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OHIO COUNTY INFO: Pioneer Migration Routes through Ohio


The Revolutionary conflicts in Ohio between American troops on one side and the British forces, and their Indian allies on the other, began in 1776 and did not finally terminate until the close of the War of 1812, thirty years after the Paris Peace Treaty between England and the United States was signed.

Armies were embodied, led by Bowman, Clark, St. Clair, Wayne, Hull, Harrison, Logan and other officers some of whom had served,under Washington east of the Alleghenies.

The point of departure for all but three of the American Expdeditionary forces for the seat of conflict in western and northern Ohio was Fort Washington in Cincinnati, opposite, the mouth of the Licking River; the exceptions being amies of Hull from Dayton, Logan from Maysville, Kentucky and Harrison's right wing from Franklinton, now Columbus.

Following is a detailed description of the military expeditions and marches officially designated in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration, and Route numbers.

BOWMAN'S TRAIL -- Route No. 1

Over this trail passed the mounted Kentucky troopers commanded by Colonel John Bowman in 1779, from the site of Old Fort Washington. The trail goes north over the Dixie Highway, Route 25 to Sharonville; on Route 42 through Lebanon, Waynesville, Springfield Valley to Xenia, and then on Route 53; three miles north to Old Town (old Chillicothe) where Bowman's army was defeated by Chief Blackfish, and compelled to retreat to the Ohio. Chief Blackfish was not among those Indians in Ohio given recognition in Ohio History Chronology of the 1960's. Neither did Colonel Bowman make the list.' Fort Washington was along the Ohio River at Losantiville (Cincinnati area).

Ohio Trails leading from Detroit and the Illinois settlements (British) to Fort Pitt and Kentucky was the scene of many skirmishes after the opening of the Revolutionary War in 1775. Famous exploits included George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton and William Crawford. Crawford, although a Colonel in that War, and owner of a Half Section of land in the Refugee Tract, is left out in history primiarly because his records were destroyed following his supposedly murder by the Indians, while sleeping amidst his Troops. Opponents of the above army leaders were Sir Henry Hamilton and the renegades: Simon Girty, Alexander McKee and Matthew Elliott with many attacks by them at Fort Laurens in 1779.

CLARK'S TRAIL -- Route No. 2

General George Rogers Clark, with 100 regulars from the Falls of the Ohio and 1,000 Kentucky volunteers followed practically the same route Colonel Bowman took in 1779 to old Chillicothe, along the Great Miami River, directly east of Fort Greenville, and the Shawnee village of Piqua on Mad River where the Miami Trail joins the Shawnee-Miami Trail of 1780. Clark defeated the Indians and their British allies on August 8th, and burned the Piqua stockade fort and village with the lose of 19 soldiers but a greater unknown loss to the Indians, Clark reported.

A Tri-State Revolutionary Memorial Trail, established by the Writer's Project in 1930's, passed north on state Route 53 from Springfield to Kenton and Routes 32, 24, and 25 to Toledo and the Michigan State line.


General George Rogers Clark's second expedition was in 1782, when he took 1,050 men and again crossed the Ohio River opposite the mouth of the Licking to Dayton, crossing the Mad River, and proceeded northward along the Big Miami to Piqua, passing through Troy and established headquarters at Upper Piqua about three miles north of today's city of Piqua. His objective was to destroy the Indian villages near the junction of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph Rivers. The Loramie Post was burned.

LOGAN'S TRAIL -- Route No. 4

Colonel Benjamin Logan was detached October, 1786 from General Clarkl's army and sent to the area of Maysville, Kentucky to raise an army by which to punish and drive out the Indians on the Mac-o-shee and the headwaters of Mad River and destroy their towns. With between 700 to 800 men he crossed the Ohio at the mouth of Limestone Creek now Maysville, Kentucky to Aberdeen on the Ohio side moving to what is now Ripley taking a northwesterly course to near the Old Winchester Trail on Route 38 through Hillsboro to Samantha, and on to present Route 72 to Jamestown and on Route 11 to Xenia, joining the Clark Trail. Following the Clark Trail through Old Town Yellow Springs, at Springfield he marched to Urbana and West Liberty on Route 53. From here, he marched east with his troops where he encountered the Indians. But in a few hours, he burned seven or eight of their towns, and drove the Indians from that area. He left the next day for Kentucky. Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were captains on this expedition.

HARMAR'S TRAIL -- Route No. 5

General Josiah Harmar took 1,300 Pennsylvania and Kentucky troops and 250 U.S. troops up the General Clark Trail in 1790 from Fort Washington to Springfield. Here he branched off to today's town of Troy, and on to Fort Wayne, Indiana where he was defeated by the Indians. Hamar's Trail goes over State Route 70 from Springfield to Troy, then on Route 25 to Piqua, and from there on Route 66 to St. Mary's. At St. Mary's, the trail follows Route 54 to Decatur, Indiana and then on Route 27 toward Fort Wayne.

ST. CLAIR'S TRAIL -- Route No. 6

General Arthur St. Clair Trail of 1791 led from Fort Washington to Fort Recovery. The march left Cincinnati on State Route 9 and ran north through Hamilton, Eaton, Fort Jefferson to Greenville and on to Route 51 to Fort Recovery. However the campaign was a disastrous defeat in many ways. General St. Clair resigned his command at Fort Washington and was court martialled. Little Turtle and Blue Jacket attacked them in Mercer county on November taking many lives of his troop. However, General St. Clair started the chain of many forts northward from Fort Washington.

WAYNE'S TRAIL -- Route No. 7

General Anthony Wayne, better known as Mad Anthony for he never slept, among other things) marched his troops from Fort Washington to Greenville in 1793 in the Battle of Fallen Timbers on the Maumee River. Tne Wayne Trail follwed State Route 9 from Cincinnati to Hamilton, on through Eaton and Route 121 to Fort Jefferson and Greenville. From here he went to Fort Recovery on Route 51, moving along now on Route 119 east to the intersection of SR 9, and north on SR 9 to Van Wort. The trail moved to Route 17 three miles north of VanWart for a short distance, then northeast through Roselms, Melrose, Oakwood, Fort Brown, Junction and then on to Defiance, on to Waterville to Fallen Timbers, south of today's Toledo, reaching there in 1794. Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20, 1794, met Blue Jacket's 2,000 braves. Their morale was broken June 30th in the Battle of Fort Recovery.

WAYNE'S TRAIL -- Route No. 8

General Wayne's march after his victory at Fallen Timbers returned as far as Defiance over the same route going into battle, then marched to Fort Wayne over Route 24 to near the Fort where Route 24 joins Route 30 into Fort Wayne.

WAYNE'S TRAIL -- Route No. 9

General Wayne's return march led to Greenville in 1794 over route 27 to Decatur, Indiana then on Route 54 to St. Mary's, south on Route 66 to the junction of Route 68 and west on Route 68 to Greenville, where he went into winter quarters with his army and where he concluded a Treaty of Peace with the Indians in 1795, in August. History places this event as the Signing of the Greenville Treaty, marking a line across state, permitting settlement below that line, and all Indian hostilities ceased, to the south.

HARRISON'S TRAIL -- Route No. 10

War was declared with England on June 18, 1812. In the fall of that year, General William Henry Harrison marched a small body of troops from Fort Washington to Fort Wayne taking the old General Clark Trail to Lebanon, then moving over present Route 48 to Dayton. From there he took Route 25 through Troy to Piqua and Route 66 to St. Mary's, then he followed General Wayne's old trail on Routes 54 and 27 to Fort Wayne.

HULL'S TRAIL -- Route No. 11

General William Hull made his march in 1812 from Dayton up the Miami in May with his troops that had assembled there, with the Fourth Regiment Regulars from Vincennes and 1,200 militia making up the main force. The trail then led on to Troy over SR 25, then east one mile to Staunton, then on to Urbana on SR 55. At Urbana, General Hull assembled his forces, and went north with Detroit as his objective, cutting a road through the wilderness and bridging streams. The Hull Trail took SR 53 from Urbana through West Liberty, Bellefontaine to Kenton, then on Route 31 to Findlay at which point Route 25 is followed through Van Buren and Bowling Green to Perrysburg, passing Fort Meigs on the left. The trail crossed the Maumee River at Turkey Foot Rock, then moved north on Detroit Avenue passing the site of the old Fort Miami which edged the Maumee City and Toledo. The march then followed SR 25 to Michigan State border, then connected with the southern end of the Michigan division of the Tri-State Revolutionary War Memorial Trail. This trail led on to Detroit, the center of the British activities during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

General Hull surrendered to the British, in the spring of 1812. September 29, 1812 the first battle on Ohio soil in the War of 1812 was fought on Marblehead Penninsula.

TUPPER'S TRAIL -- Route No. 12

General William Tupper's march started from Urbana and passed over the Hull Trail to Fort McArthur and Fort Meigs.

HARRISON'S-TRAIL -- Route No. 13

General Harrison cut a new trail in 1812 north to Defiance upon his return from (1813) Fort Wayne. The Trail is now designated as State Route 66. Harrison's victory--October 5.


General Winchester marched from Fort Wayne in 1812 to reinforce General Harrison at Fort Meigs. It followed Wayne's trail on SR 24 down the Maumee River. He stopped at Defiance and built Fort Winchester, thus did not arrive at Fort Meigs until early spring of 1813. Sieges of Fort Meigs at Perrysburg by British and Indians was in 1813, and September 10, Comodore Oliver H. Perry defeated the British fleet in Battle of Lake Erie.

CLAY'S TRAIL -- Route No. 15

General Green Clay Trail, troops of the Central Division of Harrison's army, went from Cincinnati to Defiance and down the Maumee to Fort Meigs, leaving Fort Washington over Route 25, following Clark's old trail to Lebanon, then over the Harrison's trail, SR 48 to Dayton, then north through Troy, Piqua and St. Mary's to Defiance, and followed the Wayne-Winchester Trail, SR 24, to Fort Meigs In 1812-1813 marches.

HARRISON'S TRAIL -- Route No. 16

Harrison's right wing army sector began at Franklinton (Columbus) and passed through Worthington, Delaware and Marion over SR 23 to Upper Sandusky, then on SR 53 north through Tiffin and Fort Seneca, Fremont to Port Clinton.

HARRISON'S TRAIL -- Route No. 17

General Harrison received an express from Fort Meigs calling for help in 1813 while at Upper Sandusky, and taking a detachment of his army, moved from Upper Sandusky through Crawford, near Tymochtee Creek where Colonel Crawford was burned at the stake, said to have been by the Indians in 1782, to Carey over SR 23 and then over SR 15 to Findlay, opening a new trail. He then proceeded over Hull's trail on SR 25 to Fort Meigs.

HARRISON'S TRAIL -- Route No. 18

Late in 1823, General Harrison ordered a new route to be opened from Fort Meigs to Fremont SR 20, and that portion of his troops withdrawn from Fort Meigs were sent to Fremont. August 2, George Croghan successfully defended Fort Stephenson (Fremont) from a force of 1200 Bfttish and Indians.

SHELBY'S TRAIL -- Route No. 19

Governor Isaac Shelby of Kentucky marched in 1823 from Cincinnati to Lake Erie with his troops. It was one of the largest expeditions of the entire period, with an estimated 4,000 or more troops. This army passed over the old Clark, Logan and Harmar Trails, through Lebanon, Spring Valley, Xenia, Old Town(Chillicothe) and Ye1low Springs, to Springfield then to Urbana where he halted for two days. Then he moved his troops over Hull's Trail, SR 53 through West Liberty and Bellefontaine to Kenton, moving next to what is called SR 67 to Upper Sandusky, then north on SR 53, through Tiffin, Fort Seneca and Fremont to the vicinity of Port Clinton, overtaking General Harrison and his troops. Both forces then crossed to Canada, September 27, 1813, and were taken over by Commodore Perry in his fleet. October 5th, Harrison was the victor in the Battle of the Thames in Canada where Tecumseh was killed. The British power in the west was finally broken.

CAMPBELL'S TRAIL -- Route No. 20

Colonel Campbell, under orders of General William Henry Harrison in 1812, left Franklinton (Columbus) with 700 mounted men to move against the Munsee Indians in eastern Indiana. The expedition led over SR 40 to Springfield, then SR 53 to Xenia and SR 11 to Dayton and Eaton and from there on SR 9 to Greenville and on SR 29 to the western Ohio border.

OHIO COUNTY MADE FREE with the December 24, 1814 Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812 and secured the Ohio country for the United States forever.

TREATY OF ST. MARY's in 1818 was the last treaty which deprived Ohio tribes of their land except for small reservations.

DELAWARE INDIANS ceded the rest of their lands south of the Wyandot Reservation in 1829 in Wyandot County and moved west. Only 2000 Indians remained in Ohio in 1831, August.


BIRD'S TRAIL -- Route No. 21

Bird's march in 1780 from St. Mary's, Ohio, through Piqua, Troy, Dayton, Miamisburg, and Franklin on SR 25; from there to Middletown on SR 73, then to Hamilton on SR 4; on to SR 128 to Cleves; then along the Ohio River to Fort Washington.

CALDWELL'S TRAIL -- Route No. 22

Caldwell's March in 1782 from Port Clinton on Lake Erie, Ohio where he had come by water from Fort Detroit with an army of several hundred British. He then moved through Fremont, Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, Kenton, Bellefontaine, reaching Springfield.

Tne State of New York gave up its claims to the western region, as other seaboard states did later on.

Battle of Goschochgung (Coshocton) 1781, American forces winning over the Delawares.

Peaceful Delawares, converted to Christianity by the Moravian Brethren, massacred in March, 1782 at Gnadenhutten and Salem, by trickery.

Colonel William Crawford, an Irish Refugee from Nova Scotia, was burned at the stake June 4th or 5th, 1782. He had a tremendous military record, but in early years it was destroyed by various fires.

The last British offensive in the war was in September, 1782, at Fort Henry, Belmont county and George Rogers Clark led his men to the British Trading post at Loramie's Store in November, 1782.

Pioneer Migration Routes through Ohio

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