19. Big Wind of the Fifteen Fires

June 1795     Fort Greenville

In June, 1795, following the defeat of of the tribes by Anthony Wayne at Fallen Timbers, the chiefs and the warriors of twelve tribes made their way to Fort Greenville.  Eleven hundred tribesmen of the Northwest Confederation sat about eating, engaging in sports with the soldiers, as their chiefs prepared to surrender twenty-million acres of their land to the Whites.  In the log council house, 92 chiefs and 27 white men talked for six weeks before the Native Americans went home to the little bit of ground left to them.  The Big Wind, as the tribes referred to General Anthony Wayne, made speeches in his full regalia reminding the tribes of all their lands they are giving up to the “fifteen fires” which is how he referred to the newly formed states.  Wayne told the “Brothers of the three fires” that they are complaining they were never paid for their lands as promised,, but in fact, they were paid twice.  “My younger brothers,” Wayne said,  “we are now paying you a third time.”   Wayne talked about how the tribes sold lands first to the French, then the British, and then the Americans. Eventually he told them “I have taken the hatchet out of your hands.”  He gave them wampum.  “All country south of the great lakes has been given up to America.”  For the tribes, it was finished.  For the British it was finished.  Or was it?

“It certainly took far longer than I expected for our newly formed government to run these tribes out of the Ohio country for good so that men like me can now improve our profits and sell the land we purchased.  It is good they are at last beaten and prosperity can begin.  They have no appreciation of profits and owning land.  These are things a civilized people pursue.  Well, so much for those tribes, I need to have my dinner brought to me.  I am older now, and need more servants to keep me going.”

Robert K Seymour,  Speculator


“At last peace has come, but at a terrible price it seems.  I think that we have, once and for all, put those savages in their place.  I can now farm my settlement without fear of a sudden attack, or having my children kidnapped.  I think I might keep my scalp for a while longer and will not get dragged away to fight in some God-forsaken forest of plains to keep us safe.  We beat these tribes through conquest and they refused to give up.  I can only hope that there will be peace now that they have surrendered to General Wayne.  I think perhaps my days in the militia may have come to a close.”

Jacob Palmer, Settler/militiaman

“My father, Lame Wolf, has told you he would never come to any of his children and tell us that he has lost our lands, our homes, to the White man.  He said he would die first.  And so he did at the place they called the Fallen Timbers. He would not give our lands to the Whites so easily.  The men of the Fifteen Fires, and their leader the Big Wind have told us that we have lost everything to them and they are the owners of the lands.  They believe they can sweep us aside like so many leaves blowing around on the ground.   They believe that they are a superior people, and that they can take what they want, and if they give us some wampum and some of their money, that we must take it and obey them.  We are nothing to them.  They now gather around their fifteen fires believing we are no longer a people who will fight for what it ours.  But there is a warrior among our people who seems to think differently.  His name……….

Techumseh .

Spotted Crow, Kispoko Shawnee



2020-01-26T18:44:03+00:00January 26th, 2020|Uncategorized|