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"Mad Anthony" Wayne and Legionville

Milestones Vol 28. No. 1

Beaver County Times 175th Anniversary Edition

The United States still was basking in the glory of its independence from Great Britian when a new threat came to the young country.

It was 1791 and the Indians, backed and armed by the British, had been causing the United States headaches in the Ohio Valley.

Already feeling growing pains, Americans were beginning to migrate west, to the lands populated by the Indians.

The Indians had thwarted U.S. Army campaigns to pry loose some land and later, in 1791, President George Washington turned to an old friend to serve as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army.

He chose retired general Anthony Wayne, nicknamed "Mad Anthony" because of his reckless and daring exploits in the war for independence. Wayne served with Washington in 1777 and commanded the Pennsylvanian line.

Wayne retired from the Army in 1783, but agreed to return in an effort to whip the U.S. troops into shape for yet another campaign against the Indians.

Seeing that his troops lacked both guidance and experience, Wayne needed a site to train and prepare his men for the western campaign.

Legionville, now a part of Harmony Township, was chosen as that site as 1791 came to a close.

Although Beaver County's incorporation still was eight years away, the area already had historic ties.

Looking at the 26-acre site today, it was here that in 1755 a young George Washington met with the French and Indians at a village called Logstown. Fourteen years earlier the first Catholic mass was said there, in what was to become Beaver County.

Wayne stayed in Legionville for two years and while doing so, established the first U.S. Army training camp. With him were men whose names are found in any U.S. history book.

Serving as Wayne's aide de camp was William Henry Harrison, who was just 19 years old. His future would see him battle Indians at Tippecanoe and in 1840, be elected the ninth president of the United States.

William Clark was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and when the United States purchased land from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, he would be teamed up with Meriwether Lewis to explore the new land.

Zebulon Pike, who later went on to "discover" Pike's Peak in Colorado, served under Wayne in Legionville.

William Eaton served as an ensign in Legionville and in the years to come, he one day would lead a U.S. Marine company across the Sahara Desert and add "to the shores of Tripoli" to the Marine Corps Hymn.

It took two years for Wayne to get favorable results from his troops and he and his men departed Legionville on April 30, 1793 to meet the Indians.

The troops traveled northward and met the Indians at Fallen Timbers, Ohio, near present day Toledo, on August 30, 1794. The result was a smashing victory for Wayne and his men and their win enabled Ohio to be opened for peaceful settlement.

The treaty was secured in 1795, the same year Wayne died.