Dry Account of the Indian Wars of the Old Northwest,
This review is from: Council Fires On the Upper Ohio (Paperback)
Downes "Council Fires on the Upper Ohio" was written in 1940 and here reprinted in paperback, making it accessible to a modern audience. It is concerned with the wars of empire that took place in the Ohio Country from 1700-1795, a time when the land that is today the states of Ohio and western Pennsylvania were part of a vast untamed wilderness inhabited by numerous Indian tribes who fought to keep the land from the encroaching white settlers. It shows the interdependant nature of the early white settlers and their Indian neighbors and how slowly, the Indians came to be so dependant on trade items like guns and liquor, that they lost their ability to keep themselves seperate from the alien European culture that threathened to envelope them, and in the end, they could not resist the overwhelming tide that would displace them forever.
The book begins at the time of Queen Anne's War, showing how the growing white settlements pushed westward from Pennsylvania and Virginia, displacing numerous native tribes like the Delaware, Shawnee, and Seneca. It chronicles the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754 as France and England vied for control of the Ohio Country, and their attempts to manipulate the tribes to fight for their cause. It addresses the roles played by the Ohio tribes during the American Revolution, as the British, desperate to keep the Americans out of the Northwest rally the Ohio tribes to strike the western settlements with a bloody upraised tomahawk. Finally, betrayed by their British allies, the Ohio tribes, now left to fend for themselves against an unstoppable juggernaught, despite valiant resistance against Generals Harmar and St. Clair, finally succumb to Anthony Wayne's forces at Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Greenville treaty a year later will seal their fate and that of Ohio once and for all.
This book in filled with much information and is a useful reference work, but is far too dry to hold much interest as an entertaining read. However, it is effective in that it tells the story of the eastern frontier from the Indian perspective, one that in 1940 was decidedly negelected. But it is also ultimately a tragic tale, as it is a chronicle of the passing of a people and their way of life.