A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Next page | Butler County Ohio | Cyclopeadia index page | Previous page



General Anthony WAYNE was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, on the 1st of January, 1745. He was the son of an Irishman, who emigrated to this country in the year 1722, and afterward became a member of the provincial assembly and an officer in the various military expeditions which were fitted out against the Indians. After leaving school, in which his attention to the mathematical sciences was marked, Anthony WAYNE became a surveyor. That calling he followed for a number of years, devoting part of his time, however, to various county offices to which he had been chosen. In 1774 he was one of the provincial deputies who met in Philadelphia to deliberate upon the state of affairs, and was also a member of the convention and of the Legislature. In 1775 he was a member of the committee of safety. Before the close of that year he had raised a regiment for immediate service, and, as its commander he joined General SULLIVAN for duty in Canada. He was in the engagement of Three Rivers. He had command of five regiments at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence until May, 1777, when he joined General WASHINGTON, in New Jersey, and aided in driving the enemy out of that State. He was defeated at Paoli, by a superior force, when in command, as brigadier-general, of fifteen hundred men. General WAYNE led the attack of the American right wing at Germantown, and gave much efficient service to the American cause. He fought nobly at the battle of Monmouth. When Stony Point was to be captured, General WAYNE was fixed upon by WASHINGTON as the proper man for the service, and he fulfilled the expectations of his commander. The place was defended by six hundred men and a strong. battery of artillery. At midnight he led his troops with unloaded muskets, flints out, and fixed bayonets, and, without firing a single gun, carried the fort by storm, and took five hundred and forty-three prisoners. He was struck in the attack by a musket ball, in the head, and was supposed to have received a mortal wound. He called to his aids to carry him forward and let him die in the fort. But he did not die. He recovered his health in time to take part in the Southern campaign in 1781. After the surrender of CORNWALLIS, General WAYNE was assigned to the command of Georgia, and succeeded in driving the enemy from that State. When the war closed he remained in Georgia, being a member of the Constitutional Convention of that State, and also served for a short time as a member of Congress.

After the defeat of ST.CLAIR, General WASHINGTON looked for some man who could recover the laurels we had lost by that disaster. His choice was finally fixed upon General WAYNE. In the Summer of 1792 that officer repaired to Pittsburg, when he proceeded to recruit and discipline an army. On the 30th of April, 1793, General WAYNE moved from his winter-quarters to the neighborhood of Fort Washington. They set out for the North on the 7th of October.

The next Summer they negotiated with the Indians, but unsuccessfully. The British had promised them aid, and the red men relied upon them.

On the 28th of July, WAYNE having been joined by General Scott, with sixteen hundred mounted Kentuckians, moved forward to the Maumee. By the 8th of August the army had arrived near the junction of the Auglaize with that stream, and commenced the erection of Fort Defiance at that point. The Indians, having. learned from a deserter of the approach of WAYNE's army, hastily abandoned their headquarters at Auglaize, and thus defeated the plan of WAYNE to surprise them, for which object he had cut two roads intending to march by neither. At Fort Defiance, WAYNE received full information of the Indians, and the assistance they were to derive from the volunteers at Detroit and vicinity. On the 13th of August, true to the spirit of peace advised by WASHINGTON, he sent Christian MILLER, who had been naturalized among the Shawnees, as a special messenger to offer terms of friendship. Impatient of delay, he moved forward, and on the 16th met MILLER on his return with the message that if the Americans would wait ten days at Grand Glaize [Fort Defiance], they (the Indians) would decide for peace or war. On the 18th the army arrived at Roche de Boeuf, just south of the site of Waterville, where they erected some light works as a place of deposit for their heavy baggage, which was named Fort Deposit. During the 19th the army labored at their works, and about eight o'clock on the morning of the 20th moved forward to attack the Indians, who were encamped on the bank of the Maumee, at and around a hill called Presque Isle, about two miles south of the site of Maumee City, and four south of the British Fort Miami. From WAYNE's report of the battle, we make the following extract:

"The legion was on the right, its flank covered by the Maumee; one brigade of mounted volunteers on the left, under Brigadier-general TODD, and the other in the rear, under Brigadier-general BARBEE. A select battalion of mounted volunteers moved in front of the legion, commanded by Major PRICE, who was directed to keep sufficiently advanced, so as to give timely notice for the troops to form in case of action, it being yet undetermined whether the Indians would decide for peace or war.

"After advancing about five miles, Major PRICE's corps received so severe a fire from the enemy, who were secreted in the woods and high grass, as to compel them to retreat. The legion was immediately formed in two lines, principally in a close thick wood, which extended for miles on our left, and for a very considerable distance in front; the ground being covered with old fallen timber (probably occasioned by a tornado), which rendered it impracticable for the cavalry to act with effect, and afforded the enemy the most favorable covert for their mode of warfare. The savages were formed in three lines, within supporting distance of each other, and extending for near two miles at right angles with the river. I soon discovered, from the weight of the fire and extent of their lines, that the enemy were in full force in front, in possession of their favorite ground, and endeavoring to turn our left flank. I therefore gave orders for the second line to advance and support the first; and directed Major-general SCOTT to gain and turn the right flank of the savages, with the whole force of the mounted volunteers, by a circuitous route; at the same time I ordered the front line to advance and charge with trailed arms, and rouse the Indians from their coverts at the point of the bayonet, and when up, to deliver a close and well-directed fire on their backs, followed by a brisk charge, so as not to give them time to load again.

"I also ordered Captain Mis CAMPBELL, who commanded the legionary cavalry, to turn the left flank of the enemy next the river, and which afforded a favorable field for that corps to act in. All these orders were obeyed with spirit and promptitude but such was the impetuosity of the charge by the first line of infantry, that the Indians and Canadian militia and volunteers were drove from all their coverts in so short a time that, although every possible exertion was used by the officers of the second line of the legion, and by Generals SCOTT, TODD, and BARBEE, of the mounted volunteers, to gain their proper positions, but part of each could get up in season to participate in the action; the enemy being drove, in the course of one hour, more than two miles through the thick woods already mentioned by less than one-half their numbers. From every account the enemy amounted to two thousand combatants. The troops actually engaged against them were short of nine hundred. This horde of savages, with their allies, abandoned themselves to flight, and dispersed with terror and dismay, leaving our victorious army in full and quiet possession of the field of battle, which terminated under the influence of the guns of the British garrison.

The bravery and conduct of every officer belonging to the army, from the generals down to the ensigns, merit my highest approbation. There were, however, some whose rank and situation placed their conduct in a very conspicuous point of view, and which I observed with pleasure and the most lively gratitude. Among whom, I must beg leave to mention Brigadier-general WILKINSON and Colonel HAMTRAMCK, the commandants of the right and left wings of the legion, whose brave example inspired the troops. To those I must add the names of my faithful and gallant aides-de-camp, Captains DE BUTT and T. LEWIS, and Lieutenant HARRISON, who, with the adjutant-general, Major MILLS, rendered the most essential service by communicating my orders in every direction, and by their conduct and bravery exciting the troops to press for victory.

The loss of the enemy was more than that of the Federal army. The woods were strewed for a considerable distance with the dead bodies of Indians and their white auxiliaries, the latter armed with British muskets and bayonets.

"We remained three days and nights on the banks of the Maumee, in front of the field of battle, during which time all the houses and corn-fields were consumed and destroyed for a considerable distance, both above and below Fort Miami, as well as within pistol-shot of the garrison, who were compelled to remain tacit spectators to this general devastation and conflagration, among which were the houses, stores, and property of Colonel MCKEE, the British Indian agent and principal stimulator of the war now existing between the United States and the savages."

The loss of the Americans in this battle was thirty-three killed and one hundred wounded, including five officers among the killed, and nineteen wounded.

One of the Canadians taken in the action estimated the force of the Indians at about fourteen hundred. He also stated that about seventy Canadians were with them, and that Colonel McKEE, Captain ELLIOTT, and Simon GIRTY were in the field, but at a respectful distance, and near the river. When the broken remains of the Indian army were pursued under the British fort, the soldiers could scarce be restrained from storming it. This, independent of its results in bringing on a war with Great Britain, would have been a desperate measure, as the fort mounted ten pieces of artillery, and was garrisoned by four hundred and fifty men, while WAYNE had no armament proper to attack such a strongly fortified place. While the troops remained in the vicinity, there did riot appear to be any communication between the garrison and the savages. The gates were shut against them, and their rout and slaughter witnessed with apparent unconcern by the British. The Indians were astonished at the lukewarmness of their allies, and regarded the fort, in case of defeat, as a place of refuge.

On the 27th WAYNE's army returned to Fort Defiance, by easy marches, laying waste the villages and corn-fields of the Indians for about fifty miles on each side of the Maumee.

The battle of Fallen Timbers ended the Indian wars, and was followed, the next year, by the treaty of Greenville. This was a substantial and well-observed compact, and the people of Ohio and Eastern Indiana had no cause to complain of the Indian tribes, until just before the war of 1812. It covered the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottowattomies, Kickapoos, Kaskaskias, Weas, the Eel River tribe, and the Piankeshaws.

General WAYNE died at Presque Isle (now Erie), Pennsylvania, of gout, while on his way from Detroit to Philadelphia, December 14, 1796, a few days before he was fifty-one years of age. His remains were interred, at his own request, under the flag-staff of the fort on the shore of Lake Erie, but were removed by his son, Colonel Isaac WAYNE, in 1809, to Radnor churchyard, near the place of his birth, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. where an elegant monument was erected in This honor by the Cincinnati Society of Pennsylvania. "Mad Anthony" was one of the best generals of the Revolution. He was a man apparently of great rashness, and yet no-one acted, in a time of emergency, with greater coolness and foresight. His name is inseparably connected with this State.


John REILY a member of the constitutional convention which formed the organic law of Ohio, a brave soldier, and a devoted patriot, was born in Chester County Pennsylvania, on the tenth day of April, 1763. His career is interwoven with the whole history of Butler County and Ohio. Mr. REILY's parents were farmers, and removed with him to Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia, when he was about five or six years of age. Just before the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, this was on the frontier line of settlements, and the pioneers were much exposed to attacks from Indians, who were bloodthirsty and revengeful. Their lands had been taken from them by the whites, and a continual warfare existed between them and the strangers, as far west as Kentucky, which was then just receiving its first emigrants. In each neighborhood a block-house, answering the purpose of a fort, was erected, to which all the families fled when danger seemed near. In October, 1774, a battle was fought at the mouth of the Great Kanawha River, between the Indian chief CORNSTALK and his warriors, and the Virginia troops under the command of General Andrew LEWIS. Mr. REILY distinctly remembered this, although he was at the time only eleven years old, as well as the circumstance that the family retreated for protection to a small fort near Staunton.

The youth matured early in those days. It was necessary to cultivate a habit of self-reliance, as each man needed all his faculties about him. At seventeen, John REILY felt the duty of taking his part in the great struggle which was going on between his countrymen and the armies of Great Britain. He joined the Southern Department, then under the command of Nathaniel GREENE, the Quaker general, who had been appointed to the command on the 22d of October, 1780. The movements of that army were numerous. It made long marches, it fought many battles, it contested every inch of ground, and finally compelled CORNWALLIS to retreat for reinforcements to Yorktown, where later on he was captured by the united American and French forces.

The first battle in which Mr. REILY took an active part was that of Guifford Court-house, which was fought on the 15th of March, 1781. There were about forty-four hundred on the American side, thirty-one hundred of whom were raw militia or half-equipped regulars, and on the enemy's side there were two thousand four hundred regular troops. They lost six hundred killed and wounded, while the Americans had four hundred and fifty killed and wounded, with eight hundred missing. The British also captured several cannon. They claimed the victory, but had no such decided preponderance that they could afford to wait and gather the fruits, and a few days later began to retreat, closely pursued by General GREENE.

Camden was the next battle. It was a severe and hard-fought contest, in which GREENE received the worst of it. He consequently withdrew, but CORNWALLIS was not in sufficient spirits to follow. Shortly after, he burned his works at Camden, and retreated to the North.

Soon after this, the American army invested the town of Ninety-six, which had been strongly fortified. Learning that Lord RAWDON was approaching, GREENE determined to carry the works by assault, and made the attempt; but it failed, after much slaughter. The last affair of consequence in which Mr. REILY was engaged was the battle of Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina, on the 8th of September. The Americans attacked the British with great spirit, early in the morning, which was met with courage and determination. After a long hand-to-hand conflict, LEE, who had turned the British left flank, charged them in the rear. They yielded, and their line was completely broken. The company to which Mr. REILY belonged, heated with patriotic fire, pursued them so vigorously that they were divided from their own troops, so that they had to make a wide circuit. The day was so distressingly hot that when the company came to a brook on their way back, they rushed into the stream up to their knees, and dipped the water with their hands, to assuage their thirst. There was a large number engaged on each side, about two thousand. This engagement. terminated the active efforts of the British in that portion of the country, and practically was the end of the Southern campaign. The army soon after was dissolved, and Mr. REILY, after eighteen months of service, was discharged, with a certificate of honorable service, signed by George WASHINGTON himself.

He returned to his home in Virginia, where he remained about two years. Then, becoming excited by the favorable accounts of the West, which was just then getting settled, he left his father's home in Virginia, and went out to Kentucky He had not yet reached twenty-one years of age. His sister lived at that time in Danville, Lincoln County, and at her house he remained for five or six years, making it his home. He labored on the farm each Summer and Winter, excepting when he was employed as a carpenter, although he had never regularly learned that trade. He also made plows, harrows, and other agricultural implements for the use of the settlers, and during the last year of his residence in Kentucky he taught an English school. The settlement of Ohio was then just commencing, and Mr. REILY concluded to cast in his lot with those who were beginning the new commonwealth. He came to Columbia, now the eastern part of Cincinnati, on the 18th of December, 1789.

That place was begun by Major Benjamin STITES. There was little provision in the neighborhood, and the colonists were obliged to gather roots and bear grass for food. The roots of the latter were pounded up into a kind of flour, which served as a substitute in making bread. Several settlers who were in Columbia subsequently became residents of Butler County, among others Mr. Benjamin RANDOLPH and Mr. James SEWARD. An attack being made on DUNLAP's Station, now Colerain, on the 10th of January, 1791, the patriotic citizens of Columbia turned out in their defense, and among them was Mr. REILY. They armed themselves with rifles, and, mounted on the best horses that could he procured, set out for the relief of the settlement. Mr. REILY and Thomas MOORE, who was afterward of Butler County, were directed to proceed a short distance in advance, as pickets, to give notice if the enemy should appear. On reaching the fort, they found that the siege had been abandoned, and that the garrison had sustained but little injury. There had been a vigorous effort to take the place by assault, but the attack had been frustrated.

On the 21st of June, 1790, Mr. REILY opened an English school at Columbia, which was the first one taught in the place (or, indeed, in the whole Miami country), which he continued as long as he resided there. In 1791, Francis DUNLEVY, who was afterward the first judge of the Court of Common Pleas in this county, joined Mr. REILY at Columbia, and took part in the conduct of his school. Mr. DUNLEVY taught the classical department, and Mr. REILY the English. This they continued for some time, but it was finally abandoned when Mr. REILY found other and more active occupations. Judge DUNLEVY afterward removed to Warren County, where he lived until 1839.

After ST. CLAIR's defeat, General WILKINSON issued a call for volunteers to accompany an expedition he was about to send out for the purpose of burying the dead. A company was formed at Columbia, under command of Captain John S. GANO, of which Mr. REILY was a member. They were joined by two other companies at Fort Washington, and by two hundred regular soldiers. In one of these companies William Henry HARRISON, afterward President, was an ensign. They started on the 25th of January General James WILKINSON commanding. There was a very heavy snow on the ground, which obliged them to take sleds along, to carry their provisions and baggage. The first night they encamped near the present site of the college at College Hill, seven miles from the city; the next morning . they arrived at Fort Hamilton, where they stayed a couple of days. John S. GANO acted as major. On the 28th they crossed the river, with their horses and baggage, on the ice, about where the Junction railroad now bridges the river. They took the old trace opened up by General ST.CLAIR, and that night encamped at Seven-mile Creek. The next day they reached Fort Jefferson, which was under the charge of Captain S SHAYLOR.

At this place General WILKINSON issued an order announcing that, in consequence of the depth of the snow and the seventy of the weather, he would abandon one object of the expedition, which was to destroy an Indian town, on a branch of the Wabash, fifteen miles below ST. CLAIR's battle-ground, directing the return of the regular soldiers, who were on foot, to Fort Washington, as they would not be needed, and stating that he would proceed with the mounted volunteers and the public sleds to the battle-ground, for the purpose of bringing away such artillery and other property as might be recovered.

The next day they continued their search, and encamped within eight miles of their destination. On the ensuing day, at eleven o'clock, they arrived at the field of the disastrous defeat, and encamped where ST.CLAIR's artillery had stood, with a view of beating down the snow to facilitate their finding the object of their search -- cannon and corpses. On their last day's march, when within four miles of the field of battle, where the pursuit had ceased, the scene, even though covered with snow, was most melancholy. The bodies of the slain laid strewed along the road and in the woods on each side. Many of them had been dragged from under the snow and mutilated by wild beasts. One of the party counted seventy-eight bodies between the point where the pursuit terminated and the battle-field No doubt there were many more who, finding themselves disabled, crawled to a distance, out of sight of the road, and there perished. The great body of the slain were within an area of forty acres. The snow being deep, the bodies could be discovered only by the elevation of the snow where they lay. They had been scalped and stripped of all their clothing that was of any value. Scarcely any could be identified, as their bodies were blackened by frost and exposure, although there were few signs of decay, the Winter having been unusually early and severe. Major GANO and others supposed one corpse to be that of General Richard BUTLER, and had little doubt as to its identity. It lay in a group of the slain, where evidently had been the thickest of the carnage.

Having dug a large pit -- a work of much labor, as they were poorly supplied with spades and other implements -- they proceeded to collect and bury the frozen bodies. Probably not more than one-half, however, were interred, as they worked at it only on the day of their arrival. They were so numerous, however, that when all were piled together and covered with earth, it raised a considerable mound. Here, in the silent gloom of the beech woods, reposes many a heart which once beat warm to every impulse of honor and noble feeling which elevates our race.

They found that the artillery, with the exception of one six-pounder, had been dismounted and carried off or secreted, and some of the carriages had been burned. After encamping on the ground nearly two days and two nights, the party returned to Cincinnati; taking with them the field-piece above mentioned, two uninjured guncarriages, the irons of the carriages that were burnt, and a few muskets. Many of the volunteers were badly frostbitten on the march. Mr. REILY said the snow was so deep that in moving about it gave them great annoyance by getting in at the top of their leggings.

In 1791 Mr. REILY had purchased a tract of land, about seven miles from Cincinnati, in the same quarter-section on a part of which the town of Carthage has since been laid out. In 1793 he gave up his interest in the school at Columbia to his friend Mr. DUNLEVY, and associated with himself Mr. PRIOR, the two owning land near each other, and prosecuting their improvements jointly. All did not go well with them, however. Their horses were soon stolen, and they suffered other injuries from the Indians. They had not been long at this new business when Mr. PRIOR undertook to make a trip from Fort Washington to Fort Hamilton, in company with others. On their way, the men were attacked by the Indians, and Mr. PRIOR was killed.

Mr. REILY was left alone, and concluded to abandon farming He returned to Columbia, and resumed teaching, which he continued until April, 1794, when he went to Cincinnati, and was employed in the office of General John S. GANO, then clerk of the Court of Hamilton County. Here he remained until 1799, acting as deputy, and conducting a large portion of the business of the office. In this situation he received high encomiums from the attorneys and others who had business with the court; for the neatness and accuracy with which his books were kept.

The people of the Territory held their first election for representatives to the General Assembly in 1799, and those elected began their sessions at Cincinnati on the 16th of September. John REILY was elected clerk, and served as such until their adjournment on the 19th of December following. He acted in the like capacity for the next two sessions, and was heartily esteemed by those with whom he was associated. He devoted his entire time to the duties of his office, filling them with ability and discretion.

When Cincinnati had a charter granted to it, John REILY was made one of the town trustees, and at the first meeting he was elected the clerk and collector. He became one of the stockholders of the first public library in the Northwest, and, sixty years after, was the next to the last survivor. He was made one of the receivers of money for the United States arising out. of the claims of persons residing on SYMMES's purchase for relief, and with William GOFORTH was appointed a hoard to hear and determine such claims. Mr. REILY acted as clerk of this board, made a map of the country where the claims lay, prepared the report on the claims adjudicated, and entered those allowed on the map and the record. The next year he was renewed in the same office, Dr. John SELMAN being his associate.

In 1802 the Congress of the United States passed "an act to enable the people of the eastern division of the territory northwest of the river Ohio to form a constitution and State government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and for other purposes," which was approved the .30th of April. The law fixed the boundaries of the State, and authorized the citizens within its limits to elect representatives to a convention to form a constitution. The election was held on the second Tuesday of October following, and the convention met in Chillicothe on the first Monday of November. Mr. REILY was elected one of the representatives of Hamilton County, which then embraced Butler; and, though he did not take much part in the debates, his industry and. strict attention to business, and the confidence placed by his fellow-members in his judgment and experience, gave him a very perceptible influence in the convention. That body continued in session twenty-nine days, and formed the first constitution of the State. It met with the approbation of the people, and they lived under it many years.

Mr. REILY moved to Hamilton in 1803, being the agent of the proprietors of Rossville, and resided here until the time of his death. Some of the buildings of the old fort were yet standing, and many of the pickets which had made the inclosure were still to be seen. The inhabitants of the town were few in number, and had been chiefly soldiers of the various armies. After the erection of the county of Butler Mr. REILY acted as the clerk of the court. He held the office under successive reappointments until the fourteenth day of March, 1840, a period of nearly thirty-seven years, when he declined further service. He was also clerk of the Supreme Court of Butler County from the 11th of October, 1803, until the 3d of May, 1842, when he resigned. Judge BURNET states that this was a longer term than any other person had held such an office, with the exception of Mr. Hugh BOYLE, of Fairfield County.