BWAHS program details life of Chief Leatherlips


SUNBURY — Elias Lewis, portrayed by Roger Roberts, will present the story of his dear friend, Chief Leatherlips, to the Big Walnut Area Historical Society via YouTude beginning April 10.

One of the earliest programs in the Myers Inn was Jim Thompson, of Linworth, telling about “Bill Moose, the Last of the Wyandots” in 2008. He had purchased a painting by Hal Sherman showing Bill Moose and his parents putting tobacco on Chief Leatherlips’ grave during their annual trip from Upper Sandusky to make maple syrup on Thompson’s family land.

Thompson went on to purchase other paintings by Sherman, including the “Execution of Leatherlips.” Today, three of Sherman’s paintings about the Wyandots are on loan to the Myers Inn Museum from Thompson.

After the signing of the Greenville Treaty in 1795, Chief Leatherlips continued to help the settlers in the area which made the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, who was organizing the tribes to rebel against the settlers, angry. He and Chief Roundhead decided to try Leatherlips, find him guilty and execute him. Knowing what was going to happen, Leatherlips asked his friend, Elias Lewis, to witness his execution in 1810. The witnesses also included William Sells, who was 20 years old. Sixty years later, he recorded the events of the day.

Portraying Lewis, Roberts has told a short version of this story over the years to third grade classes visiting the Myers Inn. He will give a full version on YouTube.

Roberts is a retired Big Walnut High School history teacher and guidance counselor. He presently serves as a trustee for the Big Walnut Area Historical Society, plays the town crier at community events, instructs groups in the Sunbury United Methodist Church, attends many Big Walnut athletic events, and plans the historical society’s monthly programs.

All members who receive the BWAHS newsletter via email will get a link by email as a reminder. A link to the program is also available at

The Myers Inn Museum, which faces the southwest corner of Sunbury Square, is open for tours on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. Private tours may be arranged by calling 740-965-3582 and leaving a message.


Submitted story

Submitted by the Big Walnut Area Historical Society.

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