« PreviousContinue »
extremely salutary and effective, in the protection of an exposed frontier during the disastrous hours of the American Revolution—narrating the incidental effect of that great struggle upon the rude communities of savage life, which, at remote intervals, were familiar to the trader and missionary between Lake Erie and the Ohio; and, finally, preserving, with the fullness of detail which authenticity demands, those early monuments of continental legislation, that have proved, in their fuller development, the deep and broad foundations of the Commonwealth of Ohio, the following pages, as the author needs not to be reminded by others, hardly emerge from those mists of time, which distinguish an antiquarian era from the more sharply defined annals of our subsequent history. The dates of the title-page—1650–1787– are made conspicuous, as an epitome of the author's design, which perhaps may be deemed more curious than useful. Its execution was certainly undertaken
-at first without any view of permanent publication-mainly upon that sort of impulse, so admirably illustrated by Walter Scott, in his delineation of the Antiquary. The subsequent periods of Ohio history, according to the classification above referred to, are as follows: The Second Period, 1787–1802, may be denominated the Territorial; the Third, 1802 -1815, that of State Organization; and the Fourth, 1815–1851, that of State Development, until, with the adoption of the Constitution of the latter year, our Ohio has reached a career of Progress-a period when the heterogeneous elements of her population may be expected to mature into a type of character, and the refinements of society and culture will be- . come prevalent.
The first is unlike the subsequent periods in several particulars, that have not been without their influence upon the style and arrangement of the present volume. Of course, prior to 1787, the materials existed only in libraries — in books or manuscripts — while, since that date, much which would arrest the attention and investigation of a historical student, rests in the memory of the living. Besides, the authorities for whatever relates to Ohio from 1650 to 1787, are not numerous, and consist of rare volumes long since out of print. The details contained in this work, have been wrested, therefore, from the dead hand-mort gage—of old books, and because these were inaccessible to most readers, and unlikely to transpire in new editions, I have not restrained myself from ample quotations. In doing so, it has been an unavoidable result, that every variety of style breaks the currents of the following chapters; but I have resisted the disposition to paraphrase, whenever it seemed that the language of the witness was in any respect desirable, either for the statement or elucidation of a doubt, or as an
illustration of men or times. If the freedom and
. fullness of citation from such unique publications as the Journal of Rogers, James Smith's story of Indian captivity, or the truthful and quaint narratives of the Moravians, Heckewelder and Loskiel, is irksome to the reader, the only apology here offered, or which the nature of the case admits, is, that the practice in question was adopted from a sentiment entirely opposite to the vanity of authorship. It was deliberately adopted for the sake of authenticity, although sacrificing, in a considerable degree, the unity of the volume.
In respect to Indian orthography, also, the indulgence of the reader is entreated. · The names of places and personages are written with infinite variety, and I have preferred, especially when a quotation was in hand, to forbear any effort to conform the orthography in these instances to any other than the writers' own standard. The names of “ Coshocton," still applied to the Forks of the Muskingum, and of “Bockengehelas,” the noted war-chief of the Delawares, may be particularly mentioned, as illustrations of the confusion of tongues which pervade aboriginal nomenclature.
Indeed, these pages aim at little more than a compilation of memorials and traditions, hitherto dispersed and often inaccessible. The writer, perhaps from force of habit, has been indisposed to assume a
relation to their contents much different from that of an Editor. Hereafter, it may be, he may sustain with more confidence, the independent bearing of authorship. Meanwhile, the Press of Ohio are urged to verify or expand the suggestions of this volume, so far as connected with their respective localities. The book may thus constitute a nucleus of historical inquiry, and if so, notwithstanding in many particulars it may be convicted of mistake or omission, yet the aggregate of historical knowledge will probably be increased.
The Indian, during the period which bounds the present publication, is of course the central, almost the exclusive, figure in the scenes described. There has been no attempt to urge any hypothesis upon his antecedents - no disposition to dogmatize upon his character or destiny. So far as his personality has been inseparable from the progress of events, he has moved into view, but also been suffered to pass from view without special challenge. In Ohio, the Indian was a temporary sojourner,—not linked so inseparably to the soil as the Six Nations to their “ Long House,” between Niagara and the Hudson. But while the tribes who were found in occupation of Ohio, were comparatively strangers to that region
-having moved thither between 1720 and 1750yet they are so far identified with its plains, forests and waters, that any inquiry, however cursory or
incidental, into their habits and history, is likely to become an enthusiasm. The geography of the State is likewise suggestive of the aboriginal dwellers. The streams, more than the political subdivisions, illustrate their vanished dialects, as has been beautifully expressed in some lines by WILLIAM J. SPERRY, formerly of the Cincinnati Globe, entitled “ A Lament for the Ancient People," and which, although a digression and not historically exact, are here inserted, as well for their intrinsic merit as from a personal regard to the writer:
"Sad are fair Muskingum's waters,
Sadly, blue Mahoning raves;
Lonely are Hockhocking's waves.
Thunders down its rocky way,
Whiten in Sandusky's bay,
Unto where Potomac rushes,
Arrowy from the mountain side,
Mingle with Ohio's tide ;
From the valley of Scioto,
And the Huron sisters three,
And the leaping Genesee ;
Over river, lake and bay