Chief Shateyaronyah, aka Chief Leather Lips, met his death at the hands of fellow Wyandot tribal members in the forests around what is now Dublin, Ohio in 1810. His story is remembered and honored at both his grave site and a modern sculpture in a Dublin City Park.
The cause of the execution of Chief Leather Lips can be traced back to the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which took place near the Maumee River in what is now the State of Ohio. On August 20, 1794 the Legion of the United States engaged a confederacy of Indian Tribes. The Legion of the United States (The US Army forces) led by General “Mad Antony” Wayne defeated the tribes, including Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandotte, Chippewa, Pottawattamie, Miami and Ottawa . This decisive victory has been called one of the most important in the development of the U. S. as it opened up the 5 state Northwest Territory. Following the defeat, the Treaty of Greeneville was signed in 1795. Chief Leather Lips was a signatory of the treaty. Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was not thrilled with the Treaty, to say the least, and was outraged at Chief Leather Lips agreeing to the treaty terms.
Now let us fast forward to June, 1810. Leather Lips is living in the area of what is now Dublin, Ohio and has developed a good relationship with the frontier settlers in the area. However, some of his fellow Wyandotte tribal members were still angry at his dealings with the settlers. A council trial was called, and Leather Lips was accused of witchcraft, of all things. A six member council accused him of causing a healthy man to get sick, and the same charge against a horse. Frontiersmen were at the “trial”, and some attempted to buy Leather Lips freedom. Failing to secure his release, the Chief’s friends could only watch in horror as the events played to the bloody conclusion. Leather Lips donned his fanciest attire, and was marched into the forest to a previously excavated grave. The death chants were spoken, and Leather Lips was killed with repeated blows from a tomahawk. His executioners claimed that his guilt was proven by the sweat that poured from him during the execution.
A grave stone was erected at the site of the execution in 1889 by “The Wyandot Club”, a small social club that formed after the Civil War. It pursued the saving of historical sites that were disappearing due to the rapid expansion of development in the area. An acre of ground was purchased from the farm family who originally procured the land in 1830. This stone is still in place at the corner of Stratford Avenue and Riverside.
A very striking monument to Chief Leather Lips was erected in 1990. Located at 7377 Riverside Drive in Dublin, Ohio, this remarkable sculpture by artist Ralph Helmick is made entirely of limestone blocks and overlooks the Scioto River. The city park is a beautiful setting, and is used for picnics, parties, and other activities. In addition, the day we were there, several kids were using the steep drive from the sculpture to the park by the river bank as a skate boarding route.
Dublin is filled with history. The story of Chief Leather Lips can be considered an important part of that history. A visit to the area should be on any history buff’s itinerary.
Personal travel experience