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Wyandot landmarks in Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Pre-Removal Wyandot settlement traces in Central Ohio

Some work-related travel took me between St. Clairsville and Findlay last week. I planned out my return route so as to take me past Upper Sandusky, location of a Wyandot settlement from the Revolutionary War period to Removal in 1842.

I am vaguely aware of the importance of the Wyandot in the political and military affairs of the Old Northwest, and that they and the Cherokee were in conflict during the mid-18th century. In truth, they may well be the Iroquoian group about whom I know the least. I find that learning about settlement pattern stuff is the best way for me to begin to get a grip on any group’s social life and history. It’s helpful to me on paper and all the more so up close and personal.

With that in mind, feel free to enjoy the following photos from the couple of hours I spent piddling around Upper Sandusky last Wednesday (06 May 2015).

Tymochtee Creek

The terrain upon which the settlements of Tarhe’s Town, Crane Town, and Upper Sandusky were seated were defined on the east by the Sandusky River and on the west by its tributary Tymochtee Creek.

Tymochtee Creek sign on US 23 East.

A quick lit search for an etymology turned up variations of “stream encircling a prairie.” I PMed Craig Kopris for his thoughts on the etymology. They included the following:

I’d guess tayowahtih as a potential phonemicization.

Hewitt has yĕⁿ-khyo-măˊ-teʼ “small stream.” -kyǫw- is a root for “creek,” though I’m not sure why the k is missing in the placename. It’s not the semireflexive [-t-] because it shows up on simple nouns.

yakyǫwaʔyeh is “on/in/to the creek.” Assuming tayǫwahtih is tayǫwatih instead, it could be “beyond the creek” or “on the other side of the creek.” Cf Tionontati “beyond the hills” and Schenectady “on the other side of the pines.”

The photo below was taken from the point marked with the yellow dot.

Looking SE towards the Sandusky River (defined by the treeline). The mouth of Tymochtee Creek is located 0.5 miles/0.8 kilometers NNE.

Indian Mill Park

The contemporary Indian Mill Park is located near the site of the mill used by the Upper Sandusky Wyandot settlement from 1820 until Removal.

Indian Mill and its spillway on the Sandusky River. The bridge was closed to traffic when this photo was taken on 06 May 2015.

Wyandot Mission Church

In 1816 a young African-American man named John Stewart established a Methodist mission amongst the Wyandot of Upper Sandusky. A mission church was constructed there in the year following his death. The structure was restored in 1889 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Old Mission Church was originally constructed in 1824 and then restored in 1889.

Further reading

Garrad, Charles, William Fox, and Jean-Luc Pilon. Petun to Wyandot: the Ontario Petun from the sixteenth century. Mercury Series.; Archaeology Paper (Canadian Museum of History) 174. [Gatineau, Québec] : Canadian Museum of History ; [Ottawa] : University of Ottawa Press, 2014.

Hewitt, J.N.B. “Huron.” In Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Part 1, edited by Frederick Webb Hodge, 584–91. BAE Bulletin 30. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1907.

Kopris, Craig Alexander. “A grammar and dictionary of Wyandot.” Ph.D. diss., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2001.

Tanner, Helen Hornbeck. “Cherokees in the Ohio Country.” Journal of Cherokee Studies 3, no. 2 (Spring 1978): 94–102.

Tooker, Elisabeth. “Wyandot.” In Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 15: Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger, 398–406 [consolidated volume Bibliography, pp.807–90]. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978.

Walsh, Martin W. “The ‘heathen party’: Methodist observation of the Ohio Wyandot.” American Indian Quarterly 16, no. 2 (Spring 1992): 189–211.

 

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1 Comment

  1. jeff thieken says:

    Kweh! Wendat endi tizameh. hello! i am (of the) wyandot thank you (for this). There are many traces of us here, i grew up south of there, but further south is much more of our history, the scioto river was named after us, columbus ohio was one of our settlements. zanesville is another settlement. there’s a monument where chef leatherlips was killed just north of the columbus zoo near dublin.i do appreciate your article, so nice to see a snap shot of home living so far north now

    Liked by 1 person

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