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Indian reservation once in Hancock County

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.

 

By R.L. HEMINGER

 

In an eastern area of Hancock County once was located a portion of an official Indian reservation set apart by the United States government in conformity with a treaty with the Wyandot Indians early in the 19th century.

The reservation also included a portion of western Seneca County. In fact the larger part of the reservation was in Seneca County. But it extended about two miles into Hancock County and included areas of Biglick and Delaware Townships.

Early maps in the office of the Hancock County engineer, Norris E. Stultz, show the extent of the Indian reservation, and some maps which have been published in more recent years after the reservation had been abandoned by the Indians still show reservation boundaries, as a matter of interest.

After the war of 1812, a movement began to extinguish all the Indian titles in Ohio. Lewis Cass and Duncan McArthur, who had been regimental commanders with Gen. Hull’s army when Fort Findlay was built in 1812, met with a large delegation of Indian chiefs and warriors, at the foot of rapids of the Maumee on Sept. 29, 1817. Cass and McArthur, who were colonels when the Hull army went through here, were brigadier generals by that time and were the official representatives of the federal government in dealing with the Indians. Wyandots, Delawares, Senecas, Potawatomies, Ottawas and Chippewas were in attendance on behalf of all northwestern Ohio Indian tribes. A treaty was concluded by which all the lands of the Indians within the state of Ohio were ceded to the United States forever, with the exception of reservation land granted to the red men.

The treaty granted to the Seneca Indians a tract of land containing 30,000 acres, east of the Sandusky River in Seneca County. Among the Indians who participated were Coffeehouse, Running About and Wipingstick.

Another treaty was made about a year later in which 10,000 more acres were added to the Seneca reservation, adjoining the other reservation on the south, making the whole reserve 40,000. All of this was within Seneca County.

This same treaty gave to the Wyandots a tract 24 miles square in southwestern Seneca County and eastern Hancock County, containing 16,000 acres of land.

The exact language of the treaty in this connection follows:

“That there shall be reserved for the use of Wyandots residing at Solomon-town and on Blanchard’s Fork, 16,000 acres of land to be laid off in a square from the head of the Blanchard’s fork, the center of which shall be at the Big Spring, on the trace leading from Upper Sandusky to Fort Findlay.”

The reservation was known as the Big Spring Indian reservation. Two thirds of the reservation was in Seneca County and the remainder in Hancock County for the most part.

The reference to “Blanchard’s Fork” means the Blanchard River. In olden times, the waterway was known as a fork of the Auglaize River, into which it flows in western Putnam County.

“Solomon-town” was an Indian village named for an Indian chief by the name of Solomon.

Whether the term “Big Spring” refers to the well-known springs and cave on Limestone Ridge nine miles east of Findlay is not known. The southwestern township in Seneca County opposite Hancock County has the name “Big Spring.” The road going past the springs and cave in the Upper Sandusky-Findlay road is referred to as a “trace” in the treaty.

On Jan. 17, 1832, a new treaty was made between Uncle Sam and the Indians at McCutcheonville, whereby the Indians ceded their reservation land to the U.S. government. It was early in the 1840s, however, before they all left. McCutcheonville is a small town on the Seneca-Wyandot county line north of Carey.

The records say that all the Indians got drunk after the McCutcheonville treaty signing and the white men departed quickly, figuring probably that the Indians might change their minds and become troublesome.

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