Shawnee: Arkansas

Shawnee

Among the immigrant Native Americans who lived in territorial Arkansas were several Shawnee communities. They came from Indiana and Missouri at the invitation of the Cherokee after the Treaty of 1817 created the Cherokee Nation on land in the Ozarks between the White and Arkansas rivers. The Shawnee, who built settlements on Crooked Creek and White River, departed after more than a decade of life in Arkansas.

The Shawnee were a large Algonkian-speaking tribe, widely scattered across the eastern woodlands. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the majority of them were living in the area both north and south of the Ohio River. Euro-American settlers from the east brought on years of violence. In a peace treaty in 1774, the Shawnee were forced to cede Kentucky, and the continuing hostilities led some Shawnee in 1779 to move west across the Mississippi River to a large grant south of Ste. Genevieve that had been given by the Spanish government. From that new location, they became familiar with the Ozarks and the western prairies.

After the death of Tecumseh and the collapse of his fight against the United States in 1813, one faction of the Shawnee sought ways to coexist with the Americans, and some saw the migration of the whole tribe to the west as a good strategy. When the Western Cherokee, living in the Ozarks after 1817, became embroiled in skirmishes with the Osage, they invited eastern tribes, including the Shawnee, to move to their land west of the White River. One group, led by Quatawapea, also known as Captain or Colonel Lewis, settled on the White River, with their major town at Shawneetown, a location that later became Yellville (Marion County).

As guests of the Cherokee, the Shawnee were part of a larger group of immigrants into the White River Valley, a group that included the Delaware, Piankashaw, Miami, and other Indian groups. If they ever participated with the Cherokee in military campaigns against the Osage, the documents do not record it. No recorded instances exist of hostilities between the Shawnee and the American settlers, although the latter petitioned Washington for a military garrison for protection. In later years, several of the early settlers wrote their memoirs of that time, and they included several accounts of unpleasant encounters between the two groups, as well as visits to the Shawnee Green Corn ceremonies, hunting together, and a Shawnee-American marriage.

In 1828, the Western Cherokee entered a new treaty arrangement with the United States in which their Ozark holdings were traded for land in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. They soon moved west and established Tahlequah, where the Cherokee tribal government remains today. Their Indian guests, left as squatters on government land, also moved away from Arkansas during the next few years. By 1833, the Shawnee had gone to Texas and Indian Territory, and the Ozark land was again open to American settlers. Modern Shawnee have few records of the Arkansas period in their complex history.

For additional information:
Edmunds, R. David. The Shawnee Prophet. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.

Foreman, Grant. Indians and Pioneers: The Story of the American Southwest before 1830. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1930.

Ingenthron, Elmo. Indians of the Ozark Plateau. Point Lookout, MO: School of the Ozarks Press, 1970.

Jeffery, A. C. Historical and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlement of the Valley of White River Together with a History of Izard County. Edited by Dale Hanks. Richmond, VA: The Jeffery Historical Society, 1973.

Johnston, James J. “Searcy County Indians in Tradition and History.” Mid-America Folklore 12 (Spring 1984): 24–31.

Lankford, George E. “Shawnee Convergence: Immigrant Indians in the Ozarks.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 58 (Winter 1999): 390–413.

Sugden, John. Tecumseh: A Life. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1997.

Turnbo, Silas C. Turnbo’s Tales of the Ozarks: Schools, Indians, Hard Times and More Stories. Edited by Desmond Walls Allen. Conway, AR: Arkansas Research, 1987.

George E. Lankford
Batesville, Arkansas

Last Updated 6/21/2010

“Piqua Shawnee”
Piqua Shawnee
Piqua Shawnee Tribe
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History Of The Shawnee: Part 3

PART 3:
As published in the Official Newsletter of the Piqua Shawnee (Fall 2018)
By Barbara Lehmann, Piqua Shawnee Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
Barbara’s History Corner:

Bezallion informed the governor that the Shaonois of Carolina he was told had killed several Christians; whereupon the government of that province raised the said flat headed Indians, and joined some Christians to them, besieged and have taken, as it is thought, the said Shaonois town.” Those who escaped probably fled to the north and joined their kindred in Pennsylvania. In 1708 Gov. Johnson, of South Carolina, reported the “Savannahs” on Savannah River as occupying 3 villages and numbering about 150 men 6. In 1715 the “Savanos” still in Carolina were reported to live 150 miles northwest of Charleston, and still to occupy 3 villages, but with only 233 inhabitants in all.

A part of those who had come from the south in 1694 had joined the Mahican and become a part of that tribe. Those who had settled on the Delaware, after remaining there some years, removed to the Wyoming valley on the Susquehanna and established themselves in a village on the west bank near the present Wyoming, Pennsylvania. It is probable that they were joined here by that part of the tribe which had settled at Pequea, which was abandoned about 1730. When the Delawares and Munsee were forced to leave the Delaware River in 1742 they also moved over to the Wyoming valley, then in possession of the Shawnee, and built a village on the east bank of the river opposite that occupied by the latter tribe. In 1740 the Quakers began work among the Shawnee at Wyoming and were followed two years later by the Moravian Zinzendorf. As a result of this missionary labor the Shawnee on the Susquehanna remained neutral for some time during the French and Indian war, which began in 1754, while their brethren on the Ohio were active allies of the French. About the year 1755 or 1756, in consequence of a quarrel with the Delawares, said to have been caused by a childish dispute over a grasshopper, the Shawnee abandoned the Susquehanna and joined the rest of their tribe on the upper waters of the Ohio, where they soon became allies of the French. Some of the eastern Shawnee had already joined those on the Ohio, probably in small parties and at different times, for in the report of the Albany congress of 1754 it is found that some of that tribe had removed from Pennsylvania to the Ohio about 30 years previously, and in 1735 a Shawnee band known as Shaweygria (Hathawekela), consisting of about 40 families, described as living with the other Shawnee on Allegheny river, refused to return to the Susquehanna at the solicitation of the Delawares and Iroquois. The only clue in regard to the number of these eastern Shawnee is Drake’s statement that in 1732 there were 700 Indian warriors in Pennsylvania, of whom half were Shawnee from the south. This would give them a total population of about 1,200, which is probably too high, unless those on the Ohio are included in the estimate.

Having shown the identity of the Savannah with the Shawnee, and followed their wanderings from Savannah river to the Ohio during a period of about 80 years, it remains to trace the history of the other, and apparently more numerous, division upon the Cumberland, who preceded the Carolina band in the region of the upper Ohio river, and seem never to have crossed the Alleghanies to the eastward.

These western Shawnee may possibly be the people mentioned in the Jesuit Relation of 1648, under the name of “Ouchaouanag,” in connection with the Mascoutens, who lived in northern Illinois. In the Relation of 1670 we find the “Chaouanon” mentioned as having visited the Illinois the preceding year, and they are described as living some distance to the south east of the latter. From this period until their removal to the north they are frequently mentioned by the French writers, sometimes under some form of the collective Iroquois name Toagenha, but generally under their Algonquian name Chaouanon. La Harpe, about 1715, called them Tongarois, another form of Toagenha. All these writers concur in the statement that they lived upon a large southern branch of the Ohio, at no great distance east of the Mississippi. This was the Cumberland River of Tennessee and Kentucky, which is called the River of the Shawnee on all the old maps down to about the year 1770.

Moll-Map-of-1720-small
Moll’s map of 1720 has “Savannah Old Settlement” at the mouth of the Cumberland, showing that the term Savannah was sometimes applied to the Western as well as to the eastern band

When the French traders first came into the region the Shawnee had their principal village on that river near the present Nashville, Tennessee. They seem also to have ranged northeastward to Kentucky River and southward to the Tennessee. It will thus be seen that they were not isolated from the great body of the Algonquian tribes, as has frequently been represented to have been the case, but simply occupied an interior position, adjoining the kindred Illinois and Miami, with whom they kept up constant communication. As previously mentioned, the early maps plainly distinguish these Shawnee on the Cumberland from the other division of the tribe on Savannah River.

These western Shawnee are mentioned about the year 1672 as being harassed by the Iroquois, and also as allies and neighbors of the Andaste, or Conestoga, who were themselves at war with the Iroquois. As the Andaste were then incorrectly supposed to live on the upper waters of the Ohio River, the Shawnee would naturally be considered their neighbors. The two tribes were probably in alliance against the Iroquois, as we find that when the first body of Shawnee removed from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, about 1678, they settled adjoining the Conestoga, and when another part of the same tribe desired to remove to the Delaware in 1694 permission was granted on condition that they make peace with the Iroquois. Again, in 1684, the Iroquois justified their attacks on the Miami by asserting that the latter had invited the Satanas (Shawnee) into their country to make war upon the Iroquois. This is the first historic mention of the Shawnee evidently the western division in the country north of the Ohio River. As the Cumberland region was out of the usual course of exploration and settlement, but few notices of the western Shawnee are found until 1714, when the French trader Charleville established himself among them near the present Nashville. They were then gradually leaving the country in small bodies in consequence of a war with the Cherokee, their former allies, who were assisted by the Chickasaw. From the statement of Iberville in 1702 8 it seems that this was due to the latter’s efforts to bring them more closely under French influence. It is impossible now to learn the cause of the war between the Shawnee and the Cherokee. It probably did not begin until after 1707, the year of the final expulsion of the Shawnee from South Carolina by the Catawba, as there is no evidence to show that the Cherokee took part in that struggle.

From Shawnee tradition the quarrel with the Chickasaw would seem to be of older date. After the reunion of the Shawnee in the north they secured the alliance of the Delawares, and the two tribes turned against the Cherokee until the latter were compelled to ask peace, when the old friendship was renewed. Soon after the coming of Charleville, in 1714, the Shawnee finally abandoned the Cumberland valley, being pursued to the last moment by the Chickasaw. In a council held at Philadelphia in 1715 with the Shawnee and Delawares, the former, “who live at a great distance,” asked the friendship of the Pennsylvania government. These are evidently the same who about this time were driven from their home on Cumberland river.

 

To Be Continued Winter 2018
Piqua Shawnee Tribe
“Piqua Shawnee”

History Of The Shawnee: Part 2

PART 2:
As published in the Official Newsletter of the Piqua Shawnee (Fall 2018)
By Barbara Lehmann, Piqua Shawnee Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
Barbara’s History Corner:
On De l’Isle’s map, also, we find the Savannah River called “R.des Chouanons,” with the “Chaouanons” located upon bothbanks in its middle course. As to Gallatin’s statement that the name of the Savannahs is dropped after Lawson’s mention in 1701, we learn from numerous references, from old records, in Logan’s Upper South Carolina, published after Gallatin’s time, that all through the period of the French and Indian war, 50
years after Lawson wrote, the “Savannahs” were constantly making inroads on the Carolina frontier, even to the vicinity of Charleston. They are described as “northern savages” and friends of the Cherokee, and are undoubtedly the Shawnee. In
1749 Adair, while crossing the middle of Georgia, fell in with a strong party of “the French Shawano,” who were on their way, under Cherokee guidance, to attack the English traders near Augusta. After committing some depredations they escaped to
the Cherokee. In another place he speaks of a party of “Shawano Indians,” who, at the instigation of the French, had attacked a frontier settlement of Carolina, but had been taken and imprisoned. Through a reference by Logan it is found that these prisoners are called Savannahs in the records of that period. In 1791 Swan mentions the “Savannas” town among the Creeks, occupied by “Shawanese refugees.” Having shown that the Savannah and the Shawnee are the same tribe, it remains to be seen why and when they removed from South Carolina to the north. The removal was probably owing to dissatisfaction with the English setters, who seem to have favored the Catawba at the expense of the Shawnee. Adair, speaking of the latter tribe, says they had formerly lived on the Savannah River, “till by our foolish measures they were forced to withdraw northward in defense of their, freedom.” In another place he says, “by our own misconduct we twice lost the Shawano Indians, who have since proved very hurtful to our colonies in general.” The first loss referred to is probably the withdrawal of
the Shawnee to the north, and the second is evidently their alliance with the French in consequence of the encroachments of the English in Pennsylvania.
Their removal from South Carolina was gradual, beginning about 1677 and continuing at intervals through a period of more than 30 years. The ancient Shawnee villages formerly on the sites of Winchester, Virginia, and Oldtown, near Cumberland, Maryland, were built and occupied probably during this migration. It was due mainly to their losses at the hands of the Catawba, the allies of the English, that they were forced to abandon
their country on the Savannah; but after the reunion of the tribe in the north they pursued their old enemies with unrelenting vengeance until the Catawba were almost exterminated. The hatred cherished by the Shawnee toward the English is shown
by their boast in the Revolution that they had killed more of that nation than had any other tribe.
The first Shawnee seem to have removed from South Carolina in 1677 or 1678, when, according to Drake, about 70 families established themselves on the Susquehanna adjoining the Conestoga in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, at the mouth of Pequea
creek. Their village was called Pequea, a form of Piqua. The Assiwikales (Hathawekela) were a part of the later migration. This, together with the absence of the Shawnee names Chillicothe and Mequachake east of the Alleghanies, would seem to show that the Carolina portion of the tribe belonged to the first named divisions. The chief of Pequea was Wapatha, or Opessah, who made a treaty with Penn at Philadelphia in 1701, and more than 50 years afterward the Shawnee, then in Ohio, still preserved a copy of this treaty. There is no proof that they had a part in Penn’s first treaty in 1682.
In 1694, by invitation of the Delawares and their allies, another large party came from the south probably from Carolina and settled with the Munsee on the Delaware, the main body fixing themselves at the mouth of Lehigh river, near the present Easton, Pennsylvania, while some went as far down as the Schuylkill. This party is said to have numbered about 700, and they were several months on the journey. Permission to settle on the Delaware was granted by the Colonial government on condition of their making peace with the Iroquois, who then received them as “brothers,” while the Delawares acknowledged them as their “second sons,” i. e. grandsons. The Shawnee today refer to the Delawares as their grandfathers. From this it is evident that the Shawnee were never conquered by the Iroquois, and, in fact, we find the western band a few years previously assisting the Miami against the latter. As the Iroquois, however, had conquered the lands of the Conestoga and Delawares, on which the Shawnee settled, the former still claimed the prior right of domain. Another large part of the Shawnee probably left South Carolina about 1707, as appears from a statement made by Evans in that year 5, which shows that they were then hard pressed in the south. He says: “During our abode at Pequehan [Pequea] several of the Shaonois Indians from ye southward came to settle here, and were admitted so to do by Opessah, with the governor’s consent, at the same time an Indian, from a Shaonois town near Carolina came in and gave an account that
four hundred and fifty of the flat headed Indians [Catawba] had besieged them, and that in all probability the same was taken.
To Be Continued
Piqua Shawnee Tribe
“Piqua Shawnee”

History Of The Shawnee: Part 1

PART 1
As published in the Official Newsletter of the Piqua Shawnee (Summer 2018)
By Barbara Lehmann, Piqua Shawnee Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
Barbara’s History Corner:
The history of the Shawnee begins in 1669-70. They were then living in two bodies at a
considerable distance apart, and these two divisions were not fully united until nearly a century later, when the tribe settled in Ohio. The attempt to reconcile conflicting
statements without a knowledge of this fact has occasioned much of the confusion in regard to the Shawnee. The apparent anomaly of a tribe living in two divisions at such a distance from each other is explained when we remember that the intervening territory
was occupied by the Cherokee, who were at that time the friends of the Shawnee. The evidence afforded by the mounds shows that the two tribes lived together for a considerable period, both in South Carolina and in Tennessee, and it is a matter of history that the Cherokee claimed the country vacated by the Shawnee
in both states after the removal of the latter to the north. It is quite possible that the Cherokee invited the Shawnee to settle upon their eastern frontier in order to serve as a barrier against the attacks of the Catawba and other enemies in that direction. No
such necessity existed for protection on their northwestern frontier.
The earliest notices of the Carolina Shawnee represent them as a warlike tribe, the enemies of the Catawba and others, who were also the enemies of the Cherokee. In Ramsey’s Annals of Tennessee is the statement, made by a Cherokee chief in 1772, that 100 years previously the Shawnee, by permission of the Cherokee, removed from Savannah River to the Cumberland, but were afterward driven out by the Cherokee, aided by the Chickasaw, in consequence of a quarrel with the former tribe. While this tradition does not agree with the chronological order of Shawnee occupancy in the two regions, as borne out by historical evidence, it furnishes additional proof that the Shawnee occupied territory upon both rivers, and that this occupancy was by permission of the Cherokee.
De-lIsle-Map-Detail-1700
De l’Isle’s map of 1700
De l’Isle’s map of 1700 places the “Ontouagannha.” which here means the Shawnee, on the headwaters of the Santee and Pedee rivers in South Carolina, while the “Chiouonons” are located on the lower Tennessee River. Senex’s map of 1710 locates a part of
the “Chaouenons” on the headwaters of a stream in South Carolina, but seems to place the main body on the Tennessee. Moll’s map of 1720 has “Savannah Old Settlement” at the mouth of the Cumberland, showing that the term Savannah was sometimes
applied to the Western as well as to the eastern band.
The Shawnee of South Carolina, who included the Piqua and Hathawekela divisions of the tribe, were known to the early settlers of that state as Savannahs, that being nearly the form of the name in use among the neighboring Muskhogean tribes. A good deal of confusion has arisen from the fact that the Yuchi and Yamasee, in the same neighborhood, were sometimes also spoken of as Savannah Indians. Bartram and Gallatin particularly are confused upon this point, although, as is hardly necessary to state, the tribes are entirely distinct. Their principal village, known as Savannah Town, was on Savannah River, nearly opposite the present Augusta, Ga. According to a writer of 1740 it was at New Windsor, on the north bank of Savannah River, 7 miles below Augusta. It was an important trading point, and Ft Moore was afterward built upon the site. The Savannah river takes its name from this tribe, as appears from the statement of Adair, who mentions the “Savannah river, so termed on account of the Shawano Indians having formerly lived there,” plainly showing that the two names are synonyms for the same tribe. Gallatin says that the name of the river is of Spanish origin, by which he probably means that it refers to “savanas,” or prairies, but as almost all the large rivers of the Atlantic slope bore the Indian names of the tribes upon their banks, it is not likely that this river is an exception, or that a Spanish name would have been retained in an English colony. In 1670, when South Carolina was first settled, the Savannah were one of the principal tribes southward from Ashley River. About 10 years later they drove back the Westo, identified by Swanton as the Yuchi, who had just previously nearly destroyed the infant settlements in a short but bloody war. The Savannah seem to have remained at peace with the whites, and in 1695, according to Gov. Archdale, were “good friends and useful neighbors of the English.” By a comparison of Gallatin’s paragraph with Lawson’s statements from which he quotes, it will be seen that he has misinterpreted the earlier author, as well as misquoted the tribal forms.
Lawson traveled through Carolina in 1701, and in 1709 published his account, which has passed through several reprints, the last being in 1860. He mentions the “Savannas” twice, and it is to be noted that in each place he calls them by the same name, which, however, is not the same as any one of the three forms used by Gallatin in referring to the same passages. Lawson first mentions them in connection with the Congaree as the “Savannas, a famous, warlike, friendly nation of Indians, living to the south end of Ashley River.” In another place he speaks of “the Savanna Indians, who formerly lived on the banks of the Messiasippi, and removed thence to the head of one of the rivers of South Carolina, since which, for some dislike, most of them are removed to live in the quarters of the Iroquois or Sinnagars [Seneca], which are on the heads of the rivers that disgorge themselves into the bay of Chesapeak.” This is a definite statement, plainly referring to one and the same tribe, and agrees with what is known of the Shawnee.
(to be continued)
Piqua Shawnee Tribe

Smithsonian: Museum of The American Indian

Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations

Exhibit: September 21, 2014–2021
Washington, DC

nation_4_BandolierBag
Muscogee (Creek) bandolier bag, ca. 1814. Alabama. Wool fabric and tassels, silk fabric, dye, glass beads, cotton thread. Photo by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI. (24/4150)

From a young age, most Americans learn about the Founding Fathers, but are told very little about equally important and influential Native diplomats and leaders of Indian Nations. Treaties lie at the heart of the relationship between Indian Nations and the United States, and Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations is the story of that relationship, including the history and legacy of U.S.–American Indian diplomacy from the colonial period through the present.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by:

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community - Bank of America - San Manuel Band of Mission Indians - Interface Media Group

http://www.nmai.si.edu/explore/exhibitions/item/?id=934

Piqua Shawnee

Piqua Shawnee Tribe

Bluejacket Carved Walking Stick

Walking Stick

Walking stick

Shawnee tribal leader Charles Bluejacket carved this walking stick for his friend Charles Boles, a Methodist missionary, in the mid- to late-19th century. The two met in Kansas in the early 1850s, when the church assigned Boles to preach to the Shawnee tribe.

A deep friendship took root between two men in the wilds of Kansas. Their bond spanned the differences of culture and race, and lasted a lifetime. Today we often think of encounters between whites and American Indians on the frontier as tense, even violent. This was not always the case. The likelihood that individuals would get along depended on their personalities and as well as the circumstances under which they interacted. In this regard, Bluejacket and Boles may have been predisposed to friendship. Both men were deeply religious. They fathered large families, and lived respectable lives by European-American standards.

Charles Bluejacket came to Kansas as a youth after a treaty with the United States government removed the Shawnees from Ohio and Missouri. His grandfather was the famous chief Bluejacket, and his grandmother probably was white. Charles was familiar with Indian missions, having attended a Quaker school in Ohio. In Kansas, he completed his education at another mission school. He married, became a successful farmer and interpreter for the federal government, and began leading a prayer group.

Charles Boles converted to Methodism as a young man in Missouri and was ordained an elder in 1851. The following year he was assigned to the Shawnee Indian Mission School in present-day Kansas City. It was during his six-year ministry to the tribe that he became friendly with Bluejacket.

Shawnee Methodist Mission

Conditions were primitive at many frontier missions, but not at Shawnee Indian Mission. The Methodist church considered it an exemplary site, as did the federal government (a major funding source). At its height, the mission occupied almost 2,000 acres, much of it farmland. Its grounds had brick schoolhouses and dormitories, workshops, and farm buildings. Because the Methodists used “circuit riders” (traveling ministers) to spread the gospel, Shawnee Mission was Boles’ headquarters, although he spent most days in the field ministering to his flock.

Charles BluejacketCharles BolesDetails on the friendship between Boles and Bluejacket are spotty, but the two men obviously saw each other frequently and perhaps even rode the circuit together. One early visitor to the area noted that he met Bluejacket and Boles at another missionary’s home in 1857. The Methodist conference minutes for this time period record that Boles was “assisted” by Bluejacket and others in building the church rolls to about 100 Shawnees.

The six years Boles preached to the Shawnee tribe coincided with the Bleeding Kansas era, when violence exploded along the Kansas-Missouri border. It became extremely difficult to accomplish any missionary work. The Methodist conference minutes for this period note, “There was comparatively little done from 1855 to 1865. During these perilous years Bro. Boles stood almost alone.” Almost alone, but not quite. His friend Bluejacket had become an ordained minister in 1859. When war made it impossible for whites to preach at Shawnee Mission, Bluejacket became missionary in charge.

A number of mission schools closed during the Civil War, including Shawnee Mission. Methodists continued to preach to the tribes remaining in Kansas, but most American Indians were removed to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) shortly after the war. Boles began preaching to non-Indian Methodists in eastern Kansas. Bluejacket became a prosperous farmer, despite the fact that many of his fellow tribesmen had moved south. An 1874 county atlas describes his “beautiful farm” and house “furnished in a style that would do credit to many of our wealthy people.”

Bluejacket eventually joined his tribesmen in Indian Territory, but before he left he made this elaborate walking stick for Boles. Its carved figures include at least two motifs from the pillars of an early Shawnee council-house in Kansas–a rattlesnake and a turtle, the latter being prominent in Shawnee creation mythology. View a close-up of the turtle carving. The walking stick was passed down in the Boles family until the Kansas State Historical Society acquired it in 2009. It is in the collections of the Society’s Kansas Museum of History.

https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/walking-stick/10388

Entry: Walking Stick

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state’s history.

Date Created: July 2009

Date Modified: December 2014

 

Piqua Shawnee

Piqua Shawnee Tribe

Traveling Through Time – Shawnee Indians

Shawnee Indians
A monument commemorates their departure in Hardin

The Shawnee Indians, also of Algonquian stock, lived in the east and Midwest. Their first contact with white men came in the 1600s. Early estimates of their population range from 3,000 to 50,000, although 10,000 appears to be the most probable estimate. Shawnee comes from the Algonquian word ‘Shawun’ (shawunogi) meaning ‘southerner.’ The application of southerner is indicative of their location vis-a-vis the other Algonquian tribes who lived to the Shawnee’s north, around the Great Lakes. A symbol of the Shawnee authority is the eagle feather headdress.

During the 1600s, they were forced to leave their traditional lands, including the Ohio Valley, by the marauding Iroquois during the Beaver Wars. In the 1700s, they once again began to call the Ohio Valley their home, settling initially along the Ohio River where conflict with white settlers became a routine occurrence. Allying themselves with the British during the Revolutionary War, combined with being absolutely against white expansion beyond the Appalachian Mountains, did not endear them to the Americans. Led into battle by Chief Cornstalk, they were severely defeated by colonial troops in 1774 in the area of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

The loss resulted in a split in the Shawnee tribe that caused many of them to move west beyond the Mississippi River. Those that stayed behind in Ohio rallied behind Tecumseh until the 1811 Tippecanoe defeat and the death of Tecumseh in Canada during the War of 1812.

The Shawnee village of Piqua (Piquea), located four miles southwest of Springfield, Ohio, was attacked by American soldiers under the command of General George Rogers Clark on August 8, 1780. It was a ferocious battle that ended with the total destruction of the Shawnee village, and their agricultural crops.

Seeking a new area in which to build a village, the Indians traveled northwest until they reached the Great Miami River where they chose a location on the west side of the river, just north of where the Johnston Indian Agency would eventually be constructed. They named this new village, upper Piqua. The Miami Indians village of Pickawillany, along with Fort Pickawillany, was at this same site until it was abandoned in 1763 after an earlier unsuccessful attack by the Shawnee.

At the same time, they established another village in the area, on the east side of the river, on a site that is now occupied by the city of Piqua. The Shawnee named this second village lower Piqua. They had lived in the Piqua area for two years when, in 1782, General Clark and 1,000 Kentuckians moved north into Ohio. The Shawnee decided to abandon their Piqua villages without a fight and moved to a location on the Auglaize River. After the Greene Ville Treaty was signed, they moved back to the area, locating villages in Wapakoneta, north of the new treaty line, Hog Creek (southwest part of Lima) and Lewistown.

In 1832, they ceded the last of their Ohio lands to the government, and in a sorrowful procession through Hardin, Piqua, Greenville and Richmond, the last of the mighty Shawnee rode their horses to a new home in eastern Kansas.

Today, most of the Shawnee live in Oklahoma or have merged into this region’s population. A monument can bshawneemarkerhardin.gif (79750 bytes)e seen today in the small park area in Hardin, six miles west of Sidney, at the intersection of State Route 47 and Hardin-Wapak Road. It is located on the southeast corner of the park. This monument commemorates not only the killing of Colonel Hardin by the Indians, but also marks the spot where the Shawnee camped in October, 1832, on their last trek from Ohio.

https://www.shelbycountyhistory.org/schs/indians/shawnee.htm

‘Indian’ segment written in December, 1997 by David Lodge

Piqua Shawnee

Piqua Shawnee Tribe