OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS

 

The First White Child in Ohio
by the Late A. T. Goodman - 1871

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     The earliest known occupation of the territory now embraced within the limits of the State of Ohio, by any collective body of white men, was by the French in 1680.  From that time until the conquest of Canada by the English, French traders were scattered throughout the territory, having a post, station or "store" at almost every Indian town.
     English traders first made their appearance in the Ohio country in 1699 - 1700.  From that time until 1745, we frequently hear of them at various towns and stations.  In 1745 they built a small fort or block house among the Hurons on the north side of Sandusky bay.  In 1748 they were driven off by a party of French soldiers from Detroit.  Prior to 1763 the English in Ohio were very few in comparison to the French.  Up to the period of the American revolution thousands of French and English traders had passed into the Ohio country.  It is impossible to determine how many lived there at any one time.  At some villages there was but one or two traders, at others ten, twenty, and sometimes as many as fifty.  For the most part the traders were married to squaws and had children by them.  In rare cases, white women accompanied their husbands on trading excursions, which generally lasted for months.  This was because the savages preferred to trade and barter with those connected with their people by marriage.  We have heard of but two instances where traders had white wives living with them in Indian villages. (*)  We have no information that would throw light upon the object of this paper, (which is to ascertain, if possible, the date of birth of the first white child born in Ohio) from any of the French or English occupants of Ohio prior to the peace of 1763.  White children were doubtless born unto some of the many traders in Ohio before 1763, and yet there is no evidence that such was the fact.  It is possible that among the French, English or Canadian archives there may be records that would enlighten up upon the subject, but nothing has appeared thus far.
     The information we possess is so meagre and perhaps unsatisfactory, that the object of the query, "who was the first white child born in Ohio?" may still remain as heretofore, "a simple matter of conjecture," but we
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(*) These were a man named - Henry, (brother of Judge Henry, of Lancaster, Pa.), who was domiciled on the Scioto, as a Shawnese village called "Chelokraty," and Richard Conner, a Maryland trader, who lived on the Scioto at Pickaway.  Both these men exercised great influence among the Shawnese.  Mr. Henry was living among them as early as 1768, and married a white woman, who, when a child, had been taken captive.  We do not know whether they had children born to them in Ohio, but it is likely they did, for Henry continued on the Scioto for many years, and amassed a fortune there.
     In 1770, Mr. Conner, who had lived among the Western Indians as a trader for years, married a young white woman, captive among the Shawnese at Pickaway.  In 1771 a male child was born unto in all probability the birth occurred at Pickaway on the Scioto.  In 1774, agreeably to the treaty of Fort Pitt, all whites residing among the Shawnese were delivered up at the post.  Among these were Mr. Conner and wife, but the Shawnese held back their son.  The same year Mr. and Mrs. Conner went to reside with the Moravians at Shoenbrun, O., Mr. Conner having obtained permission from the American Commandant at Pittsburg, went to the Scioto in search of his son.  He left Mrs. Conner at Shoenbrun.  In the spring he returned without his child, having made a fruitless search at the Shawnese towns.  During the year 1776, Mr. Conner made a second search after his boy and finally found him, and succeeded in purchasing his ransom.  Mrs. Conner afterwards had children at Shoenbrun, though we are without dates.

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