In 1791 the Indians of the Northwest Territory achieved a tremendous victory over the army of General Arthur St. Clair on the upper branch of the Wabash (the site of Fort Recovery, Ohio). So elated were the Indians that the number and ferocity of their raids on the isolated settlers and outposts were greatly increased.

The tribes felt that at last their dream of pushing the whites back across the Ohio River was within their grasp, but the dream was an illusion for they had no concept of the size of the white population in the eastern and southern settlements.

The government, under the leadership of George Washington, realized that bold and swift action must be taken to quell the tribes of all hopes for settlement on the frontier would vanish. The task of pacification fell to an officer who had distinguished himself in the Revolutionary war, his name was General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

General Wayne gathered and trained his army at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in 1792 he brought them to Fort Washington (Cincinnati, Ohio). The plan was to establish additional forts and depots in the very heart of hostile territory. These fortifications were to be erected on the trade routes, portages, and war trails of the Indians. In 1793 Wayne took his army out of Fort Washington and started north with the usual assortment of camp followers in tow. Camp followers have existed since the Roman legions and their reasons for adopting this life style were as diverse as the people themselves - wagons, stockmen, peddlers, wives, sweethearts, children, and tarts - they all cast their lot with the fate of the army. Wayne's army moved north and along the Miami River, then on up the Stillwater River along the east bank until they came to what they considered to be a strategic location. Here they constructed a base camp which consisted of an earth and of breastwork on the limestone bluffs overlooking the river. After the fortification was completed, It was christened Fort Rowdy. Local legend states the ceremony concluded with the baptism of whiskey poured on the breastworks from the soldiers' canteens and a lively celebration followed. It is said the name Rowdy was derived from the behavior of the troops and camp followers; another less colorful explanation is that the site was named after an officer friend of General Wayne's named Rowdy.

Wayne and his troops soon moved west until they reached the spot General St. Clair had mentioned in his dispatches. Here they would build the largest stockade fort in the Northwest territory. Upon completion the fort was named after an officer of the revolution whom Wayne had greatly admired, Nathaniel Greene. This fort was named Greene Ville and the little creek Wayne had followed west from Fort Rowdy would become Greene Ville Creek.

In 1794 Wayne clashed with the tribes in a couple of small but sharp fights, but these were only preliminaries compared to the Battle of Fallen Timbers. In this major engagement the American Army came away with a clear and decisive victory which eventually forced the tribes to sue for peace and ultimately led to the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795. Tecumseh, (Shooting Star) of the Shawnee, refused to sign the Treaty of Greenville.

Things were fairly quiet for the next few years. In the early 1800's several settlers came to this area and soon small clearings and cabins began to dot the forest. In the spring of 1812 with the outbreak of war, most of the settlers left their remote dwellings for the safety of the more populated areas in the east and the south.

The call went out for men to form a volunteer militia to serve for a period of four months. Since this was a civilian group, they were required to outfit themselves. There were no uniforms to speak of and no government issue arms. The men from the nearby settlements gathered at Staunton (near Troy). An election was held and George Buchanan was named Captain. He would be in charge of these frontier guards. They were mustered into service as the First Company, Second Regiment, Fifth Brigade, of the First Division of the Ohio Militia - a hefty title for only fifty men to live up to.

Buchanan was directed to occupy the same area that Wayne had used in 1793, there to build a stockade and blockhouse to be used as a transfer point and depot, and to monitor the river traffic. When Captain Buchanan arrived and toured the area, he decided that a spot farther north was more suitable than the site of Wayne's old camp so he put his troops to work building a blockhouse, watch tower, and the log curtains that would enclose the stockade. The stockade was located on a rise on the east bank of the river directly across from where the Greene Ville Creek entered the Stillwater River. The Fort was named "Fort Buchanan" but old habits die hard and people soon started calling it Fort Rowdy again which did not set well with Captain Buchanan. He was a religious man, with high standards, and proud of the service he and his men were performing and he didn't want them to be remembered in history as "rowdies." He took exception with army dispatches directed to Fort Rowdy and finally the army relented and the mail was sent to "Buchanan's Blockhouse".

There was little or no military action that involved the fort directly and later Buchanan and his troop were summoned to Troy, then marched on up to Piqua to the signing of yet another peace treaty. There is no record of any military presence at the fort after that, but once peace had been restored the settlers used the stockade because of its central location. The settlers came there during times of emergency; they also used it as a stock pen, a market place, for social events, and held meetings there and for the most part it became known simply as "the gathering place."

R.L. Harmon