Darke County was named for Lt. Col. William Darke, a revolutionary war officer who fought many battles with Native Americans resisting the encroachment of settlers on their lands in this area.
Greenville was the site of Fort GreeneVille, constructed in 1793 by the army of General Anthony Wayne. It was one of a series of ten "Indian Wars" forts, extending from Fort Washington at Cincinnati in the south, to Fort Wayne, Indiana in the north. GreeneVille was named in honor of General Waynes Revolutionary War co-patriot, General Nathaniel Greene. Fort GreeneVille was a 50-acre tract of ground enclosed by a wooden stockade and blockhouses. It had a parade ground large enough for the drilling of 2,000 men. History says it was the largest log structure ever built in North America. It stood for six years.
The Treaty of GreeneVille
It was in Fort GreeneVille, military headquarters, that General Anthony Wayne signed the Treaty of GreeneVille with the chiefs of 12 allied Indian tribes, bringing peace to the area and opening the Northwest Territory for settlement.
The major tribes represented at the treaty signing on August 3, 1795, were the Chippewas, Ottawas, Potawatomies, Shawnees, Delawares, Miamis, Wayndottes,
Eel Rivers, Weas, Piankeshawas, Kickapoos, and Kaskaskias.
Among the principal native American leaders and chiefs present were Tar-kee, LeGris, Buckongehelas, Black Hoof, Blue Jacket, Little Turtle, and Massas.
Even though Tecumseh was never a chief in the Shawnee tribe, he was considered a leader among his own tribe and others, as he sought to achieve his vision of a united Native American nation.
Even though there was a treaty, Tecumseh could never accept it. He refused to sign the document or to attend the ceremonies because he felt the land was a loan to them from the Great Spirit, only to be used by them - not sold. After the treaty was signed, Tecumseh and his followers moved away from their tribe.
Ten years after the signing of the Treaty of GreeneVille, with his brother The Prophet, Tecumseh invited various native tribes to join them and meet at the "Big Ford" (now known as Tecumsehs Point). They built a village on the west side of Mudd Creek Prairie, two miles below the site of Fort GreeneVille. Tecumsehs Village, also known as Prophets Town, existed from 1805 to 1808 when Tecumseh decided to move his village due to white fears concerning the number of Indians who visited the village, Indian unrest fueled by the inflammatory rhetoric of The Prophet, the tactical politics of William Henry Harrison and the lack of available food for the growing population.
A Frenchman was the first to attempt to settle in Darke County. He built a log cabin north of the Greenville Creek and started to trade with Native Americans. Rigors of pioneer life forced him to leave.
In 1807, Azor Scribner took over the Frenchmans abandoned cabin and other structures at Fort GreeneVille and opened a trading center. The next year, he brought his family up from Middletown. Scribner was the only frontier trader in the area until 1811.
Famous Sons and Daughters
Phoebe Ann Mosey (often pronounced and spoken as "Moses"), known to the world as Annie Oakley, was born near Willowdell in northern Darke County on August 13, 1860. Her family was poor and she supplemented their income by shooting game and selling it in Greenville and neighboring towns. Her game was prized by restaurants because her excellent marksmanship meant little damage to the birds.
Annie adopted the stage name of Annie Oakley after she met and married shooter Frank Butler and began to tour the vaudeville circuit. Between 1885 and 1901, she starred in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. It was during this time that Chief Sitting Bull gave her the title of "Little Miss Sure Shot."
Both Annie and Frank Butler died in 1926, just 18 days apart. They are buried side by side in Brock Cemetery, a few miles from Annies childhood home.
Annie Oakley had a motto that she had printed on a card. It was simple and full of common sense: "Aim at a high mark, and youll hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second time, and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, youll hit the bulls eye of success."
Lowell Thomas, well-known world traveler and radio personality, was born April 6, 1892 at Woodington, five miles northwest of Greenville. The author of 51 books, Thomas died at the age of 89.
Zachary Lansdowne was an aviator who pioneered the use of helium in dirigibles.
He was commander of the U.S. Naval Airship "Shenandoah" when it crashed near Ava, Ohio. Lansdowne was killed in the accident.
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