One day I was out in rural Ohio driving the backroads as I like to do, and I came across the above sign.
The person who put up this sign in farm country harkened back 227 years to the end of the Northwest Indian War in Ohio. Only one other conflict with Native Americans would happen in the state afterwards. I was intrigued by the impact of this historical event.
The next above image was from Fort Recovery, showing the surveyed Greenville Treaty Line.
It was only a matter of time before I went to Greenville to see this historic spot for myself.
Last December, I did an all-day road trip to there.
It was a foggy start.
Greenville Ohio was founded in 1808, 5 years after the Ohio Territory became a state, and 15 years after Fort Greene Ville- named after Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene- was built upon where the town would be built.
I enjoy small town Ohio, especially during the holiday season.
Greenville is the country seat of Darke County, along the Indiana-Ohio border. Here is the Darke County Courthouse.
There’s a roundabout with a fountain in town.
Treaty of Greenville State Park
There were some large birds in an enclosure
Garst Museum is a top-quality historical visit. I was pleasantly surprised at the quantity and the quality of the displays and information.
Greenville in times past
Medal of Honor winner from Darke County
Before the automobile
There were walkways with shops from yesteryear full of objects of curiosity
The Ohio Territory and the Northwest Indian War
By the 1790s the Ohio & Kentucky Territories were the flashpoint between whites and Native Americans. In what became known as the Northwest Indian War, two battles were lost by the encroaching whites- Harmar’s Defeat and (the biggest defeat by Native Americans in US history) Saint Clair’s Defeat. Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne raised an army and trained them well, and advanced building a series of forts from Cincinnati to Lake Erie, defeating the Native American coalition that fought so well before him. The Battle of Fallen Timbers led to the Treaty of Greene Ville in 1795.
Fort Greene Ville – one of the largest forts in North America
At Pioneer Park there is a (very) small replica of Fort Green Ville. Built in 1793 as part of the push of General ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne’s Legion of the United States to bring the Ohio Territory Indians to battle, it had over 50 acres enclosed within it, and 10-foot high stockade walls. This is where the Treaty of Greenville was signed in 1795 after the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Abandoned by the Army a year later, it became a supply depot in the War of 1812. After that, a lot of its wood was taken away to help build the city of Dayton.
This model in the museum gives you an idea of how large the fort was. It seems to have been located where Greenville town proper is, but the exact dimensions are lost to the mists of time.
The Treaty of Greene Ville
A good part of the museum is dedicated to the treaty of 1795 that made Greenville famous.
A famous painting of the event- Ohio artist Howard Chandler Christy’s Signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville
As you can see by the personages that appear in the painting, the event was a who’s-who of Ohio history, both whites and Native Americans. Shawnee chief Tecumseh, who had fought in the Northwest Indian War, was not present- he knew the whites would not keep their word.
Wayne’s defeat of the Northwest Confederation under Blue Jacket and Little Turtle at Fallen Timbers sealed the fate of Native Americans in the area. The Northwest Territory had been opened.
Right outside of City Hall next to the roundabout, there is a commemorative historical marker to the treaty’s signing nearby.
As you can see, the Treaty opened up much of the Ohio Territory to white settlement. Revolutionary War veterans were paid in land, since the finances of the early United States were poor. Eight years later, Ohio would become the 17th state.
Personalities of Greenville
There is a park in Greenville dedicated to Darke County’s most famous person- Annie Oakley.
Several miles away, Oakley is buried in Brock Cemetery.
There are a collection of tributes placed upon her gravestone, including firearm cartridges.
The museum has a whole wing devoted to her.
In her day, Annie was a popular entertainer. Her shooting ability was legendary. She was celebrated around the world.
Annie was nicknamed “Little Sure Shot” by Sitting Bull, who was amazed at her talent. She was a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800’s and went on to travel Europe.
Annie wished to be buried back in Darke County where she was born. She got her wish, and she is celebrated there to this day.
The museum devotes another wing to Darke County citizen Lowell Thomas, who circled the globe many times in various media roles. He was well-known in the post-war world.
In the early 1900s, airships were the queens of aviation. Their period was brief, ending with the crash of the Hindenburg before World War II. Greenville’s Zachary Lansdowne was the commander of the USS Shenandoah, the first rigid airship of the United States.
In 1925, The USS Shenandoah crashed near Ava Ohio in a storm line. Fourteen crewmen including Lansdowne did not survive. He had not wanted to fly in the potentially bad late summer weather of Ohio, but was overruled. The airship wreckage was scattered over three sites. Songs were written about the tragedy.
One Last Memorial Sighted Upon Leaving Greenville
As I was driving through Greenville heading to the east back towards home, I came across an unassuming grass-covered corner lot.
There was a wonderful marker commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville, said to have been signed near this spot. This was a distance away from the City Hall marker, showing there are people trying to get history as right as possible.
Greenville is a town full of remembered history. It is worth a visit!