In late 1793, American General Anthony Wayne ordered the construction of Greene Ville, named for his friend and comrade in the American Revolution, Nathanael Greene. Wayne's army was marching against a confederacy of American Indians centered along the Maumee River. Wayne sought to force the natives to relinquish claims to land north of the Ohio River. His campaign came in wake of the Indian victory--known by white settlers as St. Clair's Defeat at the site of Fort Recovery--in 1791. The fortification was located roughly five miles north of Fort Jefferson at what is now Greenville, Ohio. The fort had walls that were ten feet high, and the stockade enclosed roughly fifty acres of land. Wayne used Greene Ville as his encampment during the winter of 1793-1794 and as a staging area and supply depot for his attacks against Ohio's American Indians in 1794.
Following his victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in August 1794, Wayne used the fortress as the site of treaty negotiations. With such a sizable American force nearby and the failure of their British allies to assist them against the United States, many tribal leaders made their way to Greene Ville seeking peace terms. The Treaty of Greeneville of August 3, 1795, brought a brief peace to the Ohio Territory and established the right to sell land to American settlers in a larger portion of what became Ohio. As more and more white Americans moved north of the Ohio River, some would violate the treaty's provisions and move onto land in northwestern Ohio reserved for American Indians, leading to warfare that preceded the War of 1812.
The city of Greenville was officially founded in August 1808, although whites had lived in the vicinity for several years before this date. The town grew slowly, having only eight hundred inhabitants by 1840. In 1846, the town contained four churches, one newspaper office, one flour mill, and sixteen retail stores. Over the next three decades, Greenville grew rapidly. The city had 3,535 residents in 1880 and boasted five newspapers, three banks, and six churches. Many of the residents were of German ancestry. Several local businesses produced machinery, wagons, or lumber. Famous markswoman Annie Oakley once resided in Greenville.
During the twentieth century, Greenville served as the main metropolitan center of Darke County. Most of the county's residents worked as farmers, with Greenville's residents providing various services to their neighbors in the surrounding countryside. In 2000, Greenville was the largest city in the county with a population of 13,294 people.
- City Planning Commission, Greenville, Ohio. Comprehensive City Plan, Greenville, Ohio. Cincinnati, OH: n.p., 1945.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.