GREENVILLE — Greenville has been the site of many significant events in American history. Among the most notable of these events is the 1795 Treaty of Greenville.
The treaty, signed between the United States government and various Indian tribes in the region, opened the door to white settlement in the area.
Before the agreement, though, there was a fort built where present-day Greenville now stands.
Saturday, Nov. 21, marks the 222nd anniversary of the construction of Fort Greene Ville in 1793, which was the largest wooden fort ever built in North America.
Gen. Anthony Wayne, called “Mad Anthony,” reportedly due to possessing a hot-blooded temperament, ordered the fort built as American forces sought to engage hostile Indian tribes in what was then the Northwest Territory.
The fort was named after Wayne’s friend and fellow soldier, Revolutionary War hero Gen. Nathanael Greene, a legendary commander in George Washington’s Continental Army, who had died after the war in 1786.
Fort Greene Ville covered approximately 55 acres of land and had 10-foot-high walls. At its peak, it housed 2,000 American soldiers.
Following Wayne’s victory over Indian forces at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, Fort Greene Ville served as the site of the treaty signing. Notable Americans present at the treaty signing included future U.S. President William Henry Harrison and famed explorers William Clark and Meriweather Lewis.
Indian chiefs Little Turtle and Blue Jacket were on hand to sign the treaty. Shawnee warrior Tecumseh was present at the treaty signing, but refused to affix his mark. He would later confront American troops, and die at their hands, at the Battle of the Thames in 1813.
The fort was abandoned by the army in 1796. According to The History of Darke County, Ohio, by W.H. McIntosh and W.H. Beers & Co., the fort was “burned down to obtain nails and other material to be used in the construction of the buildings of the first settlers of Montgomery County, in Dayton or its vicinity.”
The City of Greenville (missing the superfluous “e” from Nathanael Greene’s last name) was founded in 1808. It serves as the county seat of Darke County, created in 1809. As a tribute to its place in American history, Greenville still carries the moniker “The Treaty City.”