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Nature's Corner program #136 — BATS!

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Cultural History of Caesar Creek: An Overview

The cultural history of Caesar Creek can be roughly divided into four periods: Pre-European Native American, early settlements, farming communities, and finally the presence of the flood control lake which continues today.

The earliest residents were the Mound Builders, some two or three thousand years ago. We know them from their artifacts and of course, their mounds. Within the Mound Builders are two groups, the Adena and the Hopewell who had distinctly different cultures.

Eventually the mound building cultures disappeared and were replaced by the Erie Nation, who were themselves extirpated by the Iroquois in 1655. The area was almost completely uninhabited until the late 1700s.

Whites began settling the area in the early 1800s, arriving from South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other parts of Ohio. Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) were an important part of the new arrivals and organized thrifty, prosperous communities.

In 1928, a year after disastrous Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers investigated the Little Miami River Basin for possible flood control improvements and determined that such a project would be impractical. After the catastrophic Ohio River Flood of 1937, the project was revisited, revised, and submitted to the presidential Committee on Flood Control. Congress authorized construction that same year but did not provide funding.

In 1962, partly as a result of the destructive 1959 Ohio Statewide Flood, the project was again revisited and this time, it was deemed practical. Funding was made available and construction began in 1971 and was completed in 1978. The lake area is 2,830 acres and the Park area, including the lake, is 7,941 acres.

Who was Caesar?

There are several narratives about Caesar. It seems to be unquestioned that there was a well-known black man in the area around 1800. Here are some versions of how Caesar Creek got its current name. These are quotes from original sources.

  1. "Caesar's creek, flowing across the extreme northwest corner [of Clinton County], named for a faovorite [sic] servant of some of the early surveyors, who died and was buried on its banks" [1]

  2. "Caesars Creek is said to have been named for a faithful colored slave who was buried on its banks." [2]

  3. "The Revolutionary War started in 1775 as Virginia and England's other twelve American colonies began their attempt to overthrow British rule. In 1777, the beloved Shawnee chief Cornstalk was slain while on a mission of peace to Fort Randolph, an American stockade built on the site of a former British fort in West Virginia. The murder enraged the Shawnee, who then revenged the chief's death by killing and capturing parties of settlers moving into the Indians' Kentucky hunting territory. Among the captives was a black slave named Caesar, a man who the Shawnee adopted and provided with a hunting ground on the stream that became known as Caesar Creek (this being one of many explanations of the stream's name)." [3]

  4. "The Native American version of the Caesar's Creek story that has been shared with me is that Black Caesar, who was a run away slave, joined the Shawnee Nation, (before they were forcibly removed from Ohio and relocated to Oklahoma) and had been adopted into their tribe. He had become a Shawnee warrior and had fought along side the Shawnee in their conflicts and had been given that portion of the lake by their tribal chief for his faithfulness and valor. He had a family and lived among the Shawnee people during that period of history. A friend of mine is going to call the Shawnee historian in Oklahoma to see if there is anything in their records that documents "Black Caesar" and his allotted land in the Shawnee Nation." "I will report what I find out." -- WT [4]

  5. Thanks go to Volunteers JT and WT.

New Burlington, Ohio

first school opened 1833, post office 1839; population in 1881 was 400; page 28 EIS

Wellman, Ohio and Henpeck, Ohio

From Wikipedia: "Variant names were 'Henpeck', 'Hen Peck', and 'Wells'. A post office called Henpeck was established in 1890, the name was changed to Wellman in 1894, and the post office closed in 1901."

References

1. ^ History of Clinton County, Ohio: Its People, Industries, and Institutions; Brown, Albert J. (1915) page 51

2. ^ Warren County Genealogical Society Warren County, Ohio Place Names

3. ^ Little Miami Wild & Scenic River Ecology & History

4. ^ personal communication, 2020

Other Wikipedia Resources


Last updated Thursday, 22-Oct-2020 14:29:31 UTC