The OTTAWA were Algonkian-speaking hunters, gatherers, and fishers, with limited maize agriculture, when first encountered in 1634 as the Chevaux Relevez on Manitoulin Island in northern Lake Huron. Famed as middlemen in the French fur trade, they fled west when the New York Iroquois expelled the Huron Confederacy from Ontario. Living in mixed Huron-Wyandot villages at French posts in the western Great Lakes, many of the Ottawa settled at Detroit in 1713. While most of them returned to northern Michigan in 1715, some moved across the Detroit River, and after 1730 several groups relocated to Maumee and Sandusky Bay. The Ottawa continued to be active in the fur trade of northern Ohio, forming the largest group at Saguin's post on the Cuyahoga in 1742-43. Ottawa (or Tawa) villages are shown along the Middle Cuyahoga on several maps made between 1755-78, and Robert Rogers encountered Ottawa hunters there in 1760. In 1786 John Heckewelder established PILGERRUH below TINKER'S CREEK on a recently abandoned Ottawa village, although he did not show any Ottawa settlement on his 1796 map. Journals of the CONNECTICUT LAND CO. survey party and subsequent accounts of early settlers suggest that there were groups living on the west side of the Cuyahoga until 1805, although most Ottawa families removed to the Sandusky (1797), and later (1813) to the Maumee River reservation as white settlement in Cleveland increased. By 1838 these had left for Michigan or the Trans-Mississippi west. A few scattered Ottawa families were still reported to live in southern Summit County as late as 1842.
See also OGONTZ, AMERICAN INDIANS.