April, 1787 Ohio River near mouth of Great Miami
The Treaty at Fort Finney in January 1786 was the third in line of a group of treaties know as the “Conquest Treaties.” They were designed to strip the Native American tribes in the Ohio Country of their tribal lands. Had these treaties been handled correctly, there could have been a possibility of peace with the tribes after the treaty of Paris in 1783. But instead, the newly formed Confederation Congress and its representatives felt it more to their advantage to attempt to frighten the tribes and literally push them out by threats of force. The Shawnee leaders were already angry at Moluntha, the Makujay chief, for agreeing to give up the Shawnee’s southern lands in Ohio to the Americans, and then advocate for peace with them. What a mistake the Americans made when they believed they have frightened the Shawnee. What a mistake the Americans made when they brutally murdered Moluntha, the ONLY ally to their cause they had among the tribes. The Treaty at Fort Finney and Logan’s Raid on the towns along the Mad River, all meant to prevent the Shawnee from retaliating, only served to infuriate them. First, in a move to better protect their people, many of the Shawnee villages along the Great Miami and Mad Rivers pulled up stakes and headed to the headwaters of the Maumee, where the St. Joseph and St Mary’s rivers meet. Here they joined several villages, to include Blackbeard’s Village, and Blacksnake’s Villages. From these towns, and now joined with their strong allies the Miami tribe, along with some Delaware, Mingo, Wea, Piankashaw, Kickapoo, and Potawatami, murderous raids were conducted inside of Kentucky and against river traffic on the Ohio. America had made a serous blunder and was now paying a heavy price. The lands they so coveted were still contested and defended by the Ohio tribes.
“As I sit here in the tall grasses along the shoreline of the great Ohio, musket at the ready, I think about the insults given to us by the Shamanese, who now call themselves Americans. They own our lands, they told us. They conquered us, they said. They are just as so many birds singing in the forest. These things are lies. Then they burn our towns, steal our people, and kill our great leader Moluntha. So now they must continue to pay. They must be beaten into the dust because they do not learn from their errors. They have pieces of paper from a congress which they say gives them all these rights over the tribes and their lands. They also have the big black book that their God gave them which they say gives them the right to do whatever they want to we ‘heathen savages.’ It is sad their God needed to give them a book so they would understand what to do. We need no such book. Still they do not listen to what the book has told them.
A flatboat is coming. It has settlers, horses, a few cattle, and supplies on it. They come to take up living in lands that are still ours, not theirs. It is unfortunate for the settlers on this flatboat, for they will not live to see the lands they wish to settle which do not belong to them. I see our warriors in canoes darting out form shore in the attack. There is shooting. A woman and two small children have jumped into the river. White Fox has pulled his war canoe up to them, and they are being dragged in. The woman, if allowed to live, will serve White Fox’s wife. The children will become Shawnee. Our warriors are now on board the flatboat finishing off the defenders and taking scalps. I see one of their wounded rising and pointing a pistol at Tall Trees. Wait. I must shoot…………….He is down. I will give Tall Trees the signal to take his scalp for me. I will add it to my scalp pole outside my wigwam. How many more must I take before these White men go away and let us alone. We do not want war, but they will have it no other way.”
Lame Wolf, Kispoko Shawnee