Bouquet's Camp

Near the Coshocton site of the camp of Revolutionary War figure Colonel Henry Bouquet (located off SR 83 near County Road 24), a ghost on horseback is often seen. He is assumed to be the ghost of Bouquet himself, and his ghost is most frequently seen near the old watering trough from his campsite. Denman Bridge is a nearby landmark.

Bouquet was Swiss-born and fought for the Dutch early in his career, but he eventually led British forces in the New World during major Indian conflicts. After the Battle of Bushy Run in April of 1763, he forced allied tribes to surrender, putting an end to the engagement known as Pontiac's War. He made camp near Bolivar in 1764, then moved to present-day Coshocton, where the Indians made an unconditional surrender in late October.

Col. Bouquet had nothing but contempt for the Indians, whom he casually referred to as "savages." When representatives of the warring tribes arrived at his camp at Bolivar, the Delaware chieftain acting as their spokesman made polite overtures. "Brother," he said, "this war was neither your fault nor ours. It was the work of nations who live to the westward, and of our wild young men, who would have killed us if we had resisted them. We now put away all evil from our hearts, and we hope that your mind and ours will once more be united together."

But Bouquet wasn't in the mood to bury the hatchet. His response: "The excuses you have offered are frivolous and unavailing, and your conduct is without defence or apology.... I am now come among you to force you to make atonement for the injuries you have done us. I have brought with me the relatives of those you have murdered. They are eager for vengeance, and nothing restrains them from taking it but my assurance that this army shall not leave your country until you have given them an ample satisfaction."

The Indians--Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo, among others--surrendered to Bouquet and returned English captives, as depicted in the Benjamin West painting shown above. They were left with orders to continue to northern New York, where they were to offer themselves to Sir William Johnson, the Superintendant of Indian Affairs, who could negotiate an official peace. Bouquet took prisoner of his own from the chiefs and departed for Fort Pitt, where he arrived on November 28.

Though clearly unsympathetic and as racist as any of the colonialist conquerors of his day, Colonel Bouquet was not the monster he clearly could have been. He executed no one and, threats notwithstanding, took no vengeance on the defeated Indian tribes. In fact, neither side suffered a single casualty during Bouquet's remarkably successful campaigns.

Bouquet's next assignment took him to Pensacola, where he took command of West Florida. It was there that he died, of yellow fever, on September 2, 1765. But his ghost haunts the site of his greatest victory, not his death, and is seen frequently in Coshocton County.

This first-hand account of an encounter with Bouquet was e-mailed to me:

Back in the summer of 1991, I was 16 years old and had just gotten my driver's license that spring. One summer night, I was visiting a friend who lived in the country a few miles from the Bouquet campsite location. It was very late, past 2AM. CR24 is a narrow 2-lane road with a steep hillside on one side and low farmland along the river on the other. As I rounded a curve in the road, I saw ahead of me a figure on horseback blocking the road. I hit the brakes of course, thinking I was lucky I wasn't going very fast. Whoever he was, he just sat there looking at me, not reacting. I remember some details fairly well. The horse was dark brown or black and its eyes had that glow in them like when you take a picture of your cat, but it could have just been the headlights. The rider was a man in some unusual period-looking riding clothes, and although he was wearing a hat, I could not see his face, even with the headlights on. It was a warm night, and my car windows were down, so I do remember I could hear the horse snort and the rider's saddle creak as the pair turned from me and started walking slowly down the side of the road away from me. I was startled, but I guess I remember thinking that it must have been a local farmer who liked to ride his horse at night. There were several farms in the area, after all. As for the clothes, well, to each his own. I drove slowly on, giving the guy plenty of space to pass. I recall the odd sensation that as I started to accelerate past him, he seemed to be flanking me for a few seconds, matching my increasing speed, with his animal's odd eyes staring in my passsenger window. Then he was gone. I glanced in my rearview and saw nothing in my tailight glow, either.

I didn't think about it again for over a year until one night I was having an overcaffeinated conversation at the local truck stop with some school friends and this girl was telling me all about this book she was reading called Haunted Ohio and how there was a section in it about Coshocton and this legend of a horseback rider who can be seen some nights riding along County Road 24. I guess that's when I figured out I had witnessed the ghost rider firsthand.

Wikipedia: Henry Bouquet



Kopperman, Paul E. "The Captive's Return: Bouquet's Victory." Timeline. April-May 1990: 2-15.