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Copied from Harbaugh's 1909 History


Miami County Ohio

Chapter 2


The Call of the West; The Pioneer Settler;
De Bienville's Expedition of 1749; Attack on Pickawillany;
Location of Pickawillany; Washington's Journey;
Expeditions of George Rogers Clarke;
Experiences of Abram Thomas; Battle on the Johnston Farm;
Beauty of the Country at the time of Clarke's Expedition;
Coming of John Knoop; 1797 Pioneer Settlers;

It is an interesting fact that the trend of discovery, invasion, and immigration from the earliest times has been westward. The adventurous prows of the Columbian fleet pointed toward the occident; the call of the western wild lured the ill-fated De Soto to his grave beneath the waters of the Mississippi; Coronado marched toward the setting sun in search of the "Seven Cities of Cibola," and the Chevailier La Salle carried the sacred symbol of the Nazarene to the forests of the Illinois. The virgin woods, reflected in the limpid waters of the Miami, echoed only to the howl of the predatory wolf and the battle cry of the contending tribes. Long before the coming of the white man the skulking Indian, decked in the paraphernalia of the warpath, sought his red rival within the present boundaries of this county, or hunted wild game through its primeval thickets.

The trading post, that forerunner of civilization, had not yet set up its stockade. The only craft that cut the western waters were the lithe canoes of the scarlet legions. From the Miami-of-the- Lakes to the shores of the Ohio the only pathways of the woods were the Indian and buffalo trails. It was the age of shadow and savagery. No axe awoke the echoes of the forests and everywhere, unbroken and in its pristine beauty, lay the vast hunting grounds of the red man. What must have been the thoughts of the Boones and Kentons when for the first time they beheld a scene like this? One naturally wonders if they dreamed of the opening up of the region of the Miami by the hand of civilization, of the day, not far remote, when the cabin of the settler should rise upon the wigwam's site and trade and traffic send up their clarion calls where ran the woodland trails.

It seems a far cry back from the busy present to the distant past. Yet a century is but a milestone on the highway of Progress. It is man and man alone who makes history. The song of the first pioneer women has not been wholly lost in the noise of the myriad wheels of trade. The hand that reared the first cabin on the banks of the Miami built better it than it knew.

Let us turn the early of history and trace from the beginning the opening up of this county. It is well that reliable records of our birthrights have come down to us. The settler who first penetrated the wilderness of the Miami has left for us his footprints so that we can trace him unerringly. As a rule he was not a man of scholastic lore. He was a person of brain and brawn who, deterred by no difficulties, came from beyond the Alleghenies and passed with high hopes the portals of the "New Canaan." All hail the memory of the little band of pioneers who scaled the mountain barrier and saw the wolf flee from the light of his campfires!

I shall not deal with tradition, which has been aptly termed "the unwritten or oral transmission of information," and it is not reliable. As early as 1749 Celeron de Bienville was sent out by the Marquis de la Gallissoniere, Governor of Canada, to take possession for France of the Ohio Valley and prevent the English Ohio Company from acquiring it by right of settlement. Gallissoniere was governor of Canada when the peace of Aix-la- Chapelle was signed. He was a naval officer and, like all the early governors of that province, had a very exalted opinion of his abilities. Despite his physical deformity (he was a hunchback) he was animated by a bold spirit and strong and penetrating intellect. Parkman says that "he felt that, cost what it might, France must hold Canada and link her to Louisiana by chains of forts strong enough to hold back the British colonies and cramp their growth within narrow limits." The treaty had really done nothing to settle the boundaries between France and England. Slowly but surely the English had been crossing the Alleghenies, seducing the Indian from his allegiance to France and ruining the fur trade which even then flourished in the Ohio Valley.

Something had to be done to counteract the aggressions of the English in this particular locality and this determined Gallissoniere to send Celeron de Bienville westward with the region embraced within the borders of Miami County as his objective point. De Bienville was a loyal officer of France, but a man of haughty, disobedient character. As the first Frenchman who entered the forest in this locality at the head of an armed force he deserves a brief mention. In some ways the Governor of Canada could not have entrusted the expedition to a better man, but De Bienville had ideas of his own and was inclined, when beyond the power of his superior, to exercise them. He was thoroughly familiar with the Indian character, and his intense hatred of the English led Gallissoniere to expect great things of him. Bred among the frivolities and corruptions of a licentious court, Celeron brought his gay habits into the wilderness, and these, with his innate stubbornness, threatened to clothe the expedition with failure.

The expedition left Lachine on the 15th of June, 1749, and having ascended the St. Lawrence, swept across Lake Ontario and from Niagara skirted the southern shore of Lake Erie and at last gained the headwaters of the Allegheny. Celeron descended that river and the Ohio. Already the English trader had penetrated this wilderness, but the Frenchman claimed it in the name of his king. At different places De Bienville buried six leaden tablets upon which he described his acts. The first of these plates which marked his route was buried at the foot of a tree immediately after crossing the Allegheny. A great ceremony preceded the burial, calculated to impress the French and Indians with the importance of the expedition. Four leagues below French Creek, by a rock covered with Indian inscriptions, they buried another plate, and at the mouth of the Muskingum two more were placed. Fifty years later a party of boys, bathing in the river, discovered one of these plates protruding from the bank, and, after melting half of it into bullets, they gave the last half away and it is still in existence. Celeron or "The plate planter" as he is called, buried still another plate at the mouth of the Great Kenawha and this plate was found by a boy in 1846. Three of Celeron's plates have been found. One that was never buried was found in Possession of some Indians who brought it to Col. Johnson on the Mohawk and the scheming Colonel interpreted the inscriptions in a manner to incense the savages against the French.

The last plate was buried at the mouth of the Great Miami, after which the little band crossed to Lake Erie and gained Fort Niagara October 19th, 1749. Celeron reached the old Indian town of Pickawillany on the site of the state dam two miles north of Piqua. In order to show the assurance and pomposity of the French I transcribe the inscription of the tablet buried at the mouth of the Great Miami:

"In the year 1749 the reign of Louis XV, King of France we, Celeron, commandant of a detachment sent by Monsieur the Marquis of Gallissoniere, Commander in Chief of New France, to establish tranquillity in certain Indian villages in these cantons, have buried this plate at the confluence of the Ohio and of To-Ra-Da-Koin, this 29th July near the river Ohio, otherwise Beautiful river as a monument of renewal of possession, which we have taken of the said river and all its tributaries and of all the land on both sides, as far as the source of said rivers inasmuch as the preceding kings of France have enjoyed and maintained it by their arms and treaties, especially by those of Ryswick, Utrecht and Aix-la-Chapelle."

Parkman avers that Celeron was ordered to attack the English who had established themselves at Pickawillany, but he was loath to obey. At this place the English traders had often gathered to the number of fifty and Longueill, Governor of Canada, characterized them as "the instigators of revolt and the source of all our woes." De Bienville was charged with disobedience and forced to attack. A French trader named Langlade, who had married a squaw, led a force of 200 Ojibwa warriors from Michillimackinae and advanced through the forest to attack Old Britain of the "Demoiselle," who was the controlling spirit of the English at Pickawillany. This force of savage furies burst upon the English in the month of June, 1752. The Indian women fled from the maize fields to the protection of the traders. There were but eight traders in the fort at the time. Old Britain was killed with fourteen of his Miami's and the chief was eaten by his cannibalistic enemies. The traders Captured at Pickawillany were cruelly treated. They were plundered of everything; even their clothes were taken from them and Langlade carried them in triumph to Duquesne, the new governor, who recommended him to the Minister for reward, saying: "As he is not in the King's service and had married a squaw, I will ask for him only a pension of two hundred francs, which will flatter his vanity. It was not much of a battle, but it was the initial clash of the two great nations whose supremacy on these shores was afterward to be settled on the Heights of Abraham. It is rather notable that on the borders of Miami County should be fought out one of the early disputes between Celt and Gaul.

Prior, however, to the assault on the trading post at Pickawillany, the region of the Miami was invaded by a little force intended to spy out the land in the interest of France's great rival, England. In 1750 an association consisting chiefly of Virginians and called the Ohio Company, was formed to settle the western wilderness. In this association were two brothers of Washington. The governing committee placed at the head of the exploring band a hardy scout and guide named Christopher Gist, one of the most noted backwoodsman of the early days. A grant of 500,000 acres was procured from the king on condition that one hundred families should be established upon it within seven years, a fort built and a garrison maintained. The committee under whose instructions Gist was to operate in the exploring and selection of the land stipulated that "it must be good, level land. We had rather go quite down the Mississippi than take mean, broken land." Gist turned his face toward what was afterward to be the county we now inhabit, Miami. He as beset with dangers from the first. The Scotch-Irish traders told him that he would never return in safety and it was not until the old backwoodsman declared that he was the bearer of a message from the King that he was permitted to proceed. Gist had with him as interpreter a companion named Andrew Montour, who was a character of those times. His mother was the celebrated half-breed, Catherine Montour, who had been carried off by the Iroquois and adopted by them. Her son Andrew, who became of much service to Gist, is thus described by one who knew him:

"His face is like that of a European, but marked with a broad Indian ring of bear's grease and paint drawn completely around it. He wears a coat of fine cloth of cinnamon color, a black necktie with silver spangles, a red satin waistcoat, trousers, over which hangs his shirt, shoes and stockings, a hat and brass ornaments, something like the handle of a basket suspended from his ears." A real forest dandy of the olden time!

After leaving the Muskingum Gist journeyed to a village on White Woman's Creek, so called from one Mary Harris, who lived there. She had been captured when young by the Indians, and at the time of Gist's visit had an Indian husband and a family of young half-breeds. Moving west through the vast solitude's of the unbroken forest the little band reached a Shawnee town at the mouth of the Scioto, where they were well received. Soon after leaving this village they struck the trail leading to Pickawillany. The old guide was delighted with the country and in his report to the Ohio Company he says that "it is rich, level land, well timbered with large walnut, ash, sugar and cherry trees well watered with a great number of streams and rivulets, full of beautiful meadows, with wild rye, blue grass and clover, and abounding with game, particularly deer, elks, wild turkeys and buffaloes, thirty or forty of the latter being seen on one piece of land." Such, no doubt, was the condition of this county at that period.

Gist crossed the Miami on a raft and was hailed by Old Britain, the chief at Pickawillany. At his time the station numbered 2,000 souls, start page 33 and the traders were secure in a fort of pickets, protected with logs. Here was held in Gist's honor the first wild dance ever performed for white men in this region. It was called the "feather dance" and what it was like let the journal of the old frontiersman say:

"It was performed by three dancing masters, who were painted all over of various colors, with long sticks in their hands, upon the ends of which were fastened long feathers of swans and other birds, neatly woven in the shape of a fowl's wing. In this disguise they performed many antic tricks, waving their sticks with great skill, to imitate the flying of birds ,keeping exact time with their music. An Indian drum furnished music and each warrior, striking a painted post with his tomahawk, would recount his valorous deeds on the warpath and the buffalo trail."

As there was a "confusion of tongues" at Babel so there is a confusion of statements concerning the exact site of Pickawillany. Some writers place it in Shelby County and others confuse it with Loramie's Store, and vice versa. Let us sift the different assertions for a moment and settle, if we can , the location of this important frontier post. Parkman, who is a very authentic historian, in his "Montealm and Wolfe" says that Celeron de Bienville in 1749 "reached a village of the Miamis lately built at the mouth of Loramie Creek," and again refers to it as "the Indian town on the upper waters of the Great Miami. Howe, in his account of Shelby County, locates Pickawillany "about a mile south of the Shelby County line" and adds, in the interest of accuracy, that its exact location was "on the northwest side of the Great Miami, just below the mouth of what is now Loramie Creek in Johnston's prairie." This would locate it in Washington Township and nine miles southwest of Sidney. But in the first edition of his "Historical Collections" Howe says, "The mouth of Loramie's Creek is in this (Shelby) county, sixteen miles northwest of Sidney." Loramie's Store or post could not have occupied the site of Pickawillany. The two sites are entirely different. In the "History of Fort Wayne" is given a speech of Little Turtle, chief of the Miamis, made at the Treaty of Greenville, 1795, in which he locates Pickawillany within the present boundaries of Miami County. Dr.Asa Coleman of Troy, one of the earliest and most intelligent of the pioneers, in his "Historical Recollections," remarks: "Howe places the trading post (Pickawillany) here described in Shelby County northwest of Sidney, evidently confusing it with Loramie's Store and Fort Loramie, a point located sixteen miles distant from the Miami River up Loramie's Creek when the trading post of the Towightewee towns and the trading establishment here described was a mile southwest of the Shelby County line in Miami County, below the mouth of Loramie's Creek in Johnston's prairie.

Gen. George Rogers Clark attacked Pickawillany in 1782, as will be described later, and he locates it at the mouth of Loramie's Creek, nine miles south of Sidney, while Loramie's Store was nearly fifteen miles northwest between the waters of Loramie's Creek and the head waters of the St. Mary's. This is proven by the fact that Clark, after attacking Pickawillany, marched fifteen miles to Loramie's Store and burned all the buildings.

That the Indian Piqua stood on what was called the Johnston Prairie is attested by the fact that the ground today when freshly plowed shows discoloration, probably from the disturbance of the soil in digging the trenches and the well. Many old time relies have been found on the site of this historic old fort. Summing up everything presented by different writers the conclusion is reached that the trading post of Pickawillany was situated within the borders of this county, which conclusion places the first settlement here thirty-nine years before the coming of the whites to Marietta. Of course the settlement at Pickawillany was not a permanent one, but our county should have all the credit it is entitled to. It is rather perplexing to read the accounts of writers who should have written with more care than they have done. Some of the early maps are also confusing, but the Evans map made in 1755 places Pickawillany at the mouth of Loramie's Creek, and this map is undoubtedly right. One of the most important events connected with this old station is the fact already mentioned that there occurred the first conflict, small though it was, in the "Braddock" or French and Indian War which established English supremacy on this continent and broke the sway of the French.

The beauty, fertility and worth of the Ohio valley early excited the grasping propensities of France and England. Each wanted what the other had, and each was ready to take by force that which promised to enrich her rival. The fleur-de-lis could not float where the banner of Saint George kissed the breezes and vice versa. The two ruling courts of Europe, each corrupt, balked at nothing that would advance their interests and fill their coffers. Long before Washington shed the first blood in the French and Indian War through the death of Jumonville, the land which lies today within the borders of Miami County was a bone of contention between the continental rivals. The story carried back by Gist, his flowery description of the country he had seen, acted as a spur to the English. The two kingdoms girded their loins for the conflict.

The first step or among the first was to warn the French from the Valley of the Ohio. This delicate and important task was assigned to a youth of twenty-one, who was destined to be known in time to the whole world -George Washington. Clothed with the proper authority by Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, Washington in 1753 turned his face toward the Ohio wilderness, accompanied by Gist as guide. While the future chieftain of the American armies did not reach the banks of the Miami, there is no doubt that his report stimulated immigration and started the wave which was soon to top the Alleghenies in its westward course. The French were loath to give up their possessions along the Ohio. They knew that each surrender but strengthened their adversary. The previous wars on this continent had permanently settled nothing. There could be no peace while the two nations faced each other this side of the Atlantic. The prize was not only Canada, but that vast and, as yet, unpeopled region which stretched so southward to the Ohio, and westward to the banks of the Mississippi. This tract included the lands watered by the Miami.

The Treaty of Paris, which was the concluding event of the French and Indian War, saw the Gaul with but a limited foothold on the North American continent. The fleur-de-lis was hauled down and the banner of Saint George took its place. Sullenly the French withdrew from the regions they had held and William Pitt stood forth as the great diplomat of his day. With the gigantic struggle at an end the tide of immigration, interrupted by the war, turned westward. The time was near at hand when the foot of the white man should crinkle the leaves of the Miami forests and when the sound of his axe should startle the foxes in their coverts.

Previous to the expedition of George Rogers Clark, which penetrated to the present domain of Miami County, as I shall show, in 1782, the Indians had been unusually troublesome. They were constantly crossing the Ohio from the Kentucky wilderness, carrying the war among the unprotected white settlements. Previously, or in 1780, Clark struck and destroyed the Indian towns on Mad River, and the Shawnees, to which people belonged the great leader Tecumseh, abandoning their burning wigwams, sought the banks of the Great Miami, where they built another town, naming it Piqua. From this point of vantage they swept viciously in every direction carrying torch and tomahawk even into Kentucky. The intrepid Clark once more took the forest trail and in 1782 led 1,000 Kentuckians northward. He commanded a force of resolute men arrayed in buckskin and homespun, and all were inured to fatigue of every kind and at home with the rifle. The leader of this foray had gained fame by his capture of the British post at Vincennes and was in every way calculated to head just such a body of men. He as the friend of Washington who had followed his career with interest and had complimented him for his bravery. The first Clark expedition had forced the Indians northward and they were now firmly established in the Miami country.

Eager for vengeance and never forgetting their chastisement in 1780, they again took up the hatchet and swept the wilderness far and wide with the ferocity of tigers. In short the destruction of every white settler in Ohio and Kentucky seemed imminent, and if not given a salutary lesson the lands just opening up to civilization would for a number of years remain in the hands of the red man. It was this terrible state of affairs that led to Clark's second expedition. He crossed the Ohio at a point where Cincinnati now stands, but where at that time there was nothing but a fort and a stockade. The wily Clark was well acquainted with the Indian character and threw out scouts to guard against surprise as he progressed through the wilderness. People living at the present day cannot estimate the trials of a march like that made by Clark and his little band. They were headed for the Indian towns on the Miami. The forest was then unbroken, its trails were those made by the red hunters and the wild animals. The branches of the great trees overlapped, casting the whole ground in shadow and the long howl of the wolf was the only sound that broke the silences. Roads had to be cut through this lonesome tract of country, roads for the Packhorses, the teams and the men and all the time the latter had to be on the alert against an Indian surprise such as had overwhelmed Braddock on the Monongahela. At night the camp was well guarded and the little army slept on its arms. The inmates of the solitary cabins scarcely dared retire at night for fear of attack, and nightly the darkness was illuminated by the flames of burning homes. The sparse settlements were ever in the shadow of the tomahawk. The warery of the Indian was liable at any moment to fall upon the settler's ears. There was fear by day and dread by night. The babe was taken from its mother's arms and dashed against the nearest tree. Crops were destroyed and the blossonied fringed pathways of the forest became scenes of massacre. Where today stand the cities and hamlets of this county and where the industrious farmer follows his plow in peace, the Indian struck with the ferocity of a fiend and left desolation in his wake. Language cannot adequately depict the dangers and horrors of this period.

Not long before Clark's invasion the Indians, during a foray into Kentucky, captured a white woman named Mrs. McFall. She was compelled to accompany her captors into Ohio and the band was headed toward the Piqua settlements. A grand pow-wow was about to be held and savages from every quarter were flocking to the place of rendezvous. Warriors hurried thither afoot and on horseback and the forest seemed to swarm with them. As the red marauders reached the river they were astounded to behold the advance guard of Clark's little army. Instantly there was consternation among the Indians. They stood not on the order of their going but scattered in every direction, terror-stricken at meeting the rifles of the resolute borderers. Mrs. McFall and the squaws were abandoned to their fate and fell into the hands of Clark, who carried them with him.

When the Piqua towns were reached they were found to be stripped of nearly everything portable, but many bits of Indian furniture were left behind by the frightened warriors. Upper as well as Lower Piqua was found in the same condition. Clark halted for the night. With his usual precaution he threw out his guards to prevent surprise, and silence settled over the forest. Suddenly the woods rang with shots, for the wily foe, creeping through the underbrush, had opened fire on the sentries. In a moment the whole army was aroused and firing was kept up till the break of day. Notwithstanding the disadvantages under which the border men labored five Indians were found dead on the leaves, the survivors, satisfied with their punishment, having decamped. During the previous evening a detachment sent out by Clark had burned Loramie's Store a few miles away. The total loss on the part of the army was Capt. McCracken and a man whose name is unknown. The chastisement inflicted had for a time a salutary effect on the Indians. They discovered that the whites were determined to put an end to their depravedness, cost what it might, and the scattered settlements ad this region enjoyed a brief repose.

Among those who accompanied Gen. Clark was one of the first settlers of Miami County, a courageous man named Abraham Thomas. He afterward published an account of the expedition in the Troy Times from which I make the following extract:

"I again volunteered in an expedition under General Clark, with the object of destroying Indian villages about Piqua on the Great Miami River. On this occasion nearly 1,000 men marched out of Kentucky by the route of the Licking River. We crossed the Ohio at the present site of Cincinnati, where our last year's stockade had been kept up and a few people resided in log cabins. We proceeded immediately onward through the woods without regard to our former trail and crossed Mad River not far from the present site of Dayton. We kept on the east side of the river -the Miami- and crossed it four miles below the Piqua towns. Shortly after gaining the bottoms on the west side of the river, a party of Indians with their squaws on horseback came out of a trace that led to some Indian towns near the present site of Greenville. On arriving at Piqua we found that the Indians had fled from their villages, leaving most of their effects behind. During the following night I joined a party to break up an encampment of Indians said to be lying about what was called the French Store (Loramie's). We soon caught a Frenchman on horseback, tied him to a horse for our guide and arrived at the place in the night. The Indians had taken the alarm and cleared out. We, however, broke up and burned the Frenchman's store, which for a long time had been a place of outfit for Indian marauders and returned to the main body early in the morning. Many of our men were stocked with plunder. After burning and otherwise destroying everything about upper and lower Piqua towns we commenced our return march."

"In this attack five Indians were killed during the night the expedition lay at Piqua. The Indians lurked around the camp, firing random shots from the hazel thickets without doing us any injury; but two men who were in search of their stray horses were fired upon and severely "wounded. One of these died shortly afterward and was buried at what is now called 'Coe's Ford' where we recrossed the Miami on our return. The other, Capt. McCracken, lived until we reached the site of Cincinnati, where he was buried. On this expedition we had with us Capt. William Barbee, afterward Judge Barbee, one of my primitive neighbors in Miami County, a most worthy and brave man, with whom I have marched and watched through many a long day and finally removed with him to Ohio."

Since the first bloodshed in the French and Indian War occurred within the limits of Miami County, one of the last battles between the rival nations took place within the same territory. In 1763 the adherents of France and England came together on the Col. John Johnston's farm at Upper Piqua. Here the Tewightewee towns inhabited by the Miamis were then established. The Indians, with the Wyandots, Ottawas and kindred nations, espoused the cause of France. They were assisted by Canadians and French, the whole forming a motley confederacy against the common enemy. I may premise by saying that the French by their lenient treatment of the red man had drawn to their interest some of the most powerful of the northern tribes, whereas, on the other hand, the English were not so fortunate. They (the English) were aided by the Shawnees, Delawares, Munseys, Senecas, Cherokees and Catawbas, and these warriors with a sprinkling of traders laid Siege to the fort. For a whole week, according to the most authentic records obtainable, the siege went on with all the attending incidents of border warfare. The besieging army suffered severely. The resisting force was also badly crippled and lost such property as was exposed. Blackhoof, one of the Shawnee chiefs, with his accustomed exaggeration, informed Col. Johnston after the siege that he could have gathered baskets full of bullets. The allies of France, discouraged and shut off from further active warfare by the peace which had been signed, turned their footsteps from this part of the country and, returned to the region of the Maumee, and came back no more. In their place came the Shawnees, the parent race which produced Tecumseh, the most formidable of the many leaders of the scarlet legions.

For some years comparative peace reigned about Upper Piqua, yet the boats which plowed the waters of the Miami were not always out of danger at the hands of the restless savages. In 1794 Capt. J. N. Vischer, the last commandant at Fort Piqua, was compelled to almost witness the massacre of the officers and crews of two freight boats which he was powerless to aid. It is believed that the boats were attacked for the purpose of drawing the garrison from the fort, but the discreet commander was not to be drawn into the snare.

At the time of Clark's expedition the country of the Miami was a primitive paradise. The first beauty of the woods came with the spring. At first the landscape looked bare and desolate, but before many days the air was sweet with the blossoms of the wild grape, plum, cherry and crabapple and the whole land beautiful with the contrasting red and white of the dogwood and rosebud, or of elder and wild rose, and the fresh green of the young leaves. The country on both sides of the Miami was for many miles unbroken forest or a thicket of hazel bushes and wild fruit trees. Pioneers could in the summer, step out of their back doors into a boundless wild park of garden. Delicious perfumes, sweet as attar of roses, delicate, pungent, aromatic, and countless flowers, pink, white, purple, scarlet, blue, and bending with every shade of yellow and green delighted the senses.

Gist, in his description of the forests of the Miami, had spoken of the great variety of trees that covered the ground. Many of these were of the lordliest kind and hid stood for ages before the foot of man pressed the soil about their roots. Oak, hickory, walnut, beech, and butternut stood everywhere in the greatest profusion. Their nuts afforded food for the settler as well as for the wild hogs that roamed the woods. Everywhere on both sides of the Miami stretched the great woodlands, which today are things of the past. In summer the air was mild and pleasant. The winters were cold but the forests acted as "breaks" and kept the icy blasts from the inmates of the cabins. A pioneer writer in the Troy Times thus refers to the aspect of this country a century ago:

"The country around the settlements presented the most lovely appearance. The earth was like an ash-heap and nothing could exceed the luxuriance of primitive vegetation. Indeed, our cattle often died from excess of feeding and it was somewhat difficult to rear them on that account. The white weed or bee-harvest, as it is called, so profusely spread over our bottoms and woodlands, was not then to be seen, the sweet anise, nettles and wild rye, and pea vine, everywhere abounded-they were almost the entire herbage of our bottoms. The two last gave subsistence to our cattle and the first with their nutritious roots were eaten by our swine with the greatest avidity. In the spring and summer months a drove of hogs could be scented at a considerable distance from their flavor of the anise root. Buffalo signs were frequently met with, but the animals had entirely disappeared before the first white inhabitant came into the country, but other game was abundant.''

Among the first white settlers to establish themselves in Miami County was John Knoop. He came from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in 1797. In the spring of that year he came down the Ohio to Cincinnati and cropped the first season at Zeigler's stone- house farm, four miles above the post. During the summer he ventured into the Indian country north of the Ohio. At one time he made a journey with a surveying party and selected land not far from the banks of the Miami. At that time the forest swarmed with Indians, principally of the Shawnee nation, but there were others here at the time, roving bands of Mingoes, Delawares, Miamis and Pottawatomies. These bands were peacefully inclined and made no efforts to disturb the first settlers. In the spring of 1798 Knoop moved to near the present site of Staunton where, with Benjamin Knoop, Henry Gerard, Benjamin Hamlet, John Tildus and others, he established a station for the safety of the pioneer families. It was the victory of Clark that gave to the first settlers in this county a sense of security. Fear of the whites kept the red men in abeyance, and those who first awoke the echoes of the woods with their axes were permitted to inhabit the land in peace. The inmates of "Dutch Station", as the settlement. was called, remained within it for two years, during which time they were occupied in clearing and building on their respective farms. Here was born in 1798 Jacob Knoop, the son of John, the first civilized native of Miami County. At this time there were three young men living at the mouth of Stony Creek and cropping out on what was known as Freeman's prairie. One of these was D. H. Morris, for a long time a resident of Bethel Township. At the same time there resided at Piqua Samuel Hilliard, Job Garrard, Shadrach Hudson, Josiah Rollins, Daniel Cox, and Thomas Rich. All these, with the tenants of Dutch Station, comprised the inhabitants of Miami County from 1797 to 1799. From this time all parts of the county began to receive numerous immigrants.

In the fall of 1796 Benjamin Iddings came from Tennessee in search of a new home and located in the Weymire settlement within the limits of Montgomery County, but after one winter there he removed with a family of six children to Newton Township, where he located on the east side of Stillwater. When Judge Symmes made the extensive "Symmes Purchase" which embraced many thousands of acres between the two Miamis, he offered inducements to settlers. Immigration thus given an impulse, began to push northward and some of those who had already bought land of Symmes entered the present limits of Miami County and established themselves near the mouth of Honey Creek as early as 1797. These people, among whom were Samuel Morrison and David Morris, established the first permanent settlement in the county. They laid out opposite the mouth of the creek a town called "Livingston," which name long ago disappeared. Rollins and Hudson already mentioned located near the mouth of Spring Creek, perhaps a few months prior to the settlement at Dutch Station.

The various "stations" so called, erected by the first settlers were formed by erecting logs in a line and the cabins were all joined together, forming one side of a square with the remaining three sides enclosed by palings eight feet high, firmly driven in the ground. All the openings inside the square were secured by a strong gateway. On Gerard's and Gahagan's prairie near Troy, which had once been tilled by the Indians, the tenants of Dutch Station remained two years. In 1799 their numbers were increased by the arrival of John Gerard, Uriah Blue, Joseph Coe, Abram Hathaway, Nathaniel Gerard, and Abner Gerard. These were the first actual settlers of the county.

From whence did our first pioneers come? Nearly all the states that comprised the original Union furnished their quota. Those from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia were perhaps most numerous, but Georgia and the Carolinas sent a goodly number. There were a few from New England and New York and even little Delaware contributed to the settlement of the county. All the pioneers were men of nerve and determination. They did not shrink from the arduous task of carving out new homes in the unbroken wilderness. Some were of hardy Scotch-Irish stock, while German blood flowed in the veins of others. All had traversed leagues of wild land to the homes they found in the beautiful region of the Miami. Nothing daunted them. They met dangers seen and unseen in order that they could raise their children in a new land and give them a heritage enriched by toil and self-sacrifice.

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Harbaugh's History Of Miami County Ohio, 1909

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