Ohio History Journal

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.               73


three tremendous cheers. The day was a glorious one for the

cause of freedom." This of course foreshadows the civil war.

"Who used Old Betsy last?" asks the Journal of January

23, 1857. "It has been standing in the street for several weeks

now. Captain Parrish should see to this old servant."

In a long article on the celebration of August 2, 1860, the

Journal says: "At 6 o'clock Captain Parrish brought out 'Old

Betsy' and fired a salute of thirteen rounds. Soon after the peo-

ple of the county began to pour in. Cassius M. Clay was the

orator of the day." At the celebration of 1852 Thomas L Haw-

kins, a well-known Methodist preacher and the town poet, who

had been appointed commissary of the fort after the battle of

Fort Stephenson, read a poem addressed to the old six-pounder,

apostrophizing her as Betsy Croghan, a name by which she is

frequently called. This poem is printed below. In another

poem on Croghan's victory, Mr. Hawkins calls her "Our Bess,"

while tradition has it that the garrison called her "Good Bess."

But "Old Betsy" she is now and ever will be in local and na-

tional parlance. Little children play about her, the birds often

build their nests in her mouth, visitors pass curious hands over

her breech, and young reporters take her photograph and write

"story" about her. After all she is the only one left who saw

our hero in battle, who heard the quick orders of those two days'

fight, who faced the oncoming veterans of Wellington's troops

and settled it that they should rest thereafter in Lower Sandusky


"Old Betsy's" voice will probably never be heard again, but

as she stands her silent guard over the remains of George Cro-

ghan, on the scene of their great victory, she "yet speaketh."






Hail! thou old friend, of Fort MeGee

Little did I expect again to see,

And hear thy voice of victory,

Thou defender of Ohio!

74 Ohio Arch

74         Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


I wonder who it was that sought thee,

To victory's ground again hath brought thee

From strangers' hands at length hath caught thee;

He is a friend to great Ohio!


He is surely worthy of applause,

To undertake so good a cause,

Although a pleader of her laws,

And statutes of Ohio.


What shame thy blockhouse is not standing,

Thy pickets as at first commanding,

Protecting Sandusky's noble landing,

The frontier of Ohio!


Thy pickets, alas! are all unreared,

No faithful sentinel on guard,

Nor band of soldiers well prepared,

Defending great Ohio.


Where have the upthrown ditches gone,

By British cannon rudely torn?

Alas! with grass they are o'ergrown,

Neglected by Ohio.


O tell me where thy chieftains all-

Croghan, Dudley, Miller, Ball,

Some of whom I know did fall

In defending of Ohio.


Canst thou not tell how Proctor swore,

When up yon matted turf he tore,

Which shielded us from guns a score,

He poured upon Ohio?


And how Tecumseh lay behind you;

With vain attempts he tried to blind you,

And unprepared, he'd find you,

And lead you from Ohio.


Perhaps like Hamlet's ghost, you've come,

This day to celebrate the fame

Of Croghan's honored, worthy name,

The hero of Ohio.

The Croghan Celebration

The Croghan Celebration.                  75


I greet thee! Thou art just in time

To tell of victory most sublime,

Though told in unconnected rhyme;

Thou art welcome in Ohio.


But since thou canst thyself speak well,

Now let thy thundering voice tell

What bloody carnage then befell

The foes of great Ohio.

(And then she thundered loud.)



The following letter, recently unearthed by Col. Webb C.

Hayes in the Canadian Archives at Ottawa, is most interesting

as giving General Proctor's own account of the battle in which

he was so badly worsted. It is addressed to Sir George Provist,

Lieut. General, at Kingston, and reads:

"SIR: It being absolutely requisite for several urgent reasons that

my Indian force should not remain unemployed, and being well aware

that it would not be movable except accompanied by

a regular force, I resolved, notwithstanding the

smallness of that force to move and where we might

be fed at the expense of the enemy. I had, however,

the mortification to find that instead of the Indian

force being a disposable one, or under my direction,

our movements would be subject to the caprices and

prejudices of the Indian body to a degree in which

my regular force was disproportionate to their num-

bers. For several weeks after the arrival of Mr. R.

Dickson, his Indians were restrainable and tractable

to a degree that I could not have conceived possible.

I am sorry to add that they have been contaminated

by the other Indians.

I was, very contrary to my judgment, necessitated to go to the

Miami, in the vicinity of the enemy's fort, where I remained a few days

in the hope that General Harrison might come to the relief of the fort

which was invested in the Indian mode, when finding that the Indians

were returning to Detroit and Amherstberg I moved to Lower Sandusky

where, however, we could not muster more hundreds of Indians than

I might reasonably have expected thousands. The neighborhood of

Sandusky, and the settlement on the Huron river, eight miles below it,

could have afforded cattle sufficient to have fed my whole Indian force

for some time, had they been induced to accompany us. Sandusky is