Treaty of Fort McIntosh (1785)

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In 1785, the Confederation Congress sent George Rogers Clark, Arthur Lee, and Richard Butler to the Ohio Country to negotiate a treaty with the Delaware Indians, the Wyandot Indians, the Ottawa Indians, and the Chippewa Indians. The treaty negotiations took place at Fort McIntosh. Most of the Indian representatives were younger leaders who did not have the authority to negotiate a treaty. Despite this, the American commissioners pressed for a treaty. After several weeks of negotiations and after some of the Indians had become drunk on alcohol provided by the Americans, the natives signed the Treaty of Fort McIntosh on January 21, 1785. The tribal leaders agreed that they lived under the American government and could not form alliances with any other powers. The Indians were to relinquish their lands in southern and eastern Ohio. They were confined to the western corner of modern-day Ohio with a border consisting roughly of the Cuyahoga River on the east. A southern border extended from modern-day Akron westward to the Tuscarawas River, southward to Fort Laurens, then westward to Pickawillany on the Miami River. A western border ran north from Pickawillany to the St. Mary's River, and then to what is now Ft. Wayne, Indiana. A northern border from Fort Wayne to Lake Erie followed the shore of the lake east to the Cuyahoga River. The Americans promised that they would prevent squatters from settling on the Indian reservation.

Most Native Americans in the Ohio Country rejected the treaty, especially the Shawnee Indians, because they lost their claim to all of their lands in southwestern Ohio. The Indians also protested that the people who signed the treaty did not have permission from their respective tribes to do so. While the Americans claimed that they would prevent white settlement of the Indians' land, government officials failed to do so. The Treaty of Fort McIntosh only increased tensions between the Ohio Country natives and the Americans.

See Also


  1. Edmunds, R. David. The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978.
  2. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  3. Tooker, Elisabeth. An Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1991.
  4. Vogel, John J. Indians of Ohio and Wyandot County. New York, NY: Vantage Press, 1975.