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Describes Activity Surrounding Fort Harmar, French Creek, Preparations for Indian Treaty

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionWestern Reserve Historical Society History Library: Alfred T. Goodman Papers view image
CollectionPrinted Version only (no image)
PublicationSmith, William Henry, ed. The St. Clair Papers, The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair. N.p. 1881. Reprinted Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1970. (no image)
Document Information
Date June 15, 1788
Author Name Josiah Harmar (primary) Location: Fort Harmar
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary)
Summary Describes journey to French Creek and Captain Heart's work on his garrison and with the Seneca and Munsee. Describes geography. Discusses efforts to prepare for treaty. Refers to provisions and supplies and transportation by public expense. Reports numbers of boats and emigrants to pass through. Discusses land reserved by Congress and the lower land. Mentions dismantling of Fort McIntosh. Compares troops raised by New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut. Reports attack of Wabash Indians, death of 2 men. Hopes to recruit good men soon. Discusses supplies, arms, accoutrements. Seeks outcome of treaty to know how to manage posts. Wishes the best for the Ohio Company.
Document Format Extract of Letter
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; Josiah Harmar; Captain Heart; Seneca; Munsee; Indians; Arthur St. Clair; Major Doughty; Governor; Contractors; Bartholomew Tardiveau; Congress; Turnbull; Marmie; Messrs Turnbull, Marmie & Co; Britt; late army; Major Wyllys; General Clark; Major Hamtramck; Lieutenant Armstrong; Subaltern; Privates; Legislature of New York; officers; State Commissioners; Council; Lieutenant Spear; vagabonds; Wabash; recruiting officer; Captain Ashton; Captain Smith; Governor of the Western Territory; Dancan; Duncan; Lieutenant Beatty; Colonel Olney; Ohio Company;
Related Places Fort Harmar; Fort Pitt; Allegheny River; French Creek; Ohio River; Venango; Lake Erie; Ligonier; falls of the Muskingum; Muskingum River; Mississippi River; American side; Spanish side; American Villages; Spanish Villages; Post Vincennes; rapids; Rapids of the Ohio; Wabash River; Kaskaskias; Limestone; Illinois River; Franklin; Fort McIntosh; Big Beaver; New York; Pennsylvania; frontier; Connecticut; Illinois country; Detroit; Cuyahoga; ;
Keywords barge; garrison; security; treaty; boat; provisions; escort; council room; dispatches; public expense; cargo; horses; cows; sheep; hogs; wagons; acres; bounty lands; surveying; grand treaty; printed instructions; report; contingent money; dismantling and demolishing; block house; acts; list of officers; Commissioner goods; attack; killed; flank guard; report; subsistence; ration; arms and accoutrements; money; transportation; ordnance stores; quartermasters stores; medicine; supplies; ;
Key Phrases "The respectable characters who are Engaged in this purchase by their audacity & perseverance will most undoubtedly change the wilderness into a paradise."

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Extract of a letter from Brigadier Harmar
dated Fort Harmar June 15, 1788
I had the honor of addressing you last on the 26th of April from Fort Pitt since which I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 11th and 21st April.
On the 27th April I left Fort Pitt in the Barge and after six days extreme hard labor in ascending the rapid river Allegheny arrived at Captain Hearts workes on French Creek.
Captain Heart with his small command has done an immense deal of work there. His garrison was found to be in excellent order. There are a number of Senaca and Munsy tribes continually in his neighborhood who conduct themselves very peaceably. Indeed I know of no officer who manages the Indians better than Captain Heart.
The Senacas in particular place good confidence in him, he is a great favorite among them.
After strongly impressing him with the necessity of the utmost vigilance at this post in order to guard against surprises, as he is out of all manner of support, and therefore must depend upon nothing for his security but his own alertness + attention. I left him on the morning of the 4th May + the same evening returned to Fort Pitt. The distance by water I suppose to be about 160 miles, by land about 80.
There is no sort of comparison between the Ohio and the Alleghany rivers as to the current the latter being so much more rapid than the former. The country on both sides of the river from Fort Pitt to French Creek is very rugged and mountainous. I have the honor to enclose you a map of the country from Venango to Lake Erie.
On the 23rd May General St. Clair arrived at Fort Pitt. But as the indians will be late at assembling to the treaty, + as he had some private affairs to attend to at Ligonier, he thought proper
I return there + informed me that he would be at Fort Pitt about the 20th of this month, it was therefore inconvenient for me to await so long a time for his return. I left Fort Pitt in the after-noon of the 28th May + The next night arrived at this Post. Major Doughty now proceeds in the barge and will have the honor to receive the Governor and and accompany him down. On the 13th instant a large boat of The Contractor laden with provisions for the Treaty set out from hence for the falls of the Muskingum. it is absolutely necessary they should be expeditious in their movements as the Muskingum river will soon be so low that it will be impossible for loaded boats to ascend it. Agreeably to the Governors request I have granted an escort of a Sub. Sargt. Corpl. + 20 privates for this boat load of provisions and have given the officer orders to build a Councilroom for the savages, at the falls of the Muskingum.
It gives me great satisfaction to learn by your letter of the 11th April that Mr Tardiveau has at length delivered my dispatches of the 24th November and that every unfavor-able impression which you had received concerning him was entirely effaced. I must confess his tardiness upon this occasion appeared to me very suspicious. I am happy to observe that my conduct in making the turn to the Mississippi and visiting the several villages on the American and Spanish site has met with the approbation of Congress and yourself which is highly satisfactory.
The provisions which I took with me to Post Vincennes was transported at the public expense and not at the expense of the Contractor. The provisions which came to the Rapids by orders of Messrs Turnbull, Marmie & Co. arrived too late, and was therefore not recieved.
Mr. Britt intended to proceed to Post Vincennes with that cargo, + there to dispose of it. He was unfortunate
in passing the mouth of the 'Wabashs in the night I was oblig'd to proceed to the Kaskkaskias for as marker, where he deposited his cargo.
From the 19th of December to this day three hundred and eight boats, six thousand three hundred + seventy souls, two thousand eight hundred and twenty four horses, five hundred + fifteen cows, six hundred sheep, nine hoges, and one hundred and fifty waggones, have pressed this garrison bound for Limestone and the Rapids. The emigration is almost incredisible. [?] It is to be observed, that no boats passed untile the 10th March, on account of the severity of the [?] and the river being shut.
Respecting the million of acres, received by Congress at the mouth of the Ohio for the bounty lands to the late army you will please to observe the post-scrips of Major Wyllys better details of the Rapids, the 12th of May a copy of which is enclosed which is very favorable as to its excellence. This intelligence
was given to the Major Wyllys by General Clark who has himself travelled through that part of the country and would willingly have accepted the grant for his regiment there. Major Hamtranch prefers the lands on the Illinois river or the Wabash, for I believe the intelligence transmitted by Major Wyllys is to be depended upon and could therefore give it as in my opinion that we should not hesitate to accept the lands, described in the Resolve of Congress, beginning at the mouth of the Ohio +c.
The surveying of this track of country however must necessarily be deferred until the result of the Land Treaty is known and the temper of the sav-ages perfectly ascertained.
In my letter of the 9th March I had the honor to inform you that I had transmitted printed instrctions to Major Wyllys to know the designs of the people below, accordingly Lieutenant Armstrong was dispatched for this purpose to the State of Franklin as they call it. Be pleased to
receive the copy of his report addressed to Major Wyllys. His Expenses while on this service are counted to G2 dollars which I have paid him out of the contingent money.
Major Doughty now takes up with him a Sublatern and 15 privates in order to carry into execution the resolve of Congress of the 27 March 1788 respecting dismantling and demolishing Fort McIntosh, and he has my orders to erect (a) block house, in its vicinity. He will recinnoitre for an eligible position at or near the falls, which is about five miles from the mouth of the Big Beaver.
It is a long time since I was at the falls, if I recollect right it will be some difficulty in find-ing a proper position there, in which case the Block houses will be erected somewhere near the upper foarding about two miles up the Beaver.
I am sorry that the Legislature of New York have not yet passed the necessary
acts for raising their [?]of troops and reappoint-ing them Officers. Pennslvania has reappoint-ed their Officers, and State Commissions have some time since been forwarded to me by Council and a copy of the list of Officers reappointed by Con-necticut shall (agreeably to your instructions) be forward-ed to Major Wyllys.
Lieutenant Spear whom I detach-ed from hence in the 7th March, returned from Post Vincennes and brought up with him from the rapids the remainder of the Commissioners goods. He returned on the 29th utimo and the goods are all safely deposited at this Post ready for the ensuing treaty.
It is with pain that I have to observe that some rascally vagabond Wabash indians had the insolence to attack the party on their return from Post Vincennes to the Rapids and killed two of his men. The fire was instantly returned from the troops, for as the number of the savages was
aucertain the officer acked prudently in not lauding.
They have an aumense advantage in attacking boots ascending the river and indeed there can be no possible security unless our parties are strong enough to afford a flank guard, on the shore. Be pleased to receive the enclosed copy of Lieutenant Evans report, of his passage.
Major Rauchauch informs me that the officers at the Post have requested him to represent, their situation to me respecting their subsistence. The place is indeed very extravgant if they were permitted to draw a ration besides their subsistence the officer would be satisfied. I beg beair to represent this matter for your consideration.
I sincerely hope that the recruting officer will use all possible dilligence in procuring good men, marching them speedily to the frontiers. Captain Ashton has been very
fortunate at the Rapids, he has reenlisted almost the whole of his company 57 hearty rugged fellows, Major Rauchauch has made no progress in reengageing Captain Smiths company at the present time the following number of men are reenlisted.
Connecticut 38
New York 45
Pennsylvania 88
Total 171
Major Doughty has my directions to him at Fort Pitt (if practicable) two or three armories as are have put one in the Corps & he is at the Rapids for the purposes of keeping the spare arms & accoutrements in the best order possible.
If they are none to be had Major Doughty will do himself the honor of writing to you from Fort Pitt.
I shall be happy to hear that money can be obtained for the transportation of the ordinance
Stores, medicines + Quarter master's stores and that they be forwarded as soon as possible, as we are in want of them particularly the medicine.
After the conclusion of the treaty if the Governor of the Western Territory should incline to go to the Illinois country he shall be furnished with an escort agreeable to your orders.
When the result of the treaty is known I shall give you my ideas fully concerning a differ-ent arrangement of the Posts, have apprehension that the information you have received concerning the navigation of the Big Beaver Creek may not be alto-gether proper. A certain evidence of its not being navigable is that Her Dancan, + those who have been accustomed to seed flour +o to Detroit have always sent it open pack horses from McIntosh, if the navigation had been practicable the would have sent it b land to Cuyahoga.
Lieutenant Beatty arrived at Fort Pitt
on the 17th also on the 20th I ordered him to Venango to pay Captain Hearts command. He arrived here on the 8th [?] + is now engaged in pay-in this garrison. The sum of money which he brought on with him is very handsome + both Officers and soldiers are much indebted + express great gratitude to you for your exertions on our behalf.
Colonel Olney who is kind enough to be the bearer of this letter will inform you of the progress made in cultivation by the Ohio Company. The respectable characters who are engaged in this purchase, by their industry + perseverance will most undoubtedly change the wilderness into a paradise.