Archaeology slated near Fort Jefferson


GREENVILLE — An archaeological survey is planned to be held at Fort Jefferson sometime after the crops are harvested this fall. The activity will take place on private property located immediately to the south of the Fort Jefferson State Park. The property is currently owned by “The Friends of Fort Jefferson” who are working with the “Wayne’s Legion Research Group” on this endeavor. The time of the project will be announced soon and will hinge of the weather.

The public is welcome to attend and observe this exciting community-oriented activity. In 2016, the Wayne’s Legion Research Group conducted archaeological explorations at this property, with then owner Duane Denniston’s approval. The survey yielded many fascinating artifacts that correlate with fort period activity. The project was held in the farm field but stopped short at an overgrown fencerow that bordered the park property. To enhance the value of the property volunteers from Wayne’s Legion Research Group and Friends of Fort Jefferson recently cleared this area of unwanted trees and brush. The archaeological survey will be held in this 350-foot by 20-foot fence row area as soon as the buried roots and debris are removed. All artifacts will be curated and logged by Wayne’s Legion Research Group and ownership retained by the current property owners “Friends of Fort Jefferson.”

This will be the third metal detection survey held in the area by Wayne’s Legion Research Group. A survey on private property north of the Fort area resulted in finding a Charleville musket firing range and the blast pattern of iron case shot fired from the north-west fort bastion by an iron 6-pound cannon. First-hand accounts from officers at the fort were later discovered which fit nicely with the stories of these two features. The results of these projects have been published in 1) Ohio Archaeologist magazine Vol. 71- No 4, 2) American Digger magazine Vol.14- iss.4, and 3) American Digger mag. Vol.18 iss-1.

Fort Jefferson was built in October 1791 by the U.S. Army under the command of Major General Arthur St. Clair. It was one of a chain of forts planned to be constructed up to an area where present Fort Wayne Indiana is today. A few days after marching north from Fort Jefferson, St. Clair’s Army of 1400 men was defeated by a confederation of Native tribes led by Chief Little Turtle. Historians have stated it is the worst defeat ever suffered by the United States Army. For the next two years Fort Jefferson held on as the furthest advanced military post in the North-West Territory. Anthony Wayne’s Legion relieved Fort Jefferson when he built Greene Ville in Oct 1793. Fort Jefferson continued to be used as support for Greene Ville until the military established a new water route to supply forts to the north.

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