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.
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
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.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
were believed to have higher social prestige and access to rare commodities
& control over political positions. Not as many mounds were built
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
During 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The 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.
From 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.
The 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.
You 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.
The 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.
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
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.
Read more about the French-
In 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.
By 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
Through 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.
on Hicksville History Page 3..........