Trouble – of the Northwest Territory

This book caught my eye because it was set in the Northwest Territory on the Muskingum River. The Northwest Territory was the name given the land northwest of the original thirteen colonies following the Revolutionary War. It eventually became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota. I was born and raised in Ohio, through which the Muskingum River flows. The time of the story must have been after the American Revolution but before Ohio became the first state carved out of the Northwest Territory in 1803.

Twelve-year-old Jeremiah Walker lives with his pa, ma, baby sister, and pet raccoon named Trouble on the Muskingum River in the Northwest Territory. Their new neighbors, Mr. Daniels and his sixteen-year-old son Jedd, hate Indians because Mrs. Daniels and Jedd’s sisters were killed by Indians. Jeremiah and Jedd become friends, but all Jedd wants to do is hunt and kill Indians. Trouble’s antics lead Jeremiah to get lost and hurt, but in the process he makes a new friend in Andrew, a Moravian Indian of the Delaware tribe, most of whose people had been massacred by American soldiers. When Jedd becomes very ill after infection sets in following a bear attack, only Andrew and his mother Esther have the means to cure him, but will the Daniels let them do so?

From a historical standpoint, there is an important tie in with the work of Moravian missionary David Zeisberger among the Indians in the Muskingum River valley around Schoenbrunn and Gnadenhutten (now state monuments in Ohio and near where we once lived). Plus there are valuable lessons about obedience to parents and overcoming prejudice. Trust in God and seeking His will are emphasized in an exciting historical fiction adventure story. Trouble—of the Northwest Territory was a fortuitous find.

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