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100 Years Ago

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1755 map from Fort Loramie history
book showing the French & British Ohio possessions.  Pickawillany is highlighted.

First English Settlement

Many historians believe that the first English settlement in this area was in what is now northern Miami County. Called Pickawillany, it was located at the point where the Loramie Creek runs into the Miami River.

In 1748, Demoiselle, an Indian chief of the Piankeshaw tribe of the Miami nation, moved his village from either northern Ohio (or southern Canada) into the area. He set up a trading post and worked with approximately 50 British traders who were headquartered there, selling and trading their goods with the Miami Valley Indians.

In 1751, two English traders, Crogham and Montour, came to the post and persuaded Demoiselle (by bringing many gifts) to grant them permission to build a small stockade at the village for use by all the British traders. This led to trouble with the French who determined that Pickawillany must be either brought back under the control of France or destroyed.

A 23 year old half-breed, Charles Langdale, decided to act before the government did, and in his attack on June 21, 1752, the chief, Demoiselle, was killed. As land claim and trading right conflicts continued to escalate between France and England, other attacks were made in the Ohio region. It is believed that Pickawillany was one of the first battles of what would become the French and Indian War; a battle precipitated by the Miami Valley Indians request for help against the French and the positive response of the English.

After the battle of Pickawillany, little war action occurred in Shelby County, Ohio, and the Indians continued to use this area for hunting grounds. The few white men that entered this part of the territory during the next twenty years were trappers and traders.

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'Pioneer' segment written in October, 1997 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge


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