The Murder of Cornstalk

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The treaty of Camp Charlotte was as ineffective as past agreements. There were many breaches of the agreed upon frontier border, Cornstalk did all he could to restrain his people from retaliating. In 1778 the momentum of his warriors could no longer be contained, and he went to Fort Randolph, at Point Pleasant, to warn the Colonists that he was no longer in control of his warriors and that they planned to attack. Out of honor he met with Captain Matthew Arbuckle to tell him that the treaty would no longer be honored.

Arbuckle responded by detaining Cornstalk and the two Indians who accompanied him, Red Hawk and Elinipsico (Cornstalk's son). The Indians were led to a single room cabin and locked inside. A mob formed outside the cabin. And despite Captain Arbuckle's efforts to stop them, the mob bust inside and murdered the three Indains.

Cornstalk was the principle chief of the Shawnee, and his death meant that Black Fish was elevated to that position. Upon hearing of Cornstalk's murder, Black Fish gathered his advisors and prepared for retaliation. Word spread that Black Fish was forming an army and volunteers soon arrived at Black Fish's village. Among the volunteers was French trader Peter Loramie.

The Shawnee led Indian army crossed the frozen Ohio Rover into Kentucky led by Black Fish and assisted by Chicksika, Blue Jacket and Wasegoboah. En route to engage the whites in Kentucky, Blue Jacket happened upon Daniel Boone and captured him. Boone was a scout for the white army and had just killed a buffalo to feed the camp when he was captured.

They also encountered about thirty men from Boone's party gathering salt from the Blue Licks. Boone overheard the Indian's plans for attacking the men and tried to intervene. Boone convinced Black Fish that in exchange for a promise not to kill any of the men, or make them run the gauntlet, he would assure that they surrender without any Indian bloodshed. Then, Boone suggested, the Shawnee could turn the men over to the British at Fort Detroit in exchange for goods. Black Fish agreed to this because he knew that a true offensive against the whites would require British support.

Black Fish led the prisoners to Fort Detroit and sold them to Governor Hamilton. He did not, however, sell Daniel Boone, preferring instead to adopt him into his own family. On his return trip from Detroit, Black Fish visited other tribes (Wyandot, Mingo and Delaware) to solicit their support for the war to revenge Cornstalk's death.

In May of 1778 Black Fish had enough men and supplies to exact Shawnee revenge against the Americans. He and 400 warriors advanced toward Fort Randolph, where Cornstalk had been murdered. Black Fish' army attacked many outlying settlements and killed numerous settlers near Fort Randolph. The attack on the fort itself was deflected because the colonial army was prepared for such an offensive after Cornstalk's death.

In frustration, Black Fish returned to his village to prepare for an invasion of Kentucky, this time with British assistance.

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