SENECA COUNTY was formed from old Indian Territory, April 1, 1820, organized April 1, 1824, and named from the tribe who had a reservation within its limits. The surface is level, and the streams run in deep channels. The county is well watered, has considerable water-power, and the soil is mostly a rich loam. It was settled principally from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York, and by some few Germans. The principle farm products are wheat, corn, grass, oats, potatoes and pork. Area, about 540 square miles . In 1887 the acres cultivated were 219,543; in pasture, 26,352; woodland, 58,716; lying waste, 1,447; produced in wheat, 969,701 bushels; rye, 9,777; buckwheat, 400; oats, 834,806; barley, 10,407; corn, 1,204,246; meadow hay, 24,699 tons; clover hay, 8,369; flax, 12,900 lbs. fibre; potatoes, 87,584 bushels; butter, 686,237 lbs.; cheese, 5,800; sorghum, 3603 gallons; maple syrup, 10,489; honey, 3,848 lbs.; eggs, 553,716 dozen; grapes, 6,746 lbs.; wine, 226 gallons; sweet potatoes, 99 bushels; apples, 21,815 bushels; peaches, 2,735; pears, 1,746; wool, 287,003 lbs.; milch cows owned, 8.737. Ohio Mining Statistics, 1888.—Limestone, 21,155 tons burned for lime; 27,500 cubic feet of dimension stone; 13,226 cubic yards of building stone; 35,076 cubic yards of ballast or macadam. School census, 1888, 11,718; teachers, 361. Miles of railroad track, 172.
Population of Seneca in 1830, 5,157; 1840, 18,139; 1860, 30,868; 1880, 36,945; of whom 26.947 were born in Ohio; 3,154, Pennsylvania; 905, New York; 350, Virginia; 214, Indiana; 27, Kentucky; 2,402, German Empire; 339, Ireland; 159, France; 141, England and Wales; 131, British America; 11, Scotland; and 6, Sweden and Norway. Census, 1890, 40,869
PERIL OF GENERAL HARRISON.
The friendly Indians of the Delaware, Shawanese and Seneca tribes had been invited to join him. A number had accepted the invitation, and had reached Seneca before the arrival of the Kentucky troops. All the chiefs, and no doubt the greater part of the warriors were favorable to the American cause; but before their departure from their towns, a wretch had insinuated himself among them, with the intention of assassinating the commanding general. He belonged to the Shawanese tribe, and bore the name of Blue Jacket; but was not the celebrated Blue Jacket who signed the treaty of Greenville with Gen. Wayne. He had formerly resided at the town of Wapakoneta; he had, however, been absent for a considerable time and had returned but a few days before the warriors of that town set out to join the American army. He informed the chiefs that he had been hunting on the Wabash, and at his request, he was suffered to join the party which were about to march to Seneca. Upon their arrival at M’Arthur’s blockhouse, they halted and encamped for the purpose of receiving provisions from the deputy Indian agent, Col. M’Pherson, who resided there. Before their arrival at that place, Blue Jacket had communicated to a friend (a Shawanese warrior), his intention to kill the American general, and requested his assistance; this his friend declined and endeavored to dissuade him from attempting it, assuring him that it could not be done without the certain sacrifice of his own life, as he had been at the American camp and knew there was always a guard round the general’s quarters, who were on duty day and night. Blue Jacket replied, that he was determined to execute his intention at any risk, that he would kill the general if he was sure that his guards would cut him in pieces not bigger than his thumb nail.
No people on earth are more faithful in keeping secrets than the Indians, but each warrior has friend from whom he will conceal nothing; luckily for Gen. Harrison, the friend of the confidant of Blue Jacket was a young Delaware chief named Beaver, who was also bound to the general by the ties of friendship. He was the son of a Delaware war chief of the same name, who had with others been put to death by his own tribe, on the charge of practicing sorcery. Gen. Harrison had been upon terms of friendship with the father, and had patronized his orphan boy, at that time ten or twelve years of age. He had now arrived at manhood and was considered among the most promising warriors of his tribe: to this young chief the friend of Blue Jacket revealed the fatal secret. The Beaver was placed by this communication in an embarrassing situation, for should he disclose what he had heard, he betrayed his friend, than which nothing could be more repugnant to the feelings and principles of an Indian warrior. Should he not disclose it, consequences equally or even more to be deprecated were likely to ensue—the assassination of a friend, the friend of his father, whose life he was bound to defend, or whose death to revenge by the same principle of fidelity and honor which forbade the disclosure
While he was yet hesitating, Blue Jacket came up to the Delaware camp somewhat intoxicated, vociferating vengeance upon Col. M’Pherson, who had just turned him out of his house, and whom he declared he would put to death for the insult he had received. The sight of the traitor aroused the indignation and resentment of the Beaver to the highest pitch. He seized his tomahawk, and advancing toward the culprit, “You must be a great warrior,” said he; “you will not only kill this white man for serving you as you deserve, but you will also murder our father, the American chief, and bring disgrace and mischief upon us all; but you shall do neither, I will serve you as I would a mad dog.” A furious blow from the tomahawk of the Beaver stretched the unfortunate Blue Jacket at his feet, and a second terminated his existence; “There,” said he to some Shawanese who were present, “take him to the camp of his tribe, and tell them who has done the deed.”
The Shawanese were far from resenting it; they applauded the conduct of the Beaver, and rejoiced at their happy escape from the ignominy which the accomplishment of Blue Jacket’s design would have brought upon them. At the great treaty which was held at Greenville in 1815 Gen. Cass, one of the commissioners, related the whole of the transaction to the assembled chiefs, and after thanking the Beaver, in the name of the United States, for having saved the life of their general, he caused a handsome present to be made him out of the goods which he had sent for the purpose of the treaty. It is impossible to say what was the motive of Blue Jacket to attempt the life of Gen. Harrison: he was not one of the Tippecanoe Shawanese, and therefore could have no personal resentment against the general. There is little doubt that he came from Malden when he arrived at Wapakoneta, and that he came for the express purpose of attempting the life of the general; but whether he was instigated to it by any other person or persons, or had conceived the idea himself, has never been ascertained. Upon the arrival of the chiefs at Seneca, the principal war chief of the Shawanese requested permission to sleep at the door of the general’s marquee, and this he did every night until the embarkation of the troops. This man, who had fought with great bravery on our side in the several sorties from Fort Meigs, was called Capt. Tommy; he was a great favorite of the officers, particularly the general and Commodore Perry, the latter of whom was accustomed to call him the general’s Mameluke.
The Senecas of Sandusky—so called—owned and occupied forty thousand acres of choice land on the east side of the Sandusky river, being mostly in this and partly in Sandusky county. Thirty thousand acres of this land was granted to them on the 29th of September, 1817, at the treaty held at the foot of the Maumee Rapids, Hon. Lewis Cass and Hon. Duncan M’Arthur being the commissioners of the United States. The remaining 10,000 acres, lying south of the other, was granted by the treaty at St. Mary’s, concluded by the same commissioners on the 17th of September, in the following year. By the treaty concluded at Washington city, February 28, 1831, James B Gardiner being the commissioner of the general government, these Indians ceded their lands to the United States, and agreed to remove southwest of Missouri, on the Neosho river.
INDIAN EXECUTION FOR WITCHCRAFT.
At this time their principal chiefs were Coonstick, Small Cloud Spicer, Seneca Steel, Hard Hickory, Tall Chief and Good Hunter, the last two of whom were their principal orators. The old chief Good Hunter, told Mr. Henry C. Brish, their sub-agent, that this band, which numbered about four hundred souls, were in fact the remnant of Logan’s tribe, (see Pickaway county), and says Mr. Brish in a communication to us: “I cannot to this day surmise why they were called the Senecas. I never found a Seneca among them. They were Cayugas—who were Mingoes—among whom were a few Oneidas, Mohawks, Onondagoes, Tuscarawas and Wyandots.” From Mr. Brish, we have received an interesting narrative of the execution for witchcraft of one of these Indians, named Seneca John, who was one of the best men of his tribe.
About the year 1825, Coonstick, Steel and Cracked Hoof left the reservation for the double purpose of a three years hunting and trapping excursion, and to seek a location for a new home for the tribe in the far West
At the time of their starting, Comstock, the brother of the first two, was the principal chief of the tribe. On their return in 1828, richly laden with furs and horses, they found Seneca John, their fourth brother, chief, in place of Comstock, who had died during their absence.
Comstock was the favorite brother of the two, and they at once charged Seneca John with producing his death by witchcraft. John denied the charge in a strain of eloquence rarely equalled. Said he, “I loved my brother Comstock more than I love the green earth I stand upon. I would give myself, limb by limb, piecemeal by peacemeal—I would shed my blood, drop by drop, to restore him to life.” But all his protestations of innocence and affection for his brother Comstock were of no avail. His two other brothers pronounced him guilty and declared their determination to be his executioners.
John replied that he was willing to die and only wished to live until the next morning, “to see the sun rise once more.” This request being granted, John told them that he should sleep that night on Hard Hickory’s porch, which fronted the east, where they would find him at sunrise. He chose that place because he did not wish to be killed in the presence of his wife, and desired that the chief, Hard Hickory, should witness that he died like a brave man.
Coonstick and Steel retired for the night to an old cabin near by. In the morning, in company with Shane, another Indian, they preceeded to the house of Hard Hickory, who was my informant of what there happened.
He said, a little after sunrise he heard their footsteps upon the porch, and opened the door just enough to peep out. He saw John asleep upon his blanket, while they stood around him. At length one of them awoke him. He arose upon his feet and took off a large handkerchief which was around his head, letting his unusually long hair fall upon his shoulders. This being done, he looked around upon the landscape and at the rising sun, to take a farewell look of a scene that he was never again to behold and then told them he was ready to die.
with the usual Indian ceremonies, not more than twenty feet from where he fell. Steel was arrested and tried for the murder in Sandusky county, and acquitted.
The grave of Seneca John was surrounded by a small picket enclosure. Three years after, when I was preparing to move them to the far West, I saw Coonstick and Steel remove the picket-fence and level the ground, so that no vestige of the grave remained.
SACRIFICING DOGS TO THE GREAT SPIRIT.
A writer in the Sidney Aurora, gave a narrative of the religious rites of this tribe, just prior to their departure for their new homes. We extract his description of their sacrificing two dogs to the Great Spirit. This writer was probably Mr. Brish.
We rose early and proceeded directly to the council house, and though we supposed we were early, the Indians were already in advance of us.
The first object which arrested our attention, was a pair of the canine species, one of each gender suspended on a cross! one on either side thereof. These animals had been recently strangled—not a bone was broken, nor could a distorted hair be seen! They were of beautiful cream color, except a few dark spots on one, naturally, which same spots were put on the other, artificially, by the devotees. The Indian are very partial in the selection of dogs entirely white for this occasion; and for such they will give almost any price. Now for part of the decorations to which I have already alluded; a description of one will suffice for both.
First—A scarlet ribbon was tastefully tied just above the nose; and near the eyes another; next round the neck was a white ribbon, to which was attached some bulbous, concealed in another white ribbon; this was placed directly under the right ear, and I suppose it was intended as an amulet or charm. Then ribbons were bound round the forelegs, at the knees and near the feet—these were red and white alternately. Round the body was a profuse decoration—then the hind legs were decorated as the fore ones. Thus were the victims prepared and thus ornamented for burnt offering.
While minutely making this examination, I was almost unconscious of the collection of a large number of Indians who were there assembled to offer their sacrifices.
Adjacent to the cross was a large fire built on a few logs; and though the snow was several inches deep, they had prepared a sufficient quantity of combustible material, removed the snow from the logs and placed thereon their fire. I have often regretted that I did not see them light this pile. My own opinion is, they did not use the fire from their council-house; because I think they would have considered that as common, and as this was intended to be a holy service, they, no doubt, for this purpose struck fire from a flint, this being deemed sacred.
It was a clear, beautiful morning, and just as the first rays of the sun were seen in the tops of the towering forest and its reflections from the snowy surface, the Indians simultaneously formed a semicircle enclosing the cross, each flank resting on the aforesaid pile of logs
Good Hunter, who officiated as High Priest, now appeared, and approached the cross; arrayed in his pontifical robes, he looked quite respectable
The Indians being all assembled—I say Indians, for there was not a squaw present during all this ceremony—at a private signal given by the High Priest, two young chiefs sprang upon the cross and each taking off one of the victims, brought it down and presented it on his arms to the High Priest, who receiving it with great reverence, in like manner advanced to the fire, and with a very grave and solemn air, laid it thereon—and this he did with the other—but to which, whether male or female, he gave the preference I did not learn. This done, he retired to the cross.
In a devout manner he now commenced as an oration. The tone of his voice was audible and somewhat chanting. At every pause in his discourse, he took from a white cloth he held in his hand, a portion of dried, odoriferous herbs, which he threw on the fire; this was intended as incense. In the meanwhile his auditory, their eyes on the ground, with grave aspect and solemn silence, stood motionless, listening attentively to every word he uttered.
tains;” accompanying his narration with energy, warmth and strong gesticulation; when he ended, he received the unanimous applause of the assembled tribe.
This meed of praise was awarded to the chief by “three times three” articulations, which were properly neither nasal, oral nor guttural, but rather abdominal. Thus many others in the circle, old and young, rose in order, and pro forma, delivered themselves of a speech. Among those was Good Hunter; but he
“Had laid his robes away
His mitre and his vest.”
His remarks were not filled with such bombast as some others; but brief, modest and appropriate; in fine, they were such as became a priest of one of the lost ten tribes of Israel
After all had spoken who wished to speak, the floor was cleared and the dance renewed, in which Indian and squaw united, with their wonted hilarity and zeal.
Just as this dance ended, an Indian boy ran to me and with fear strongly depicted in his countenance, caught me by the arm and drew me to the door, pointing with his other hand towards something he wished me to observe.
I looked in that direction, and saw the appearance of an Indian running at full speed to the council-house; in an instant he was in the house and literally in the fire, which he took in his hands and threw fire, coals and hot ashes in various directions through the house and apparently all over himself. At his entrance, the young Indians much alarmed, had all fled to the further end of the house, where they remained crowded, in great dread of this personification of the Evil Spirit. After diverting himself with the fire a few moments, at the expense of the young ones, to their no small joy he disappeared. This was an Indian disguised with a hideous false face, having horns on his head, and his hands and feet protected from the effects of the fire. And though not a professed “Fire King,” he certainly performed his part to admiration.
During the continuance of this festival, the hospitality of the Senecas was unbounded. In the council-house and at the residence of Tall Chief, were a number of large fat bucks and hogs hanging up and neatly dressed. Bread also, of both corn and wheat, in great abundance.
Large kettles of soup ready prepared, in which maple sugar, profusely added, made a prominent ingredient, thus forming a very agreeable saccharine coalescence. All were invited and made welcome; indeed, a refusal to partake of their bounty, was deemed disrespectful, if not unfriendly.
I left them in the afternoon enjoying themselves to the fullest extent, and so far as I could perceive, their pleasure was without alloy. They were eating and drinking, but on this occasion, no ardent spirits were permitted—dancing and rejoicing—caring and probably thinking not of to-morrow.
TIFFIN, county-seat of Seneca, is eighty miles northwest of Columbus, forty-two miles southeast from Toledo; is on the T. B. & W., B. & O., and N. W. Railroads. It is the seat of Heidelberg College and other educational institutions, is in the midst of a very productive agricultural region and has extensive manufacturing interests. County officers, 1888: Auditor, James A. NORTON; Clerk, Lewis ULRICH; Commissioners, Henry F. HEDDEN, Truman H. BAGBY, Nicholas BURTSCHER; Coroner, Edward LEPPER; Infirmary Directors, Daniel METZGER, John RINEBOLT, William KING; Probate Judge, John ROYER; Prosecuting Attorney, William H. DORE; Recorder, George F. WENTZ; Sheriff, George HOMAN; Surveyor, George MCGORMLEY; Treasurer, Benjamin F. MYERS. City officers, 1888: Mayor, Dr. J. F. E. FANNING; Marshal, John HUMMER; Street Commissioner, Scudder CHAMBERLIN; Solicitor, H. C. KEPPEL; Clerk, William DORE; Chief of Fire Department, John ROLLER; Treasurer, B. F. MYERS, Newspapers: Seneca Advertiser, Democratic, Myers Bros., editors and publishers; Die Presse, German, George HOMAN, editor and publisher; News, Democratic, D. J. STALTER, editor and publisher; Heidelberg Journal, literary, E. R. Good & Bro, editor and publishers; Village Gardener and Poultry Breeder, Philo J. KELLER, editor and publisher. Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 2 Catholic, 1 Episcopal, 3 Evangelical, 1 Methodist Protestant, 3 Reformed, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Lutheran, 1 Baptist. Banks: Commercial, Warren P. NOBLE, president, Samuel B. SNEATH, cashier; Tiffin National, John D. LOOMIS, president, J. N. CHAMBERLIN, cashier.
Manufactures and Employees.—Tiffin Union Churn Co., churns, washboards, etc., 58 hands; Tiffin Agricultural Works, agricultural implements, 110; E. S. Rockwell & Co., woolen goods, 90; Schuman & Co., lager beer, 11; Enterprise Manufacturing Co., sash doors, etc., 19; Tiffin Manufacturing Co., sash doors, etc., 18; Glick & McCormick, wagon supplies, etc., 25; R. H. Whitlock, boxes, 18; Tiffin Glass Co., table ware, 90; National Machinery Co., bolt and nut machinery, 103; Loomis & Nyman, general machine works, 30; H. Hubach, lager beer, 7; Ohio Stove Co., stoves, 42.—State Report, 1888.
Population, 1880, 7,889. School census, 1888, 2,836; J. W. KNOTT, school superintendent. Capital invested in industrial establishments, $637,227. Value of annual product, $966,310.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1887
Census, 1890, 10,801.
Tiffin is a substantial, well-built city, and occupies both sides of the Sandusky river, including the site of the old Fort Ball. It is in a very rich country and has a large local trade. It is well named from Ohio’s first governor—a gentleman of diversified attainments.
GEN. WM. H. GIBSON.
Gen. GIBSON is of the blonde order, with oval face, tall and graceful person; but his great peculiarity is the clearness and phenomenal powers of voice that enable him to send every word distinct to the ears of acres of people gathered around in the open fields. Seldom has been heard a voice like it since the days of Whitefield. Then he is such an entertaining, delight-giving speaker, that he will hold a miscellaneous audience of men, women and children for hours together.
Capt. Henry CROMWELL, an old citizen here in Tiffin, said to me, “I have been hearing Gibson for more than forty years, and I am amazed every time I hear him. In the Scott campaign of 1852 he introduced Gen. Scott to our people from the steps of the Shawhan House. A reporter of the New York Herald present said it was the best speech he had ever heard. In 1842, when a mere boy, I was present when he delivered the Independence Day oration at Melmore, then a spot well out in the woods. An old Revolutionary soldier sat by his side with long, flowing white hair, done up in a queue. As he closed he made an eloquent apostrophe to the flag waving over them, and then turning round put both hands on the old man’s head, saying, ‘Here is a man who fought for that flag.’ Half of the audience were in tears. In the course of his life he has participated in twelve presidential campaigns as a campaign speaker, and seems good for more. In the Lincoln campaign Harriet Beecher Stowe happened to hear him, and wrote, ‘I have heard many of the renowned orators of Europe and our own country, but I have never sat two and a half hours under such wonderful eloquence as that of Gen. William H. Gibson of Ohio.’”
Gen. Gibson as a youth began work on a farm, then learned the carpenter’s trade, and finally was educated to the law; was elected to the office of state treasurer in the year 1856, on the ticket with Salmon P. Chase as the governor; served as colonel of the Forty-ninth Ohio, and was breveted brigadier-general on his retirement. Of late, having been duly qualified, he occasionally serves in the pulpit of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
If, when we think of Tiffin, the graceful from and somewhat sad face of the eloquent Gibson rises to our mind; so when we think of Fostoria, the genial face and compact figure of another lights the scene. His is a phenomenal individuality—one that has illustrated that a man can be the governor of this great State and at the same moment “Charlie” to everybody in it. Born there when all around was woods; growing up with the people, ever manifesting a cheerful, generous, helping spirit; his life illustrates the fraternal idea; so the humblest individuals of his home community rejoice that he is one of them. The Hon. Daniel RYAN, in his “History of Ohio,” thus outlines his career:
“The parents of CHARLES FOSTER were from Massachusetts. They moved West and settled in Seneca county, where he was born, April 12, 1828. He received a common-school education and engaged in business pursuits for the early part of his life. In 1870, he was elected to Congress and served for eight years, although his district was politically very strong against him. While in Congress he was noted for the straightforward and businesslike view that he took of all measures. He was one of the Republicans leaders of that body. The Republican party of 1879 nominated him for governor and he was elected. Two years after he was re-elected. He administered state affairs with success. He took advanced ground on taxing the liquor traffic, and his party—in fact, the entire people of Ohio—have indorsed his views. He is now in private life, devoting his attention to business affairs at Fostoria.”
Other noted persons come up with the thought of Seneca county. ANSON BURLINGAME in 1823 came with his father’s family from the East—a child of three years. His father opened a farm near Melmore, where he remained ten years. The family then removed to Michigan, but Anson soon returned and for a while taught school in Eden township. Eventually he settled in Massachusetts, after a course of law at Harvard.
beasts of Seneca county, and the public judgment was that Brooks, after his challenge, had learned that fact, and feared if the meeting took place, no matter where it might be, his fate would be that of some of those Seneca county bears. BURLINGAME’s conduct was largely approved of by his party friends at the North, who on his return to Boston received him with distinguished honors. The crowning act of his life was when, in 1858, as United States minister to China, he made that great treaty since known as the “Burlingame Treaty.” This valuable and heroic man closed his half century of life while on a mission to St. Petersburg in 1870.
Another mentionable fact connected with the personalities of this county, is that about a quarter of a century since, when that noted French divine, PERE HYACINTHE, left the bosom of mother church and advocated matrimony for priests, he proceeded to practice as he had preached and took for his bride a Seneca county lady.
CONSUL WILSHIRE BUTTERFILED, the historian born in New York, began his career of authorship in this county, wherein for many years he was a teacher, at one time head of its Public Schools. His first work was a small history of Seneca county. Of late removed to Madison, Wisconsin, he has for his careful study and work access to the superb collection of historical works in the Wisconsin State Library, an institution which confers lasting honor upon that young State.
ALFRED H. WELCH, born at Fostoria, in 1850, died in 1888, when professor of English Literature in the Ohio State University, after a short but bright and useful career as teacher and author. Besides a series of school books he published “The Conflict of the Ages,” The Development of English Literature and Language,” and “Man and his Relations.” He started a youth of humble means and in the employment of Hon. Charles FOSTER, who observing his faithfulness and capacity assisted him to obtain a college education. He has been said in many respects to resemble Goldsmith. He was fond of flowers and children, and it was his delight to organize parties to hunt flowers in the wild woods or gather pond-lilies.
CAPTIVITY AND EXPERIENCES AMONG THE OHIO INDIANS OF COL. JAMES SMITH,
Between May, 1755 and April, 1759, as related by himself.
In the year 1854, was published at Sandusky, one volume of “A History of Ohio,” by James W. TAYLOR, a journalist of Sandusky. Only one of its two designed volumes was issued. This comprised the period between the years 1650 and 1787 and therefore before Ohio itself existed.
One of its chapters is entitled “A Pilgrim of Ohio One Hundred Years ago.” That chapter embodies all that is essential in the personal narration of Col. Smith and is here copied entire. It is highly attractive from its simplicity of style and evident truthfulness in details.
It is in our power, by transcribing from a Narrative of the Captivity of Col. James Smith among the Indians, between May, 1755, and April, 1759, to present a picture of the wilderness and its savage occupants, which bearing intrinsic evidence of faithful accuracy, is also corroborated by the public and private character of the writer.
Col. James Smith was a native of Pennsylvania, and after his return from Indian captivity, was entrusted, in 1736, with the command of a company of riflemen. He trained his men in the Indian tactics and discipline, and directed them to assume the dress of warriors and to paint their faces red and black, so that in appearance they were hardly distinguishable from the enemy. Some of his exploits in the defense of the Pennsylvania border are less creditable to him than his services in the war of the revolution. He lived until the year 1812, and is the author of a “Treatise on the Indian mode of warfare.” In Kentucky, where he spent the latter part of his life, he was much respected and several times elected to the legislature.
The first edition of Smith’s Journal was published in Lexington, Kentucky, by John Bradford, in 1799. Samuel Drake, the Indian antiquarian and author, accompanies its republication in 1851 by a tribute to Smith as “an exemplary Christian and unwavering patriot.”
CAPTURE OF SMITH.
and when he recovered his consciousness, he found himself within the fort, much bruised and under the charge of a French physician.
EXULTATION OVER BRADDOCK’S DEFEAT.
While yet unrecovered from his wounds, Smith was a witness of the French exultation and the Indian orgies over the disastrous defeat of Braddock. A few days afterward, his Indian captors placed him in a canoe and ascended the Allegheny river to an Indian town on the north side of the river, about forty miles above fort Duquesne. Here they remained three weeks, when the party proceeded to a village on the west branch of the Muskingum, about twenty miles above the forks. This village called Tullihas, was inhabited by Delawares, Caughnewagas and Mohicans. The soil between the Allegheny and Muskingum rivers on the route here designated, is described as “chiefly black oak and white oak land, which appeared generally to be good wheat land, chiefly second and third rate, intermixed with some rich bottoms.
CEREMONY OF ADOPTION.
While remaining at Tullihas, Smith describes the manner of his adoption by the Indians and other ceremonies, which we prefer to give in his own words: "The day after my arrival at the aforesaid town, a number of Indians collected about me, and one of them began to pull the hair out of my head. He had some ashes on a piece of bark, in which he frequently dipped his fingers in order to take a firmer hold, and so he went on, as if he had been plucking a turkey, until he had all the hair clean out of my head, except a small spot about three or four inches square on my crown. This they cut off with a pair of scissors, excepting three locks, which they dressed up in their own mode. Two of these they wrapped round with a narrow beaded garter, made by themselves for that purpose and the other they plaited at full length and then stuck it full of silver brooches. After this they bored my nose and ears, and fixed me off with earrings and nose-jewels. Then they ordered me to strip off my clothes and put on a breech-clout, which I did. They then painted my head, face and body in various colors. They put a large belt of wampum on my neck and silver bands on my hands and right arm; and so an old chief led me out on the street and gave the alarm halloo, “coo-wigh,” several times, repeated quick; and on this, all that were in the town came running and stood round the old chief, who held me by the hand in the midst. As I at that time knew nothing of their mode of adoption, and had seen them put to death all they had taken and as I never could find that they saved a man alive at Braddock’s defeat, I made no doubt that they were about putting me to death in some cruel manner. The old chief holding me by the hand, made a long speech, very loud, and when he had done he handed me to three young squaws, who led me by the hand down the bank, into the river, until the water was up to our middle. The squaws then made signs to me to plunge myself into the water, but I did not understand them. I thought the result of the council was that I should be drowned, and that these young ladies were to be the executioners. They all three laid violent hold of me and I for some time opposed them with all my might, which occasioned loud laughter by the multitude that were on the bank of the river. At length one of the squaws made out to speak a little English (for I believe they began to be afraid of me) and said “No hurt you.” On this I gave myself up to their ladyships, who were as good at their word, for though they plunged me under water and washed and rubbed me severely, yet I could not say they hurt me much.
If they had plenty of clothing, I had plenty; if we were scarce, we all shared one fate.
After this ceremony was over I was introduced to my new kin, and told that I was to attend a feast that evening, which I did. And as the custom was, they gave me also a bowl and a wooden spoon, which I carried with me to the place, where there were a number of large brass kettles, full of boiled venison and green corn. Everyone advanced with his bowl and spoon and had his share given him. After this one of the chiefs made s short speech and we began to eat.
SMITH DESCRIBES THE WAR-DANCE.
The name of one of the chiefs of this town was Tecanyaterigto, alias “Pluggy,” and the other Asallecoa, alias “Mohawk Solomon.” As Pluggy and his party were to start the next day to war; to the frontiers of Virginia, the next thing to be performed was the war-dance and their war-songs. At their war-dance they had both vocal and instrumental music; they had a short, hollow gum, closed at one end, with water in it, and a parchment stretched over the open end thereof, which they beat with one stick, and made a sound nearly like that of a muffled drum. All of those who were going on this expedition collected together and formed. An old Indian then began to sing, and timed the music by beating on this drum, as the ancients formerly timed their music by beating the tabor. On this the warriors began to advance or move forward in concert, as well-disciplined troops would march to the fife and drum. Each warrior had a tomahawk, spear or war-mallet in his hand, and they all moved regularly toward the east, or the way they intended to go to war. At length they all stretched their tomahawks toward the Potomac, and giving a hideous shout or yell, they wheeled quick about and danced in the same manner back. The next was the war-song. In performing this only one sung at a time, in a moving posture, with a tomahawk in his hand, while all the other warriors were engaged in calling aloud, “He uh, he uh,” which they constantly repeated while the war-song was going on. When the warrior who was singing had ended his song, he struck a war-post with his tomahawk and with a loud voice told what warlike exploits he had done and what he now intended to do, which were answered by the other warriors with loud shouts of applause. Some who had not before intended to go to war at this time, were so animated by this performance that they took up the tomahawk and sung the war-song, which was answered with shouts of joy, as they were then initiated into the present marching company. The next morning this company all collected at one place, with their heads and faces painted various colors, and packs upon their backs; they marched off, all silent except the commander, who, in the front sung the traveling-song, which began in this manner: “Hoo caughtainteheegana.” Just as the rear passed the end of the town they began to fire in their slow manner, from the front to the rear, which was accompanied with shouts and yells from all quarters.
This evening I was invited to another sort of dance, which was a kind of promiscuous dance. The young men stood in one rank, and the young women in another, about one rod apart, facing each other. The one that raised the tune, or started the song, held a small gourd or dry shell of a squash in his hand, which contained beads or small stones, which rattled. When he began to sing he timed the tune with his rattle; both men and women danced and sung together, advancing toward each other, stooping until their heads would be touching together, and then ceased from dancing with loud shouts, and retreated and formed again, and so repeated the same thing over and over for three or four hours without intermission. This exercise appeared to me at first irrational and insipid; but I found that in singing their tunes, “Ya ne no hoo wa ne,” etc., like our “Fa sol la,” and though they have no such thing as jingling verse, yet they can intermix sentences with their notes, and say what they please to each other, and carry on the tune in concert. I found this was a find of wooing or courting-dance, and as they advanced stooping with their heads together, they could say what they pleased in each other’s ear, without disconcerting their rough music, and the others, or those near, not hear what they said.
Smith describes an expedition about thirty or forty miles southwardly, to a spot which he supposed to be between the Ohio, Muskingum and Scioto rivers (Hocking river, near Athens), perhaps in Licking county. It was a buffalo lick, where the Indians killed several buffalo, and in their small brass kettles made about half a bushel of salt. Here were clear, open woods, and thin white-oak land, with several paths like wagon
roads leading to the lick.
SMITH GOES TO LAKE ERIE.
Erie a few miles north of Elyria. If we suppose that Tullihas, situated twenty miles above the principal forks of the Muskingum, was near the junction of the Vernon and Mohican rivers, on the borders of Knox and Coshocton counties, Smith and his companion probably followed what is called on Thayer’s Map of Ohio, the Lake fork of the Mohican,” until they reached the northern portion of Ashland county, and there struck the headwaters of the Canesadooharie, where, as Smith testifies, they found “a large body of rich, well-lying land—the timber, ash, walnut, sugar-tree, buckeye, honey-locust and cherry, intermixed with some oak and hickory.” Let us here resume the narrative:
On this route we hand no horses with us, and when we started from the town all the pack I carried was a pouch, containing my books, a little dried venison and my blanket. I had then no gun. But Tontileaugo was a first-rate hunter, carried a rifle-gun, and every day killed deer, raccoons or bears. We left the meat, excepting a little for present use, and carried the skins with us until we encamped, and then stretched them with elm bark on a frame made with poles stuck in the ground and tied together with linn or elm bark, and when the skins were dried by the fire we packed them up and carried them with us the next day.
As Tontileaugo could not speak English, I had to make use of all the Caughnewaga I had learned even to talk very imperfectly with him. But I found I learned to talk Indian faster this way than when I had those with me who could talk English.
As we proceeded down the Canesadooharie waters our packs increased by the skins that were daily killed, and became so heavy that we could not march more than eight or ten miles a day.
We came to Lake Erie about six miles west of the mouth of Canesadooharie. As the wind was very high the evening we came to the lake, I was surprised to hear the roaring of the water and see the high waves that dashed against the shore like the ocean. We encamped on a run near the lake, and as the wind fell that night, the surface was only in a moderate motion, and we marched on the sand along the side of the water, frequently resting ourselves as we were heavy laden. I saw on the strand a number of large fish that had been left in flat or hollow places; as the wind fell and waves abated they were left without water, or only a small quantity, and numbers of bald and gray eagles, etc., were along the shore devouring them.
Some time in the afternoon we came to a camp of the Wyandots, at the mouth of the Canesadooharie, where Tontileaugo’s wife was. [This is believed to be the Black River in Lorain County.]
Here we were kindly received: they gave us a kind of rough brown potatoes, which grew spontaneously, and were called by the Caughnewagas ohnenata. These potatoes peeled, and dipped in raccoon’s fat, taste nearly like our sweet potatoes. They gave us also what they called cancheanta, which is a kind of hominy made of green corn, dried, and beans mixed together.
From the headwaters of Canesadooharie to this place the land is generally good, chiefly first or second rate, and comparatively little or no third rate. The only refuse is some swamps that appear to be too wet for use, yet I apprehend that a number of them if drained would make excellent meadows. The timber is black oak, walnut, hickory, cherry, black ash, white ash, water ash, buckeye, black-locust, honey-locust, sugar-tree and elm. There is also some land, though comparatively small, where the timber is chiefly white oak or beech; this may be called third rate.
In the bottoms, and also many places in the uplands, there is a large quantity of wild-apple, plum, and red and black haw trees. It appeared to be well watered, and plenty of meadow ground intermixed with upland, but no large prairies or glades that I saw or heard of. In this route deer, bear, turkeys and raccoon appeared plenty, but no buffalo, and very little signs of elks.
We continued our camp at the mouth of the Canesadooharie for some time, where we killed some deer and a great many raccoons: the raccoons here were remarkably large and fat. At length we embarked in a birch canoe. This vessel was four feet wide and three feet deep, and about five and thirty feet long; and though it could carry a heavy burden, it was so artfully and curiously constructed that four men could carry it several miles, or from one landing place to another, or from the waters of the lake to the waters of the Ohio. We proceeded up Canesadooharie a few miles, and went on shore to hunt; but to my great surprise, they carried the vessel that we all came in up the bank, and inverted it, or turned the bottom up, and converted it into a dwelling house, and kindled a fire before us to warm ourselves and cook. With our baggage and ourselves in this house, we were very much crowed, yet our little house turned off the rain very well.
We kept moving and hunting up this river until we came to the falls: here we remained some weeks, and killed a number of deer, several bears and a great many raccoon. They then buried their large canoe in the ground, which is the way to preserve this sort of canoe in the winter season.
INDIAN MANNER OF BUILDING CABINS.
drove posts in the ground at each end to keep them together : the posts they ties together at the top with bark, and by this means raised a wall fifteen feet long, and about 4 feet high, and in the same manner another wall opposite to this, at about 12 feet distance : they then drove forks in the ground in the center of each end, and laid a strong pole from end to end on these forks : and from these walls to the poles, they set up poles instead of rafters, and on these they tied small poles in place of laths : and a cover was made of linn bark, which will run even in the winter season.
As every tree will not run, they examine the tree first, by tying it near the ground, and when they find it will do, they fell the tree and raise the bark with the tomahawk, near the top of the tree, about five or six inches broad, then put the tomahawk handle under the bark, and pull it down to the butt of the tree; so that sometimes one piece of bark with be thirty feet long. This bark they cut at suitable lengths in order to cover the hut.
At the end of these walls they set up split timber, so that they had timber all around, excepting a door at each end. At the top, in place of a chimney, they left an open place, and for bedding they laid down the aforesaid kind of bark, on which they spread bear skins
From end to end of this hut, along the middle, there were fires, which the squaws made of dry split wood, and the holes or open places that appeared, the squaws stopped with moss, which they collected from old logs, and at the door they hung a bearskin, and notwithstanding the winters are hard here, our lodging was much better than I expected.
It appears that this Wyandot encampment consisted of eight hunters and thirteen squaws, boys and children. Soon afterwards, four of the hunters started on an expedition against the English settlements, leaving Tontileaugo, three other Indians and Smith to supply the camp with food. The winter months passed in hunting excursions—the bear, even more than the deer, being an object of active and successful pursuit. The months of February and March, 1756, seem to have been occupied as follows:
In February, we began to make sugar. As some of the elm bark will strip at this season, the squaws, after finding a tree that will do, cut it down and with a crooked stick, broad and sharp at the end, took the bark off the tree, and of this bark made vessels in a curious manner, that would hold about two gallons each; they made above one hundred of this kind of vessels. In the sugar tree they cut a notch, sloping down, and at the end where they stuck a tomahawk, they drove a long chip, in order to carry the water out from the tree, and under this they set their vessel to receive it. As the sugar-trees were plenty and large here, they seldom or never notched a tree that was not two or three feet over. They also made bark vessels for carrying the water that would hold about four gallons each. They had two brass kettles that held fifteen gallons each, and other smaller kettles in which they boiled the water. But as they could not at times boil away the water as fast as collected, they made vessels of bark that would hold about one hundred gallons each for retaining the water, and though the sugar-trees did not run every day, they had always a sufficient quantity of water to keep them boiling during the whole sugar season.
The way we commonly used our sugar while encamped was by putting it in bear’s fat until the fat was almost as sweet as the sugar itself and in this we dipped our roasted venison. About this time, some of the Indian lads and myself were employed in making and attending traps for catching raccoons, foxes, wild cats, etc.
TRAPPING COONS, FOXES, ETC.
As the raccoon is a kind of water animal that frequents the runs or small water courses almost the whole night, we made our traps on the runs, by laying one small sapling on another and driving in posts to keep them from rolling. The under sapling we raised about eighteen inches and set so that on the raccoon’s touching a string or a small piece of bark, the sapling would fall and kill it; and lest the raccoon should pass by, we laid brush on both sides of the run, only leaving the channel open.
The fox-traps we made nearly in the same manner, at the end of a hollow log or opposite to a hole at the root of a hollow tree, and put venison on a stick for bait : we had it so set that when the fox took hold of the meat, the trap fell. While the squaws were employed in making sugar, the boys and men were engaged in hunting and trapping.
About the latter end of March we began to prepare for moving into town, in order to plant corn. The squaws were then frying the last of their bear fat and making vessels to hold it : the vessels were made of deer skins, which were skinned by pulling the skin off the neck without ripping. After they had taken off the hair, they gathered it in small plaits around the neck and with a string drew it together like a purse, in the centre a pin was put, below which they tied a string and while it was wet they blew it up like a bladder, and let it remain in this manner until it was dry, when it appeared nearly in the shape of a sugar loaf, but more rounding at the lower end. One of the vessels would hold about four or five gallons. In these vessels it was they carried their bear oil.
KINDNESS OF THE INDIANS.
By this time, Smith was thoroughly domesticated among his Indian captors. He found himself treated as an equal and often with disinterested kindness. His Indian name, by which they habitually addressed him, was Scoouwa. At length, he and his adopted brother Tontileaugo, started for a westward journey to Sandusky Lake—Smith on horseback along the strand of Lake Erie, and the Indian in a canoe near the shore. Here we resume our extracts:
A WYANDOT FARM.
We arrived safe at Sunyendeand, which was a Wyandot town, that lay upon a small creek which empties into the little lake below the mouth of the Sandusky. The town was about eighty rods above the mouth of the creek, on the south side of a large plain on which timber grew, and nothing more but grass and nettles. In some places there were large flats where nothing but grass grew, about three feet high when grown, and in other places nothing but nettles, very rank, where the soil is extremely rich and loose—here they planted corn. In this town there were also French traders, who purchased our skins and furs, and we all got new clothes, paint, tobacco, etc.
INDIAN MODE OF EATING.
As the Indians on their return from their winter hunt, bring in with them large quantities of bear oil, sugar, dried venison, etc. at times they have plenty and do not spare eating or giving—thus they make away with their provision as quick as possible. They have no such thing as regular meals, breakfast, dinner or supper, but if any one, even the town folks, would go to the same house several times in one day, he would be invited to eat of the best—and with them it is bad manners to refuse to eat when it is offered.
If they will not eat, it is interpreted as a symptom of displeasure, or that the persons refusing to eat were angry with those who invited them.
All the hunters and warriors continued in town about six weeks after we came in. They spent this time in painting, going from house to house, eating, smoking and playing at a game resembling dice, or hustle cap. They put a number of plum-stones in a small bowl, one side of each stone is black and the other white: they then shake or hustle the bowl, calling “hits, hits, hits, honesy, honesy, rego, rego;” which signifies calling for white or black, or what they wish to turn up, they then turn the bowl and count the whites and blacks. Some were beating the drum (described elsewhere as “a short hollow gum closed at one end, with water in it, and parchment stretched over the end thereof, which they beat with one stick”) and signing; others were employed in playing on a sort of flute, made of hollow cane, and others playing on the jews-harp. Some part of this time was also taken up in attending the council and as many others as chose attended and at night they were frequently employed in singing and dancing.
THE INDIANS PREPARE FOR WAR.
Towards the last of this time, which was in June, 1756, they were all engaged in preparing to go to war against the frontiers of Virginia. When they were equipped they went through their ceremonies, sung their war songs, etc. They all marched off, from fifteen to sixty years of age, and some boys only twelve years old, were equipped with their bows and arrows, and went to war, so that none were left in town but squaws and children, except myself, one very old man and another about fifty years of age, who was lame. The Indians were then in great hopes that they would drive all the Virginians over the lake, which is all the name they knew for the sea. They had some cause for this hope, because at this time the Americans were altogether unacquainted with war of any kind, and consequently very unfit to stand their ground with such subtle enemies as the Indians were.
SMITH’S TALK WITH TWO OLD INDIANS.
The two old Indians asked me if I did not think that the Indians and French would subdue all America except New England, which they said they had tried in old times. I told them I thought not: they said they had already driven them all out of the mountains and had chiefly laid waste the great valley betwixt the North and South mountain, from Potomac to James river, which is a considerable part of the best land in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and that the white people appeared to them like fools, they could neither guard against surprise, run, nor fight. These, they said, were their reasons for saying that they would subdue the whites. They asked me to offer my reason for my opinion, and told me to speak my mind freely. I told them that the white people to the east were very numerous, like the trees, and though they appeared to them to be fools, as they were not acquainted with their way of war, yet they were not fools, therefore after some time they will learn your mode of war and turn upon you, or at least defend themselves. I found out that the old men themselves did not believe they could conquer America, yet they were willing to propagate the idea in order to encourage the young men to go to war.
SMITH GOES A HUNTING.
Into coarse meal or hominy—this they boiled in water, which appeared like well thickened soup, without salt or anything else. For some time we had plenty of this kind of hominy : at length we were brought to very short allowance, and as the warriors did not return as soon as they expected, we were in a starving condition with but one gun in the town and very little ammunition. The old lame Wyandot concluded that he would go a hunting in the canoe and take me with him, and try to kill deer in the water, as it was then watering time. We went up Sandusky a few miles, then turned up a creek and encamped. We had lights prepared, as we were to hunt in the night, and also a piece of bark and some bushes set up in the canoe, in order to conceal ourselves from the deer. A little boy that was with us held the light, I worked the canoe, and the old man who had his gun loaded with large shot, when we came near the deer, fired, and in this manner killed three deer in part of one night. We went to our fire, ate heartily, and in the morning returned to town, in order to relieve the hungry and distressed.
When we came to town the children were crying bitterly on account of the pinching hunger. We delivered what we had taken, and though it was but little among so many, yet it was divided according to the strictest rules of justice. We immediately set out for another hunt, but before we returned a party of warriors had come in and brought with them on horseback a quantity of meat.
PRISONERS RUNNING THE GAUNTLET.
These warriors had divided into different parties and all struck at different places in Augusta county, Virginia. They brought in with them a considerable number of scalps, prisoners, horses and other plunder: one of the prisoners was one Arthur Campbell, who was eventually taken to Detroit: his company was very agreeable and I was sorry when he left me. When the prisoners were made to run the gauntlet, I went and told them how to act. One John Savage was brought in and a middle-aged man about 40 years of age. He was to run the gauntlet and I told him what to do. After this I fell into the ranks with the Indians, shouting and yelling like them, and as they were not very severe with him, as he passed me I hit him with a piece of pumpkin, which pleased the Indians much but hurt my feelings.
KINDNESS OF THE INDIANS.
About the time the Indians came in, the green corn was ready, so that we had either green corn or venison and sometimes both, which was comparatively high living. When we could have plenty of green corn or roasting ears, the hunters became lazy and spent their time in signing, dancing, etc. They appeared to be fulfilling the Scriptures beyond those who profess to believe them, in that of taking no thought of to-morrow; and also in love, peace and friendship together. In this respect they shame those who profess Christianity.
Sometime in October, another adopted brother, older than Tontileaugo, came to pay us a visit at Sunyendeand, and asked me to take a hunt with him on Cayahaga. As they always used me as a freeman and gave me the liberty of choosing, I told him that I was attached to Tontileaugo—had never seen him before, and therefore asked some time to consider this. I consulted with Tontileaugo on this occasion, and he told me that our old brother Tecaughretanego (which was his name), was a chief, and a better man than he was, and if I went with him I might expect to be well used, but he said I might do as I pleased, and if I stayed he would use me as he had done. I told him he had acted in every respect as a brother to me, yet I was much pleased with my old brother’s conduct and conversation, and as he was going to a part of the country I had never been in, I wished to go with him. He said that he was perfectly willing.
A TALK UPON THE WHITE MAN’S RELIGION.
I then went with Tecaughretanego to the mouth of the little lake, where he met with the company he intended going with, which was composed of Caughnewagas and Ottawas. Here I was introduced to a Caughnewaga sister and others I had never seen before. My sister’s name was Mary, which they pronounced Maully. I asked Tecaughretanego how it came that she had an English name. He said he did not know it was an English name; but it was the name the priest gave her when she was baptized, and which he said was the name of the mother of Jesus. He said there was a great many of the Caughnewagas and Wyandots that were a kind of half Roman Catholics; but as for himself, he said that the priest and he could not agree, as they held notions that contradicted both sense and reason, and had the assurance to tell him that the book of God taught him these foolish absurdities; but he could not believe that the great and good Spirit ever taught them any such nonsense, and therefore he concluded that the Indian’s old religion was better than this new way of worshiping God.
THE TENTS OF THE OTTAWAS.
split wood in the middle, and spread down bark mats and skins for bedding, on which they sleep in a crooked posture all round the fire, as the length of their beds will not admit of their stretching themselves. In place of a door they lift up one end of a mat and creep in and let the mat fall down behind them.
These tents are warm and dry, and tolerably clear of smoke. Their lumber they keep under birch bark canoes, which they carry out and turn up for shelter, where they keep everything from the rain. Nothing is in the tents but themselves and their bedding.
After remaining here several days the party embarked in their canoes, paddling and sailing along the shore until they came to the mouth of the Cayahaga, which empties into Lake Erie on the south side betwixt Canesadooharie and Presque Isle.
THE CAYAHAGA RIVER.
We turned up Cayahaga and encamped, where we stayed and hunted for several days, and so we kept moving and hunting until we came to the forks of Cayahaga. This is a very gentle river, and but few ripples or swift running places from the mouth to the forks. Deer here were tolerably plenty, large and fat; but bear and other game scarce. The upland is hilly, and principally second and third rate land; the timber chiefly black oak, white oak, hickory, dog-wood, etc. The bottoms are rich and large, and the timber is walnut, locust, mulberry, sugar-tree, red haw, black haw, wild apple trees, etc. The west branch of this river interlocks with the east branch of the Muskingum, and the east branch with the Big Beaver creek that empties into the Ohio about thirty miles below Pittsburgh.
From the forks of the Cayahaga to the east branch of the Muskingum there is a carrying place where the Indians carry their canoes, etc., from the waters of Lake Erie into the waters of the Ohio.
From the forks I went over with some hunters to the east branch of the Muskingum, where they killed several deer, a number of beavers, and returned heavy laden with skins and meat, which we carried on our backs as we had no horses.
The land here is chiefly second and third rate, and the timber chiefly oak and hickory. A little above the forks, on the east branch of Cayahaga, are considerable rapids, very rocky for some distance, but no perpendicular falls.
From the east branch of the Muskingum the party went forty miles north-east to Beaver Creek, near a little lake or pond which is about two miles long and one broad, and a remarkable place for beaver. After various adventures in pursuit of beaver and other game, they went in February, 1757, to the Big Beaver, and in March returned to the forks of Cuyahoga. Here occurred a lesson on profane swearing, which is not unworthy of repetition.
AN INDIAN’S IDEA OF PROFANITY.
I remember that Tecaughretanego, when something displeased him, said “God damn it.” I asked him if he knew what he then said? He said he did, and mentioned one of their degrading expressions, which he supposed to be the meaning, or something like the meaning of what he said. I told him that it did not bear the least resemblance to it; that what he had said was calling on the Great Spirit to punish the object he was displeased with. He stood for some time amazed, and then said, if this be the meaning of these words, what sort of people are the whites? When the traders were among us these woods seemed to be intermixed with all their discourse. He told me to reconsider what I had said, for he thought I must be mistaken in my definition; if I was not mistaken, he said, the traders applied these words not only wickedly, but oftentimes very foolishly, and contrary to sense or reason. He said he remembered once of a trader accidentally breaking his gun lock, and on that occasion calling aloud, “God damn it.” Surely, said he, the gun lock was not an object worthy of punishment for Owananeeyo or the Great Spirit; he also observed the traders often used this expression when they were in a good humor and not displeased with anything.
I acknowledged that the traders used this expression very often, in a most irrational, inconsistent and impious manner; yet I still asserted that I had given the true meaning of these words. He replied, if so, the traders were as bad as Oonasharoona, or the underground inhabitants, which is the name they give to devils, as they entertain a notion that their place of residence is under the earth.
Making a large chestnut canoe, the party embarked, had an agreeable passage down the Cuyahoga and along the south side of Lake Erie until they passed the mouth of Sandusky, then the wind arose, and they put in at the mouth of the Miami of the Lake, at Cedar Point, and sailed thence in a few days for Detroit. After remaining in the Wyandot and Ottawa villages opposite Fort Detroit until November, a number of families prepared for their winter hunt, and agreed to cross the lake together. Here occurs a description of the Island Region of Lake Erie.
THE ISLANDS OF LAKE ERIE.
abundance in wet places round these islands. It is said that each hunter in one winter will catch one thousand raccoons
INDIAN IDEAS UPON RATTLESNAKES AND RACCOONS.
It is a received opinion among the Indians that the snakes and raccoons are transmigratory, and that a great many of the snakes turn raccoons every fall, and the raccoons snakes every spring. This notion is founded on observations made on the snakes and raccoons on this island.
As the raccoons here lodge in rocks, the trappers make their wooden traps at the mouth of the holes; and as they go daily to look at their traps, in the winter season the commonly find them filled with raccoons, but in the spring, or when the frost is out of the ground, they say they can find their traps filled with large rattlesnakes, and therefore conclude that the raccoons are transformed. They also say that the reason why they are so plentiful in winter is, every fall the snakes turn raccoons again.
I told them that though I had never landed on any of these islands, yet, from the numerous accounts I had received, I believed that both snakes and raccoons were plenty there, but no doubt they all remained there both summer and winter, only the snakes were not to be seen in the latter; yet I did not believe that they were transmigratory. These islands are but seldom visited, because early in the spring and late in the fall it is dangerous sailing in their bark canoes; and in the summer they are so infested with the various kind of serpents (but chiefly rattlesnakes) that it is dangerous landing.
A DRIVING HUNT.
I shall now quit this digression and return to the result of the council at the mouth of the river. We conclude to coast it around the lake, and in two days we came to the mouth of the Miami of the Lake, and landed on Cedar Point, where we remained several days. Here we held a council, and concluded we would take a driving hunt in concert and in partnership.
The river in this place is about a mile broad, and as it and the lake form a kind of neck, which terminates in a point, all the hunters (which were fifty three) went up the river, and we scattered ourselves from the river to the lake. When first we began to move we were not in sight of each other, but as we all raised the yell we could move regularly together by the noise. At length we came in sight of each other and appeared to be marching in good order. Before we came to the point both the squaws and boys in the canoes were scattered up the river and along the lake to prevent the deer from making their escape by water. As we advanced near the point the guns began to crack slowly, and after some time the firing was like a little engagement. The squaws and boys were busy tomahawking the deer in the water and we shooting them down on land. We killed in all about thirty deer, though a great many made their escape by water.
We now had great feasting and rejoicing, as we had plenty of hominy, venison and wild fowl. The geese at this time appeared to be preparing to move southward. It might be asked what is meant by the geese preparing to move. The Indians represent them as holding a great council at this time concerning the weather, in order to conclude upon a day that they may all or at near one time leave the northern lakes, and wing their way to the southern bays. When matters are brought to a conclusion and the time appointed that they are to take wing, then they say a great number of express are sent off, in order to let the different tribes know the result of this council, that they may all be in readiness to move at the time appointed. As there was a great commotion among the geese at this time, it would appear from their actions, that such a council had been held. Certain it is, that they are led by instinct to act in concert, and to move off regularly after their leaders.
Here our company separated. The chief part of them went up the Miami river, that empties into Lake Erie at Cedar Point, whilst we proceeded on our journey in company with Tecaughretanego, Tontileaugo, and two families of the Wyandots.
As cold weather was now approaching, we began to feel the doleful effects of extravagantly and foolishly spending the large quantity of beaver we had taken in our last winter’s hunt. We were all nearly in the same circumstances; scarcely one had a shirt to his back, but each of us had an old blanket which we belted around us in the day and slept in at night, with a deer or bear skin under us for our bed.
THE FALLS OF SANDUSKY.
When we came to the Falls of Sandusky we buried our birch bark canoes, as usual, at a large burying place for that purpose, a little below the falls. At this place the river falls about eight feet over a rock, but not perpendicularly. With much difficulty we pushed up our wooden canoes; some of us went up the river, and the rest by land with the horses, until we came to the great meadows or prairies that lie between Sandusky and Scioto.
A RING HUNT.
night, but as the fire burned in towards the centre of the circle, the deer fled before the fire; the Indians were scattered also at some distance before the fire and shot them down every opportunity, which was very frequent, especially as the circle became small. When we came to divide the deer there were about 10 to each hunter, which were all killed in a few hours. The rain did not come on that night to put out the outside circle of the fire, and as the wind arose it extended through the whole prairie, which was about fifty miles in length, and in some places nearly twenty in breadth. This put an end to our ring hunting this season, and was in other respects an injury to us in the hunting business, so that upon the whole we received more harm than benefit by our rapid hunting frolic. We then moved from the north end of the glades and encamped at the carrying place.
This place is in the plains, betwixt a creek that empties into Sandusky and one that runs into Scioto; and at the time of high water, or the spring season, there is but about one half mile of portage, and that very level and clear of rocks, timber or stones, so that with a little digging there may be water carriage the whole way from Scioto to Lake Erie.
From the mouth of Sandusky to the falls is chiefly first rate land, lying flat or level, intermixed with large bodies of clear meadows where the grass is exceedingly rank, and in many places three or four feet high. The timber is oak, hickory, walnut, cherry, black ash, elm, sugar-tree, buckeye, locust and beech. In some places there is wet timber land—the timber in these places is chiefly water-ash, sycamore or buttonwood.
From the falls to the prairies the land lies well to the sun, it is neither too flat nor too hilly, and is chiefly first rate; the timber nearly the same as below the falls, excepting the water-ash. There are also some plots of beech land that appear to be second rate, as they frequently produce spice-wood. The prairie appears to be a tolerably fertile soil, though in many places too wet for cultivation; yet I apprehend it would produce timber, were it only kept from fire.
INDIAN IDEAS ABOUT SQUIRRELS.
The Indians are of the opinion that the squirrels plant all the timber, as they bury a number of nuts for food, and only one nut at one place. When a squirrel is killed, the various kinds of nuts thus buried will grow.
I have observed that when the prairies have only escaped fire for one year, near where a single tree stood, there was a young growth of timber supposed to be planted by squirrels. But when the prairies were again burned all this young growth was immediately consumed, as the fire rages in the grass to such a pitch that numbers of raccoons are thereby burned to death.
On the west side of the prairie, or betwixt that and the Scioto, there is a large body of first rate land—the timber, walnut, ash, elm, locust sugar-tree, buckeye, cherry, mulberry, plum trees, spice-wood, black haw, red haw, oak and hickory.
After passing the winter on the Oleantangy, a tributary of the Scioto, the old Indian and his young companion returned and proceeded down Sandusky, killing in the passage four bears and a number of turkeys. We quote again:
When we came to the little lake at the mouth of Sandusky we called at a Wyandot town that was then there, called Sunyendeand (he speaks as if it was a first visit, whereas we have devoted a large space to his former sojourn there.) Here we diverted ourselves several days by catching rock-fish in a small creek, the name of which is also Sunyendeand, which signifies rock-fish. They fished in the night with lights and struck the fish with gigs or spears. The rock fish there, when they began first to run up the creek to spawn, are exceedingly fat, sufficiently so to fry themselves. The first night we scarcely caught fish enough for present use for all that was in the town.
day engaged in killing rock-fish, insomuch, that we had more than we could use or preserve. As we had no salt or any way to keep them they lay upon the banks, and after some time great numbers of turkey-buzzards and eagles collected together and devoured them.
But enough of our Ohio Crusoe. His remaining adventures, before his restoration to his friends in 1760, consisted of a trip to Detroit, another hunt up Sandusky and down Scioto, and a journey to Caughnewaga, “a very ancient Indian town about nine miles from Montreal,” besides an imprisonment of about four months in Montreal itself. This picture of northern Ohio, a century since, has the merit of novelty at least. That it is authentic, there can be no doubt, for in several historians of authority occur frequent and respectful references to the narrative from whose pages we have drawn so copiously.
The geography of the last foregoing paragraphs is less difficult of explanation than in the first portion of the chapter.
The falls of Sandusky are doubtless the same as the rapids mentioned in the treaty of Greenville, near the site of Fremont, and the Sandusky plains which were burnt over by the ring hunt, are in Marion, Wyandot, and Crawford counties.
FOSTORIA is 12 miles northwest of Tiffin, the largest part of it lies in Seneca, a considerable portion in Hancock and a small part in Wood county. It is a considerable railroad and manufacturing center. Its railroads are the B. & O., N. Y. C. & St. L., C. H. V. & T.,T. & O. C. and L. E. & W. Natural gas is abundant and is used for manufacturing and domestic purposes.
City Officers: J. M. BEVER, Mayor; J. M. SHATZEL, Clerk; Charles OLMSTED, Treasurer, J. B. FOX, Marshal; J. A. STACKHOUSE, Solicitor; L. D. MUSSETTER, Street Commissioner. Newspapers: Dispatch, Independent, A. J. DE WOLF, editor; Democrat, Democratic, Charles L. ZAHM, editor and publisher; Review, Republican, J. P. DE WOLFE, editor and publisher; Half Hours in Science and Art, Science, George M. GRAY, editor. Churches: 1 Methodist Protestant, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 United Baptist, 1 Lutheran, 1 Catholic, 1 German Reformed. Banks: First National, Andrew EMERINE, president; Alonzo EMERINE cashier; Foster & Co.
Manufactures and Employees.—Fostoria Stave and Barrel Co., 50; The Isaac Harter Co., flour, etc. 51; Fostoria Glass Co., 150; Koss, Mohler & Co., planing mill, 16; Walter S Payne & Co., brass and iron foundry, etc., 55; Cunningham & Co., spokes and bent work, 32; Eureka Planing Mill and Lumber Co., 9; Nickel Plate Glass Co., 215; J. P. Warner, flour and feed, 4; G. W. & J. H. Campbell, planing mill, 17; American Food Evaporating and Preserving Co., 70; The Mambourg Glass Co., 60; The Butler Art Glass Co., 141; The Bevington Signal Co., 18;--State Report, 1888. Population, 1880, 3,569; School census, 1888, 1,439; William T. JACKSON, superintendent of schools. Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $310,000. Value of annual product, $217,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888. Census, 1890, 7,070.
We annex the main points in the history of Fostoria, as given to us in a communication from its most widely known citizen, Hon. Charles FOSTER.
The lands in the neighborhood of this city were thrown open to market in 1831. My grandfather, John CROCKER, who came to Seneca county and settled near Tiffin in 1824, entered the land upon which most of the city now stands. The town of Rome was laid out in the spring of 1832 by Roswell CROCKER, son of John CROCKER. About the same time, a mile north, the town of Risdon was laid out. These towns were located at the county line between Seneca and Hancock counties, part in each county, the town of Risdon being laid out to the corner of Wood county. The City of Fostoria now covers much more than all the territory of the two original villages and includes a portion of Wood county also.
My father built his double log cabin in the summer of 1832 and moved into it in November of that year, living with his family in one end and having his little store in the other.
Among the staples sold at the store for the first ten or fifteen years was quinine. I think I have seen nine out of ten of all the people in the neighborhood sick with fever and ague at one time. The store started in 1832 grew to be perhaps the largest country store in Ohio, and in my father’s hands and my own continued in existence until 1888, fifty-six years.
Being in the midst of the Black Swamp the roads of the country were horrible. The first attempt at improvement of roads occurred in 1850, when a plank road was built from Fremont to Fostoria; Fremont, a that time, being at the head of navigation on the Sandusky river.
The first railroad was built in 1859, it is now known as the Lake Erie and Western. Since then four other railroads have been built through the city and it has now reached a population of about 8,000, having large manufacturing industries with natural gas for fuel.
In the early settlement there was great rivalry between the two hamlets of Rome and Risdon, a rivalry amounting to a hatred of each other. Many incidents might be related of the furious and bloody combats that took place when the boys of the two villages met.
GREEN SPRING is part in Seneca and part in Sandusky county. It is 12 miles northeast of Tiffin on the I. B. & W. R. R. The Green Spring Sanitarium and Water Cure is located here. City Officers, 1888: B. M. REED, Mayor; Dell McCONNEL, Clerk; J. C. KANNEY, Treasurer; J. C. TARRIS, Marshal. Newspapers: Times, Independent, M. F. VAN BUSKIRK, editor and publisher; Mutual Underwriter, Insurance, Underwriter Co., editors and publishers. Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 United Baptist. Bank: L. W. Roys & Co. Population, 1880, 720. School census, 1888, 259. George M. HOKE, superintendent of schools.
The Green Spring Academy was founded here in 1881 by the Synod of Toledo. It prepares students for college and for teaching. R. B. HAYES is president of its board of trustees.
ATTICA is 16 miles southeast of Tiffin, and one and a-half miles from Attica Station on the B. & O. R. R. Newspapers: Current Wave, Independent, V. Jay HILLS, editor and publishers; Journal, Independent, E. A. KELLY, editor; Medical Compend, Medical, H. G. BLAINE, M. D., editor and publisher. Bank: Lester SUTTON. Population, 1880, 663. School census, 1888, 220. R. B. DRAKE, superintendent of schools.
NEW RIEGEL is 9 miles southwest of Tiffin on the T. & O. C. R. R. The Catholic Orphans’ Home is located here. Population, 1880, 367. School census, 1888, 109.
REPUBLIC is 9 miles west of Tiffin on the B. & O. R. R. Population, 1880, 715. School census, 1888, 170. Ezra C. PALMER, superintendent of schools. It is a neat appearing village and was largely settled from Western New York.
FORT SENECA is 9 miles north of Tiffin on the Sandusky river and N. Y. C. & St. L. R. R. School census, 1888, 57.
BLOOMVILE is 12 miles southeast of Tiffin on the N. W. O. R. R. Newspaper: Seneca County Record, Independent, I. N. RICHARDSON, editor and publisher. Population, 1880, 689. School census, 1888, 243. W. E. BOWMAN, superintendent of schools.
BETTSVILLE is 10 miles northwest of Tiffin on the N. W. O. R. R. Newspaper: Enterprise, Independent, B. B. KRAMMES, editor and publisher. Population, 800 (estimated.)