: This image is a black-and-white photograph of “The Signing of the Treaty of Greeneville,” an oil painting by Howard Chandler Christy that depicts the historic peace settlement signed in 1795. Completed in 1945, the painting hangs near the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse. The official unveiling of “The Signing of the Treaty of Greeneville” occurred in August 1945 during a series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the treaty. The painting measures 17 by 22 feet.
On August 20, 1794, an American army commanded by General Anthony Wayne defeated a Native American force led by Blue Jacket of the Shawnee at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. After this defeat, Indians living in the western portion of modern-day Ohio knew that they had to sue for peace. In January 1795, representatives from the various tribes met with Wayne at Fort Greene Ville. The Americans and natives spent the next eight months negotiating a treaty. Christy’s painting depicts the formal signing of the treaty, which occurred on August 3, 1795.
Among the historic figures represented in Christy’s painting figures are Little Turtle of the Miami Indians (offering a wampum belt); General Anthony Wayne, the tall uniformed officer standing with a sword and scabbard at his side; William Clark; and William Henry Harrison (Wayne’s aide-de-camp at the Battle of Fallen Timbers). Sitting directly behind Little Turtle are Native American leaders Tarhe and Blue Jacket. (A color photo of the painting makes it easy to identify Blue Jacket.)
The treaty confined the Native Americans to the northwestern section of Ohio. They retained hunting rights on the land they ceded, and the white people were allowed to establish some trading posts in Indian territory. The Indians also received $20,000 worth of goods for signing the treaty. Annually the Indians also were to receive $9,500 in goods that they would divide among themselves. However, in subsequent years many Indians refused to honor the agreement. White settlers continued to move onto the contested land. Violence continued between these two peoples. Native American leaders like Tecumseh and the Prophet would emerge in the early 1800s to carry on the Indian struggle to regain their lost land.
Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952) was born in Ohio and spent his youth on his parents' farm near Duncan Falls. His mother encouraged Christy's interest in painting and drawing. The young man studied art in New York City under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase, who encouraged his students to paint in a realistic style. Christy, who followed his mentor’s advice, began illustrating books and magazine articles. During the Spanish-American War, Christy accompanied American soldiers into battle, and his battlefield sketches, which were published in leading national magazines, made him famous. After the war his popularity soared after he created the image of the so-called “Christy girl,” who was “high-bred, aristocratic and dainty though not always silken-skirted,” according to her creator. During World War I, he drew posters encouraging his fellow Americans to support the war effort. Once again, the "Christy girl" figured prominently in his artwork.
Following the world war, Christy painted portraits of well-known Americans, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Eddie Rickenbacker. Later in his career he painted commemorative paintings of historical events. His most famous painting from this era depicts the signing of the United States Constitution. It hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Building. Two of Christy's works from this period also hang in the Ohio Statehouse.
Christy died in 1952 in New York City.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL04501 Subjects
: Christy, Howard Chandler, 1873-1952; Artists--Ohio; History paintings; Greenville (Ohio); Treaty of Green Ville (1795); Cultural Ohio--Art and Artists Places
: Greenville (Ohio); Darke County (Ohio); Columbus (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio)