Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County


From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County

ORIGINAL POSSESSORS

While it would transcend our province to trace beyond prehistoric data the original owners of the territory now comprehended within the limits of Fayette County, yet we deem it essential to a perfect elucidation of its complete history that we utilize all the facts within our grasp, and trace them until the line fades out in myth.
Therefore, so nearly as can with clearness be ascertained from chaotic masses of documents and traditions, we infer that the first inhabitants belonged to the Algonquin family, the most populous no doubt in the United States; whose language was comparatively uniform throughout all the tribes and subdivisions, very complex, yet capable of lofty flights of oratory, beautiful rlietorical figures, and ill-adapted to light and trifling speech. Inasmuch as there is a great deal of conflicting testimony in regard to the specific tribes comprehended in this great family, we shall, in this connection, state that the territory now called Fayette County, was originally ill the possession of the Twigtwees, culled by the French Miamis, leaving its full discussion to another part of the work. Cursorily we may say, that at the time they were visited by Christopher Gist, the English agent for the Ohio Land Company, in 1751, they were superior in numbers to the Huron Iroquois, with whom they were at deadly enmity. Their country extended on the west as far as the watershed between the Wabash and Illinois. On the north were the Pottawatomies, who were slowly encroaching upon the Miamis, who in turn were gradually extending their western limits into Ohio, and absorbing the territory claimed by the Huron Iroquois; and according to the best of authority, they were the undisputed claimants of Ohio as far as the Scioto.

It appears that the Piankeshaws, or Peanzichias-Miamis, a subdivision of the great Twigtwee confederacy, owned or occupied the southern part of Ohio, including the present territory of Fayette County.

The Wyandots, long prior to the advent of the English and French, had resided in the territory now embraced in Ohio. In the beginning of the present century they numbered 2,300 persons. In 1841-2 they ceded their lands to the United States commissioner. Col. John Johnston, and removed beyond the Missouri.

In about 1750 the Shawanoes came from Florida, under Blackhoof, and as tenants at will of the Wyandots took possession of the valleys of the Maumee, Scioto, Mad and Miami rivers.

From the fact that the ownership and occupancy of the soil resided first in the Twigtwees, and subsequently in the Wyandots and Shawanoes, it is difficult to ascertain the exact date or dates at which the Indian title became totally extinct (a full discussion of which will be given in the body of the work).

Thus we have endeavored, in so far as possible, to disentangle from the hetrogeneous mass of uncertainty, the original owners, the extinction of the original title, and the final vesting of the same in such a shape as to lay it open for individual purchase and settlement.