By Ralph and James Boggs (1953)
THE ENGLISH SETTLERS were content to remain on the Atlantic side of the Appalachian fence until the streams of German and Irish immigrants diluted the English strain in the blood of the colonists. As the tides immigrants flowed in the Germans and Irish, to find free land had to push on beyond the settled valleys. Early journeys over the Appalachians were led by Col. William Mayo, Col. Abraham Wood and Doctor Thomas Walker, who first opened new routes over the mountain barrier.
What is now Ohio was at this time almost entirely covered with forests of oak, walnut, sycamore, maple, chestnut and beech with an under growth of lesser shrubs of dogwood, wild plum, crab apple, red bud, pawpaw, blueberry and raspberry, all inter twined with heavy hanging grapevines. Through this virgin forest came the first white expeditions. In 1749, a French expedition under CELERON, which almost defined the present boundaries of Ohio, attempted to keep the English from settling the Ohio Country. Celeron completed a journey of about 3000 miles which took him to the Miami Indian town of Pickawillany where he dispersed the English traders. His trip, in the name of France, did not retard the English advance.
In 1750, the Ohio Company, which was formed in Virginia, instructed Christopher Gist to investigate the Ohio country. During this journey one of his stops was at Pickawillany where he made a trade agreement with the Miami Indians and English traders. The French, allied with the Miamis, Wyandots and Ottawas engaged in a war with the English in 1752 which lasted until 1763. The English were allied with the Shawanoes, Delawares, Cherokees, Catawbas, Munseys and Senecas and finally emerged victorious, thus driving the French farther into the northern part of the Ohio Country.
After the French and Indian War the Fort Stanwix treaty was formed in which the Delawares, Shawnees and Mingoes refused to sign, therefore creating the disturbances which started the Border Wars and led to a large expedition of frontiersmen under the command of George Rogers Clark, who was sent into the Shawnee country for the purpuse of retaliation and for the destruction of the Indian villages and crops. It was in the summer of 1780 when Clark’s army attacked the Shawnee town of Piqua, four miles west of Springfield, and after quite a battle the Indians were defeated, 500 acres of corn destroyed and the village burned. Clark then returned to Kentucky. Instead of Clark’s expedition causing a cessation of hostilities, the Indians, embittered by defeat, became more aggressive in their plundering excursions. They became such. a menace that in 1782 another expedition by General, Clark was organized. Leaving Cincinnati, fording Mad River in Dayton, he marched up the east bank of the Miami River and crossed the stream about four miles below present Piqua, Ohio. The Indians were congregating at Piqua for a general pow wow and it seems that such was the terror inspired by the name of Clark that the Indians fled at his approach. After destroying everything possible Clark led his army back to Kentucky.