Like many things in life, history doesn’t appeal to everyone. But regardless of what we think of it, understanding our history will always be important.
History also is ever-evolving, with revisions constantly taking place based on further research or perceptions about what happened. The latter sometimes means history becomes politicized, which is lamentable.
However, no matter how we approach our history, we cannot change it. What we can do is learn from our past and help preserve the stories that enhance our lives today.
So, on this 225th anniversary of Fort Defiance’s construction — by General Anthony Wayne’s forces in early August 1794 — we applaud those who have put their passions into action by keeping history alive. This weekend, that history will be observed at Defiance’s historic fortgrounds at the confluence of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers with a portrayal of camp life there.
It is difficult to stand at the confluence — just east of Defiance Public Library — and truly understand what took place here more than two centuries ago. When Wayne’s army arrived in 1794, he found the abandoned Indian villages of the tribes he would ultimately battle at Fallen Timbers (near Maumee). But most of the area — and the remaining Northwest Territory — was wilderness.
Two-hundred and twenty-five years after this event, we live decidedly in the eastern half of the United States. However, when Fort Defiance was constructed, the area was only a territory, and then considered “the West.”
This weekend’s events at the fortgrounds offer an opportunity to examine some of our local historical events and consider what happened here. They had a profound and monumental impact on history, which was unfolding here in a big way 225 years ago.