This splendid novel about an unsung hero of American history carries its prodigious learning lightly in order to tell vividly the authentic story of William Wellss remarkable life. Blacksnakes Path recreates an entire period (1770-1812), showing how the Indians lived, fought for their homeland, and dealt with defeat. Because Wells was always the man in the middle, moving between two clashing cultures, the novel also dramatizes the lives of the pioneers who settled the territory north of the Ohio River. In 1784, when he was thirteen, Wells was captured in Kentucky by the Miami and taken to Indiana, where he was adopted by the village chief and named Blacksnake. He experienced a vision quest, learned to hunt, went on the warpath, married, and fathered a son. On 4 November 1791 he fought by the side of the great Miami war chief Little Turtle at St. Clairs Defeat, the biggest victory the Indians ever won against the U. S. Army. His second wife was the chiefs daughter Sweet Breeze. A year later Wells switched sides and became head scout for General Mad Anthony Wayne at the decisive battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and was the interpreter between Wayne and Little Turtle at the Treaty of Greenville. For the remainder of his life, Wells served as Indian Agent for the Miami, taking Little Turtle and other chiefs to visit presidents Washington, Adams, and Jefferson in Philadelphia and Washington. In the early nineteenth century he was at the center of the conflict between Governor William Henry Harrisons land greed and Tecumsehs militant resistance. Wells died a martyr at the Fort Dearborn Massacre in 1812. Thus Blacksnakes Path tells the astonishing story of Wellss true adventures in an exciting narrative that provides a memorable and moving picture of the old Northwest frontier.
The True Adventures of William Wells