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Caesar's Ford Theatre Inc. takes you back to Ohio in the Time of Bluejacket and Simon Kenton.
“The Indians having told me, that my interpreter David Owens was down Ohio below the falls towards the Waabash river, therefore inquired of Mr. McKee for an interpreter—he recommended one whose name is Caesar, who was a foreigner, and, as he said, understood something about religion, and therefore would be best for an interpreter on that subject—but was so unhappy as never to see him. We parted expecting to see each other at Chillicaathee. It was with reluctance this town was left, before an opportunity was obtained to instruct the Indians; but being destitute of an interpreter, concluded to move to the chief town.
MONDAY 25, made a further inquiry about the person recommended for my interpreter, was informed that he was hunting beavers, and would not be in till spring. This news blasted all my prospects of making a useful visit, and having no other remedy, applied to one James Gerty, who was well acquainted with their language, but a stranger to religion…”
--David Jones, 1773
The first mention of an African American man we know as “Caesar” comes from the journal of the Reverend David Jones in the year 1773 while the Reverend is looking for a translator to take him through Shawnee country to preach the gospel. He comes across Alexander McKee who recommends a “foreigner” living among the Shawnee who “knows something of religion.” A time is set to meet with Caesar, but he never shows. Later, while the area that will become Caesar Creek State Park was being surveyed in the 1780s under the supervision of Robert Todd, he notes that he did not name the creek, as it was already called that by the local Tribes. We see a mention of “Caesar and his Boy” on the gift list at the conference of 1776 in Pittsburgh, likely the same Caesar mentioned in Jones’ journal in 1773. His son is first mentioned in another journal when he excitedly volunteers for a war party, but the next morning excuses himself. Caesar is also credited by Simon Kenton as the reason he made it through the Gauntlet and was allowed to live.
“Robert Todd & John O’Bannon, in the fall of 1787 and early in 1788, were surveying up Little Miami—named Clough creek later, [I suppose Col. Richard Clough Anderson]. Then gave the present name to the Salt Fork – then came to Caesar’s Creek, already named so by the Indians from a Negro of that name who joined them & after camped there—then named Massie’s Creek, after Nathaniel Massie, who was then a chain carrier. Todd was killed about 1790, eight miles west of Frankfort, KY by Indians.”
--Notes taken from Jaimes Galloway, Xenia Ohio, 1846.
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