Today I am reminded of Logan, the Mingo Indian leader who once called these hills of West Virginia home. His certainly was a tale of woe. I've always thought of Logan as a decent man, and one who was but a victim of his times.
Many locations throughout West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio bear his name, but I wonder how many remember the man?
Legend has it that Logan was a friend to the white settlers, he gave them food and shelter when they needed it, and even went out of his way to maintain peace among the tribes and the white settlements. It was only when a party of white men led by Daniel Greathouse brutally murdered Logan's brother, wife, daughter and other kin did Logan seek vengeance. It is recorded that Logan's daughter was pregnant at the time, and her baby was cut out of her and beat against some nearby rocks, and the men proceeded to torture her to death. They say when Logan found the bodies of his fallen kinsman, he fell to the ground in a dead faint.
Logan proved to be as capable in war as he was a bulwark for peace, and his actions are believed to have been one of the leading causes of Dunmore's War.
However, Logan erroneously thought that Michael Cresap was the man responsible for murdering his family, but it was later discovered that the brutal act was the handiwork of the Daniel Greathouse party.
When the white settlements, seeking protection and revenge against Logan and all the tribes in the region, sought military protection, Logan once again tried to maintain peace. He seemed to be trying to make everyone understand that his actions were his alone and not the concerted efforts of neighboring tribes. I don't know about you but I can hear the pain in Logan's words in this letter directed at Michael Cresap:
"To Captain Cressap - What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for? The white People killed my kin at Conestoga a great while ago, & I thought nothing of that. But you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek, and took my cousin prisoner. Then I thought I must kill too; and I have been three times to war since but the Indians is not Angry, only myself."
To me, it takes a decent man to stand up in such tumultuous times and claim responsibility for his actions. Especially considering the great hurt and injustice that had been visited upon Logan.
After the blood lust was wiped from Logan and when he believed the deaths of his kin had been properly avenged, Logan once again became a peaceful man and worked diligently to achieve peace in the Ohio Valley. Logan's desire for peace in the Ohio Valley was not achieved in his lifetime, or even within the generation that followed him. Logan was found murdered in his cabin in 1780. He was believed to have been murdered by a Native American who thought him to be too friendly with the white settlers.
Perhaps Logan is best remembered for the following speech, which he gave after avenging the deaths of his kinfolk.
"I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he 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 last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, 'Logan is the friend of the white men.' 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 relations 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."
I don't know about you, but I still mourn for Logan. I pray that he found peace.
For more information on the events of the times in which Logan lived, along with specific information on Logan himself, I highly recommend the book, "That Dark & Bloody River" by Allan Eckert.