Wolford Road monument


By Joan Baxter



Several years ago, a monument was erected on Wolford Road commemorating the lives of Jacob and Judith Brown, along with information about the site.

The monument, made of field stone contains a bronze plaque which tells the history of this particular part of Greene County. It is located on the left side of the road from US Route 35. It is located on private property, but there is ample room to park nearby to read the information which reads: “To commemorate pioneer activements and historic events which occurred here.”

“Here in 1815 Jacob Brown, born Dec. 7, 1775 and his wife Judith Walters Brown, born Dec. 8, 1781, venerable Quarters, from Louden County, Va, purchased 22,000 acres of land, and established their home. This monument also marks the location of the historic Simon Kenton Trail which extended from the Winchester Trail, now State Route 72, due west to Old Chillicothe.

This was the camp site of General Benjamin Logan’s army of Kentucky pioneers in 1786. Here they camped for one night on their march to attach the Shawnee Indians at Old Chillicothe and thence to the Mack-a-Chack town on the head waters of Mad River. . .”

Before Jacob Brown and his wife moved here, the majority of Greene County was inhabited by the Shawnee Indians with the major village located at Old Chillicothe, now present Old Town.

This was a thriving village, with a number of cabins and wegiwas on the site.

In 1768 Puckinswah and his wife Methotosa were on their way to an important meeting at that council house. They were expecting a child, but anticipated they would be able to arrive in the village before the event took place, however, the time came to welcome that baby and they stopped near what today is the Ohio State Fish Hatchery and awaited the birth of one of the most important Shawnee warriors ever to live. It was on that August night that Tecumseh made his appearance into the world.

For many years, the Shawnee had been raiding the forts in Kentucky, taking captives and killing settlers. Retaliation was sure to come and so the settlers began to fight back. There were no roads as such, so travel was by horseback or more often on foot through the woods and across the streams.

Some of the Shawnee who had lived at Old Chillicothe chose the more peaceful way when then moved to Missouri as a group, but others stayed behind to defend what they considered to be their territory. The fighting continued for a period of eleven years.

In May 1779, Colonel John Bowman marched with an army of 264 men against Chalahgawtha (Old Chillicothe) on the Little Miami River. They neared the village but had not been detected. It was decided to wait until morning to attack but due to the curiosity of two of the men, the small army was seen and the Shawnee had ample time to gather their forces, place the women and children in a fortified cabin and await the soldiers. The soldiers set fire to the other homes and fields and headed back to Kentucky. They had gone only about 10 miles when they discovered they were being followed, but neither side desired additional conflict so each returned to their homes.

The Shawnee began rebuilding. They used natural materials which were readily available and soon it was a normal life again.

The Shawnee continued to raid the homes in Kentucky, so General George Rogers Clark led an army of 1,000 men northward in 1780. This time, Simon Kenton was a scout. Kenton knew the location of the village well, having been a captive there and tortured during his stay.

Simon Girty spotted the soldiers and hastened to Old Chillicothe to warn the Shawnee. When the soldiers arrived, the town had been burned to the ground and there was no one there. However, the general insisted it was done on his order. The army proceeded to Old Piqua where another battle took place with the Indians retreating.

The invasions of Kentucky continued. Bryant’s Station suffered considerable loss from the Shawnee invasion. Corn and gardens were destroyed, livestock killed and horses driven away. The settlers attempted to fight, but 70 settlers were killed and another 37 captured.

General Clark vowed to take the army northward once again in hope of ending the wars.

October 1782 saw 1050 Kentucky militia men gathered at the mouth of the Licking River to proceed north under the direct supervision of Colonel Benjamin Logan. Again the fighting was fierce, again the village destroyed and again the Shawnee rebuilt their homes on the same site,

Two more expeditions took place. One being the event related on the Wolford Road Marker, the last was in 1790.

Numerous treaty talks were made during the four year period. The Indians said “Withdraw your settlement west of Pennsylvania and north of the Ohio River if you desire peace.” Commissioners appointed by the government attempted to extend the boundary lines for settlement in the eastern part of the Northwest Territory, but the talks were of no avail.

On July 9, 1790, General Harmar was ordered to confer with Governor St. Clair to organize a punitive expedition. The army marched to Old Chillicothe then northwest to the Maumee Settlements on the Great Miami River. The army left on September 30 and reached the Little Miami on the third day, then marched across present Greene County and northward.

Finally, the fighting ended.

A number of Shawnee remained in the area, but lived in peace with the settlers. Tecumseh went on to form the Confederacy of Indian tribes and was killed at the Battle of Thames in 1813.

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By Joan Baxter

Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.

Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.