The Continental soldiers who received land in the Northwest Territory had from the first quarreled with the Indians. As the latter had sworn that no white man should ever plant corn on the Ohio, settlers were obliged to float down the river in well–armed boats, and till the ground with their guns always within reach.
But, in spite of these drawbacks, the land was rapidly, becoming cultivated. Hoping to check the white men, or drive them away, the Indians now began to murder them, stealing upon them when they least expected such unwelcome visits. When Washington heard of this, he sent General St. Clair with an army to attack them. Although warned to be wary with such foes, St. Clair proved over confident, and his little army was surprised and slaughtered. The news of this disaster was a great blow to Washington, but he quickly took measures to punish the Indians, and sent General Anthony Wayne into the Northwest Territory to take St. Clair’s place.
The Indians found “Mad Anthony” so alert that they soon declared he never slept. But although their principal chief advised them not to risk a battle, they insisted upon doing so. They were defeated on the Maumee (1794), and were pursued many miles. Then their fields and houses (for these Indians owned real houses) were laid waste and burned, to teach them never to attack the settlers again.
This done, Wayne made the Indian chiefs sign a treaty, whereby they gave up much of the land north of the Ohio, and when they had obeyed, he frightened them by solemnly warning them that if they ever broke it he would rise up out of his grave to fight them. Although Indian troubles were really most severe in the North, they were very bad, too, in the South, and it has been said that no less than fifteen hundred men, women, and children were murdered in Kentucky alone, during this period.