Monday, April 16, 2018

"Our Native Land" -- Scioto Trail Connections

The name which the Shawannees give (the river) Siota has slipt my memory, but it signified 'Hairy River.' The Indians tell us that when they came first to live here, deers were so plenty,that in the vernal season, when they came to drink, the stream would be thick of hairs; hence they gave it the name.”

The Journal of Rev. David Jones, 1772-1773

In a previous entry, I wrote of the Scioto Trail and its importance to Native Americans and to early white settlers. I want to follow up on that report with some more local history that occurred in relation to the early settlements on and nearby the trail. The links I discovered uncovered interesting information about famous Native Americans and about significant archeological finds. I hope local historians will use this blog to further investigation into our beautiful homeland.

Ancient Mound Builders populated our area before their mysterious disappearance. And, the Fort Ancient peoples are now accepted as an independently developed culture that descended from the Hopewell culture (100 BCE–500 CE). Much later, groups like the Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, and Wyandot re-filled some of Ohio (the Shawnee in particular are known to have lived in the Scioto Valley), but by then, their way of life had changed much from pre-contact times, looking much less like Fort Ancient and much more like the Euro-American pioneers who would, in the mid-late 1700s, begin to push them out of Ohio.

The nearest well-documented Fort Ancient village is the Feurt Village site along U.S. Route 23 and just north of Portsmouth. Just north of that, near the south edge of Lucasville, is the Schisler Village site, though this site is less well documented. I will reveal much more about the Feurt and Schisler sites a little later in this entry.

It is possible that there are many 18 undocumented Fort Ancient sites in the floodplains above and below Piketon. However, there is little information available for the area concerning the period from 1650 to the 1790s, when Euro-Americans began flooding into the Scioto Valley. This period in Ohio is referred to as the Protohistoric period. It indicates the brief time when European manufactured goods such as beads, axes, knives, and kettles are traded into an area but before there are any historic records.

Several individuals are known to have traveled through the area and written journals during their travels, including Christopher Gist in 1750, William Trent in 1752, and the Reverend David Jones in 1772-1773. Since both Gist and Trent were visiting the Shawnee towns at the mouth of the Scioto and traveled back and forth to Pickawillany, a Miami town with an English trading fort near modern day Piqua, Ohio, it is likely that many other Euro-Americans also were traveling around southern Ohio in the early-mid 1700s.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy (2015) ...

Several historic maps (e.g., the Mitchell 1755 map, the Pownall 1776 map, and the Hutchins 1777 Map (all shown in Smith 1977) show the famous Scioto Trail running north-south along the Scioto River, but only two Native American villages are shown in the lower Scioto Valley. A Delaware village of as many as twenty families (Smith 1977), that of Wanduchales, is present on the Mitchell 1755 map and reappears on the Pownall 1776 and Hutchins 1777 maps.

One wonders, however, if the village was still there in 1777 or if Hutchins had just copied over its location from the earlier maps. Smith (1977), likely informed by Christopher Gist’s journal, suggests that Wanduchales’ (or Windaughalah) town, also known as the Lower Delaware Town, was founded as early as 1738 and was located on the east side of the Scioto River in Clay Township, Scioto County.

The only other Native American village or town to appear on any maps of the lower Scioto valley (i.e., below Chillicothe) is Hurricane Tom’s town, which is shown on the west side of the Scioto River, opposite its confluence with Salt Creek and near what today is the small town of Higby. Many Shawnee villages are known from the Portsmouth area and around Chillicothe, but none have been recorded near Piketon.”

* Note – Piketon was originally called “Jefferson,” and it was laid off on what was called “Miller's Bank” in a tract ceded to the United States (Virginia Military District). About 1795, early settlers from Kentucky, known as Mr. Miller and Mr. Owens, quarreled about the spot. In the fray Owns shot Miller, whose bones may be found interred near the lower end of the high bank, which was then in Washington County, the Scioto being then the line between Washington and Adams counties. Owens was taken to Marietta, where he was tried and acquitted.

Artist Daniel Huntington -- Washington and Gist Crossing Allegheny River
Christopher Gist

Christopher Gist, (1706-1759) was perhaps the best known early explorer of the Ohio Valley and its tributaries. Gist provided England and its colonists with the first detailed description of southern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky. While Daniel Boone is generally given credit for opening Kentucky to white settlement, Gist preceded the frontiersman by more than fifteen years.

Through his connection to the Ohio Company, Gist developed a close association with George Washington. Traveling with Washington to the Ohio Country in 1754, Gist served as scout, messenger, and Indian agent. It was Gist’s reconnaissance that alerted Washington to the French presence at Great Meadows and allowed for the subsequent massacre of Jumonville’s forces. Gist was also at the battle at Fort Necessity the following month. During this time with Washington, Gist solidified his place in history, twice saving the young colonel's life.

Earlier, in the autumn of 1750, the Virginia Land Company employed Christopher Gist, pioneer and woodsman, to explore its alleged possessions on the Ohio and the tributaries of that river. On January 16, 1751, Gist and company crossed the Licking, on on the 19th, they arrived at a small Delaware village bearing the name of Hockhoeking. From there, he passed on to Maguck, another Delaware village, situated near the Scioto. And on January 24, they went south fifteen miles to a town called Hurricane Tom's Town near the present Pike County border, approximately four miles from Salt Lick Creek.

Not only was Gist a trained surveyor, but also he kept three detailed journals that attest “to his thoroughness and intelligence.” His writing presents impressive descriptive abilities. Here is his account of Monday, January 28, 1751 in which Gist describes the Delaware Chief Windaughala and his people:

We went into Council with the Indians of this Town, and after the Interpreter had informed them of his instructions from the Governor of Pennsylvania, and given them some Cautions in Regard to the French they returned for answer as follows. The Speaker with four strings of Wampum in his Hand stood up and addressing himself as to the Governor of Pennsylvania, said 'Brothers, We the Delawares return You our Heart thanks for the News you have sent Us, and We assure You, We will not hear the Voice of any other Nation for We are to be directed by You our Brothers the English, & by none Others: We shall be glad what Our Brothers have to say to us at the Loggs Town in the Spring, and to assure You of our Hearty Good will & Love to Our Brothers We present you with these four Wampum.' 

This is the last Town of the Delawares to the Westward – The Delaware Indians by the best Accounts I could gather Consist of about 500 fighting Men all firmly attached to the English Interest, they are not properly a part of the Six Nations, but are scattered about among most of the Indians of the Ohio, and some of them amongst the six Nations, from whom they have Leave to Hunt upon their Land.”

Chief Windaughalah

On the east branch of the Scioto, in the present Clay Township, Scioto County, there existed a small village of about twenty Delaware families (and also “a Negro man that belonged to the chief”). There dwelt Windaughalah, a great war chief during the French wars. His name implies “ambassador.” He was a prominent counselor in peace times named in many important treaties.

Christopher Gist, himself, wrote in his journal under the date of January 27, 1751, that the town last named was a small village of the Delawares, and that he lodged there "at the house of an Indian whose name was Windaughalah, a great man and chief of this town, and much in the English interest." Later, this town was abandoned. Windaughalah lived at Tuscarawas in 1762, where he had the figure of a water lizard tattooed on his face above the chin; he was then named Swe-gach-shasin.

This chief appeared at a conference held in Pittsburgh on July 5, 1759 between George Croghan, Deputy Indian Agent with chief responsibility for the Ohio region tribes, and the Indian chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations, Shawanese, Delawares, and Wyandots. Windaughalah was also at a conference between Governor Hamilton and many other Indian nations. And in January 1785 at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh, while representing the Delawares and Wyandots, the chief executed a deed to the State of Pennsylvania for the remainder of their lands within that state. As the oldest, or the “Council Don,” he signed the agreement first.

Buckongahelas, was the son of Windaughalah. Buckongahelas is the subject of the famous Journeycake account, and his lineage reveals the story of the first American Indian to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the United States. Aren't the connections to local history simply amazing?

Artist Depiction of Buckongahelas


Buckongahelas first received the surname “Journeycake” after Indians of another tribe kidnapped the little boy at age six. After escaping from his kidnappers several months following his abduction, the child, known as “The Buck,” survived by eating a large corn cake during his return journey to his father, Chief Windaughala; thus, “Buck” earned the name “Journeycake” from his father and the other tribal elders.

Buckongahelas grew up to become a mighty war chief of the Delaware Nation, who would in his life meet with presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Three of his sons were murdered in separate incidents. One son, the teenager Mahonegon, was shot in the back in a forest that then was part of Virginia, later West Virginia in June 1773. His murderer was Captain William White, a white man who had killed several other Indian individuals and families. (Local legend states that the current Upshur County Courthouse was built over the grave of Mahonegon.) 


* Background Note – John and Samuel Pringle, local settlers of the area, had enlisted in the Army where they served at the British Garrison at Fort Pitt during the French and Indian War. The Pringle brothers left the fort without permission in 1761 and wandered the Buckhannon Valley wilderness as trappers and traders for several years before taking up residence in the hollow cavity of a large sycamore tree from about 1764 to 1767. The tree, located near the confluence of Turkey Run and the Buckhannon River in present Upshur County, supposedly had a cavity so large that an eight-foot fence rail could be turned inside it.

Upon John Pringle’s 1768 return from the trading post on the South Branch, where he had gone to buy ammunition, the brothers decided they were no longer considered renegades and left their tree home. By 1769, they had led a small group of settlers back to the Buckhannon Valley to begin a permanent settlement there.

Chief Buckongahelas (for whom the Buckhannon Valley is named) had welcomed the Pringle brothers and their friends there, but following his son’s murder, he “turned his face and heart away from white skins – and joined the British in the Revolutionary War.”

After the Revolutionary War, the United States claimed the Ohio Country by right of conquest through its defeat of Great Britain. In the late 1780s, Buckongahelas joined a Shawnee-led confederacy to try to repel the American settlers who had begun migrating west of the Appalachian Mountains, using the Ohio River to penetrate the territory.

The confederacy won several battles against the Americans in the Northwest Indian Wars. Buckongahelas led his warriors in helping to win the most devastating military victory ever achieved by Native Americans in the United States, in 1791 against General Arthur St. Clair, who lost 600 troops. The Delaware described Buckongahelas as their own George Washington.

The confederacy was finally defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The British failed to support the Indian confederacy after this battle, and Buckongahelas signed the Treaty of Greenville on August 3, 1795. By this treaty, his band and other Lenape ceded much land in Pennsylvania and Ohio to the United States.

The Delaware were coerced by the U.S. government to move from their lands more often than any other American Indian tribe. The U.S. government forced the Delaware to leave their “forever home” on their reservation between Leavenworth and Lawrence in Kansas, where they had lived less than 38 years until railroad officials coveted their land and railroaded them into Indian Territory. At the end of the line for the tribe, the Delaware Nation didn’t even have its own reservation, as promised by the U.S. government, but were ordered to move onto Cherokee lands.

The book, Journeycake Saga, follows three of Buckongahelas's other sons, Kistawa, Whapakong, and Solomon, as they struggled to adjust to the wave of settlers who washed unto the shores of the country into their lands. Kistawa and his brother Whapakong both were murdered separately within one year. Watomika, son of Kistawa and the French woman Marie, witnessed the deaths of both his father and his uncle. Watomika holds a special place in American history.



At the age of eleven, the grief-stricken Watomika, or “the Swift-Footed One,” was taken to Marietta College in Ohio in 1834 where he received his first literate education. It was there he was converted to Christianity and where he prepared for ministry in the Presbyterian church. It was some twelve years later, however, while on a visit to St. Louis that he was confirmed into the Catholic church and later entered the Jesuit Order.

In his later years Watomika become the first Native American ordained a Catholic priest in the United States. He took on the name Father James Bouchard and became known as the “Eloquent Indian.”

Pat McNamara of Patheous described Father Bouchard as “an orator of premier rank who held forth in the baroque style of his era as preacher, lecturer, and conversationalist, he had no equal in California. For three decades, audiences listened in open-mouthed amazement to the eloquent Indian, charmed by the sound of his silvery voice, by the power of his nervous eloquence.”

Msgr. Patrick Riordan, Archbishop of San Francisco would reserve the following words of praise at the time of the priest's death in San Francisco on December 27, 1889:

"To no man in all the West is the Church of God more beholden than to Father James Bouchard of the Society of Jesus. He kept the faith in the mining districts; he sustained the dignity of God's Holy Church in the midst of ignorance and misunderstanding and everywhere championed her rights. My debt to him, and I speak for my brother bishops, is incalculable.”

*Note – Bouchard's Uncle Solomon, the fourth son of Buckongahelas, died in bed of old age after an exciting life as a guide for the famed explorer of the West, John C. Fremont, whose life Solomon saved when he led him out of a wild prairie fire. 

Father James Bouchard

Schisler Village Site

On Thanksgiving Day in 1942, Philip Keintz and H. R. McPherson were digging in the Schisler Village Site of the Fort Ancient Culture, on the east side of the Scioto River, about one mile south of Lucasville. Keintz reported they had spent a number of days at this site “with only moderate results.” But, on that day they came upon a burial. The account of the find ...

“Soon were found seven nicely-chipped triangular arrow points of dark-gray flint, from one and one-fourth to one and one-half inches in length; one flint blade of similar material two and one-fourth inches long; two flint drills from one and three-fourth to two and one-fourth inches long; five nice flaking tools of antler from two and one-half to four and one-fourth inches in length ; one very fine cutting instrument fashioned from a beaver tooth and about three inches long; seven broken-off antler tips intended as a 'stock supply' for arrow points or flaking tools when needed; and two paint stones of limestone burned to a reddish texture – in all twenty-six items, pipe included.”

It was the pipe found that day that drew the greatest interest. Here is the description:

“It is cut from reddish-brown, compact -grained sandstone, and is admirably and boldly executed. The pipe is two and five-eighth inches in height, two and one-fourth inches in diameter find may be considered 'roundish' in cross-section. However, it is slightly oval with the greater diameter from the front to back. The bowl is one and one-eighth inches in diameter and practically two inches in depth. Workmanship i n connection with the inner carving of the bowl is equally as good as that of the exterior. The interior of the bowl is slightly blackened, apparently from smoking. The stem hole tapers from one-half to three-sixteenths of an inch . The pipe is outstanding not only from its numerous fine characteristics but also from the story it mutely depicts regarding the style or method of cutting end wearing the hair. 

“It is sculptured t o denote the hair as cut and hanging in "bobbed fashion" on each side and entirely around the back of the head. The outer layer of the hair at the back of the neck was bobbed, while the under layer in the same area is bobbed about twice as long as that above and at the sides of the head. The hair on the top of the head was permitted to grow long and evidently was divided into two queues …

“Another very interesting feature is the co-called 'weeping eye' design beneath each eye. This unique design has been noted previously in Ohio, where it was carved on objects of stone, bone and shell found at the Madisonville Village Site of the Fort Ancient Culture. The same design has been noted on shell gorgets from the Temple Hound in Oklahoma, from mounds in Tennessee, " ' and from other southern states. An interesting viewpoint of the weeping eye design may be obtained by looking at the pipe upside down. In some instances the design appears in a somewhat different form - sometimes having three points downward. An interesting sidelight in connection with the type and variety of artifacts found with this burial, is the similarity to two others which may bo mentioned at this time.burial about three miles northwest of Circleville, discovered by Mr, H. R. McPherson in December, 1946.” 



Carmean, Kelli (Winter 2009), Points in time: Assessing a Fort Ancient triangular projectile point typology, Southeastern Archaeology, p. 2

Christopher Gist's Journals: With Historical, Geographical and Ethnological ...William McCullough Darlington.

First Indian ordained a priest in the United States Book highlights Kansan Father Bouchard and his Delaware family. The Southwest Kansas Register. September 14, 2014 Page 11

Charles A. Hanna. The Wilderness Trail, Volume II. 1911.

Henry Howe. Historical Collections of Ohio: In Three Volumes ; an Encyclopedia of the State. Volumes 2-3. 1907.

Pat McNamara. “First Native American Jesuit.” Patheous. September 06, 2009.

Albert M. Pecora, Ph.D. and Jarrod Burks, Ph.D. OVAI Contract Report #2012-4 Phase II Archeological Investigations of 33PK347...(PORTS). Pike County. April 28, 2014.

Ohio Archaeologist, Vol. 1, Number 2. New Series - July 1951 Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society Columbus, Ohio

Charlene Scott-Myers. The Journeycake Saga. 2014.

VOL. 1 NUMBE R 3 New Series. October 1951 Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society Columbus, Ohio.

Richard White. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991

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