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by Carlyle Hinshaw

William A. Galloway’s book, Old Chillicothe: Shawnee and pioneer history; conflicts and romances in the Northwest territory, is an oft quoted, often relied upon reference used by contemporary authors and researchers. It contains a short section on Blue Jacket, the last principal war chief of the Shawnee Tribe. A surprising amount of the material is in error and is here pointed out at the end of paragraphs needing attention. The Galloway work is interesting, historically enlightening, and above all, entertaining.

Oklahoma University Online Catalog

977.1821 G13o

Personal Author: Galloway, William Albert, 1860-1931.

Title: Old Chillicothe; Shawnee and pioneer history; conflicts and romances in the Northwest territory, by William Albert Galloway.

Publication info: Xenia, O., The Buckeye Press, 1934.

Physical descrip: xiii p., 1 ., 336 p. front., plates (1 fold.) ports., map, facsim. 24 cm.

LCCN: 35001539


Old Chillicothe


Blue Jacket—Marmaduke Van Sweringen

This famous Shawnee Chief was in command of the allied forces which signally defeated General St. Clair in 1791. He was second in command to the great Miami chief, Little Turtle, at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, 1794, the last stand of his nation in the Northwestern Territory. The story of his capture by the Shawnees, his adoption by them, and his subsequent rapid rise to the position of war-chief is quoted from the narrative of his kinsman, Thomas J. Larsh. Larsh was a grandson of Marmaduke Van Sweringen’s sister, Sarah. The ultimate details of this history of Chief Blue Jacket and his descendants were obtained from Rev. Charles Blue Jacket’s daughter, Mrs. Sally Gore. Quite naturally, the story bears evidence of the pride of Larsh in the culture of his Indian kinspeople, a feature brought out in his paragraph description of Rev. Charles Blue Jacket. This story is followed by another story of the chief, touching quite a different angle of his life. It occurred, in part, at

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the home of James Galloway, Sr., after this doughty warrior had attended his nation’s final treaty of peace at Greenville, and had buried his tomahawk for all time.

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Miami leader, Little Turtle, elected not to join in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Blue Jacket insisted on forging ahead with his troops, got whipped and retired to the farm, effectively ending organized Indian conflict east of the Mississippi, despite the efforts of Tecumseh. The article about Marmaduke Van Swearingen was published in the Daily Ohio Journal of February 15, 1877. It contains no references showingthat Marmaduke was captured by Shawnees, or that Larsh had any Shawnee kinspeople. The fictitious account was repeated in 1884, in H. H. Swearingen’s Family Historical Register. Larsh’s material provided by Sally (Bluejacket) Gore was reprinted in the 1907-1908 annals of the Kansas Historical Society, under girding the false tale for the next one hundred years. It is being used today as the basis for new books as documented by the publishing of The Legend of Blue Jacket, a biography of him for juveniles, written by Michael P. Spradlin and published by Harper Collins in October of 2002.

Old Chillicothe

Beginning at this point in Galloway’s article about Blue Jacket, the text is an excerpt from Thomas Jefferson Larsh’s 1877 article in the Daily Ohio Journal.

His name was Marmaduke Van Sweringen. I cannot now recall the given name of his father or the place of his nativity, except that it was in western Virginia. He had brothers, John, Vance, Thomas, Joseph, Steel and Charles, and one sister, Sarah, and perhaps more. Marmaduke was captured by the Shawnee Indians when out with a younger brother on a hunting expedition, some time during the Revolutionary War. He was about seventeen years of age when taken, and was a stout, healthy, well delevoped, active youth, and became a model of manly activity, strength and symmetry when of full age. He and a younger brother were together when captured, and he agreed to go with his captors and become naturalized among them, provided they would allow his brother to return home in safety. This proposal was agreed to by his captors, and carried out in good faith by both parties. When captured, Marmaduke, or Duke, as he was familiarly called, was dressed in a blue linsey blouse, or hunting-shirt, from which garment he took his Indian name of Blue Jacket.

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Marmaduke, or Duke, was born near Hagerstown Maryland on January 2, 1763 as documented by a Swearingen family bible, which, two years ago, was in the possession of Thomas Swearingen, of Uniondale, Indiana. A copy of Marmaduke’s birth is on file at the Ross County Historical Society in Chillicothe, Ohio. Father John Swearingen moved the family from Maryland to what is now Fayette County, Pennsylvania in 1770 and John died there in 1784. His will was probated on September 6 of that year, leaving to son Marmaduke, the use of John’s slave, Herry, for one year, after which, Herry reverted to mother Catherine (Stull) Swearingen. This from Whyte, Karel L., 1997, SWEARINGEN/VAN SWEARINGEN and RELATED FAMILIES, LCCN: 97191585, and Van Trees, Robert V., 2002, 3rd ed.,

rev., Banks of the Wabash. The Ohio Company began trading along the Ohio River in 1752 and recorded transactions that year and in 1753 with Blue Jacket and his compadre, Silver Heels, when both were young hunters. The latter from Bailey, Kenneth P., 1947, THE OHIO COMPANY PAPERS, 1753-1817. The blue linsey blouse has to be relegated to a figment of the farce.

During his boyhood, he had formed a strong desire for the free savage life as exemplified in the habits and customs of the wild American Indian, and frequently had expressed his determination that when he attained manhood, he would take up his abode with some Indian tribe.

I am not able to fix the exact date of this transaction, except by approximating it by reference to other events, it is traditionally understood that Marmaduke was taken by the Indians about three years before the marriage of his sister, Sarah, who was the grandmother of the writer of this article, and who was married in the year 1781. Although we have no positive information of the fact, traditional or otherwise, yet it is believed that the band or tribe with which Blue Jacket took up his residence lived at that time on the Scioto River, somewhere between Chillicothe and Circleville.

With Larsh placing the date of Marmaduke’s capture as 1779 (1781-3=1779) the seventeen year old’s birth date becomes 1762, close to the Swearingen bible recorded date. In the winter of 1772-1773, Rev. David Jones visited Shawnee Scioto villages, appearing at Blue Jacket’s Town. He described it as a peaceful village comprised by 12 log houses. Jones’ 1774, A Journal of Two Visits made to some

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Nations of Indians, was reprinted by Arno Press in 1974. Blue Jacket’s Town was located by Jones as being on Deer Creek, which empties into the Scioto River several miles to the east of that village. Nearly all Shawnees had moved northwest to the Great Miami River drainage, with Blue Jacket moving his town to its Mad River tributary at what now is Bellefontaine OH, in 1777.

After arriving at his new adopted home, Marmaduke, or Blue Jacket, entered with such alacrity and cheerfulness into all the habits, sports, and labors of his associates, that he soon became very popular among them. So much was this the case that before he was twenty-five years of age, he was chosen chief of his tribe, and as such, took part in all the councils and campaigns of his Old Chillicothe time. He took a wife of the Shawnees, and reared several children, but only one son. This son was called Jim Blue Jacket, and he was a rather dissipated, wild and reckless fellow, who was quite

p 299

Old Chillicothe

well known on the upper Miami River during and after the War of 1812. He left a family of several children, sons and daughters, who are now living in Kansas, with one of whom, Charles Blue Jacket, the writer of this, has long kept up a correspondence.

Blue Jacket became the principal war chief in about 1787 at an age of about 47. Historians Helen Hornbeck Tanner and Bil Gilbert both treat the practice that Shawnee chiefs of stature never gained the position of top gun when young. Blue Jacket’s first son by his Shawnee/French Canadian wife, a daughter of Dupéron Baby, was James, 1765. The son of James was James, called Jim, and a number of authors made this error. Ms Baby also yielded Mary Bluejacket, 1775, Sally Bluejacket, 1778 and George Bluejacket, 1781. Two other of her sons, although somewhat obscure, were killed, one in 1792 and another in 1813. Blue Jacket had a previous captive white wife, Margaret Moore, who gave him a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Nancy. The statement that Blue Jacket had only one son is negated and it explains why some Bluejackets, until recently, mistakenly believed that they descended from James.

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I first saw Charles at the time the Shawnee nation was removed from Ohio to Kansas under the conduct of the national government in 1832. He is a well-educated and intelligent gentleman, and in all respects,—feature, voice, contour and movement—except as to his darker color, is an exact facsimile of the Van Sweringens.

Charles was born in 1817 and left Ohio at age 16 in 1833. His younger brother, John Bluejacket aged 9, born in 1816, and his sister Betsy Bluejacket, aged 19, attended the Quaker Missionary School on the Miami as shown on its List of Students of 1825. Charles likely started there but his critical education came from mission schools in Kansas.

Charles Blue Jacket has been a visitor at my home in Ohio, not above eleven years ago, and exhibits all the attributes of a well-bred, polished, self possessed gentleman.37

Blue Jacket died in 1808 in what is now Wyandotte MI. Charles was born on the south bank of the Huron River, several miles south of his grandfathers cabin. He had to receive tales about his grandfather from his father and other relatives. Footnote 37 is the 1877 transactions of the Kansas Historical Society, published the same year as Larsh’s article in the Daily Ohio State Journal. Eleven years before that would have been 1866, the year after the now Rev. Charles Bluejacket had finished his four-year term as Shawnee Tribe Chief. He had been ordained as a Methodist minister in1859.

At this point, the text reverts back to the writing of William A. Galloway.

Chief Blue Jacket was the guest, for several weeks in 1800, of James Galloway, Sr., at his home near Old Chillicothe. He was accompanied by several other Indians. Interest was attached to the visit, because of its unusual character, and also from the fact that later, descendants of Chief Blue Jacket’s Virginia family, the Van Sweringens, and those of James Galloway, Sr., became related by marriage. Blue Jacket’s lineage was known by his host, and for the time being, during his stay, much of his acquired Indian traits were dropped and in their place, some of his family’s notable characteristics became apparent. He was an agreeable guest, and considerate at all times of the pioneer hospitality he enjoyed.

Dr. Dan Krane of Wright State University found in 2000, that the DNA

page 6

of the Bluejacket and Swearingen male descendants are totally unrelated. Bluejacket samples all show presence of native American type chromosomes and the Swearingen’s lack them.

The mythical silver mines of the Shawnee Indians, as then described, were located in Greene County not far from Old Chillicothe. Stories of their existence have been handed down, as told by both reliable and unreliable white men held captive. These prisoners were marched, always blindfolded, for what seemed a few hours, along the course of Massie’s Creek, east from the village, where they waited under guard until laden with heavy sacks of what they believed to be silver-bearing ore, which they were compelled to bear back to Old Chillicothe. Various attempts to slip their blindfolds enough to see something of the location

37 Kansas State Hist. Soc. Transactions, 1877.

p 300


were, in a few instances, successful to a degree. The story, with a map of two of the "mine" locations, is well described by Professor Roy S. King, of the University of Arizona, in an interesting narrative, "Silver Mines of Ohio Indians."38 For many years after their removal to the Auglaize Reservation, small parties of Indians returned every summer to Greene County, and stopped for a few days’ camp in the glen at Yellow Springs, now part of the campus of Antioch College; then passed on to the location given in Professor King’s narrative, and thence to well-marked locations noted by pioneers, where excavations had been made before their time at Caesar’s Creek, southeast of Xenia. Early explorations of two excavations in the glen at Yellow Springs showed vertical shafts with evidences of timbering in one of them. Evidence of excavation at one site is still apparent. The writer does not believe that the outcropping Clinton limestone, forming this glen, is ore-bearing. Nevertheless, while a student at Antioch College, he uncovered, by blasting near the falls on the east fork of Yellow Springs Creek, which runs through these grounds, a half-inch vein, from specimens of which a small "bead" of silver was found in the residue by a competent assayer at Cincinnati. There were traditions of mythical silver mines, also, in Kentucky. It was the locating of one of these mines on Red River in Kentucky that brought Blue Jacket and his party to the home of James Galloway, Sr., in 1800. The story of his visit was given to Benjamin Drake by Major James Galloway, Jr., deputy surveyor of Virginia military lands, a banker and large land owner and a well-known writer of that period, under the pseudonym of "Pioneer, Jr." Drake quotes the story here given, in his Life of Tecumseh:

In the spring of 1800, Blue Jacket and another chief whose name I have forgotten, boarded for several weeks at my father’s, in Greene County, at the expense

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of a company of Kentuckians, who engaged Blue Jacket, for a valuable consideration, to show them a great silver mine, which tradition said was known to the Indians as existing on Red River, one of the head branches of the Kentucky. A Mr.

38Ohio Arch. and Hist. Quarterly, 26:114-116.

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Jonathan Flack, agent of this company, had previously spent several months among the Shawanoes, at their towns and hunting-camps, in order to induce this chief, to show this great treasure. At the time agreed on, ten or twelve of the company came from Kentucky to meet Blue Jacket at my father’s, where a day or two was spent in settling the terms upon which he would accompany them; the crafty chief taking his own time to deliberate on the offers made him, and rising in his demands in proportion to their growing eagerness to possess the knowledge which was to bring untold wealth to all the company. At length the bargain was made; horses, goods and money were given as presents, and the two chiefs with their squaws were escorted in triumph to Kentucky, where they were feasted and caressed in the most flattering manner, and all their wants anticipated and liberally supplied. In due time and with all possible secrecy, they visited the region where this great mine was said to be emboweled in the earth. Here the wily Shawanoe spent some time in seclusion, in order to humble himself by fastings, purifications and pow-wowings with a iew to propitiate the Great Spirit; and to get his permission to disclose the grand secret of the mine. An equivocal answer was all the response that was given to him in his dreams; and, after many days of fruitless toil and careful search, the mine, the great object so devoutly sought and wished for, could not be found. The cunning Blue Jacket, however, extricated himself with much address from the anticipated vengeance of the disappointed worshippers of Plutus, by charging his want of success to his eyes, which were dimmed by reason of his old age; and by promising, on his return home, to send his son whose eyes were young and good, and who knew the desired spot and would show it. The son, however, never visited the scene of his father’s failure; and thus ended the adventures of the celebrated mining company of Kentucky.39

Being a geologist that worked in Ohio and Kentucky for three years in the early ‘60’s, your assayer of words can forward that bedrock of Kentucky and Ohio are sedimentary in nature, not generally

conducive to precious metal mining. The western half of Ohio is covered by glacial drift, deposits scraped off the Canadian Shield to the north by Pleistocene glaciation. This debris has minerals of all sorts.

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Historians of his period and officers in command of the forces that eventually conquered the Shawnees and determined their final status at the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, speak in respectful words of Blue Jacket’s ability and reliability whenever he committed himself or his nation. Such qualities were characteristic of his progenitors, and also of his descendants. Blue Jacket’s failure to locate the

39Drake, Benj. Op. Cit., 40-41.

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mythical Kentucky silver mines is the only story of record where he failed to fulfill his agreement. There are phases of Indian psychology the white man has never been able to interpret. The reader is referred to the story of Wi1liam Smalley, and the paragraph which describes the Indian’s reaction to the remodeling of "White Warrior’s" former home.40 A possible explanation of Blue Jacket’s mental complex in the final days when he failed to complete his agreement, may be found there. The white man has never been able to understand the concepts of the red man. His prescience remains his own, as do other features of his endowment which have escaped us. The Indian at Old Chillicothe located and obtained ore by some process, said by white prisoners to be from nearby mines. He never revealed their location or his process of securing whatever was contained in them. All that is known of either has been related by Professor King and the writer. When boys, we played about the mystic location of the two round, stone-filled holes he describes. They are near the foot of "the devil’s back-bone," a quite high ridge, with a declivity down to the bank of Massie’s Creek not far from the old King Mill site. The legend of the lost silver mine was one with the legend of Sleepy Hollow to our boyhood imagination. It has faded under the shadows of modern material tumult until now it has all but taken its flight from the realms of gripping traditional stories.

40 See page 237

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Galloway’s book, I hope, is not a total failure as was it’s Blue Jacket section. Your word assayer here did not treat the Silver Mines part, excepting the note regarding the geological setting of those tales.

The life of Blue Jacket has been so distorted by Thomas Jefferson Larsh’s article, that removing it from the realm of factual history remains a futile endeavour. Larsh’s meeting with the Rev. Charles Bluejacket in about 1866 likely was the catalyst for the penning of

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Larsh’s 1877 article, but not his penchant for doing everything possible to lay groundwork for injecting Indian blood into the Swearingen family. Robert V. Van Trees stated in Karel L. Whyte’s, It’s Fiction not Fact article in the Bluejacket Shawnee website:

P&P.htm , "Larsh (1809-1883), was enamored with the Indian's way of life and he named three of his sons White Cloud, Black Hawk, and Blue Jacket--the latter died in a prisoner's camp during the Civil War."

12/5/2002, 1713 Baron Dr, Nornan OK 73071

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