Ohio History Journal

Dedication of the Logan Elm

Dedication of the Logan Elm.            295


chief, Leatherlips, who lies buried on the spot where he was

killed, about fifteen miles northwest of Columbus.

A significant feature of the program was an address by Mr.

Frank Tallmadge, of Columbus, a lineal descendant of Colonel

Cresap, the man that Logan believed to be responsible for the

massacre of his family. Mr. Tallmadge sought to show that the

Red Man was mistaken, and spoke as follows:




"Roll back-my soul-to the times of my Fathers. *  *  *

There comes a voice that awakes my soul-It is the voice of days

that are gone-They roll before me with all their deeds."-


Colonel Thomas Cresap was born in Yorkshire, England, in

1702. He emigrated to this country at the age of fifteen, and

first settled on the Susquehanna near what is now Havre de

Grace. He became a surveyor, espoused the cause of Lord Balti-

more, and is said to have surveyed the line between Maryland

and Pennsylvania. He moved shortly afterwards to what was

then the frontier, to a place in western Maryland that he called

Skipton, after the town of his nativity, but now called Old Town,

situate a few miles above the junction of the north and south

branches of the Potomac on the north fork. He acquired four-

teen hundred acres of land, and became an Indian trader. He

was one of the members of the first Ohio company together with

Colonel George Mason and General Washington, which company

made the first English settlement at Pittsburg before Braddock's

defeat, and it was through his means and efforts that the first

path was traced through that vast chain of mountains called the

Alleghenies. Colonel Cresap, with the assistance of a friendly

Indian named Nemacolin, surveyed a road from Cumberland to

Pittsburg. It was this road that General Braddock used with

his army, and it was afterwards known as Braddock's road which

does not materially differ from the present National Road.

It was this first Ohio company that had the promise from

the king of Great Britain, of a grant of five hundred thousand

acres of land on the Ohio, and this land was actually surveyed

296 Ohio Arch

296      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

in 1775, but the war of the revolution prevented the consumma-

tion of the title.

Thomas Cresap was Colonel of the Provincials from 1730

to 1770. Most of this time he remained friendly with the In-

dians, so much so that they called him the Big Spoon as he in-

variably set out for them when they passed his way, a kettle of

soup. His house was built like a fort surrounded by a stockade.

This proved to be a wise move, as in October, 1755, the Indians

went on the war path, and Governor Sharp ordered out the

militia to assemble at Colonel Cresap's. Again in July, 1763, the

Colonel wrote a letter to Governor Sharp, stating that his fort

was filled with distressed families who had fled to him for safety,

and they were in hourly danger of being butchered unless re-

lief was afforded.

In October, 1765, when the Provincial Assembly adopted

resolutions against the Stamp Act, the Sons of Liberty were or-

ganized under the leadership of Colonel Cresap, who was also

a member of the House of Burgesses. General Washington, in

his diary, speaks of having stopped all night at Colonel Cresap's

when he visited the Ohio country.

The Colonel's youngest child was Michael, born in 1742,

and educated at Baltimore. He had much experience in border

warfare, also had absorbed from his father a military training,

but he chose to become a merchant, opening a store at Red Stone,

Old Fort, now Brownsville, Pa. In the spring of 1774 he be-

came interested with several gentlemen in lands on the Ohio

River, and with a few associates he established a camp at what

is now Long Reach, Tyler County, West Virginia.

At this time Ebenezer Zane had a party of surveyors at the

mouth of Big Sandy River. George Rogers Clark was with a

party numbering ninety at the mouth of the Little Kanawha. The

Indians beheld their fate at the occupation by white men of their

hunting grounds. Three prospectors for land near the mouth of

Lawrence Creek, now in Mason County, Kentucky, were taken

prisoners by a band of Shawnees. A little later a party of sur-

veyors in Kentucky nearly opposite the mouth of the Scioto

River, killed several Shawnee warriors. An engagement also

occurred with the Indians near the mouth of the Little Kanawha,

Dedication of the Logan Elm

Dedication of the Logan Elm.             297


and these men joined Cresap's men, and all proceeded up the

Ohio to Wheeling. George Rogers Clark states in his letter to

Doctor Samuel Brown, that they knew Michael Cresap was on

the river fifteen miles above them engaged in settling a new

plantation. Cresap was sent for and unanimously chosen to

head the party to destroy the Indian towns on the opposite side

of the river, but to their astonishment their captain was a per-

son to dissuade them from the enterprise, remarking that while

appearances were suspicious, there was no certainty of war.

They, however, went on to Wheeling in a body under Captain

Cresap, and there on the 21st of April, Cresap received a letter

from John Connolly, of an inflammatory nature, announcing that

the war had begun. Connolly was then at Pittsburg as agent of

Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia. He called himself the

Royal Commandant of the district of West Augusta. Cresap

called a meeting on the 26th, reading Connolly's letter, when the

white men voiced a declaration of war against the Indians. The

following day two canoes were pursued by Cresap's party to the

mouth of Pipe Creek, about fifteen miles below Wheeling, where

a battle ensued in which three Indians were killed and three

whites wounded. The next day, the 28th, Captain Cresap started

on his return trip to Red Stone, Old Fort. This is certified to

by Doctor Wheeler, a prominent citizen of Wheeling.

Logan's brother and sister were killed April 30th,* by Daniel

Greathouse, and two men associated with him by the name of

Tomlinson and Sappington, at the home of one Joshua Baker,

who kept a house of entertainment and sold rum, the location be-

ing on the West Virginia side opposite the mouth of Yellow


Lord Dunmore sent a Captain's commission to Michael

Cresap, dated June 10th, 1774. Many petitions had come to


* Valentine Crawford in a letter to General Washington, now on

file in the State Department, Washington, dated May 7th, 1774, refers

to the date as Saturday last, which the almanac of 1774 makes April

30th. Crawford, who was Washington's land agent, in this letter says

"and on Saturday last about twelve o'clock there was one Greathouse and

about twenty men fell on a party of Indians at the mouth of Yellow

Creek and killed ten of them, and brought away one child a prisoner."

298 Ohio Arch

298      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

Cresap from various sections of the frontier to come to their aid.

He, therefore, accepted, and raised a company, joining Major

Angus McDonald's command, and marched with them to attack

the Indians at Waccatomica, on the Muskingum, which was only

partially successful, and Captain Cresap again returned to his

store at Red Stone, but again he was not permitted to remain

long, for by the last of August Dunmore had organized his ex-

pedition against the Ohio Shawnees, having failed to bring about

a peace understanding between the Cornstalk Confederacy and

the Virginians. A flotilla of one hundred canoes and other

boats holding seven hundred men, descended the Ohio with

George Rogers Clark, Michael Cresap, Simon Kenton and

Simon Girty as scouts and guides moved down the river

to the mouth of the Hock Hocking. They were headed

directly for the Pickaway Plains.  Lord Dunmore had or-

dered General Lewis, who had just closed his battle at

Point Pleasant, to meet him. Dunmore with his army had

advanced within four miles of the Shawnee town when he

received a proposition for peace from the chiefs, and a peace

conference was held and consummated, known as the Dunmore

Treaty. Logan did not attend, and he was sent for by Lord

Dunmore. John Gibson, the husband of Logan's murdered sis-

ter, probably figured closer in connection with Logan's alleged

speech than any other one man. On the 4th day of April, 1800,

at Pittsburg, Gibson made oath that the speech was delivered

nearly as related by Mr. Jefferson in his notes on Virginia, but

that he told Logan it was not Colonel Cresap who had murdered

his relations, and that although his son, Captain Michael Cresap,

who was with the party who had killed a Shawnee chief a few

days before, yet he was not present when his relations were

killed at Baker's. Benjamin Tomlinson, heretofore referred to,

makes his statement at Cumberland, April 17th, 1797, to the

effect that Logan's brother was killed by Sappington; that neither

Captain Michael Cresap nor any person of that name was there

nor anywhere in that vicinity. He further states he was at the

Treaty, and heard the Logan speech read three times, twice by

Dunmore and once by Gibson; that he was Officer of the Guard,

and stood near Dunmore's person, consequently, heard and saw

Dedication of the Logan Elm

Dedication of the Logan Elm.           299

all that passed. He states that Simon Girty went to Logan's

cabin two days before the Treaty, and on the day the circle was

formed, upon Girty's return, he saw John Gibson get up and go

out of the circle, and talk with Girty after which he, Gibson,

went into the tent, and soon after returning into the circle, drew

out of his pocket a piece of clean, new paper on which was writ-

ten in his own hand-writing, a speech for and in the name of


Greathouse died of the measles in 1775. The remaining man

of the trio, John Sappington, states that he knew Cresap was

generally blamed for the murder, but he really had no hand in

300 Ohio Arch

300      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.


it. Further, that he knew that Cresap despised and hated the

Greathouses ever afterwards on account of it. Samuel McKee, a

Justice of the Peace, taking Sappington's testimony, states that

he, Sappington, was the man who shot the brother of Logan.

Referring again to George Rogers Clark. He states that

he was intimate with Cresap, and better acquainted with Logan

at that time than any other Indian in the western country, and

had a knowledge of the conduct of both parties; that Cresap

had decamped and taken the road to Red Stone before the mur-

der at Baker's; that when the speech of Logan was read at the

Treaty, the army knew that it was wrong so far as it respected

Cresap and afforded an opportunity of rallying that gentleman

on the subject. Clark discovered that Cresap was displeased,

and told him he must be a very great man; that the Indians

shouldered him with everything that had happened.  Cresap

smiled, says Clark, and remarked he had a great mind to toma-

hawk Greathouse about the matter.

Bancroft, the historian, makes no mention of Cresap in

connection with the Dunmore Treaty and the speech of Logan.

Caleb Atwater, who once lived at Circleville, states in his his-

tory that Logan was mistaken in charging the murder to Michael

Cresap. Henry Howe exonerates Cresap. Theodore Roosevelt

in his Winning of the West, does the same thing, and our own

Randall and Ryan, in their History of Ohio, prove an alibi for


You may ask how the speech of Logan became so famous.

It was first published in the press of the country, and but little

attention was paid to it. Thomas Jefferson, in 1787, published

the first edition of his notes on Virginia. He gave the speech

much prominence in his book. It was copied into our school

books at home and translated into several languages in Europe.

Jefferson had been a suitor for the hand of Michael Cresap's

daughter, and had been rejected. She afterwards married Luther

Martin, Attorney General of the state of Maryland, and one of

the counsel for Aaron Burr. Jefferson was a Democrat; Martin

was a Federalist, and became very much incensed at Jefferson,

writing him several communications on the subject of Cresap's

innocence of the charge. These letters Jefferson ignored ex-

Dedication of the Logan Elm

Dedication of the Logan Elm.            301


cept to write a letter to Governor Henry, of Maryland, in 1797,

making feeble excuses for himself, repeating the charges against

Cresap, promising, however, to do justice to his memory in

case he found he was wrong. This Jefferson failed to do in the

face of overwhelming proof, though he lived until 1824.

I have heretofore referred to the contents of a letter of

George Rogers Clark to Doctor Samuel Brown which was dated

June 17, 1798. This letter was sent by Doctor Brown, by express,

to Monticello, yet the edition of Jefferson's notes of 1800, made

no mention of the Clark letter.* This edition, however, pub-

lished the declaration of John Sappington, Charles Polke, Harry

Innes, John Gibson and Ebenezer Zane, all of which exonerated


Again Captain Michael Cresap was not allowed to remain

at home very long, for in 1775 the following year he was placed

in command of one of the companies of the Sons of Liberty,

and marched at their head to Boston, after the Battle of Bunker

Hill, where he received another commission, but this time it was

a Colonel's. The trip was made in twenty-two days, the men

subsisting upon the fruits of their rifles. In October of this year

Michael Cresap was detailed to go to New York City where he

was taken with a fever and died. He was buried with military

honors in Trinity Church Yard. When you are walking down

Broadway, go in the open gate and turn to the right. Just op-

posite the north transept door you will find this hero's grave

next to the walk, and if your experience should be like all of

mine, you will find fresh flowers upon the monument.

The Cresap descendants, now scattered from ocean to ocean

over this broad land, desire to extend their thanks to the Ohio

Archaeological and Historical Society for this opportunity in

protecting the fair name of a brave soldier who died to save this

country from Britsh rule; they believe the present generation

is not moved by affairs of the heart or by political preferences

to the extent that history is perverted. They do not blame poor

Logan, who inspired the message, as he doubtless did not expect


* This letter together with one of Doctor Brown of September 4th,

1798, transmitting it to Mr. Jefferson are on file with the Jefferson papers

in the Department of State, Washington.

302 Ohio Arch

302      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.

it to go beyond what is now the confines of Pickaway Township.

Further, the Cresaps of the present are of the opinion that Logan

should have been consistent with the words of his message, by

his attendance at the Treaty when only six miles distant, not-

withstanding his threatening note of July, 1774, to Captain

Michael Cresap tied to a War Club, and left in the house of

Roberts after Logan had massacred the family. Also Logan

was inconsistent again in appealing for sympathy for the killing

of his brother, when eight years thereafter he is recorded as

murdering his own wife.

The Cresap blood has followed the flag wherever it has

floated. Captain Michael took to Boston, as members of his

company, his nephews of Michael Cresap, Jr., Daniel Cresap, Jr.,

and Joseph Cresap. It flowed on the "Essex" upon the sea; it

was with Grant at Vicksburg, Shiloh and Appomattox, and with

Sherman to the sea. The old Colonel's love of the cause of

liberty flowed on even to the seventh generation, for up San

Juan hill was heard the voice of Jules Gansche Ord, son of Gen-

eral Edward Otho Cresap Ord. "All who are brave follow me",

just before that voice was stilled forever.


Hon. Chase Stewart, the original legislator to introduce laws

in the Ohio General Assembly for the purchase of historic

grounds, was called upon and gave an address upon Historic



The large attendance here this beautiful October day is

evidence of the fact that the people of Pickaway and Ross Coun-

ties are not indifferent to the importance and significance of

this occasion for they all seem to be present.

The preservation of this historic spot is assured by the ac-

ceptance on the part of the Ohio State Archaeological and His-

torical Society of the deed delivered today. The tract of ground

conveyed includes the magnificent old elm whose generous shade

we are now enjoying.

Several centuries have passed since its growth began and

for one hundred and thirty-eight years it has stood as a faithful

sentinel over the spot which is given marked distinction because