Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Apr 03

The Legend of Frontiersman Simon Kenton Part I

Posted on April 3, 2015 at 10:43 AM by Elise Kelly

Imagine you are transported back to the early years of our country; 1778 to be exact, to Old Chillicothe (which is now Oldtown, located 3 ½ miles north of present-day Xenia.). Old Chillicothe was Shawnee territory.

Dressed as a Native American and making your way through prairie meadows and woodlands, you realize you’re part of Simon Kenton’s scout team. Kenton and his team have been instructed by Colonel John Bowman of the Virginia Militia to locate a Shawnee settlement. Colonel Bowman’s intention is to attack the village. You begin to ask yourself…”Why Me??” “I’m not prepared for this!”
A drive out to Oldtown

Not exactly a meadow but near where
Simon Kenton stole the horses
Luckily, because of Kenton’s superior knowledge of the land, the scouting party discovers the Shawnee village without being noticed. Turning back, traveling northeast from the settlement, you and the team stumble upon a lush meadow where seven horses are peacefully grazing.

Taken in by the beauty of this virgin land, you are suddenly jolted to your senses by Kenton and the others who are preparing to take the horses belonging to the settlement tribe. Charging ahead towards the Ohio River trying to flee the area, you, Simon Kenton and two other members of the scouting team, are attacked by the Shawnee Indians. You and Kenton are captured while Richard Montgomery, a team member, is killed. The other scouting member, George Clark, escapes.
You are terrified, wondering what punishment awaits you at the hands of the Shawnee. Aghast by the scene in front of you, which includes 600 Shawnee men lined up in several rows. All of them are gripping different types of weapons in their hands getting ready to attack. You and Kenton are forced to RUN THE GAUNTLET! Nine times both of you are made to run through the ¼ mile gauntlet. At one point, Kenton’s arm and collarbone are broken.
CC Image courtesy of George Pankewytch via Flickr

 gauntlet stone.jpg  
Stone Marker of Kenton's Gauntlet
    Motel sign.jpg
   Stone marker sits below this highway
   motel sign along Route 68

Miraculously, you both survive, but as a last resort, the Shawnee decide to burn you at the stake! Somehow,
Simon Girty, also known as Katepacomen, comes to your rescue. Girty is a fierce American colonial who serves as a liaison between the British and their Native American allies. Just when you think things are looking up, Kenton and you are sent to Fort Detroit as part of a prisoner trade agreement with the British. You say to yourself, “Well, it sure beats having to dodge switches, axes and clubs from 600 angry Shawnee men!”
girty 2
Simon Girty aka Katepacomen

As a scout for the U.S. Government, Simon Kenton led an exciting but dangerous life. What happened to Kenton after his imprisonment at Fort Detroit? Next week we will explore how this daring frontiersman became penniless and found himself in debt to several people of Greene County.

*Trivia Question: According to legend, what Gorge in Greene County did Simon Kenton leap across?”* (Look for answer in next week’s post).

Until Next Time!

Source: Galloway, William Albert. Old Chillicothe: Shawnee and Pioneer History. Buckeye Press: Xenia, Ohio, 1934. A copy of this book is located here at the archives.


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