Located in Hancock County, Ohio, on U.S. Highway 224, 8 miles west of Findlay and 4 miles south of McComb is a cemetery known as Indian Green. Some of the earliest settlers of Hancock County are buried in marked graves at a location just north of the Blanchard River. When the first European settlers ventured to Fort Findlay then into surrounding townships, they found an area cleared of forest about “8 miles east of Findlay” and inhabited by Native Americans, defeated tribes, who made moved West starting in the 16th century when the Iroquois spread their influence and drove the Huron and Ottawa people, those that survived, west into the Ohio Frontier. There were even earthworks, have you ever heard of the Ohio Mound Builders? Beardsley, in his wonderful history of the county, check the References Tab on the site, describes two earthworks, perhaps for fortification against attack from the South River Bank, and another, perhaps for ceremonial purposes, with the Indian Burial Ground in between. He describes the Ottawa people often paying tribute to this place and even tells the story of a pioneer named Ellison who would dig up the Indian graves to get trinkets and other “treasure”. When the Indians found out about Ellison’s activities, he was expelled from the county under threat of a tomahawk if he ever returned.
The area covered 12 acres and was adorned by a plum orchard, presumably planted by Johnny Appleseed, who was certainly in Hancock County in the 1840s, and also contained a fair amount of apple trees. I figured this would be a popular story for teaching children about history, “Hey, did you know Johnny Appleseed planted the plum and apple trees down by the Blanchard River, you know the place that is marked as a sacred Native American site of immense spiritual importance”? That’s not the world we live in. We live in a world where these people were virtually erased from the record because their land now belonged to United States. In 1817, these Indians I write about, this village near the burial ground known as Indian Green, were moved to a reservation just outside “Ottawa”, Ohio, and then moved to Oklahoma in 1833. Their Ohio history has been virtually erased. I would like to walk close enough to the river bank and search for a surviving fruit tree. This history of Hancock County, Indian Green, and the original people buried in this 12 acre area, are a mystery. One of the ways to erase an ancient people’s existence is to bury your own, especially with elaborate markings, in their cemeteries, knock down the earthworks, and build a road through it.