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Native American Artifacts
Written December 26, 2020

“Hey, Vern!  You ever see one of these?” the visitor asked my father (as I've reconstructed the scene from about 1955).

A local farmer had come into our Ohio town and stopped to see Vernon M. Thomas, Richwood's friendly Chevrolet dealer.

It's an Indian arrowhead!” the farmer explained.  "I found it in my cornfield.  The plow must've turned it up.  Maybe your boy Tommy would like to have it; here, it's yours.”

A similar event happened not long afterwards, and my father gave me the two little pieces of stone.  They now reside in my box of small keepsakes, alongside a Susan B. Anthony dollar and cufflinks and Olympic pins.

The hard flint, actually chert, makes a distinctive click if I tap the tip of one arrowhead against the other.

At the close of the Revolutionary War, the lands which Britain ceded to our new nation included the Northwest Territory, later to become the Great Lakes states from Ohio to Wisconsin.  But as American settlers moved into this area, their advance was opposed by the local inhabitants.

In 1785, the white settlers signed the Treaty of Fort McIntosh agreeing to stay in the purple part of the Northwest Territory, east and south of a certain imaginary line between their forts.

Of course, they didn't.  They were free American citizens who resented following rules of any kind, and they continued their westward expansion.  A confederation of native warriors resisted them in several battles.

The Indians were finally defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, and the next year they agreed to a new treaty.  The Greenville Treaty Line essentially was the same as the line drawn ten years before, and the settlers were still supposed to say south and east of it.

When Philip Plummer laid out the village of Richwood, Ohio, in August of 1832, his 1,200 acres were on the legal side of the boundary.  To this day, 2¼ miles north of town, there's a county road that runs along the Greenville Treaty Line.  It's still called Boundary Road.


According to a 2021 book, The Rich Woods of Union County, “Indian tribes had previously used Claibourne Township as hunting grounds until white settlers started to colonize the area.  The site of Richwood was rich, not only in trees, but in game as well.

“The Indians often tented on these grounds which is established by the fact that many past relics have been found in the vicinity.  Knives, Indian saddle fragments, tomahawks, brooches and even skeletons have all been found.

After the white settlers had occupied the area of northern Union County, the forests were full of hunters — both pioneers and Indians.  The Native Americans would not tolerate the presence of white settlers north of the Greenville line, but they frequently hunted south of the line as they were allowed as outlined in the treaty.”

Excerpted from an article by Richwood councilman Reddy Brown in a Facebook group on Richwood history and events:  “The local Indians and the local settlers did not always get along.  The Indians would reportedly shoot an occasional hog while it foraged in the woods, or they would take honey from a bee-tree that was marked by a settler as his property.  It seemed to be a guarded, yet friendly relationship, as history tells us that the Indians would sometimes visit the cabins and even eat with the settlers at times.  They would play games and engage in foot races or go hunting together.

“There is a story in the 1883 History of Union County about Henry Swartz, a Captain in the war of 1812 who came to this place near 1823 or 1824, several years before Richwood was laid out as a town.  Swartz's property was near the present-day site of Claibourne Cemetery.  Henry Swartz and Ned Williams may have had a fatal conflict with two Indians on Peacock Run, the area of Fulton Creek at the south edge of Richwood.

This stressful relationship between local settlers and local Indians slowly ended as the Indians were pushed north and west.  The Seneca and Mingo Indians were moving west to a large village at Lewistown, near Indian Lake.  The Wyandot Indians were moving north to a reservation at Upper Sandusky.”

Here are some of the responses to Mr. Brown's Facebook article, first from an old classmate of mine.


      Very good job of researching.  And yes, there have been a lot of artifacts found, both north and south of Richwood, by myself and a lot of guys from my generation.


   I appreciate the Ohio history lesson.  I had forgotten about this lesson from Mrs. Parsons in middle school.


   Mrs. Parsons made us aware of Boundary Road; made us want to go see it.

Gibson Brady

   I had a title search done on my house and they told me that it was a meeting house between the settlers and the Indians.


   I don't know the exact location, but my Grandma Callahan used to tell me stories about living on the treaty line.  She said she was always upset that she was not allowed to play with the Indian children across the road from their house


   My uncle and aunt lived on the Boundary Road and when we were bad, he would threaten to take us across the road and give us back to the Indians.


   I grew up on Boundary Road.  My parents still live there in a 5th generation farm house.  Very neat history lesson!  Thanks!


   I grew up on Boundary Road and my dad found many arrowheads while farming the land.  I always found this history so interesting, and somewhat sad too.


   I remember putting on anhydrous [ammonia fertilizer] with Dad on Boundary and him pointing out how one side of the road was “Indian country.”  It had me looking for Indians all day.


   There is a story in my family of ancestors, living around Coshocton, who suddenly had Natives walk into their cabin.  They indicated that they were hungry, but my great-grandma opened the cupboards to show them there was no food to eat.  The Indians left and returned a few hours later with two deer and a turkey.  They helped process it, ate their fill, slept in front of the fire, and were gone in the morning.

Nowadays, there are proposals to cover much Union County farmland with solar panels.  The boom is due to the region's flat, inexpensive land and proximity to transmission lines.

For example, Acciona is negotiating for easements or leases covering 60% of a 3,355-acre project area about seven miles west of Richwood.  It would generate 325 megawatts of electricity for maybe 40 years.  The idea is awaiting regulatory approval; many farmers are eager for the income, but many residents would prefer to continue living next to traditional cornfields (and arrowheads).

The Richwood Gazette's Ally Lanasa reported on a September 23, 2021, informational meeting where Chris Simmons of Samsung C&T admitted, “A lot of people say this is prime farmland and you're taking it up.  [But] the whole goal for solar development, renewable energy development, is to make sure that we have a planet farmable for our grandkids and great grandkids.”  Resident Casey Converse countered, “We do have a nation and a world that need food, fiber and fuels, and to take significant ag off the table has a very large impact.  I would rather feed my family by candlelight than not feed them at all.”

Around Richwood, the farmers haven't chopped down every tree to clear their fields.  Here and there a few acres of woodland remain even today, in case the Shawnees would like to come back for a visit.

By the way, the highway you see here isn't Boundary Road, but I lived in the indicated house from 1963 to 1974.  I never got up the nerve to explore the dark forest to the north.



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