Ohio History Journal

18 Ohio Arch

18         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away:

They fly, forgotten, as a dream

Dies at the opening day.


"0 God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be Thou our Guard while troubles last,

And our eternal home!"


Thou, who hearest prayer, for Jesus' sake give ear to these our

prayers and praises, which we sum up in the words of our Lord:

Our Father, Who art in heaven; Hallowed be Thy name; Thy

kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; Give us

this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive

those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but

deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the

glory, forever and ever. Amen!



When your fellow citizen, Col. Webb C. Hayes, asked me to ad-

dress you upon this occasion, and I accepted the invitation, I did so

with the full appreciation that I should be

able to add nothing to the historical in-

formation which you citizens of Sandusky

County possessed, I should be able to say

no word which could in any way increase

your admiration for the distinguished

youth, who, almost a century ago, stood

near this spot, and with one gun and a

few brave soldiers routed the British

forces and their Indian allies.

You citizens of Sandusky County have

studied your histories well; you have

shown full appreciation for the courage

displayed on that occasion and you have

honored many times the memory and

deeds of the distinguished Soldier. Stu-

dents of American history have related to

you the causes that led up to the War of

1812; eminent writers have described to you the campaign preceding the

attack on Fort Stephenson; and distinguished orators, with brilliant

phrases, have pictured to you the handsome youth standing upon the ram-

parts of Fort Stephenson, and amid the yells of savages and the fierce at-

tacks of the veterans of Wellington urging his little band to deeds of hero-

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.                    19


ism. The life and deeds of George Croghan are familiar tales in every

household of this historic neighborhood. Your fellow townswoman, Miss

Julia M. Haynes, in her admirable paper, "Fremont in History," read to

you a few years ago, has given us a clear, concise and eloquent statement

of the events which have made your city famous. Dr. Charles R. Williams,

in his public address delivered at Spiegel Grove, a few years since, has

added to the historical literature of Fremont a brilliant and polished essay,

and other distinguished men and women have placed before you the

geography, history, and traditions of your town in pamphlet and speech.

You have listened to the thrilling eloquence of General Gibson and the

polished sentences of Governor Jacob D. Cox, and at that memorable

meeting when you dedicated this handsome monument, a meeting pre-

sided over by your distinguished citizen, Rutherford B. Hayes, you lis-

tened to the voices of Sherman, Foraker, Henry B. Payne and others.

That I could add anything to what has been said and written concerning

these historical events, I have not for a moment dared to hope, but per-

haps a personal allusion, if I may be allowed, will partially explain my

presumption and willingness to accept this invitation.

On July 9th, 1813, there was born in my grandfather's house in

Cleveland, a son, and for several weeks no agreement could be reached

as to the name he was to bear. Less than a month after the child's

birth, from every hill top to every valley, from settlement to settlement

of pioneers along shores of Lake Erie came the news that Major George

Croghan, a young man, had put to rout the English and Indians and

saved Fort Stephenson, and my grandfather's family had found a name

for their son, and to-day there is a grave in Lake View cemetery in

Cleveland and at its head a simple granite monument with the inscription

George Croghan Dodge, born July 9th, 1813, died June 6th, 1883; and

so I regard it as a privilege to pay a simple tribute to-day to a man

whose name my father bore, the story of whose achievement told me in

my boyhood was a narrative to which no tale of giants or fairies could


Fifty years before the defense of Ft. Stephenson or "Sandusky," as

the name was engraved on the gold medal presented by congress to the

peerless Croghan, this historic neighborhood had been the scene of the

capture and utter destruction at the outbreak of Pontiac's gigantic con-

spiracy of old Fort Sandusky, built in 1745 on the left or west side

of Sandusky bay and river on the Marblehead peninsula.

"The storm burst early in May of 1763. *  * *Nine British forts

yielded instantly and the savages drank, scooped up in the hollow of

joined hands, the blood of many a Briton. * * * Sandusky was the

first of the forts to fall, May 16th. Ensign Paully * * * was seized,

carried to Detroit, adopted, and married to a squaw, who had lost her

husband, the remainder of the garrison were massacreed and the fort


20 Ohio Arch

20         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


Fort Sandusky, the first fort established in Ohio, was built in 1745 by

British traders from Pennsylvania and Virginia under the instruction, it

is said, of George Croghan, later deputy Indian Commissioner to Sir.

Wm. Johnston. It was located on the Marblehead peninsula on the

left or west side of the Sandusky river and bay at the portage where

Indians and trappers coming from Detroit, in their course skirting

the chain of islands in Lake Erie, would land to carry their canoes

across to the Sandusky river on their way to the Scioto and Ohio.

The French, resenting this intrusion, "usurped F. Sandoski" and in 1754

built another fort, "Junundat," on the east or right side of the Sandusky

river and bay. The maps of John Mitchell and Lewis Evans, both pub-

lished in 1775, clearly show the location of these two forts.

Mitchell's map shows the fort on the west side of the river and

bay with the notation "Sandoski usurped by the French, 1751," while

Evans' map has "F Sandoski" on the west side and also "F Junundat

built in 1754" on the east side of the river and bay and diagonally across

from "Sandoski."

"Sandusky was afterward evacuated and on the 8th of September,

1760, the French governor, Vandreueil surrendered Canada to the Eng-

lish" and then ended French dominion in America. "Major Robert Rogers,

a native of New Hampshire, was directed to take possession of the west-

ern forts. He left Montreal on the 13th of September, 1760, with two

hundred rangers. * * * Proceeding west, he visited Sandusky * * *

after securing the fort at Detroit returned by land via Sandusky and

and Tuscarawas trail to Fort Pitt."

Soon after Major Rogers took possession of the western forts for

the British, Ensign Paully was placed in command of Fort Sandusky and

so remained until his capture, and the massacre of his garrison and the

utter destruction of the fort on May 16, 1763, at the outbreak of Pon-

tiac's conspiracy. As soon as the news of the capture of the nine British

forts reached the British authorities, Detroit and Fort Pitt alone escap-

ing capture, expeditions were sent to relieve the latter and to re-establish

British supremacy in the northwest. Captain Dalyell arrived at the

ruins of old Fort Sandusky in the fall of 1763 and then proceeded up

the Sandusky river to the village of the Hurons and Wyandots at the

lower rapids of the Sandusky river (now Fremont) and utterly destroyed

the Indian villages located there.

In 1764, twelve years before the declaration of Independence, Col.

John Bradstreet started from Albany to relieve Major Gladwyn at De-

troit. Pontiac, the crafty, powerful and ambitious chief of the Ottawa

Indians, the year before, had sent his red-stained tomahawk and his

war belts to the various Indian tribes between the Allegheny mountains

and the Mississippi river, stirring the hearts of the red men against the

pioneers, and was preparing to continue his attacks upon the various

western forts, and in his hatred toward the whites was determined

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.                   21


to accomplish by force what he could not accomplish by treachery. He

had returned from Detroit in November, 1763, and it was evident that

he was preparing for a more complete siege of that important military

post. It was then that General Thomas Gage wrote the Colonies and

asked for troops to suppress the growing insurrection of the Indian na-

tions; and Colonel Bradstreet set forth from Albany with his army of

1180 men, 766 being provincial troops from New York, New Jersey and

Connecticut under Israel Putnam. Along they came to Lake Ontario

and with two vessels, 75 whale boats, and numberless canoes, issued

forth and steered westward. Remaining a while at Fort Niagara, passing

on and founding Fort Erie, they pushed on to Detroit after making

short encampments on the banks of the Cuyahoga river, on the present

site of Cleveland, and at the ruins of old Fort Sandusky. All along the

journey Indians had been sent to treat for peace, but knowing from

experience the treacherous character of the Indians, Bradstreet was warned

against putting trust in the overtures of the savages. Yet notwithstanding

the protests of his followers, Bradstreet promised to refrain from march-

ing against the Delawares, Shawanese and other tribes, if within twenty-

five days the representatives of the tribes would meet him at Fort San-

dusky for the purpose of giving up prisoners and concluding a definite

treaty. Bradstreet had, however, been ordered to give to the Wyandots,

Ottawas and Miamis a thorough chastisement, but on the approach of

the English commander these three tribes sent deputies to meet him

and promised to follow him to Detroit and make a treaty there, if he

would abandon the hostile plan against them. It was with this expecta-

tion that he reached Detroit, only to learn that the Indians whom he

had expected to meet on his return to Fort Sandusky for the purpose

of making a treaty, had assembled there to oppose the disembarkment

of the English soldiers. So Bradstreet started with sixty long boats and

one barge and glided down the Detroit river out upon the bosom of

Lake Erie. All expected to engage in a fierce combat with the savage

foe, but Bradstreet soon received better news. With this expedition of

Bradstreet was one Lieutenant Montresor, who kept a journal, and this

journal has been preserved among the collections of the New York

Historical Society. From the journal we learn that "news soon arrived

that the Delawares and Shawanese are assembled at Sandusky where the

old fort stood in order to treat with us for peace." With this information

Bradstreet's "troops entered Sandusky lake or bay" September 18, 1764,

and "encamped on a good clay bank half a mile west of the spot where

sixteen months before Pontiac had butchered the English garrison and

burned the fort." Indians soon appeared and pledged if he would not at-

tack the Indian village they would conclude a definite treaty and surrender

all prisoners they had. Bradstreet did not attack them. After waiting

seven days "Col. Bradstreet then proceeded up Sandusky river to the

village of the Hurons and Wyandots, which had been destroyed by Cap-

22 Ohio Arch

22         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


tain Dalyell the preceding year." Montresor in his journal says "Brad-

street's whole force proceeded and encamped one mile below the rapids

of the Sandusky River, and here at this camp near the Huron village

on Sandusky river, Major Israel Putnam served as Field Officer for the

picket and presided at a General Court Martial at his own tent to try

all prisoners brought before him."*  So to this very spot, now Fort

Stephenson Park, Fremont, Ohio, fresh with the laurels won while in

command of Provincial troops in the siege of Havana, Cuba, with this

expedition came Israel Putnam, who afterwards became Senior Major

General in the army of the United States of America, one of the heroes

of Bunker Hill, an indomitable soldier, a man of generous soul and

sterling patriotism, and of whom his biographer, Col. David Humphreys,

says, "He seems to have been formed on purpose for the age in which

he lived. His native courage, unshaken integrity, and established repu-

tation as a soldier gave unbounded confidence to our troops in their first

conflict in the field of battle."

The colonial records of Connecticut for March, 1764, says this as-

sembly doth appoint Israel Putnam, Esq., to be major of the forces now

ordered raised in this colony for his Majesty's service against the In-

dian Nations who have been guilty of perfidious and cruel massacres of

the English.

Thus to the long list of patriots and statesmen and pioneers, who

in the early days wandered through the densely wooded trails, over these

plains which smiled to the sun in grass and flowers, and along the banks

of this historic river; to the names of Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton,

William Henry Harrison, George Croghan and a host of others we can

add the immortal name of Israel Putnam.

The fifty odd years between the campaign of Bradstreet and the

War of 1812, the years preceding and following the Revolutionary War

are filled with the stirring events of pioneer history. Northern Ohio was

the scene of border wars and Indian outrages. The massacre of the Mo-

ravians, Crawford's Expedition, the destruction of St. Clair's army, and

the victory of General Wayne at Fallen Timbers are a few of the many

important events that go to make up the history of the region around

the Maumee and Sandusky rivers. The disasters to the American arms

incident to the opening of the campaign of the War of 1812 in the north-

west-the disgraceful surrender of Hull at Detroit, the massacre of Win-

chester's men at the River Raisin, and Dudley's massacre, so-called, in the

otherwise successful defence of Fort Meigs culminated, however, on

August 2, 1813, in the unparalleled discomfiture of the British and In-

dians by a young Kentucky major. This defense, so brilliant and com-

plete, followed by Perry's Victory on Lake Erie and General Harrison's

triumph at the battle of the Thames practically closed the campaign.


* Livingstone's Life of Israel Putnam, p. 139.

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.                    23


The war of 1812 only supplemented the Revolutionary War. We

had become at once independent and feeble. Articles of confederation

bound us loosely together, and we had not yet fully won our place

among the nations of the earth. Other nations looked upon us as an

easy prey-they could seize our ships and imprison our seamen, but these

results were only incidents which gave rise to the conflict for which the

time was ripe and for which there was and could be no postponement.

This war must be had. We must consolidate and finish the work of

independence. It must be a reality and not a name, England must ac-

knowledge us as a distinct member of the family of nations, and this is

what we accomplished by the contest of 1812 and 1813. When that war

broke out the Indians were banded together in this Northwestern quar-

ter of the state under the leadership of Tecumseh, to whom the English

had given the rank of a general in their army. There was no city of

Fremont. The spot called Lower Sandusky was a military reservation two

miles square, established by treaty in 1785. Here was built Fort Stephen-

son-one of the many outposts in the midst of this hostile country. Built

to protect the communications of the army with the more distant posts

at Chicago and Detroit; built perhaps that a crossing at this point of this

then important river might be made in safety. Up this Sandusky river

from the lake came all who wished to reach the Ohio river on their way

from Canada to Mississippi for, with a short portage, they could enter

the Scioto and then on down to the great rivers beyond. It was an im-

portant place then for a growing settlement, a vigorous colony might

be started here and Major Croghan appreciated its importance even if

Harrison did not. The English had made allies of the Indians. Te-

cumseh was made a general. British emissaries were busy among the

Northwest tribes stirring them up to war upon the Americans. Gen-

eral Proctor, with his savage allies had failed to capture Fort Meigs,

and Proctor had withdrawn to his old encampment and there he re-

mained until on July 28th, 1813, the British embarked with their stores

and started for Sandusky bay and river for the purpose of attacking

Fort Stephenson. Again and again have you heard the story of this

fight. How General Harrison had sent word to Major Croghan that

if the British approached with force and cannon and he could discover

them in time to retreat, that he must do so. How Harrison in council

with his other Generals had decided that the fort was untenable and

ordered him to abandon it. How the messenger lost his way, and when

he did arrive Croghan sent back word to Harrison the memorable mes-

sage, "We have determined to maintain this place, and by heavens we

can."  The natural anger of General Harrison at this seeming diso-

bedience to his order and the summoning of Croghan to come to Fort

Seneca and the placing of another in command until the gallant boy

had explained and appeased the wrath of his superior and was sent back to

his post, are familiar facts of history. On the afternoon of August 1st,

24 Ohio Arch

24         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


1813, we find the young hero back in command and with 160 men and

"Old Betsy," sending back to Proctor with his 700 veterans, 2,000 In-

dians and Barclay's gunboats in the river, a defiant refusal to his summons

to surrender.

General Harrison, in his report to the Secretary of War, thus de-

scribes the battle. "Their troops were formed into two columns, one led

by Lieut.-Colonel Short, headed the principal one. He conducted his men

to the brink of the ditch under a galling fire from the garrison, and

by Lieut.-Colonel Shortt headed the principal one. He conducted his men

and the light infantry. At this moment a masked porthole was sud-

denly opened and the six-pounder, with a half-load of powder and a

double charge of leaden slugs, at a distance of thirty feet, poured destruc-

tion upon them, and killed or wounded every man who entered the ditch.

In vain did the British officers try to lead on the balance of the column.

It retired under a shower of shot, and sought safety in the adjoining


And who was this young man who defended this place against a

force of British and Indians and drove them discomfited from the field

of battle. We seem to see him now as he stood there a model of manly

beauty in his youthful prime, "a man in all that makes a man ere man-

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.                  25


hood's years have been fulfilled"; standing on the threshold of his

career. This young, accomplished, handsome youth was born at Locust

Grove, Ky., November 15, 1791. His mother was Lucy Clark. Of

uncles he had upon his mother's side, George Rogers Clark, whose great

campaign through the wilderness won for us the Northwest Territory

was one; and William Clark, who with Captain Lewis made the famous

Lewis and Clark expedition of exploration across the continent, was

another. His father, William Croghan, was born in Ireland in 1752,

was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and fought at Brandywine,

Monmouth and Germantown, and when young George had finished

his preliminary schooling he entered at the age of 17 the College of

William and Mary and graduated two years later with the degree of

Bachelor of Arts. His purpose was to become a lawyer, but when the

governor of Indiana, William Henry Harrison, called for volunteers to

strike at Tecumseh and his stirring red men, Croghan joined the little

army as a private and began his life as a soldier at the battle of


From that day until General Harrison sent him to this place, the

spirit of the soldier in him had met every test of skill and bravery, and

he took command of Fort Stephenson with the confidence of his su-

periors and with the love and admiration of his soldiers. In a report

of this battle by an English historian occurs this sentence: "The first

division were so near the enemy that they could distinctly hear the various

orders given in the fort and the faint voices of the wounded and dying

in the ditch, calling out for water, which the enemy had the humanity

to lower to them on the instant."

Over in that beautiful cemetery at Clyde, on its sunkissed slopes,

bright with the foliage of this August day, rests one who, fifty years

after the defense of Fort Stephenson, honored this country, his state and

his country by his conduct upon the field of battle-General James B. Mc-

Pherson, as good a soldier, as chivalrous a leader, as gallant a gentle-

man, as pure a man as ever fell upon the field of battle. General Sher-

man says of him "History tells us of but few who so blended the grace

and gentleness of the friend with the dignity, courage, faith and man-

liness of the soldier."  Now Sandusky County has gathered to herself

all that remains of another hero, her first if not her greatest. Here under

the shadow of this monument among the people who love to do him honor,

on the very spot he so gallantly defended, will he lie


Till mouldering worlds and tumbling systems burst;

When the last trump shall renovate his dust.

Till by the mandate of eternal truth,

His soul will flourish in immortal youth.


Such names as Croghan and McPherson are like the sound of a

26 Ohio Arch

26         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


trumpet. They are the precious jewels of our nation's history, to be

gathered up among the treasures of the nation and kept immaculate from

the tarnishing breath of the cynic and the doubter.

My Friends; Wars are cruel. They crush with bloody heel all

justice, all happiness, all that is God-like in Man. We have but to

read the History of Nations to discern the hideous slaughters which

have marked their progress, and yet man is such a savage that until

the present generation he has insisted that the only way to settle things

is by the gage of battle. He has covered a hundred battle fields with

men and horses; with the groans of the wounded and the dying. He

has covered the pages of our history with gore, and if history, such

history as you have learned here on the banks of this gentle flowing

river that for a half a century had been the scene of strife and battle,

if such history I say, cannot cultivate out of man the brutal spirit of

war, teach him the wisdom of diplomacy and the need of arbitration,

then has the lesson been lost and he has failed to taste the fruit or

imbibe the philosophy of humanity. It is for us to substitute law for

war, reason for force, courts of reason for the settlement of contro-

versies among nations following up the maintenance of the law with the

vitalizing forces of civilization until all nations are molded into one

International Brotherhood, yielding to reason and conscience. Then can

we draw the sword from its sheath and fling it into the sea rejoicing

that it has gone forever. Let us recognize this truth and today on this

anniversary we will lay a new stone in the temple of Universal Peace.

This temple which shall rise to the very firmament and be as broad as

the ends of the earth. May such occasions as this lead us away from

an era of wars and battleships and new navies and bring us to a time

when Patriotism and Humanity can be compatible one with another and

to a time

When navies are forgotten

And fleets are useless things,

When the dove shall warm her bosom

Beneath the eagle's wings.


When memory of battles.

At last is strange and old,

When nations have one banner

And creeds have found one fold.


Then Hate's last note of discord

In all God's world shall cease,

In the conquest which is service

In the victory which is peace!