Northwest Indian War

The Northwest Indian War (1785–1795), also known as the Ohio War, Little Turtle's War, and by other names, was a war between the United States and a confederation of numerous Native American tribes, with support from the British, for control of the Northwest Territory. It followed centuries of conflict over this territory, first among Native American tribes, and then with the added shifting alliances among the tribes and the European powers of France and Great Britain, and their colonials.

Under the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain ceded to the U.S. "control" of what were known as the Ohio Country and the Illinois Country, which were occupied by numerous Native American peoples. Despite the treaty, the British kept forts there and continued policies that supported the Native Americans. With the encroachment of European settlers west of the Appalachians after the War, a Huron-led confederacy formed in 1785 to resist usurpation of Indian lands, declaring that lands north and west of the Ohio River were Indian territory. President George Washington directed the United States Army to enforce U.S. sovereignty over the territory. The U.S. Army, consisting mostly of untrained recruits and volunteer militiamen, suffered a series of major defeats, including the Harmar Campaign (1790) and St. Clair's Defeat (1791). About 1,000 soldiers and militiamen were killed and the United States forces suffered many more casualties than their opponents.

After St. Clair's disaster, Washington ordered Revolutionary War hero General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to organize and train a proper fighting force. Wayne took command of the new Legion of the United States late in 1792. After a methodical campaign up the Great Miami and Maumee River Valleys in western Ohio Country, he led his men to a decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near southwestern Lake Erie in 1794. Afterward he went on to establish Fort Wayne at the Miami capital of Kekionga, the symbol of U.S. sovereignty in the heart of Indian Country. The defeated tribes were forced to cede extensive territory, including much of present-day Ohio, in the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. The Jay Treaty in the same year arranged for cessions of British Great Lakes outposts on the great U.S. territory.

Northwest Indian War
Part of the American Indian Wars
Treaty of Greenville

This depiction of the Treaty of Greenville negotiations may have been painted by one of Anthony Wayne's officers.

United States victory

US occupation of the Northwest Territory
 United States
Western Confederacy
 Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
United States George Washington
United States Josiah Harmar
United States Arthur St. Clair
United States Anthony Wayne
United States James Wilkinson
Blue Jacket
Little Turtle
Kingdom of Great Britain Alexander McKillop
4,000 colonial militiamen 10,000 Native American warriors
1 British company
Casualties and losses
1,221 killed
458 wounded
1,000+ killed
Unknown wounded

Indian Country

Settlement west of the Appalachians brought about a collision of differing notions of land usage and ownership between Indians and whitemen. To the Indians, land belonged to all, and anyone could hunt or use it. Attempts to avoid conflict resulted in a succession of boundary lines being defined between Indian Country and whiteman's settlements.

Formation of the confederacy

NW Native Tribes, 1792
Map of Native tribes in the Northwest Territory

Co-operation among the Native American tribes forming the Western Confederacy had gone back to the French colonial era. It was renewed during the American Revolutionary War. The confederacy first came together in the autumn of 1785 at Fort Detroit, proclaiming that the parties to the confederacy would deal jointly with the United States, rather than individually. This determination was renewed in 1786 at the Wyandot (Huron) village of Upper Sandusky. The confederacy declared the Ohio River as the boundary between their lands and those of American settlers.

The confederacy was a loose association of primarily Algonquin-speaking tribes in the Great Lakes area. The Wyandot (Huron) were the nominal "fathers," or senior guaranteeing tribe of the confederacy, but the Shawnee and Miami provided the greatest share of the fighting forces. Other tribes in the confederacy included the Delaware, Council of Three Fires (Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi), Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, and Wabash Confederacy (Wea, Piankashaw, and others). In most cases, an entire tribe was not involved in the war; the Indian societies were generally not centralized. Villages and individual warriors and chiefs decided on participation in the war. Nearly 200 Cherokee warriors from two bands of the Overmountain Towns fought alongside the Shawnee from the inception of the Revolution through the years of the Indian Confederacy. In addition, the Chickamauga (Lower Town) Cherokee leader, Dragging Canoe, sent a contingent of warriors for a specific action.

Some warriors of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes from the southeast, which had been traditional enemies of the northwest tribes, served as scouts for the United States during these years.

British influence

Still opposed to the US, some British agents in the region sold weapons and ammunition to the Indians and encouraged attacks on American settlers.

British Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, was delighted with the United States' failures, and hoped for British involvement in the creation of a neutral barrier state between the United States and Canada.[1] In 1793, however, Simcoe abruptly changed policy and sought peace with the United States in order to avoid opening a new front in the French Revolutionary Wars.[2] Simcoe treated the United States commissioners - Benjamin Lincoln, Beverly Randolph, and Timothy Pickering - cordially when they arrived at Niagara in May 1793,[3] seeking an escort by way of the Great Lakes in order to avoid the fate of John Hardin and Alexander Truman in 1792.[4]

Course of the war

Map of the Northwest Indian War

Logan's Raid

War parties launched a series of isolated raids in the mid-1780s, resulting in escalating bloodshed and mistrust. In the fall of 1786, General Benjamin Logan led a force of Federal soldiers and mounted Kentucky militia against several Shawnee towns along the Mad River. These were defended primarily by noncombatants while the warriors were raiding forts in Kentucky. Logan burned the native towns and food supplies, and killed or captured numerous natives, including their chief Moluntha, who was murdered by one of Logan's men. Logan's raid and the execution of the chief embittered the Shawnees, who retaliated by escalating their attacks on American settlers.

Native American raids on both sides of the Ohio River resulted in increasing casualties. During the mid- and late-1780s, American settlers south of the Ohio River in Kentucky and travelers on and north of the Ohio River suffered approximately 1,500 casualties. Settlers retaliated with attacks on Indians.

Hardin's Defeat

In 1790, President George Washington and Secretary of War Henry Knox ordered General Josiah Harmar to launch the Harmar Campaign, a major western offensive into the Shawnee and Miami country. In October 1790, a force of 1,453 men under Harmar was assembled near present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana. Harmar committed only 400 of his men under Colonel John Hardin to attack a Native force of some 1,100 warriors, and Hardin was handily defeated in Hardin's Defeat. He lost at least 129 soldiers.[5][6]

St. Clair's Defeat

Washington ordered Major General Arthur St. Clair, who served as governor of the Northwest Territory, to mount a more vigorous effort by Summer 1791. After considerable trouble finding men and supplies, St. Clair was somewhat ready, but the troops had received little training. At dawn on 4 November 1791, St. Clair's force, accompanied by about 200 camp followers, was camped near where Fort Recovery, Ohio is now, with weak defenses set up on the perimeter. A Native American force of about 2,000 warriors, led by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, struck quickly. Surprising the Americans, they soon overran the poorly prepared perimeter. The barely trained recruits panicked and were slaughtered in St. Clair's Defeat, along with many of their officers, who frantically tried to restore order and stop the rout. The American casualty rate was 69%, based on the deaths of 632 of the 920 soldiers and officers, with 264 wounded. Nearly all of the 200 unarmed camp followers were slaughtered, for a total of about 832 deaths—the highest United States losses in any of its battles with Native Americans.[7][8]

Fort Jefferson

In January 1792, Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkinson assumed command of the Second Regiment United States Army at Fort Washington,[9] and constructed Fort St. Clair to improve communications and logistics between Fort Hamilton and Fort Jefferson.[10] The three forts were garrisoned with less than 150 men each, including infirmed soldiers and servants.[11] On 11 June 1792, a force of about 15 Shawnee and Delaware attacked the northern-most outpost, Fort Jefferson, while the detachment there was cutting hay. Four soldiers were killed and left in the hay and 15 were captured. Eleven of the captives, including the sergeant in charge, were later killed, and the four remaining soldiers were sent to a Chippewa village.[12] On 29 September, several soldiers were killed while guarding cattle at Fort Jefferson.[12]

In the summer of 1792, after the discovery of United States espionage operations,[13] Washington's sent out Peace emissaries; one was Major Alexander Truman,[14] his servant William Lynch and guide/interpreter William Smalley. Truman and Lynch were killed; Truman was apparently killed prior to April 20, 1792 at what later became Ottawa, Putnam County Ohio.[15] A similar mission in May 1792 under Colonel John Hardin also ended in Hardin and his servant Freeman being murdered in Shelby County on the site of Hardin, Ohio when they were mistaken for spies.

Councils on the Auglaize and Sandusky

Seneca Chief Cornplanter was a leader of the moderate faction at the 1792 Grand Council on the Auglaize River

Meanwhile, Native American tribes debated whether to continue the war or sue for peace while they had the advantage. A Grand Council was called, and several nations met at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers in Sept. 1792.[16] Alexander McKee represented British interests and arrived in late September. For a week in October, pro-war factions, especially Simon Girty, the Shawnee, and Miami, debated moderate factions, especially the Six Nations represented by Cornplanter and Red Jacket.[17] The Council agreed that the Ohio River must remain the boundary of the United States, that the forts in the Ohio Country must be destroyed, and that they would meet with the United States at the Lower Sandusky River in spring 1793.[18] The United States received the demands of the Grand Council with indignation, but Henry Knox agreed to send treaty commissioners to the 1793 council and suspend all offensive operations until that time.[19]

The 1793 Sandusky River council was delayed until late in July. At the council, disagreement broke out between Shawnee and the Six Nations. The Shawnee and Delaware insisted that the United States recognize the 1768 Fort Stanwix Treaty between the Six Nations and Great Britain, which set the Ohio River as a boundary. Joseph Brant countered that the Six Nations had nothing to gain from this demand and refused to concede. The U.S. commissioners argued that it would be too expensive to move white settlers who had already established homesteads north of the Ohio River.[20] On 13 August, the Council (without the Six Nations) sent a declaration to the U.S. commissioners, contesting U.S. claims to any lands above the Ohio since they were based on treaties made with nations that did not live there, and with money that had no value to the Native tribes. The council proposed that the U.S. relocate white settlers using the money that would have been used to buy Ohio lands and pay the Legion of the United States.[21] The council ended with discord among the confederacy, and the commissioners wrote to Henry Knox that they had failed to secure a peace in the Northwest.

On 11 September 1793, William Wells arrived at Fort Jefferson with news of the Grand Council's failure, and with a warning that a force of over 1500 warriors was ready to attack Fort Jefferson and the Legion of the United States.[22]

Raid on camp St. Clair

In November 1792, following the decision of the Auglaize Grand Council, Little Turtle led a force of 200 Miami and Shawnee past Fort Jefferson and Fort St. Clair, and reached Fort Hamilton on 3 November in time to attack close to the United States settlements on the anniversary of St. Clair's Defeat. They captured two prisoners and learned that a large convoy of packhorses had left for Fort Jefferson and was due back in a matter of days. Little Turtle moved north and found the convoy, nearly 100 horses and 100 Kentucky militia led by Major John Adair, camped just outside Fort St. Clair.[23] Little Turtle attacked at dawn, just as Major Adair recalled his sentries. The militia conducted an organized retreat to the fort, losing six killed and four missing, while another five were wounded. Major Adair later criticized Fort St. Clair's commandant, Captain Bradley, for his failure to come to their aid.[24] Little Turtle's force lost two warriors, but captured the camp and all provisions. All horses were killed, wounded, or driven off; only 23 were later recovered. Wilkinson considered the horses to be a loss that would make the advanced forts un-defendable.[25]

Legion of the United States

After St Clair's disaster, Washington ordered General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to form a well-trained force and put an end to the situation. Wayne accepted the appointment in 1792 and took command of the new Legion of the United States later that year, taking time to train and supply the new Army while the United States negotiated terms of peace. In the spring of 1793, Wayne moved the Legion from Pennsylvania downriver to Fort Washington, at a camp Wayne named Hobson's Choice because they had no other options.[26] In the meantime, peace negotiations were scheduled to resume at the Sandusky River, but the Indian delegation did not arrive until late in July.

Upon news of the Grand Council's failure in September, Wayne advanced his troops north into Indian held territory. In November, the Legion built a new fort north of Fort Jefferson, which Wayne named Fort Greeneville on 20 November 1793 in honor of General Nathanael Greene.[27] The Legion wintered here, but Wayne dispatched a detachment of about 300 men on 23 December to quickly build Fort Recovery on the site of St. Clair's defeat and recover the cannons lost there in 1791.[28] By June 1794, the Legion at Fort Recovery had recovered four copper cannons (two six-pound and two three-pound), two copper howitzers, and one iron carronade.[29]

That same month, an American Indian force of over 1,200 warriors under the nominal command of the Odawa Bear Chief[30] and British officers arrived at Fort Recovery with powder and shot, intent on recovering the same cannons. The force destroyed an escort and captured or scattered several hundred pack horses used for supply convoys, but failed to capture the fort, which was defended by artillery, dragoons, and Chickasaw scouts.[31][Note 1] The British officers recovered one cannon, but were unable to utilize it; one later stated that "had we two barrels of powder, Fort Recovery would have been in our possession with the help of St. Clair's cannon."[32] Those defending the fort suffered 23 killed, 29 wounded, and three captured.[33] Estimates of the Native Nations casualties range from 17 to 50 killed, and perhaps 100 wounded, some of whom later died of their wounds.[34]

Battle of Fallen Timbers

Wayne's well-trained Legion advanced deeper into the territory of the Wabash Confederacy and arrived in the Maumee Valley early in Aug. 1794. Blue Jacket assumed overall command, but the Indian forces were defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers August 20, 1794. The battle was very short, only an hour. Blue Jacket's warriors fled from the battlefield to regroup at British-held Fort Miamis. However, they found themselves locked out of the fort. Britain and the United States were by then reaching a close rapprochement to counter Jacobin France during the French Revolution. Wayne's army encamped for three days in the area, during which time they destroyed Indian villages and crops in the region of the fort.

Treaty of Greenville and Jay Treaty

Greenville Treaty Line Map
The border between Ohio and the Indiana Territory closely followed the Greenville Treaty Line.

In 1795 the United States ratified two treaties that recognized the changes in power. By the Treaty of Greenville, signed by President Washington on 22 December 1795,[35] the northwest Native American tribes were forced to cede southern and eastern Ohio and various tracts of land around forts and settlements in Illinois Country; to recognize the U.S., rather than Britain, as the ruling power in the Old Northwest; and to surrender ten chiefs as hostages until all American prisoners were returned. Also that year, the United States negotiated the Jay Treaty with Great Britain, which required British withdrawal from the Great Lakes forts while opening up some British territory in the Caribbean for American trade.


Most of the western forts were abandoned in 1796; Fort Washington, the last, was moved across the Ohio River to Kentucky in 1803 and became the Newport Barracks. General Wayne supervised the surrender of British posts in the Northwest Territory, but suffered a severe attack of gout and died on 15 December 1796, one year after the ratification of the Treaty of Greenville.[36]

After the end of hostilities, large numbers of United States settlers migrated to the Northwest Territory. Five years after the Treaty of Greenville, the territory was split into Ohio and Indiana Territory, and in February 1803, the State of Ohio was admitted to the Union.[37] The border between Ohio and the Indiana Territory closely followed the line of advanced forts and the Greenville Treaty Line.

Several veterans of the Northwest Indian War are known for their later achievements, including William Henry Harrison, William Clark and Meriwether Lewis,[38] and Tecumseh.

Future Native American resistance movements were unable to form a union matching the size or capability seen during the Northwest Indian War. In 1805, Tenskwatawa began a traditionalist movement that rejected United States practices. His followers settled at Prophetstown in Indiana Territory, leading to Tecumseh's War and the Northwest theater of the War of 1812.

Key figures

United States

Little Turtle
Little Turtle (Michikinikwa)
Anthony Wayne, uniform
Major General Anthony Wayne, 1795
  • Henry Knox, Secretary of War
  • Josiah Harmar, Brigadier General in command during the 1790 Harmar Campaign
  • Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory and Major General at St. Clair's Defeat
  • Anthony Wayne, Major General in command of Legion of the United States at the Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Charles Scott, Brigadier General commanding the Kentucky militia during Wayne's campaign
  • James Wilkinson, Lieutenant Colonel in command of Fort Washington and Wayne's second in command

Indian Confederacy

British Empire

  • Sir Guy Carleton Commander-in-Chief of British North America
  • William Campbell, British Major in command of Fort Miamis
  • John Graves Simcoe Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada
  • Alexander McKee British Agent to the Western Confederacy and Colonel in the Indian Department

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ An unknown number of Chickasaw and Choctaw warriors got behind the Native American at Fort Recovery and shot a number of Chippewa and Ottawa in the back. They escaped without being identified, which caused a considerable amount of distrust between the various nations within the Native American confederacy. See Gaff (2004) pp. 247–248.
  1. ^ Sword (1985), p. 229.
  2. ^ Sword (1985), p. 231.
  3. ^ Sword (1985), p. 238-40.
  4. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 105.
  5. ^ "Harmar's Defeat". Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  6. ^ Drake (1901), p. 173-5.
  7. ^ Edel (1997).
  8. ^ Roosevelt (1806).
  9. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 9.
  10. ^ Sword (1985), p. 218.
  11. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 13.
  12. ^ a b Sword (1985), p. 219.
  13. ^ Sword (1985), p. 211-12.
  14. ^ Heitman, F.B. (1914). Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April 1775, to December, 1783. Rare book shop publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 549. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  15. ^ Find a grave memorial for Alexander Truman
  16. ^ Sword (1985), p. 223.
  17. ^ Sword (1985), p. 226-7.
  18. ^ Sword (1985), p. 227.
  19. ^ Sword (1985), p. 228.
  20. ^ Sword (1985), p. 240-45.
  21. ^ Sword (1985), p. 246.
  22. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 149-50.
  23. ^ Sword (1985), p. 220.
  24. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 86.
  25. ^ Sword (1985), p. 221.
  26. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 109-110.
  27. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 173-175.
  28. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 184.
  29. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 234.
  30. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 241.
  31. ^ Gaff (2004), pp. 242-250.
  32. ^ Sword (1985), p. 276.
  33. ^ Winkler (2013), p. 53.
  34. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 250-2.
  35. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 366.
  36. ^ Gaff (2004), p. 367.
  37. ^ An act to provide for the due execution of the laws of the United States, within the state of Ohio, ch. 7, 2 Stat. 201 (February 19, 1803).
  38. ^ "Meriwether Lewis". Virginia Center for Digital History. Retrieved 29 November 2015.


  • Dowd, Gregory Evans (1992). A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University.
  • Drake, Samuel Adams (1901) [1899]. The Making of the Ohio Valley States: 1660-1837. ISBN 978-1-58218-422-7.
  • Edel, Wilbur (1997). Kekionga! The Worst Defeat in the History of the U.S. Army. Westport: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 978-0-275-95821-3. LCCN 96-42274.
  • Gaff, Alan D. (2004). Bayonets in the Wilderness. Anthony Waynes Legion in the Old Northwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3585-9.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore (1896). St. Clair's Defeat, 1791. Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Convention Bureau.
  • Skaggs, David Curtis, ed. (1977). The Old Northwest in the American Revolution. Madison, Wisconsin: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin. ISBN 0-87020-164-6.
  • Sword, Wiley (1985). President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790-1795. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2488-1.
  • Winkler, John F. (2013). Fallen Timbers 1794: The US Army's First Victory. Illustrated by Peter Dennis. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781780963754. Retrieved 22 November 2015.

Further reading

External links

Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne (January 1, 1745 – December 15, 1796) was a United States Army officer and statesman. He adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the nickname Mad Anthony. He served as the Senior Officer of the Army and led the Legion of the United States.

Wayne was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and he worked as a tanner and surveyor after attending the College of Philadelphia. He won election to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and helped raise a Pennsylvania militia unit in 1775. During the Revolutionary War, he served in the Invasion of Quebec, the Philadelphia campaign, and the Yorktown campaign. His reputation suffered due to his defeat in the Battle of Paoli, but he won wide praise for his leadership in the 1779 Battle of Stony Point.

After the war, Wayne settled in Georgia on land that had been granted to him for his military service. He briefly represented Georgia in the United States House of Representatives, then returned to the Army to accept command of the Northwest Indian War. His forces defeated several Indian tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and the subsequent Treaty of Greenville ended the war.

Wayne died in 1796 while on active duty. Various places and things have been named after him, including the cities of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Waynesboro, Virginia, and Waynesboro, Georgia, as well as Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Battle of Fallen Timbers

The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794) was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between Native American tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and a British company, against the United States for control of the Northwest Territory. The battle took place amid trees toppled by a tornado just north of the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio at the site of the present-day city of Maumee. Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States along with Gen. Charles Scott's Kentucky Militia were victorious against a combined Native American force of Shawnee under Blue Jacket, Miami under Little Turtle, and numerous others. The battle ended major hostilities in the region. This resulted in British and Indian withdrawal from the southern Great Lakes, western Ohio and northeastern Indiana following the Treaty of Greenville and Jay's Treaty.

Battle of Kenapacomaqua

The Battle of Kenapacomaqua, also called the Battle of Old Town, was a raid in 1791 by United States forces under the command of Lieutenant Colonel (later Brigadier General) James Wilkinson on the Miami (Wea) town of Kenapacomaqua on the Eel River, approximately six miles upstream from present-day Logansport, Indiana.

Benjamin Van Cleve

Benjamin Van Cleve (February 24, 1773 – November 29, 1821) was a pioneer settler of Dayton, Ohio in the United States. He held several offices in the town.

Benjamin Van Cleve was the oldest child of John and Catherine Benham Van Cleve of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Three siblings were born at Monmouth County in the 1770s. Two other siblings were born when the family lived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in the 1780s. The family moved west and arrived at Cincinnati, Northwest Territory on January 3, 1790.In Cincinnati, John Van Cleve was a blacksmith and farmed, until 1791, when he was killed outside Cincinnati by Native Indians. Mrs. Van Cleve married again, and had two more children before moving to Dayton. Benjamin Van Cleve was employed by his uncle Capt. Robert Benham between 1791 and 1794 during the Northwest Indian War. As part of his duties, he escorted pack horses to Arthur St. Clair's army, and witnessed his defeat.Van Cleve was present when Colonel Ludlow surveyed Dayton, and was one of the first settlers in Dayton on April 1, 1796. He assisted Ludlow and William G. Schenck that year as they surveyed the United States Military District in east-central Ohio. Van Cleve was married August 28, 1800, to Mary Whitten, in the first marriage in the settlement. He was the first postmaster, first school teacher, and first clerk of the court in Dayton, serving as clerk until his death in Dayton in 1821. He was one of the incorporators of the Dayton Library in 1805, and was appointed by the Ohio Legislature as a member of the first board of trustees of Miami University in 1809.Van Cleve's wife birthed five children between 1801 and 1809, and died December 28, 1810. Van Cleve married Mary Tamplin March 10, 1812. He was Presbyterian by faith. His son, John W. Van Cleve, was mayor of Dayton in the 1830s.Benjamin Van Cleve's Mother, Catherine Benham Van Cleve, was likely the sister of Northwest Territory politician Captain Robert Benham.

Blue Jacket

Blue Jacket or Weyapiersenwah (c. 1743 – 1810) was a war chief of the Shawnee people, known for his militant defense of Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country. Perhaps the pre-eminent American Indian leader in the Northwest Indian War, in which a pantribal confederacy fought several battles with the nascent United States, he was an important predecessor of the famous Shawnee leader Tecumseh.

Connecticut Western Reserve

The Connecticut Western Reserve was a portion of land claimed by the Colony of Connecticut and later by the state of Connecticut in what is now mostly the northeastern region of Ohio. The Reserve had been granted to the Colony under the terms of its charter by King Charles II.Connecticut relinquished claim to some of its western lands to the United States in 1786 following the American Revolutionary War and preceding the 1787 establishment of the Northwest Territory. Despite ceding sovereignty to the United States, Connecticut retained ownership of the eastern portion of its cession, south of Lake Erie. It sold much of this "Western Reserve" to a group of speculators who operated as the Connecticut Land Company; they sold it in portions for development by new settlers. The phrase Western Reserve is preserved in numerous institutional names in Ohio, such as Western Reserve Academy, Case Western Reserve University, and Western Reserve Hospital.

Ebenezer Denny

Ebenezer Denny (March 11, 1761 – July 21, 1822) was a soldier during the American Revolutionary War whose journal is one of the most frequently quoted accounts of the surrender of the British at the siege of Yorktown. Denny later served as the first Mayor of Pittsburgh, from 1816 to 1817.

Fort Jefferson (Ohio)

Fort Jefferson was a fortification erected by soldiers of the United States Army in Oct. 1791 during the Northwest Indian War. Built to support a military campaign, it saw several years of active fighting. Today, the fort site is a historic site.

Fort Miami (Indiana)

Fort Miami, originally called Fort St. Philippe or Fort des Miamis, was the name of a pair of French palisade forts built at Kekionga, a large Miami Indian village founded where the St. Joseph River and St. Marys River merge to form the Maumee River in northeastern Indiana, near the Ohio border.

In 1715, the French had located a trading post in the Miami capital village of Kekionga.

The Miami refused to abandon their village and move farther West, away from encroaching British traders, so Governor Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil authorized Jean Baptiste Bissot to build a strong fort to protect the trade routes of New France. The first fort was built in 1722.

The original fort served as a successful trading post until 1747, when English-allied Huron warriors under Chief Nicholas found it undermanned—the commandant, Ensign Douville, and most of the soldiers were away at Fort Detroit. The fort was sacked and burned to the ground.In Summer 1749, a force of French and Indians under Captain Pierre Blainville rebuilt the fort. This second fort survived the French and Indian War, but it was attacked in 1752, and two soldiers from the French garrison were caught outside the fort and killed. In November 1760, at the close of the French and Indian War, the French garrison formally surrendered Fort Miami to Ensign Holmes of the Kingdom of Great Britain. The British soon lost control of the fort in 1763, during Pontiac's Rebellion, and the fort was destroyed by the Indians.

The British refortified the town, and the trading post again became successful. It was sacked in 1780 by a force under Augustin de La Balme, a French cavalry officer who came to the new United States of America to assist with the American Revolutionary War. The force raided the stores, but was soon destroyed by Miami Chief Little Turtle, and the goods were returned. The coalition at Kekionga remained true to their British allies even after the area was ceded to the United States at the close of the war. It therefore became a target of American armies, leading to several noteworthy Indian victories now known as the Northwest Indian War. One such battle, Hardin's Defeat (1790), occurred within sight of the fort.

The Northwest Indian War ended with the Battle of Fallen Timbers, where General Anthony Wayne finally achieved an American victory. A new fort was built on the location and occupied by forces under Gen. Wayne in Sept.-Oct., 1794, and rechristened Fort Wayne, the fort which gave the name to the settlement and became the modern city of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Fort Wayne (fort)

Fort Wayne on a portion of what is now Fort Wayne, Indiana, was a series of three successive military log stockades (forts) existing between 1794 and 1819 in the Miami Indian village of Kekionga on the portage between the St. Mary's and St. Joseph Rivers in northeastern Indiana near the Ohio border. The first fort with that name was built in 1794 by Captain Jean François Hamtramck under orders from General "Mad" Anthony Wayne as part of the campaign against the Miami Indians during the Northwest Indian War. It was named after General Wayne, who was victorious at the just prior Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne may have chosen the name himself—the fort was dedicated the day after he left it. The fort was officially occupied by the army on October 21, 1794. The fort was a basic stockade with few buildings, and was located near the present intersection of Berry and Clay streets.

The fort was constructed to secure gains in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and saw service in the war of 1812. After the war, settlements started growing up around the fort.

The fort was abandoned in 1819 with cessation of Indian hostilities and the modern city of Fort Wayne was platted in 1823. A replica of the fort as it existed in 1815 (called The Old Fort) was created in a different location in the city, and is a tourist attraction today.

George Madison

George Madison (June 1763 – October 14, 1816) was the sixth Governor of Kentucky. He was the first governor of Kentucky to die in office, serving only a few weeks in 1816. Little is known of Madison's early life. He was a member of the influential Madison family of Virginia, and was a second cousin to President James Madison. He served with distinction in three wars – the Revolutionary War, Northwest Indian War, and War of 1812. He was twice wounded in the Northwest Indian War, and in the War of 1812 he was taken prisoner following the Battle of Frenchtown in Michigan.

Madison's political experience before becoming governor consisted of a twenty-year tenure as state auditor. Although his military service made him extremely popular in Kentucky, he sought no higher office until the citizens insisted he run for governor in 1816. James Johnson, his only challenger in the race, dropped out early due to Madison's overwhelming popularity, and Madison was elected without opposition. A few weeks later, he became the first Kentucky governor to die in office. Opponents of his lieutenant governor, Gabriel Slaughter, mounted a popular but unsuccessful challenge to Slaughter's succeeding Madison in office.

Harmar Campaign

The Harmar Campaign was an attempt by the United States, in the fall of 1790, to subdue Native Americans in the Northwest Territory who were seeking to expel American settlers they saw as interlopers in their territory.

The campaign was led by General Josiah Harmar and is considered an early part of the Northwest Indian War. The campaign consisted of a series of battles that were all overwhelming victories for the Native Americans, and the collective losses are sometimes referred to as Harmar's Defeat.

John Armstrong (frontiersman)

John Armstrong (April 20, 1755 – February 4, 1816) was an American soldier and judge. He was born in New Jersey. During the American Revolutionary War he served as an officer in the Continental Army with the 12th Pennsylvania Regiment and the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment. His service record is sometimes confused with the more famous John Armstrong, Jr., a Pennsylvania officer who became U.S. Secretary of War.

Armstrong rejoined the United States Army in 1784 and served during the Northwest Indian War. In 1790, General Josiah Harmar sent him on an exploration mission in the Northwest Territory. Later that year he led a detachment of regular soldiers that accompanied Kentucky militia under Colonel John Hardin in an expedition to attack a Native American village on the Eel River. The Americans were ambushed in the battle; the militia fled and Armstrong barely escaped with his life. He resigned from the Army in March 1793.

After the war, he served as treasurer of the Northwest Territory, a judge in Hamilton County, Ohio, and as magistrate in Columbia, Ohio. He spent his final years in Clark County, Indiana, where he died.

List of battles fought in Indiana

This is an incomplete list of all military confrontations that have occurred within the boundaries of the modern U.S. State of Indiana since European contact. The French first entered Indiana c. 1670. The region was part of New France from 1679–1763, ruled by Great Britain from 1763–1783, and part of the United States of America 1783–present.

There have been several wars that have directly affected the region, including Beaver Wars (c 1590–1701), Queen Anne's War (1702–1713), King George's War (1744–1748), French and Indian War (1754–1763), American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), Northwest Indian War (1785–1795), Tecumseh's War (1811–1812), War of 1812 (1812–1814), and the American Civil War (1860–1865). Later wars, including World War I and World War II led to the death of tens of thousands of Hoosiers overseas, but the American Civil War was the last war in which an actual battle occurred within Indiana.

Ohio Country

The Ohio Country (sometimes called the Ohio Territory or Ohio Valley by the French) was a name used in the mid to late 18th century for a region of North America west of the Appalachian Mountains and north of the upper Ohio and Allegheny Rivers extending to Lake Erie. The area encompassed roughly all of present-day Ohio, northwestern West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, and a wedge of southeastern Indiana.

This area was disputed in the 17th century by the Iroquois and other Native American tribes, and then by France and Great Britain in the mid-18th century. During British sovereignty, several minor "wars" including Pontiac's Rebellion and Dunmore's war were fought here. Ohio Country became part of unorganized U.S. territory in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. It was one of the first frontier regions of the United States. Several colonial states had conflicting claims to portions of it, including Connecticut, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. In 1787, it became part of the larger organized Northwest Territory.

Simon Kenton

Simon Kenton (April 3, 1755 – April 29, 1836) was a United States frontiersman and soldier in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. He was a friend of Daniel Boone, Simon Girty, Spencer Records, Thomas S. Hinde, Thomas Hinde, and Isaac Shelby. He served the United States in the Revolution, the Northwest Indian War and the War of 1812. Surviving the gauntlet and ritual torture, in 1778 he was adopted into the Shawnee people. He married twice and had a total of ten children.

Treaty of Greenville

The Treaty of Greenville, formally titled Treaty with the Wyandots, etc., was a 1795 treaty between the United States and Indians of the Northwest Territory including the Wyandot and Delaware, which redefined the boundary between Indian lands and Whiteman's lands in the Northwest Territory.

It was signed at Fort Greenville, now Greenville, Ohio, on August 3, 1795, following the Native American loss at the Battle of Fallen Timbers a year earlier. It ended the Northwest Indian War in the Ohio Country, limited Indian Country to northwestern Ohio, and began the practice of annual payments following land concessions. The parties to the treaty were a coalition of Native American tribes known as the Western Confederacy, and the United States government represented by General Anthony Wayne and local frontiersmen.

The treaty became synonymous with the end of the frontier in the Northwest Territory.

Western Confederacy

The Western Confederacy, or Western Indian Confederacy, was a loose confederacy of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region of the United States following the American Revolutionary War. The confederacy was also sometimes known as the Miami Confederacy, as many federal officials at the time overestimated the influence and numerical strength of the Miami tribe within the confederation. The confederacy, which had its roots in pan-tribal movements dating to the 1740s, came together in an attempt to resist the expansion of the United States, and the encroachment of American settlers, into the Northwest Territory after Great Britain ceded the region to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The resistance resulted in the Northwest Indian War (1785–1795), which ended with an American military victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. (Though it was rekindled by Tenskwatawa, known as The Prophet, and his brother Tecumseh.)

Although many of the native peoples had fought in the Revolutionary War as British allies, Great Britain made no mention of their allies in the Treaty of Paris. According to Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief who was one of the early architects of the confederacy, the British had "sold the Indians to Congress." The confederacy first came together in 1786 at a conference at the Wyandot town of Upper Sandusky, with the intention of forming a common front in dealing with the Americans. After 1792, the confederacy received support from John Graves Simcoe, the British lieutenant governor of Upper Canada.

Members of many different tribes were involved in the Western Confederacy. However, because most tribes were not centralized political units at the time, involvement in the confederacy was usually on a village rather than a tribal basis. The confederacy consisted of members of the following tribes:




Lenape (Also known as the Delaware)

Council of Three Fires (Potawatomi, Odawa, and Ojibwe)

Wabash Confederacy (Wea, Piankashaw, and others)

Sauk and Meskwaki

Six Nations (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Tuscarora, and smaller groups like the Tutelo and Nanticoke)

Seven Nations of Canada (Mohawk, Algonquin, Nipissing, Abenaki, and Wendat)

Illini Confederacy (Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Peoria, and others)

Mingo (Trans-Appalachian Cayuga and Seneca splinter groups)


KickapooThe Confederacy was also periodically supported by communities and warriors from west of the Mississippi River and south of the Ohio River, including the Dakota, Chickamauga Cherokee, and Upper Creek.

William Clark

William Clark (August 1, 1770 – September 1, 1838) was an American explorer, soldier, Indian agent, and territorial governor. A native of Virginia, he grew up in prestatehood Kentucky before later settling in what became the state of Missouri. Clark was a planter and slaveholder.Along with Meriwether Lewis, Clark helped lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806 across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, and claimed the Pacific Northwest for the United States. Before the expedition, he served in a militia and the United States Army. Afterward, he served in a militia and as governor of the Missouri Territory. From 1822 until his death in 1838, he served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

Northwest Indian War

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