Hocking County Ohio

Chief Logan

Logan, the county seat of Hocking County, was named in
honor of Chief Logan of the Mingo Indian tribe.

Excerpted from the account: Thrilling Adventures Among the American Indians by Edward S. Ellis, 1905

Some indicate that the Mingo were part of the Iroquois (Seneca) that left the Iroquois between 1740 and 1750 and migrated to Western Pennsylvania, the Ohio Country and West Virginia. George Washington’s 1753-54 map of the Ohio Country shows Mingo Town about 20 miles below present Pittsburgh, about two miles below Logs Town. Another anonymous map of the Ohio drawn about 1755 shows the notation at the same location that “Senecas moved from here last summer."  These two sources indicate that the Mingos were also considered as Senecas. Yet, notes of Thomas Jefferson 1784 shows Mingos as numbering 60 in 1779 and living on the Scioto River in Ohio, also there the Shawnee. Jefferson lists the Mingos as separate from the Senecas, who he shows as numbering 650 in 1779 and living in the north.

According to Boyd Crumrine’s History of Washington County, Pennsylvania , when the first white man penetrated the Monongahela and Allegheny River Valleys, the land was partially occupied by roving bands of Indians whose primary settlements were near the confluence of the rivers. However, they had in the interior a few transient villages or camps. These were chiefly Delaware or Shawnee, but they had living among them several colonized bands of Iroquois called “Mingos” who had been sent by the powerful Six Nations of the Iroquois to live among their vassals, the Delaware. In 1768 the “castle” of the “White Mingo” was on the Allegheny River a few miles above its mouth. The word Mingo is said to be a corruption of mingwe, an Algonquin word meaning “stealthy” or “treacherous. English colonists used the term to describe Iroquois bands that had migrated to western Pennsylvania by 1740. There are accounts of forts that were attacked by the Mingo in what is now present day West Virginia. Most renowned of the Mingos is Chief Logan. Chief Logan was born in Pennsylvania, and by the time he moved to the Ohio Country in 1770, he viewed many whites as his friends. Even as he became war chief of the Yellow Creek village of Mingo Indians, he urged them not to attack the settlers. But his attitude changed on in 1774, when a group of Virginians murdered a dozen Mingos, including Logan's mother and sister. Logan took revenge, conducting raids and killing 13 settlers. Virginia Governor Lord John Dunmore sent soldiers to build a fort and do battle. Eventually, other tribes settled for peace. But Logan spent the remainder of his life fulfilling his pledge to kill English settlers. Logan, although one of the bravest of men, loved peace above war. Throughout the dark years before and during the plotting of Pontiac, he took no part except that of peacemaker. In time he became a most bitter enemy of the race, and if ever an Indian had good reason for such enmity, he was Logan.

In the spring of 1774, several white explorers in the Ohio country said they had been robbed by Indians of a number of horses, although it is by no means certain that such was the fact, or that, if the theft took place, that the thieves were not white men. The explorers claimed that the Indians should be taught a lesson that would prevent any more outrages.  The infamous Colonel Michael Cresap gathered a party of men as evil as himself, the members coming together on the site of the present city of Wheeling, West Virginia. Learning that some Indians were near at hand, Cresap made ready to attack them. The question of their guilt or innocence was of no concern to him. He knew he had enough men to defeat the small company, and that was all he cared to know before acting. The violence unleashed by Creasap's men spread unabated across the region, culminating in an incident that, even by frontier standards, was distinguished by its cold-blooded brutality.

In 1773, a Mingo headman named Johnny Logan and a small band of followers had established a village thirty miles north of Wheeling, near the mouth of Yellow Creek (close to present-day Wellsville, Ohio). Logan was the oldest son of Johnny Shikellamy, and both father and son were well known along the western border for their steadfast loyalty to the British. During the Seven Years War, Shikellamy and his family had sought refuge at Thomas McKee's trading post. There can be little doubt that Logan and Alexander McKee knew one another well, but the extent of their contact during the spring of 1774 is unknown.
Logan's home lay opposite the site of Joshua Baker's Virginia homestead and trading post. Baker and the Mingos had lived peacefully ever since Logan's arrival. But in early May, a group of Virginians, led by Daniel Greathouse, methodically lured ten members of the Mingo village to Baker's trading post where, over the course of the afternoon, they were murdered. Among the dead were several members of Logan's immediate family, including his mother and brother. Greathouse and his companions also killed Logan's sister as she carried her newborn infant on her back.

The incident began on May 1, when two men asked Capt. Michael Myers of Washington County, Pennsylvania, to guide them over to the west side of the Ohio River where they wished to travel up Yellow Creek and examine some land a few miles from the stream's confluence with the Ohio. Myers's party did not have permission to be in Indian territory and crossed the Ohio at dusk to avoid detection. Camping for the night a short distance from their destination, Myers and the two men were wakened later that evening by the loud rattling of a bell attached to one of their horses. Investigating, they discovered an Indian apparently in the act of stealing the animal. Myers shot and killed the Indian. A short while later, a second Indian, drawn to the site by the report of Myers's rifle, also was executed. Frightened, Myers and his two companions fled back to Virginia and Baker's trading post. Worried that their actions would prompt a retaliatory raid from the Yellow Creek Indians, Myers sent word to Greathouse and other neighbors within the vicinity to assemble at Baker's and prepare an ambush. Although Baker was not present, by dawn, thirty-two men were lying in wait.

The following morning, unaware that the perpetrators of the previous evening’s violence awaited them, eight members of Logan's band crossed the river to Baker's. Among the group were four men and three women, including Logan's brother, mother, and sister who carried her two-month-old infant on her back. Logan's band had frequently visited Baker's post and usually spent their time buying liquor, milk, and other small items. Today, Nathaniel Tomlinson, Baker's brother-in-law, was more generous than usual with his liquor and eventually invited the Indians to take part in a shooting match. As the contest began, one of the Indians, John Petty, who was somewhat intoxicated, wandered through the trading post. Coming upon Tomlinson's regimental coat and hat, he put them on and swaggered through the house claiming, "I am a White Man." The action insulted Tomlinson, and when the Indians discharged their weapons at a target, he grabbed his rifle and shot Petty as he stood in the doorway. The shot was a signal for Greathouse and the others to come out of hiding and attacked the remainder of the Mingos.

The attack was swift and brutal. John Sappington, one of the Virginians, shot and killed Logan's brother and then scalped him. For years after, Sappington took particular delight in boasting of the feat and described the trophy, which still was adorned with trade silver, as a "very fine one." Logan's sister was panic stricken; she ran across the courtyard in front of the trading post and stopped six feet in front of one of Greathouse's men. in the split second that their eyes met, he put a bullet into her forehead. Grabbing the infant from her cradleboard, he took hold of its ankles and was about to dash its brains out when one of his companions intervened to save the child's life. The remaining Indians also were shot or tomahawked. Within seconds, all the Mingos were dead. The savagery of the attack was astounding, and even James Chambers, a neighbor of Baker's who was not present, declared that the murderers "appeared to have lost, in a great degree, all sentiments of humanity as well as the effects of civilization."

Alarmed by the gunfire from across the river, seven other members of Logan's camp started across the Ohio in two canoes to investigate. Greathouse and his men spread out in the underbrush on the eastern shore and fired on the Mingos as they neared land, killing two and sending the others back in retreat. A second group of Mingos attempted another landing, but like the first, was turned away by Greathouse and his companions.

The fearful outrage against the red man brought on a war in which occurred one of the most remarkable battles between the two races that has ever been fought in our history. The event, for some reason, has not attracted the attention it deserves. Logan was changed from a warm, unselfish friend of the white people into their bitter enemy, and he left his home with only eight warriors. Instead of attacking the settlements on the Ohio, where everybody expected the first blow would fall, he passed them by and made his way to the Muskingum, where nobody dreamed of danger.

The fist white men seen were three who were pulling flax in a field. One of them was shot down, and the others taken prisoner. They traveled a long distance through the forest to the Indian village where it was ordered that the captives should run the gauntlet. This consists of the unarmed person dashing between two rows of his captors, standing a few feet from each other, all armed with clubs or knives which they strike at the unfortunate as he speeds forward and tries to dodge the cruel blows. If he succeeds in reaching the extremity of the double line, he is sometimes spared or allowed to make a break for liberty. But the ordeal is so dreadful that not one in a hundred survives it. Logan did not like any kind of torture, and he told one of the captives how he could escape many of the blows aimed at him. The man survived, but the Indians condemned him to be burned at stake. Logan pleaded for his life…he cut the cords and caused his adoption into an Indian family.

The Shawnees and Delawares had suffered many wrongs and outrages, and they now joined in the war against the whites. The Virginia Legislature was in session when the news reached that body, and Governor Dunmore ordered the preparation of three thousand men to march against the Indians. One half of the force, under the command of General Andrew Lewis, was to march to the mouth of the Kanawha, while the governor was to lead the other half to a point on the Ohio, in order to strike the Indian towns between the two. The movement of Lewis was to draw off the main body of warriors, leaving the way open for the governor. Having destroyed the towns, he was then to form a junction with General Lewis at Point Pleasant, subsequent action of the army to be guided by circumstances. General Lewis with eleven hundred men began his march on September 11 for Point Pleasant, 160 miles distant following the Great Kanawha. The whole distance led through a wilderness without trails (known to white men), but the force had a veteran scout of the frontier to guide them over the best route. They reached their destination on the last day of the month, and formed an intrenched (sic) camp. Lewis waited for more than a week for the coming of Dunmore, but he did not arrive, and the officer was in a quandary. The action of Governor Dunmore laid him open to the gravest charges.

On the morning of October 10, while General Lewis was still wondering and perplexed over his failure to hear from Governor Dunmore, a white man came to him with a startling story. While he and a companion were hunting deer, they ran upon a camp of a numerous body of Indians in their war paint. They fired upon the hunters and killed one, the other escaping with great difficulty by fleet running. The news brought by this messenger left no doubt that a large force of red men were hurrying to attack the soldiers. It is said that General Lewis coolly lit his pipe and smoked for several minutes while reflecting upon the situation. He then ordered his brother, Colonel Charles Lewis, and another officer of similar rank to reconnoiter the approaching enemy, while the commander arranged to support them. The two regiments had gone barely a fourth of a mile when they met the Indians, advancing to the attack. It was early in the morning and the battle opened immediately. The Virginians had not forgotten the lesson of Braddock’s defeat, and fought in the same fashion as their opponents, taking advantage of the trees, bushes, roughness of the ground, and every object that afforded protection. The conflict was long and desperate. The uniform of Colonel Lewis drew the attention of the warriors, and he soon fell mortally wounded. The Indians speedily proved their superiority and put the soldier to flight, after having shot down a large number. In the crisis of the disorderly retreat, when a general massacre was imminent, reinforcements arrived, and, by their firmness, checked the pursuit and compelled the Indians in turn to take refuse behind a breastwork of logs and bush, which they had been wise enough to prepare for such a check.

The redskins displayed rare military skill, for the breastwork alluded to extended clean across a neck of land from river to river. They had placed men on both sides of the stream, so that if the Virginians were defeated, not one of them would have been able to save himself. It is claimed that the battle which followed was the most hotly contested of any ever fought between white and red men. The Indians did not scramble for the breastwork, but gave way, foot by foot, as may be said, contesting the ground with an obstinacy that more than once made the issue doubtful. Colonel Lewis having fallen, his brother officer, Colonel Fleming, was twice wounded, but kept his command and animated others by his coolness and daring. When the reinforcements arrived at the critical moment, the tide was turned, but Colonel Field was killed and Colonel Fleming, already twice hurt, was shot through the lungs, but still refused to give place to any other officer. Behind that blazing breastwork were fifteen hundred brave warriors of the Shawnee, Delaware, Mingo, Wyandot, and Cayoga tribes under the lead of Logan, Cornstalk, Red Eagle, and other famous chiefs.

Cornstalk was the head sachem, and the attacking soldiers hear his ringing commands many times above the din of battle. When he saw one of this frightened men trying to run away, he sent his tomahawk into his brain. He dashed from side to side of the long line, cheering all by his example. The battle lasted from morning until late in the afternoon, something, as has been said, unknown in similar circumstances, and still the Indians held their ground, despite the repeated and desperate charges of the soldiers. General Lewis became intensely anxious. He was distressed at the sight of his men who fell at every rush. He saw that the Indians must be routed before night or the Virginians were almost sure to suffer disastrous defeat. He sent three companions who favored by the forest, reached the rear of the enemy unobserved. They then dashed to the attack. The warriors did not believe they were part of the force they had been fighting for hours, but thought they were reinforcements and that the Indians’ only safety lay in instant flight. Just as the sun was setting, they retreated across the Ohio and made for their towns along that river. The loss of the soldiers included nine officers and about fifty privates, with nearly a hundred of them wounded. That of the Indians is not known, but it is not likely that it exceeded that of the whites. Judging by those who were killed and wounded, the circumstances, and the length of the conflict, the battle of Point Pleasant in the autumn of 1774 seems to justify the claim that it was the hardest fought one that ever took place between the American and Caucasian races.

After burying his dead, General Lewis withdrew agreeably to the commands of Governor Dunmore. The latter advanced to within a few miles of the leading Indian town on the Chillicothe, for the purpose of treating with the tribes, from whom he had already received requests to do so. The meetings were marked with distrust on both sides. Cornstalk, in an indignant speech, laid the whole blame of the war upon the whites, due mainly to the murder of Logan’s family. Governor Dunmore showed much tact, and in the end, secured the pledges of the leading chiefs to the peace he sought. Among the sachems who signed the treaty, the name of Logan did not appear, nor would he go to the conference. Lord Dunmore was so anxious to obtain his name that he sent a special messenger to the cabin of the Mingo, a long distance away in the woods. When this messenger explained his business to Logan, the later led him a little way from his cabin, and the two sat down beside each other on a fallen tree. The sachem gave his assent to the treaty, and in doing so, uttered that memorable speech which will live as long as man can admire eloquence, pathos and truth: 

“I appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat;  if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not.“  During the course of the long, bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate of peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed and said, ‘Logan is the friend of the white man. “I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relatives of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. “There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.”

The remainder of the life of Logan was sad. His friends were all dead. His tribe was broken up. His hunting ground had gone to make corn fields for the white man. He wandered about from tribe to tribe, dejected and broken-hearted, a solitary and lonely man. He took to drink and partially lost his mind.
In the dusk of the evening he sat before his camp fire, at the foot of a tree, with a blanket over his head, his elbows resting on his knees, and his head resting on his hands. An Indian who had been offended at something Logan had said at a council stole up behind him and sank a tomahawk into his brain.

transcribed by Sandra Cummins

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