The Battleground State of Ohio

November 9th, 2012

Much like this election season, in 1794 Ohio was a battleground state. But in a different way. There American settlers and Native Americans clashed over land rights.

In October of 1794 The Northwest Indian War had been fought for the previous nine years and after the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20 of that year the Chief of the Wyandots sought peace.

In this war native tribes banded together to prevent American settlers from entering their land. These tribes, who called themselves the Western Confederacy, were the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Miami, Wea, Kickapoo, and Kaskaskia. The Ohio lands they sought to defend had been guaranteed to them by the British Empire with the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768. But following the American Revolution, the U.S. felt that this treaty was no longer applicable and settlers sought out lands in the Ohio River valley.  American settler’s intrusion into native lands sparked the war in 1785.

It had been a long war and after the loss at Fall Timbers the Wyandots wanted peace. The Wyandot Chief knew that he could not negotiate a full peace without the other native tribes, but wanted a truce all the same. This was a divisive move amongst the natives, but the Wyandots sought to at least guarantee a ceasefire on the land west of the Ohio River until a formal treaty could be drawn up.

Later a full peace would be negotiated with the Treaty of Greenville in August of 1795.  At this time the natives would loose large tracts of land, which include present day Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago. But for now the Chief of the Wyandots moved his people west of the Ohio, and waited for peace.

Check out the full document here.