" appointed a large committee to use its influence against these desolating hostilities. This committee prepared and presented to Congress a memorial recommending the adoption of such just and pacific, measures as appeared calculated to arrest further bloodshed, and establish a lasting peace. In 1795, Gen. Wayne held the Greenville Council, which was attended by the Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawatoinies, Eel River, Weas, Kickapoos, and Kaskaskias. At the opening Gen. Wayne read the address of the "Friends Yearly Meeting" at Philadelphia, and delivered some presents, which had been sent to the Indians. He then spoke of this letter in very commendatory terms, and also of the grent solicitude of the Quakers, touching the welfare of the Indians. For an indefinite period antecedent to the war of 1812 the Friends had labored with the Shawnees at Wapakoneta, but during that war the mission was suspended. Resuming then, they by the consent of the government, and at their own expenses, erected a grist- and saw-mill on the Auglaize, at Wapakoneta, and made various other improvements for the benefit of the Indians.
Among other things of this class they erected a residence for the superintendent and his family, Isaac Harvey, who were placed in charge of the mission, the object of which was to encourage the Indians in the improvement and cultivation of their lands and otherwise contribute to the amelioration of their condition. Under the instruction thus imparted the Indians soon acquired some proficiency in agriculture, the products being corn, beans, and pumpkins. The corn was ground at the mission mill free of toll, and the Indians were thus provided means superior to the old method of pounding the grain into hominy. The Society of Friends bore all the expense incident to the erection and maintenance of these mills. The expense, too, was enormous for those days, as Wapakoneta was a remote point thirty miles from white settlements, from which supplies were to be obtained. This distance was rendered terrible by the unfavorable condition of the country for any transfer of goods, as the whole route was through a vast wilderness. The Shawnees were very ignorant about building, and so the Society furnished young men to assist them in the erection of cabins and fences. About this time the Society received a handsome present from a lady Friend in England, which was used in the purchase of farming utensils for the better encouragement of agricultural pursuits.
By this assistance they made rapid progress in civilization, and the acquisition of property. Domestic animals were now introduced to the great advantage and comfort of the Indians, as the horse came to relieve the women of the labor of plowing and carrying burdens. While the men thus learned to provide for their families, the women acquired a better knowledge of their proper sphere and duties until at length a kindhearted but savage and abused people began to realize better days, and look forward with brighter and higher hope. They had by two treaties secured an annuity of $3000, to be paid forever at Wapakoneta, Ohio, for the benefit of the whole tribe. This was promptly paid for a number of years, but at length it was neglected, and the Indians suffered. They had many obstacles to surmount, many doubts to undergo, and many difficulties to encounter in changing the character of their whole lives. It was a single-step transition from savage to civilized life, and this by a proud and independent race was as great a task of reconciliation as ever devolved upon a rude people. Their habits, manners, customs, and language; their very life itself, with its wild unrest, eager pursuits, and burning desires, all to be cast aside like the child's discarded toy. They had from time immemorial been the undisputed lords of the forest, for a continent had been theirs for ages.
The unbounded forest was their home, and destiny had yielded it to them and theirs forever. They knew no superior but the Great Spirit, and they were that Spirit's special care. For them the forest produced its game; the earth its fruit, and the waters their fishes. Their music was the songs of their mother Nature from whom they sprang, by whom they subsisted, and to whose bosom they would return. For generations a world was theirs, and the beneficent Spirit would never disinherit his favorite children. Blind superstitious faith, there approaches your world a pale-faced child of the Great Spirit who will teach you equity and rob you of your all; who will teach you philanthropy and exterminate your race. He has now demanded that you change in all save color, and become like him of the pale face, trespassing feet, and grasping avaricious hands. With this status this brave and generous people, yielding to the inevitable, undertook to forget the past, embrace the present, and build a future on the views and manners of the whites. In 1810 they received a letter from their agent, John Johnston, on the subject of their improvement. He urged them earnestly to improve the opportunities offered, and embrace the course recommended by the Friends. This letter is still preserved by the Shawnees, and held in reverence on account of its author, who never deceived them in all his dealings. These Indians were acknowledged to be well acquainted with human nature, and in order to judge a man only asked to look him in the face, and their judgment was generally correct. It was not difficult to persuade them to engage in agricultural pursuits, but it required years to overcome their aversion to the education of their children by the whites. Finally they agreed to this, and the pupils evinced a susceptibility beyond all expectation. The schools were conducted on the manual labor system, and the friends of the Indians expressed great gratification in finding this restless people advancing so rapidly in those pursuits which promised to rescue them from their late deplorable condition. Thus they progressed until 1830, when it was intimated the government wished to purchase their lands. As this period marks a new era in their record by the introduction of a new superintendent, Henry Harvey, and the unsettled condition of affairs occasioned by the land negotiations, we pause a moment to consider their manners and mode of life prior to the improvements we have reviewed. They then occupied villages along the Auglaize River, where they remained during the summer cultivating their crops of corn and beans—the labor being performed by the women and children. The men would lounge about during the warm weather, as furs were not fit for market. If hunger drove them from the shade of repose, they only sought a shady stream and caught a few fish or plunged deeper into the forest and shot a deer. They never made any provision for the future, and so by winter their whole crop of corn would be exhausted. At this season they made preparation for the annual hunt. When leaving they took their families, ponies, and as much furniture as possible with them. This latter outfit consisted chiefly of brass kettles, wooden ladles, large bowls, some spoons, a tomahawk and butcher-knife. Even in cold weather might be seen the silver-haired grandmother, the care-worn mother, and the half-clothed children—even the infant carried in a blanket—on the march to the hunting grounds. Arrived at their destination, they erected a tent of sufficient size to accommodate a whole family. This lodge was made by placing in the ground poles lashed together at the top, and covered with skins of animals. These were so adjusted that the upper ones over-lapped the lower, and rendered the lodge water- and snow-proof. The fire was built in the middle of this tent, and the smoke escaped at an opening at the top provided for the purpose. In the tent, skins were spread on which they reposed, while the blanket served for covering. These blankets were an indispensable article; if anything was to be carried it was enfolded in these; if not thus used it was worn upon the person until it became so inseparably associated with the Indian as to become almost a part of his person. If hunting, they are worn; if sleeping, they are worn, and if attending a party, they are still worn. True, on the latter occasions, they were ornamented with beads and other trinkets, but the ubiquitous blanket was still there. An Indian was poor, indeed, if he did not possess a pony, gun, tomahawk, dog, butcher-knife, and blanket. These were his outfit, and were well nigh indispensable. Settled upon the hunting grounds, the men went in search of game, and if any was killed it was suspended to a tree, beyond reach of wolves, while the hunter pushed on sometimes for days before returning. On his return he carried back as much game as he could, and feasted at home one night in order to rest and refresh after the toil of the hunt. He then took his pony to gather the game he had already secured. Thus many might have game throughout the timber, and yet their honor never permitted one Indian to take from a tree the game of another.
When they returned to camp the game was placed in the hands of the women and children, who took care of the furs, and sliced the venison for drying purposes, except the hams, which were fire-dried for market. After a feast the hunters resumed the chase, and so continued until about the first of February, when the furs became worthless and the chase was abandoned. They then returned home, but, as the close of the deer season marked the opening of the trapping season, the Indian again soon took to the forest. Here again their honesty would not permit one to rob the traps of another, but, on the contrary, if one found an animal in the trap of another, he removed the game, suspended it near by, and reset the trap. Such were the habits of these people in their struggle to survive. Without homes worth the name, they were dependent upon the shelter and bounty of a watery or icy wilderness. Exposed to the rigors of the climate, they were ever in hearing of the howl of the wolf and the scream of the panther. In the midst of those incongruous surroundings and inhospitable elements, from the frozen earth, if the discord of clashing elements ceased for a moment, could be heard the weak and pitiful cry of the infant starving and freezing in its mother's arms, while the very elements and wild beasts, more in "pity than wrath," conspired to drown its saddening cry.
Such was the condition and habits of the Shawnees at the advent of the Friends. Let us look to the events of later years. Turn, then, to the year 1819, when a member of the Society of Friends, Isaac Harvey, removed, with part of his family, to superintend the mills erected for the benefit of the Shawnees.
These mills were located on the river just in the rear of the grocery store of H. W. Tacusch. where part of the building still remains. Mr. Harvey had visited the place on previous occasions, and so was acquainted with a number of the chiefs as well as with John Johnston, the Indian Agent of the Northwest.
Shortly afterward we get a glimpse of the Prophet, more fully treated elsewhere in this volume. One of the Indians became very much enfeebled, and the Friend visited him often, carrying him medicine and nourishment. On one of these visits he found the door fastened, but, after a time, it was opened, and he found the sick man lying upon his face, his back bare, and his whole body so lacerated that he was in a state of exhaustion from the loss of blood.
In the house was the Prophet, the brother of Tecumseh. He was asked the reason for this curious and brutal treatment of the patient, and answered that the sick man was bewitched, and these incisions were made to enable him to extract the combustible matter the witch had deposited. The good Quaker drove the Prophet out of the house, and dressed the sick man's wounds. On the following night the friendly superintendent was awakened by some one at his door seeking admittance. He heard a woman's voice crying in broken English, "They kill-ee me ! they kill-ee me!" It was an Indian woman with her little girl. Mr. Harvey took her to the house of Francis Duchouquet, the interpreter, where she explained that a little messenger had brought her word that the chiefs were in counoil, and that she had certainly been condemned to die on a charge of having bewitched the poor consumptive on whom the Prophet had operated with knives. She begged the "Quake-lee" to protect her, and said that she would do all that he commanded. The shrewd Quaker, not relying on the friendliness of the interpreter, answered the woman coldly, but, having secured another interpreter in the person of Thomas Elliott, the blacksmith's son, he talked with her again, and finally hid her and her daughter between two beds on a bedstead in the upper room of his house. He also killed with his own hands a small dog that had followed her. The life of Harvey's family depended, perhaps, quite as much as that of the Indian woman's, on the success of his keeping her hid. Every part of the Quaker's house was searched, even this upper room, where there stood nothing but an innocent looking bed with all the covers spread. In the middle of that anxious day there came to the house of Isaac Harvey his friend, the chief Weasecah, often called Captain Wolf. He told the superintendent what had happened among them, as though he did not at all suspect that his friend had taken any part in the matter. The Quaker earnestly remonstrated against the Indian belief in witches and witchcraft, and expostulated with him on the cruelty of putting people to death on an unproved charge of this kind. This disturbed the mind of Weasecah; he was surprised to find that the Qua-ke-lee did not agree with him on so important a matter. He then departed, and, in about an hour afterwards, he returned and expressed his belief that Harvey knew more about the matter than he professed to know. As the Quaker tried to evade, Weasecah urged him to tell what he knew, promising that instead of betraying him, he would defend him to the utmost of his power. It was a desperate resort, but Harvey felt that the case was a desperate one. Without confessing all that he knew about the matter, he admitted that he believed the condemned woman to be out of reach of the Indians who were seeking her destruction, and that they would never see her face again unless they abandoned the idea of executing her. This was a shrewd way of putting the case, but the Quaker added, what startled the chief still more, that he had made up his mind to close up the mission and take his family and go home. After some thought, the chief proposed to Harvey that he should go with him direct to the council house, where the chiefs were then in session. He thought, if the "Qua-ke-lee" would promise the chiefs that he would be answerable to them for the condemned woman, that he could prevail on them to pardon her. Harvey resolved to go, though it was like going into a den of wild beasts, thus to brave the angry chiefs in council. He asked John Elliott the blacksmith, whose son had been his second interpreter the night before, and who had himself offered assistance, to let his boy go with him now. Elliott consented, and said he would also go. Accordingly these four entered into the council house. "Be still and hear," said Weasecah. He then told them of his interview with his friend the Quaker, and of the occasion of their coming. The Indians, some of whom were painted and armed in a way that made them quite appalling to the Quaker, now moved around talking one to another. Isaac Harvey then addressed them by means of his interpreter, telling them, with great composure, that he had come with Weasecah and Simneta (the blacksmith) to intercede for the woman; but seeing that they had resolved to follow their own course, he had prepared to offer himself in her stead; that he had no weapons, and was at their mercy—they might do with him as they thought best. At this the noble chief Weasecah took hold of Harvey's arm and said, "Me Qua-ke-lee friend." He begged the chiefs not to suffer their friend the Quaker to be harmed, but they were still determined not to submit to the proposition; he offered his life instead of his friend's.
This heroic attitude of the Quaker, with the loyal and brave act of the noble chief, checked the tide of hostile feeling, and for a minute all were in suspense. Then chief after chief, to the number of six or eight, stepped up to Harvey, each offering his hand, and saying, "Me Qua-ke-lee friend." Weasecah then argued with them eloquently, and at last the whole council offered their hands in friendship, Tenskwatawa, the prophet, only excepted, who sullenly left the council house in defeat. It was hard for Harvey and Weasecah to prevail on the poor woman to leave her place of concealment. She remained in the Quaker's house for several days, and then returned to her people and lived in peace.
In 1825 Mr. Harvey removed to the Friends' school establishment, five miles south of Wapakoneta, on the present farm of A. Scott. This school had been suspended, because of the unsettled condition of the Indians, and was now to be resumed. Shortly after the reopening of the school, the Indian agent visited his old friend, the Quaker, and spent the day in discussing the Indian situation and outlook. During the conversation, the Friend observed that he had found discontent and a desire to sell their lands among the Indians; that it appeared almost impossible to accomplish anything, and should they remove to the west at that juncture, and come in contact with the wild savages of that region, he feared all the labor of the Friends would be lost. To this the exultant agent replied that, if the Friends had done nothing but save the life of Polly Butler, they had thereby broken up the heathenish practice of putting people to death for witchcraft, which was a sufficient reward for all their labor and expense. As we have already related the case of Polly Butler, and alluded to the same—as viewed by the agent, Mr. Johnston—we deem a letter by the same agent, written years after the incidents occurred of which it speaks, of sufficient importance to justify its insertion in full. Jt serves at the same time to identify this unfortunate woman, and is as follows:—
"Polly Butler, charged with being a witch in the Shawnee nation, and who was saved from a violent death by the timely, firm, and persevering efforts of Isaac Harvey, who then had charge over the Friends' Shawnee Mission at Wapakoneta, Ohio, was the daughter of Gen. Richard Butler, by a Shawnee woman. A son, also, was an offspring of the same union, who became a distinguished chief in peace and war among the Shawnees, being in authority during the whole of my agency over this nation, a period of almost thirty years. Gen. Butler was an Indian trader before the Revolutionary war, and spoke the language of the natives, and as was customary with persons of those pursuits, he married an Indian woman. His son and daughter bear a striking resemblance to the Butler family, many of whom I knew in early life. The General was second in command in the army under St. Clair, and was killed on the 4th of Nov. 1791, in battle with the combined Indians of the northwest, on the ground on which Fort Recovery was afterward built, distant from Greenville fourteen miles. Witchcraft was universally believed in by all the Indian tribes, and the incident related of Polly Butler is substantially true."
(Signed) JOHN JOHNSTON.
Dayton, 0., Oct. 17, 1853.
To Mr. Harvey, then, we attribute the first successful effort to arrest the monstrous practice of destroying life on charges of witchcraft among these Indians.
Resuming, we find the Shawnees advancing in civilized pursuits, and educating their children at the Wapakoneta schools, until some miscreants persuaded the young men that, if the Quakers were permitted to improve their lands, the whites would finally seize them for their own use. When this suspicion became known to the Friends, they entered a large tract of land at the expense of the Society, erected buildings, cleared a farm, and established the school at the mission south of Wapakoneta, which was conducted until the removal of the Shawnees to the distant west. In 1830, the mission schools came under the charge of Henry Harvey, when he found the Indians of a pleasant and lively disposition. During his residence here, the aged chief Black Hoof died, the incidents of whose life and character are elsewhere noted in this volume.
In 1831 a message was received from the Indian agent, conveying the desire of the government to purchase the lands of the Shawnees. This was so unsuspected, that it produced great confusion. The chiefs at once visited the superintendent, to consult upon the subject. The Friend scarcely credited the report, and so told the chiefs, if they would refuse to sell, the government would abandon its desire.
They however pursued a different course, and forbade all approaches upon the subject, as no commissioners would be met. Shortly after this they encountered traders, who told them they wanted money, and must have it, and the lands must be sold that they could be paid, and then bribed certain chiefs to favor the sale. A few days later the commissioner notified the chiefs he would be at Wapakoneta on a certain day, and asked a meeting. Gardner came on the appointed day, and occupied the first two days of the council in a speech of misrepresentations.
He was answered by Wayweleapy, who informed him that he was little known, as he had only addressed them two days, and in that time had said many good, but more bad things; had talked a great deal about the Great Spirit, without knowing anything about the Spirit, as his ideas were all wrong. He had claimed that the Spirit made three classes of men: the white man, with a white skin, and a great deal of sense; the Indian, with a red skin, and a little less sense; and the black man, with a black skin, and very little sense. His own idea was different, as he believed all men were created alike, and any other conception was curious and false. In a day or two a treaty was closed, and it immediately became rumored that the Indians had been deceived and cheated. This alarmed the Indians, and John Perry visited the Friend, and when told they had been really robbed of their lands, he wept like a child, and exclaimed they were a ruined people, unless the Quakers would interpose in their behalf. The Friend assured him he had kept a record of the proceedings of the council, and would act as a witness for the Indians, and do everything in his power for them. Accordingly, he called the attention of the Richmond Yearly Meeting to the matter, and a committee was appointed to visit Wapakoneta and investigate the whole proceedings touching that treaty. This committee, on its arrival, called about twenty of the principal men of the nation, with competent interpreters, and took evidence during three or four days at the mission buildings. At the opening of the council, this committee informed the Indians that, at their yearly meeting, they had learned with sorrow from Mr. Harvey that the Indians had been wronged, and assured them they would do all they could in their behalf. They then awaited a statement of the chief, setting fouth their wrongs. The Indians thereupon held an all-night council, and early the next morning informed the visitors of their readiness to be heard. When the council had been seated a few moments, the chiefs rose, shook hands with each visitor, and resumed their seats, without saying a word.
The pipe was then passed, and each chief smoked. They now presented a very grave and dignified appearance, as they sat in silence, with eyes fixed upon Wayweleapy, the orator of the day. At length the speaker rose with black, keen, but tearful eyes, looked about on each of his brethren, and then fixed his gaze upon the committee. He addressed the assembly, but paused to control his feeling. Again he proceeded, but in a moment faltered; tears washed his cheek, emotion overcame him, and he sank to his seat. A struggle ensued with his feelings; he mastered his agitation, regained self-control, and, rising, delivered a pathetic statement of the perfidy of the negotiators, and appealed to the Quakers to befriend them now, when ruin stared them in the face. The result of this investigation was a petition to Congress, embodying a statement of facts, and asking additional compensation for the Shawnee lands. A deputation of chiefs was appointed, consisting of John Perry, Wayweleapy, Black Hoof, and Spybuck, with Francis Duchouquet, and Joseph Parks, as interpreters. At the same time a memorial was prepared in behalf of the Friends, asking relief for the Shawnees, and a committee, consisting of Henry Harvey and David Baily, authorized to present it to Congress. They were further instructed to give such information as they could touching the late treaty, and urge the claim of the Indians before Congress and the President.
Henry Harvey, being a witness to the treaty, was competent to show the fraud by which it was obtained. The expense of these proceedings was borne by the Society. The joint deputation left the mission Dec. 1, 1831, and went via Mt. Pleasant, where the Quakers joined in the memorial, and did much for the further comfort of the deputation. Again, at Baltimore, the Quakers joined the appeal to Congress, so that by this time the memorial represented the societies of Ohio, Indiana, and Maryland. At Cumberland, Francis Duchouquet was taken sick, and had to be left by the company. It was believed he could live but a short time, and his parting with the chiefs was very affecting. The latter were touched to tears as the old interpreter told them he was an old man, must soon die, and they would never meet him again. He had been an honest and useful man who, in the capacity of government interpreter, had been of great service to the whites, and even saved many from the stake. He died a few days after his companions left Cumberland. (See reference elsewhere.) On reaching Washington, and making known their mission, they were furnished a copy of the fraudulent treaty, and requested by Sec. Cass to examine it carefully, and find what difference, if any, existed in the amount therein stipulated and that represented and promised by Gardner. After due examination, this deficiency was shown to amount to $115,000, and the delegation thereupon asked that said treaty be annulled, and another be formed with the delegation, who were authorized to act for the Indians. The Secretary approved the plan, after satisfying himself that the calculation was correct, and added that, in his opinion the Indians would not receive a single dollar by the Gardner treaty. He further appealed to the President, but as he would take no action in the premises, an appeal was made to Congress, through the assistance of Joseph Vance, a representative from Ohio. After considerable delay, a bill was reported by Geo. McDuffy, of S. C, granting $30,000, instead of the $100,000 asked in the petition. After the transaction of the business of the delegation, Secretary Cass paid all expenses incurred in Washington, and those necessary on their return home, amounting in all to $640; and, further, presented each of the chiefs with $50. At the making of the treaty, the Indians were promised to be removed early in the spring, and were advised to sell everything they could spare during the winter. In accordance with this advice, they sold about 200 head of cattle, 1200 hogs, and many other things, and with the proceeds purchased clothing, wagons, and guns, in anticipation of their early removal.
Moreover, they were to receive $3000 at the time of their departure, so that they had no uneasiness about the future. These promises were all violated, and resulted in absolute want, and almost starvation, to a whole nation. Again Mr. Harvey appealed to Secretary Cass, and at the same time went to the Miami mission, distant about eighty miles, to buy a load of provisions for the starving tribe. In this he wras successful, and a few days later supplies were received from Piqua, on the order of the Secretary. On the arrival of these provisions, the Indians repaired to Wapakoueta, where a distribution was made which supplied their needs until their removal. Gardner arrived about the first of September, and, wretchedly equipped, they took up their march of 800 miles for their sunset home. All ages and classes; all ranks and conditions, the remnant of a proud free people, not even demanding justice—for they knew they had no rights, but rather supplicating that sympathy which they dared not expect—they went forth, fearing to look back, and the mock pageant of the commissioner was to the Indian a mere show, signifying nothing but his undone condition. Gardner accompanied them to the Mississippi River, and then returned. They pressed on across the prairie after traversing the wilderness, and reached their destination about Christmas. They were joined the next spring by the Hog Creek tribe, who were under the direction of Joseph Parks, and fared much better than the Wapakoneta band, as they had the advantage of season, and a leader of heart. The next season Harvey and two others visited them, and obtained permission to erect schools, and continue the work of the mission. This work progressed until 1839, when it was suspended, on account of sickness. Mr. H. and family took charge the next year, and remained until 1842, when they returned home. When he was about to leave, the Indians took a very affectionate leave of his family.
George Williams was appointed to extend the farewell of the whole tribe, and in doing so, he spoke as follows: "My brother and my sister, I am about to speak for all our young men and for all our women and children, and in their name bid you farewell. They could not all come, and it would be too much trouble for you to have them all here at once, so I have been sent with their message. I was directed to tell you that all their hearts are full of sorrow, because you are going to leave them and return to your home. Ever since you have lived with us we can all see how the Quakers and our fathers lived together in peace.
"You have treated our children well, and your doors have always been open to us. When we were in distress, you relieved us; and when our people were hungry, you gave them food. For your kindness, we love you. Your children and our children lived together in peace, and at school learned together, and loved one another. We will always remember you, and teach our children to never forget your children. And now, my brother and sister, I bid you farewell, and Caleb and his sisters, and the little boys and their sisters, farewell!" He then took Mr. Harvey by the hand, saying "Farewell, my brother," and then taking the hand of Mrs. Harvey said, "Farewell, my good sister." He then bade the children an individual farewell, and went away in sadness. The next day about twenty chiefs spent the day with the Friends, and towards evening took leave of the family in a manner similar to that of the representative chief on the preceding day, and then left the house in the manner of leaving a grave, without looking back, or speaking a word. The mission was still sustained after Harvey's return, until it became supplemented by several district missions of different denominations. It may here be added that, in 1853, Congress appropriated $66,000 as additional compensation to the Wapakoneta and Hog Creek Shawnees, and their claims were thereby extinguished.
Our purpose is now accomplished, and we cast a lingering farewell look upon that people whose history we have reviewed. We thus traced the connection with this territory of the disinherited offspring of the Algonquin nation, which knew no superiors, and acknowledged no equals. Springing from the head of the Great Spirit, all other tribes and nationalities were inferior, because they sprang from the inferior body. Endowed by superior wisdom, all other tribal or national wisdom was obtained through them, as the terrestrial fountain head. Brave, generous, and strong, they possessed a nomadic nature which makes their history almost coextensive with a continent. From the Atlantic to the Father of Waters they left their footprints, and from the great cold lakes to the broad warm gulf, the forests echoed their voices, and the streams reflected their images. Proud and arrogant in the knowledge of their strength, if that strength waned they substituted prudence for arrogance, but never compromised their superiority nor sacrificed their dignity. More than other tribes, they appreciated nature, and there found their storehouse of eloquence, for their imagery was the reflection of nature's heart. Their language was thus limited, but rich, and better calculated for lofty oratory than trivial conversation. Single words adorned whole ideas in poetic beauty.
They were in harmony with nature till the mutual sympathy caused the "very leaves of the forests to weep tears of pity" at the suffering produced by the pale-face intruder, whose contact, like a whirlwind, swept forest and savage alike before him in his destructive career. Such were the Shawnees at the advent of the whites, and although driven about and wronged, they still hoped to find a spot they could call their own, and from which they never would be driven. Destiny reserved no such boon for them as yet, and when they settled on the Auglaize and the lands were "guaranteed to them forever," the promises were false, and the hopes delusive. Contented if here they could remain, they were willing to even forsake their fathers' graves, relinquish their claims to their tribal lands, renounce their ancestral lives, and adopt the habits of civilized men. The Auglaize is a witness to the transformation, while Wapakoneta is a monument to the progress of the same race. Here they abandoned their wild past, and embraced the teaching of the whites. Instead of warring, they cultivated the soil; instead of the chase, they gathered harvests. For tradition, they accepted education, and for barbarity they accepted humanity. It was enough, and they were happy; but again they must leave all they love; all the associations of their new condition, and all the incentives to the new life they embraced.
Their hope was crushed, for the hand that plays with the heart-strings of association and affection is cruel and relentless. So in their case; the tender cords snapped asunder, and warriors, who knew not how to flinch before a tomahawk, nor yet to weep before the stake, were touched to galling tears. It was a night of gloom on which Destiny looked in pity, and provided in the Quakers a star of promise, until, in humanity, the sun of reality could rise. Let the dark past, with its suffering and its wrongs, be forever dissipated by the golden light of humanity which beams justice and happiness, not for the whites alone, but for the whole brotherhood of man.
From "History of Auglaize County, Ohio, with the Indian History of Wapakoneta, and the First Settlement of the County", Robert Sutton, Publishers, Wapakoneta, 1880