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FRENCH AND ENGLISH TRADERS

The mouth of the Cuyahoga, was a point of too much consequence among the Indians, not to bring traders here at a very early day. Between 1700 and 1750, the French extended their forts and trading posts, to all points on the waters of the lakes and of the Ohio river. In the last named year they had a fort at Sandusky, and in 1755 a trading house on the Cuyahoga, opposite the mouth of Tinker’s creek.

James Smith, of Pennsylvania, spent the winter of 1755-6 on the “Cayahoga,” not as a trader, but as a prisoner among the Delawares. He left a narrative of his captivity, in which the country watered by the Cuyahoga, the Black, and the Kilbuck rivers, is fully described. From 1760 to 1764, Mary Campbell, a young girl captured in Pennsylvania, lived on this river, most of the time near the foot of the falls, at the forks below Akron.

After the British took possession in 1760, French and English traders continued together, to traffic with the Indians on the waters of lake Erie. No doubt a post was kept up, at some point or points on the river during a large part of the eighteenth century, but such establishments are so slight and temporary, that they are seldom noticed in history. A trading house is a very transient affair. A small log cabin covered with bark, constituted all of what is designated as an establishment. If the Indian customers remove, the trader follows them; abandons his cabin, and constructs another at a more convenient place. Within a year the deserted hut is burned to the ground, and all that remains is a vacancy of an acre or two in the forest, covered with grass, weeds, briers and bushes.

In 1786 a lively trade in furs is known to have been carried on here. Of the energetic half civilized men, who for so many generations carried on this business, we know personally nothing ; except in regard to Joseph Du Shattar and some of his companions. Mr. Ebenezer Merry, of Milan, Huron County, Ohio, in 1842 had a conversation with Judge S.A. Abbey, in which he stated that he had known Du Shattar. He had from a youth been in the employ of the North-West Fur Company, along this lake. The mouth of the Cuyahoga and Sandusky, were principal points. About 1790 he married Mary Pornay, at Detroit, and commenced trading on his own account. He had a post nine miles up the river, which is probably the one whose remains have been observed in Brooklyn, opposite Newburg.

Here his second child was born in 1794. John Baptiste Flemming and Joseph Burrall were with him a part of the time. While he was at Sandusky one of his voyageurs, by the name of Beaulieau appropriated the wife of an Indian. This proceeding and the continued presence of fire-water gave rise to frequent quarrels. Their establishment at Sandusky was¬†attacked by the Indians, in order to rescue Beaulieu’s squaw, and many goods were seized. The remainder were saved by a compromise effected with rum.

On the Cuyahoga, a fight occurred with the Indians in reference to a rifle. The Indians attacked them at another time, intending to capture their spirits, to obtain which they will risk whatever they possess. Some of the savages were killed on the lake shore about ten miles below Grand River. Du Shattar was living in 1812, and assisted in capturing John O’Mic and Semo, on Locust Point, the murderers of Michael Gibbs and Daniel Buell at Pipe creek, near Sandusky.

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