DARKE COUNTY — Tales of heroism, murder, and fortifications may sound like a fictional story, but for one author, they tell the truth about an Ohio largely unnoticed.
Bob Hunter wrote Road to Wapatomica, A Modern Search for the Old Northwest during his search for the Old Northwest. His writing style opens the reader’s eyes to the world around them, making them pause and think about how the place they know and paths they have taken are all connected to a deeper, historical meaning.
“When I set out to find the Old Northwest in today’s Midwest much of it was hiding in plain sight,” Hunter wrote.
Interstates were once historical trails and rivers were once roadways for the Indians who once inhabited this area. Now they are being used recreationally, not acknowledged, or are tucked away and forgotten. The Wabash Trail was the route used by Gens. Arthur St. Clair and Anthony Wayne in their 1791 and 1794 campaigns against the Indians.
“The trail crossed the Great Miami River here, crossed Four Mile Creek and then joined U.S. 127 in New Miami,” Hunter wrote. “It tracks on 127 through Eaton to a point about seven miles south of Greenville.”
Ohio and its small towns like Greenville, Fort Recovery, Fort Loramie all have a large Native American Heritage. Ohio Elementary schools tend to teach children of the Indians and the battles they fought, but it isn’t until they are older they realize the history book is based on the dirt in their own backyards.
“If you know the story of the massacre, it’s difficult to drive the final part of this peaceful route (Ohio 49) without thinking of the frantic survivors,” Hunter wrote. “Some of whom ran much of 52 miles back to safety of Fort St. Clair in a desperate attempt to stay alive.”
Hunter spent years charting, tracking, and experiencing the Old Northwest in order to bring a humorous perspective to his readers by separating legend from fact.
“Forts, trails, trading posts, Native American villages, battlefields, gravesites, and landmarks are all on his radar, as are places where acts of heroism, murder, butchery and massacre took place,” is stated on the back of the book. Readers will be able to use Road to Wapatomica as a historical guide to expand their minds or use it as a guide to exploration on their own.
Road to Wapatomica has 50 illustrations, including numerous maps and photos. Its 59 chapters focus on sites all over the modern Midwest in an engaging, humorous easy-to-read style. Among the many locations touched upon in the book include Fort Jefferson, Fort St. Clair, Fort Recovery, and Fort Greeneville.
Road to Wapatomica can be purchased online at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
About the Author
Bob Hunter is the author of eleven books including Players, Teams and Stadium Ghosts, Bob Hunter on Sports, a collection of some of his past columns from the Columbus Dispatch. Among his recent books are Thurberville, which examines James Thurber’s relationship with his hometown of Columbus; A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus, Finding the Past in the Present in Ohio’s Capital City; Saint Woody, The History and Fanaticism of Ohio State Football; and Chic, a biography of OSU star Chic Harley.
Hunter served as sports columnist for the last 24 years of his more than 40 at the Dispatch. He is a native of Hamilton, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio University. He has been a member of the board of trustees of the Columbus Historical Society since 2011. He and his wife Margie live in Westerville, Ohio. They have three grown children.