Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County

From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County


The spirit of adventure with which nature has endowed the human species, nowhere manifests itself so conspicuously as in those men of iron muscle, resolute will and indomitable energy, who left forever the abode of peace and plenty, and encountered all the dangers aud endured the privations incident to the opening of new homes in the solitudes of the untrodden wilderness.

A strange infatuation seems to impel man to seek new fields of adventure, and the greater the danger the stronger the impulse seems to be to meet and conquer it. This, in conjunction with seductive hope, though so often realizing the words of Pope, "that man never is but always to be blessed," conduces very materially to the advancement of civilization, and when we take into consideration the cosmopolitan nature of man, we need not wonder that no part of the world, how wild and uninviting soever, remains inviolate. It was this, coupled with cupidity, that led the cruel Pizarro to the subjugation of the Incas of Peru, Cortez to the bloody struggles with the Aztecs, the conquest of Mexico and the extinction of the Montezumas.

The beautiful scenery, fertility of soil and many other advantages with which nature had unsparingly endowed this charming locality, early attracted the eye of the speculator; in addition to which the country had been previously traversed by the soldiers in the early Indian campaigns, who, observing the luxuriant growth of vegetation and many natural advantages here presented, related fabulous accounts of the picturesque features of the Indian possessions. All kinds of fish abounded in the streams, along whose banks many fur bearing animals made their homes, while the forests teemed with deer, and the gobble of the wild turkey blending inharmoniously with the drum of the pheasant and the shrill whistle of the partridge might be heard in the woods from morning till night. Here the hunter and trapper found a paradise. Here he built his cabin and set his traps, and fished in the streams, and hunted in the forests. Here he roasted his venison, broiled his fish and baked his Johnny-cake. For all his pelts and furs, he found a ready market at the English trading house on the Great Miami, and after its destruction in 1752, at Laramie's Store on the creek of the same name, which was the emporium of trade throughout the surrounding country until its destruction in 1782, by General G. R. Clarke.

From the records of history it appears that in the settlement of almost all countries the order seems to be: First, the soldier; second, the hunter and trapper, the squatter, surveyor, and finally the permanent settler.

The marks of edged tools on the trees in the Ohio Valley, give evidence that this region, calculating from the subsequent growth of rings, was visited by white men as early as 1660, nine years prior to the supposed discovery of the Ohio by LaSalle. Tradition also imforms us that in the year 1742, one John Howard sailed down the Ohio in a canoe made of a butfalo skin, and was captured on the Mississippi by the French. The French, however, as early as 1749, controlled the trade of this country and sought to establish their title by planting plates of metal at the mouth of every principal stream emptying into the Ohio; one of which was found at the mouth of the Muskingum, bearing date August 16, 1749, a particular account of which, by DeWitt Clinton, may be found in Am. Ant. Soc, 535. But this puerile attempt utterly failed; and in the same year the English built a trading house on the Great Miami at the mouth of Laramie's Creek, called Pickawillany. The French, jealous of English intrusion, erected a line of fortifications along the Ohio and towards the lakes, and in 1752 demanded of the Twigtwees the surrender of the trading post mentioned above, which being refused, they, in conjunction with the Ottawas and Chippewas, captured and destroyed it, killed fourteen Indians and carried the English to Canada, and even burned some at the stake. These traders were supposed to have been from Pennsylvania, from the fact that in Dr. Franklin's history of the same he mentions that this State sent the Twigtwees a gift of condolence for those slain in defense of Pickawillany. Although this battle was participated in by two nationalities, no more serious results flowed from it than a series of diplomatic maneuverings with a view to securing the permanent possession of the debatable lands.

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