Crooked Deals and Broken Treaties: How American Indians were Displaced by White Settlers in the Cuyahoga Valley

Crooked Deals and Broken Treaties: How American Indians were Displaced by White Settlers in the Cuyahoga Valley

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1583675663

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Long before the smokestacks and factories of industrial Akron rose from Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley, the region was a place of tense confrontation. Beginning in the early 19th-century, white settlers began pushing in from the east, lured by the promise of cheap (or free) land. They inevitably came into conflict with the current inhabitants, American Indians who had thrived in the valley for generations or had already been displaced by settlement along the eastern seaboard. Here, on what was once the western fringe of the United States, the story of the country’s founding and development played out in all its ignominy and drama, as American Indians lost their land, and often their lives, while white settlers expanded a nation.

Historian and novelist John Tully draws on contemporary accounts and a wealth of studies to produce this elegiac history of the Cuyahoga Valley. He pays special attention to how settlers’ notions of private property—and the impulse to own and develop the land—clashed with more collective social organizations of American Indians. He also documents the ecological cost of settlement, long before heavy industry laid waste to the region. Crooked Deals and Broken Treatiesis an impassioned accounting of the cost of “progress,” and an insistent reminder of the barbarism and deceit that fueled the rise of the United States.

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Further strikes erupted in 1827 when the contractors cut pay, and while this forced the canal commissioners to guarantee minimum rates, the gang bosses continued to cheat on wages. The exorbitant prices charged in company stores were a perennial source of discontent.79 Clouds of mosquitoes maddened the diggers during the warmer months and hundreds died of malarial-type illnesses or “swamp fever,” which appears to have been cholera and/or typhoid.80 Others died of smallpox.81 Beasts of burden

followed, the Indians distrusted the British and the American forces in equal measure; the Delawares joked that the British and Americans were like a pair of scissors—they only cut that which comes between them, i.e., the Indians.287 Generations of American schoolchildren and admirers of liberty around the world know the ringing lines of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence by heart: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are

(Charlottesville, VA: Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia, 1993), not paginated. 61.Griffiths, Two Years’ Residence, 75. 62.Ibid., 53. 63.John Chester Miller, The First Frontier: Life in Colonial America (New York: University Press of America, 1986), 108. 64.Simons, The American Farmer, 19. 65.Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Macmillan, 2004). 66.Richfield Historical Society, An Outline History of Richfield Township

301.Fetzer, A Centennial History of Akron, 11–12; Randall, “Ohio in Early History,” 423. 302.Fetzer; Randall says 1796 (424). 303.Moses Cleaveland Papers, 1754–1806, cited in Wheeler, “Moses Cleaveland on the First Expedition into the Reserve,” 1796, 55. 304.Reginald Horsman, “American Indian Policy in the Old Northwest, 1783–1812,” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 18, No.1 (January 1961): 35. 305.Horsman, “American Indian Policy,” 37–38. 306.Don Stroud, “When Indians

the Cuyahoga by this time, including a shipyard at Old Portage, just north of Akron. The shipyard stimulated local industry, including a dam and sawmill owned by the Wetmore family and partners.25 In 1810, a road was cut from Tallmadge that connected Middlebury with the settlements of Hudson, Stow, Franklin Mills, and Warren. This also proved a great stimulus to local industrial development. By 1815, Middlebury boasted a nail factory, lumber and grain mills, hotels, and a number of stores. The

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