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100 Years Ago

Black History
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1783 - 1790

By 1783 the Revolutionary War was over, but the Treaty of Paris made no mention of the Indians and their claims to ancestral lands. Both sides ignored their predicament; and the new American nation considered them a menace to its newly acquired territory. The British ceded all of their western holdings, including the Ohio Valley, south of the Great Lakes, and almost all of their Indian country. The Indians of the Ohio Valley were now faced with an onslaught of white settlers. Over the next two decades 45,000 settlers made Ohio their home, and thousands more passed through it to reach Indiana and beyond.

Many of the Shawnee, Miami, and others, decided to fight this new threat to their villages and way of life. Between 1783 and 1790, up to 1,500 settlers perished. The principle chief of the Indian coalition against the United States was the Miami Chief Michikinikwa or Little Turtle who, on one occasion in October 1790, in the Ft. Wayne area, inflicted 200 casualties on General Josiah Harmar’s force that had been sent to subdue the Indians.

Harmar’s army totaled 1,453 men; 320 regular soldiers and the balance a poorly trained militia. They left Fort Washington (Cincinnati) on September 26, 1790, and headed north through present day Lebanon and Xenia. After reaching the Piqua area and the Great Miami River, he marched north, passing Loramie’s Station on Loramie Creek in Shelby County, Ohio, in his quest to confront Little Turtle’s forces. Harmar, and his officers, including Colonel Hardin, had numerous confrontations with the Indians in the region, and although Harmar boasted of victory on his return to Fort Washington, historians refer to his escapades as, ‘Harmar’s defeat.’

'Indian' segment written in December, 1997 by David Lodge


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