WOOD COUNTY

 

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WOOD COUNTY was formed from old Indian Territory, and named from the brave and chivalrous Col. WOOD, a distinguished officer of engineers in the war of 1812.  The surface is level, and covered by the black swamp, the soil of which is a rich, black loam, and very fertile, and peculiarly well adapted to grazing.  The population are mainly of New England descent, with some Germans.  The principal crops are corn, hay, potatoes, oats and wheat.

 

Area, about 620 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 167,492; in pasture, 26,485; woodland, 65,055; lying waste, 1,059; produced in wheat, 661,013 bushels; rye, 104,379 (largest in the State); buckwheat, 1,560; oats, 815,896; barley, 27,080; corn, 1,884,832; meadow hay, 21,000 tons;  clover, 6,095; flaxseed, 84 bushels; potatoes, 88,656; tobacco, 70 lbs.; butter, 635,765; sorghum, 2,274 gallons; maple syrup, 4,873; honey, 21,140 lbs.; eggs, 749,213 dozen; grapes, 56,220 lbs.; wine, 962 gallons; sweet potatoes, 21 bushels; apples, 39,660; peaches, 1,383; pears, 1,537; wool, 83,799 lbs.; milch cows owned, 8,481.  Ohio Mining Statistics, 1888: Limestone, 36,565 tons burned for lime; 81,000 cubic feet of dimension stone; 57,199 cubic yards of building stone; 8,892 cubic feet of ballast or macadam.  School census, 1888, 12,763; teachers, 410.  Miles of railroad track, 196.

 

Township

And Census

1840

1880

 

Township

And Census

1840

1880

Bloom,

  437

2,022

 

Montgomery,

   609

2,283

Center,

    97

2,023

 

Perry,

   559

1,474

Freedom,

 238

1,667

 

Perrysburg,

1,041

4,112

Henry,

  213

1,688

 

Plain,

   272

1,985

Jackson,

    26

1,028

 

Portage,

   199

1,434

Lake,

 

2,207

 

Ross,

 

   639

Liberty,

  215

1,282

 

Troy,

   383

1,407

Middleton,

  193

1,606

 

Washington,

   244

1,426

Milton & Weston,

  539

 

 

Webster,

 

1,197

Milton,

 

2,181

 

Weston,

 

2,351

 

 

Population of Wood in 1830, 1,096; 1840, 5,458; 1850, 9,165; 1860, 17,886; 1880, 34,022: of whom 25,808 were born in Ohio; 1,569, Pennsylvania; 1204, New York; 169, Virginia; 158 Indiana; 38, Kentucky; 2092, German Empire; 626 England and Wales; 321, British America; 274 Ireland; 118, France; 110, Scotland; and 21, Norway and Sweden.  Census, 1890, 44,392.

 

DRAINAGE.

 

Since our original edition of 1847 few counties of the State have been so surprisingly transformed as Wood.  It was then an almost unbroken forest, covering the black swamp, and with few inhabitants.  This advance has been owning to the very extensive system of draining and clearing off the forest, which has brought a large body of agriculturalists to settle up the country, three-fourths of whom are, to-day, within a radius of about 2 miles of some line of railway: hence there has been a steady and uniform advance in agricultural development.  It is now fast becoming one of the great garden spots of the country.

 

What drainage is doing for this entire region is told in the article, “The Black Swamp,” under the head of Putnam County.  One single ditch in Wood county, the “Jackson Cut-off,” drains 30,000 acres, and cost $110,000.  It is therein stated that, counting in the railway ditches with the public and private ditches of the farmers, there are in Wood county alone 16,000 miles of ditches, at an aggre-

 

 

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gate cost of millions of dollars.  These are the basis of the great agricultural prosperity of the county in connection with the richness of the soil.  And later, comes the discovery and use of its great gas and oil resources to further enhance its prosperity.

 

EARLY HISTORY.

 

The following sketch of the early history of this region was communicated to our original edition by HEZEKIAH L. HOSMER, then a young lawyer of Perrysburg.  He eventually removed to the Pacific Slope, and held there a high judicial position.

 

The Military Expeditions against the Indian tribes in the West, commenced under the colonial government about the middle of the last century, were finally terminated on this river by the decisive victory of Gen. Wayne in 1794.  Previous to that event no portion of the West was more beloved by the Indians than the valleys of the Maumee and it tributaries.  In the daily journal of Wayne’s campaign, kept by George WILL, under date of Aug. 6, 1794, when the army was encamped fifty-six miles in advance of Fort Recovery, the writer says: “We are within six miles of the Auglaize river, and I expect to eat green corn to-morrow.” On the 8th of the same month, after the arrival of the army at the Camp Grand Auglaize (the site of Fort Defiance), he continues: “We have marched four or five miles in corn-fields down the Auglaize, and there is not less than 1,000 acres of corn around the town.”  This journal, kept from that time until the return of the army to Fort Greenville, is full of descriptions of the immense corn-fields, large vegetable patches, and old apple trees, found along the banks of the Maumee from its mouth to Fort Wayne.  It discloses the astonishing fact that for a period of eight days while building Fort Defiance, the army obtained their bread and vegetables from the corn-fields and potato patches surrounding the fort.  In their march from Fort Defiance to the foot of the rapids the army passed through a number of Indian towns composed of huts, constructed of bark and skins, which afforded evidence that the people who had once inhabited them were composed, not only of Indians, but of Canadian French and renegade Englishmen.

 

The Maumee Valley After Wayne’s Victory.—What the condition of the valley was for some years after Wayne’s campaign may be gathered from the following extracts from one of Judge BURNET’S letters, published by the Ohio Historical Society.  After assigning some reasons for the downfall of the Indians, he says: “My yearly trips to Detroit, from 1796 to 1802, made it necessary to pass through some of their towns, and convenient to visit many of them.  Of course I had frequent opportunities of seeing thousands of them, in their villages and at their hunting camps, and of forming a personal acquaintance with some of their distinguished chiefs.  I have eat and slept in their towns, and partaken of their hospitality, which had no limit but that of their contracted means.  In journeying more recently through the State, in discharging my judicial duties, I sometimes passed over the ground on which I had seen towns filled with happy families of that devoted race without perceiving the smallest trace of what had once been there.  All their ancient settlements on the route to Fort Defiance, and from thence to the foot of the rapids, had been broken up and deserted.

 

“The battle-ground of Gen. WAYNE, which I had often seen in the rude state in which it was when the decisive action of 1794 was fought, was so altered and changed that I could not recognize it, and not an indication remained of the very extensive Indian settlements which I had formerly seen there.  It seemed almost impossible that in so short a period such an astonishing change could have taken place.”

 

These extracts prove that even after the battle of Presque Isle, although crushed and humbled, the Indian refused to be divorced from the favorite home and numerous graves of his race.  A chain of causes which followed this battle finally wrested from him the last foothold of his soil.  These may be said to have commenced with the treaty of Greenville, made on the 3rd of August, 1795, with the Wyandots, Ottawas, and other tribes located in this region.  By this treaty, among various other cessions of territory, a tract of land twelve miles square at the foot of the rapids, and one of six miles square at the mouth of the river, were given to the United States.  This treaty was followed by the establishment of the boundaries of the county of Wayne, which included a part of the States of Ohio, Indiana and the whole of Michigan.

 

The First White Settler.Notwithstanding this actual declaration of ownership by the government, few only of the whites of the country were willing to penetrate and reside in this yet unforsaken abode of the Indian.  Col. John ANDERSON was the first white trader of any notoriety on the Maumee.  He settled at Fort Miami as early as 1800.  Peter MANOR, a Frenchman, was here previous to that time, and was adopted by the chief Fontogany, by the name of Sawendebans, or “the Yellow Hair.”  MANOR, however, did not come here to reside until 1808.  Indeed, I cannot learn the names of any of the settlers prior to 1810 except the two above mentioned.  We may mention among those who came during the year 1810.  Maj. Amos SPAFFORD, Andrew RACE, Thomas LEAMING, Halsey W. LEAMING, James CARLIN, Wm. CARTER, George BLA-

 

 

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LOCK, James SLASON, Samuel H. EWING, Jesse SKINNER, David HULL, Thomas DICK, Wm. PETERS, Ambrose HICKOX, Richard GIFFORD.  All these individuals were settled within a circumference of ten miles, embracing the amphitheatre of the foot of the rapids, as early as 1810.  Maj. Amos SPAFFORD came here to perform the duties of collector of the port of Miami.  He was also appointed deputy postmaster.  A copy of his return to the government as collector for the first quarter of his service, ending on the 30th June, 1810, shows the aggregate amount of exports to have been $5,640.85.  This was, for skins and furs, $5,610.85, and for twenty gallons of bear’s oil, $30.

 

When War Broke out in 1812 there were sixty-seven families residing at the foot of the rapids.  MANOR—or MINARD, the Frenchman above alluded to—states that the first intimation that the settlers had of Hull’s surrender at Detroit manifested itself by the appearance of a party of British and Indians at the foot of the rapids a few days after it took place.  The Indians plundered the settlers on both sides of the river, and departed for Detroit in canoes.  Three of their number remained with the intention of going into the interior of the State.  One of these was a Delaware chief by the name of Sac-a-manc.  MANOR won his confidence, under the pretence of friendship for the British, and was by him informed that in a few days a grand assemblage of all the northwestern tribes was contemplated at Fort Malden, and that in about two days after the assemblage a large number of British and Indians would be at the foot of the rapids, on their march to relieve Fort Wayne, then under investment by the American army, as was supposed.  He also informed him that, when they came again, they would massacre all the Yankees found in the Valley.  Sac-a-manc left for the interior of the State, after remaining a day at the foot of the rapids.

 

Flight of the Settlers.The day after his departure MINARD called upon Maj. SPAFFORD, and warned him of the hostile intentions of the Indians, as he had received them from Sac-a-manc.  The major placed no confidence in them, and expressed a determination to remain until our army from the interior should reach this frontier.  A few days after this conversation a man by the name of GORDON was seen approaching the residence of Maj. SPAFFORD in great haste.  This individual had been reared among the Indians, but had, previous to this time, received some favors of a trifling character from Maj. SPAFFORD.  The major met him in his corn-field, and was informed that a party of about fifty Pottawatomies, on their way to Malden, had taken this route, and in less than two hours would be at the foot of the rapids.  He also urged the major to make good his escape immediately.  Most of the families at the foot of the rapids had left the village after receiving intelligence of Hull’s surrender.  The major assembled those that were left on the bank of the river, where they put in tolerable sailing condition an old barge, in which some officers had descended the river from Fort Wayne the year previous.  They had barely time to get such of their effects as were portable on board, and row down into the bend below the town, before they heard the shouts of the Indians above.  Finding no Americans here, the Indians passed on to Malden.  The major and his companions sailed in their crazy vessel down the lake to the Quaker settlement at Milan, on Huron river, where they remained until the close of the war.

 

Sac-a-manc, on his return from the interior of the State, a few days after the event, showed MANOR the scalps of three persons that he had killed during his absence, on Owl creek, near Mount Vernon.  At the time mentioned by him a detachment of the British army, under command of Col. ELLIOTT, accompanied by about 500 Indians, came to the foot of the rapids.  They were anxious to obtain guides.  MANOR feigned lameness and ignorance of the country above the head of the rapids, a distance of eighteen miles up the river.  By this means he escaped being pressed into their service above that point.  He accompanied them that far with his cart and pony, and was then permitted to return.  On his return, he met Col. ELLIOTT, the commander of the detachment, at the foot of Presque Isle Hill, who stopped him, and, after learning of the services he had performed, permitted him, with a curse, to go on.  A mile below him he met a party of about forty Pottawatomies, who also desired to know where he was going.  MAOR escaped being compelled to return by telling them he was returning to the foot of the rapids after forage for the army.  The British and Indians pursued their march up the river until they saw the American flag waving over Winchester’s encampment at Defiance, when they returned in double quick time to Canada.  On their return they burned the dwellings, stole the horses and destroyed the corn-fields of the settlers at the foot of the rapids.

 

MANOR, soon after his arrival at the foot of the rapids, went down the river to the British fleet, then lying at the mouth of Swan creek, under command of Capt. MILLS.  Here he reported himself, told what he had done for the army, and desired to leave to go to his family at the mouth of the river.  Capt. MILLS, having no evidence of his loyalty beyond his own word, put him under the hatches as a prisoner of war.  Through the aid of his friend, BEAUGRAND, MINARD was released in a few days, joined his family, and was afterwards a scout for our army during the remainder of the war.  He is now (1846) living at the head of the rapids, on a reservation of land granted him by the government, at the request of his Indian father, Ton-tog-sa-ny.  [Another account of Peter MANOR is in Lucas County.]

 

After Peace was Declared, most of the settlers that had lived here previous to the war returned to their old possessions.  They were partly indemnified by government for their losses.  Many of them lived in the block-house on Fort Meigs, and one or two

 

 

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of the citizens of our town were born in one of them.  The settlement of the valley was at first slow, but the foot of the rapids and vicinity was settled long before any of the rest.  In 1816 government sent an agent to lay out a town at the pint best calculated for commercial purposes.  That agent sounded the river from its mouth, and fixed upon Perrysburg.  The town was laid out that year, and named after Com. PERRY by Hon. Josiah MEIGS, then Comptroller of the Treasury.  This county was then embraced in the county limits of Logan county, Bellefontaine being the county-seat.  When the limits of Wood county were first determined, there was a great struggle between these three towns at the foot of the rapids—Orleans, Maumee and Perrysburg—for the county-seat.  The decision in favor of Perrysburg was the cause of the abandonment of the little town of Orleans, which soon after fell into decay.

 

The last remnant of the powerful Ottawa tribe of Indians removed from this valley west of the Mississippi in 1838.  They numbered some interesting men among them.  There was Nawash, Ockquenoxy, Charloe, Ottoca, Petonquet, men of eloquence, remembered by many of our citizens.  Their burying-grounds and village-sites are scattered along both banks of the river, from its mouth to Fort Defiance.

 

This part of the Maumee valley has been noted for military operations.  Wayne’s victory over the Indians (see Lucas County), Aug. 20, 1794, was gained within its borders.  It was also the theatre of important operations in the war of 1812.

 

March of Gen. Hull.—About the middle of June, 1812, the army of Hull left Urbana, and passed through the present counties of Logan, Hardin, Hancock and Wood, into Michigan.  They cut a road through the forest, and erected Forts M’Arthur and Findlay on the route, and arrived at the Maumee on the 30th of June, which they crossed at or near the foot of the rapids.  Hull surrendered at Detroit on the 16th  of the August following.

 

Tupper’s Expedition.—In the same summer, Gen. Edward W. TUPPER, of Gallia county, raised about 1,000 men for six months’ duty, mainly from Gallia, Lawrence and Jackson counties, who, under the orders of Gen. Winchester, marched from Urbana north by the route of Hull, and reached the foot of the Maumee rapids. The Indians appearing in force on the opposite bank, Tupper endeavored to cross the river with his troops in the night; but the rapidity of the current, and the feeble, half-starved condition of his men and horses were such, that the attempt failed.  The enemy soon after collected a superior force, and attacked TUPPER in his camp, but were driven off with considerable loss.  They returned to Detroit, and the Americans marched back to Fort M’Arthur.

 

Winchester’s Defeat.—On the 10th of January, 1813, Gen. Winchester, whose troops had been stationed at Forts Wayne and Defiance, arrived at the rapids, having marched from the latter along the north bank of the Maumee.  There they encamped until the 17th, when Winchester resumed his march north, and was defeated with great loss on the 22d, on the river Raisin, near the site of Monroe, Michigan.

 

On receiving information of Winchester’s defeat, Gen. Harrison sent Dr. McKEEHAN from Portage river with medicines and money to Malden, for the relief of the wounded and the prisoners.  He was accompanied by a Frenchman and a militia-man, and was furnished with a letter from Harrison, addressed to any British officer whom he might meet, describing his errand.  The night after they left they halted at the Maumee rapids to take a few hours’ sleep, in a vacant cabin upon the north bank of the river, about fifty rods north of the present bridge.  The cariole in which they raveled was left at the door, with a flag of truce set up in it.  They were discovered in the night by a party of Indians, accompanied, it is said, by a British officer; one of the men was killed, and the others taken to Malden, where the doctor was thrown into prison by PROCTOR and loaded with irons.

 

THE BUILDING OF FORT MEIGS.

 

After the defeat of Winchester, Gen. Harrison, about the first of February, established his advanced posts at the foot of the rapids.  He ordered Capt. WOOD, of the engineer corps, to fortify the position, as it was his intention to make this point his grand depot.  The fort erected was afterwards named Meigs, in honor of Governor Meigs.

 

Harrison ordered all the troops in the rear to join him immediately.  He was in hopes, by the middle of February, to advance upon Malden, and strike a blow that should in some measure retrieve the misfortunes that had befallen the American arms in this quarter.

 

On the 9th of February intelligence was brought of the encampment of about 600 Indians, twenty miles down, near the Bay shore.  Harrison had with him

 

 

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at this time about 2,000 men at the post.  The same night, or that following, 600 men left the fort under Harrison, and marched down the river on the ice twenty miles, when they discovered some fires on the north side of the river, which proved to have been that of the Indians who had fled the day before.  Here the detachment, which had been joined by 500 men more from the post, waited a few minutes, without having time to warm themselves, it being intensely cold, when the object of the expedition was made known.  This was to march after the Indians; and all those unable by fatigue to continue were ordered to follow the next day.  On resuming the line of march the army had proceeded only about two miles when their only cannon, with the horses attached, broke through the ice.  This was about two hours before morning, and the moon unfortunately was nearly down.  In endeavoring to extricate the horse, Lieut. Joseph H. LARIWILL, who had charge of the piece, with two of his men, broke through the ice and narrowly escaped drowning.  The army thereupon halted, and a company ordered to assist in recovering the cannon, which was not accomplished until daybreak.  Some of the men gave out from being wet, cold and fatigued; but the lieutenant, with the remainder, proceeded with the cannon after the main army, which they overtook shortly after sunrise, on an island near the mouth of the bay.  The spies were then arriving with the intelligence that the Indians had left the river Raisin for Malden.  Upon this the troops, having exhausted their provisions, returned, arriving at Fort Meigs just as the evening gun had been fired, having performed a march of forty-five miles on the ice in less than twenty-four hours.

 

LANGHAM’S DESPARATE ENTERPRISE.

 

A few hours after this, about 250 men volunteered to go on an enterprise of the most desperate nature.  On Friday, the 26th, the volunteer corps destined for this duty were addressed on parade by Gen. Harrison, who informed them that when  they had got a sufficient distance form the fort they were to be informed of the errand they were upon, and that all who then wished could return, but not afterwards.  He represented the undertaking as in a high degree one of peril and privation; but he promised that those who deported themselves in a gallant and soldierlike manner should be rewarded, and their names forwarded to the general government.

 

The corps took up their line of march and concentrated at what is now Lower Sandusky, where was then a block-house, on the site of Fort Stephenson, at that time garrisoned by two companies of militia.

 

The force, which was under command of Capt. LANGHAM, consisted of 68 regulars, 120 Virginia and Pennsylvania militia, 32 men under Lieut. MADISS, and 22 Indians, making, with their officers, 242 men; besides these were 24 drivers of sleds and several pilots.

 

On the morning of the 2d of March they left the block-house with six days’ provisions, and had proceeded about half a mile when Capt. LANGHAM ordered a halt.  He addressed the soldiers and informed them of the object of the expedition, which was to move down to Lake Erie and cross over the ice to Malden, and, in the darkness of night, to destroy with combustibles the British fleet and the public stores on the bank of the river.  This being done, the men were to retreat in their sleighs to the point of the Maumee bay, when their retreat was to be covered by a large force under Harrison.  At this time, independent of the garrison at Malden, in that vicinity was a large body of Indians, and it required a combination of circumstances to render the enterprise successful.  Capt. LANGHAM gave liberty for all who judged it too hazardous to withdraw.  Twenty of the militia and six or seven of the Indians availed themselves of the liberty.  The rest moved down the river in sleighs, and took the land on the west side of the bay, passing through and across the peninsula, and crossed at the bay of the Portage river, and soon came in view of the lake and its embosoming islands.  Some of the men

 

 

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walking out on the ice of the lake were alarmed by what was judged to be a body of men moving towards them.  It was subsequently discovered to be the rays of the sun, reflecting on ice thrown up in ridges.

 

The party encamped near the lake, and being without any tents, were thoroughly wet by the snow and rain.  After the guards were stationed, and all had retired to rest, the report of a musket was heard, and every man sprang to his post, ready for action.  It proved to have been a false alarm—an accidental discharge through the carelessness of one of the men.  Capt. LANGHAM was almost determined to have the soldier shot for his carelessness, as it had now become particularly necessary for the utmost precaution; but motives of humanity prevailed, and he was suffered to go unpunished.

 

On the next morning, March 3d, they proceeded on the ice to Middle Bass island, seventeen miles from their encampment.  Just before they left the lake shore an ensign and thirteen militia, one of the Indian chiefs and several of the Indians deserted them.  During their progress to the island the weather was stormy, wind blowing and snowing, and in places it was quite slippery.  They arrived at the northwest side of the island early in the afternoon, when the weather moderated.

 

In the course of the afternoon sled tracks were discovered on the ice, going in the direction of Malden.  They were presumed to have been made by two Frenchmen, who left Sandusky the day before the corps of LANGHAM.  They had then stated they were going to the river Huron, which was in an opposite direction: the officers now felt assured they were inimical to their designs, and were on their way to give the British notice of their intentions.  Moreover, to the north of the island on which they were the ice was weak and the lake appeared to be broken up to the north.

 

It being the intended route to go by the western Sister island, to elude the spies of the enemy, the guides gave it as their opinion that it was totally impossible to go to Malden; that the river Detroit and the lake from the middle Sister were doubtless broken up, and that there was a possibility of getting as far north as the middle Sister; but as the distance from that to the Detroit river, eighteen miles, had to be performed after night, they could not attempt going, being fully satisfied that they could not arrive at the point of destination, and as the weather was and had been soft, that, should a southerly wind blow up, the lake would inevitably break up, and they might be caught on it or one of the islands.  They then affirmed they had gone as far as they thought it either safe or prudent, and would not take the responsibility on them any farther.  Capt. LANGHAM called the guides and officers together.  He stated that he had been instructed to go no farther than the guides thought safe, asked the opinions of the officers, who unanimously decided that it was improper to proceed, and that they should return.

 

The weather having slightly improved, although still unfavorable, a second council was called of the officers and guides, but with the same result.  The captain then called the men and gave the opinion of their superiors, and presented the importance of the expedition to the government should they succeed; on the other hand, he represented that they might be lost on the lake by the breaking up of the ice, without rendering any service to their country, who would thus be deprived of the choice troops of the army.  The soldiers, on thus being called for their opinion, expressed themselves as ready to go wherever their officers would lead; at the same time said they should abide by the decision of their superiors, whose judgment was better than their own.

 

The party returned by way of Presque Isle, at which point they met Gen. Harrison with a body of troops.  From thence they proceeded to Fort Meigs in safety.  In the course of their journey back they found the lake open near the western Sister island.

 

On the 9th of March, the day being very fine, several of the men went down as far as the old British fort.  Some of them discovered a party of Indians, and gave the alarm.  The latter fired at them, and one man, while running, was shot through the left skirt of his coat.  Luckily, a hymn-book which he carried there received the ball, which was buried in its leaves.  The men escaped safely into the fort, but Lieut. WALKER, who was out hunting for wild fowl, was killed.  His body was found the next day and brought into the fort, where his grave is to be seen at the present day.

 

Harrison had determined, if possible, to regain Detroit, and in a measure atone for the disasters of the war in this quarter; but the weather had proved unfavorable for the transportation to Fort Meigs of a sufficient body of troops for such an object.  His force therefore was diminished, soon after his arrival, by the expiration of the term of service of a part of those at the rapids, and nothing more was left for him but to remain on the defensive.  Satisfied that, in his weakened condition, the enemy would make a descent from Malden upon the fort as soon as the ice broke up in the lake, he left in March for the interior, to hasten on all the troops he could raise to its defence.  On the 12th of April he returned at the head of a detachment of troops, and applied himself with great assiduity to completing the defences.

 

About this time a Canadian Frenchman, with about a dozen of his own countrymen, all volunteers, had a desperate boat-fight with an equal number of Indians in the river, near the north side of the large island below the fort, and defeated them.  The whites were all either killed or wounded, except the captain and two of his men.  As they were

 

 

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returning to the fort they saw a solitary Indian, the sole survivor of his party, rise up in one of their two canoes and paddle to the shore.

 

All the foregoing is from the Journal of Lieut. LARWILL, who was one of Capt. LANGHAM’S party.

 

PLAN OF FORT MEIGS.

 

The annexed plan of Fort Meigs with its environs is from the survey of Lieut. Joseph H. LARWILL, made between the two sieges.  It was obtained directly from him for our first edition.  He was one of the original proprietors of Mansfield and also of Wooster.  He showed me some of his field books with entries of surveys of wild lands, with remarks upon soil timber.  If the woods were beech and sugar maple, it was certain it was first-class soil for wheat.  He was an old-style Jackson Democrat of positive convictions and declarations, and hated the British and Indians.  In the history of Wooster (see page 531) is told what a narrow escape my old friend LARWILL had from being blown up.  Luckily he lived to fight and help whip the British and their red-skinned allies and then made notes to show how they did it.

 

[Explanations.—a, grand battery, commanded by Capt. Daniel CUSHING; b, mortar battery; e, I, o, minor batteries; g, battery commanded at the second siege by Col. (now

 

FORT MEIGS AND ITS ENVIRONS.

 

 

Gen.) GAINES; e, magazines.  The black squares on the lines of the fort represent the position of the block-houses.  The dotted lines show the traverses, or walls of earth, thrown up.  The longest, the grand traverse, had a base of 20 feet, was 12 in height, and about 900 in length.  The traverses running lengthwise of the fort were raised as a protection against the batteries on the opposite side of the river, and those running crosswise were to defend them from the British batteries on this side.  The British batteries on the north side of the river were named as follows: a, queen’s; b, sailors’; d, kings’, and c, mortar.  The fort stood upon high ground, on the margin of a bank, elevated about sixty

 

 

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feet above the Maumee.  The surface is nearly level, and is covered by a green sward.  The outline of the fort is now (1846) well defined, and the grand traverse yet rises six or eight feet from the surrounding ground.  The work originally covered ten acres, but was reduced in area between the two sieges, to accommodate a smaller number of troops.  Just above, a large number of sunken graves indicate the locality of the soldiers’ burying-ground.  The graves of Lieut.  WALKER and Lieut. McCULLOUGH—the last of whom was shot while conversing with Gen. Harrison—are within the fort.  The first is surmounted by a small stone, with an inscription—the last is enclosed by a fence.  (See view of Maumee City, in Lucas County.)  To understand the position of Fort Meigs, with reference to the British fort and surrounding country, see map in Lucas County illustrating the battles of the Maumee country.

 

THE SIEGE OF FORT MEIGS.

 

“On the breaking up of the ice in Lake Erie, General PROCTOR, with all his disposable force, consisting of regulars and Canadian militia from Malden, and a large body of Indians under their celebrated chief, Tecumseh, amounting in the whole to two thousand men, laid siege to Fort Meigs.  To encourage the Indians, he had promised them an easy conquest, and assured them that General Harrison should be delivered up to Tecumseh.  On the 26th of April the British columns appeared on the opposite bank of the river, and established their principal batteries on a commanding eminence opposite the fort.  On the 27th the Indians crossed the river, and established themselves in the rear of the American lines.  The garrison, not having completed their wells, had no water except what they obtained from the river, under a constant firing of the enemy.  On the first, second and third of May their batteries kept up an incessant shower of balls and shells upon the fort.  On the night of the third the British erected a gun and mortar battery on the left bank of the river, within two hundred and fifty yards of the American lines.  The Indians climbed the trees in the neighborhood of the fort, and poured in a galling fire upon the garrison.  In this situation General Harrison received a summons from PROCTOR for a surrender of the garrison, greatly magnifying his means of annoyance; this was answered by a prompt refusal, assuring the British general that if he obtained possession of the fort, it would not be by capitulation.*  Apprehensive of such an attack, General Harrison had made the governors of Kentucky and Ohio minutely acquainted with his situation, and stated to them the necessity of reinforcements for the relief of Fort Meigs.  His requisitions had been zealously anticipated, and General CLAY was at this moment descending the Miami with twelve hundred Kentuckians for his relief.

 

“At twelve o’clock in the night of the fourth an officer+ arrived from General

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*”The conversation which took place between General Harrison and Major Chambers, of the British army, was, as nearly as can be recollected, as follows:--   

Major Chambers.—General Proctor has directed me to demand the surrender of this post.  He wishes to spare the effusion of blood.

General Harrison.—The demand, under present circumstances, is a most extraordinary one.  As General Proctor did not send me a summons to surrender on his first arrival, I had supposed that he believed me determined to do my duty.  His present message indicates an opinion of me that I am at a loss to account for.

Major Chambers.—General Proctor could never think of saying anything to wound your feelings, sir.  The character of General Harrison, as an officer, is well known.  General Proctor’s force is very respectable, and there is with him a larger body of Indians than has ever before been embodied.

General Harrison.—I believe I have a very correct idea of General Proctor’s force; it is not such as to create the least apprehension for the result of the contest, whatever shape he may be pleased hereafter to give to it.  Assure the general, however, that he will never have this post surrendered to him on any terms.  Should it fall into his hands, it will be in a manner calculated to do him more honor, and to give him larger claims upon the gratitude of his government, than any capitulation could possibly do.”

 

+ This messenger was Capt. William Oliver. now (1846) of Cincinnati, then a young man,

 

 

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Clay, with the welcome intelligence of his approach, stating that he was just above the rapids, and could reach him in two hours, and requesting his orders.  Harrison determined on a general sally, and directed Clay to land eight hundred men on the right bank, take possession of the British batteries, spike their cannon, immediately return to their boats, and cross over to the American fort.  The remainder of Clay’s forces were ordered to land on the left bank, and fight their way to the fort, while sorties were to be made from the garrison in aid of these operations.  Captain Hamilton was directed to proceed up the river in a periauger, land a subaltern on the left bank, who should be a pilot to conduct General Clay to the fort; and then cross over and station his periauger at the place designated for the other division to land.  General Clay, having received these orders, descended the river in order of battle in solid columns, each officer taking position according to his rank.  Colonel Dudley, being the eldest in command, led the van, and was ordered to take the men in the twelve front boats, and execute General Harrison’s orders on the right bank.  He effected his landing at the place designated, without difficulty.  General Clay kept close along the left bank until he came opposite the place of Colonel Dudley’s landing, but not finding the subaltern there, he attempted to cross over and join Col. Dudley; this was prevented by the violence of the current on the rapids, and he again attempted to land on the left bank, and effected it with only fifty men amid a brisk fire from the enemy on shore, and made his way to the fort, receiving their fire until within the protection of its guns.  The other boats, under the command of Colonel Boswell, were driven farther down the current, and landed on the right to join Colonel Dudley.  Here they were ordered to re-embark, land on the left bank, and proceed to the fort.  In the meantime two sorties were made from the garrison, one on the left, in aid of Colonel Boswell, by which the Canadian militia and the Indians were defeated, and he enabled to reach the fort in safety, and one on the right against the British batteries, which was also successful.*

 

“Colonel Dudley, with his detachment of eight hundred Kentucky militia,

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+noted for his heroic bravery.  He had previously been sent from the fort at a time when it was surrounded by Indians, through the wilderness, with instructions to General Clay.  His return to the fort was extremely dangerous.  Captain Leslie Coombs, now of Lexington, Ky., had been sent by Colonel Dudley to communicate with Harrison.  He approached the fort, and when within about a mile was attacked by the Indians, and after a gallant resistance was foiled in his object and obliged to retreat with the loss of nearly all of his companions.  Oliver managed to get into the fort through the cover of the darkness of the night, by which he eluded the vigilance of Tecumseh and his Indians, who were very watchful and had closely invested it.—H.H.

 

*”The troops in this attack on the British battery were commanded by Col. John Miller, of the 19th United States regiment, and consisted of about 250 of the 17th and 19th Regiments, 100 twelve-month volunteers, and Captain Seebre’s company of Kentucky militia.  They were drawn up in a ravine under the east curtain of the fort, out of reach of the enemy’s fire; but to approach the batteries it was necessary, after having ascended from the ravine, to pass a plain of 200 yards in width, in the woods beyond which were the batteries protected by a company of grenadiers, and another of light infantry, upwards of 200 strong.  These troops were flanked on the right by two or three companies of Canadian militia, and on the left by a large body of Indians under Tecumseh.  After passing along the ranks and encouraging the men to do their duty, the general placed himself upon the battery of the right rear angle, to witness the contest.  The troops advanced with loaded but trailed arms.  They had scarcely reached the summit of the hill when they received the fire of the British infantry.  It did them little harm; but the Indians being placed in position, and taking sight or aim, did great execution.  They had not advanced more than fifty yards on the plain before it became necessary to halt and close the ranks.  This was done with as much order by word of command from the officers as if they had been on parade.  The charge was then made, and the enemy fled with so much precipitation that although many were killed none were taken.  The general, from his position on the battery, seeing the direction that a part of them had taken, despatched Major Todd with the reserve of about fifty regulars, who quickly returned with two officers and forty-three non-commissioned officers and privates.  In this action the volunteers and militia suffered less than the regulars, because from their position the latter were much sooner unmasked by the hill, and received the first fire of the enemy.  It was impossible that troops could have behaved better than they did upon this sortie.”

 

 

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completely succeeded in driving the British from their batteries, and spiking the cannon.  Having accomplished this object, his orders were peremptory to return immediately to his boats and cross over to the fort;  but the blind confidence which generally attends militia when successful proved their ruin.  Although repeatedly ordered by Colonel Dudley, and warned of their danger, and called upon from the fort to leave the ground; and although there was abundant time for that purpose before the British reinforcements arrived, yet they commenced a pursuit of the Indians, and suffered themselves to be drawn into an ambuscade by some feint skirmishing, while the British troops and large bodies of Indians were brought up and intercepted their return to the river. *  Elated with their first success, they considered the victory as already gained, and pursued the enemy nearly two miles into the woods and swamps, where they were suddenly caught in a defile and surrounded by double their numbers.  Finding themselves in this situation, consternation prevailed; their line became broken and disordered, and huddled together in unresisting crowds, they were obliged to surrender to the mercy of the savages.  Fortunately for these unhappy victims of their own rashness, General Tecumseh commanded at this ambuscade and had imbibed since his appointment more humane feelings than his brother Proctor.  After the surrender and all resistance had ceased, the Indians, finding five hundred prisoners at their mercy, began the work of massacre with the most savage delight.  Tecumseh sternly forbade it, and buried his tomahawk in the head of one of his chiefs who refused obedience.  This order, accompanied with this decisive manner of enforcing it, put an end to the massacre.  Of eight hundred men only one hundred and fifty escaped.  The residue were slain or made prisoners.  Colonel Dudley was severely wounded in the action, and afterwards tomahawked and scalped.

 

“Proctor, seeing no prospect of taking the fort, and finding his Indians fast leaving him, raised the siege on the 9th of May, and returned with precipitation to Malden.  Tecumseh and a considerable portion of the Indians remained in service; but large numbers left it in disgust, and were ready to join the Americans.  On the left bank, in the several sorties of the 5th of May, and during the siege the American loss was eighty-one killed and one hundred and eighty-nine wounded.”

 

When the enemy raised the siege they gave a parting salute, which killed ten or twelve, and wounded double that number.  “However,” says one who was present, “we were glad enough to see them off on any terms.  The next morning found us something more tranquil; we could leave the ditches, and walk about with something more of an air of freedom than we had done for the last fourteen days; and here I wish I could present to the reader a picture of the condition we found ourselves in when the withdrawal of the enemy gave us time to look at each other’s outward appearance.  The scarcity of water had put the washing of our hands and faces, much less our linen, out of the question.  Many had scarcely any clothing left, and that which they wore was so begrimed and torn by our

 

*After Dudley had spiked the batteries, which had but a few defenders, some of his men loitered about the banks and filled the air with cheers.  Harrison and a group of officers who were anxiously watching them from the grand battery (a) with a presentiment of the horrible fate that awaited them, earnestly beckoned them to return.  Supposing they were returning their cheers, they reiterated their shouts of triumph.  Harrison seeing this, exclaimed in tones of anguish: “They are lost! they are lost!  Can I never get men to obey my orders?”  He then offered a reward of a thousand dollars to any man who would cross the river and apprize Colonel Dudley of his danger.  This was undertaken by an officer.  Upon arriving at the beach he attempted to launch a large perogue which was drawn up there, but before this could be effected, and he with the assistance of some men could reach the middle of the river, the enemy had already arrived in force from below.

 

This defeat of Dudley was occasioned by the impetuous valor of his men.  In one of the general orders after the 5th of May, Harrison takes occasion to warn his men against that rash bravery which he says “is characteristic of the Kentucky troops, and if persisted in is as fatal in its results as cowardice.”

 

 

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residence in the ditch and other means, that we presented the appearance of so many scarecrows.

 

The British force under Proctor during the siege amounted, as nearly as could be ascertained, to 3,200 men, of whom 600 were British regulars, 800 Canadian militia, and 1,800 Indians.  Those under Harrison, including the troops who arrived on the morning of the 5th, under General Clay, were about 1,200.  The number of his men fit for duty was, perhaps, less than 1,100.

 

LORRAINE’S NARRATIVE OF INCIDENTS OF THE SIEGE.

 

We give below extracts from an article on the siege of Fort Meigs, by Rev. A. M. LORRAINE, originally published in the Ladies’ Repository for March, 1845:

 

One afternoon, as numbers were gathered together on the “parade,” two strangers, finely mounted, appeared on western bank of the river, and seemed to be taking a very calm and deliberate survey of our works.  It was a strange thing to see travellers in that wild country, and we commonly held such to be enemies, until they proved themselves to be friends.  So one of our batteries was cleared forthwith, and the gentlemen were saluted with a shot that tore up the earth about them, and put them to a hasty flight.  If that ball had struck its mark, much bloodshed might have been prevented; for we learned subsequently that our illustrious visitors were Proctor and Tecumseh.  The garrison was immediately employed in cutting deep traverses through the fort, taking down the tents and preparing for a siege.  The work accomplished in a few hours, under the excitement of the occasion, was prodigious.

 

The grand traverse being completed, each mess was ordered to excavate, under the embankment, suitable lodgings, as substitutes for our tents.  Those rooms were shot-proof and bomb-proof, except in the event of a shell falling in the traverse and at the mouth of a cave.

 

The above works were scarcely completed before it was discovered that the enemy, under cover of night, had constructed batteries on a commanding hill north of the river.  There their artillery men were posted; but the principal part of their army occupied the old English fort below.  Their Indian allies appeared to have a roving commission, for they beset us on every side.  The cannonading commenced in good earnest on both sides.  It was, however, more constant on the British side, because they had a more extensive mark to batter.  We had nothing to fire at but their batteries, but they were coolly and deliberately attended to; and it was believed that more than one of their guns were dismounted during the siege.

 

One of our militia-men took his station on the embankment, and gratuitously forewarned us of every shot.  In this he became so skilful, that he could, in almost every case, predict the destination of the ball.  As soon as the smoke issued from the muzzle of the gun, he would cry out “shot,” or “bomb,” as the case might be.  Sometimes he would exclaim, “block-house No. 1,” or “look out, main battery;” “now for the meat-house;” “good-by, if you will pass.”  In spite of all the expostulations of his friends, he maintained his post.  One day there came a shot that seemed to defy all his calculations.  He stood silent—motionless—perplexed.  In that same instant he was swept into eternity.  Poor man! he should have considered, that when there was no obliquity in the issue of the smoke, either to the right or left, above or below, the fatal messenger would travel in the direct line of his vision.  He reminded me of the peasant, in the siege of Jerusalem, who cried out, “Woe to the city! woe to the temple! woe to myself!”  On the most active day of the investment there were as many as five hundred cannon balls and bombs* thrown at our fort.

 

*A large number of cannon balls were thrown into the fort, from the batteries on the opposite side of the river.  Being short of a supply, Harrison offered a gill of whiskey for (continued bottom of page 869)

 

 

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Meanwhile the Indians, climbing up into the trees, fired incessantly upon us.  Such was their distance, that many of their balls barely reached us, and fell harmless to the ground.  Occasionally they inflicted dangerous and even fatal wounds.  The number killed in the fort was small, considering the profusion of powder and ball expended on us.  About eighty were slain, many wounded, and several had to suffer the amputation of limbs.  The most dangerous duty which we performed within the precincts of the fort was on covering the magazine.  Previous to this, the powder had been deposited in wagons, and these stationed in the traverse.  Here there was no security against bombs; it was therefore thought to be prudent to remove the powder into a small block-house, and cover it with earth.  The enemy, judging our designs from our movements, now directed all their shot to this point.  Many of their balls were red-hot.  Wherever they struck, they raised a cloud of smoke, and made a frightful hissing.  An officer, passing our quarters, said, “Boys, who will volunteer to cover the magazine?”  Fool-like, away several of us went.  As soon as we reached the spot, there came a ball and took off one man’s head.  The spades and dirt flew faster than any of us had before witnessed.  In the midst of our job, a bomb-shell fell on the roof, and lodging on one of the braces it spun round for a moment.  Every soldier fell prostrate on his face, and with breathless horror awaited the vast explosion which we expected would crown all our earthly sufferings.  Only one of all the gang presumed to reason on the case.  He silently argued that, as the shell had not bursted as quick as usual, there might be something wrong in its arrangement.  If it bursted where it was, and the magazine exploded, there could be no escape: it was death anyhow; so he sprung to his feet, seized a boat-hook, and pulling the hissing missile to the ground, and jerking the smoking match from its socket, discovered that the shell was filled with inflammable matter, which, if once ignited, would have wrapped the whole building in a sheet of flame.  This circumstance added wings to our shovels; and we were right glad when the officer said, “That will do: go to your lines.”

 

UNDERWOOD’S NARRATIVE OF DUDLEY’S DEFEAT AND MASSACRE.

 

The following particulars of the defeat of Colonel Dudley were published in a public print many years since by Joseph R. UNDERWOOD, who was present on the occasion, in the capacity of lieutenant in a volunteer company of Kentuckians, commanded by Captain John C. MORRISON.

 

After a fatiguing march of more than a month, General Clay’s brigade found itself, on the night of the 4th of May, on board of open boats, lashed to left bank of Miami of the Lakes, near the head of the rapids, and within hearing of the cannon at Fort Meigs, which was then besieged by the British and Indians.

 

every cannon ball delivered to the magazine keeper, Mr. Thomas L. HAWKINS, now residing at Lower Sandusky.  Over 1000 gills of whiskey were thus earned by the soldiers.

 

For safety against bombs, each man had a hole dug under ground in rear of the grand traverse, which, being covered over with plank, and earth on top, fully protected them.  When the cry bomb was heard, the soldiers either threw themselves upon the ground, or ran to the holes for safety.  A bomb is most destructive when it bursts in the air, but it rarely explodes in that way: it usually falls with so much force as to penetrate the earth, and, when it explodes, flies upwards and in an angular direction, in consequence of the pressure of the earth beneath and at its sides; consequently, a person lying on the ground is comparatively safe.

 

A heavy rain at last filled up the holes, rendering them uninhabitable, and the men were obliged to temporarily sleep in their tents.  Then every once in a while, the startling cry, “BOMB!” aroused them from their slumbers.  Rushing from the tents, they watched the course of the fiery messenger of death, as it winged its way through the midnight sky, and if it fell near, fall flat upon the ground; otherwise, returned to their tents, only to be aroused again and again by the startling cry.  So harassing was this, so accustomed had the men become to the danger, and so overpowering the desire for sleep, that many of the soldiers remained n their tents locked in the embrace of sleep, determined as one said, not to be disturbed in their slumbers “if ten thousand bombs burst all around them.”—H. H.

 

 

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Very early on the morning of the 5th we set off, and soon began to pass the rapids.  We were hailed by a man from the right bank, who proved to be Captain Hamilton, of the Ohio troops, with orders from General Harrison, then commanding at the fort.  He was taken to the boat of General Clay, and from that to Colonel Dudley’s, this last being in advance of the whole line.  Captain Morrison’s company occupied the boat in which the colonel descended.  It being a damp, unpleasant morning, I was lying in the stern, wrapped in my blanket, not having entirely recovered from a severe attack of the measles.  I learned that we were to land on the left bank, storm the British batteries erected for the purpose of annoying the fort; but what further orders were given I did not ascertain.  Hearing that we were certainly to fight, I began to look upon all surrounding objects as things which to me might soon disappear forever, and my mind reverted to my friends at home, to bid them a final farewell.  These reflections produced a calm melancholy, but nothing like trepidation or alarm. 

 

My reveries were dissipated by the landing of the boat, about a mile or two above the point of attack.  Shortly before we landed we were fired upon by some Indians from the right bank of the river, and I understood that Captain Clarke was wounded in the head.  The fire was returned from our boats, and the Indians fled, as if to give intelligence of our approach.  Captain Price and Lieutenant Sanders, of the regular army, landed with us and partook in the engagement, having under command a few regular soldiers, but I think not a full company.  The whole number of troops that landed amounted probably to 700 men.  We were formed on the shore in three parallel lines, and ordered to march for the battery at right angles with the river; and so far as I understood the plan of attack, one line was to form the line of battle in the rear of the battery, parallel with the river; the other two lines to form one above and one below the battery, at right angles to the river.  The lines thus formed were ordered to advance, and did so, making as little noise as possible—the object being to surprise the enemy at their battery.  Before we reached the battery, however, we were discovered by some straggling Indians, who fired upon us and then retreated.  Our men pleased at seeing them run, and perceiving that we were discovered, no longer deemed silence necessary, and raised a tremendous shout.  This was the first intimation that the enemy received of our approach, and it so alarmed them that they abandoned the battery without making any resistance.

 

In effectuating the plan of attack, Captain J. C. Morrison’s company were thrown upon the river, above the battery.  While passing through a thicket of hazel, toward the river, in forming the line of battle, I saw Colonel Dudley for the last time.  He was greatly excited; he railed at me for not keeping my men better dressed.  I replied that he must perceive from the situation of the ground, and the obstacles that we had to encounter, that it was impossible.  When we came within a small distance from the river, we halted.  The enemy at this place had gotten in the rear of our line, formed parallel with the river, and were firing upon our troops.  Captain J. C. Morrison’s company did not long remain in this situation.  Having nothing to do, and being without orders, we determined to march our company out and join the combatants.  We did so accordingly.  In passing out, we fell on the left of the whole regiment, and were soon engaged in a severe conflict.  The Indians endeavored to flank and surround us.  We drove them between one and two miles, directly back from the river.  They hid behind trees and logs, and poured upon us, as we advanced, a most destructive fire.   We were from time to time ordered to charge.  The orders were passed along the lines, our field officers being on foot. . . . . . Shortly after this, Captain J. C. Morrison was shot through the temples.  The ball passing behind the eyes and cutting the optic nerve, deprived him of his sight. . . . . Having made the best arrangement for the safety of my much esteemed captain that circumstances allowed, I took charge of the company and continued the battle.  We made several charges afterwards, and drove the enemy a considerable distance. . . . .

 

 

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At length orders were passed along the line directing us to fall back and keep up a retreating fire.  As soon as this movement was made, the Indians were greatly encouraged, and advanced upon us with the most horrid yells.  Once or twice the officers succeeded in producing a temporary halt and a fire on the Indians, but the soldiers of the different companies soon became mixed—confusion ensued—and a general rout took place.

 

The retreating army made its way towards the batteries, where I supposed we should be able to form and repel the pursing Indians.  They were now so close in the rear as to frequently shoot down those who were before me.  About this time I received a ball in my back which yet remains in my body.  It struck me with a stunning, deadening force, and I fell on my hands and knees.  I rose and threw my waistcoat open to see whether it had passed through me; finding it had not, I ran on, and had not proceeded more than a hundred or two yards before I was made a prisoner.  In emerging from the woods into an open piece of ground near the battery we had taken, and before I knew what had happened, a soldier seized my sword and said to me, “Sir, you are my prisoner!”  I looked before me and saw, with astonishment, the ground covered with muskets.  The soldier, observing my astonishment, said, “Your army has surrendered,” and received my sword.  He ordered me to go forward and join the prisoners.  I did so.  The first man I met whom I recognized was Daniel SMITH, of our company.  With eyes full of tears he exclaimed, “Good Lord, lieutenant, what does all this mean?”  I told him we were prisoners of war. . . .

 

On our march to the garrison the Indians began to strip us of our valuable clothing and other articles.  One took my hat, another my hunting-shirt, and a third my waistcoat, so that I was soon left with nothing but my shirt and pantaloons.  I saved my watch by concealing the chain, and it proved of great service to me afterwards.  Having read, when a boy, Smith’s narrative of his residence among the Indians, my idea of their character was that they treated those best who appeared the most fearless.  Under this impression, as we marched down to the old garrison, I looked at those whom we met with all the sternness of countenance I could command.  I soon caught the eye of a stout warrior painted red.  He gazed at me with as much sternness as I did at him, until I came within striking distance, when he gave me a severe blow over the nose and cheek-bone with his wiping stick.  I abandoned the notion acquired from Smith, and went on afterwards with as little display of hauteur and defiance as possible.

 

On our approach to the old garrison the Indians formed a line to the left of the road, there being a perpendicular bank to the right, on the margin of which the road passed. I perceived that the prisoners were running the gauntlet, and that the Indians were whipping, shooting and tomahawking the men as they ran by their line.  When I reached the starting place I dashed off as fast as I was able, and ran near the muzzles of their guns, knowing that they would have to shoot me while I was immediately in front, or let me pass, for to have turned their guns up or down the lines to shoot me would have endangered themselves as there was a curve in their line.  In this way I passed without injury, except some strokes over the shoulders with their gun-sticks.  As I entered the ditch around the garrison the man before me was shot and fell, and I fell over him.  The passage for a while was stopped by those who fell over the dead man and myself.  How many lives were lost at this place I cannot tell—probably between twenty and forty.  The brave Capt. Lewis was among the number. 

 

When we got within the walls we were ordered to sit down.  I lay in the lap of Mr. Gilpin, a soldier of Capt. Henry’s company from Woodford.  A new scene commenced.  An Indian, painted black, mounted the dilapidated wall, and shot one of the prisoners next to him.  He reloaded and shot a second, the ball passing through him into the hip of another, who afterwards died, I was informed, at Cleveland, of the wound.  The savage then laid down his gun and drew his tomahawk, with which he killed two others.  When he drew his toma-

 

 

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hawk and jumped down among the men, they endeavored to escape from him by leaping over the heads of each other, and thereby to place others between themselves and danger.  Thus they were heaped upon one another, and as I did not rise they trampled upon me so that I could see nothing that was going on.  The confusion and uproar of this moment cannot be adequately described.  There was an excitement among the Indians, and a fierceness in their conversation, which betokened on the part of some a strong disposition to massacre the whole of us.  The British officers and soldiers seemed to interpose to prevent the further effusion of blood.  Their expression was, “Oh, nichee wah!” meaning, “Oh! brother, quit!”  After the Indian who had occasioned this horrible scene had scalped and stripped his victims he left us, and a comparative calm ensued.  The prisoners resumed their seats on the ground.  While thus situated, a tall, stout Indian walked into the midst of us, drew a long butcher knife from his belt, and commenced whetting it.  As he did so he looked around among the prisoners, apparently selecting one for the gratification of his vengeance.  I viewed his conduct, and thought it probable that he was to give the signal for a general massacre; but, after exciting our fears sufficiently for his satisfaction, he gave a contemptuous grunt and went out from among us.

 

About this time, but whether before of after I do not distinctly recollect, Col. Elliott and Tecumseh, the celebrated Indian chief, rode into the garrison.  When Elliott came to where Thomas Moore, of Clarke county, stood, the latter addressed him, and inquired, “If it was compatible with the honor of a civilized nation, such as the British claimed to be, to suffer defenceless prisoners to be murdered by savages?”  Elliott desired to know who he was.  Moore replied that he was nothing but a private in Capt. Morrison’s company; and the conversation ended. . . . . Elliott was an old man; his hair might have been termed, with more propriety, white than gray, and to my view he had more if the savage in his countenance than Tecumseh.  This celebrated chief was a noble, dignified personage.  He wore an elegant broadsword, and was dressed in the Indian costume.  His face was finely proportioned, his nose inclined to be aquiline, and his eye displayed none of that savage and ferocious triumph common to the other Indians on that occasion.  He seemed to regard us with unmoved composure, and I thought a beam of mercy shone in his countenance, tempering the spirit of vengeance inherent in his race against the American people.  I saw him only on horseback. . . . .

 

Shortly after the massacre in the old garrison I was the subject of a generous act.  A soldier, with whom I had no acquaintance, feeling compassion for my situation, stripped off my clothes, muddy and bleeding, and offered me his hunting-shirt, which the Indians had not taken from him.  At first I declined receiving it, but he pressed it upon me with an earnestness that indicated great magnanimity.  I inquired his name and residence.  He said that his name was James Boston, that he lived in Clarke county, and belonged to Capt. Clarke’s company.  I have never since seen him, and regret that I should never be able to recall his features if I were to see him.

 

Upon the arrival of Elliott and Tecumseh, we were directed to stand up and form in lines, I think four deep, in order to be counted.  After we were thus arranged a scene transpired scarcely less affecting than that which I have before attempted to describe.  The Indians began to select the young men whom they intended to take with them to their towns.  Numbers were carried off.  I saw Corporal Smith, of our company, bidding farewell to his friends, and pointing to the Indian with whom he was to go.  I never heard of his return.  The young men, learning their danger, endeavored to avoid it by crowding into the centre, where they could not be so readily reached.  I was told that a quizzical youth, of diminutive size, near the outside, seeing what was going on, threw himself upon his hands and knees, and rushed through the legs of his comrades, exclaiming, “Root, little hog, or die!”

 

 

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Such is the impulse of self-preservation, and such the levity with which men inured to danger will regard it.  Owing to my wound I could not scuffle, and was thus thrust to the outside.  An Indian came up to me and gave me a piece of meat.  I took this for proof that he intended carrying me off with him.  Thinking it the best policy to act with confidence, I made a sign to him to give me his butcher knife—which he did.  I divided the meat with those who stood near me, reserving a small piece for myself—more as a show of politeness to the savage than to gratify any appetite I had for it.  After I had eaten it and returned the knife, he turned and left me.  When it was near night we were taken in open boats about nine miles down the river, to the British shipping.  On the day after, we were visited by the Indians in their bark canoes in order to make a display of their scalps.  These they strung on a pole, perhaps two inches in diameter, and about eight feet high.  The pole was set up perpendicularly in the bow of their canoes, and near the top the scalps were fastened.  On some poles I saw four or five.  Each scalp was drawn closely over a hoop about four inches in diameter, and the flesh sides, I thought, were painted red. 

 

Thus their canoes were decorated with the flag-staff of a most appropriate character, bearing human scalps, the horrid ensigns of savage warfare.  We remained six days on board the vessel—those of us, I mean, who were sick and wounded.  The whole of us were discharged on parole.  The officers signed an instrument in writing, pledging their honors not to serve against the king of Great Britain and his allies during the war, unless regularly exchanged.  It was inquired whether the Indians were included in the term “allies.”  The only answer was, “that his majesty’s allies were known.”  The wounded and sick were taken in a vessel commanded by Capt. Stewart, a prisoner of war at Frankfort, Kentucky, together with a midshipman who played “Yankee Doodle” on a flute, by way of derision, when we were first taken on board his vessel.  Such is the fortune of war.  They were captured by Commodore Perry in the battle of lake Eire.  I visited Capt. Stewart to requite his kindness to me when, like him, I was a prisoner.

 

THE BRITISH ACCOUNT OF THE SIEGE OF FORT MEIGS.

 

The following is a British account of the siege of Fort Meigs, from the London New Monthly Magazine for December, 1826, written by an officer in their army:

 

Far from being discouraged by the discomfiture of their armies under Generals Hull and Winchester, the Americans despatched a third and more formidable one under their most experience commanders, Gen. Harrison, who, on reaching Fort Meigs, shortly subsequent to the affair at Frenchtown, directed his attention to the erection of works, which in some measure rendered his position impregnable.  Determined, if possible, to thwart the movements of the enemy, and give the finishing stroke to his movements in that quarter, Gen. Proctor (lately promoted) ordered an expedition to be in readiness to move for the Miami.  Accordingly towards the close of April a detachment of 41st, some militia and 1,500 Indians, accompanied by a train of battering artillery, and attended by two gun-boats, proceeded up that river and established themselves on the left bank, at the distance of a mile, and selected the site for our batteries.

 

The season was unusually wet, yet in defiance of every obstacle they were erected in the same night, in front of the American fortress, and the guns transported along the road in which the axle-trees of the carriages were frequently buried in mud.  Among other battering pieces were two twenty-four pounders, in the transportation of which 200 men, with several oxen, were employed from 9 o’clock at night until daylight in the morning.  At length, every precaution having been made, a gun fired from one of the boats was the signal fro their opening, and early on the morning of the 1st of May a heavy fire was commenced, and con-

 

 

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tinued for four days without intermission, during which period every one of the enemies’ batteries were silenced and dismantled.  The fire of the twenty-four pound battery was principally directed against the powder magazine, which the besieged were busily occupied in covering and protecting from our hot shot.  It was impossible to have artillery better served: every shot that was fired sank into the roof of the magazine, scattering the earth to a considerable distance and burying many of the workmen in its bed, from which we could distinctly see their survivors dragging forth the bodies of their slaughtered companions.  Meanwhile the flank companies of the 41st, with a few Indians, had been despatched to the opposite shore, within a few hundred yards of the enemy’s works, and had constructed a battery, from which a galling cross-fire was sustained.

 

Dismayed at the success of our exertions, Gen. Harrison, before our arrival, already appraised of the approach of a reinforcement of 1,500 men, then descending the Miami, under Gen. Clay, contrived to despatch a courier on the evening of the 4th, with an order to that officer to land immediately and possess himself of our batteries on the left bank, while he (Gen. Harrison) sallied forth to carry those on the right.  Accordingly, early on the morning of the 5th, Gen. Clay pushed forward the whole of his force, and meeting with no opposition at the batteries, which were entirely unsupported, proceeded to spike the guns, in conformity with his instructions; but elated with his success, and disobeying the positive orders of his chief, which was to retire the instant the object was effected, continued to occupy the position.  In the meantime, the flying artillerymen had given the alarm, and three companies of the 41st, several of the militia, and a body of Indians, the latter under command of their celebrated chieftain, Tecumseh, were ordered to immediately move and repossess themselves of the works.  The rain, which had commenced falling in the morning, continued to fall with violence, and the road, as has already been described, was knee-deep in mud; yet the men advanced to the assault with the utmost alacrity and determination.

 

The enemy, on our approach, had sheltered themselves behind the batteries, affording them every facility of defence.  Yet they were driven at the point of the bayonet from each in succession, until eventually not a man was left in the plain.  Flying to the woods, the murderous fire of the Indians drove them back upon their pursuers, so that they had no possibility of escape.  A vast number were killed, and independently of the prisoners taken by the Indians, 450, with their second in command, fell into our hands.  Every man of the detachment, on this occasion, acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of his superiors.  Among the most conspicuous for gallantry was Major Chambers, of the 41st, acting deputy quarter-general to the division.  Supported by merely four or five followers, this meritorious officer advanced under a shower of bullets from the enemy, and carried one of the batteries, sword in hand.  A private of the same regiment being opposed, in an isolated condition, to three Americans, contrived to disarm them and render them his prisoners.  On joining his company at the close of the affair, he excited much mirth among his comrades, in consequence of the singular manner in which he appeared, sweating beneath the weight of arms he had secured as trophies of victory, and driving his captives before him with an indifference and carelessness which contrasted admirably with the occasion.  Of the whole of the division under Gen. Clay, scare 200 men effected their escape.  Among the fugitives was that officer himself.  The sortie made by Gen. Harrison, at the head of the principal part of the garrison, had a different result.  The detachment supporting the battery already described were driven from their position, and two officers, Lieutenants M’Intyre and Hailes, and thirty men were made prisoners.  Meanwhile, it had been discovered that the guns on the left bank, owing to some error on the part of the enemy, had been spiked with the ramrods of the muskets, instead of the usual instruments: they were speedily rendered serviceable, and the fire from the batteries renewed.  At this moment a white flag was observed waving on the ramparts of the fort, and the courage and perseverance of

 

 

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the troops appeared about to be crowned with a surrender of the fortress, the siege of which had cost them so much toil and privation.  Such, however, was far from being the intention of Gen. Harrison.  Availing himself of the cessation of hostilities which necessarily ensued, he caused the officers and men just captured to be sent across the river for the purpose of being exchanged; but this was only a feint for the accomplishment of a more important object.

 

Drawing up his whole force, cavalry and infantry, on the plain beneath the fortress, he caused such of the boats of General Clay’s division as were laden with ammunition, in which the garrison stood in much need, to be dropped under the works, and the stores immediately disembarked.  All this took place in the period occupied for the exchange of prisoners.  The remaining boats, containing the private bagged and stores of the division, fell into the hands of the Indians still engaged in pursuit of the fugitives, and the plunder they acquired was immense.  General Harrison having secured his stores, and received the officers and men exchanged for his captives, withdrew into the garrison, and the bombardment was recommenced.

 

The victory obtained at the Miami was such as to reflect credit on every branch of the service; but the satisfaction arising from the conviction was deeply embittered by an act of cruelty, which as the writer of an impartial memoir, it becomes my painful duty to record.  In the heat of the action, a strong corps of the enemy, which had thrown down their arms and surrendered prisoners of war, were immediately despatched under an escort of 50 men, for the purpose of being embarked in the gun-boats, where it was presumed they would be safe from the attacks of the Indians.  This measure, although dictated by the purest humanity, and apparently offering the most probable means of security, proved of fatal import to several of the prisoners.

 

On reaching our encampment, then entirely deserted by the troops, they were met by a band of cowardly and treacherous Indians, who had borne no share in the action, yet who now, guided by the savage instinct of their nature, approached the column, and selecting their victims commenced the work of blood.   In vain did the harassed and indignant escort endeavor to save them from the fury of their destroyers.  The frenzy of these wretches knew no bounds, and an old and excellent soldier named Russell, of the 41st, was shot through the heart, while endeavoring to wrest a victim from the grasp of his murderer.  Forty of these unhappy men had already fallen beneath the steel of the infuriated party, when Tecumseh, apprised on what was doing, rode up at full speed, and raising his tomahawk, threatened to destroy the first man who refused to desist.  Even on those lawless people, to whom the language of coercion had hitherto been unknown, the threats and tone of the exasperated chieftain produced an instantaneous effect, and they retired at once humiliated and confounded.*

 

The survivors of this melancholy catastrophe were immediately conveyed on

 

*Drake, in his life of Tecumseh, in quoting a letter from Wm. G. Ewing to John H. James, Esq., of Urbana, gives full particulars of Tecumseh’s interference on this occasion, which we here copy.

 

“While this bloodthirsty carnage was raging, a thundering voice was heard in the rear, in the Indian tongue, when turning round, he saw Tecumseh coming with all the rapidity his horse could carry him, until he drew near to where two Indians had an American, and were in the act of killing him.  He sprang from his horse, caught one by the throat and the other by the breast, and threw them to the ground; drawing his tomahawk and scalping knife, he ran in between the Americans and the Indians, brandishing them with the fury of a madman, and daring any one of the hundreds that surrounded him to attempt to murder another American.  They all appeared confounded, and immediately desisted.  His mind appeared rent with passion, and he exclaimed almost with tears in his eyes, “Oh! what will become of my Indians?”  He then demanded in an authoritarian tone where Proctor was; but casting his eye upon him at a small distance, sternly inquired why he had not put a stop to the inhuman massacre.  “Sir,” said Proctor, “your Indians cannot be commanded.”  Begone,” retorted Tecumseh, with the greatest disdain, “you are unfit to command; go and put on petticoats.”

 

 

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board the gun-boats, moored in the river, and every precaution having been taken to prevent a renewal of the scene, the escorting party proceeded to the interment of the victims, to whom the rites of sepulture were afforded, even before those of our own men who had fallen in the action.  Col. Dudley, second in command of Gen. Clay’s division, was among the number of the slain.

 

On the evening of the second day after this event I accompanied Maj. Muir, of the 41st, in a ramble throughout the encampment of the Indians, distant some few hundred yards from our own.  The spectacle there offered to our view was at once of the most ludicrous and revolting nature.  In the various directions were lying the trunks and boxes taken in the boats of the American division, and the plunderers were busily occupied in displaying their riches, carefully examining each article, and attempting to define its use.  Several were decked out in the uniforms of the officers; and although embarrassed in the last degree in their movements, and dragging with difficulty the heavy military boots with which their legs were for the first time covered, strutted forth much to the admiration of their less fortunate comrades.  Some were habited in plain clothes; others had their bodies clad with clean white shirts, contrasting in no ordinary manner with the swarthiness of their skins; all wore some articles of decoration, and their tents were ornamented with saddles, bridles, rifles, daggers, swords and pistols, many of which were handsomely mounted and of curious workmanship.  Such was the ridiculous part of the picture; but mingled with these, and in various directions, were to be seen the scalps of the slain drying in the sun, stained on the fleshy side with vermilion dyes, and dangling in air, as they hung suspended from the poles to which they were attached, together with hoops of various sizes, on which were stretched potions of human skin, taken from various parts of the human body, principally the hand and foot, and yet covered with the nails of those parts; while scattered along the ground were visible the members from which they had been separated, and serving as nutriment to the wolf-dogs by which the savages were accompanied.

 

As we continued to advance into the heart of the encampment a scene of a more disgusting nature arrested our attention.  Stopping at the entrance of a tent occupied by the Minoumini tribe we observed them seated around a large fire, over which was suspended a kettle containing their meal.  Each warrior had a piece of string hanging over the edge of the vessel, and to this was suspended a food which it will be presumed we heard not without loathing, consisted of a part of an American; any expression of our feelings, as we declined the invitation they gave us to join in their repast, would have been resented by the Indians without much ceremony.  We had, therefore, the prudence to excuse ourselves under the plea that we had already taken our food, and we hastened to remove from a sight so revolting to humanity.

 

Since the affair of the 5th the enemy continued to keep themselves shut up within their works, and the bombardment, although carried on with vigor, had effected no practicable breach.  From the account given by the officers captured during the sortie it appears that, with a perseverance and toil peculiar to themselves, the Americans had constructed subterranean passages to protect them from the annoyance of our shells, which sinking into the clay, softened by the incessant rains that had fallen, instead of exploding were speedily extinguished.  Impatient of longer privations, and anxious to return to their families and occupations, numbers of the militia withdrew themselves in small bodies, and under cover of the night; while the majority of Indians, enriched by plunder and languishing under the tediousness of a mode of warfare so different from their own, with less ceremony and caution, left us to prosecute the siege as we could.

 

Tecumseh, at the head of his own tribe (the Shawnees), and a few others, amounting in all to about 400 warriors, continued to remain.  The troops also were worn down with constant fatigue; for here, as in every other expedition against the enemy, few even of the officers had tents to shield them from the

 

 

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weather.  A few pieces of bark torn from the trees and covering the skeleton of a hut was their only habitation, and they were merely separated from the damp earth on which they lay by a few scattered leaves, on which was generally spread a blanket by the men and a cloak by the officers.  Hence, frequently arose dysentery, ague, and the various ills to which an army encamped on a wet and unhealthy ground is inevitably subject; and fortunate was he who possessed the skin of a bear or buffalo, on which he could repose his wearied limbs, after a period of suffering and privation, which those who have never served in the wilds of America can with difficulty comprehend.  Such was the position of the contending parties towards the middle of May, when Gen. Proctor, despairing to effect the reduction of the fort, caused preparations to be made for the raising of the siege.  Accordingly the gun-boats ascended the river, and anchored under the batteries, the guns of which were conveyed on board under a heavy fire from the enemy.  The whole being secured, the expedition returned to Amherstburg; the Americans remained tranquil within their works, and suffered us to depart unmolested.

 

THE SECOND SIEGE OF FORT MEIGS.

 

Gen. Harrison having repaired the fort from the damage occasioned by the siege, left for the interior of the State to organize new levies, and entrusted command to Gen. Green Clay.  The enemy returned to Malden, where the Canadian militia were disbanded.  Shortly after commenced the second siege of Fort Meigs.

 

ON the 20th of July the boats of the enemy were discovered ascending the Miami to Fort Meigs, and the following morning a party of ten men were surprised by the Indians, and only three escaped death or capture.  The force which the enemy had now before the post was 5,000 men under Proctor and Tecumseh, and the number of Indians greater than any ever before assembled on any occasion during the war, while the defenders of the fort amounted to but a few hundred.

 

The night of their arrival Gen. Green Clay dispatched Capt. McCune, of the Ohio militia, to Gen. Harrison, at Lower Sandusky, to notify him of the presence of the enemy.  Capt. M’Cune was ordered to return and inform Gen. Clay to be particularly cautious against surprise, and that every effort would be made to relieve the fort.

 

It was Gen. Harrison’s intention, should the enemy lay regular siege to the fort, to reach select 400 men, and by an unfrequented route reach there in the night, and at any hazard break through the lines of the enemy.

 

Capt. M’cune was sent out a second time with the intelligence to Harrison that about 800 Indians had been seen from the fort, passing up the Miami, designing, it was supposed, to attack Fort Winchester at Defiance.  The general, however, believed it was a ruse of the enemy to cover their design upon Upper or Lower Sandusky, or Cleveland, and kept out a reconnoitering party to watch.

 

On the afternoon of the 25th Capt. M’Cune was ordered by Harrison to return to the fort, and inform Gen. Clay of his situation and intentions.  He arrived near the fort about daybreak on the following morning, having lost his way in the night, accompanied by James Doolan, a French Canadian.  They were just upon the point of leaving the forest and entering upon the cleared ground around the fort when they were intercepted by a party of Indians.  They immediately took to the high bank with their horses, and retreated at full gallop up the river for several miles, pursued by the Indians, also mounted, until they came to a deep ravine, putting up from the river in a southerly direction, when they turned upon the river bottom and continued a short distance, until they found their further progress in that direction stopped by an impassable swamp.  The Indians foreseeing their dilemma, from their knowledge of the country, and expecting that they would naturally follow up the ravine, galloped thither to head them off.  M’Cune guessed their intentions, and he and his companion turned back upon their own track for the fort, gaining, by this manoeuvre, several hundred yards upon their pursuers.  The Indians gave a yell of chagrin, and followed at their utmost speed.  Just as they neared the fort M’Cune dashed into a thicket across his course, on the opposite side of which other Indians were huddled, awaiting their prey.  When this body of Indians had thought them all but in their possession, again was the presence of mind of M’Cune signally displayed.  He wheeled his horse, followed by Doolan, made his way out of the thicket by the passage he had entered, and galloped round into the open space between them and the river, where the pursuers were checked by the fire from the block-house at the western angle of the fort.  In a few minutes after their arrival their horses dropped from fatigue.  The Indians probably had orders to take them alive, as they had not fired until just as they entered the fort; but in the chase M’Cune had great difficulty in persuading

 

 

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Doolan to reserve his fire until the last extremity, and they therefore brought in their pieces loaded.

 

The opportune arrival of M’Cune no doubt saved the fort, as the intelligence he brought was the means of preserving them from an ingeniously devised stratagem of Tecumseh, which was put into execution that day, and which we have to relate.

 

Towards evening the British infantry were secreted in the ravine below the fort, and the cavalry in the woods above, while the Indians were stationed in the forest, on the Sandusky road, not far from the fort.  About an hour before dark they commenced a sham battle among themselves, to deceive the Americans into a belief that a battle was going on between them and a reinforcement for the fort, in the hopes of enticing the garrison to the aid of their comrades.  It was managed with so much skill that the garrison instantly flew to arms, impressed by the Indians yells, intermingled with the roar of musketry, that a severe battle was being fought.  The officers even of the highest grades were of that opinion, and some of them insisted upon being suffered to march out to the rescue.  Gen. Clay, although unable to account for the firing, could not believe that the general had so soon altered his intention, as expressed to Capt. M’Cune, not to send or come with any troops to Fort Meigs, until there should appear further necessity for it.  The intelligence in a great measure satisfied the officers, but not the men, who were extremely indignant at being prevented from going to share the dangers of their commander-in-chief and brother soldiers, and perhaps had it not been for the interposition of a shower of rain, which soon put an end to the battle, the general might have been persuaded to march out, when a terrible massacre of the troops would have ensued.

 

The enemy remained around the fort but one day after this, and on the 28th, embarked with their stores and proceeded down the lake, and a few days after met with a severe repulse in their attempt to storm Fort Stephenson.

 

We are informed by a volunteer aid of Gen. Clay, who was in the fort at the second siege, that preparations were made to fire the magazine incase the enemy succeeded in an attempt to storm the fort, and thus involve all, friend and foe, in one common fate.  This terrible alternative was deemed better than to perish under the tomahawks and scalping knives of the savages.

 

The soldiers of the northwestern army, while at Fort Meigs and elsewhere on duty, frequently beguiled their time by singing patriotic songs.  A verse from one of them sufficiently indicates their general character:

 

Freemen, no longer bear such slaughter,

   Avenge your country’s cruel woe,

Arouse and save your wives and daughters,

   Arouse, and expel the faithless foe.

         Chorus—Scalps are bought at stated prices,

                       Malden pays the price in gold.

 

Perrysburg in 1816.—Perrysburg, the [former] county-seat, named from Com. Perry, is 123 miles northwest of Columbus, on the Maumee river, just below Fort Meigs.  It was laid out in 1816, at the head of navigation on the river.  It contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist and 1 Universalist church, 2 newspaper printing offices, 8 mercantile stores, and had, by the census of 1840, 1,041 inhabitants.  The building of steamers and sail vessels has been carried on here to a considerable extent.  A canal for hydraulic purposes has been constructed here.  It commences in the rapids of the Maumee, five miles above, and has eighteen feet fall, affording power sufficient to carry forty runs of stone.—Old Edition.

 

A correspondent, residing in Perrysburg, has communicated to us a sketch of the speculations which attracted so much attention to the Maumee valley at an early date.

 

The notable era of speculation, embracing 1834-6, and part of 1837, first attracted public attention to the Maumee valley as a commercial mart.  From the mouth of the river to the foot of the rapids the country swarmed with adventurers.  Those that did not regard any of the settlements (for neither of the beautiful villages of Toledo, Maumee or Perrysburg were more than settlements at that time) as the points designated by nature and legislation for the great emporium, purchased tracts of land lying between and below these towns, and laid out cities.  It would amuse one to take the recorded maps of some of these embryo cities, with the designated squares, parks and public buildings, and walk over the desolate sites of the cities themselves.  Manhattan, at the mouth of the river; Oregon, five miles above; Austerlitz, six miles, and Marengo, nine miles, were

 

 

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joint contenders, with the villages that have grown up, for the great prize.  They all had their particular advantages.  Manhattan based her claim upon the location at the exact debouchure of the river.  Oregon, in addition to all the advantages claimed by the other towns, added the facilities of the location for engaging in the pork business, and her leading proprietor, in a placard posted up publicly in 1836, professed his belief that these particular advantages were greater even than those enjoyed by the city of Cincinnati.  Marengo based her claims upon the fact that her location was at the foot of the rock bar, and therefore at the virtual head of navigation.  The result of all this was that hundreds of young men, from the east and south, flocked to this valley during the years above named with the hope of speedily amassing a fortune; and of this number it is not too much to say that full three-quarters, having no means at the commencement, and depending upon some bold stroke for success, left the valley before the close of the year 1837 hopelessly involved.  All these towns, some eleven, if I recollect rightly, in number, still form a part of the primeval forests of the Maumee, most of them, after ruining their proprietors, have been vacated, and the sounding names by which they were known are a by-word, a reproach, or the butt end of the coarse jokes of the more recent and fortunate adventurers in the valley.—Old Edition.

 

PERRYSBURG is thirteen miles north of Bowling Green, nine miles southwest of Toledo, at the head of navigation, on the Maumee river and D. & M. R. R.   It has 8 churches: 2 Presbyterian, 2 Lutheran, 2 Methodist, 1 Catholic, 1 Evangelical.  City Officers, 1888: J. H. PIERCE, mayor; T. B. OBLINGER, clerk; J. H. RHEINFRANK, treasurer; L. L. FINK, Marshal.  Newspaper: Journal, Independent, James TIMMONS, editor and publisher.  Bank: Citizens’ (N. L. Hanson & Co.), N. L. HANSON, cashier.

 

Manufactures and Employees.—Perrysburg Mill and Elevator, 3 hands; S. P. TOLMAN, baskets, etc., 6; H. M. HOOVER, hoops, 7.—State Report, 1888.

 

Population, in 1890, 1,747.  School census, 1888, 710; S. M. DICK, superintendent schools.  Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $20,535.  Value of annual product, $23,700.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.

 

The Spafford Exchange Hotel.This is a pleasant, well-shaded village.  The Maumee at this point is greatly expanded, embosoming an island in its centre.  The site is well shown by the old view taken in 1846.  It has a good public library, founded by a bequest of $15,000 from Willard D. WAY Esq., who died in 1875, and by various benefactions will long be remembered pleasantly by the citizens.  One of the curiosities of the place is the old hotel built in 1825 by Samuel SPAFFORD, and later called the Norton Exchange.  Many amusing scenes occurred in the early days of its history, when in court time the bench and bar for a large area of the country were accustomed to make it their social headquarters.

 

There is an interesting story told of a bell which once did good service for the proprietor.  The history of it is thus given in a late publication:

 

THE STORY OF A BELL.

 

At the top of the little hotel at Elmore, in the adjoining county of Ottawa, is a bell with a peculiar history.  It is now the property of Mr. D. B. DAY, the proprietor of the house, who takes a pride in reciting its origin and subsequent tribulations.  In 1825 Mr. SPAFFORD built a tavern in Perrysburg, once the site of old Fort Meigs, of the war of 1812 fame.

 

In those days a hotel was not complete without a bell to call the guests to their meals, swung on the top of the building.  Bell foundries were not so plentiful then as now, but after considerable inquiry Mr. SPAFFORD heard of a man in Detroit who cast bells.  Detroit, then in the Territory of Michigan, was quite a

 

 

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remote point, as distance was then calculated; but SPAFFORD had to have a bell, and he finally made his way thither to have it cast.  The bellman was found and the job undertaken, but when the foundry endeavored to make the cast, it was discovered that there was not metal enough.  Here was a dilemma, but SPAFFORD was equal to the emergency.  He took thirty-six Spanish dollars and threw them into the molten mass, and the bell was his.

 

With his treasure, worth almost its weight in gold, SPAFFORD returned to Perrysburg and hung the bell up in a tree in his yard, so that it might be investigated by the curious.  The Indians, who were then quite plentiful in and about Perrysburg, were caught by the novel attraction.  They climbed the tee where the bell was hung, and kept it ringing day and night until the thing became an intolerable nuisance, and SPAFFORD had about concluded to take it down when the Indians relieved him by stealing the bell and carrying it away.

 

This act made SPAFFORD furious, and he determined to recover it if it cost him his life.  Securing the services of Sam BRADY, an old scout who had killed a score or more of Indians, and Frank McCALLISTER, the first white man who had settled at Perrysburg, they started toward Upper Sandusky.  They traveled three days and nights, and on the morning of the fourth day, while they were eating breakfast, they heard the bell in the distance.

 

Hastily finishing their meal they hurried in the direction from whence the sound came, and soon beheld a sight that was laughable in the extreme.  The Indians had tied the bell around the neck of a pony, and the whole tribe, bucks, squaws, and youngsters armed with hickory switches, were running the poor animal around an open space at the top of its speed, meanwhile yelling like demons as an accompaniment to the furious ringing of the bell.

 

SPAFFORD and his companions made a charge on the crowd, and soon succeeded in driving the pony away from the village, where they could secure the bell without trouble, which they did, and got safely home without being pursued or having any fight with the Indians.  The bell was taken back to Perrysburg, where it remained for many years, performing the mission for which it was cast.  When Mr. SPAFFORD died, it became the property of his daughter, Mrs. DAY, whose husband is the hotel man at Elmore, and it still rings out as clearly, each meal time, as it did when it first came to Ohio.

 

BOWLING GREEN, county-seat of Wood, about 100 miles northwest of Columbus, twenty-one miles south of Toledo, is at the eastern terminus of the Bowling Green R. R. and on the T. C. & S. R. R.  Natural gas wells here have a flow of more than 25,000,000 cubic feet per day.  County officers, 18888: Auditor, John B. WILSON; Clerk, Alanson L. MUIR; Commissioners, Frank M. THOMPSON, Jacob STAHL, Edward B. BEVERSTOCK; Coroner, Andrew J. ORME; Infirmary Directors, Michael AMOS, Jr., Wilson PATTERSON, John ISCH, Jr.; Probate Judge, Frank M. YOUNG; Prosecuting Attorney, Robert S. PARKER; Recorder, Christopher FINKBEINER; Sheriff, Milton F. MILES; Surveyor, Ferdinand WENZ; Treasurer, William R. NOYES.  City officers, 1888: B. L. ABBOTT, Mayor; Ira C. TABER, Clerk; W. H. SMITH, Treasurer; Richard BIGGS, Marshal;  Newspapers: Wood County Democrat, Democratic, W. B. & R. T. DOBSON, editors;  Wood County Gazette, Republican, A. W. RUDOLPH, editor; Wood County Sentinel, Republican, M. P. BREWER, editor.  Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 United Brethren, 1 Methodist, 1 Baptist, 1 Catholic, and 1 Christian.  Banks: Commercial (Royce, Smith & Coon), W. H. SMITH, cashier.  Exchange (Reed & Merry), M. L. CASE, cashier.

 

Manufactures and Employees.—Crystal City Glass Co., bottles, etc., 95 hands; Buckeye Novelty Glass Co., flint glass goods, 74; J. R. HANKEY, sash, doors, etc., 20; J. H. BIGELOW, planing mill, 5; The Lythgoe Glass Co., glass hollow-ware, 109; Bowling Green Window Glass Co., window glass, 104; CRAMER & REIDER, flour, etc., 4; Bowling Green Machine Co., general machine work, 3; ROYCE & COON, grain elevator, etc., 5; ROYCE & COON, feed mill, 3.—State Report, 1888

 

 

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Population, 1880, 1,539.  School census, 1888, 774; D. E. NIVER, school superintendent.  Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $100,000.  Value of annual product, $100,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.  Census, 1890, 3,521.

 

GAS, OIL, LIME, ETC.

 

The city of Bowling Green is situated upon a slightly elevated plateau, in the centre of one of the best of agricultural regions.  Wood county, of which it is the county-seat, ranks as one of the most fertile in the State.  At the Centennial Exposition, held in Columbus in 1888, this county was awarded a prize of $500 for the finest exhibition of agricultural products.  As a result of the development of the oil and gas interests in Bowling Green and its vicinity, and the consequent location of manufacturing and other enterprises, the city had a phenomenal increase in population in a very short period of time.  Within two years more than 300 residences and business houses were built, and so rapidly filled with merchants, professional men and artisans, that the demand for homes and business locations remained larger than the supply.  Hotels, banks and schools were increased in capacity and number, and then were taxed to their utmost limits.  Within a few weeks, from having been a trading centre for an outlying farming district, the city became a commercial and manufacturing centre of great importance.

 

The principal Ohio gas measures begin at Bowling Green, and extend south for thirty miles or more, Findlay and Bowling Green being the two principal centres.  A straight line between these two points would intersect the oil and gas fields;  to the west of this line the drilling of a well would be quite certain to produce oil, while east of this line gas is almost sure to be struck.

 

Tributary to Bowling Green, and within Wood county, is the great North Baltimore oil field.  The first great flowing well in this field was struck in December, 1886, two miles north of North Baltimore.  It was known as the “Fulton well.”  Oil shot a hundred feet into the air, and flooded the land round about before provision could be made for storing it.  The output was a hundred barrels an hour.  The “Royce Gusher” was the next great well, and its first production was two hundred and forty barrels in fifty minutes.  Great excitement followed these discoveries, and all available lands were soon taken up by oil leases of prospectors and speculators.  Other wells of large capacity were rapidly developed, and a large part of the territory passed into the control of the Standard Oil Company, whose policy it is to limit supply.

 

The natural gas development in the central and southern townships of Wood county was as remarkable as those in oil.  Its abundance and cheapness brought to Bowling Green and also to North Baltimore a large number of manufacturing and other enterprises, notably glass factories, which were enabled to produce their goods from what was almost free raw material and free fuel.  Mines of valuable sand for glass manufacturing are located in Lucas county, near at hand.  The sand is of a superior quality and can be procured at a lower price than is paid in other localities.  The glass manufactories constitute the most important interest in Bowling Green.  They are five in number, employing more than five hundred workmen.  The most extensive of these establishments is a branch of the Canistota Glass Works of New York.

 

Another industry which has received a great impetus through the use of natural gas for fuel is that of lime burning.  A large part of Wood county is underlaid with magnesium limestone of a rich quality, and Bowling Green is fast becoming one of the greatest lime-producing centres of the West.  The stone and gas used to make the lime are both found within a few feet of the kilns.

 

With all the advantages accruing from the abundant supply of fuel and raw material in the vicinity of Bowling Green, its growth would not have reached such large proportions were it not for the enterprise and liberality of its citizens.

 

 

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Top Picture
Drawn by Henry Howe in 1846.
PERRYSBURG FROM MAUMEE CITY.

 

Bottom Picture
.R. P. Morrison, Photo., 1887
STREET VIEW IN BOWLING GREEN.

 

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In bringing these advantages to the notice of manufacturers, and in offering liberal inducements to such to locate in their community, the citizens acted with wisdom and foresight.  The people raised a large fund for this purpose, and the bureau for giving information to investors was overwhelmed with letters of inquiry; Mr. BREWER, of the Sentinel, personally answered more than five hundred.  While many of the towns of northwest Ohio lying within the natural gas and oil regions had a wonderfully rapid development in population, manufacturing and commercial interests as a result of the discoveries in oil and gas, probably in no other city was this more striking than in Bowling Green.

 

NORTH BALTIMORE is fifteen miles south of Bowling Green, on the B. & O., near the crossing of the T. C. & St. L. R. R.  It is in the great oil and gas centre of the State, and is a very prosperous, growing little city.  Newspapers: Beacon, Independent, G. W. WILKINSON, editor and publisher; Wood County News, A. B. SMITH, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 United Brethren, 1 Methodist Episcopal.  Bank: Peoples’, M. B. WALDS, cashier.

 

Manufactures and Employees.—The Dewey Stave Co., 27 hands; Enterprise Window Glass Co., 67; James HARDY & Co., general machine work, 6; ROCKWELL Brothers, flour, etc., 4; North Baltimore Bottle Glass Co., 94; A BARND, sash, doors, etc., 11.—State Report, 1888.

 

Population, 1880, 701. School census, 1888, 362. Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $20,000.  Value of annual product, $21,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.  Census, 1890, 2,857.

 

GRAND RAPIDS is twelve miles west of Bowling Green, on the Maumee river, the Miami & Erie Canal, and on the T. St. L. & K. C. R. R., which crosses the river by a fine iron bridge 900 feet long.  Newspaper: Triumph,  CROSBY & FREISS, editors and publishers.  Bank: George P. HINSDALE.  Churches: 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Catholic.  It was laid out in 1837, under the name of Gilead, at the head of the first or Grand Rapids of the Maumee.

 

Population, 1880, 332.  School census, 1888, 163.

 

FREEPORT P. O., Prairie Depot, is ten miles southeast of Bowling Green, on the O. C. R. R.

 

Population, 1880, 216.  School census, 1888, 204.

 

TONTOGANY is six miles northwest of Bowling Green, on the D. & M. and B. G. & T. R. R.  It has 1 Presbyterian, 1 Methodist Episcopal, and one Evangelical church.  School census, 1888, 114.

 

BRADNER is twelve miles southeast of Bowling Green, on the C. H. V. & T. R. R.  School census, 1888, 144.

 

PEMBERVILLE is nine miles east of Bowling Green, on the Portage river, and on the C. H. V. & T. & O. C. R. R.  Newspaper: Wood County Index, neutral, C. R. F. BERRY, editor.

 

Population, 1880, 644.  School census in 1888, 341.  John S. HOYMAN, superintendent of schools.  Capital invested in manufacturing establishments, $25,000.  Value of annual product, $26,000.—Ohio Labor Statistics, 1888.

 

WESTON is eight miles southwest of Bowling Green, on the C. H. & D. R. R.  Newspaper: Wood County Herald, Republican, S. E. BURSON, editor and publisher.  Churches: 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Catholic, 1 German Reformed.  Bank: Exchange (A. J. Munn & Co.), J. V. BEVERSTOCK, cashier.

 

Population, 1890, 845.  School census, 1888, 275.  A correspondent writes: “The rural district surrounding our village is specially adapted to agriculture, gardening being one of the chief pursuits.  Soil very fertile, and our county contains one of the largest oil and gas wells in the State.  Is bound to become the wealthiest in every respect of any county also in the State.”

 

HASKINS is on the right bank of the Maumee river, eight miles northwest of Bowling Green.

 

Population, 1880, 381.  School census, 188, 121.  I. N. VAN TASSEL, superintendent of schools.

 

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BAIRDSTOWN is sixteen miles southeast of Bowling Green, on the B. & O. R. R.  Newspapers: Times, independent, G. G. GRIMES, editor and publisher.

 

Population, about 350.

 

MILLBURY is eighteen miles northeast of Bowling Green, and eight miles southeast of Toledo, on the L. S. & M. S. R. R.

 

Population, 1880, 483.  School census, 1888, 106.  Census, 1890, 609.

 

JERRY CITY is ten miles southeast of Bowling Green.

 

Population, 1880, 234.  School census, 1888, 121.

 

RISING SUN is fourteen miles southeast of Bowling Green, on the C. H. V. & T. R. R.

Population, 1880, 344.




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