Apr 15 2008

New History Exhibit: Greenville, OH

Published by at 4:55 pm under Uncategorized

The Dayton Daily News has a story today with some amazing facts.  Did you know that Lewis and Clark met at a fort in Greenville, OH?  Did you know that the largest stockaded fort in North America was built in Greenville, OH?  Did you know that the U.S. Army was once headquartered in Greenville, OH?

It’s actually kind of amazing that I had never heard about the historic significance of Greenville.  The Treaty of Greenville opened the “west” for settlement and ultimately resulted in the movement of Native Americans to reservations west of the Mississippi.

A new exhibit is opening at the Garst Museum in Greenville, OH that will tell the story of the historic spot.  Excerpts and links:

Early Ohio history enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find a collection of 1790s Indian war artifacts that rivals that in the Garst Museum’s new “Crossroads of Destiny exhibit,” said Floyd Barmann, the exhibit’s supervisor and designer.

The exhibit debuts from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 20, and will be free that day only.

“It’s going to be a nationwide draw for people to see the artifacts and the artwork with it,” said Dave Heckaman, a retired Cincinnati-area principal who wrote text for the exhibit and, while doing research, happened upon the earliest known map of the Greenville area. It dates to 1791.

Among the exhibit’s gems: one of four peace pipes believed to have been smoked at the 1795 signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville, which ended widespread hostilities between Indians and the U.S. government and opened southern Ohio to settlement. Excavation of the site of an old blockhouse yielded a tap key, which controlled soldiers’ access to alcohol.

• A short-lived Indian town established by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his prophet brother in the shadow of the abandoned fortification about 1805 or 1806. Shakers from Lebanon visited this “prophet’s town” and described it as having 57 cabins and 300 people.


When David Cox digs in yards and fields for remnants of the fortification that served as national headquarters for the U.S. Army in the 1790s, he looks for a telltale sign that he’s hit paydirt: buttons bearing the image of an eagle with frogs’ legs.

The buttons were unique to uniforms worn by General “Mad Anthony” Wayne’s men in the mid-1790s, when Greene Ville, as it was called then, served as a soldier city in the wilderness, said Cox, a retired podiatrist. The buttons often turn up during excavation projects in portions of present-day Greenville built over the old fortification.


This is the wikipedia entry related to Greenville, OH:


This is a link to the Dayton Daily News map of Downtown Greenville.  It shows the location of the old fort that was the headquarters of the U.S. Army in the 1790s and the location at which Lewis & Clark met:


Here are excerpts and links from the Garst Museum:

“This is the only exhibition I am aware of that deals exclusively with the entire scope of the Indian Wars and the subsequent Treaty of Greene Ville.”  Floyd Barmann, former director of the Clark County Historical Society, Springfield.

This new exhibit is a chronological walking tour that includes 28 displays. Each display has authentic artifacts that relate a story that begins with prehistoric Native Americans and climaxes as America’s Crossroads of Destiny in 1795 with the signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville that included 12 Indian nations and the United States. 

The Greene Ville Cantonment (fortified town) housed the United States Army Headquarters for three  years and was the base for Anthony Wayne’s successful campaign. Greene Ville was a massive fifty-acre fortified camp, occupied from 1793 to 1796. The original fort’s capacity was 4,000  troops. It had interior walls measuring 900 feet by 1,800 feet. It is estimated that there were 15,000 logs used just to make the outside wall. The success of the United States Army here, called the Legion, marked the beginning of the US army as we know it today. 

One of the most interesting displays features the Class of 1795. These famous frontier and military men were at Greene Ville. They include Anthony Wayne; William H. Harrison, former president; Zebulon Montgomery Pike, who discovered Pike’s Peak; Meriwether Louis and William Clark, famous for their expedition to the west coast. The tribes who signed the treaty included the Wyandots; Chippewas; Delawares; Shawanese; Ottawas; Pattawatamies; Miamis; Eel Rivers; Weas; Kickapoos; Piankeshaws; and Kaskaskias. Noted native American Indians who were in Greene Ville at that time  include the famous Indian leader Tecumseh (who refused to sign the treaty) and his brother, the Prophet; Little Turtle; Tarhe, the Crane; and Blue Jacket.


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