Ohio extract from
John Reed Swanton's

The Indian Tribes of North America

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(Ohio) Extract from

The Indian Tribes of North America

by John R. Swanton

Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145—1953

[726 pages—Smithsonian Institution]

(pp. 230-236)


Chippewa. Representatives of this tribe appear as parties to the Treaty of Greenville, 1795, and to treaties concluded in 1807 and 1817 by which lands in this State were relinquished to the Whites. (See Minnesota.)

Delaware. The Delaware lived in Ohio for a considerable period in the course of their migration west under White pressure (See New Jersey.)

Erie. Meaning in Iroquois, "long tail," and referring to the panther, from which circumstance they are often referred to as the Cat Nation. Also called:

G-qu'-ga-o-no, by L. H. Morgan (1851).

Connection.The Erie belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic family.

Location.All of northern Ohio, except possibly the northwestern corner, and in portions of northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York. In the southeastern part of the State they perhaps reached the Ohio River. (See also Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania.)

Subdivisions and Villages: The names of but two villages are known, Gentaienton and Riqu. There are supposed to have been several subdivisions, but their names have not been preserved.

History.Little is known of this tribe until the final struggle which resulted in its destruction as a nation at the hands of the Iroquois and the incorporation of most of the remnants among the conquerors. The war lasted from 1653 to 1656 and seems to have been unusually bloody, the victory of the Iroquois having been determined probably by the fact that they possessed firearms. Some of the so-called Seneca of Oklahoma may be descended from Erie refugees.

Population.Hewitt (1907) considers 14,500 a conservative estimate of Erie population at the time of the last war, but Mooney (1928) allows only 4,000.

Connection in which they have become noted.The historical prominence of the Erie tribe itself is confined to the war in which it was destroyed. Its claim to present remembrance arises from the adoption of the name for one of the Great Lakes; for an important city in Pennsylvania upon its shores; counties in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; places in Weld County, Colo.; Whiteside County, Ill.; Neosho County, Kans.; Monroe County, Mich.; Cass County, N. Dak.; Loudon County, Tenn.; Erieside in Lake County, Ohio; and Erieville in Madison County, N. Y., and some smaller settlements; also an important railroad.

Honniasont. This tribe occupied parts of the eastern fringe of Ohio after it had been incorporated into the Iroquois and perhaps before. (See Pennsylvania.)

Illinois. Representatives of the Illinois were parties to the Treaty of Greenville by which lands of the State of Ohio were relinquished to the Whites. (See Illinois.)

Iroquois. After the destruction or dispersal of the Erie and other native tribes of Ohio, many Iroquois settlements were made in the State, particularly by the westernmost tribe, the Seneca. Some of these so-called Iroquois villages were no doubt occupied by people of formerly independent nations. (See New York.)

Kickapoo. Representatives of this tribe were parties to the Treaty of Greenville by which Ohio lands were relinquished to the Whites. (See Wisconsin.)

Miami. After the original tribes of Ohio had been cleared away, some Miami worked their way into the State, particularly into the western and northern parts, and they gave their name to three Ohio rivers, the Miami, Little Miami, and Maumee. (See Indiana.)

Mosopelea. Significance uncertain, though probably from an Algonquian language. Also called:

Chonque, by Tonti in 1690, probably the Quapaw name.
Ofo, own name, perhaps an abbreviation of the Mobilian term, Ofogoula, though this last may mean simply "Ofo people." Ofogoula may also be interpreted Ofi okla, "Dog People." They were, in fact, known to some of the other tribes as "Dog People."
Ouesperie, Ossipe, Ushpee, names by which they were known to other tribes and evidently shortened forms of Mosopelea, which has a variant in r.

Connections.The Mosopelea spoke a Siouan dialect most closely related to Biloxi and Tutelo and secondarily to Dakota.

Location.When the French first heard of them. they were in southwestern Ohio, but their best-known historical location was on the lower Yazoo, close to the Yazoo and Koroa Indians. (See also Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.)

Villages: Anciently they had eight villages, but none of the names of these have been preserved.

History.After abandoning southwestern Ohio some time before 1673, the Mosopelea appear to have settled on the Cumberland, driven thither probably by the Iroquois, and to have given it the name it bears in Coxe's map (1741), Ouesperie, a corruption of Mosopelea. By 1673 they had descended to the Mississippi and established themselves on its western side below the mouth of the Ohio. Later they appear to have stopped for a time among the Quapaw, but before 1686 at least part of them had sought refuge among the Taensa. Their reason for leaving the latter tribe is unknown, but Iberville found them in the historic location above given in 1699. He inserts their name twice, once in the form Ofogoula and once as "Ouispe," probably a corruption of Mosopelea. When their neighbors, the Yazoo and Koroa, joined in the Natchez uprising, the Ofo refused to side with them and went to live with the Tunica, who were French allies, Shortly before 1739 they had settled close to Fort Rosalie, where they remained until after 1758. In 1784 their village was on the western bank of the Mississippi 8 miles above Point Coupe, but nothing more was heard of them until 1908, when I found a single survivor living among the Tunica just out of Marksville, La., and was able to establish their linguistic connections.

Population.In 1700 the Mosopelea are said to have occupied 10-12 cabins, but some years later Le Page du Pratz (1758) gives 60. In 1758 they are reported to have had 15 warriors and in 1784, 12.

Connection which they have become noted.The most noteworthy circumstance connected with this tribe is its romantic history and the recovery of the knowledge of the same.

Neutrals. The Neutral Nation may have occupied a little territory in the extreme northwest of Ohio. (See New York.)

Ofo, see Mosopelea.

Ottawa. In the eighteenth century, Ottawa worked into the northern part of Ohio and established settlements along the shore of Lake Erie. (See Michigan.)

Potawatomi. Representatives of this tribe were parties to the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 and to treaties made in 1806, 1807, and 1817 by which lands in this State were relinquished to the Whites. (See Michigan.)

Seneca, see Iroquois, under New York.

Shawnee. It is probable that some Shawnee were in Ohio at very early periods. After they had been driven from the Cumberland Valley by the Chickasaw and Cherokee shortly after 1714, they world their way north into this State and, as they were joined by the former eastern and southern bands, Ohio became the Shawnee center for a considerable period, until after the Treaty of Greenville. (See Tennessee.)

Wyandot. Meaning perhaps "islanders," or "dwellers on a peninsula." Occasionally spelled Guyandot. At an earlier date usually known as Huron, a name given by the French from hur, "rough," and the depreciating suffix -on. Also called:

Hatindiasointen, (?) Huron name of Huron of Lorette. (Name appears as "Hatindia8ointen" in Swanton[g.h.])
Nadowa, a name given to them and many other Iroquoian tribes by Algonquians.
n, Delaware name, meaning "coming out of a mountain or cave."
Thastchetci', Onondaga name.

Connection.The Wyandot belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic family.

Location.The earliest known location of the Huron proper was the St. Lawrence Valley and the territory of the present province of Ontario from Lake Ontario across to Georgian Bay. The Tionontati were just west of them on Lake Huron. (See also Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.)

Subdivisions and Villages: There are said to have been four confederated Huron tribes in the time of Champlain.

Cartier, who first met these people, gives the following town names:

Araste, on or near St. Lawrence River below the site of Quebec.
Hagonchenda, on St. Lawrence River not far from the point where it is joined by Jacques Cartier River.
Hochelaga, on Montreal Island.
Hochelay, probably near Point Platon, Quebec.
Satadin, location uncertain.
Stadacona, on the site of the present Quebec.
Starnatan, just below the site of Quebec.
Tailla, near Quebec.
Teguenondahi, location uncertain.
Tutonaguay, 25 leagues above the site of Quebec.

The following towns, some under their native names and others under the names of the missions established by the French Jesuits, existed in Ontario between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay in the first half of the seventeenth century:

Angoutenc, between the refugee Wenrohronon town and Ossossan and about 2 miles from the latter.
Anonatea, 1 league from Ihonatiria.
Arontaen, near Point Cockburn, on the north shore of Nattawasaga Bay.
Cahiague, where was the mission of St. John the Baptist.
Carhagouha, in Tiny Township about 2 miles northwest of Lafontaine.
Ihonatiria, where was the mission of the Immaculate Conception.
Khinonascarant, the name of three small villages.
Onentisati, in Tiny Township.
Ossossan, where was the mission of the Immaculate Conception after it was moved from Ihonatiria.
Ste. Agnes.
Ste. Anne.
St. Antoine.
Ste. Barbe.
Ste. Catherine.
Ste. Ccile.
St. Charles, 2 villages.
St. Denys.
St. Etienne.
St. Franois Xavier.
Ste. Genevive.
St. Joachim.
St. Louis.
Ste. Madeleine.
St. Martin.
Ste. Marie, 2 villages.
Ste. Trse.
Scanonaerat, where was the mission of St. Michel.
Taenhatentaron, where was the mission of St. Ignace.
Teanaustaya, weather the mission of St. Joseph was moved from Ihonatiria (?).
Tondakhra, on the west side of the northern peninsula of Tiny Township, 4 miles northwest of Lafontaine and about 1 mile southeast of Clover Point.
Touaguainchain, perhaps where the mission of Ste. Madeleine was established.

After the Huron had been broken up by the Iroquois there was for a time a Huron mission on Mackinac Island, called St. Ignace, which was soon moved to Point Ignace on the shore to the northward. A part of the tribe settled successfully in villages called Ancienne Lorette and Jeune Lorette, 8 miles northwest of Quebec.

The following names of Huron or Wyandot towns are recorded in Ohio after the part of the tribe which moved west and south had collected there:

Cranetown, 2 towns: (1) on the site of the present Royalton,
Fairfield County; (2) in Crawford County, 8 or 10 miles northeast of the present Upper Sandusky.
Junqueindundeh, on Sandusky River 24 miles above its mouth.
Junundat, on a small creek that empties into a little lake below the mouth of Sandusky River, Seneca County.
Sandusky, 2 towns: (1) Lower Sandusky on the site of Sandusky, Erie County; (2) Upper Sandusky near the present town of that name in Wyandot County.

There was a Wyandot village in Wayne County, Mich., called Brownstown, occupied by people of this tribe from 1809 to 1818.

History.The St. Lawrence territories seem to have been occupied by two of the four Huron tribes when Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River in 1534-43; at any rate Hurons were in occupancy. When Champlain came into the country in 1615, they were all living south of Georgian Bay. The French soon entered into amicable relations with them and, beginning in 1615, missionaries undertook to convert them to Christianity. These efforts were crowned with considerable success, but were brought to an end when the tribe was attacked and disrupted by the Iroquois in 1648-49. Part of the Huron were then adopted by their conquerors, while part placed themselves under the protection of the French at Quebec, their descendants being known today as the Hurons of Lorette, and others fled to the Neutrals, the Erie, the Tionontati, and other tribes. In 1649, however, the Tionontati were attacked in their turn and forced along with their Huron guests to take refuge on Christine Island in Lake Huron. Then followed a long course of wandering; to Michilimackinac; Manitoulin Island; Green Bay; the Potawatomi; the Illinois; the neighborhood of the Ottawa on Chequamigon Bay, on the south shore of Lake Superior; and again to Michilimackinac. In the latter part of the seventeenth century some moved to Sandusky, Ohio, and Detroit, Mich. In 1745 a considerable party of Huron under the leadership of the war chief Orontony or Nicholas went from Detroit to the marshlands of Sandusky Bay, but in 1748, on the failure of a conspiracy Orontony had attempted against the French, he abandoned his villages and removed to White River, Ind. After his death the Hurons seem to have returned to Detroit and Sandusky and gradually extended their claims over Ohio, so that it was by their permission that the Shawnee from the south and the Delaware from the east settled north of Ohio River. The Wyandot allied themselves with the British in the War of 1812. At its close a large tract of land in Ohio and Michigan was confirmed to them, but they sold much of it in 1819, under treaty provisions, reserving a small portion near Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and a smaller area on Huron River, near Detroit, until 1842, when these tracts also were sold, and the tribe removed to Wyandotte County, Kans. In 1867 they were placed upon a small reservation in the northeastern part of the Indian Territory and are now citizens of the State of Oklahoma.

Population.Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1600 there were 10,000 Huron and 8,000 Tionontati. French estimates of the first half of the seventeenth century range from 20,000 to 30,000, the former figure being one that Hewitt (in Hodge, 1907) is inclined to accept. After the dispersal, the Hurons of Lorette were estimated at 300 in 1736 but placed officially at 455 in 1904. The following figures are given for the other Huron: 1,000 in 1736; 500 and 850 in 1748; 1,250 in 1765; 1,500 in 1794-95; 1,000 and 1,250 in 1812. In 1885 the Huron in Oklahoma numbered 251; in 1905, 378; and by the census of 1910, 353. In 1923 there were 502 in Oklahoma and in 1924, 399 at Lorette, Canada: total 901. The census of 1930 returned exactly the same number in the United States as had the census of 1910. In 1937, 783 were reported in Oklahoma.

Connection in which they have become noted.The Wyandot tribe is famous, (1) from the fact that it was the chief tribe or group of tribes encountered by Cartier when he explored the St. Lawrence, (2) for the flourishing missions maintained among them by the French Jesuits, (3) for the tragic destruction of their confederacy by the Iroquois, (4) from the various applications of the names Huron and Wyandot, the former including one of the Great Lakes and also rivers and counties in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario; places in Fresno County, Calif.; Lawrence County, Ind.; Atchison County, Kans.; Erie County, Ohio; Beadle County, S. Dak.; Henderson County, Tenn.; and the Huron Mountains in Marquette County, Mich. Wyandot was applied in the forms Wyandot or Wyandotte to counties in Ohio and Kansas; to places in Wyandot County, Ohio; Crawford County, Ind.; Butte County, California; Ottawa County, Okla.; and Wayne County, Mich.; and a famous cave, Wyandotte Cave, 4 miles northeast of Leavenworth, Ind. In the form Guyandotte, the name of the Wyandot has been given to a river, mountains, and a town in West Virginia.