We are not the first to recognize the richness and beauty of this land. Prehistoric Indian cultures built a variety of earthworks throughout the region, while the Shawnee Indians considered the Paint Valley home.
Conflicts often arose between the original holders of the Ohio country and the white settlers invading from the east. A Shawnee named Waw-will-a-way became a victim of this strife when he was unjustly accused of scalping a white man. This Indian encountered three white men in the Paint Valley bent on revenge for the scalping. They shot him in the chest, yet he killed one and severely wounded the other two before he succumbed. His funeral pyre laid at the peaceful confluence of the Paint and Rattlesnake creeks.
The waters of the creeks provided a source of power for early mills. Grinding grain, processing wool and sawing wood were all facilitated by the waters flowing over dams constructed in the creeks. Many of the original dams were made of only earth and wood and were washed out by annual floods. One such mill, Crawford's Mill, was built at a place later called Hewitt's Crossing on Paint Creek. The site now lies beneath the waters of the reservoir. Construction of the dam on Paint Creek started in 1967, and the site was dedicated as a state park in 1972.
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