Blackfish (c.1729-1779) Shawnee Leader

Blackfish (c. 1729-1779) Shawnee Leader

Little is known about him, since he only appears in written historical records during the last three years of his life, primarily because of his interactions with the famous American frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton.

When the Shawnees were defeated by Virginia in Dunmore’s War in 1774 , the resulting peace treaty made the Ohio River the boundary between western Virginia (what is now Kentucky and West Virginia) and American Indian lands in the Ohio Country. Although this treaty was agreed to by Shawnee leaders such as Cornstalk, Blackfish and a number of other leaders refused to acknowledge the loss of their traditional hunting grounds in Kentucky.

Violence along the border escalated with the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775. As a result, the Chillicothe Shawnees moved their town on the Scioto River further west to the Little Miami River, near what is now Xenia, Ohio. Encouraged and supplied by British officials in Detroit, Blackfish and others launched raids against American settlers in Kentucky, hoping to drive them out of the region. In revenge for the murder of Cornstalk by American militiamen in November 1777, Blackfish set out on an unexpected winter raid in Kentucky, capturing American frontiersman Daniel Boone and a number of others on the Licking River on February 7, 1778. Boone, respected by the Shawnees for his extraordinary hunting skills, was taken back to Chillicothe and adopted into the tribe. The traditional tale is that Boone was adopted by Blackfish himself, although historian John Sugden suggests that Boone was probably adopted by another family.

Boone escaped in June 1778 when he learned that Blackfish was launching a siege of the Kentucky settlement of Boonesborough, which commenced in September of that year. The siege of Boonesborough was unsuccessful, and the Kentuckians, led by Colonel John Bowman, counterattacked Chillicothe the following spring. This raid was also unsuccessful, but Blackfish was shot in the leg, a wound which became infected and was eventually fatal.


  • Faragher, John Mack. Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer. New York: Holt, 1992.
  • Lofaro, Michael. Daniel Boone: An American Life. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2003.
  • Sugden, John. “Blackfish” in American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Piqua Shawnee


Pioneer Days, Simon Kenton Festival, Piqua Shawnee

Students learn, have fun at Pioneer Days,  Simon Kenton Festival 

The Ledger Independent by DIANNA POTTORFF

MAYSVILLE — Students from Mason County Intermediate School received history lessons Friday about the early days of Kentucky.

The students traveled to Old Washington for the annual Pioneer Days where they learned about crops grown, what homes looked like, played old-fashioned games and had a chance to pet horses and oxen.

“This is a great learning experience for the students,” Kim Galloway, special education teacher said. “They got to see a lot of things they would never get to experience.”

Abby Collen-Nickell, Madison Hardin and Kionna Alexander said they had a lot of fun singing the old songs as Mary McGlone played the dulcimer.

High school volunteers Sarah Crason, Constance Craig and Grace Huber, dressed in periodic clothing, played old-fashioned games such as duck-duck-goose and hopscotch with the students while other students took a moment to eat lunch on the old courthouse lawn.

Other students took turns petting Gerry Barker’s oxen while others learned how to throw hatchets and use a bow and arrow from Josh Kriger.

Students also learned about the goods that were used in the pioneer days.

Piqua Shawnee Chief Gary Hunt, along with other Native American volunteers, took time to speak with the students about the roles Indians played back in those days.

This is Hunt’s 12th year in the re-enactment as Simon Kenton was adopted by a Shawnee tribe.

“The organizers wanted to bring my people and the Kentons back together for a type of reunion,” he said. “I enjoy my time here. It is a chance to portray history without dealing with the politics.”

Hunt said he enjoys seeing the children faces as they get enjoyment seeing Native Americans.

“We are bringing real history to them,” he said. “I enjoy being in the land of my ancestors.”