Cover image for Blue Jacket : warrior of the Shawnees
Blue Jacket : warrior of the Shawnees
Sugden, John, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 350 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.S35 S83 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Blue Jacket (ca. 1743-ca. 1808), or Waweyapiersenwaw, was the galvanizing force behind an intertribal confederacy of unparalleled scope that fought a long and bloody war against white encroachments into the Shawnees' homeland in the Ohio River Valley. Blue Jacket was an astute strategist and diplomat who, though courted by American and British leaders, remained a staunch defender of the Shawnees' independence and territory. In this arresting and controversial account, John Sugden depicts the most influential Native American leader of his time.

Author Notes

John Sugden is an independent scholar and a former associate editor of Oxford University Press's American National Biography project

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Sugden corrects the cultural arrogance that has mistakenly portrayed Blue Jacket, a Shawnee warrior and diplomat, as a white captive, thereby recasting his role in the confederation of Indian tribes that fought in 1780s to hold on to territory in what is now the Ohio River valley. From historical manuscripts and genealogies, Sugden pieced together the first biography of Blue Jacket, whose strategies were attributed to the legendary Tecumseh. Sugden recounts the Indian struggle to hold on to territory as the British and French pushed their trade westward and the Americans resisted further British expansion. The Shawnee and Blue Jacket were courted by both the British and the Americans but remained steadfast in their defense of Indian territory. Blue Jacket (whose first wife was a white woman and second wife was part French and part Shawnee) was well suited to bridge the various cultures at conflict over territory. Sugden details the bloody battles and complicated territory negotiations with whites as the Indian tribes struggled to maintain unity and hold onto their land. --Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

Sugden, author of both Tecumseh: A Life and Tecumseh's Last Stand, goes back one generation in the leadership of the Shawnee to examine the life of Blue Jacket. Dispelling the notion that Blue Jacket was a white pawn, Sugden shows that he was in reality the leader of a Native American confederacy that scored great victories against the United States until his ultimate defeat by Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He also mentored Tecumseh and influenced many of the ideas that would eventually be put into action by Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, also known as the Shawnee Prophet. Libraries interested in this highly recommended title should also consider Gregory E. Dowd's A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815 (John Hopkins Univ., 1991), which will help put both Blue Jacket's and Tecumseh's confederacies into context.DJohn R. Burch Jr., Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

For more than two hundred years the Shawnee leader Blue Jacket has been either a sidelight or a footnote to many histories of the Old Northwest. Sugden's book sets out to correct the oversight, and it succeeds. Sugden doesn't unearth new material. Rather, he offers a careful rereading of existing sources to place Blue Jacket at or near the center of Indian-Indian and Indian-white interactions over a 35-year span. Admittedly, reconstructing the fine details of Blue Jacket's life requires a great deal of conjecture; neither his birth nor death was recorded. Still, Sugden's "could haves" are well grounded in circumstance and context. When he discredits popular stories, like Thomas Jefferson Larsh's 1877 Ohio State Journal assertion that Blue Jacket was white captive Marmaduke van Sweringen, he points out errors or impossibilities. Blue Jacket's career as a military leader began in 1773 and reached its high point on November 4, 1791, when united warriors of many tribes routed St. Clair's army. Unfortunately for the Shawnees, Miamis, Delawares, and other Native inhabitants of the Ohio country, white incursion was "a rolling mass of humanity which [they] lacked the power to halt." Academic and regional collections. R. B. Way; University of Toledo

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. viii
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
1 Blue Jacket's Peoplep. 7
2 Beginningsp. 25
3 Defending the Dark and Bloody Groundp. 36
4 The Second War for Kentuckyp. 48
5 Trouble Is Coming upon Us Fastp. 65
6 The War for Ohiop. 76
7 Tomahawks and Tobaccop. 88
8 We Are Determined to Meet the Enemyp. 99
9 General Blue Jacket and Arthur St. Clairp. 113
10 All the Nations Are Now of One Mindp. 128
11 Just Rights and an Uncertain Warp. 142
12 The Expedition to Fort Recoveryp. 156
13 The Final Battlep. 172
14 We Must Think of War No Morep. 188
15 Living with Peacep. 208
16 Uneasy Retirementp. 218
17 Voices from the Westp. 233
Conclusionp. 254
List of Abbreviationsp. 265
Notesp. 267
Selected Bibliographyp. 317
Indexp. 335