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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Defiance - Day 29

  Thank goodness Defiance, Ohio was in the middle of this day. Otherwise, it was a day pretty much without merit except that it covere miles. However, I love Defiance.

Part of the mission of the North Country Trail is to showcase historical features of the northern United States. There are several places along the trail that are just packed to overflowing with history, usually because of some strategic location. Defiance is one of these. Imagine if an enemy invader could control the traffic and capture any goods that came through a major interstate junction, such as I-80 and I-94.

That's why Defiance was so important, although it wasn't yet called by that name. The location is the confluence of two great rivers: The Maumee (flowing west to east from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Lake Erie) and the Auglaize (which comes from the south). And rivers were the transportation corridors. On this point of land at the confluence, General Anthony Wayne stood and declared, "I defy the British, the Indians, and all the devils in Hell to take this place!" He thus became known as "Mad Anthony Wayne," and the location was called Defiance. Defiance, Ohio

This area has also been the location of several Native communities. Men who became well-known chiefs were born here, including Pontiac, who very nearly reclaimed the colonies for the Indians. He captured most of the frontier forts; only Detroit outlasted his efforts, and he lost the support of the other tribes. The marker commemorating him was unreadable, so I won't bother with a picture.

More peaceful men are also associated with the area. This was one of the homes of John Chapman, Johnny Appleseed, and the site of his first nursery. Although everyone things he mostly handed out apple seeds, he actually planted nurseries all over the midwest, since seedling trees were much more valuable. Johnny Appleseed marker

This rock is labeled "Blue Jacket's Chair." Blue Jacket was a Shawnee Chief of significant importance. He allied several tribes and led them in the battle of Fallen Timbers, where they were defeated by Mad Anthony Wayne. I don't know if this was a rock where he actually sat to preside over meetings. I'd love to spend a week or more just researching things in Defiance. He was rumored to have been a white man turned Indian, but DNA tests of descendants have ruled this out. Blue Jacket's chair

The marker on this circular monument is old, but the bottom part is new. This commemorates the largest apple tree on record anywhere. It was 9 feet in diameter, and in 1872 bore 200 bushels of apples. The tree died in 1887. The actual stump of the tree used to be there, semi-preserved with cement. I guess the last of it rotted away, and they replaced it with the granite replica. largest apple tree stump

There were at least two forts built where Defiance now stands, and a third nearby. I have a hard time shutting up about Defiance, once I get started, but I will.

The rest of the day was raw and damp, with a lot of road walking and no place to take a rest. The final indignity was a half-mile of actual towpath trail near the end of the day that could be described as a chain of lakes. wet trail

But my current helper, Cindy, picked me up and whisked me back to Marianne's where we had baked macaroni and cheese. That's about my top comfort food!

Miles today 17.1. Total miles so far: 421.7

See The Bridges to 400


Doug said...

Hey Joan glad to see you are on another adventure. I used to live in Whitehouse Ohio a short bike ride to oak openings and have hiked the tow path trails many times. Doug

Beyond my garden said...

You are enticing me to travel north this summer.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Whooooaaaa, that was one big apple tree. I can only imagine the size of the apples it must have made."
Charlee: "I think apples are always the same si—"
Lulu: "Yeah you wouldn't want one of those giant apples conking you on the head, that's for sure!"

Bob Mayberry said...

Defiance sounds like a cool place I'll have to go and see it someday. Thank you for all of the history!

Unknown said...

Hi Joan, I'm really enjoying reading about your expedition. Another neat Defiance, Ohio fact: When the initial surveyors of the Michigan Territory were setting out to begin setting boundary lines to allow for the sale of land and eventual settlement, the principal meridian that was selected was a line running due north of Fort Defiance, Ohio. Therefore the legal description of every single property in the State of Michigan today is in reference to that line. Safe travels! -Tim Groenhof