A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
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"At about half an hour before sunrise (but after the morning parade), the militia, posted as above indicated and while engaged in preparing their morning meal, were unexpectedly attacked by a large body of Indians, supposed to have been commanded by the infamous renegade, Simon GIRTY. The distinguished ' LITTLE TURTLE,' however, was chief commander of the Indians. An attack upon raw militia under circumstances so well calculated to throw them in to confusion was, of course, successful. They made a small show of fight upon the first onslaught, but soon fled (many of them throwing away their arms), ran over the creek and through the first line of the main army, producing there some consternation and disorder. The Indians closely pursued, and in a short time the battle became general, the enemy being in force sufficient to make simultaneous assaults almost around the entire encampment of. STCLAIR's army. In General ST. CLAIR's official account of the battle it is stated that the great weight of the enemy's fire was directed chiefly against the center of the first and second lines, where he had placed his artillery, and that his artillerists were repeatedly driven from their positions by the enemy, with great slaughter. Great confusion thereupon ensued, and Colonel DARKE was ordered to make a bayonet charge upon the enemy, with a view of turning their left flank. This order was executed with great spirit, and the Indians gave way and were driven back three or four hundred yards but, for want of a sufficient number of riflemen to pursue this advantage, the Indians soon renewed the attack with much vigor, being probably re-enforced, and Colonel DARKE and his troops were in turn obliged to give way and retreat. A similar order, and with the same results, was executed in gallant style by the second regiment, composed of the battalions of Majors BUTLER and CLARKE. For several hours these successes and reverses rapidly followed each other, continually resulting, however, in great loss of life, especially among the officers. All the officers of the second regiment were killed or seriously wounded, except three; and when the artillery was all silenced every artillery officer had been killed except Captain FORD, and he was badly wounded.

"For three hours the battle thus raged, and the conduct of the troops (after the flight of the militia at the commencement) was worthy of all praise. By this time more than half of the army had fallen, and an immediate retreat was decided upon. The remnant of the army was accordingly placed in position to march toward Fort Jefferson; but to get possession of the road leading to that point another bayonet charge had to be made upon the enemy, which was attended with further loss of life. The artillery was all abandoned, of necessity, as not a single artillery horse was left alive. During the entire engagement General ST.CLAIR was in the thickest of the fight, and narrowly escaped with his life, a number of balls having passed through his clothes, and three horses being killed under him or as he was endeavoring to mount them. He left the field at last on a pack-horse, which he had hurriedly mounted after his third horse was shot, just before the retreat was ordered.

"The retreat, of course, was precipitate, a flight rather, the Indians pursuing the routed army for four miles, killing many that were unable, from various causes, to keep up with the main body, which reached Fort Jefferson late in the day.

"Six hundred and thirty men were killed, and two hundred and forty were wounded, not counting civilians, such as wagoners, drivers of cattle, pack-horsemen, and others. Quite a number of women -- the wives of soldiers -- were also killed or wounded. The proportion of officers lost in this disastrous campaign was unusually large. Among the conspicuous officers killed were General Richard BUTLER, Colonel OLDHAM, and Majors FERGUSON, HART and CLARK. Adjutant-general Winthrop SARGENT, Colonel William DARKE, Lieutenant-colonel GIBSON, Major BUTLER, and the Viscount MALARTIE (the general's aide-de-camp) were of the wounded. Many captains, lieutenants, and other subaltern officers were also killed or wounded.

"At a council of war held at Fort Jefferson on the night of the 4th of November it was decided to return with all due speed to fort Washington, which point was reached on the evening of the 8th of November, the army leaving Fort Jefferson at ten o'clock at night, soon after the prompt return to Fort Washington was determined upon, and marching all night.

"The principal tribes which General ST. CLAIR's army encountered were the Delawares, Miamis, Shawnees, Wyandots, and Ottawas, with some Chippewas, and Pottawattomies. The number of warriors in the battle has never been ascertained; their estimated strength generally ranges, however, between one thousand and three thousand. General ST. CLAIR in his special report stated that 'he was overpowered by numbers; that in a few minutes after the attack his whole camp, which extended above three hundred and fifty yards in length, was entirely surrounded and attacked on all quarters.'

"General ST. CLAIR, aware of the public odium that rested upon him, asked of the President the appointment of a court of inquiry to investigate his conduct. This was not deemed expedient; but a committee of Congress was appointed, on motion of Mr. GILES, of Virginia, to consider the subject, who, after maturely deliberating upon the matter referred to them, reported 'that the causes of the failure of the expedition were the delay in preparing estimates for the defense of the frontiers and the late passage of the act for that purpose; the delay caused by neglect in the quartermaster's department; the lateness of the season when the expedition was commenced; and the want of discipline and experience in the troops.' The report concluded with a full and complete exoneration of General ST. CLAIR 'from all blame in relation to every thing before and during the action.' In commenting upon his honorable acquittal of all blame by the committee of Congress appointed to inquire into the causes of the failure of the expedition, and of the concurrence therein by the Secretary of War, as given in a report to Congress, Judge MARSHALL, in his Life of Washington, remarks with his usual felicity of manner, 'that more satisfactory testimony in favor of ST. CLAIR is furnished by the circumstance that he still retained the undiminished esteem and good opinion of President Washington.'

"Notwithstanding the foregoing facts, which were highly favorable to him, General ST. CLAIR became very unpopular with the unthinking, inconsiderate masses, and continued to be a greatly maligned patriot. He had been defeated, and that was sufficient with the ignorant, the thoughtless, and with superficial thinkers and those of limited knowledge of the facts of the case, to bring down upon him, all over the country, 'one loud and merciless outcry of abuse, and even detestation.' The undoubted patriotism, unflinching courage, and eminent services to his country of General ST. CLAIR were worse requited by his countrymen, and his reputation held further below his real merits by them, than was the case with any other of the many gallant chieftains who appeared upon the fiery theater of Western Indian warfare. If our Western history furnishes a parallel to it, it is presented in the case of Captain Michael CRESAP, with whose reputation his countrymen have also dealt with exceeding harshness; and I might place General William HULL in the same category."

General. STCLAIR held the office of territorial governor until 1802, the year after the transference of the capital from Cincinnati to Chillicothe, when he was removed by President JEFFERSON. The reason of his removal is stated by Judge BURNET to have been dissatisfaction caused by his seeming disposition to enlarge his own powers and restrict those of the territorial legislature, which was manifested in his veto of nineteen out of thirty bills passed at its first session. Judge BURNET, in his favor, adds: "He not only believed that the power he claimed belonged legitimately to the executive, but was convinced that the manner in which he exercised it was imposed on him as a duty by the ordinance, and was calculated to advance the best interests of the Territory." While in the public service General ST. CLAIR had neglected his private interests, and at the close of his official career he returned to Ligonier, in Pennsylvania, poor, aged, and infirm. The State of Pennsylvania granted him an annuity, however, a few years afterward, which comfortably supported him during the remainder of his life. He was a man of superior ability, fair scholarship, and of unquestionable patriotism and integrity. He is described as having been, while in public life, plain and simple in his dress and equipage, open and frank in his manners, and accessible to persons of every rank. His family consisted of one son and three daughters. Arthur ST. CLAIR, the son, was many years ago a prominent lawyer in Cincinnati, and was the first prosecuting attorney of Butler County. One of the daughters also lived here for many years. Robert CLARKE & Co., of Cincinnati, are about to publish the papers of General ST. CLAIR, which have been in possession of the State of Ohio for years, and justice will then be done to his memory. The volume will be edited by William Henry SMITH, of Chicago, and will contain a copious biography.


Israel LUDLOW, an early surveyor of the Northwest Territory and the founder of the town of Hamilton, was born at Long Hill Farm, near Morristown, New Jersey, in 1765. His ancestors were English, and emigrated to New Jersey from Shropshire, England, to escape persecution on the restoration of Charles the Second, the LUDLOWs having been actively identified with the cause of the parliament and prominent in the affairs of the commonwealth. The head of the family at that period, Sir Edmund LUDLOW, was one of the judges who passed sentence of death on Charles I, became lieutenant-general of Ireland under Cromwell, and banished after the restoration, died an exile in Vevay, Switzerland. Israel LUDLOW was appointed, in 1787, by Thomas HUTCHINS, surveyor-general of the United States, who was "assured" of his "ability, diligence, and integrity," to survey for the government the boundary of the large tract of land purchased in this neighborhood by the New Jersey association, of which Judge John Cleves SYMMES was principal director. He accepted the appointment, and received his instructions, with an order for a military escort to protect himself and assistants during their performance of the work. But the military posts on the western frontier had no soldiers to spare, and General Joseph HARMAR, then in command of the forces in the Northwest Territory, advised Mr. LUDLOW of the impossibility of giving his expedition an escort, at the same time warning him as to the danger of attempting the survey, without such protection, among the hostile tribes of the Ohio wilderness. But, being a man of great energy, Mr LUDLOW undertook the task, and keeping up friendly intercourse with the Indians, they did not molest him or hinder his operations. In 1789 he became one-third partner, with Matthias DENMAN and Robert PATTERSON, in the proprietorship of the lands about Fort Washington, and is claimed to have given the present city of Cincinnati its name, in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, composed of officers who had served in the Revolutionary war, of which his father, Cornelius LUDLOW, was a member. He began, in the year just mentioned, the survey of the town -- a plat of which he placed on record. There was a controversy about its correctness, one having been previously made and recorded by another person; but the community soon became satisfied that the plat prepared and certified by Mr. LUDLOW was the correct one. Ludlow Station was established in 1790 near the north line of the original town, a block-house having first been built for protection, the Indians at that date being exceedingly hostile and dangerous. In the Summer of 1791 General Arthur St. CLAIR's army encamped at and about the above-named station, previous to its march into the Indian territory. It was not until 1792 that Mr. LUDLOW, then known as Colonel LUDLOW, completed his survey of the Miami Purchase; but, having done so, in May of that year he made a full report of the survey, together with a report of all the expenses incidental thereto, which was accepted by Alexander HAMILTON, then Secretary of the Treasury. Colonel LUDLOW was subsequently the founder and sole proprietor of Hamilton, having surveyed its town plat in 1794.

There had been considerable competition for the location of the county seat, and Colonel LUDLOW made several stipulations, which were not entirely filled, however, at the time of his death.

In 1795, in company with Generals St.CLAIR, DAYTON, and WILKINSON, he also founded the present city of Dayton. After General WAYNE's treaty with the Indians at Greenville, in the same year, Colonel LUDLOW was appointed to survey the boundary line between the United States and the Indian Territory. This was a work of great danger; but it was of the highest importance that the boundary should be established; and, as no military escort could be furnished, he undertook the task, and, with only three backwoodsmen as spies to give warning of danger, he accomplished it. Colonel LUDLOW married Charlotte, daughter of General James CHAMBERS, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1786. He left four children, -- James C., Sarah B., Israel L., and Martha C. LUDLOW.


This name should be preserved as that of one of the earliest pioneers. Thomas IRWIN was born in the county of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Land was held so cheaply there that any one could get it, and Mr. IRWIN took up a tract near Washington, Washington County, Pennsylvania. The boy aided his father in clearing up the farm there purchased, and remained with him until he was twenty-one years of age, when he set out for the West.

In company with James BURNS and another neighbor, he journeyed to Pittsburg, where a small flat-boat was bought, in which the party intended floating down the Ohio River. They set out on their voyage on the last week in March, 1789, and at Wheeling were joined by a family which had intended going on to Kentucky with them. Becoming frightened, however, they refused to proceed, and Mr. IRWIN and his companions went on without them. They had reason for apprehension. The Indians were in the habit of shooting at the travelers, which they could do with impunity, as the boats offered a very distinct mark, and those who fired at them did so under the shelter of the trees and bushes on the shore.

Two of those who had started with IRWIN left him at Limestone, and he and BURNS proceeded on their voyage down the stream. Arrived at Columbia, they spent some time in examining the place, which had just then begun. There were a number of families living there, in a very exposed situation, scattered over a wide extent. Eight miles further down there was another small settlement, opposite the mouth of the Licking River, but offering no superior advantages. As they wished to see it, they took their guns and went overland, through bushes and thickets, till they reached a double shanty, occupied by seven men, most of whom had been employed the previous Winter in surveying SYMMES's purchase. This was the first improvement made in Cincinnati, and these persons were the first settlers of Cincinnati. Joel WILLIAMS, an agent of the owners, was also there, and he encouraged the two young men to stay and become residents of the place, which they determined to do. Both BURNS and IRWIN purchased lots.

The first hewed log-house was erected by Robert BENHAM, and IRWIN and all the men in the settlement helped to put it up. It was situated near Front and Main. The settlers at that time had to depend chiefly upon the hunters for their meat. IRWIN went frequently on these excursions, and much improved his knowledge of hunting thereby. No Indians were visible at this time. Mr. IRWIN, three months after arrival, accompanied one of the settlers, Mr. KITCHELL, up stream, in a boat which had been built at the infant settlement, after a tedious time arriving at Wheeling, and then going to his father's house in Pennsylvania, where he remained until the following year. In the Summer of 1789 Major DOUGHTY descended the Ohio River from Fort Harmar, at the mouth of the Muskingum, with one hundred and forty men, and began the construction of a fort at the settlement opposite the mouth of the Licking. This structure, known as Fort Washington, was one of the best forts of wood ever built in the West. Josiah HARMAR, who had borne arms with credit as a colonel during the Revolutionary War, was commissioned as brigadier-general, and assigned to the command of the Western army, in 1789. He arrived at Fort Washington with three hundred men, on the twenty-ninth day of December in that year. The continuance of Indian hostilities and depredations on the infant settlements of the West determined the general government to make an effort to terminate the war by marching an army into the Indian country, and attacking the enemy on their own ground. A call for volunteers and a requisition or draft of militia from the States of Pennsylvania and Kentucky were made for the contemplated expedition, under the command of General HARMAR, against the Indians. Major James PAUL, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, raised a battalion of volunteers, which was joined by Thomas IRWIN. He belonged to the company under the command of Captain FAULKNER, who had been an officer in the War of the Revolution. Mr. IRWIN was elected ensign, and Mr. HUESTON lieutenant. They descended the Ohio River in boats, in December, 1790, landing at Fort Washington on the 19th. The principal object of the expedition was to destroy the Indian villages at and near the confluence of the St. Joseph River and St. Mary's River, where they unite and form the Maumee, near where Fort Wayne was afterward built. Colonel HARDIN took the advance, and marched to Turtle Creek, a short distance west of where the town of Lebanon now is, and there encamped, General HARMAR following with the main body, four days later. His force consisted of three hundred and twenty soldiers of the regular army, forming two battalions, commanded respectively by Majors WYLLYS and DOUGHTY, and a company of artillery under the command of Captain FERGUSON, with three brass pieces, and eight hundred and thirty-three volunteers and militia from Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The army followed the trace made by General George Rogers CLARK with his army in his expedition against the Indian towns in October, 1782, as far as the Piqua towns. The route pursued was through what is now the northeast part of Hamilton County, then by Lebanon, Xenia, and Mad River. The expedition was successful in one of its objects, that of burning the Indian town at the forks of the Maumee, and after this began sending out small parties to harass the Indians.

But a different fate awaited some of them. On the 18th of October a detachment of three hundred men was sent out with a view of seeing what discoveries they could make. Ensign IRWIN was with this body, as was also Captain John ARMSTRONG, afterward commandant at Fort Hamilton. They returned at sunset. The next morning the same troops were ordered out, and were placed under the command of Colonel HARDIN. During the day they found numerous fresh tracks of Indians, who appeared to have been making a hasty retreat. Colonel HARDIN was so eager for pursuit that he immediately started out with the principal portion of his troops, in such a hurry that he neglected to communicate his movements to Captain FAULKNER, who was stationed at one side, and out of sight of the others.

The captain, however, discovered it soon, and followed. They had not gone far before they met Major FONTAINE, who had returned to inform them of Colonel HARDIN's movements. They were moved on at a quick pace, but in a short time met two of the mounted men, riding at full speed, having each a wounded man behind him. They called out "Retreat! retreat! The main body in front is entirely defeated, and there are Indians enough to eat us all up." Captain FAULKNER and his men, however, moved on until they gained an elevated piece of ground, when they discovered our troops in rapid retreat, the Indians in close pursuit, shouting and yelling like demons. The party to which Ensign IRWIN belonged halted and formed a line on each side of the trace, and secreted themselves behind trees, intending to give the Indians a fire when they came up. The officers of the defeated party stopped when they reached where Captain FAULKNER was and remained in that position until all the retreating troops had passed by. When the Indians came up, the small party on either side of the trace gave them a fire, which checked them for a moment, and the detachment then slowly retreated, covering the fugitives. The latter continued coming into camp until twelve or one o'clock at night. It seemed that the Indians had set a trap for our troops, and we were caught in it.

After destroying every thing practicable, the army set out on its return march on the 21st of October. A few men were left to watch the proceedings of the Indians. They reported to Colonel HARDIN the same night and said that the Indians had returned to their camp, and were engaged in hunting for buried provisions. Colonel HARDIN, inflamed with a desire to allow his troops to distinguish themselves, and wipe off the stigma they had incurred a few days before, determined to attack the Indians. Ensign IRWIN and seven men volunteered from Captain FAULKNER's company. The troops were divided into two parties. Major FONTAINE, who was in advance, stumbled upon a small number of men, who shot him as he sat upon his horse. This gave the alarm. The fight soon became general; the Indians fought with the greatest bravery and resolution, and stubbornly maintained their ground. At length, however, they yielded, and retreated. Our loss was great, but if the forces had been larger, it was the general opinion we should have inflicted upon them a lasting chastisement. In this engagement there were killed, on the American side, one hundred and seventy-eight, and twenty-one were wounded. The number of Indians killed could never be ascertained, but Mr. IRWIN was of opinion that their loss was very heavy.

A affecting incident occurred at the place of crossing the river. A young Indian, with his father and brother, was crossing the river, when a ball from the rifle of a white man passed through the body of the young Indian. The old man, seeing his boy fall, dropped his gun, and attempted to raise his son, in order to carry him beyond reach. At this moment his other son was also shot at his side. The old man drew them both to the shore, and then sat down between them, and with fearless composure awaited the approach of the pursuing foe, who soon came up, and killed him also.

Duncan MCARTHUR, formerly governor of the State of Ohio, who was in this battle, relates the following circumstance, which tends to show the cool, undaunted courage of Mr. IRWIN. While his company was covering the retreat of the troops, and slowly retiring before the fire of the enemy, the strap which held his powder-horn was cut from his shoulder by a ball. As soon as he missed it, he turned about, ran back several paces in the full face of the considerable body of the enemy, secured his powderhorn, and then again joined his companions in their retreat. He was soon again observed to halt and commence picking the flint of his gun. McARTHUR, who was close by him at the time, addressing him, said: "Damn it, come along; the Indians are upon us." IRWIN coolly replied: "I want to get one more shot before I leave them."

The army took up its line of march for Fort Washington the day after the battle, arriving on the third day of November. The Indians pursued them, in sight of the army, almost the whole distance, without, however, committing any serious depredations. As soon as the army arrived at the fort, the militia were disbanded and dismissed, and General HARMAR left soon afterward for Philadelphia, the seat of government. After the disbandment, Mr. IRWIN remained in Cincinnati during the ensuing Winter and Summer.