Hero of Stony Point - James Barnes

The Government Commissioner and Conclusion

The importance of General Anthony Wayne's services in forcing the decisive battle at the Falls of the Miami, which resulted in the complete subjugation of the Indians of the Northwest, cannot be overestimated. He is entitled to lasting fame and to the enduring gratitude of the millions of prosperous people who now inhabit the fertile lands lying between the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers, as the man who opened this magnificent domain to the home-seeker, and obtained for him the constitutional, and actual, right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on his own lands. By the brilliant success of this victory over the combined tribes, the government gained immeasurably in lands and in power; while it was still more far-reaching in aiding the American ambassador, John Jay, in bringing to a reasonable conclusion the terms of the treaty he was negotiating with the English ministry in regard to their retention of garrisons on American soil. The news of this battle reaching London, it was felt that all hope of further aid from the Indians was at an end, and orders were given for the evacuation of the British forts in American territory. Also, the battle of the Miami put an end to vexations arising from a cherished dream of the Spanish authorities that their dominion in America might some day be recovered. Nor must it be forgotten that in the flush of victory, the factions at the national capital were reconciled for a season, and the stain of recent defeats wiped from American arms.

Anthony Wayne and Indians


On September 14, 1794, after having accomplished his purpose, General Wayne and his army left. Fort Defiance and returned to Greeneville for winter quarters. Preliminary articles were entered into, January 1, 1795, and hostages left with General Wayne for the safe delivery of prisoners in possession of the Indians. Elated at the victory of his commander-in-chief, President Washington forthwith issued a commission, appointing General Wayne sole commissioner, with full powers to negotiate and conclude a treaty with all the Indians north and west of the Ohio, In these negotiations General Wayne displayed the same wisdom and prudence, tempered by humanity, that had made him conspicuous as a military leader. He treated the chiefs and warriors with the greatest courtesy and frankness; explained to them the views of the government, and just what it expected of them, In return for their cession of lands they received $20,000 in goods, which were distributed among the Indians present, while another annuity, amounting to $9,500, was granted to the tribes represented. By this straightforward course he gained their confidence and respect. As a last word, he told them that they were "children and no longer brothers." Definite terms of peace were concluded on August 17, 1795, and the Indians returned to their homes well pleased.

The treaty of Greeneville also met the warm approval of the government, for by its terms a vast tract of territory west of the Ohio and northwest to Detroit was ceded to the United States. The lines enclosing the Indian territory were drawn from Lake Erie along the Cuyahoga River to Portage, hence west to the Maumee, down that river to the lake (Erie) and thence to the place of beginning. Within these lines the claim of the Indians to territory was acknowledged, and beyond them lay the land of the whites. By its favorable terms the treaty of Greeneville had thus procured for the government land to the value of millions, and, what is of more importance, a peace which lasted uninterruptedly for seventeen years.

The treaty concluded, General Wayne, who had lived in the wilderness for three years, practically without news of the outside world, returned to Pennsylvania. His progress was that of a conquering hero. On his approach to Philadelphia all business was suspended, and four miles from the city he was met with three troops of light horse. The newspapers of the day give the following account: "On his crossing the Schuylkill a salute of 15 cannon was fired from Centre Square by a party of artillery. He was ushered into the city by the ringing of bells and other demonstrations of joy, and thousands of citizens crowded to see and welcome the return of their brave general, whom they attended to the City Tavern, where he alighted. In the evening a display of fire-works was exhibited." This was his one great day—when all men acknowledged the worth of his work.

President Washington, in a message to Congress, gratefully acknowledged the exploits of General Wayne and the vast consequences likely to follow them and an attempt was made to have fitting acknowledgments made in the House of Representatives. Again party jealousy deprived the general of his just deserts, and the House adopted the following resolution:

"Resolved Unanimously, that the thanks of this House be given to the brave officers and soldiers of the Legion under the orders of General Wayne for their prudence and bravery."

During the winter of 1796, opposition to the enforcement of Jay's treaty had become so violent that the probable refusal of Congress to make the necessary appropriations for carrying it into effect led to the belief that another war with Great Britain was impending, a war loudly demanded by the "Jingoists" of that day. Since the treaty involved the right of the English to retain their fortifications on our frontier, and by holding that vantage ground on American territory they might again seek the alliance of the Indians and involve the Western lands in warfare, it was of the utmost importance that the articles of the treaty be promptly carried out. On April 30, the memorable debate on this bill was concluded, and by a vote of 51 to 48, the House decided to make the appropriation in question, and orders were sent to the British

These measures had been taken just in time, commanders to evacuate their forts. For news came that the English had been soliciting the aid of the Indians for a new campaign in the Northwest Territory, and at this critical juncture, General Wayne was selected as the one man who could accomplish the delicate and hazardous mission of taking possession of the British strongholds in the name of the United States government. One writer says: "He knew the English on the border, with their allies, the Indians, and they knew him. More-over, the man who had won the territory was the one to whom the honor of receiving it was due."

Under these circumstances, charged with full discretionary powers, General Wayne was sent, in June, 1796, to the British posts at Detroit, Michelimackinack, Oswego, and Niagara. On his approach the Indians at once became friendly; he was received in the most courteous manner by the English officers in command of the garrisons of the different forts; and in no ease did he meet any obstacle in rendering his last great service to his country. He reached Detroit in September, where he was welcomed by demonstrations from the settlers he had saved, and the red men who had been his foe. After remaining for two months at this post, on the seventeenth of November, he sailed from Detroit for Presqu'isle, the site of the present city of Erie, the last station on his itinerary, The day before he landed, he was seized with a violent attack of gout, and was taken ashore in a dying condition.

He was at once removed to the quarters of the commandant of the post, and lay for many days in the most excruciating agony. Surgical skill was unable to reach him, and at last, on December 15, he breathed his last a few weeks before his fifty-second birthday. He was buried, according to his wish, at the foot of the flag-staff on a high hill, called Garrison Hill, north of the site of the present Soldiers' Home. In 1809, Colonel Isaac Wayne caused his illustrious father's remains to be moved and interred in the family burying ground attached to St. David's Church, at Radnor—the same St. David's a writer has thus beautifully described:

"As a place of worship, its location is essentially happy. But not until you are almost upon it, as you approach it is the unobtrusive little sanctuary seen, peeping from among the trees which conceal it from view—thus, as it were, shutting out the world and all those cares and objects not in unison with the feeling of holy meditation . . . There is, however, in the yard, one, at least, whose name fills a conspicuous place in the page of his nation's history—a monument more enduring than brass. The individual alluded to is the late Major-General Anthony Wayne."

In 1876, the empty grave at Erie was discovered, and in 1879, the Legislature of Pennsylvania appropriated $1,500.00 for the erection of a suitable monument on the spot. The committee on erection adopted as a model for the monument which now stands at Erie, the old block-house in which the hero died. The following is the inscription which commemorates his deeds:

A. D. 1745
HE DIED IN 1796,

All of which is true; but the last sentence has caused some confusion to exist as to his final resting-place.

Well might it be written of Anthony Wayne as was written of a great explorer and inscribed on his tombstone,

"He was a man who cherished a task for its bigness and took to it with a fierce joy."