962 Long Road
Xenia, OH 45385
A popular history states that Blue Jacket was the Shawnee name for Marmaduke Van Swearingen, a white settler who was born in Fayette, Pennsylvania and spent his childhood on the Ohio frontier. Van Swearingen came to love the Shawnee ways and joined the tribe, eventually rising to the office of war chief. Other historians point out that Blue Jacket came to prominence during Lord Dunmore’s War of 1774, when Von Swearingen was 11, if the birth date in his family bible is correct. Blue Jacket was not described as a white man until a descendent of Van Swearingen’s claimed that the Pennsylvania settler and the Shawnee war chief were one and the same, in a letter to a newspaper 67 years after Blue Jacket’s death.
Whatever the truth, the Van Swearingen version of the story was presented each summer in “Blue Jacket”, an outdoor drama housed in an enormous open-air theater near Xenia, Ohio. It was a thrilling show, which we greatly enjoyed, and hope returns to the Caesar Creek area soon.
Caesar Creek, which runs through the property south of the vineyard, was named for an African slave named Caesar, who (depending on the source) either escaped from servitude on his own or was taken captive by the Shawnee Indians during a raid in the 1700’s. In either case, Caesar was adopted into the tribe and remained with them for the rest of his life in the Caesar Creek area. It was a turbulent time for the Shawnee, who were engaged in a war against the white settlers. Caesar participated in many battles of this war, under the famous Shawnee war chief Blue Jacket.