Detail of William Wells, from "The Signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville" painting by Howard Chandler Christy (1945). Wells was one of the best-known frontiersmen in the Ohio Country in the years after the American Revolution. Born in about 1770, he was captured by Miami natives at the age of twelve, and a Miami leader named Little Turtle raised him as his own son. Wells also married Little Turtle's daughter, Sweet Breeze. During the late 1780s and the early 1790s, Wells assisted Little Turtle in stopping white settlers from encroaching upon Native American land. He fought with the Native Americans of the Northwest Territory against the army of General Arthur St. Clair in 1791. By 1794, Wells had a change of heart. Some people believe that he could no longer stand the bloodshed in the Northwest Territory in the late 1780s and the early 1790s. In any case, Wells joined the army of General Anthony Wayne in 1794. Wayne hoped to secure the southwestern portion of modern-day Ohio from the natives. Wells served as a scout and interpreter for Wayne. He eventually attained the rank of captain and was present at the negotiating and signing of the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795. Under this treaty, the Native Americans had to give up all of their lands in what is now present-day Ohio except for the northwestern corner of the state.
The Ohio Historical Society. SC 404
Howard Chandler Christy
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