By Alan King
The village of Oldtown, the home of Xenia Township’s offices, is located on the site of one of the principal villages of the Shawnee which the first settlers called Old Chillicothe. In 1768, one of the most famous Shawnee chiefs, Tecumseh, was born “three arrow flights” southeast of the village near what is now Tecumseh Elementary School.
Tecumseh befriended early Xenia area settler James Galloway and his family and they taught him to read and write. He visited the Galloways many times and often discussed his belief that the land should belong to everyone. “Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth?” he wrote. In the end, he saw that the treaties with the settlers were constantly broken and his people’s traditional lands were being lost. He believed that by uniting the tribes, his people would be able to deal with the flood of settlers from a position of strength.
Between 1808 and 1812 Tecumseh led the last great effort of all the eastern tribes to defend their territory. His effort was unsuccessful, but as a great man and a great leader, his story should be told. There are historical signs in Oldtown marking the location of Old Chillicothe and one nearby on US 68 marking the gantlet which the famed woodsman, Simon Kenton was forced to run during his captivity by the Shawnee. The Galloway cabin has been preserved by the Greene Co. Historical Society, but there are no local memorials or historic sites dedicated to Tecumseh and the Shawnee.
A rich and diverse Native American population existed in this area for many centuries before the arrival of the white settlers. Creating a historically accurate Old Chillicothe site would be a project that could attract tourism to our area and help create jobs as well as providing an educational resource for Xenia area students and residents. As Xenia Township Trustee, I will work to bring to life this important but neglected era of our area’s history.
Alan D. King, MST
Candidate for Xenia Township Trustee