The Indians
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Pre-History
The Indians
The Great Black Swamp
Pre-French & Indian Wars
Shot Heard Round the World
Beaver Wars
French Indian War
Writs of Assistance
The Sugar Act 1764
The Stamp Act 1765
Pre-Revolutionary War
Fort Laurens Ohio
More to come
Mexico
Columbian Exchange

 

The Early Residents
White men were not the first residents of Ohio. This area was occupied by several different groups of people including the American Indians.
 
The Original Residents 
Before the white man came to this area it was long occupied by other people. The Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland and Hopewells were the earliest people to live in the region we know today as Ohio.
The Paleo-Indians were ancient peoples that followed the Ice Age. The term is English and comes from the Greek word palais meaning ancient. They are also referred to as Clovis people. They are believed to be the first people to inhabit large parts of the North American continent. They may have come over the land bridge from Asia about 35,000-15,000 years ago. Some evidence suggests South America may have had occupants from the Pacific Islands or Asia before this and these people may have come north.  The Paleo-Indians are thought to have been nomadic hunter gathers following animal migrations. When the glaciers melted in North American tundra and foliage grew native animals such as Mastodons & mammoths, bison, bears and caribou moved to the area. These people hunted with fluted stone-pointed wooden lancing spears and shorter throwing spears called atlatl. They very likely also consumed edible plants. They traveled in small groups of about 20-50 individuals. Evidence suggests they traded among different groups.
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he Archaic Indians are thought to be direct descendants of the Paleo-Indians. This second period of human occupation of North America was from about 8000 BC to 1000 BC. The successors to the Archaic Indians began the adoption of sedentary farming. This stage of human development is characterized by the people expanding their culture to include nuts, shellfish and seeds in their diets.  There are several variations of this group depending on the part of the country being discussed. Some groups kept bisons in fenced areas for future slaughter. Others dugs wells, domesticated dogs, used plants for medicine, plant fiber or building materials.
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he Mound Builders appeared about 800 BC. The first Mound people were called the Adenas. They occupied the lands from The Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains as early as 13,000 BC. Named after the mounds they built, these people constructed mounds for many functions. Some were burial mounds. Others were platforms for religious ceremonies. Burial mounds were very common during the Woodland period (100 BD - AD 400), temple mounds were dominate during the Mississippian era (after AD 1000). The Mound  Builders left behind much to give us today a feel for the agrarian society they enjoyed. During the Woodland period (500 BC - AD 1000) the Mound Builders added agriculture to their lives of hunting and fishing. They raised sunflowers, goosefoot, grasses and erect knot weed. The populations thrived and increased throughout the Ohio & Mississippi Valleys. Elaborate mounds were constructed in the mid-Woodland era in the Great Lakes areas all the way to the Gulf Coast. The mounds were normally dome-shaped but some of them were in the shapes of animals. 
The second group of Mound Builders were called Hopewell. They appeared about 100 to c. 400 A.D. Hopewell Mound Builders in Southern Ohio and Illinois built mounds covering from 2.5 to 120 acres and up to 65 feet high. They traded over a vast area in things like mica, ceramic, pipestone, and shells. The middle to late Woodland cultures had a highly organized system of social ran. Certain groups were believed to have higher social prestige and access to rare commodities & control over political positions. Not as many mounds were built in the late Woodland period. The Hopewell group did not provide as elaborate burial ceremonies and goods as done before. It is believed the culture was still prospering though with their organized social orders in tact.
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uring the Mississippian era (A.D. 900 - 1550) a new way of life began. New technologies were embraced as well as a different relationship with the environment.  Maize, an early corn, spread all over the Mound cultures. Supplemented with beans and squash, the Mound builders found that food could be stored and traded. Settlements could be permanent and occupied all year. Intensive farming began. The bow and arrow, tipped with triangular points made hunting much more efficient. Pottery techniques improved providing stronger containers and better cooking methods. A large trade network developed among the peoples. 

The peoples settled mostly in the flood plains of large rivers. The soil was rich and easy to till. Fish and water fowl were plentiful and nearby. Deer, turkeys and racoons were still used as food. Larger settlements grew that became centers for religion and government. Many of the towns were built around a central plaza that included one or more flat topped mounds. These mounds were used for temples and to house the more elite leaders of the town. The plazas were used for social events and ceremonies. Powerful chiefs and priests lead the people, created alliances with neighboring settlements controlling trade and started wars. 

The Mound Builder populations greatly increased and expanded. The largest mound earthwork was built near East St Louis, Illinois, at the Cahokia Mounds. The temple was 100 feet high and 975 long. Large ceremonial mounds were constructed throughout the South and the Mississippi Valley. About 1200 AD certain specific shapes started to appear throughout the Mound Builder groups. Made of shells, ceramics and pipestone, these common shapes suggest a shared religion. This was called the Southern Cult. The Mound Builder culture prospered during this time and developed complex chiefdoms, the most hierarchical form of political organization of any aboriginal culture in North America. 

It is generally recognized these people were not Indians as we commonly think of early Americans. In fact they had more similarity to the early European Mound Builders. Both used similar weapons of defense & worshipped serpents. Their records do not resemble even the Aztecs of Mexico. The arrowheads of the earliest European's are exact counterparts to the Mound Builders of America. Their rude stone implements, many made from Osidian, a volcanic stone, are not found in the Mississippi Valley. The closest source would be the Mexican Mountains of Cerro Gordo. In Ohio, especially around Cincinnati, relics have been found made from moss-agate which is peculiar to Colorado.  No other American peoples left traces analogous to those left by the Mound-builders. 

When the Spanish first questioned the Aztecs about their ancestry, the Aztecs said they were children of bearded strangers with pale skins that came from the remote East, from the rising sun. The Mexican god Quetzalcoatl, is described as a man with white skin. Did the Mound Builders come across a land bridge extending the North American Continent as far as the Madeira Islands. Was there an Island in the Atlantic that people came from to Europe and North America? Plato called it Atlantis. The Aztec legends speak of such an island and a terrible cataclysm that destroyed it.

The Mississippian Period had three periods. The Early Mississippian, The Middle Mississippian (A.D. 1000-1050), and the Late Mississippian Periods. When the Spanish conquistadors came to the southwest in the mid 1500's, the mound builders were already gone from this area. No one knows where they went or why. We do know that warfare increased probably due to the need for more land for cultivation to support the growing populations. Many of the sites left have fortifications as well as numerous skeletons with arrow heads embedded. There is also evidence of beheadings and scalping in the artwork of the Late period. 

The Mound Builders time apparently ended when the red man came to their lands. Warriors from both sides died as the red men pushed the Mound Builders out of the midwest of America into the southwest. The red men were more fierce & persistent warriors and successfully took over the lands. Unlike their predecessors, the red men were nomads who took what they needed from the lands and forests doing very little farming. In many ways though they were inferior to the Mound Builders. The people in North America in 1492 were red men. Little is known about where these people came from with little evidence of their history until the white men showed up on their shores. In many ways, the culture of these nomadic Indians made it much easier for the white man to take over the lands of the red man. (see the Mexico page for some additional insight on this.)

A couple of side notes: 

There is evidence that these peoples were cultivating some sort of crops as early as 12,000 BC. Over fifty percent of the agriculture of today' s world comes from plants that were first domesticated by American Indians, primarily in Mesoamerica.

There is also evidence that Spanish encountered the Mound Builders coming up the Mississippi River. The Spanish had full intentions of conquering these peoples. But it didn't turn out that way. There were some battles and the Spanish leader died. On the verge of defeat the Spanish turned around and headed south pursued by the Mound Builders. So it could be said that the Mound Builders kept the Spanish out of central North America. 

The Red Man

The history of the red man as we know it today starts during the later part of the 17th century. In 1609 the French explorer Samuel de Champlain (1567?-1635) first reported the Iroquois, who then dwelt about the eastern end of Lake Ontario. This is one of the earliest reports of the red man in America. Champlain had quite a history with the Indians. In 1608, he led 32 colonists to establish Quebec as a fur-trading center. The next year, Champlain befriended the Huron Indians in a conflict with the Iroquois.  This conflict started 150 years of bitterness and hostility between the Iroquois and the French
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he Indian tribe of Algonquians claimed dominion over the whole of what is now Indiana and western Ohio. This area included the territories drained by the Wabash, St. Joseph, Maumee, and Miami rivers. The Algonquians were closely connected, both linguistically and politically, with their western neighbors, the Illinois. The two tribe-groups spoke dialects of the same language. 
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rom 1707 to 1759 several different Indian tribes inhabited our region. Ottawa villages were abundant from 1707 to 1748, Kickapoos and Muscounteres resided in the region in 1712. The Miamis ventured to the Maumee River region in great numbers. In the winter of 1749-50 among others camping in the Hicksville-Defiance region were the Miami's, Prankaahaws, Ottawa's, Delaware's and Shawnee. The Huron spent time in Defiance County, primarily in the 1750's, but lived mostly in the areas of Michigan and the Lake Erie region. Weas, Wyandotts and Caughnawage Mohawks also hunted our area.
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he Miami Indians were an Algonquian tribe. They were more independent and warlike. Their tribal name, pronounced in Latin as Me-ah-me (Maumee), and in the full plural form Ou-miami-wek. They were called by the early English writers Twightwee, a corruption of their Iroquois name, " the cry of a crane." Miami (Chippew: 0maumeg, 'people who live on the peninsula'). The earliest record of the Miami Indian's was from information furnished in 1658 by Gabriel Druillettes, a French Jesuit who called them the Oumamik.
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ou can't talk about the Indians in the Ohio area without mentioning the Iroquois. They traded with the British for furs in the New York area until the beavers were gone, then they moved west to Ohio. Here they encountered the Erie's who they decimated. The influences of the Iroquois expanded giving them control of a very large portion of this area. A European map produced in 1755 showed the Iroquois' tract extending to the Mississippi, and including everything between that river and Lake Ontario, the Ohio, and the great lakes. Another map divides the country of the Indian Confederation, enlarged from five to seven nations, into their "place of residence," New York; their "deer-hunting country" (Tunasonruntic), which was Ohio; and their "beaver-hunting countries," known as Canada. Toss in the fact that the Iroquois had a huge problem with the French thanks to Champlain's helping the Huron. When the English moved into the area, they had an immediate ally against the French. The Ohio territory was all but unoccupied following the Iroquois conquest and used as a hunting ground.
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he Indian Confederation original Six Nations included: the  Wyandots, or Hurons, as they were called by the French; The Sonontouans [Senecas], the Goyagoans [Cauyagas], the Onnatagues [Onondagas], the Ononyonts [Oneidas], and the Aguies [Mohawks]. Later the Six Nations grew to Seven Nations.
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icksville, Ohio, USA, is on the western boundary of Black Swamp area in the Maumee Valley at 750 feet above sea level. Indians of the early area were Miamis, Prankaahaws, Ottowas, Delaware's, Shawnee, Kickapoos, Muscounteres - some Hurons, Senecas, Pottawatomies. Others who hunted here were Weas, Wyandotts, & Caughnawage Mohawks.

The French Influence

Shortly before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the French were already in the Michigan area. They were a group of semi-vagabond French fur traders, explorers and missionaries. The French were well acquainted with the Indians. The demand for furs was huge in Europe and the French traded with the Indians for furs. A treaty arrangement was signed between M. Perrot and the Indians of the Great Lakes. The French were given the right to occupy the region in the name of France. This region was a point of exchange for the adjacent fur bearing regions.
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n 1682, Robert Cavelier de la Salle (1643-1687) was sent by French King Louis XIV to establish new fur trade routes along the Mississippi. His task was to come from Canada and sail down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. He was the first European to travel the full length of the Mississippi River. La Salle named the entire Mississippi basin Louisiana, in honor of the King, and claimed it for France on April 9, 1682. On a subsequent trip La Salle returned to Quebec, New France (Canada) in 1687 determined to find a water passage to the Pacific. La Salle left Montreal in July, 1669,  crossed Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and undoubtedly visited other places which were not document returning to Montreal late 1670. He very well may have traveled down the Ohio or Mississippi River at this time. La Salle made many exploring trips during the years 1671 to 1673. 
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y the eighteenth century the eastern area of America was primarily agrarian and British controlled. What was the west, our region, was dominated by the French and the Indian tribes. The British were not in this area because of the pro-French attitude. The Catholic missionaries who were French were the primary reason for this. This would change when the Indians realized the British would pay a higher fee for their furs than the French fur buyers. The British began infiltrating Ohio. In the 1750's the British tried unsuccessfully different times to trade with the Indians at Grand Glaize (Defiance).
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hrough numerous conflicts as to who was to control the area north and west of the Ohio River, the French and Indian War started in 1753. During this the Maumee and Wabash Rivers served as important military routes for the French. These rivers provided the connections to Lake Erie and to the Ohio River and eventually to the Mississippi. The French and their allies the Indians were in command of the situation until William Pitt assumed control of the English government in 1758. By 1763, the British were in the position to demand peace from the French. The areas of Northwest Ohio became under control of the British with the enactment of the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

Read more about the French- Indian War

Continued on Hicksville History Page 3..........





 
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