Blue Jacket

Chief Blue Jacket

Fast Facts about Blue Jacket

Who was Blue Jacket and why was this Native Indian chief famous? Summary: Blue Jacket (c1743 - c1810) was a famous war chief of the Shawnee Native Indian tribe.  Prior to the War of Independence he led victorious battles against General Josiah Harmar and General Arthur St. Clair.

He fought against the American colonists on the side of the British but was then forced to cede Ohio lands to the United States He joined the Western Confederacy in an attempt to regain Shawnee lands. He died in 1810.The following fact sheet contains interesting facts, background history and information about the life of Blue Jacket and the events in history that led to his fame as a great Native American Indian leader.

Fast Facts about Blue Jacket

  • Tribe: Shawnee
  • Lifespan of Blue Jacket: c1743 - c1810
  • Alternate Name: Weyapiersenwah
  • Place of Birth: Deer Creek (present Ross County, Ohio)
  • Language: Algonquian
  • Date of Birth: c1743
  • Role War Chief of the Shawnee tribe
  • Date of Death: c1810
  • Native Indian Allies: Little Turtle
  • European Allies and Wars: Fought with the British in the 1774 Lord Dunmore's War and in the War of Independence (1775 - 1783). Northwest Indian War (1785–1795) in Indiana and Ohio, also known as Little Turtle's war.
  • Famous Battles: 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Peace Treaty: The Treaty of Greenville (1795) and the Treaty of Fort Industry (1805)

Blue Jacket
Blue Jacket was a famous Shawnee war chief who opposed white encroachment and resisted against white expansion. Little is known about Blue Jacket's early life. He first appears in written historical records in 1773, when he was already a Shawnee war chief. Throughout Blue Jacket’s life with the Shawnee tribe, it is known that he fought under Little Turtle and they were at the forefront of the white resistance when colonists tried to expand their power as they started to settle in the Western part of Ohio.

Blue Jacket Timeline
The following Blue Jacket timeline charts the resistance of this great Shawnee war chief against the encroachment of lands in Ohio.

  • 1743: Blue Jacket was born c1743
  • 1774: Lord Dumore's War. Americans defeated the Shawnee in the Battle of Point Pleasant, but Blue Jacket emerged as a strong Shawnee leader.
  • 1775: The American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783). Blue Jacket fought with the British against the American forces
  • 1783: The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War the British abandoned their native allies and ceded the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River to the United States (the Northwest Territory).
  • 1785: Native American Indians formed the Western Confederacy with the objective of keeping the Ohio River as a boundary between Indian lands and the United States.
  • 1785: The Northwest Indian War (1785–1795) aka as Little Turtle's war erupted.
  • 1790: Conflict with General Josiah Harmar who attempted to subdue Native Indians in the Northwest Territory. General Harmar was defeated by a tribal coalition led by Little Turtle of the of the Miami tribe and Blue Jacket in an engagement known as "Harmar's defeat"
  • 1791: Battle of the Wabash on November 4, 1791. American Indians were led by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket won a major Native Indian victory against Americans led by General Arthur St. Clair.
  • 1794: Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794. The Legion of the United States, which was an extension of the United States Army, led by Major General Anthony Wayne defeated Blue Jacket and the Native Indians
  • 1795: The Treaty of Greenville was signed on August 3, 1795 following the Battle of Fallen Timbers in which the Native Indians were forced to cede much of present-day Ohio to the United States
  • 1795: The Treaty of Greenville was made on August 3, 1795 ended the Northwest Indian War
  • 1805: The Treaty of Fort Industry was signed on July 4, 1805 in which Blue Jacket relinquished even more of Ohio
  • 1810: The Death of Blue Jacket
  • 1811: Chief Tecumseh continued the Shawnee fight during Tecumseh's War in a final attempt to reclaim Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country.

Ethnicity of Blue Jacket
The speculation surrounding Blue Jacket is that he was in fact a white man called Marmaduke Van Swearingen, who was captured by the Shawnee Indians during the American Revolutionary War. However, this legend about Blue Jacket may have been put to rest using the latest in modern technology – DNA testing. The descendants of both Blue Jacket and Marmaduke Van Swearingen were tested and results concluded a mismatch of genes. So it would appear that Blue Jacket was a Native American Indian.

The Story of Blue Jacket
For additional facts and information refer to the Wars with the Western Indians.

Famous Native Indians
Native Indian Tribes Index

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