There is an interesting Shawnee History found in the Journal of George Johnston.  George Bluejacket was the son of the great Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket.  He later became a Shawnee Chief, and  wrote his history of the Shawnee people between 1829 and 1831.

This history shows the Indians version of Ohio’s early history, and gives us the unique and invaluable perspective of a Shawnee Indian whose father was one of the most influential Indian participants in the events of one of Ohio’s tragic Indian Wars.  This blog also includes pictures of Blue Jacket’s son Charles and his Granddaughter Sallie.

Wapaughonnetta (Present day Wapakoneta OH), October 29,1829

I have been told by Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) to write a story of our tribe. Hath-the-wee-law is our brother and friend of our people. My father was Great Chief and told us many things of the old Shawanoes. Other old Chiefs have told us many things too.

I was born two winters after the Gim-e-wane Al-ag-wa (Rain of stars- Meteoric Shower of 1800) at our Pe-quaw town on Big Miami Se-pe (river). My father was Head-Chief then at that town. My Father Chief was buried there by our White Father (John Johnston) near the school house. Many of our people (are) buried there. Our White Father has told us to go sit by our dead on his farm any time. Some of our tribe go there every summer, we all love that place. We all love our White Father John Johnston too.

I now tell about our tribe. Old Chief Black-hoof has told us that our tribe came from the great salt water, where Ke-sath-wa (the sun) came out of the Kitch-e-ca-me (Lake) in the morning, and hid in the Me-to-quegh-ke (Forest) at night.

We were a great people. Our men were great warriors. They fought many (other) tribes and always beat them. The beginning of the Shawanoe tribe was when the Co-cum-tha (Grandmother) of our people come up out of the great saltwater holding to the tail of the Me-she-pe-she (Panther). Her Wash-et-che (Husband) was carried to the shore by a very big Wa-be-the (Swan, or Goose). The land where their people had lived was swallowed up in the great salt water by Watch-a-ne-toc (Bad Spirit, or Devil), but Mish-e-me-no-tec (The Great God, or Good Spirit) saved these two and they were the first of our tribe. Many animals and birds were saved too, so there was plenty hunting in the new Me-to-quegh-ke (Forest).

This was many Te-pa-wa-Ke-te (Hundred seasons, or years) ago, and our people became many. They have always been called Shawanoes (Water People), and the We-she-pe-she (Panther) and Wa-be-the (Swan) have always been the signs (Emblem, or totem) of this tribe. After a time the white people got too many for (the) red men, and then we followed the best hunting toward the north. The Al-wa-ma-ke (Bottom Land) was good for the corn, and Ma-vuegh-ke (Hills) full of game.

      Charles Blue Jacket

The Mean-e-lench (Young men) hunted and ran on the warpath. The Pash-e-to-the (Old men) caught A-ma-tha (Fish) in the Bo-with-e (small streams) and the Equi-wa (Squaws, or women) worked in the Da-me (Corn). Then many seasons passed, the tribe always going to the north, to when Black-Hoof was a Mean-e-lench (Young man) and they were all north of the Great Se-pe (Great river – ohio). Here we were given much land by our Brothers, the Wyandots, We built many towns and lived long time in peace, till the white men behind the Great Se-pe (River) tried to drive us away. They sent their Shem-a-noes (Big Knives) to our lodges and killed our E-qui-wa and A-pe-to-the (Women and children).

Then our Great Chief called all our warriors to a Big Council at the Chillicothe Town (Head town). Here they made talk to use the war-paint till all the bad spirits of our enemies were dead. Black Hoof told us all this. My father told me, and so told me too that himself he remember these wars along the Big Se-pe (River Ohio). Then he spoke to me too about (the) great army of General Clarke and Logan; how the Watch-e-men-e-toc (Evil Spirit) was with the warriors at our Pe-quaw town on Mad River, where many of us were killed and our town burned; how we came to the Big Miami and built a new Pe-quaw town; how many died in the winter from hungry and cold, though our brothers, the Wyandots, gave us some corn and beans.

He told me too how angry our warriors were and how they made war medicine; how they went in the summer to the pale-face houses, killed many and took many scalps. How after two summers Clarke come again and burned our towns on Big Miami; then how all the tribes above the Great Se-pe (River-Ohio) met in council at Pe-quaw town; how all the war-chief’s struck the war—post and made words that the pale-face people must stay behind (below) the Great Se-pe. My Father Blue Jacket, Little Turtle, and Tarhe make much talk at council, and for many summers our war bands camped along the Great Se-pe.

Then came a time when an army of Shem-a-ga-ne (Soldiers) going over the old salt trail (Gen. Harmar-1790) to the Miami towns, but our tribes beat them so they ran home. The next season a great army come up back (west) of the Big Miami to the Maumee towns, (St.Clair-l791) and our warriors killed so many that some only got back home. My Father show me many many scalp from that big battle. My Father told me too that all the tribes. now much angry and make all ready to go on war-path over the Great Se-pe (Ohio River) into Kentucky, but Simon Girty (a renegade white man) tell them another big army coming, so our warriors stay home and wait. They wait one, two seasons, then Tota (Frenchman) tell them big army coming up old trail and camp on Greenville Creek. (Gen. Wrayne – 1794).My Father Chief Blue Jacket tell me this: He send runners (Scouts) to see this big army and tell him how many. He keep runners all time watch this army, and all tribes wait on Maumee Se-pe (river). He send war band to catch Big White Chief (Wayne) sleepy, but that army never sleepy, so wait for him come to fort on Maumee where British Chief (Maj. Campbell) say they help Indians beat Wayne. This time Indian got beat and also get no help from fort army.

My Father Chief Blue Jacket told me British fort army all liars, and next season most all tribes go to big council at Greenville. Here they make treaty with Wayne, bury tomahawk, and give much land to Shem-a-noes (Americans). My Father Chief Blue Jacket never after dig up tomahawk against Shem-a- noes but after a few times (years) Tecumseh and his Brother (The Prophet) make war medicine with the British Chief at Detroit and try (to) make our tribe fight Shem-a-noes (Americans), but my father say no, and other tribes say yes, but get beat by Big White Chief Harrison at Tippecanoe on Wabash Sepe. (Wabash River-1811).

Our tribe then live at Wapaughkonnetta, above treaty line, but soon when British want us (to) make war medicine our Great White Father at Washington (President Monroe) move our tribe ‘back to our old Pe-quaw Town (Upper Piqua), where some of Delawares, Wyandots, Ottawas, and Senecas stay peaceful under council (Control) of our White Father, John Johnston. This I know myself, for I was then big boy (10 years old), and many time play at post (house) with John Johnston A-pe-to-the (children).

Captain John Logan and some more (of) our tribe were runners (scouts) for General Harrison, and wore all brave men. Some time after this war (was) over we were move back to Wapaughkonnetta, but our White Father, John Johnston, (was) still our agent and many time come (to) talk with our people there. My Father Chief Blue Jacket, Black-Hoof, (and) Wi-wel-a-pea were big (great) friends with John Johnston and many times went to his post (house) at Pe-quaw (Upper Piqua). and I too sometime went with them too.

For many seasons (years) we live peaceful at Wapaughkonnetta, then when I am young man (19 years old-1821) John Johnston take me to his post (house) and let me go (to) school-house on his farm. I live in John Johnston post (house), and our master (school-teacher) live there too. Our master (James Laird-an Irishman) much red-head man and beat every-body with stick, but we soon know how (learned to) read, write, (and) spell like he himself.

Some boys name Winans, Widney, Russell, Mclntire, Bill Johnston, (and) Steve Johnston go same tine to school-house I do, and got beat too. I like to live at John Johnston, but one, two, three winter, then I go back (to) Wapaughkonnetta and other boys go back down to cchool-house. Not much go past (happens) for some seasons (years), then Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) buy trading-store of Skip-a-ge-tha (Nicholas Greenham) at Wapaughkonnetta and I sometime make help in store.

We make big (great) friends together, and he have me write some all (the) time. Frank Duchouquet, George Moffett, (and) John Elliott were big (great) friends with us too, and sometimes we make big hunt all together in the Mis-ke-po-ke (Swamp-land) toward the Maumee Se-pe (River). George Moffetts Indian name (is) Kit-er-hoo; Frank Duchouquets (is) So-wah-quo-the, and both belong to our tribe. In the last noon myself, Ceo. Moffett, (and) Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) make big deer hunt near to-the big Kitch-e-ca-me (Lake- Erie) and brought in 63 skins. Many of us kill (trap) a-magh-qua (beaver); Osh-as-qua (musk-rat), and ki-ta-te (otter) in the cold season.

           Sallie Blue Jacket

Jan. 9, 1830. I have not make much write in book for two moons. Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) and Skip-a-ge-tha (Nicholas Greenham) with some head chiefs of our tribe and Wyandots, make long walk (journey) to see our Great White Father at Washington, and tell him about Indians trouble since John Johnston no more Father (Agent) for our tribes. Our now White Father (Agent) make much talk about our goods, but no make goods come to Indian. Our tribe get much winter goods from John Johnston anyway, for John Johnston always friend of poor Indian.

One time in corn season some many white people come from Piquatown to our New Corn Dance. Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) dance with us and make them people much laugh. We had much good time but some Indians drink (too) much fire-water and fight one, (an) other till one two die.

Also we make some big race and shoot at post (mark), but Geo. Moffett too * * * * *(Here an entire leaf was missing from the “Journal” and the following was probably written in the Fall of 1830 for they were congregated at St. Mary’s in December of that year. Editor.)

* * * * * have come to tell us all Indians must move right away to Girty’s Town (St. Marys) to make more ready to go to new Indian land on big Ta-was-ke-ta (Prairie) near (the) “Night lodge of Ke-sath-wa” (Setting place or the Sun). Our old people make much sorry (sorrow) for they not wish to leave old home. Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) and John Johnston sorry too, but say lndian must do like the Great White Father at Washington say, for white people must have all land before the Big Se-pe. (East of Mississippi River). Our tribe is no more a great people. Our old chief’s most all gone. Our warriors sit down most like E-qui-wa (women). We take what our White Father gives us.

Now we must go to new land. Soon more time we will have to move again. Soon there will be no more Shawanoes. Our hearts (are) full of sorry (sorrow) for all the tribes. But we will listen to the voice Mish-e-me-ne-toc (Good Spirit). In the great Me-to-quegh-ke (Forest) and he tells his A-pe-to-the (Children) when they all gone from this Mel-che-a-sis-ke Poor land, or Poor earth) he will lead them to their We-che-a-sis-ke (Good land) where he will lead them to their We-vhe-a-sis-ke (Good land) where all place is for Indian; where pale-face never come. Then poor Indian more again be happy.

Girty’s Town (St. Marys) June,1831. Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston) tell me to write more in book. Soon Hath-the-wee-law go back home to Piquatown. When our White Father (Agent) have plenty much Me-she-wa (Horses) then Indian start on long walk (Journey) to now home. Our tribe (will) go down to old Pe-quaw Town at John Johnston post (farm), and sit sometime (awhile) on the graves of our fathers. Then we will tell good by to John Johnston and Hath-the-wee-law (Geo. C. Johnston). Then we (will) tell good-by to Me-to-quegh-ke (Forest) by the Se-pe (River), and leave our old home forever.

By George Blue Jacket


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