Search for Shawnee Town
Ozark–St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas, 2003
by Sue Foster, FS Archaeological Technician
The Sylamore District and Ozark NF hosted the Search for Shawnee Town PIT Project February 1–9, 2003. Investigation techniques included ground-penetrating radar, metal detecting, mapping with GPS units, and excavations.
In 1819, Shawnee Chief (a.k.a. Colonel) John Lewis (Quatawapea) led a group of immigrants to the White River area of the Arkansas Territory. Lewis was granted a commission from the U.S. Army, and at the end of the War of 1812 fell under the protection of the government. His people lived for a while at Lewiston in Logan County, Ohio. They moved ca. 1819–1820 to the Cherokee Grant on the White River. In 1829, the government moved Chief Lewis’s people to a reservation near Leavenworth, Kansas. After the Shawnees left the White River, Euroamericans reoccupied some of their huts, old fields, and settlements. In 1829–1830, General Land Office surveyors mapped a large linear “improvement” along the White River in the general location of the Shawnee village as described in the historical records. The particular land tract containing the area was a farming and livestock enterprise during most of the 19th and 20th centuries and was purchased by the FS in the 1980s.
PIT volunteers helped investigate and map the remnants left from both the Shawnee and the Euroamerican occupation of the White River land tract. During off-hours, PIT volunteers visited Blanchard Springs Caverns and had the opportunity to see other attractions in the area.
The district and the forest would like to extend their appreciation to these individuals who helped document a portion of our heritage. We hope to see all of them soon on our next PIT project.