REMINISCENCES OF CLARKE'S EXPEDITION OF
Prior to the settlement of Ohio, Gen. George Rogers Clarke led an expedition from Kentucky against the Indians in this region, an account of which follows from the reminiscences of Abraham Thomas, originally published in the Troy Times. Mr. Thomas, it is said, cut the first sapling on the site of Cincinnati:
Quote Abraham Thomas (1744-1843):
In the year 1782, after corn planting, I again volunteered in an expedition under General Clarke with the object of destroying some Indian villages about Piqua, on the Great Miami river. On this occasion nearly 1,000 men marched out of Kentucky by the route of Licking river. We crossed the Ohio at the present site of Cincinnati where our last year's stockade bad been kept up, and a few people then 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 up the east side of the Miami and crossed it about four miles below the Piqua Towns. Shortly after gaining the bottom on the west side of the river, a party of Indians on horseback with their squaws came out of a trace that led to some Indian villages near the present site of Granville. They were going on a frolic, or powwow, to be held at Piqua, and had with them a Mrs. McFall, who was some time before taken prisoner from Kentucky; the Indians escaped into the woods leaving their women, with Mrs. McFall, to the mercy of our company. We took those along with us to Piqua and Mrs. McFall returned to Kentucky. On arriving at Piqua we found that the Indians had fled from the 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 their French store. We soon caught a Frenchman, tied him on horseback for our guide and arrived at the place in the night. The Indians had taken alarm and cleared out; we, however, broke up and burned the Frenchman's store, which for a long time been a place of outfit for Indian marauders and returned to the main body early in the morning, many of our men well 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 an injury; but two men who were in search of their stray horses were fired upon and severely wounded; one of those died shortly after 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. Barbee, afterwards Judge Barbee, one of my primitive neighbors in Miami county, Ohio, a most worthy and brave man, with whom I have hunted, marched and watched through many a long day, and finally removed with him to Ohio.
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