Pickawillany was an 18th-century Miami Indian village located on the Great Miami River in North America's Ohio Valley near the modern city of Piqua, Ohio. In 1749 a British trading post was established alongside the Miami village, selling goods to neighbouring tribes at the site. In 1750, a stockade was constructed to protect the post, Fort Pickawillany. The traders' success threatened what had previously been a French monopoly over local commerce, and in 1752 the village and trading post were destroyed in a combined French-American Indian assault.

Pickawillany's destruction directly encouraged greater British fortification and military presence at other outposts in the Ohio Valley, and has been seen as a precursor to the wider British-French conflict that would become the French and Indian War.

The English term Pickawillany derives from the Shawnee word for the Miamis – pkiiwileni (foreigner). The Miamis name for the village (Pinkwaawileniaki) is a direct translation of the Shawnee pekowiiøa – "ash people".[1]


The Miami Indians settled Pickawillany in fall 1747. In 1748 George Croghan, an Irish trader and Pennsylvania Indian agent, established a trading post alongside the village, with the approval of La Demoiselle (Memeskia), the Miami chief. Memeskia was a war chief of Ottawa-French descent and was fluent in both languages. Croghan subsequently developed an active trade with French-Canadian fur traders.

Raid on PickawillanyEdit

The Raid on Pickawillany also called the Battle of Pickawillany, was a June, 1752 French military and Indian attack on the Miami Indian village and fortified British trading post. The fort and village were destroyed and abandoned by the Miami.

On June 21, 1752, Charles Michel de Langlade, a Métis coureur de bois led 240 French-allied Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians in an attack on the Miami Indian village of Pickawillany. French and British colonists were competing for control of the fur trade in the Ohio Country as part of their overall struggle for dominance in North America. The French also wished to punish Miami chief Memeskia, known as Old Briton, for rejecting the French alliance and dealing with the British traders.

The raid resulted in the deaths of Old Briton and at least one English trader. The French and Indians burned the English stockade and storehouse at the trading post, and sent the remaining British traders fleeing back East. Following the attack, the Miami and British abandoned this site. The village of Pickawillany was relocated. The city of Piqua, Ohio developed later near the Miami's second site of this village.

Later historyEdit

The remains of Pickawillany may have been the site of a 1763 battle during the war described by Black Hoof, in which Miami and Wyandot fortified themselves against Delaware and Shawnee warriors, who gave up the siege after seven days.[citation needed]

Chief Little Turtle (Michikinikwa), at Greeneville, reportedly said, "You discovered on the Great Miami traces of an old fort. It was not a French fort, brother, it was a fort built by me." Historians believe this is an error in translation, and that he said "a fort built by Mishikinakwa (The Turtle)," the name of an early Miami leader known to be at Pickawillany.

The Miami abandoned the village, relocating nearby. The present-day city of Piqua, Ohio in the United States was later developed around the second location by settlers moving west during the American Revolutionary War.


  1. ^ David J. Costa, “On the Origin of ‘Pickawillany,'” Names, Vol. 62 No. 4, December 2014, 214-17


  • Carter, Harvey Lewis. The Life and Times of Little Turtle. ISBN 0-252-01318-2.
  • White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, reprinted 2011.

External linksEdit

The Crooked Trail to Pickawillany (1747-1752) by George Ironstack; Miami University (2012 April 19; visited 2018 September 17)]