February 21, 2012
“History is about the sequence of events that led to the lives we lead today. It is the story of how we came to be ourselves.” (Harman, ii).“The Indian population of 10 million that lived north of Mexico when Columbus came would ultimately be reduced to less than a million.” (Zinn 16).“[Hugh] McGary, insane with rage, hacked the body [of a Shawnee warrior] into bits and fed the pieces to his dogs.” (Harrison 35).Kentucky was once “filled with Native American homes”, but as the white settlers came in Kentucky, with Harrodsburg in 1774 and Boonesborough and Stanford in 1775, “bloodshed resulted and filled the first decade of settlement with death and sorrow. Native-Americans and European settlers and their African-American slaves, all mourned their losses.” (Klotter 33).In the standard Kentucky History book, “A New History of Kentucky” by James Klotter and Lowell Harrison, the authors maintain that the Indians didn't......live in Kentucky when the first white settlers came into Kentucky. This explanation opens pandora's box of apologist perspectives to the history of Kentucky. This explanation pretends as if the massacre of the Indians in Kentucky were more humane, or even nonexistent, as white Europeans did to the entire continent of the Americas, North and South. They also maintain that the land that was taken, was paid for, and agreed upon by the tribe's leaders. According to Klotter and Harrison, when Daniel Boone and James Harrod came trekking into Kentucky, the various Indian tribes in Kentucky were in agreement that Kentucky was just a “happy hunting ground”. This means that the white settling of the land didn't disturb any previous civilizations or settlements. This absurd notion presupposes that the Indians were able to kill 20 buffalo or so, and then transport their kills back to Indiana or Ohio, crossing the Ohio River. And if a land is plush with plenty of game, such as deer, bear, buffalo, and elk, with plenty of trees, fruits, wild berries, and streams... why would you leave? Klotter and Harrison concede some when they admit that the hunting parties were in Kentucky for several months. Another red flag comes up when Klotter and Harrison point out that “Native American” is really a “misnomer” (Harrison, pg 6) because the Native Americans had actually came from the land bridge between Alaska and Russia's Siberia. So even though Native Americans have been in Kentucky for 11,500 years longer than the white Europeans, the authors of Kentucky's history book still can't give the Indians American citizenship.“If Kentucky was indeed a Dark and Bloody Ground, it was the result of European influence on the Indian” (Schwartz 1967: 11). “The subject of archaeological study in Kentucky in general has been eloquently handled by Schwartz (1967) who points out that the “Indian History” of the state began on basic misconceptions regarding the character of aboriginal habitation in the State: 1) that Kentucky had no permanent Indian inhabitants, and; 2) that the Indians could not possibly be responsible for the construction of the earthworks present in the State. These two ideas coupled with a third, namely that the State was used only for a hunting ground. That the first of these assumptions is not true is shown by several historic accounts such as Neuman (1920, 1922, 1927) and Davis (1923). Over the years work by a multitude of scholars has shown the other two assumptions above to be equally fallacious as the “no-inhabitants” idea.” (Nance 1976).The earliest white settlers reported Cherokee Indian settlements: Doherty lived with them in 1690 and Adair visited their village in 1730 (Harrison). In 1739, the Indians listed in Kentucky were Cherokee, Chickasaw, Mosopelea, Shawnee and Yuchi (Harrison). Tecumseh asked about the disappearance of the Pequot, the Narragansett, and the Pocanet Choctaw Indians, which points out the many factions of Indians that used to exist, but no longer did (Turner). In 1745, for 3 days, the Miami, Shawnee, and Cherokee warred, in modern day Bellevue, Kentucky (Harrison).Some American-Indian tribes were in enough of a position to negotiate with the white officials, including The Iroquois (1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix), the Shawnee and Mingo (1774 Treaty of Camp Charlotte), and the Cherokee (1768 Treaty of Hard Labor; 1770 Treaty of Lochaber; 1775 Treaty of Sycamore Shoals). The 1775 Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, aka The Transylvania Purchase, saw 1,200 Cherokee Indians assembled, but was not recognized by Cherokee Chief Dragging Canoe. Cherokee Chief Dragging Canoe warned Richard Henderson that the land south of the Kentucky River was a “bloody ground” that “would be dark and difficult to settle” (Harrison 26). This is why during the American Revolution, Dragging Canoe led the Indians into Kentucky during the Chickamauga Wars (1776-1794).Simon Girty, a white man, fought for Captain Pipe, a Delaware Chief. Simon Girty fought for the Indians because he was sickened by the atrocities being perpetuated by the European colonists. According to some early maps, the Yuchi had a town in Kentucky, on a River which appears to be identical with Green River. Other Indians who can claim Kentucky as their homeland are the Delaware, the Lanapota, the Creek and the Mingo (Harrison).Harrison and Klotter say the Shawnee were pushed out of Kentucky during the 1690 Iroquois Fur Wars, but for some reason, Kentucky's early history is saturated with the Shawnee. The Shawnee (Miami and Delaware; “Shawnee” means “Southerner”) are thought to be possible successors to Fort Ancient. Mary Ingles, the first white person in Kentucky, was abducted by the Shawnee (Harrison 10). A Shawnee Chief kidnapped Virginia Sellards Wiley, the 2nd white person in Kentucky, and claimed her as his wife (Harrison 10). In 1756, “Virginia governor Robert Dinwiddie” dispatched “Major Andrew Lewis and about 340 men, including several score Cherokee warriors, against the Shawnee” (Harrison 17). “The Shawnee, who struggled with the Kentucky settlers more than any other tribe, probably numbered no more than three or four thousand by 1750” (Harrison 10). “The Shawnee probably numbered fewer than four thousand individuals when the white settlement of Kentucky began”... where they remained a threat “until 1795” (Harrison 11). It was the Shawnee who gave the early white settlers in Kentucky the worst hell. It was the Shawnee who killed two of Daniel Boone's sons, including Israel at the Battle of Blue Licks (against Simon Girty), where 1/13 of Kentucky's militia was slaughtered in under fifteen minutes (Harrison). The Shawnee fought as if they were defending their homeland. Even the State Capitol's name has it's origin with the Indian Wars of Kentucky's white founding. Frankfort was named after a white martyr, Stephen Frank, who was killed by an 1780 Ameri-Indian raid when he was boating on the Kentucky River (Harrison 103).Compton's Encyclopedia says the earliest known locality of the Shawnee Indians was Kentucky. The Shawnee was in Kentucky before the white man. Eskippathiki is the last known Indian town in Kentucky, which would be present day Clark County, where only a small Indian mound still exists. Eskippathiki is also known as Little Pict Town and Indian Oil Fields. Most of my information about Eskippathiki comes from Lucien Beckner's revolutionary book, Eskippathiki, The Last Indian Town in Kentucky.John Goff, in an old newspaper account, states that the buffalo trail, known as the "Warriors Path," ran from Blue Licks to Indian Old Fields. The Jesuit Relations of 1670 states that some of the French were driven out of Illinois and fled southeast, taking refuge with the Shawnee Indians at Eskippakithiki (Woodring).The French-Canadian Census of 1736 had listed Eskippakithiki as “Chaouanons, towards Carolina, two hundred men”, and 200 men implies heads of households, so there would have been about 800 to 1000 Native Americans, men, women, children, with souls, and heartbeats. From 1718 to 1754, early Scottish traders, referred to the Piqua, a band of Shawnee who lived here, as Picts, and their village as Little Pict Town. Eskippakithiki was then “the metropolis of Kentucky, of Shawnee Kentucky, of Canadian Kentucky, of Iroquoian Kentucky, when all Kentuckians did homage to Louis, the Grand Monarque of France, serenely oblivious, in the distractions of his pleasure-seeking court, of the huddle of dusky savages who, in the deep forests of the New World, were achieving life and security under the psychologic influence of his potent name” (Beckner 1932: 365).John Goff states that the fort at Indian Old Fields was surrounded by a high fence or palisade (Woodring). In the center was a huge locust post, scarred by fire, where death penalty victims were executed. Goff said that the post was still standing when his father was a boy. Bessie Conkwright wrote in 1922, due to her scientific analysis, that the charred, sharp palisades that were dug up proved that Eskippakithiki was burned down. Lucian Beckner opened the Eskippakithiki up, and found a succession of hearths, layers of charcoal, ashes, and bones, one after another. In the center was the charred end of a post. Conkwright says the mound may have accumulated around the stake where victims were burned. This means it's possible that white folks piled all of the Shawnee bodies on a large pile, like the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, after the killed them all, and set them all on fire. It's clear that Eskippakithiki was burned down. And since it was a large trading town, gold and silver may have been stored amongst them, and that may have been enough justification to massacre a an entire nation of peoples for some white conscienceless, bloodthirsty thieves.In 1780, the great George Rogers Clark burned Chillicothe, a Shawnee town, down, crops, homes, and all, even though it was abandoned before he arrived. So whites burning down Shawnee towns was known to happen.Daniel Boone's buddy, John Findley, visited Eskippakithiki in 1752. John Findley stayed there, and became a trader. Now Findley claims that he was attacked by a party of 70 Christian Conewago and Ottawa Indians, a white French Canadian, and a white renegade Dutchman named Philip Philips, all from the St. Lawrence River, upon a scalping hunting expedition against the Southern Indians, on January 28, 1753, along the Warrior's Path, twenty five miles south of Eskippakithiki, near the head of Station Camp Creek in Estill County (Beckner). The 7 Pennsylvanian white traders rolling with John Finley's crew, consisted of James Lowry, David Hendricks, Alexander McGinty, Jabez Evans, Jacob Evans, William Powell, Thomas Hyde, and their Cherokee servant. The white Pennsylvania traders shot at the 70 Christian Indians, and the 70 Christian Indians (along with Philip Philips), took the whites prisoner, and took them to Canada, and shipped some of them off to France, as prisoners of war. Findley fled, and the next time a white person went to Eskippathiki, it was burnt down to the ground. So these 70 Christian Indians, with the 2 white guys, could be the party responsible for the destruction of Eskippathiki, or this story was made up by John Findley, to cover up his crimes of murdering an entire village of people, stealing their stuff, and then showing Daniel Boone the flat spot for him to get the whites to set-up shop with their one-room cabins.Major William Trent wrote the letter that first mentions the word “Kentucky” regarding the attack on John Findley. Major Trent wrote: “I have received a letter just now from Mr. Croghan, wherein he acquaints me that fifty-odd Ottawas, Conewagos, one Dutchman, and one of the Six Nations, that was their captain, met with some of our people at a place called Kentucky on this side Allegheny river, about one hundred and fifty miles from the Lower Shawnee Town. They took 8 prisoners, five belonging to Mr. Croghan and me, the others to Lowry; they took three or four hundred pounds worth of goods from us; one of them made his escape after he had been a prisoner three days. Three of John Findley's men are killed by the Little Pict Town, and no account of himself... There was one Frenchman in the Company.” (Beckner).Lucien Beckner believes that Major Trent misheard “Eskippathiki”, and that's how “Kentucky” was formed. So according to Mr. Beckner, “Kentucky” is not an Iroquoian word that means “Meadowland”. It's the incorrect pronunciation of the last Shawnee stronghold in Kentucky.“In Paducah, Chickasaw settlements existed.” (Nance 3). The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky was signed in 1818 (with Andrew “Trail of Tears” Jackson and Isaac Shelby, Kentucky's first Governor, in attendance), and the Chickasaw who lived there postponed moving until later. There were also reports of the Chickasaw fighting in the Civil War, to defend their right to have African-American slaves. We know that the Chickasaw were in Kentucky before the white man. “In Paducah, Chickasaw settlements existed.” (Nance 3). Since it can't be concluded where the name “Kentucky” comes from, it is problematic for a historian to be decisive in ruling any possibility out. It also seems like it's in the interest of the oppressor class, here, white people, to pretend like there were no permanent Indian settlements in order to perpetuate the most bloody, and barbaric Holocaust of the American Indian in the Bluegrass State.
BibliographyBeckner, Lucien. 1932. “Eskippakithiki, The Last Indian Town in Kentucky”. Filson Club Historical Quarterly.Davis, D.T. 1923. “Story of Mayfield Through a Century”. Billings Printing Co., Paducah.Goldstein, Joel. “Kentucky: Government and Politics”. Pg. 84. College Town Press. Bloomington, IN.Harman, Chris. 2008. “A People's History of World”. New Left Books.Harrison and Klotter. 1997. “A New History of Kentucky”. University Press of Kentucky.Hunter, Frances. November 18, 2009. “William Clark and the Notorious Simon Girty”Klotter, James C. 2006. “Kentucky Almanac and Book of Facts”. 2nd Edition. The Clark Group.Marsh, Carole. “Kentucky Indians”. Paperback, Gallopade InternationNance, Jack D. 1976. “Archaeological Research in Jackson's Purchase and the Lower Tennessee-Cumberland Region: A Historical Account”. Kentucky Archaeological Association, Inc.Neuman, F.G. 1920. “Story of Paducah”. 1922 “Paduchans in History”. 1927 “The Story of Paducah”Young Printing Co., Paducah.O'Brien, Michael. “Irish Pioneers in Kentucky: The True Discoverer of Kentucky. Not Daniel Boone, as is Generally Supposed, but an Irish Pioneer named James McBride. Testimony of Impartial Historians.” The Gaelic American. New York.Osborn, William M. “The Wild Frontier: Atrocities During the American-Indian War from Jamestown Colony to Wounded Knee”Schwartz, Douglass W. 1967. “Conceptions of Kentucky Prehistory: A Case Study in the History of Archeology”. University of Kentucky Press.Thompson, Edwin P. 1897. “Young People's History of Kentucky”. St. Louis.Turner, Frederick. 1978. “Poetry and Oratory”. The Portable North American Indian Reader. Penguin Book. Pg 246-247.Woodring, Patsy. 2001. “Indian Old Fields, Home of the Shawnee”. Retreived on February 21, 2012 http://kentuckyexplorer.com/nonmembers/01-04020.htmlZinn, Howard. 2003. “A People's History of the United States: 1492 – Present”. HarperPerennial.