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Feature on Peter Loramie. TOPIC: PEOPLE, PIONEERS, INDIANS
Compiled by Jim Sayre in July, 1998

LORAMIE HAD NO TENDER FEELINGS FOR AMERICANS

He was one of the earliest, if not the first, white residents of Shelby County, Ohio and his name lives on here with a reservoir, creek, and town carrying his name, But, Pierre Louise Lorimer de la Riviere (Peter Loramie) had no love for Americans and for good reason, as historian Henry Howe pointed out in his 1846 review of Shelby County:

"The first white man whose name is lastingly identified with the geography of this county is Peter Loramie, or Laramie, inasmuch as his name is permanently affixed to an important stream. He was a Canadian French trader who in 1769, seventeen years after the destruction of Pickawillany, at the mouth of the Loramie, established a trading post upon it. The site of Loramie’s store, or station, as it was called, was up that stream about fifteen miles, within a mile of the village of Berlin (now Fort Loramie) and near the west end of the Loramie reservoir. Col. John Johnston (owner of the Johnston Farm in Miami County and Indian agent) wrote to me thus of him:

"At the time of the first settlement of Kentucky a Canadian Frenchman, named Loramie, established there a store or trading station among the Indians. This man was a bitter enemy of the Americans, and it was for a long time the headquarters of mischief towards the settlers.

"The French had the faculty of endearing themselves to the Indians, and no doubt Loramie was, in this respect, fully equal to any of his countrymen, and gained great influence over them. They formed with the natives attachments of the most tender and abiding kind. ‘I have,’ says Col. Johnston, ‘seen the Indians burst into tears when speaking of the time when their French father had dominion over them, and their attachment to this day remains unabated.’

"So much influence had Loramie with the Indians, that when Gen. Clarke, from Kentucky, invaded the Miami valley in the autumn of 1782, his attention was attracted to the spot. He came on and burned the Indian settlement here (at Upper Piqua), and plundered and burned the store of the Frenchman, about sixteen miles further north.

"The store contained a large quantity of goods and peltry, which were sold by auction afterwards among the men by the general’s orders. Among the soldiers was an Irishman named Burke, considered a half-witted fellow, and the general butt of the whole army. While searching the store he found, done up in a rag, twenty-five half-joes, worth about $200, which he secreted in a hole he cut in an old saddle. At the auction no one bid for the saddle, it being judged worthless, except Burke, to whom it was struck off for a trifling sum, amid roars of laughter for this folly. But a moment elapsed before Burke commenced a search, and found and drew forth the money, as if by accident; then shaking it in the eyes of the men, exclaimed, ‘An’ it’s not so bad a bargain after all!’

"Soon after this Loramie, with a colony of the Shawanese, emigrated to the Spanish territories, west of the Mississippi, and settled in a spot assigned them at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri, where the remaining part of the nation from Ohio have at different times joined them.

"In 1794 a fort was built at the place occupied by Loramie’s store by Wayne, and named Fort Loramie. The site of Loramie’s store was a prominent point in the Greene Ville Treaty boundary line. The farm of the heirs of the late James Furrows now (1846) covers the spot." (Farm of the recently deceased Ferd Fleckenstein.)

 

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