Difference between revisions of "Weyapiersenwah"

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<p>''Weyapiersenwah'' (ca. 1743-1810), also spelled ''Wehyehpiherhsehnwah'' and commonly referred to by his English name Blue Jacket, was a prominent military leader of the Shawnee. During the Northwest Indian Wars (1785-1795), Blue Jacket and Miami Chief Little Turtle led an American Indian alliance against United States military forces in the Ohio Country, which included members of many tribes with villages in Ohio, including the Shawnee, Miami (Myaamia), Wyandotte, Delaware (Lenape), Ottawa, Potawatomis, Ojibwes, and small numbers of Cherokee and Seneca-Cayuga Tribes. </p>
| image = [[File:OHS_AL02712.jpg]]
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<p>The first sources mentioning Blue Jacket date to his being a prominent war chief, leaving his early life up to speculation. However, Blue Jacket was born during a time marked by regular, bloody skirmishes between the American Indians and Anglo-American settlers. During the 1740s, Ohio tribes previously forced to flee the Ohio Country during the Beaver Wars, a campaign during which the Iroquois fought other American Indian groups, including those in the Ohio Country, for their lands and territories in order to gain access to new beaver populations, were returning to what we refer to today as Ohio. The most notable of these tribes was the Shawnee, and by the time Blue Jacket was a young boy, the Shawnee’s re-settlement in the Ohio Country was fully underway. The British and French desired the Shawnee’s homeland, and it became disputed “unsettled” territory. </p>
| caption = Close-up view of Blue Jacket from the painting "The Signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville, 1795" as depicted by Howard Chandler Christy.
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<p>During the early 1760s, Ohio tribes, including the Shawnee, ran out of ammunition and other supplies with which to defend their villages and lands, and began to conduct a series of raids to replenish supplies. It is during this period that Blue Jacket probably gained recognition as a talented warrior. Blue Jacket and the Shawnee allied with the British during the American Revolution (1765-1783) and he led the Shawnee in Lord Dunmore’s War (1774), when the Shawnee and Seneca-Cayuga Tribes unsuccessfully fought to ward off Anglo-American squatters on American Indian lands south of the Ohio River in Virginia. As a result, American Indians there lost their rights to hunt on lands south of the Ohio River. The Shawnee continued to lead the resistance and Blue Jacket rose to prominence. </p>
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<p>During the 1790s, Blue Jacket and Little Turtle together led warriors of their American Indian alliance in victory over United States’ forces under the command of Josiah Harmar in 1790, and again in 1791 against Arthur St. Clair. As ordered by President George Washington, St. Clair’s forces fought to force American Indian groups in the Ohio Country off their land. The two leaders led the alliance in an offensive attack on St. Clair’s troops at daybreak and swarmed the camp on the banks of the Wabash. Although Blue Jacket and Little Turtle led the alliance against United States forces, the American Indians suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers against General Anthony Wayne in 1794. The American Indian’s defeat at Fallen Timbers resulted in leaders of many tribes, after months of deliberation, signing the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, a document which ceded two-thirds of the State of Ohio to the United States—all of southern Ohio and parts of the central and eastern regions. </p>
<p>Weyapiersenwah -- also spelled Wehyehpiherhsehnwah -- was a Shawnee leader. He is also known by his Anglo-American exonym, &quot;Blue Jacket&quot;. The date of his birth is unknown, but it was probably in the early 1740s. Historians know very little of Weyapiersenwah's early years. In 1774, he participated in Lord Dunmore's War. In this conflict, militiamen from Pennsylvania and Virginia hoped to force the Ohio Country American Indians to accept the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768), which would have required them to leave much of what is now the State of Ohio. The major battle in this war was the Battle of Point Pleasant. The British succeeded in defeating a Shawnee force led by Cornstalk. Weyapiersenwah also participated in the battle. During the American Revolution, Weyapiersenwah -- like most of the Shawnee -- fought on the side of the British. By the war's conclusion, Weyapiersenwah had settled along the Maumee River.</p>
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<p>After the signing of the Treaty of Greenville, although Blue Jacket remained active in public relations efforts, he retired to Wapakoneta, Ohio, where he supplemented his farming and hunting with trade. Blue Jacket’s later successor Tecumseh became a notable warrior during the Northwest Indian Wars and after Blue Jacket’s passing, grew to prominence and continued to lead the alliance during the War of 1812. </p>
<p>During the early 1790s, Weyapiersenwah and the Miami leader Little Turtle were the major leaders of American Indian nations living in the Ohio Country. They led their people against Anglo-American settlers who continued to move into Western Ohio, often in violation of treaty agreements. Ohio American Indians defeated an army led by General Josiah Harmar in 1790 and another one led by Arthur St. Clair in 1791. The so-called St. Clair's Defeat was one of the worst losses ever suffered by the American military at the hands of the American Indians. Following St. Clair's Defeat, Little Turtle called for negotiations between the American Indians of the Ohio Country and the United States. The American Indians' British ally had failed to support the various nations of the territory fully during the past several years in the nations' struggle against Anglo-American encroachment on American Indian-held lands. Little Turtle believed that, without Britain's help, the American Indians had no serious chance against the Americans. Weyapiersenwah then assumed control over American Indian attempts to stop the influx of settlers. In 1794, he led the American Indians against an army led by General Anthony Wayne. The two sides met at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne emerged from the battle victorious. Weyapiersenwah's men fell back to Fort Miami, a British stronghold. The British, however, refused to assist Weyapiersenwah's men. At this point, Weyapiersenwah and his followers agreed to negotiate with the Americans.</p>
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<p>It is interesting to note that a story in an 1877 issue of the Ohio State Journal written by journalist Thomas Jefferson Larsh propagated the idea that Blue Jacket was in fact a young, Anglo-American man named Marmaduke van Sweringen who was captured by the Shawnee, probably during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). In the late 1960s, author Allan W. Eckert popularized the theory in his novels. However, chronological disconnects and other inconsistencies in the documented lives of both Blue Jacket and van Sweringen, along with conclusive DNA tests, prove this theory to be false. The results of the DNA tests were published in the September 2006 issue of the Ohio Journal of Science. </p>
<p>In 1795, the Shawnee, represented by Weyapiersenwah, signed the Treaty of Greeneville. The Shawnee agreed to relinquish all claims to land in what is now Ohio except for the northwestern third of the state. In 1805, Weyapiersenwah also signed the Treaty of Fort Industry. Under this agreement, many Ohio Country natives were asked to cede parts of northwest Ohio to the United States. </p>
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<p>Weyapiersenwah died about 1810. He probably resided near today's metro Detroit near the end of his life. </p>
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<p>Numerous people have claimed that Weyapiersenwah was actually a white man by the name of Marmaduke van Sweringen. Supposedly, the Shawnee captured van Sweringen during the American Revolution, when he was approximately seventeen years old. When van Sweringen was captured, the Shawnee also kidnapped his younger brother. The Shawneesagreed to release the younger van Sweringen with Marmaduke swearing that he would go live with his captors as a American Indian. </p>
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<p>Marmaduke van Sweringen was a real person. According to a family Bible, he was born in 1763, which means that the Shawnee may have captured him during the American Revolution. There is no doubt, however, that Weyapiersenwah was born during the early 1740s, approximately two decades before van Sweringen. Weyapiersenwah emerged as a powerful Shawnee leader during Lord Dunmore's War in 1774. At this point, van Sweringen would have been only eleven years of age. Van Sweringen was supposedly captured when he was a grown man. At the age of seventeen years, he would have a firm grasp of the English language. It is well documented that Weyapiersenwah, however, did not know English and had to rely on interpreters during his negotiations with whites. </p>
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<p>Many people who believe that van Sweringen was Weyapiersenwah point to the Shawnee chief's children, who purportedly were of mixed heritage. There is no doubt that Blue Jacket's children were partly white. Blue Jacket's wife, Margaret Moore, was a white woman and a Shawnee captive. </p>
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<p>It is also important to note that the first claims that Blue Jacket was a white man did not emerge until the late 1870s, approximately seventy years after the chief's death. None of Blue Jacket's historical contemporaries ever claimed that the Shawnee leader was a white man. </p>
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<p>Results of DNA testing of Blue Jacket and van Sweringen heirs published in 2006 showed no relationship between the families tested. </p>
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==See Also==
 
==See Also==
 
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Latest revision as of 14:34, 30 August 2017

Weyapiersenwah (ca. 1743-1810), also spelled Wehyehpiherhsehnwah and commonly referred to by his English name Blue Jacket, was a prominent military leader of the Shawnee. During the Northwest Indian Wars (1785-1795), Blue Jacket and Miami Chief Little Turtle led an American Indian alliance against United States military forces in the Ohio Country, which included members of many tribes with villages in Ohio, including the Shawnee, Miami (Myaamia), Wyandotte, Delaware (Lenape), Ottawa, Potawatomis, Ojibwes, and small numbers of Cherokee and Seneca-Cayuga Tribes.

The first sources mentioning Blue Jacket date to his being a prominent war chief, leaving his early life up to speculation. However, Blue Jacket was born during a time marked by regular, bloody skirmishes between the American Indians and Anglo-American settlers. During the 1740s, Ohio tribes previously forced to flee the Ohio Country during the Beaver Wars, a campaign during which the Iroquois fought other American Indian groups, including those in the Ohio Country, for their lands and territories in order to gain access to new beaver populations, were returning to what we refer to today as Ohio. The most notable of these tribes was the Shawnee, and by the time Blue Jacket was a young boy, the Shawnee’s re-settlement in the Ohio Country was fully underway. The British and French desired the Shawnee’s homeland, and it became disputed “unsettled” territory.

During the early 1760s, Ohio tribes, including the Shawnee, ran out of ammunition and other supplies with which to defend their villages and lands, and began to conduct a series of raids to replenish supplies. It is during this period that Blue Jacket probably gained recognition as a talented warrior. Blue Jacket and the Shawnee allied with the British during the American Revolution (1765-1783) and he led the Shawnee in Lord Dunmore’s War (1774), when the Shawnee and Seneca-Cayuga Tribes unsuccessfully fought to ward off Anglo-American squatters on American Indian lands south of the Ohio River in Virginia. As a result, American Indians there lost their rights to hunt on lands south of the Ohio River. The Shawnee continued to lead the resistance and Blue Jacket rose to prominence.

During the 1790s, Blue Jacket and Little Turtle together led warriors of their American Indian alliance in victory over United States’ forces under the command of Josiah Harmar in 1790, and again in 1791 against Arthur St. Clair. As ordered by President George Washington, St. Clair’s forces fought to force American Indian groups in the Ohio Country off their land. The two leaders led the alliance in an offensive attack on St. Clair’s troops at daybreak and swarmed the camp on the banks of the Wabash. Although Blue Jacket and Little Turtle led the alliance against United States forces, the American Indians suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers against General Anthony Wayne in 1794. The American Indian’s defeat at Fallen Timbers resulted in leaders of many tribes, after months of deliberation, signing the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, a document which ceded two-thirds of the State of Ohio to the United States—all of southern Ohio and parts of the central and eastern regions.

After the signing of the Treaty of Greenville, although Blue Jacket remained active in public relations efforts, he retired to Wapakoneta, Ohio, where he supplemented his farming and hunting with trade. Blue Jacket’s later successor Tecumseh became a notable warrior during the Northwest Indian Wars and after Blue Jacket’s passing, grew to prominence and continued to lead the alliance during the War of 1812.

It is interesting to note that a story in an 1877 issue of the Ohio State Journal written by journalist Thomas Jefferson Larsh propagated the idea that Blue Jacket was in fact a young, Anglo-American man named Marmaduke van Sweringen who was captured by the Shawnee, probably during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). In the late 1960s, author Allan W. Eckert popularized the theory in his novels. However, chronological disconnects and other inconsistencies in the documented lives of both Blue Jacket and van Sweringen, along with conclusive DNA tests, prove this theory to be false. The results of the DNA tests were published in the September 2006 issue of the Ohio Journal of Science.

See Also

References

  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.