From Ohio History Central
The Ohio Indian Wars were a series of struggles between settlers from the newly independent United States and Native American residents of the Ohio Country in the years after the American Revolution.
During the first part of the eighteenth century, French and British colonists began to migrate to modern-day Ohio. Each group sought to form alliances with American Indians in the region. With France's defeat in the French and Indian War, Great Britain acquired this territory in 1763. The British government attempted to improve relations with the natives by prohibiting white settlement in the Ohio Country. Great Britain's action resulted in part in the American Revolution. The Treaty of Paris (1783) brought the Revolution to a close and Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States. In addition, the new nation secured all of the land east of the Mississippi River except for British possessions in Canada and Spanish territory in Florida.
The Treaty of Fort Harmar did little to stop the bloodshed between the Americans and the Indians. Many natives refused to honor the treaty, including the Shawnee Indians. They claimed that the groups represented at the treaty negotiations did not speak for the Shawnees. Warfare increased, especially in the western portions of modern-day Ohio.
Most Native Americans had been driven from the eastern portion of the state during the American Revolution, although many Indians still hunted in this area. In 1790, Josiah Harmar, commander of the American army in the Northwest Territory, was stationed at Fort Washington (present-day Cincinnati, Ohio). Henry Knox, the Secretary of War, ordered Harmar to end the threat of Indian attack in western Ohio. Harmar marched from Fort Washington with 320 regular soldiers and roughly 1,100
militiamen -- primarily from Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The militiamen were poorly trained. Many did not know how to correctly load and fire a musket. Some did not even have a gun. Harmar was to destroy the native villages near modern-day Fort Wayne, Indiana. He intended to attack the Miami Indians, the Shawnee Indians, and the Delaware Indians, along with other natives located in western Ohio.
The natives fled their villages as Harmar's army approached. The Americans burned several villages, but the Indians regrouped. On October 20, the natives, led by Little Turtle, attacked a detachment from Harmar's army led by Colonel John Hardin. Hardin's force consisted of several hundred militiamen and a few regular soldiers. Hardin led his men into an ambush. Most of the militiamen fled the battle. The regular soldiers put up a brief resistance, but the natives killed many of them. Some of the retreating militiamen did not stop until they crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky. Harmar sent another detachment after Little Turtle's warriors two days later. Once again, the natives inflicted heavy casualties upon the Americans. Harmar immediately retreated to the safety of Fort Washington. He had lost 183 men killed or missing in this campaign. It became known as Harmar's Defeat.
With Tecumseh's death, Native American resistance in Ohio came to an end. Natives in the state agreed to abide by the terms of the Treaty of Greeneville. Over the next several years, various groups signed additional treaties relinquishing their remaining territory. By 1843, the last large group of Native Americans in Ohio had agreed to give up their land.
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