James Smith, pioneer, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1737. When he was eighteen years of age he was captured by the Indians, was adopted into one of their tribes, and lived with them as one of themselves until his escape in 1759. He became a lieutenant under General Bouquet during the expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1764, and was captain of a company of rangers in Lord Dunmore’s War. In 1775 he was promoted to major of militia. He served in the Pennsylvania convention in 1776, and in the assembly in 1776-77. In the latter year he was commissioned colonel in command on the frontiers, and performed distinguished services. Smith moved to Kentucky in 1788. He was a member of the Danville convention, and represented Bourbon county for many years in the legislature. He died in Washington county, Kentucky, in 1812. The following narrative of his experience as member of an Indian tribe is from his own book entitled “Remarkable Adventures in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith,” printed at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1799. It affords a striking contrast to the terrible experiences of the other captives whose stories are republished in this book; for he was well treated, and stayed so long with his red captors that he acquired expert knowledge of their arts and customs, and deep insight into their character.
During the War of 1812 a series of battles took place in the Northwest between the British and American forces and their respective Indian allies. This series of battles helped determine the control over the Wabash Valley and along with the Naval victories secured the Northwest for the Americans.
British influence and the exertions of two remarkable Indians were the causes of the next important war between the Americans and their western neighbors. The two Indians were Tecumseh, a Shawnese chief, and his brother, the Prophet, Oliwachica. These men commenced their intrigues in 1806.
After the termination of the Revolutionary War, the hardy settlers of the west had still a contest to maintain, which often threatened their extermination. The Indian tribes of the west refused to bury the hatchet when Great Britain withdrew her armies, and they continued their terrible devastation. The vicinity of the Ohio River, especially, was the scene of their operations.