General ”Mad Anthony” Wayne On The Cancellation Block. Senator J.D. Vance Defending Wayne, And You Can Too
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Confederate statues should be taken down, we’ve been told, because the Confederates were ”traitors” and ”losers.”

Confederate statues were canaries in the coal mine. Now all American history, and with it the legitimacy of the American nation, is under attack.

The latest target is General ”Mad” Anthony Wayne, of the Revolutionary and Indian Wars. Wayne fought for the United States and won. Now he’s on the chopping block.  

Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio is defending Wayne’s place in Ohio and American history. There’s a way that you can too, dear reader.


Native American tribes whom Gen. Anthony Wayne helped remove from Ohio more than 200 years now want to remove his name from the Southeast Ohio’s Wayne National Forest. The Forest Service on Monday [August 21] formally proposed changing the name of the 244,000-acre forest in the Appalachian foothills to the Buckeye National Forest, “in response to requests from American Indian Tribes and local community members.”
[Tribes want to rename Ohio’s Wayne National Forest. Sen. JD Vance does not, by Sabrina Eaton,, August 24, 2023]

What’s going on here?

A Forest Service press release said Wayne’s “complicated legacy includes leading a violent campaign against the Indigenous peoples of Ohio that resulted in their removal from their homelands,” and described the current forest name as “offensive because of this history of violence.”

The ”violent campaign” referred to was a U.S. military campaign against then-hostile tribes. Had Wayne not won, the U.S. Midwest as we know it would not exist.

It [the press release] said the tribes suggested the Buckeye National Forest name, since the buckeye is both Ohio’s state tree and the state’s nickname. Other names floated for the forest include ”Ohio National Forest” and “Koteewa National Forest.”

Senator Vance is opposing this. Good for him.

U.S. Sen. JD Vance on Thursday [August 24] asked top Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials to oppose the change. In a letter to Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore, Vance said the name change would denigrate Ohio history and represent “a lack of fidelity to our nation’s founding generation.”

Are any other senators supporting Vance on this? Are your senators? You might ask them.

Vance said calling Wayne’s legacy “complicated” is an “all-too-common dismissive, academic handwave that is beneath the dignity of the United States government.

“This sterile summarization is part of a wider federal trend that is replacing real people with abstract things and real histories with vapid anecdotes,” Vance continued. “Wayne heroically served our nation in a time when its continued existence was not a foregone conclusion. He fought wars and won peace for our government, the government you now serve, and hewed Ohio out of rugged wilderness and occupied enemy territory. Just as the United States would not exist without George Washington, Ohio would not exist without Anthony Wayne.”

Senator Vance gets it.

Wayne served as a general in the Revolutionary War and participated in the Constitutional Convention. His nickname was “Mad Anthony Wayne” either because of his bold military tactics, or his hot temper and penchant for “off-color language.” He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army by President George Washington and dispatched to subdue tribes who lived in Ohio.

According to Encyclopedia Britanica, Wayne ended Indian resistance when his seasoned force of 1,000 men routed the 2,000 warriors gathered for a final confrontation near Fort Miami on the Maumee River. His victory led to the 1795 treaty of Greenville, which ceded much of Ohio and parts of Indiana, Illinois and Michigan to the United States.

This article doesn’t mention the name of this strategic triumph. It was the Battle of Fallen Timbers, fought on August 20th, 1794 in what is now northwest Ohio.

One man in that ”seasoned force of 1,000 men” was my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Anthony Dunlevy, who had previously served at Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh) in the American Revolution.

That engagement was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, fought from 1785-1795, which gave the U.S. control of the ”Northwest Territory.”

Are the critics saying that shouldn’t be part of the United States?

It [the Forest Service Press release] was signed by the Chippewa, Delaware, Eel River, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Miami, Ottawa, Piankishaw, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Wea, and Wyandot Tribes, the Forest Service says. Many of the displaced tribes now live in Oklahoma, says Wayne National Forest Supervisor Lee Stewart.

So Indian tribes in my home state of Oklahoma are telling the government that a forest in Ohio can’t be named after the man who defeated their ancestors?

Stewart says the name change is being proposed to “listen to” and “better serve” the Tribal Nations and community members who objected to its old name. He said renaming it for the buckeye would embrace its identity “as Ohio’s only national forest and the welcoming, inclusive nature of the people of Ohio.”

Forest Service representatives said the Ohio name change was guided by a 2021 order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland which created a Federal Advisory Committee to address derogatory and offensive geographic names.

According to the Interior Department website, Deb Haaland is ”the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary,” although she’s actually half-Indian, her father being a Minnesota white man of Norwegian ancestry.

In 2022, they (the Forest Service representatives) began discussing the issue with federally recognized American Indian Tribes with ancestral ties to Ohio.

So they’re asking tribes ”with ancestral ties to Ohio” what they think of a forest in Ohio? Do I get a say in what goes on now in the states where my ancestors lived?

During those meetings, the tribes sought a name change for Wayne National Forest.

I wonder whose idea it was originally.

Representatives of the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Shawnee Tribe, Delaware Nation, Forest County Potawatomi, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, and Osage Nation actively participated in the name change discussion, Forest Service representatives said.

The Osage ? Their ancestors left the Ohio River Valley in the 1600s, a century before the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

“This has been a discussion that has been ongoing for some time now with a whole contingency of different tribes that are no longer in Ohio,” added Devon Frazier, of the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

She noted that the part of Ohio where the forest is located was the historic home for indigenous people for eons before Wayne arrived on the scene, and said she’s “very pleased” with the suggestion that it be renamed for the buckeye, which tribes used for purposes including food, medicine and adornments.


“The word buckeye itself was important, as it reflects things important to Ohio today and connects to the past of the indigenous people who were removed,” said Frazier.

Here’s how you can help:

The Forest Service is asking interested members of the public to share their thoughts on the name change by submitting comments to the [email protected] email address over the next two weeks. After reviewing public input, the Forest Service will make a recommendation to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has authority to change the name.

I recommend you send an email to that address and urge the USDA to retain the name of Wayne National Forest. Do it quickly, because the two-week period ends September 7th.

Stewart estimates changing the park’s name would cost around $400,000, mostly to replace signs. He predicts the transition would take less than a year. He declined to describe the nature of formal comments he’s received so far for fear of influencing results, but said there’s been “good public discourse.”

Comments on the proposal posted on the park’s Facebook page ranged from questions about the cost of the change, to criticism of the idea as “political correctness run amuck,” to support because “Wayne did some messed up stuff to the natives.”

Now for Senator Vance’s contribution to the defense of General Wayne.

Vance’s letter said the name change drive made him think “the USDA possesses such a low opinion of Ohioans that you believe us incapable of appreciating the complexities of American history,” and said he found it odd that Wayne’s name was regarded as “offensive because of this history of violence.”

“I submit to you that our nation was born in war and there would be little left of American history if we censored out all instances of violence,” Vance continued. “You say that you sought input from the American Indian Tribes. I suggest that you give due weight to the comments of Ohioans who live near Wayne National Forest or share an affection for General Wayne that comes with being his beneficiaries.”

Great point. Do residents of Ohio have any say in the matter?

He [Senator Vance] asked Vilsack and Moore to “reverse this misguided decision to rename Wayne National Forest.

“It would greatly benefit Ohioans, and all Americans, if our government could be counted on to defend our Founding Fathers instead of capitulating to politically motivated renaming efforts,” Vance concluded. “Until such courage can be found, I humbly recommend that the federal government disband all renaming committees.”

Yes, disband these committees.

It is not the first time that native tribes have objected to honoring Wayne. In 2019, members of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma told the Fort Wayne, Indiana, city council they were upset about a resolution it approved that designated an “Anthony Wayne Day” in the city named for the general, according to a report from

Diane Hunter, the tribe’s historic preservation officer, told the council the resolution it passed to honor Wayne incorrectly said “Wayne was merciful as he killed our people in order to take our land and that we were not merciful to invading armies.” She described that as “a skewed and offensive perspective.”

So how did somebody in the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma find out about a resolution in Fort Wayne, Indiana? It sounds like somebody was trying to stir things up.

Then there’s the ghost story.

In addition to popping up from time to time in controversies over his treatment of Native Americans, Wayne’s ghost is rumored to haunt an almost 400-mile Pennsylvania stretch of U.S. Route 322 because parts of his body were allegedly lost there when his corpse was moved from the site of his death, near Erie, Pennsylvania, for reburial closer to the family home in Pennsylvania’s Chester County. reports that Wayne’s ghost has also been spotted in areas such as U.S. Route 1, close to the Revolutionary War’s Brandywine battlefield, and at Fort Ticonderoga, lounging in a chair by the fireplace, smoking a pipe.


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