Ohio History Journal



Archaeological and Historical











Hon. J. H. Anderson, Columbus, Ohio,

DEAR JUDGE: I am directed by the officers of the Wyandot

County Pioneer Association to extend you an invitation to de-

liver an address at the picnic to be held at CRAWFORD, Thursday,

June 11, on the occasion of the 114th anniversary of the burning

of Colonel William CRAWFORD. Hoping to receive a favorable

answer, so that you can be duly mentioned in future notices and.

advertisements, I beg to remain,

Most respectfully,

E. N. HALBEDEL, Secretary.

1 This address was delivered before five or six thousand people, on

the banks of the Tymochtee, near CRAWFORD's monument, in CRAWFORD

township, Wyandot county, Ohio. Before the formation of Wyandot

county, CRAWFORD township was in CRAWFORD county. CRAWFORD was burnt

by the Delaware Indians, June 11, 1782, where the monument now stands,

which is about seven miles north-west of Upper Sandusky, near CRAWFORD

Station, and the town of CRAWFORDsville. The monument bears this in-

scription: "In memory of Colonel CRAWFORD, who was burnt by the

Indians, in this valley, June 11, A. D. 1782." On the base are these words:

"Erected by the Pioneer Association of Wyandot County, August 3, 1877."

Vol. VI-1

2 Ohio Arch

2         Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.




Ladies and Gentlemen of the Wyandot County Pioneer Association,

and Fellow Citizens:

In the year 1749, when George Washington was surveying

the immense landed estate of his friend Lord Fairfax, he made the

acquaintance of William Crawford, whose home and birthplace

was in Orange county,2 Virginia, the most northern portion of

the valley.3 This rich and romantic region had not long been

occupied by white men when William Crawford came upon the

scene in 1732, and the customs of the inhabitants were simple and

primitive. When first seen by Washington, William Crawford

was a youth of fine, manly presence, above six feet in height, and

in point of strength and activity a very athlete. While surveying

in the neighborhood of the Crawford homestead, which became

the headquarters of Washington, a friendship4 sprang up between

these two noble minded young men that lasted till the tragic end

came. They were near the same age, reared in the country, sons

of widows; and in size, strength, activity, personal qualities and

characteristics were not unlike. Crawford now accompanied

Washington on his surveying tours, and thus acquired the art of

surveying which he thenceforth pursued, along with farming,

till stern war demanded his whole time, energies and resources.

In 1755 he forsook surveying, and farming, to face the com-

mon enemy of the settlement-the Indian. He accepted a com-

mission as ensign, and with Washington fought under Braddock,

in the bloody and disastrous engagement with the French and

Indians July 9, 1755, near Fort Du Quesne. And the gallantry

of Ensign Crawford was such that he was made a lieutenant the

next year. Lieutenant Crawford became noted for bravery,

activity, and discretion in the wars against the Indians, and French

and Indians. From 1755 to 1758 he was employed on the fron-

tiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia in garrison duty, leading scout-

2The county of Frederick, afterwards formed, included Crawford's

birth-place. It is now in the county of Berkeley.

3 The Shenandoah valley, or Valley of Virginia.

4 Weems' Life of Washington, pp. 28, 29.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.


ing parties, and in other ways against the Indians, where, by dear

experience, he was taught the most effective way to fight and

subdue savages. It having been decided in 1758 to make another

attempt to reduce Fort Du Quesne, Washington, who was now

Commander-in-Chief of the Virginia troops, secured for Crawford

a commission as captain, who thereupon recruited a full company

of hardy frontiersmen to serve under "his friend and benefactor."5

And one of the privates in Crawford's company afterwards became

famous in the Revolutionary war as Major General Daniel Mor-

gan.6 Such were the men who decided to besiege and take Fort

Du Quesne. The army met with many misadventures and difficul-

ties on the way, which retarded its progress, but on the 25th of No-

vember, 1758, the French7 having recently withdrawn from the

fort and sailed down the Ohio, it was taken possession of by the

troops under Washington. After the occupancy of the post,

Crawford continued in the service of Virginia three years longer,

when he withdrew from army life, sought his old home in the

valley, and again took up the double occupation of farmer and


Captain Crawford's long military service having made him

familiar with the rich region of southwestern Pennsylvania, then

supposed to be a part of Virginia, he decided to make it his home.

So in 17658 he built a cabin on Braddock's road, at Stewart's

Crossings, about 40 miles from Pittsburg, on the Youghiogheny

river, in what is now Fayette county, Pennsylvania. It was then

in Cumberland, later in Bedford, afterwards in Westmoreland and

finally in Fayette. In 1765 it was a "howling wilderness" in

almost every direction. As soon as his cabin was ready for occu-

pancy9 he commenced trading with the Indians, and surveying

lands for speculators and settlers, and in two years a large part

of his farm, probably with the assistance of his slaves, was cleared.

5 Weems' Life of Washington, p. 29.

6 Hall's Romance of Western History, Chap. VII, p. 121.

As to the designs of France, see Bouquet's Expedition. Cincinnati,

1868, p. 11.

8 Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 114.

9 His wife and three children joined him in the Spring of 1766.

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4          Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


Crawford's place of 376 acres was better known than any other

west of the mountains, for his hospitality and big hearted gen-

erosity knew no bounds.10 In this log cabin, remote from the

refinements of civilization, Crawford was not forgotten by Wash-

ington, nor did they neglect to write to each other, as a hand-

some volume entitled The Washington-Crawford Letters, by C.

W. Butterfield, sufficiently attests. The first letter by Washing-

ton is dated September 21, 1767; the last by Crawford is dated

May 23, 1781, a few months before his awful death. Other letters

no doubt passed between these true friends and great men, that

were lost or destroyed.   Crawford selected and surveyed for

Washington11 on and near the Youghiogheny, Great Kanawha,

and Ohio rivers, a great deal of land, forty or fifty thousand acres,

and these lands in the language of Washington were "the first

choice of," and "the cream of the country."" He also selected and

surveyed lands for Samuel and John, brothers of George Wash-

ington, and for their cousin Lund Washington. Some of the

earliest surveys in Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall counties, Virginia,

were made by Captain Crawford.13

On the 13th of October, 1770, George Washington, paid his

friend a visit, and his welcome was most hearty and cordial.

Crawford's lonely cabin in the wilds of the forest was hospitality

itself. Both were now in the prime of life, thirty-eight years old,

10 " He was a man of good judgment, singular good nature, and great

humanity; and remarkable for his hospitality--few strangers coming to

the western country and not spending some days at the crossing of the

Youghiogheny, where he lived." Brackenridge in the Knight and Slover

pamphlet, 1783, p. 16. Brackenridge was a brilliant man, a writer of books,

and for fifteen years judge of the supreme court of Pennsylvania. Wash-

ington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 129.

11 "If you will be at the trouble of seeking out the lands," wrote

Washington, from Mt. Vernon, September 21, 1767, "I will take upon me

the part of securing them as soon as there is a possibility of doing it, and

will moreover be at the cost and charges of surveying and patenting the

same. You shall then have such a reasonable proportion of the whole as

we may fix upon at our first meeting." Sparks' Writings of Washington

II. p. 348. See Crawford's answer, Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 8.

12 Washington to Neville, June 16, 1794.

13 De Hass' His. Ind. Wars, W. Va., p. 373.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.             5

Click on image to view full size

From a fine steel plate engraving by A. Doggett, after the celebrated

original oil painting by Colonel J. Trumbull.


of robust health, and as old and intimate friends, greatly enjoyed

each others society. They rode over the fertile Washington

lands, and inspected the coal mines,14 stone quarries, and mill

seats thereon; they looked at the mighty forest trees, at the noble

navigable rivers, and then visited budding Pittsburg, which

boasted twenty log cabins occupied by Indian traders, and a post

called Fort Pitt, garrisoned by two companies of soldiers.

On the 20th of October, Washington and Crawford started

down the Ohio in a large canoe, scanning the country with a view

to locating lands they were entitled to as officers in the French

and Indian wars. They often left the boat to get a better view

of the land.15 When they reached the mouth of the Great Ka-

nawha,16 they soon turned about and started for Pittsburg again.17

In what is now Meigs county, Ohio, they left their canoe, and

Washington wrote in his journal: "Walked across the neck on

foot with Captain Crawford,-the distance according to our walk-

ing about eight miles."18 They entered the canoe again and con-

tinued on to Mingo Bottom, now in Jefferson county, Ohio, two

miles and a half below Steubenville, where they remained three

days. Thus George Washington, the truest and noblest char-

acter of whom we have any account, accompanied by his good

and faithful friend William Crawford, visited the soil of our own

Ohio 126 years ago. On the 25th of November, Washington

bade adieu to the Crawfords and started through the forests and

over the mountains for his Potomac home-Mt. Vernon-where

he arrived December 1, 1770, having been absent nine weeks

and a day.19  When these warm friends and brave men parted on

the banks of the Youghiogheny, little they suspected the fortune,

good or evil, in store for them, that one would rise to the highest

distinction, winning unfading laurels, and imperishable glory,

and the other, far from friends, at the hands of savages, after a


14 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 16.

15 See daily journal or diary kept by Washington.

16 October 31st. See Washington diary.

17 November 4th. See same.

18 November 5th. See same.

19 Sparks' Writings of Washington, Vol. II, pp. 516, 534.

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6         Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.

Click on image to view full size

From a very fine portrait in the State Library Gallery at Richmond, Va.


life of usefulness and honor, suffer a most barbarous, and inde-

scribably cruel, and awful death.

In 1770, Crawford was appointed one of the justices for

Cumberland county. It was on the 11th of March, 1771, that

William Crawford, Arthur St. Clair, and other men of promi-

nence were appointed by Governor Penn, justices of the peace

for Bedford county.20  They were ex-officio judges of the county

courts. When Westmoreland was formed, Crawford was ap-

pointed a justice for that county, and became the president judge

of the courts.21 It was the intention of Washington and Lord

Dunmore, the Governor of Virginia, together to visit Crawford

this year (1773); but the death of Miss Custis, Washington's step-

daughter, on June 19, 1773, prevented the journey, and kept him

at home. In a letter to the Earl of Dunmore, dated April 13,

1773, Washington, writing from Mt. Vernon, said: "I beg the

favor of your lordship to inform me as nearly as you can of the

precise time you will do me the honor of calling here, that I may

get ready accordingly, and give notice of it to Mr. Crawford,

*  * * that he may be disengaged when we get to his house."22

While Washington could not go at that time for the reason

given, Lord Dunmore made the journey during the summer,

spending considerable time at Crawford's place, and at Pitts-

burg.23 Thus Crawford was visited in his distant, humble home,

by the two most distinguished men then living in America.

Washington again wrote to Crawford-this time on the 25th of

September, 1773-touching the location of lands, "Down the

Ohio, below the mouth of the Scioto," to which both were entitled

"Under a proclamation of the year 1763." "By Mr. Leet I in-

formed you," continued Washington, "of the unhappy cause

20 Bedford county, as then organized, was taken from Cumberland,

March 9, 1771.

21 Westmoreland was taken from Bedford, February 26, 1773. See

Washington-Irvine Corr. p. 114.

22 Sparks' Writings of Washington, Vol. II, p. 373.

23 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 29. " In 1773, Lord Dunmore, the

governor of Virginia, paid a visit to Crawford at his house upon the

Youghiogheny, the occasion being turned to profitable account by both

parties." Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 115.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.             7

Click on image to view full size

Fac simile of a pencil drawing from life by Col. J. Trumbull.

(See Vol. I, The St. Clair Papers.)


which prevented my going out this fall. But I hope nothing

will prevent my seeing you in that country in the spring. The

precise time it is not in my power to fix; but I should be glad if

you would let me know how soon it may be attended with safety,

* * * after which I will fix upon a time to be at your house."

But Washington never visited Crawford at his home on the

Youghiogheny again, for the mutterings of the coming Revolu-

tion could already be heard.

Crawford was by no means idle during Dunmore's war. In

the month of May, 1774, having received a captain's commission

from the Governor of Virginia, he raised a company without

delay and set out for Fort Pitt.24 "You could not do better,"

was Lord Dunmore's dispatch of the 20th of June to the officer

in command at Fort Pitt, "than send Captain William Crawford

with what men you can spare to join him, to co-operate with

Colonel Lewis, or to strike a blow himself, if he thinks he can do

it with safety. I know him to be prudent, active and resolute."

Crawford, meantime having received a major's commission from

Lord Dunmore, moved at the head of five hundred men down

the Ohio to attack the Shawanese.25

On September 20, 1774, he wrote Washington, "I am this

day to set out with the first division for the mouth of Hock-

hocking, and there to erect a post on your Bottom where the

whole of the troops are to rendezvous." Crawford was in com-

mand of one division of the Virginia army, and Dunmore the

other, at the place of rendezvous on the Washington Bottom,26

and later the army crossed the river to the Indian, or Ohio side,

and built Fort Gower.27

A treaty of peace having been signed, the war against the

Indians ended in November, and Crawford returned home. The

people were pleased with the treaty, and with the results of the

24 "I am now setting out for Fort Pitt at the head of one hundred

men," wrote Crawford to Washington, May 8, 1774. Washington-Craw-

ford Letters, p. 49. Fort Pitt was changed to Fort Dunmore.

25 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 52.

26Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 53.

27 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 53.


8                    Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


campaign.28Major Crawford had destroyed two Mingo villages

(within the limits of the present county of Franklin, Ohio), taken

fourteen prisoners, rescued several white captives, and the "plun-

der" carried away had been sold for four hundred pounds ster-

ling, besides what was returned to a Mohawk Indian who was

present.29 His services at Wheeling where he built a fort30-and

elsewhere, were highly commended. On November 14, 1774,

Crawford in a letter to Washington said: "I yesterday returned

from our late expedition against the Shawanese, and I think we

may with propriety say we have had great success, as we made

them sensible of their villainy and weakness, and I hope made

peace with them on such a footing as will be lasting."

Crawford's associate on the bench, Arthur St. Clair, famous

in later years as an officer of the Revolution, as President of Con-

gress, as Governor of the Northwest Territory, and for his disas-

trous defeat by the Indians in 1791, took exception to Craw-

ford's course as in conflict with the peace policy of Penn, and

thereupon on the 22d of July wrote Governor Penn as follows:

"Captain Crawford, the president of our court, seems to be the

most active Virginia officer in their service. He is now down

the river at the head of a number of men, which is his second

expedition. How is it possible," asked St. Clair, "for a man to

serve two colonies in direct antagonism to each other at the same

time?" This was Crawford's offence: he accepted a commission

to fight the Indians from the Governor of Virginia, and thought

his native State was right respecting the country about the head

waters of the Ohio, which had been a subject of dispute for years.

As he was an active supporter early in 1775 of the Virginia con-

tention touching the boundary line between that State and Penn-

sylvania, he was removed the same year from office in West-

28 For the terms of the treaty see Crawford's letter of Nov. 14, 1774, to

Washington. It was entered into at Camp Charlotte, in what is now

Pickaway Co., 0., whither the army under Dunmore had marched from

Fort Gower. Hardby were the Shawanese villages.

29 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 56.

30 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 9, of biog. sketch, also p. 96.

It was first called Fort Fincastle; then Fort Henry.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                9


moreland county ("superceded," was the word used), and lost

popularity among some of his new neighbors.31

The county of Yohogania, Virginia, was created in Novem-

ber, 1776. Of this county Crawford was a justice several years,

and a surveyor by appointment until it ceased to exist.32 But he

was also otherwise busily employed as will be seen. It was on

the 16th of May, 1775, that the Scotch-Irish,33 and other residents

of the western part of Pennsylvania, assembled at Pittsburg, to

give utterance to their views concerning the encroachments of

Great Britain. Crawford's presence was soon felt, and his bold

utterances in behalf of the American colonies found an echo in

every heart. A committee of defence was agreed upon of which

Crawford was a conspicuous member.

After the battle of Lexington, Crawford tendered his services

to the Council of Safety at Philadelphia, but owing to the peace

policy of Governor Penn, and his associates, and possibly the

boundary dispute, they were not accepted. Virginia, his native

State, glad to accept the services of this veteran warrior, author-

ized him to raise a regiment. His influence and name on the

frontier were such that he recruited a full regiment in a short

time. On the 12th of January, 1776, he was appointed lieutenant-

colonel of the Fifth Virginia.34 By act of Congress he was ap-

pointed on the 11th of October following, colonel of the Seventh

Regiment of the Virginia Battalions, his commission to be dated

August 14th. He took part during the year in battles and skir-

mishes on Long Island, and the remarkable retreat through New

Jersey. One of the heroes that crossed the Delaware with Wash-

ington on Christmas day, he fought at Trenton the next, and at

Princeton on the 3d of January, 1777. In August Crawford was

with Washington near Philadelphia, using all his powers in the

31 Crawford's Expedition against Sandusky, p. 101.

32 Same work, p. 102.

33While the Scotch-Irish are self-reliant, industrious, and generally

honest, it must be confessed that many of the inhuman monsters who

encouraged, egged on, and led the savages in their hellish atrocities along

the border, were like the three Girtys, Elliott, McKee, and Caldwell of that


34 Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 116.

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effort to keep the British out of that city; and his services later on,

at the head of a detachment of three hundred light armed men

acting as scouts, were of the highest value, and so regarded by

Washington. "He rendered efficient service," and "took an

active and prominent part" in the battle of Brandywine,35 where

he "came near being captured;" and afterwards fought with his

usual bravery at Germantown. Washington received a letter

from General Reed, saying that Crawford, then with him, was

"a very good officer."36

In November, 1777, the Congress "Resolved, that General

Washington be requested to send Colonel William Crawford to

Pittsburg to take command under Brigadier General Hand, of

the Continental troops and militia in the Western Department."

Without delay Crawford left for York, Pennsylvania, where the

Congress was then sitting, probably to confer with the members,

and receive instructions, but was soon on his way towards his

Western home, and the scene of his labors. He had won the

confidence and regard of his regiment; and even Washington's

in a greater degree than ever as "a brave and active officer."

The officers of his old regiment, the Seventh Virginia, sent

Colonel Crawford a most complimentary and affectionate address,

to which he responded in a well expressed, patriotic, feeling let-

ter.37 He had proved himself a most capable soldier in the east,

35 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. X.

36 Same, p. X.

37Address of the Officers of the Seventh Virginia Regiment to Colonel

William Crawford.

We beg leave to take this method of expressing our sense of the

warmest attachment to you, and at the same time our sorrow in the loss of

a commander who has always been influenced by motives that deservedly

gain the unfeigned esteem and respect of all those who have the honor of

serving under him. Both officers and soldiers retain the strongest remem-

brance of the regard and affection you have ever discovered towards them;

but as we are all well assured that you have the best interests of your

country in view, we should not regret however sensibly we may feel the

loss, that you have chosen another field for the display of your military

talents. Permit us therefore to express our most cordial wish that you

may find a regiment no less attached to you than the Seventh, and that

your services may ever be productive of benefit to your country and honor

to yourself.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                11

Click on image to view full size

From a likeness in Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. I, page 386.

Original portrait in Louisville, Ky.


fighting the well-disciplined troops of the enemy. but it was in

the backwoods that he had risen superior to his surroundings, and

his military genius had shown with undimmed luster. The mem-

bers of Congress as well as Washington, fully realized that few

men possessed Crawford's experience or knowledge of the wiles

and strategy of the red men, who were now unusually bold and

daring.  In the fall of 1777, and in the spring of 1778, these foes

were more dangerous and merciless than ever, scalping parties,

infesting and terrorizing the entire border.  In the spring of 1778,

about sixteen miles above Fort Pitt on the Allegheny river, Colo-

nel Crawford superintended the erection of a stockade fort, which

by direction of General McIntosh was called Fort Crawford.

And during this year, and from time to time the two subsequent

years, Crawford was in command at this post.38

General George Rogers Clark of Virginia, a true military

genius, was in Dunmore's war where he became a warm friend

of Crawford. General Clark, recognizing       and  appreciating

Crawford's talents, invited him early in 1778 to join his secret

military expedition against the British posts between the Ohio

and Mississippi rivers, but Crawford, then otherwise engaged,

reluctantly declined. But he assisted the general in many ways,

particularly in securing recruits along the frontier fit for such



GENTLEMEN: Your very affectionate and polite address demands my

warmest acknowledgments, which I beg leave to return to you in the strong-

est terms of gratitude and affection. Be assured the officers of the Seventh

regiment will ever share my tender regard; and I have great hopes that

they will continue to merit the highest esteem of their insulted and in-

jured country. My kind wishes will ever attend the lowest soldier in the


My own abilities are small, but I have this serious satisfaction, -that

they have been and shall continue to be exerted to the utmost in defense

of American liberty, justice, and the rights of humanity.

I have the honor to be, gentlemen,

Your most humble servant,

W. Crawford.

38 In May 1778 he took command of the new Virginia regiment just

raised under General McIntosh. Crawford's-Campaign against Sandusky,

p. 106.

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dangerous service. The expedition, as every one knows, was

a great success; the British posts in the Illinois country were all

taken; and the princely domain between the Ohio and Mississippi

saved to our nation.39

In contemplation of an early movement against Detroit,

Colonel Crawford and General McIntosh erected in the fall of

1778, two forts-McIntosh and Laurens.40 The money, however,

to properly equip an invading force sufficiently strong to capture

a place and post like Detroit was wanting, and the project was

for the time abandoned.

In September, 1778, Colonel Crawford's command included

the troops then at Fort Pitt, from Yohogania, Monongalia and

Ohio counties, Virginia, and on the 8th of October he was directed

to form the militia into a brigade. On the 27th of October, he

was at Fort McIntosh, where he received orders to unite the Vir-

ginia troops from Berkeley and Augusta counties, into one corps

and those from Hampshire and Rockingham into another, to

be known as the Third and Fourth Regiments of his brigade.

From these he was instructed "to select a company of officers

and men for light infantry."

Fort Laurens,41 the first fort built in what is now the State

of Ohio, was often visited by Crawford, on official business, and

going and returning he made several narrow escapes. The

vicinity was haunted by Indians who hardly ever spared the life

of a captive.42 When it was decided in the month of August, 1779,

to abandon forts McIntosh and Laurens, Indian depredations

39Clark's Campaign, Cincinnati: Robert Clark & Co., 1869, p. 1.

40 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 71. "Under Brigadier General

McIntosh, who succeeded General Hand, in August 1778, at Pittsburg,

Crawford took command of the militia of the western counties of Virginia,

and had in charge the building of Fort McIntosh, at what is now Beaver,

in Beaver Co., Pa. He marched with that officer into the Indian country

in November, in command of a brigade, and was present at the building in

December, of Fort Laurens, upon the west bank of the Tuscarawas river,

in what is now Tuscarawas Co., Ohio. Washington-Irvine Correspon-

dence, p. 116.

41 Washington-Crawford Letters p. 71.

42 Crawford's Expedition, p. 110.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.              13


greatly increased; the merciless savages grew bolder day by day.

Hence on several occasions, at the head of a small force, Craw-

ford invaded their country, and his incursions were usually suc-

cessful, for after each the Indians were less aggressive. We may

well believe his services were highly valued by the poor exposed

settlers, for there were only a few men whose public spirit, cour-

age and tact fitted them for such enterprises, and these were re-

garded by the defenseless borderers, as the very saviors of the


In the year 1780, Crawford visited the American Congress,

and implored that august body to give the frontier better protec-

tion, and to make larger appropriations for that purpose. His

earnest appeals had a salutary effect, for the necessary war ma-

terial and supplies were "soon afterward forwarded to Fort Pitt,

and other Western posts."43 After returning home, and during

that year, Crawford again on several occasions led small bands

in pursuit of marauding savages.

His great desire, however, had long been to equip and lead

an expedition against Detroit, or Sandusky, for from these points

the Indians came who wrought death and destruction along the

frontier. Upper Sandusky,44 "the grand rallying point for the

British Indians before starting for the border," was on the great

highway between the north and the south. The Sandusky river

was the water-way, and highway of travel, between Canada and

the Mississippi. From time out of mind the Sandusky, Scioto,

and Ohio rivers, had been the water-route between Detroit and

the south, for warlike Indians, then for French explorers and

soldiers, and later for the British. They came in boats from De-

troit across the lake to the head of the Sandusky Bay, or to Lower

Sandusky, now Fremont. William Walker, an intelligent Indian

chief, whom many of you knew very well, wrote as follows:

"Ascending the Sandusky river to the mouth of the west branch,

known as the Little Sandusky, in a bark or light wooden canoe,

you could in a good stage of water ascend that tributary four or

five miles further. Thence east across to the Little Scioto is a

43 Crawford's Expedition, p. 111.

44 History of Wyandot county, Ohio, p. 241.

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14         Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


distance of about four miles. This was the portage."45  "This

place," writes Col. James Smith, in his "Life and Travels," who

was here in 1757, "is in the plains between a creek that empties

into Sandusky, and one that runs into Scioto; and at the time of

high water, or in the spring season, there is but about one-half

mile of portage, and that very level, and clear of rocks, timber

and stones.-"46 As the portage was short and trifling, Indians and

others as before stated, going south and returning, made use of

these streams. Hence Crawford felt that a river town so promi-

nent and obnoxious as Upper Sandusky, which was a sort of

entrepot, should be wiped out, for here the Indian allies of Great

Britain received annuities47 and other allowances, and their sup-

plies48 before starting for the settlements. The Wyandot or Half

King's town, or capital, was really the most important place in

the Indian country; and in Crawford's opinion the peace and safety

of the frontier depended on its destruction, and the crushing de-

feat and conquest of the Sandusky Indians. This was also the

opinion of General Irvine, commandant at Fort Pitt.49

At a meeting of the people of Westmoreland county, held

on the 18th of June, 1781, to devise ways and means for the de-

fense of the frontier, Crawford's presence had an inspiring effect,

and his words carried great weight. It was there decided to

render active and efficient aid to Gen. Clark's expedition against

Detroit. Thereupon Col. Crawford, actively co-operated with

Col. Lochry,50 and General Clark, in trying to raise and equip an

45 Communication to C. W. Butterfield, 1872.

46 An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels

of Col. James Smith. Lexington, Ky., 1799, p. 86.

47 History of Wyandot county, Ohio, p. 241.

48 Crawford's Campaign against Sandusky, p. 165.

49 In General Irvine's instructions to Col. Crawford, dated Fort Pitt,

May 14, 1782, he says: "The object of your command is to destroy with

fire and sword, if practicable, the Indian town and settlements at San-

dusky, by which we hope to give ease and safety to the inhabitants of

this country." (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 118.)

50 Col. Lochry and all his brave men, about one hundred and forty, were

either killed or captured near the mouth of the Miami, on their way to

join Gen. Clark's expedition. (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, pp

154, 229.)

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                 15


army to march against Detroit. He also did all in his power to

aid and strengthen the effort Colonel Gibson, the officer then in

command at Fort Pitt, was making, to organize a sufficient force

to go against Sandusky, or Upper Sandusky as it was commonly

called. But both schemes or projects fell through, not for want

of men, or martial spirit, but lack of means,-the sinews of war.

Of one of these expeditions it was intended that Crawford should

be a leading officer; and the attempt he made to set Colonel Gib-

son's on foot, "was his last effort as an officer on the continental

establishment."  These two projects so dear to his heart, he

thought the only means of stopping the inroads of the savage and

preventing further barbarities.51

But now, desperate as our affairs seemed in the west, the

star of hope had risen in the east. The power of England was

broken. The battle of Yorktown had been fought-October 19,

1781-peace between the colonies and mother country was at

hand,"52 and the old warrior thought the time propitious to lay

aside the sword, and return to the bosom of his family. As a

soldier of the Revolution, Crawford had now served his country

six years, and sought retirement. Though placed on the retired

list, he would still hold his commission, and stand ready to re-

spond to the calls of his country whenever and wherever his

services might really be needed. The exposed condition of the

frontier settlements was ever before him, nor could he turn a

deaf ear to the cries of the lonely settlers.

The year 1782 is dawning. Crawford, now fifty years old,

in fairly vigorous health, is at home on the Youghiogheny, happy

in the belief that here he can remain henceforth, free from war's


51 Col. James Marshal, the commandant at Fort McIntosh, wrote to Gen.

Irvine on the 2d of April, 1782, as follows: "This is most certain that

unless an expedition be carried against some of the principal Indian towns

early this summer, this country must unavoidably suffer." On the 4th

of April he wrote: "The people in general on the frontiers are waiting

with anxious expectation to know whether an expedition can be carried

against Upper Sandusky early this spring or not." (Washington-Irvine

Correspondence. pp. 285, 286.)

52 The surrender of Lord Cornwallis was an assurance to Crawford that

the struggle would soon end.

16 Ohio Arch

16        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


tumults and alarms. In his cabin by the river he loved to tell

his children, grand children and others-for all sought his com-

pany-the story of his eventful life. He now longed for peace,

but the stars and signs in the western firmament were lurid and

warlike. The cruel and merciless Indian was still on the war-

path. While American arms were triumphant in the east, the

Western frontier was still the witness and theater of horrible

savage barbarities. The tomahawk and scalping knife were

doing their bloody work. Settlers daily fell victims, houses and

barns went up in flames, fields were laid waste, and stock stolen

or slain. A state or terror reigned along the Pennsylvania and

Virginia border. The despairing, almost phrensied settlers were

calling aloud for help. Is it surprising then that Crawford, though

in retirement, found himself taking a deep interest in another pro-

posed expedition against Sandusky, and the Sandusky Indians?

His advice was sought and freely given. "Not less," said he,

"than four hundred men should venture so far into the enemy's

country."53 As Crawford had long favored an advance against

the Sandusky Indians, the settlers naturally turned to him as the

particular person to lead it. This he declined; there were others

equally capable, and he had done his share. His only son, John,

had decided to enlist, so had his distinguished son-in-law, Major

William Harrison, of the great Virginia family of that name.

His nephew, William Crawford, had already volunteered.

John Crawford was "A young man greatly and deservedly

esteemed as a soldier and citizen,"54 wrote the historian Bracken-

enridge in 1782. Sarah, the eldest daughter of Colonel Crawford,

wooed and won by the gallant and scholarly Harrison, was the

most charming and beautiful young woman55 in western Penn-

sylvania, if tradition and history are to be relied on. As Craw-

ford still held his commission as a colonel in the regular army,

and as Irvine, the officer in command of the Western Department,

desired him to lead the expedition, should he refuse? That was

the question. Finally, yielding to the entreaties of General


53 Sparks' Corr. Amer. Rev. vol. 11, p. 509.

54 Slover's Narrative (ed. of 1783), p. 23, note.

55 Robert A. Sherrard to Butterfield: 1872.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.              17

Click on image to view full size

After a portrait by Robert Edge Pine, an eminent English artist, who painted it

in New York in 1784, when Gen. Irvine was a member of Congress.


Irvine, at Fort Pitt, and his beloved son, son-in-law, and nephew,

and no doubt other relatives, he reluctantly consented to accept

the command if chosen by the volunteers.

Mingo Bottom, two and a half miles below the Steubenville

of to-day was agreed upon as the place of rendezvous. Crawford56

now began in earnest to get ready for the long, perilous march.

On the 14th of May, 1782, in consideration of love and affection,

he duly conveyed to his son-in-law, William Harrison, a farm

near his own on the Youghiogheny. On the 16th he made his

last will and testament, giving to his wife during life, the home

farm, and three slaves, Dick, Daniel and Betty, and all his per-

sonal property except a slave boy named Martin. He gave his

son John the aforesaid boy Martin, and five hundred acres of

land, and after his wife's death the home farm, and the three slaves,

Dick, Daniel and Betty. He gave to each of his grand children,

Moses and Richard, sons of John Crawford, four hundred acres,

and to his grand daughter Anne four hundred acres. He made

bequests to Anne Connell, and her four children: all the rest of

his estate to be divided equally between his three children.57

On Saturday, the 18th, he bade adieu to his weeping wife,

daughters, grand children, and others, and then set out on horse-

back for Mingo Bottom, going by way of Fort Pitt for instruc-

tions.58  His son, son-in-law, and nephew had already started.

Crawford needing more officers, General Irvine detailed two,

then on duty at the fort, to accompany him, namely, Lieutenant

Rose as aide-de-camp, and Dr. Knight as surgeon. On the 21st

General Irvine wrote to Washington: "I have taken some pains

to get Colonel Crawford appointed to command, and hope he will

be. He left me yesterday on his way down to the place of ren-

dezvous. He does not wish to go with a smaller number than

four hundred."59


56 Crawford was looked upon as "one of the first gentlemen in the

West." History of the Girtys, p. 175.

57 Crawford's will is of record in Westmoreland county. It was proved

Sept 10, 1782, and recorded Dec. 29, 1819.

58 For the "instructions" see Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p.


59 Sparks' Corr. Amer. Rev. II. p. 509.

Vol. VI--2

18 Ohio Arch

18        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


At Mingo Bottom, Colonel Crawford was duly elected to

command the expedition. David Williamson was made field

major, and second in command; Thomas Gaddis, field major,

and third in command; John McClelland, field major, and fourth

in command; Major Brinton, field major, and fifth in command;

Daniel Leet, brigade major; Dr. John Knight, surgeon; Thomas

Nicholson, John Slover and Jonathan Zane, guides. There were

of course other officers. Lieutenant John Rose, of the regular

army, went as aide-de-camp to Crawford. General Irvine wrote

to Washington on the 21st as follows: "Crawford pressed me

for some officers, and I have sent with him Lieutenant Rose, my

aide-de-camp, a very vigilant, active, brave young gentleman,

well acquainted with service and [Dr. Knight] a surgeon. These

are all I could venture to spare."60

Butterfield in writing of the campaign says: "The project

against Sandusky, was as carefully considered, and as authorita-

tively planned as any military enterprise in the west during the

Revolution." On the 25th of May, the volunteers, four hundred

and eighty strong, all mounted on good horses, began their march

from  Mingo Bottom.   "The route," says Butterfield, "lay

through what is now the counties of Jefferson, Harrison, Tus-

carawas, Holmes, Ashland, Richland, Crawford-nearly to the

center of Wyandot county." One of the volunteers, Lieut. Francis

Dunlevy, wrote a brief account of the campaign.61 He after-

wards became a classical scholar and held high positions in Ohio.

In four days the army reached the Upper Moravian village-sixty

miles from Mingo Bottom.62 On the 2d of June the Sandusky

river was seen three miles west of where Crestline now stands.

On the 3d of June the volunteers encamped for the night on the

Sandusky Plains, near where the village of Wyandot may now

be seen. On the 4th, after traveling six miles, they came to the

mouth of the Little Sandusky, a spot well known to John Slover,

60 Sparks' Corr. Amer. Rev. vol. III. p. 502.

61 See his declaration for a pension: 1832.

62 See Dr. Knight's Narrative.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                19

Click on image to view full size


one of the army pilots.63  On the same day they found Upper

Sandusky Old Town, situate on the Sandusky river about three

miles in a south-easterly direction from the Upper Sandusky of

to-day, deserted. Not an Indian was to be seen.64 "We advanced

on," says Knight in his Narrative, "in search of some of their

settlements, but had scarcely got the distance of three or four

miles from the old town" when we learned that Crawford's

mounted scouts who had been sent forward to reconnoiter, had

discovered "about three miles in front," near a grove they were

occupying, "a large body of Indians running toward them."

Crawford heard of their presence with great satisfaction, and

commenced a forward movement. Near where the scouts had

first sighted them they were soon seen by the entire cavalcade,

some little distance ahead taking possession of the grove the re-

connoitering party had so recently abandoned,-since well known

as Battle Island. Crawford at once saw the advantage this would

give the Indians, and ordering his men to dismount, moved

swiftly forward, and by rapid firing soon dislodged the enemy,

and occupied the grove.

It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th of June when this

contest, known as the Battle of Sandusky, began,-three miles

and a half northeast of the present county seat of Wyandot

county-American frontiersmen on one side,65 and British sol-

diers and Indians on the other. Crawford's troops, though out-

numbered, had the best position,66 that is they were in possession

of the grove-Battle Island-and on higher ground, while the

63 Crawford's Campaign against Sandusky, p. 151.

As to the high character of Dr. John Knight, and John Slover, see

Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 128.

64Col. Crawford "took every precaution to guard against ambuscades

and surprises." "Unceasing vigilance was the watchword." (History of

Wyandot County, Ohio, p. 246.)

65 General Irvine in speaking of the expedition, said it was composed

of "disinterested and virtuous men, who had the protection of the coun-

try in view." (History of Wyandot County, Ohio, p. 242.)

66 See report dated "Camp Upper Sandusky, June 7, 1782," of Lieut.

John Turney of Corps of Rangers, to Major A. S. De Peyster, British

Commandant at Detroit. (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 368.)

20 Ohio Arch

20        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


Indians and their white allies were sheltered by the tall coarse

prairie grass that then covered the Sandusky Plains.

The Delaware Indians, under Captain Pipe, a noted war

chief, and Wingenund, another chief, and the renegade, Simon

Girty, first met the Americans; but the Wyandots led by Zhaus-

sho-toh, and Captain Mathew Elliott, another white renegade,

soon came to their relief. Two companies of white soldiers from

Detroit were in the fight, and forty-four "lake Indians."67 The

enemy was reinforced on the second day by one hundred and

forty Shawanese, and more white soldiers, and lake Indians. The

whole were commanded by Captain William Caldwell, a British

officer, assisted by Captain Alex. McKee, Captain Elliott, Captain

Grant, Lieutenant Turney, Lieutenant Clinch, besides Simon Gir-

ty, and other white officers68 in uniform. Girty, Elliott and McKee,

though renegades and deserters,69 spoke the Delaware and Wy-

andot languages.

The first day the battle raged with varying fortunes, some-

times more favorable to one side than the other till dusk, when the

British and Indians, defeated but not discouraged, drew further

back and the firing ceased.70 Lieut. John Turney, of the Corps of

Rangers, writing to Major De Peyster at Detroit, from "Camp

Upper Sandusky, June 7, 1782," says: "On the 4th about 12 o'clock

the enemy appeared about two miles from this place. Captain Cald-

well with the rangers, and about two hundred Indians, marched

out to fight them, and attacked them about 2 o'clock. The enemy

*  *  * had every advantage of us as to situation of ground

people could possibly wish for. The action became general and

was dubious for some time. *                  *     The battle was very hot till

night, which put a stop to firing."71       There was no lack of bravery

on either side during the entire time the contest lasted-from 2

67Captain William Caldwell's report to Maj. De Peyster. Washington-

Irvine Correspondence, p. 371.

68 See Capt. Alex. McKee's report to De Peyster, dated Upper Sandusky,

June 7, 1782. See same work, p. 370. See communication of Indian chief,

Capt. Snake to Maj. De Peyster, same work, p. 369.

69 Deserted March 28, 1778. See same work, pp. 17, 127.

70 Crawford's Campaign against Sandusky, pp. 211, 212.

71 Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 368.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                  21

Click on image to view full size

From a likeness taken from a fine oil painting that appeared in the Detroit

Journal of July 11, 1896, and other Detroit papers, during the centennial celebra-

tion of the evacuation of Detroit by the British. (See Farmer's History of Detroit

and Michigan.)


o'clock till dark-although only five of the volunteers were killed

and nineteen wounded. The loss of the British and Indians,

though since denied, was probably far heavier,72 but as they were

constantly expecting the reinforcements73 then marching to their

relief, they were by no means disheartened.

On the part of the Americans, Crawford with consummate

ability directed the fight, and his officers and men so far as known

bravely did their duty. Lieutenant Rose was probably Craw-

ford's most efficient officer.74 Cool and daring, his martial bear-

ing and words of encouragement stimulated every drooping spirit,

reviving the sanguine expectations, enthusiasm, and courage of

every man. Pursued during the engagement "by a party of

mounted Indians who were so close to him at times as to throw

their tomahawks," Rose happily escaped, owing to "his coolness

and superior horsemanship."   The strategy and vigilance of Ma-

jor Williamson and Major Leet, were generally commended.

Lieutenant Dunlevy, Philip Smith, Sherrard, Canon, John Camp-

bell, and others were brave, reliable and efficient.75


72 Capt. Wm. Caldwell of Butler's Rangers, who commanded at Upper

Sandusky, in his report dated June 11, 1782, says: "Our loss is very

inconsiderable; one ranger killed, myself and two wounded; Le Vellier,

the interpreter, killed; four Indians killed and eight wounded."

73 Lieut. Turney to Major De Peyster, commanding at Detroit. Wash-

ington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 368. Captain Elliott and Lieutenant

Clinch "in particular signalized themselves," says Lieut. Turney to Maj.

De Peyster.

74 "John Rose and John Gunsaulus, were the undoubted heroes of the

conflict on the side of the borderers." History of the Girtys, p. 167.

75 Capt. William Caldwell, in command at Upper Sandusky, where he

was shot through both legs, writing from Lower Sandusky, to Maj.

De Peyster, June 11, 1782, puts our killed and wounded at two hundred

and fifty and intimates that we had six hundred in the fight. He asks

that the Indians be supplied with provisions, ammunition, tobacco, "and

such other things as are necessary for warriors." He compliments Chief-

with-one-Eye, Dewantale, Sidewaltone, and other lake Indians; and be-

lieves that none of the Americans could have escaped if he had not been

wounded. (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 371.)

Major De Peyster, writing from Detroit, June 12, 1782, to Brigadier-

General H. W. Powell, commanding at Niagara, says: "I have the pleas-

ure to inform you, that the rangers and confederate Indians from this

22 Ohio Arch

22         Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


As soon as those who had enlisted for the campaign met at

Mingo Bottom, Indian runners who had been acting as spies,

started to notify the Delawares and Wyandots, who in turn notified

the Shawanese, and their British allies, at Detroit, of the invasion

of the Indian country.76

It is well established that Crawford's army, though outnum-

bered by the enemy, was clearly victorious on the 4th, that the

fighting on the 5th was desultory, and that little damage was

done, and that on the evening of the 5th our sentries discovered

that the enemy was being largely reinforced by bands of Indians

and mounted rangers.77     The Indians mostly came from the

Shawanese towns78 south of the Sandusky Plains, and the white

soldiers from  Detroit, De Peyster, the British commandant at

that place having dispatched Butler's Rangers, and some "Lake

Indians" to help repel the invaders.79  They came from Detroit

post, have been successful in opposing the enemy at Sandusky."  De

Peyster, writing from Detroit, July 18, 1782, to Thomas Brown, Super-

intendent of Indian Affairs, claims "a complete victory over 600 of the

enemy." "Col. Crawford, who commanded, was taken in the pursuit.

and put to death by the Delawares, notwithstanding every means had been

tried by an Indian officer present to save his life. De Peyster regrets

the revival of "the old savage custom."  (Washington-Irvine Corre-

spondence, p. 372.)

76 Crawford's Campaign against Sandusky, p. 159.

77 Washington-Irvine Correspondence, pp. 292, 293. De Peyster sent the

Rangers to the Sandusky river in a vessel, called the Faith. (History of

the Girtys, p. 162.)

78 Lieut. Rose to Gen. Irvine, Washington-Irvine Correspondence, pp.

371, 372. "On the 5th * * about 12 o'clock we were joined by one

hundred and forty Shawanese, and had got the enemy surrounded."

(Lieut. Turney to Major De Peyster, from "Camp Upper Sandusky, June 7,

1782.) On the 4th of June the advantage was on the side of the Americans.

The loss of the enemy (British and Indians) was six killed, 11 wounded,

including Capt. Caldwell. The enemy was reinforced June 5th by 140

Shawanese, a detachment of rangers, and some "lake Indians." (Wash-

ington-Irvine Correspondence, pp. 122, 123.) See John Leith's Narra-

tive, p. 15.

79 The Wyandot Half-King begs Major De Peyster to send him some

provisions, ammunition, clothing and a little rum to drink His Britannic

Majesty's health, and hopes that the Detroit Indians will be ready to come

to his aid when again needed. (Lieut. Turney's second report to Major

De Peyster, from Camp Upper Sandusky, June 7, 1782.)

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                 23

Click on image to view full size

After a rare and striking likeness in one of the works of an

esteemed Ohio author- Prof. W. H. Venable, L.L. D.


by lake and river, bringing two field pieces and a mortar. When

the astounding discovery was made that the enemy was receiving

such reinforcements,80 Crawford at once called a council of war,

at which it was decided not to attack the enemy so "superior in

numbers" that night, as intended, but to prepare to retreat in

good order soon after dark. Simon Girty was seen during the day

by Lieut. Francis Dunlevy, and others, who knew him well. Dun-

levy, who was stationed near the edge of the prairie to watch the

movements of the enemy, often saw Girty, who appeared to be in

a high state of excitement, riding back and forth on a white horse

giving orders.  Many of the volunteers thought Girty was in

command. Our troops about 9 o'clock formed in proper order to

begin the retreat,81 with Colonel Crawford at the head, and the

wounded near the center. The enemy suspecting Crawford's

object began firing, which resulted in much confusion among the

volunteers.82  Some got separated from the main body and were

shot and scalped, or captured, others reached home after many


80 Capt. Snake, in a speech sent to Maj. De Peyster, dated Upper San-

dusky, June 8, 1782, in behalf of the Mingoes, Shawanese and Delawares,

says: "Let the rangers * * remain about ten days, and then march to

our villages." Capt. Snake asks for more soldiers and stores, cannon

and provisions. Capt. Alex. McKee, writing to the same British officer

from Upper Sandusky, June 7, 1782, says: "You have already an account

of the repulse of 500 of the enemy who advanced near this place and

were surrounded by near an equal number of Indians with the rangers."

McKee then describes the retreat and pursuit, refers to what the Indians

intend to do, and says they want further assistance *  * "with a further

supply of ammunition and stores suitable for warriors." (Washington-

Irvine Correspondence, pp. 369, 370.)

81 On the 5th of June 1782, "we heard a cannon fire at Upper Sandusky.

* * At length the Americans under Col. Williamson stole a retreat

on the Indians who were gathering around them in great numbers; but

Col. Crawford with most of his men was taken by them. They toma-

hawked all his men and burnt him alive." (Short Biography of John

Leith, p. 16. Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 305.)

82 "Confusion followed, and some in the front line hurried off, followed

by many pushing forward from the rear. The advance under command

of Maj. McClelland, was furiously attacked by the Delawares and Shawan-

ese and suffered severely, the major being fatally wounded." (History

of Wyandot County, p. 246.)

24 Ohio Arch

24         Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


narrow escapes and much suffering; but upwards of three hundred

remained together, pushing ahead, while resisting and fighting

the pursuing Indians83 and British.84  About 2 o'clock in the after-

noon of the 6th the enemy had become so daring and troublesome

that the army in retreat decided to make a stand and fight for

their lives. An encounter then took place near the Olentangy

creek, in what is now Whetstone township,85 Crawford county,

called the battle of Olentangy, about five miles from the present

site of Bucyrus, and six from Galion, in which the Americans were

once more successful. It lasted about an hour, and our loss, says

Lieut. Rose, was "three killed and eight wounded."  During the

battles and retreat Major Williamson and Lieutenant Rose were

active, vigilant and invaluable.

The returning volunteers, at the head of whom was Major

Williamson, without much further annoyance reached Mingo Bot-

tom, and crossed the Ohio the lath of June; they were discharged

the 14th, and thus a memorable campaign lasting twenty days

came to an end.86 John, the beloved son of Colonel Crawford,

reached home about the same time.87

On the 16th General Irvine informed Washington of the

83"De Peyster lost no time in dispatching Rangers and some Lake

Indians to the help of the Wyandots. The former were a company com-

manded by Capt. William Caldwell. Crossing Lake Erie to Lower San-

dusky, they began their march up the Sandusky river, making all pos-

sible haste to succor their Indian allies." (History of the Girtys, p. 163.)

84 Lieut. John Turney, who took command of the British and Indians

after Capt. Wm. Caldwell was wounded, in his report to Major A. S. De

Peyster, commanding at Detroit, says: "Some of the Indians pursued"

the Americans, and "as soon as I heard of the retreat I pursued them

with the rangers." On the 11th of June Capt. Caldwell wrote to De

Peyster: "The Delawares are still in pursuit, and I hope we will account

for most of the 600." (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, pp. 368, 371.)

85 On the north-west quarter of section 22.

86 Washington-Irvine Correspondence, pp. 122, 123.

87 Maj. Wm. Harrison, the son-in-law of Col. Crawford, and his nephew,

William Crawford, were captured and put to death by the Delawares.

Both suffered the most cruel torture. (Washington-Irvine Correspond-

ence, pp. 376, 377.)

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                 25

Click on image to view full size

From a portrait-after an oil painting in Russia-presented to Mrs. Margaret Irvine

Biddle of Washington, D. C., gr. granddaughter of Gen. Wm. Irvine, by Baron George

Pilar Von Pilchau of St. Petersburg, Russia, gr. grandson of Baron de Rosenthal.


result of the expedition; on the 5th of July he notified the execu-

tive of Pennsylvania of the failure of the campaign. On the 6th

of August Washington wrote to Irvine, "I lament the failure of

the expedition."

The State of Pennsylvania paid all losses sustained by the

soldiers, and in many instances awarded pensions, and later the

general government granted pensions.88 The loss our invading

army sustained is believed to have been seventy, killed, captured,

missing, and those who died of wounds.89

The real name of Crawford's brave and brilliant young aide-

de-camp was not John Rose, but Gustave Henri De Rosenthal.

He was born in Livonia, Russia, and was a baron of the empire.

Having killed a fellow nobleman in a duel near the palace in St.

Petersburg, he fled in disguise to our country, then at war with

Great Britain, entered our service, fought long and gallantly for

our independence, was the hero of the retreat from the Sandusky

Plains,90 and finally having been pardoned by the Emperor Alex-

ander, he left Philadelphia for his Russian home in the month of

April, 1784. He there married an early love, gained distinction,

was appointed grand marshal of the province of Livonia, became

the father of five children, kept up a correspondence with General

Irvine, and after his death with his son, and in consideration of

his long and valuable services our government granted him

bounty lands in Ohio, and the State of Pennsylvania gave him

88 Crawford's Campaign against Sandusky, pp. 246, 247.

89 Lieut. Rose in writing June 13, 1782, to Gen. Irvine, says: "Our loss

will not exceed thirty in killed and missing." The Pennsylvania Journal

and Weekly Advertiser of July 6, 1782, estimates the missing at from

fifty to seventy. "The entire loss was about fifty men." (Washington-

Irvine Correspondence, p. 123.) "The result is a total loss of less than

seventy." (Crawford's Campaign, p. 259.)

90"I furnished the party with ammunition, and sent written instruc-

tions to the commander, and also sent two Continental officers -Major

Rose, my own aide-de-camp, and Doctor Knight, surgeon of one of the

regiments under my command - to assist Colonel Crawford. After the

defeat, the second in command [Williamson], and others, informed me

that it was owing in a great degree to the bravery and good conduct

of Major Rose that the retreat was so well effected." (Gen. Irvine to

Hannah Crawford.)

26 Ohio Arch

26        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


two tracts in the northwestern part of that State. This accom-

plished man and friend of our country, the only Russian on the

American side in the war of Independence, died in his native land

on his own estate in 1829.91

On the night of the 5th of June, as the army, somewhat panic

stricken, was retreating92 from  the Sandusky Plains, Colonel

Crawford, then some distance from the field of action, not seeing

his son John, son-in-law William   Harrison, nephew   William

Crawford, or aide-de-camp Lieutenant Rose, called aloud for

each, and continued to call till the troops in much confusion had

got some distance ahead. Then seeing Dr. Knight, he begged

him to remain with him, saying his horse had nearly given out,

and that he could not keep up with the troops; he also condemned

the precipitate and disorderly retreat, and the violation of orders in

deserting the wounded. Failing, during the excitement and rout,

to find his missing relatives, or Lieutenant Rose, for it was now

quite dark, and the firing becoming very hot, Crawford, Knight,

and two other soldiers finally concluded to start east. They after-

wards fell in with Captain Biggs and Lieutenant Ashley. About

2 o'clock on the afternoon of the 7th, a number of Delaware In-

dians, whose camp was only a half mile distant, suddenly ap-

peared before them, not twenty steps away. Dr. Knight and the

others, getting behind trees were about to fire, when Crawford

induced them not to do so. The other four were so fortunate as

to escape, but "The Colonel and I," says Knight in his narrative,

"were then taken to the Indian camp."93  Here they found nine


91 He was exceptionally fine looking, was born in 1753, and died in

Rival, June 26, 1829. Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 117.

92 Lord Derby was kind enough to transmit through the U. S. Legation

at London, copies of various letters, dispatches, and speeches, from which

liberal quotations have been made, relating to the battle of Sandusky,

the retreat of the Americans, the capture of Col. Crawford, and his awful

death by torture. Though in some particulars they are exaggerations,

still they are valuable as the enemy's version of that unhappy episode

of the Revolution. (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. iv.)

93 "A number of people inform me that Colonel Crawford ought to be

considered as a Continental officer, and are of the opinion that retaliation

should take place." (Irvine to Washington, July 11, 1782.)

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                27


other prisoners, among whom was John McKinley, formerly an

officer in the 13th Virginia Regiment, and all were constantly

watched, with little to eat, till Monday morning, the 10th of June,

when in charge of seventeen Delawares, they all started as they

were informed, to Upper Sandusky-the Half King's town,

thirty-three miles hence. At the Half King's town, Colonel

Crawford had an interview with the notorious Simon Girty, whom

he had long known, and begged him to save his life, offering him

a thousand dollars. Girty promised to exert all his influence to

save him, with probably no intention whatever of doing it. He

also informed him that his son-in-law and nephew had been cap-

tured by the Shawanese, but afterwards pardoned. This was

false, for the guide John Slover, who was captured, said after his

escape, that he saw the dead bodies of William Harrison and Wil-

liam Crawford at Wapatomica, as they lay black, bloody and

mangled.94 Slover recognized the faces of both. Girty was born

in Pennsylvania, and the Colonel had known him before his de-

sertion. His father came from Ireland, and this is what Henry

Howe, the historian, says of him: "The old man was beastly in-

temperate, and nothing ranked higher in his estimation than a

jug of whisky. 'Grog was his song, and grog would he have.'

His sottishness turned his wife's affection. Ready for seduction,

she yielded  * *  *  to a neighboring rustic, who to remove

all obstacles to their wishes, knocked Girty on the head, and bore

off the trophy of his prowess.95 When Simon Girty was a subal-

tern at Fort Pitt, and more or less intimate with Crawford, there

94 "As they lay black, bloody-burnt with powder." Slover also saw

their clothing and horses. (Slover's Narrative.) William Harrison was

tied to a stake, when the savages fired powder at him until he died;

they then quartered him, and left the quarters hanging on four poles.

(The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser of July 27, 1782.)

95 Historical collections of Ohio, vol. II. p. 186. See Campbell's Bio-

graphical Sketches, p. 147.

Oliver M. Spencer was taken captive while a youth by the Indians in

1792. He says of Simon Girty: " His dark shaggy hair, his low forehead,

his brows contracted and meeting above his short flat nose, his gray sunken

eyes averting the ingenuous gaze, his lips thin and compressed, and the

dark and sinister expression of his countenance to me seemed the very

picture of a villain."

28 Ohio Arch

28       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


is a tradition that he was a suitor for the hand of one of the Colo-

nel's daughters, whose refusal offended him. Be that as it may,

he still professed friendship, and promised to do all he could for

him. Tom Jelloway, one of the so-called Christian Indians, who

understood English, overheard the conversation between Craw-

ford and Girty, which he was careful to repeat to the hostile Dela-

ware chiefs, Captain Pipe and Wingenund. Crawford's offer of

money is said to have incensed these chiefs, and fixed their deter-

mination to torture him to death. On the morning of the 11th,

Crawford, as well as Captain Pipe and Wingenund, arrived at

Upper Sandusky Old Town, where Knight and the other nine

prisoners had spent the night. Thereupon Captain Pipe, having

painted with his own hand all the prisoners, including Crawford

and Knight, black, started with them on the trail leading to the

village of the Wyandots. They had not traveled far till four of

the prisoners were tomahawked and scalped. Captain Pipe and

Crawford were well acquainted, having frequently met, and on

the 17th of September, 1778, both signed a treaty of peace at Fort

Pitt, between the Delawares and the United States. On the

march, Crawford and Knight, who walked between The Pipe and

Wingenund, were carefully guarded. The crafty Pipe told the

colonel he was glad to see him, and that he should be adopted as

an Indian when they met his friends, meaning the prisoners, at

the Wyandot village. After reaching the famous springs where

Upper Sandusky now stands, and they changed their course for

the Delaware town on the Tymochtee, Crawford and Knight lost

hope, and felt that their doom was sealed. When the Little Ty-

mochtee was reached, the Indians caused Crawford and Knight,

and the remaining five prisoners, to sit down on the ground,

whereupon "a number of squaws and boys fell on the five pris-

oners and tomahawked them all." An old squaw cut off the head

of John McKinley, a gallant officer of the Revolution, and a rela-

tive no doubt of Governor McKinley,96 and kicked it about upon

the ground. The young Indian fiends often came to where Craw-

ford and Knight were sitting, and dashed the reeking scalps in


96Since the above was written, Governor McKinley has been made

President of the United States.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                29


their faces. At the end of these dreadful and barbarous scenes,

Crawford and Knight were told to move on. They were then in

what is now Crawford township, Wyandot county, and soon met

Simon Girty and some Indians on horseback. Well knowing

Crawford's dreadful doom, they had come from the Half King's

town to witness the holocaust.97 Riding up to Crawford, Girty

spoke to him, but said nothing of the determination the two chiefs

had come to. Girty now saw the chiefs for the first time since he

had given Crawford his promise, but made no effort to save him,

nor is it at all likely he could have saved him. These two war

chiefs were not only in close alliance with the British, and deter-

mined enemies of the Americans, but as Delaware Indians, loved

to inflict cruel tortures, and to witness human suffering and agony.

As to what took place after Crawford's capture, we have ample

testimony, for Dr. Knight, his fellow captive, whose escape was

marvelous, was present nearly all the time.

As the party moved along toward the Tymochtee, almost

every Indian the prisoners met, struck them with their fists or

with sticks. Girty, waiting until Knight came along, asked, "Is

that the doctor?"  Knight told him who he was, and went toward

him reaching out his hand, but Girty, calling him a damned rascal,

told him to begone.

A fire was started on the 11th of June, on the east bank of the

Tymochtee, near this grove and about three-quarters of a mile

from the Delaware village. Ordinary prisoners were toma-

hawked without much ado; but Crawford, the "Big Captain,"


97 Maj. De Peyster writing from Detroit, August 18, 1782, to Gen. Fredk.

Haldimand, says: "Your letter of the 11th of July, * * regretting the

cruelty committed by some of the Indians upon Colonel Crawford, and

desiring me to assure them of your utter abhorrence of such proceedings,"

has been received. * * "I had sent messengers throughout the Indian

country, previous to the receipt of your letter, threatening to recall the

troops, if they, the Indians, did not desist from cruelty. I have frequently

signified to the Indians how much you abhor cruelty, and I shall to-

morrow dispatch a person I have great confidence in, to carry your

instructions to the southern nations." De Peyster then says he has

reinforced Captain Caldwell, and sent " Captain Grant to the Miamie with

the armed vessels and gun boats." At that date the Maumee was called

the Miamie, or the Miamie of the Lakes.

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30         Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


was reserved for a death more terrible: exceeding in fiendish,

ferocious, devilish cruelty, and barbarity, anything recorded in

savage annals.98 Around the fire stood a crowd of Indians, thirty

or forty men, and sixty or seventy squaws and boys.99   Simon

Girty was present, along with some Wyandot Indians; also Cap-

tain Elliott;100 and Knight thought another British captain was

there. Sammy Wells,101 the captive negro boy well known to

the early settlers on the Sandusky Plains, was present holding

Girty's horse. Dr. Knight was a short distance from the fire,

strongly bound, and guarded by an Indian named Tutelu. Chris-

tian Fast, a captive boy of seventeen, a native of Westmoreland,

and known to Crawford, was in the crowd.102 Crawford was

stripped naked and ordered to sit down. The Indians then beat

him with sticks and their fists, and Knight was treated in the same

way. The fatal stake-a post about fifteen feet high-had been

set firmly in the ground. Crawford's hands were bound behind

his back, and a rope fastened-one end to the foot of the post, and

the other to the ligatures between his wrists. The rope was long

enough for him to sit down, or walk around the post once or twice

and return the same way. Crawford then called to Girty, and asked

him if they intended to burn him. Girty answered "Yes." He then

replied he would take it all patiently. Upon this Captain Pipe

made a speech to the Indians, who at its conclusion yelled a hid-

eous and hearty assent to what had been said. The spot where

Crawford was now to be tortured and burnt, marked by a monu-

98 Gen. Haldimand, writing from Quebec, July 28, 1782, to Sir Guy

Carlton, says: "The rebels were near 600 strong." and "250 were killed

and wounded"; "Colonel Crawford, who commanded, and two captains,

were tortured by the Indians." * * "I hope my letter will arrive in

time to prevent further mischief." * * "This act of cruelty is to be the

more regretted as it awakens in the Indians that barbarity to prisoners

which the unwearied efforts of his majesty's ministers had totally extin-

guished." (Washington-Irvine Correspondence, p. 373.)

99 Knight's Narrative, p. 11.

100 Slover's Narr., p. 23. See letter of Major De Peyster. Washington-

Irvine Correspondence, p. 372.

101 Was living in Wyandot Co., in 1857. History of Wyandot Co., O.,

p. 738.

102 Knapp's History of Ashland county, pp. 507, 508.

Colonel William <span style="color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold">Crawford</span>

Colonel William Crawford.                31

Click on image to view full size


ment to commemorate his memory, is within the limits of Craw-

ford township, as it is defined to-day, as nearly every one is

aware, a short distance northeast of the town of Crawfordsville, in

Wyandot county, Ohio, "On a low bottom on the east bank of

the Tymochtee creek."103  It was here at about 4 o'clock in the

afternoon, Tuesday, June 11, 1782, the frightful torture and orgies

commenced. The Indian men took up their guns, and shot pow-

der into the colonel's body from his feet as far up as his neck.

Not less than seventy loads were discharged upon his naked body.

They then crowded about him, and to the best of Knight's belief,

cut off both his ears; for when the Indians drew back, he saw the

blood running from both sides of his head. The fire was about

six or seven yards from the post to which Crawford was tied. It

was made of small hickory poles, burnt quite through the middle,

each end of the poles remaining about six feet in length. Three

or four Indians at a time would each take up one of the burning

poles, and apply the burning ends to his naked body already burnt

black with gunpowder. These red devils stood on every side of

the old soldier, and met him with their burning fagots, whichever

way he moved, or ran round the post. Some of the squaws,104

103 Howe's His. Coll. Ohio, p. 546. William Walker, the late Wyandot

Chief, wrote: "The precise spot was pointed out to many inquirers and

early white settlers by the Indians. The place is about seven miles north-

west from Upper Sandusky, near Carey, hut nearer to Crawfordsville,

and near to the east bank of the Tymochtee creek." The spot was pointed

out to Walker in the spring of 1814, "by a Wyandot of high respectability

who was present when Crawford was tied to the stake." (Crawford's

Expedition against Sandusky, p. 386.)

104 A gentleman at Quebec, writing to a friend in Edinburgh, July 17,

1782, says: "A Colonel Clark, commanding a large party of Americans

in the Illinois country, has been for some years meditating an attempt

upon Fort Detroit, but hitherto has always been defeated by the vigilance

and activity of the Indians.  This year Clark had assembled about 4000

men, and we have heard was on his march to Detroit. He had ordered

a Major Crawford to advance before his main body with about 500 men.

and they had actually reached St. Douskie, when intelligence was brought

to Major De Peyster, the commanding officer at Detroit. He instantly

collected all the Indians he could, and sent Capt. Caldwell with them

and a party of regulars, to surprise Major Crawford before he was joined

by Clark. He did so effectually, for he completely routed the party and

32 Ohio Arch

32        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.


with broad boards or wooden shovels, would scoop up quantities

of live coals, or hot embers and cast them on him; so that in a

short time he had nothing but coals of fire or hot ashes to walk on!

In the midst of these excruciating tortures, Crawford called to

Girty, and begged him to shoot him; the brutal white savage mak-

ing no answer, he called again. Girty then, by way of derision,

told Crawford he had no gun; at the same time turning about to

an Indian who was behind him, he laughed heartily, and by all his

actions and gestures, seemed delighted at the horrid scene. Girty

then came up to Knight, and bade him prepare for death, and

swore a fearful oath that he need not expect to escape, but should

be burnt at the Shawanese town, and suffer death in all its ex-

tremities. Girty continued talking, but Knight was in too great

anguish and distress on account of the torments Crawford was

suffering before his eyes, as well as the expectation of undergoing

the same fate himself in two days, to make any answer to the


Crawford at this period of his suffering, besought the Al-

mighty to have mercy on his soul, spoke very low, and bore his

torments with the most manly fortitude. He continued in all the

extremities of pain, for an hour and three-quarters or two hours

longer, as near as Knight could judge; when at last being almost

spent, he lay down upon his stomach. The savages then scalped

him, and repeatedly threw the scalp into the face of Knight, say-

ing "he is your great captain." An old squaw, whose appearance

Knight thought every way answered the ideas people entertain

of the devil, then got a board, took a parcel of coals and ashes,

and laid them on his back and head.105 He then raised himself


took about 200 prisoners. The Indians gave over the prisoners to their

women, who instantly tomahawked every man of them with the most

horrid circumstances of barbarity." (The Remembrancer, London, 1782,

Part II, pp. 255, 256.)

105 "Simon Girty arrived last night from the upper village (Half-King's

town) who informed me, that the Delawares had burned Colonel Craw-

ford and two captains at Pipes-Town, after torturing them a long time.

Crawford died like a hero; never changed his countenance tho' they

scalped him alive, and then laid hot ashes upon his head; after which

they roasted him by a slow fire." (Capt. Caldwell, writing from Lower