Treaty of Fort McIntosh (1785)

From Ohio History Central

In 1785, the Confederation Congress sent George Rogers Clark, Arthur Lee, and Richard Butler to the Ohio Country to negotiate a treaty with several of Ohio's American Indian nations: the Wyandot, the Lenape (Delaware), the Ottawa, and the Ojibwa (Chippewa). The treaty negotiations took place at Fort McIntosh. Most of the American 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 American Indians delegates had become drunk on alcohol provided by the Americans, the assembled delegates 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. Ohio's American 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 stipulated Indian reservation.

Most American Indians in the Ohio Country rejected the treaty -- especially the Shawnee, because they lost their claim to all of their lands in southwestern Ohio. Ohio's American Indian groups also protested that the people who signed the treaty did not have permission from their respective tribes to do so. Moreover, while the Americans, under the terms of the Treaty of Fort McIntosh, claimed that they would prevent white settlement of the new American Indian reservation land, government officials failed to do so. The Treaty of Fort McIntosh only increased tensions between the Ohio Country American Indians and the Americans settlers who continued to flock there.

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.