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‘Shemanese’ #3
Blue Jacket: War Chief of the Shawnees by Allen W. Eckert: Reviewed in Portland, 3/10/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
Saturday, April 30, 1785
Thanks, in part to the fact that Indians like Blue Jacket and Tecumseh, could simply put on American style clothing, walk into an enemy camp, and gain intelligence by reading posted orders, the next invasion of Ohio by George Rodgers Clark, simply burned empty towns. In name Black Snake was war chief, but Blue Jacket was filling that role as another of his warrior mentors aged.
The descent of the Ohio [Iroquois for Good-river] was being taken by tens of thousands of American invaders. Blue Jacket led the resistance. He was 31, six feet tall and strong. The “boldest of the bold,” Blue Jacket was promoted to War Chief.
Tuesday, January 3, 1786
Signing a treaty at a new fort that the American commander and officers told the Shawnee, was being erected to protect them from American citizens, the fluent English speaking war chief signed the false treaty with a double signature:
“Weh-yah-pih-ehr-sehn-wah (Chief Blue Jacket)”
Yep, that Enjun used parentheses.
After this open deceit, this bald-faced lie, Blue Jacket developed a more bitter hatred for “the whites,” an indication, perhaps, that “white” was not really a racial term, but a slave brand.
Sunday, April 9, 1786
The fort where Blue jacket signed the treaty was flooded by the Great Miami River. This saved the lives of the evacuating garrison as Blue Jacket and 500 warriors were then coming to wipe them out. The problem was, the Shawnee had but a single battalion of men to hold Ohio against a 3 million person nation state.
Tuesday, October 31, 1786
Clark invades Shawnee territory again even as a new Indian confederation led by Turtle of the Miamis, who was known not to have been of full Miami blood, though there is no record of what race his non-Miami parent might have been. The confederacy made peace with Clark, while his subordinate Logan attacked the undefended Shawnee towns. 13 Shawnee towns had been burned and many squaws slain, others taken captive with children, while the men were linking up with the Miamis.
John May, an invader from Pennsylvania, was captured by Blue Jacket, who spared him for looking so much like his birth father, the man who had named him Marmaduke Van Swearingen.
Saturday, March 10, 1787
While negotiating a hostage exchange, Blue Jacket was accompanied by such chiefs as Captain Billy, Black Beard and Captain Wolf. A white mother was brought to identify her daughter, and was able to, based on a scar. The daughter screamed for her Indian mother as she was forced to return to “white” society. Of course, the Americans tried to murder and steal after the parlay.
Thursday, April 24, 1788
Blue Jacket was recovering from a wound suffered some months ago, when he was shot from a Kentucky boat from a half a mile away as he stood over-watching the Ohio on Hanging Rock. While raiding Kentucky with two men, he was wounded and captured and tied to a post. He managed to get free in heroic Hollywood fashion and make it back to his people. The Shawnee were now clearly the hunter become the hunted.
Saturday, October 30, 1790
The British in Detroit were still buying American scalps. At the junction of Saint Joseph and Saint Mary rivers, Blue Jacket and Turtle and their warriors wiped out the small army of General Harmar.
Wednesday, March 23, 1791
Tecumseh, who had been away south with his brother Chiksika helping the Cherokee with their war against what Eckert calls “the whites,” returns with news that Chiksika was slain. Ironically, no tribe was more European than the Cherokee, with heavy Scottish, Anglo and German patrimony.
Blue Jacket was holding frail David Thomas and bearded Peter Devine captive on the Ohio river, using them to lure invaders over to shore. By this date, it was well known that people on the Ohio shore wearing American clothes and speaking English were very likely Indians in disguise. If all Indians except Blue Jacket looked Asiatic, how was this possible?
Devine and Thomas will be killed if they do not lure in the armed invaders to be ambushed. What follows is a comedic parlay as Devine and Thomas, recently captured “whites” must answer current event questions posited by the suspicious invaders. This account reminds me of American uses of the knowledge of baseball teams being used to detect German spies in WWII European theaters. If there were a distinct racial difference in the Shawnees and the Americans, this would not have been necessary. The party is slaughtered, and May, the man who looked so much like Blue Jacket’s father, was slain among them.
Interestingly, the Shawnee kept their word to their human bait and did not murder them as Americans would have, when their use was at an end. At the very least, by this date, Blue Jacket has scalped 18 enemy, probably twice that number.
Friday, November 4, 1791
The greatest military disaster in all of American history, the slaughter of Saint Clair’s army, began the night before with the desertion of 300 men. These men had been abducted and forced to serve. Afraid that these men would loot the supply train, Saint Clair had to detail his best regiment to pursue the runaways.
Blue Jacket killed 15 men in this battle, including his beloved [1] little brother Charley, which seemed to have broke his heart. Full-blooded European chiefs, like Simon Girty were there. Casualties were:
66 tribesmen.
USG losses
of 52 officers, 39 killed, 7 wounded
of 868 soldiers, 593 killed, 257 wounded
of 255 whores, presumably rounded up from the same whore houses emptied to fill the ranks of the army with “militia” men, 220 were killed and the other 25 all wounded.
Saturday, December 31, 1791
Blue Jacket mourns the killing of his brother Charley, who had wounded him with a bayonet thrust before the tomahawk sunk into his guts, by taking his blond scalp to Hanging Rock and burning it piece by piece.
Friday, August 7, 1795
Acting on intelligence provided by a white Indian named harry May, who would alter be slain for his treachery, General Anthony Wayne and his officers, offering not a word of credit for the soldiers, defeated the tribes under Blue Jacket at fallen Timbers. This defeat had been predicted by the pet deer of British Indian agent McKee goring him to death while the agent pulled on his moccasins.
August 3, 1795
At the Treaty of Greenville, General Wayne, realizing that his most dangerous enemies were the British and the American people, gave a friendly address to the tribal leaders that ended with a plea for solidarity between the government he represented and the tribes, “...that your children may learn to cultivate the earth and enjoy the fruits of peace and industry.”
Tuesday, June 26, 1810
At 56 years of age, Blue Jacket died of a civilized disease, cholera, dying as James Bowie’s family would in Texas and hundreds of thousands of Londoners would in the early 1800s, from an affliction caused by sewage getting into drinking water in crowded sedentary living conditions.
One can find a photo of his grandson, Charles Blue Jacket, born a few years later, online.
-1. As a warrior Blue Jacket had over 30 kills, 33 by this count, similar to Nathan Bedford Forest and his own contemporary, Lewis Wetzel.
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