by Tami Wenger, Gloryland Ministries
The fascinating events of the past helped shape the Mac-O-Chee Valley into the great place it is today. Tom Corwin former Governor of Ohio, 1840-1842, said these words, “If there is a line, where Mac-O-Chee ends and Heaven begins, it is imperceptible- the easiest place to live and die in, I ever saw.”
Long before I made West Liberty my home, the valley was home to the Shawnee Indians. There were three Indian villages close to the area of where West Liberty would be located years later. Mac-O-Chee, was east of town, Pigeon Town was 3 ½ miles north west and Wapotomica was below Zanesfield.
The Mac-O-Chee villagers were the ones who gave the valley it's name- “Macachack”, which means “Smiling Valley.” The village was located on top of a hill overlooking one section of the Mac-O-Chee Creek. As the creek wound through the valley, it curved around the hill on which the Indians lived. When the Shawnee people gazed down upon the creek it appeared to be smiling at them. Thus the name, Smiling Valley. This Mac-O-Chee village was the head quarters of Chief Moluntha, Great Sachem of the assembled tribes.
It was after the Revolutionary War that the white man began encroaching on Shawnee Indian Territory. In 1785, a peace treaty was made with several tribes but the Shawnees refused to agree.
In the fall of 1786, Colonel Benjamin Logan, was commissioned by General Rogers Clark, to attack the Mac-O-Chee Towns. Logan sent Colonel Robert Patterson and Colonel Thomas Kennedy to the left and right wing, while he commanded the central division, with Colonel Daniel Boone and Major Simon Kenton leading the ranks.
The Indians were warned but not soon enough. Most warriors were hunting and the ones that weren't, were either killed or taken prisoner. Chief Moluntha, his three wives, one of which known as the Grenadier Squaw, the sister of Chief Cornstalk; and several children were also taken hostage.
Colonel Hugh McGary defied orders to leave the Indians who surrendered unharmed, and in a rage killed Chief Moluntha. It is said that the remaining Shawnees left the area and established settlements at Blanchard Fork, located in North West Ohio.
Even though the Mac-O-Chee village is no longer in existence, the legend of Squaw Rock remains and has been passed down for many generations. During the raid on Mac-O-Chee by Colonel Benjamin Logan, one of his soldiers spotted someone hiding behind a large rock at the edge of the village and thinking it was a brave, he took aim and shot. He went to check on his target and found he killed a squaw. Upon closer inspection he found a baby boy laying beside her. He was so filled with remorse that he buried the squaw at the base of the rock and took the baby home with him to raise as his own.
The man also had a young daughter and the two children grew up happily together. As they got older they became great friends and fell in love with each other. However, the girl was worried about what people thought of her marrying an Indian so she married a rich white suitor instead. The day after the couple were married they were found murdered in their cabin and the Indian boy was never seen again.
Squaw Rock still stands on the hill overlooking Smiling Valley even though that section of the Mac-O-Chee Creek is no more. It is a reminder that this land was special to those who lived here before in the beautiful Smiling Valley. West Liberty, our own little piece of heaven on earth, then and now.
Mac-O-Chee Valley by Miss Keren Jane Gaumer, Urbana William Mac-A-Cheek Piatt II Memorial Archive Memoirs of the Miami Valley
First picture used by permission of Dale Humble. Ariel view of West Liberty today.
Second picture (below) is used by permission of the Town Hall. West Liberty in 1910.
West Liberty History Stories
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