Hartwell, Ohio: Early History

Hartwell, Ohio Early History: The Indians, Anthony Wayne and Captain Jacob White


The Indians, Anthony Wayne, and Jacob White

We know that the Shawnee and the Miami tribes lived here along the banks of the Mill Creek. The Native Americans referred to the winding creek as the Maketewah. The land here was good to them: deer, rabbit, fox and squirrel were plentiful. Berries, nuts and medicinal plants abounded. Native peoples fought each other on this very land we now call home, probably for the right to use the land for sustenance. In a book called The Past and Present of the Mill Creek Valley (1882), author Henry Teetor tells us that when Jacob White came to build his settlement, he found, just north of his land, "...Indian bones were thickly scattered over the ground, intermingled with battle axes, arrows and other implements of savage warfare. About four thousand were believed to have been engaged."

Captain White's Station Plackard

White’s Station

The place where Captain White settled was known as the third crossing of the Mill Creek. White's "Station," as all local first settlements were called, was just off an old Miami Indian Trail that was traveled by General Anthony Wayne on his way from Fort Washington (now downtown Cincinnati) to Greenville, Ohio, where he eventually fought the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1795. Captain Jacob White and his family were originally from Redstone, Pennsylvania. They came up this "Wayne's Road," as it was called, and built a blockhouse in the year 1790. David Flinn and Andrew Goebel also built cabins here. Two years later, Andrew Pryor, Lewis Winans and John Wallace built their cabins on the opposite bank of the creek. Moses Pryor and John Reily settled on a tract of land just south of White's Station.

A Skirmish at White’s station

In October of 1793, the pioneers at White's Station were warned by a messenger of General Wayne's that Indians had attacked a wagon train near Fort St. Clair. At this time the male population at White's Station consisted of seven men and one boy. The settlers' dogs began barking at about 5 PM. Captain White forbade anyone to leave the confine of the station's fenced-in area. Andrew Goebel thought the dogs may have treed a coon, so he left to check it out. The Indians emerged from their cover and fired upon Goebel, killing him. There were about thirty red men in the war party, and they were determined to defend the land they had lived on and loved. When it was all over, the widow of Moses Pryor and two of her children were killed as well. Captain White killed one Indian, who seemed to him to be the chief of the group.

Grist Mills on the Mill Creek

In 1795, Captain White went on to build a successful saw and grist mill on the Mill Creek, in use until about 1827, then overtaken by the building of the canal. He was also the first Overseer of Highways in Springfield Township. The United States Bank eventually took away Captain White's properties when a neighbor had defaulted on a loan that White had endorsed. He then moved to Gallatin County, Kentucky in 1838. He lived until the age of 93, dying on July 20, 1849.

White’s Family Legacy

Captain White's son, whose name was Providence, was 10 years old at the time of the attack on White's Station. Providence eventually built a double log cabin near where Ridgeway Avenue is now located. His daughter, Nancy White Culbertson, told that the first apple orchard between the two Miami Rivers was planted around that cabin. The foundations of the cabin were destroyed when Ridgeway was built. Jacob White's brother, Edward, platted the village (south of Hartwell) of Carthage in the year 1815.

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