Saturday, December 13, 2003

Ohio Moments

Treaty with Indians only led to new clashes

On Dec. 13, 1788, Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, met with a delegation of Indian chiefs at Fort Harmar near present-day Marietta to negotiate peace.

Secretary of War Henry Knox had ordered St. Clair to establish a peaceful relationship between white settlers and the Indians. Present were representatives of the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi and Sauk.

They asked St. Clair to establish an Indian reservation that would include the land west of the Muskingum River and north of the Ohio River. The Treaty of Fort McIntosh had taken this land away from the Indians in 1785.

St. Clair refused and threatened to attack if the Indians didn't comply with the Fort McIntosh Treaty. He also bribed them with $3,000 in gifts.

The chiefs signed the Treaty of Fort Harmar on Jan. 9, 1789. But the Shawnee - who were absent during the negotiations - refused to comply, as did other tribes. Instead of bringing peace, the treaty sparked a rash of bloodshed between Indians and whites in Ohio.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call 768-8361

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