1755 map from Fort
book showing the French & British Ohio possessions. Pickawillany
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.
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.