Native American Tribes in Ohio – Indians in Ohio History


Native American history in Ohio, Tribes in Ohio, Native American culture, legends. Free online books & articles. Also see the links at the bottom of the page for more collections about the history of Native Americans in each of the five states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region, and for the rest of the United States.

History of Native Americans in Ohio, Moravian Indians, Mound builders in Ohio, Gnadenhutten massacre, Indian land cessions, Fort Ancient, Blue Jacket, Erie Indians, Hopewell Indians, Adena Indians, archaeology in Ohio, Indian congregation of Goshen, Indians in the Revolutionary War, forts of Ohio Mound builders, David Zeisberger, Indian migration in Ohio, Native American alcohol abuse, Indian social customs

Find the Directory for 90+ pages in this collection at History of the Great Lakes States.

 

Ohio Indians Collection

Numerous free online books on the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ohio Indians”. Be patient as the page loads.

Early Indian migration in Ohio. Read before the State Archeological Society of Ohio, in Sept. 1878

Baldwin, Charles Candee
Cleveland: 1878

The author used many sources, beginning with accounts by French explorers and missionaries of the 1600s, to trace migrations of numerous tribes in and around Ohio country. In doing so he noted which tribes were related ethnically or linguistically, which were located near each other and appeared to have good relations, and which were in conflict. Because of the large number of tribes discussed in the paper it is not an easy story to follow. However, it conveys a good sense of how, largely as a result of trade with the European colonial powers, many or most tribes had been dislocated from their ‘home’ regions during the 17th and 18th centuries.

“Journal of Samuel Montgomery through the Indian Country beyond the Ohio, 1785”

The Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol. 2 (1915-16) 261-73

Bushnell, D. I. Jr., ed.
Urbana, Ill: Mississippi Valley Historical Association

In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War and the concluding peace treaty, which conveyed the Northwest Territory to the new United States, representatives of several tribes in the region came together at Fort McIntosh, near Pittsburg, to negotiate with U.S. commissioners. The Treaty of Fort McIntosh of Jan. 25, 1785 resulted. The Shawnee, one of the largest and most hostile tribes in the Ohio River Valley, did not participate in that treaty process. The U.S. realized the need for another treaty that included the Shawnee, so four agents of the government departed Pittsburg in August 1785 for a Shawnee village where the Miami meets with the Ohio River. One of the government agents was Samuel Montgomery, who wrote this account of the expedition.

“The Art of Survival: Moravian Indians and Economic Adaptation in the Old Northwest, 1767-1808”

Ohio Valley History, Vol 4, No. 3, Fall 2004, PP 3-18

Conrad, Maia
Cincinnati History Library and Archives       

“In 1767, David Zeisberger and a small group of Moravian Indians began a perilous journey into the Ohio territory to introduce Moravian Christianity to the Delaware Indians. Unbeknownst to them when they started, this venture eventually led to the creation of one of the largest Indian missions in North America. During the next forty-one years, Zeisberger and his faithful assistants welcomed more than four hundred converts and almost as many non-converted residents into numerous settlements… They established thirteen settlements mainly in the Ohio country along the Muskingum River.” -Author

Over 100 magazines free and online, from the early 1800s to today, at Read Old Magazines Online

“American Aborigines and their Social Customs”

Ohio History XVI, October 1907/Number 4, 421-44

Easton, J. A.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

This paper on Native American culture was written from an anthropological perspective. The author based much of the paper on studies in two academic publications of the late 19th century; Annual Reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, and Contributions to North American Ethnology. There are also references to an 1881 book entitled Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines. All these were publications of the Bureau of American Ethnology, then under the direction of the explorer John Wesley Powell. A portion of the paper refers to the controversy over the question of who were the mound-builders. In the mid-19th century it was widely believed that Native Americans could never have had the type of complex, large-scale agricultural civilization suggested by the construction of the mounds. The ethnographers differed, explaining how the culture of the mound-builders could have adapted over time from that of the mound-builders to the more migratory, hunter-gatherer village life that typified many 19th century Indians in the region.

For works on the mound-builders, see:
– Shetrone, Henry Clyde, The Mound Builders; A reconstruction of the life of a prehistoric American race in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes
;
Fowke, Gerard, Archaeological History of Ohio: The Mound Builders and Later Indians in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Moorehead, Warren K.,“The Indian Tribes of Ohio – Historically Considered” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Randall,Emilius Oviatt,The Masterpieces of the Ohio Mound Builders: The Hilltop Fortifications, including Fort Ancient in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Throop, Addison J. ,Mound builders of Illinois … in Illinois Indians – Native Americans in Illinois History

Books and articles on Religion in historic Ohio

Archaeological History of Ohio: The Mound Builders and Later Indians

Fowke, Gerard
Columbus, Ohio: Press of F.J. Heer 1902

The author was an archaeologist who had worked on excavations around the Midwestern, Southeastern and northeastern U.S., as well as in Vancouver and Siberia. He had also published numerous articles in scientific and archaeological periodicals. This book was sponsored by the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, and is a survey of archaeological works and findings throughout the state, written for a general audience.
There are 300 illustrations, of a wide variety of mounds, archaeological works and collected artifacts.

A True History of the Massacre of Ninety-six Christian Indians, at Gnadenhuetten, Ohio, March 8th, 1782

Gnadenhuetten Monument Society
New Philadelphia, OH, 1870

“This account is made up from ” Zeisberger’s Journal,” ” Holmes & Loskiel’s Missions,” “Willett’s Scenes in the Wilderness,” and “Doddridge’s Notes.” The actors in this foul transaction consisted of about one hundred men, from the western parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, under the command of Col. David Williamson. The murder was premeditated, for their purpose was to proceed as far as Sandusky, in order to destroy all the Moravian Indians, whom they claimed had committed depredations upon the Ohio settlements.” Peter G. Thomson, A Bibliography of the State of Ohio (1880)

Find 14 more subject pages of books and articles about Ohio at the History of the Great Lakes States Directory.

A Discourse on the Aborigines of the Ohio Valley …

in which the opinions of the conquest of that valley by the Iroquois, or Six nations, in the seventeenth century, supported by Cadwallader Colden, Governor Pownal, Dr. Franklin, the Hon. De Witt Clinton and Judge Haywood, are examined and contested ; to which are prefixed some remarks on the study of history. Prepared at the request of the Historical Society of Ohio.

Harrison, William Henry
Cincinnati: 1838

This article is of interest partly because of the identity of the author. Harrison’s amazing government and military career included appointment as Governor of Indiana Territory at age 27, where he would manage the entire Northwest Territory minus the new state of Ohio. Two years after he gave this address he was elected U.S. President, where he would die only a month after inauguration.

Harrison addresses the question of where tribes in the Ohio valley had been located prior to inter-tribal wars with the Iroquois, and which lands had been conquered by the Iroquois. He had on a number of occasions between 1795 and 1815 negotiated treaties for peace and for land. These negotiations often meant days or weeks of meetings with tribal chiefs, where they narrated the history of their occupation of particular lands, in order to establish their claims of possession. Harrison’s arguments in this paper were based on that knowledge he had personally gained from these Indians of the tribes’ history in the region.

“The History of the Northern American Indians, by David Zeisberger”

Ohio History XIX, January-April 1910/Numbers 1 & 2, 1-189.

Hulbert, Archer B., ed.,
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

This book-length article contains an English translation of a manuscript by Moravian missionary David Zeisberger, preceded by a 10-page introduction by the editor and followed by 300 endnotes, also by the editor.

As described in the first pages of the article, the Reverend David Zeizberger (1721-1808) was something of a legend among missionaries to the Indians, and left behind a large and valuable body of written works. He served as a missionary for 62 years, except for a few short intervals – mostly in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He was a linguist who came to know several tribes extremely well, and recorded what he learned. The editor said that this manuscript, written in 1779-80, should properly have been entitled “Notes on the History, Life, Manners, and Customs of the Indians”.

A biography of Rev. Zeisberger can be found on this site, at the Great Lakes Religion page: De Schweinitz, Edmund Alexander, The Life and Times of David Zeisberger, the Western Pioneer and Apostle of the Indians (1870).

“Indian Land Cessions in Ohio”

Ohio History XI, October 1902/Number 2, 249-55.

Knabenshue, S. S.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

This concise article locates, with the help of two maps, all of the Indian land cessions made by treaty in Ohio after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. There had been prior agreements, including the Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785, but the terms of those agreements had been generally ignored during due to continuing warfare with Indian tribes in the region.

Books and articles on Exploration & Travel in Historic Ohio

“It is the Cause of All Mischief Which the Indians Suffer”; Native Americans and Alcohol Abuse in the Old Northwest”

Ohio Valley History, Vol 3, No. 3, Fall 2003, PP 3-16.

Mills, Randy
Cincinnati History Library and Archives       

The author examines the historical evidence for the alcohol problem among Indians.

“The Indian Tribes of Ohio – Historically Considered”

Ohio History VII, October 1898/Number 1, 1-109.

Moorehead, Warren K.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

Warren K. Moorehead (1866-1939) was an important archaeologist of ancient Indian cultures in Ohio. This article was written fairly early in his professional career, although he had been studying Ohio Indians and the mounds since he was a high-school student. This long paper was intended, he wrote, as a preliminary draft of a history of Ohio Indians from 1600 to 1840, based on a study of, “…nearly all that has been written by travelers, historians, captives, ethnologists, missionaries, etc. upon Ohio tribes.”

Primitive Man in Ohio

Moorehead, Warren King

NY: Putnam 1892
Archaeological excavations at a number of Ohio sites.

“The Ohio Frontier in 1812: Diary of ‘the Indian Congregation at Goshen on the River Muskingum’ for the Year 1812”

Ohio History XXII, April 1913/Number 2, 205-66.

Mortimer, Benjamin
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

This is a journal kept by Rev. Benjamin Mortimer, who was a Moravian missionary for a small Native American congregation at the Goshen settlement. Note that this was not in the present-day town of Goshen, OH, but was south of Akron, apparently between present-day Uhrichsville and New Philadelphia. This journal is of interest largely because it portrays events in the region early in the War of 1812, and the reactions of this group of Indians, who wished to remain neutral but were very much in fear of being massacred by American militiamen. There is also commentary on other events, such as severe earthquakes in the area, an invasion of locusts, etc.

Collection of Ohio Biographies & Memoirs

“The Western Indians in the Revolution”

Ohio History XVI, July 1907/Number 3, 269-91.

Notestein, Wallace
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

In 1905 a historical organization called the “Ohio Sons of the Revolution” held an essay contest, with the assigned subject being the Western Indians in the Revolution. This was the prize-winning essay. Here’s a summary of the author’s theme:

In the early 1770s white American settlement in Kentucky and along today’s western Pennsylvania border and in the West Virginia panhandle enraged the Ohio country Indians, provoking their attacks on settlers. When the Revolution began the British recognized that this issue was paramount for the Native Americans, and promised to help the Indians expel the settlers and preserve their hunting lands in return for their assistance against the Americans. American military efforts throughout the war were mainly aimed at self-preservation from Indian attacks, even including American offensive operations. That preoccupation with fighting Indians, along with the American military command’s shortage of resources, prevented the Americans from mounting a sustained offensive against the British in the western theatre of war.

For more about prominent Native American leaders in the Old Northwest, see:
– Various books and articles on Tecumseh, The Prophet, Logan, Cornstalk, Bluejacket and Joseph Brant in Biographies & Memoirs in Great Lakes History
;
– Thwaites, Reuben Gold, “Logan, The Mingo Chief 1710-1780″ in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Cole, Cyrenus, I am a Man: the Indian Black Hawk in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Quaife, Milo Milton, ed., The Life of Black Hawk; Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Ellis, Edward S., The Life of Pontiac, the Conspirator, Chief of the Ottawas in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes;
Turner, F. N. (Dr.), “Chief Okemos” in Native Americans in Michigan History;
Matson, Nehemiah, “Sketch of Shau-be-na, a Pottawattamie Chief” in Native Americans in Wisconsin History;

Please visit our Century Past Free Online Library, with thousands of books to read online or download

The Masterpieces of the Ohio Mound Builders: The Hilltop Fortifications, including Fort Ancient

Randall,Emilius Oviatt
Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological Society 1916

Emilius Randall (1850-1919) of Columbus, OH was a Law Professor at Ohio State University and the official reporter of the Ohio Supreme Court. Appointed by the Governor as a Trustee of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, he also served as Secretary and Editor. He edited 28 volumes and authored several books and numerous articles for the Society.

The author wrote in the Preface, “This little volume makes no pretense of being a scientific or technical treatise on the Ohio Mound Builders or their works. Its aim is to briefly describe the chief relics of the Ohio Mound Builders as they now appear, and as they appeared when found in their original condition, or when first studied by archaeological students.”

This is heavily illustrated with drawings and photos.

For works on the mound-builders, see:
– Shetrone, Henry Clyde, The Mound Builders; A reconstruction of the life of a prehistoric American race in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes
;
Easton, J. A., “American Aborigines and their Social Customs” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Fowke, Gerard, Archaeological History of Ohio: The Mound Builders and Later Indians in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Moorehead, Warren K.,“The Indian Tribes of Ohio – Historically Considered” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Throop, Addison J. ,Mound builders of Illinois … in Illinois Indians – Native Americans in Illinois History

“The Indian in Ohio, with a Map of the Ohio Country”

Ohio History XXVII, July 1919/Number 3, 273-510.

Shetrone, Henry C.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

This ‘article’ of 230 pages was intended by the author, the Assistant Curator for the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, as a “briefly comprehensive account of the aboriginal inhabitants of the territory comprised within the State of Ohio”. It includes findings of archaeological research on the Mound Builders through the early 20th century, anthropological work done at the Bureau of American Ethnology, and the story of Indians in Ohio during the historic period (17th through 19th century) as presented in the writings of E. O. Randall.

For a more detailed, later work on prehistoric Native Americans in the region, see Shetrone, Henry Clyde, The Mound Builders; A Reconstruction of the life of a Prehistoric American race, through exploration and interpretation of their earth mounds, their burials and their cultural remains (1936) on the Great Lakes Native Americans page of this site.

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40 subjects, plus online map & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees

Sugden, John
2001       

“Blue Jacket (ca. 1743-ca. 1808), or Waweyapiersenwaw, was the galvanizing force behind an intertribal confederacy of unparalleled scope that fought a long and bloody war against white encroachments into the Shawnees’ homeland in the Ohio River Valley. Blue Jacket was an astute strategist and diplomat who, though courted by American and British leaders, remained a staunch defender of the Shawnees’ independence and territory. In this arresting and controversial account, John Sugden depicts the most influential Native American leader of his time.” -Book jacket

Contents: Blue Jacket’s People — Beginnings — Defending the Dark and Bloody Ground — The Second War for Kentucky — Trouble Is Coming upon Us Fast — The War for Ohio — Tomahawks and Tobacco — We Are Determined to Meet the Enemy — General Blue Jacket and Arthur St. Clair — All the Nations Are Now of One Mind — Just Rights and an Uncertain War — The Expedition to Fort Recovery — The Final Battle — We Must Think of War No More — Living with Peace — Uneasy Retirement — Voices from the West.

Ancient Man in Northern Ohio

Vietzen, Raymond C.
Lorain, OH: McCahon 1941

Archaeology of the Erie Indians.

Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley: A Guide to Adena and Ohio Hopewell Sites

Woodward, Susan L. and McDonald, Jerry N.
McDonald & Woodward 1986       

“A guide to the extant, publicly accessible mounds and earthworks built by the Adena and Hopewell Indians between 3000 and 1500 years ago. This book also reviews the chronology, geography, and culture of these two mound building groups, and the fate of their mounds during the historic period. Sources of additional information about the Adena and Hopewell, and the sites described in this book, are provided.” -Book cover



Your comments and feedback are welcome!