George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 21 September 1795

From Timothy Pickering

War-Office Septr 21. 1795.


On Saturday I was honoured with your letter of the 16th I am yet without any intelligence from General Wayne.1 But Colo. Sargeant who arrived on Friday, and called on me on Saturday, showed me a copy of the treaty, without the names subscribed to it, and expressed his surprize that the original had not been received.2 I was sorry to learn from him that finally there was but a small representation of the Shawanees: Blue Jacket, however, their great War-Chief, was present.3 The general boundary line from the mouth of Cayahoga to Loramier’s store at the Head of the navigation of the Miami of the Ohio is conformable to what was proposed in General Wayne’s instructions: but from that store the line is to run straight to Fort Recovery (St Clair’s battle ground) I believe about 25 miles, and thence straight to a point on the Ohio directly opposite to the mouth of Kentuckey river.4 There are ample reservations besides of detached spots from six to twelve miles square for posts of communication & trade, and a strip six miles wide from lake St Clair down to the river Rosine, along the strait of Detroit & the western end of lake Erie.5 The annuity is to be nine thousand dollars in goods at their first cost in Philadelphia & other places in the U. States where they shall be purchased.6 Michilimackinac and the other places where settlements have been made by the French or English, & the Indian right is extinguished are comprehended in the cessions to the U. States.7

I wrote on Saturday to General Wayne informing him that neither the treaty nor any letter from him on the subject had come to hand.8

The inclosed copy of a letter from Mr Seagrove, sent me yesterday, shows that the object of your solicitude—peace between the Creeks and Chickasaws—has been accomplished.9

Mr Seagrove will set out on his return to Georgia this week.

To secure the trading post proposed to be fixed at Colerain on the St Mary’s, I have supposed a garrison of fifty men abundantly sufficient: but to restrain the banditti in that quarter of Georgia, who bid defiance to Government, and hazard our interests with Spain, I have conceived it necessary to send thither in the whole 150 or 200 men. Mr Seagrove thinks the latter number quite small enough. He says there are barracks at St Marys and Colerain sufficient for the whole. I shall be happy to receive your orders on this subject. I have forborne latterly to send any recruits to the Westward; and from these the detachment may be made up, at least to 150. They may be got ready to go with the goods for the Indian Trade, at least a part of them; and the whole be there in October; as soon as the season of the year would render it expedient to send them to that climate. I am with the highest respect, sir, your obt servant

Timothy Pickering


1The previous Saturday was 19 September.

2The copy of the Treaty of Greenville referred to in this letter has not been identified. A copy of the treaty with names is located in DLC:GW. Pickering received the “original treaty” on 23 Oct. and sent it to GW on that date (ALS, DLC:GW). The document that contains the signature of Anthony Wayne, the signature marks made by the representatives of the northwest Indians, and GW’s signed ratification on 22 Dec. is located in DNA: RG 11, Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722–1869 (see also ASP description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , Indian Affairs, 1:562–63; and Kappler, Indian Treaties, description begins Charles J. Kappler, ed. Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. 5 vols. Washington, D.C., 1903–41. description ends 2:39–45).

3Blue Jacket (Weyapiersenwah; c.1743–c.1808) was a Shawnee chief who commanded Indian forces at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. He signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 and the Treaty of Fort Industry in 1805.

4Article III of the treaty described the new boundary line as “at the mouth of Cayahoga River, and run thence up the same to the portage between that and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum, thence, down that branch to the crossing place above Fort Lawrence [Fort Laurens; depicted as Fort Franklin in Figure 7], thence westerly to a fork of that branch of the Great Miami River running into the Ohio, at or near which fork stood Laromies store, and where commences the portage between the Miami of the Ohio, and St Mary’s River, which is a branch of the Miami [Maumee River] which runs into Lake Erie, thence a westerly course to Fort Recovery which stands on a branch of the Wabash, then south westerly in a direct line to the Ohio, so as to intersect that River opposite the mouth of Kentucke or Cuttawa River” (DLC:GW). For the treaty instructions sent to Wayne, see Pickering to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., 13 April, n.4.

5Examples of the additional land cessions in Article III include sixsquare-mile tracts “at the head of the navigable water of the Au-Glaize River,” another “at or near the confluence of the Rivers St Mary’s & St Joseph’s, where Fort Wayne now stands or near it,” one “at the Ouatanon or, old Weea Towns on the Wabash River,” one “at the mouth of Chikago River emptying into the southwest end of Lake Michigan where a Fort formerly stood,” and another “at the old Piorias Fort and Village, near the South end of the Illinois Lake on said Illinois River.”

The cessions of twelve square miles included a site “at the British Fort on the Miami of the Lake at the foot of the Rapids” and another “at or near the mouth of the Illinois River, emptying into the Mississippi.”

Article III also stipulates: “The Post of Detroit and all the land to the north, the west and the south of it, of which the Indian title has been extinguished by gifts or grants to the French or English Governments, and so much more land to be annexed to the district of Detroit as shall be comprehended between the River Rosine [Raisin] on the South, Lake St Clair on the North, and a line the general course whereof shall be six miles distant from the west end of Lake Erie and Detroit River” (DLC:GW).

6Article IV of the treaty specified annual deliveries “at some convenient place northward of the river Ohio” of “useful goods suited to the circumstances of the Indians of the value of Nine thousand five hundred Dollars,” according to “the first cost of the goods” in the city of purchase (DLC:GW).

7This provision appears in Article III of the treaty.

8Pickering’s letter to Wayne is dated 18 Sept. (Friday). He notified the general: “On the 11th instant a letter by post from Major Craig informed me that he had recd from the quarter master general a letter dated August 3d in which he says that on that day peace was concluded with all the Western Indians. Of this I the same day … sent notice to the President at Mount Vernon. Yesterday when I again wrote to the President I was unhappy that I could not send your offical information of so important an event. At present we have nothing by Major Craig’s communication. This makes me fear that some accident may have befallen the officer to whom perhaps your dispatches may have been committed” (PHi: Wayne Papers).

9Creek Indian agent James Seagrove, then in Philadelphia, wrote Pickering on 20 Sept.: “by letters which I received last evening from Georgia, I am advised that a treaty of peace is actually concluded between the Creek and Chickesaw Indians conformable to my desire and injunctions on the Creek Chiefs at our late meeting. My Deputies had this desirable business concluded at a full meeting in the Creek nation since the Chiefs returned home after our conference in Georgia. My letters inform that a Copy of the Treaty was forwarded to me by a vessel from Savannah to this place which may be hourly expected—as soon as it arrives I shall have the honor of presenting it to you.

“I think it cannot fail to be pleasing to the President of the United States to see his wish of not only establishing peace between his own Citizens and the numerous savage tribes in the Southern department so happily concluded; but that also; through his mediation, the desolating rage of war hath ceased between the Creeks and Chickesaws and which threatened the destruction of thousands of unfortunate people. It affords me sincere satisfaction in having been instrumental in effecting these objects so ardently desired by the Executive of the United States” (DLC:GW).

Fig. 7. The area covered by the Treaty of Greenville, 1795, was bounded in part by Lake Erie and the Ohio River, as depicted by the border superimposed on this 1797 engraving done for Morse’s American Gazetteer.

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