The Miami Indians settled the town of Pickawillany in 1747. The village was located on the Great Miami River in western Ohio, near modern-day City of Piqua, Ohio. Pickawillany grew very quickly and soon held one of the largest concentration of Miamis within the Ohio Country.
The Miamis grew tired of poor treatment by French traders, who often charged high prices for their trade goods. They refused to trade any longer with the French or their Indian allies. La Demoiselle, also known as Old Briton, was the Miami chief of Pickawillany during the mid-1700s. He invited the British to set up a trading post at Pickawillany and challenged French control of the region.
In 1750, Celeron de Bienville stopped in Pickawillany. He was unsuccessful in attempting to convince La Demoiselle to create stronger ties with the French. The following year, the French raided the town, killing two Miamis and capturing two British traders. But this did not change La Demoiselle's attitude toward the French. In 1752, the French and their Indian allies attacked the town and its inhabitants, taking five British traders prisoner and killing La Demoiselle. The attackers used the Miami women, who had been working in the cornfields when the attack began, as hostages to force the Miamis to turn over the British traders.
After the attack, the Miamis abandoned Pickawillany and moved west into present-day Indiana. The British did nothing to retaliate against the attack. The Miamis, as well as other Ohio Indians, began to believe that an alliance with the French would be more advantageous than an alliance with the British, who were either unwilling or unable to protect their allies.
In the 1760s, Shawnee Indians moved into the area, and built a town named Piqua in about 1780.
- Anson, Bert. The Miami Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.