Archaeological and Historical
THE CROGHAN CELEBRATION.
LUCY ELLIOT KEELER.
It was not bad usage of the old Romans to bring down from
its niche the waxen image of an eminent ancestor on the anni-
turning of the tide in the War of 1812, which up to that time
had been a series of disasters to the American arms.
The first formal observance of the anniversary of Croghan's
Victory occurred in 1839, at which time messages from Croghan
himself were received. Since that date every decade has wit-
nessed one or more celebrations, notable among which were those
of 1852, when "Old Betsy" was brought back to the scene of
Vol. XVI-1. (1)
2 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
her great triumph; 1860, presaging the Civil War, when Cassius
M. Clay was the orator of the day; and 1885, when the Monu-
ment on the fort was unveiled in the presence of the President of
the United States and many other distinguished soldiers and
The celebration of August 2d, 1906, was, however, more
notable and imposing than any of its predecessors, since on that
date the remains of Croghan were interred at the base of the
monument erected to the memory of himself and the brave men
of his command, on the very spot they had so gallantly defended
ninety-three years before.
Following the defense of Fort Stephenson Croghan figured
conspicuously in the closing events of the War of 1812. His sub-
sequent career as Colonel Inspector General, United States Army,
during the Mexican War and until his death, will be noted in the
pages following. He died of cholera, in New Orleans, January
8, 1849, his spirit taking flight just as the last gun of the national
salute commemorating the 34th anniversary of Jackson's victory,
For many years past it was the general supposition that the
remains of this hero lay in one of the numerous cemeteries of
New Orleans. Colonel Webb C. Hayes, imbued with patriotic
sentiment and historic spirit, began several years ago the search
for the grave of Croghan. Through Colonel Hayes' efforts the
Quartermaster General at Washington took up the matter and
made diligent investigation in New Orleans, but finally was
compelled to abandon the search as fruitless. Colonel Hayes
persevered and in February, 1906, received a letter from Mrs.
Elizabeth Croghan Kennedy, grand daughter of George Cro-
ghan and wife of the late Captain Kennedy, U. S. N., which
gave the information leading to the coveted discovery of the re-
mains in the family burial plot in the beautiful old Croghan
estate, Locust Grove, on the Ohio river, several miles from Louis-
Col. Hayes, in company with R. C. Ballard-Thruston and
S. Thruston-Ballard, of the Kentucky Historical Society, pro-
ceeded to the old estate, now owned by J. S. Waters, and located
the burial plot about 300 yards from the mansion. Thickly over-
The Croghan Celebration. 3
grown with beautiful myrtle were the moss-covered tombstones of
Major William Croghan and wife, the parents of George Croghan,
his brothers, Dr. John and N. Croghan, and one sister, Elizabeth.
In one corner lay an overturned headstone on which appeared the
inscription, Col. G. C., marking the long-sought resting place.
General George Rogers Clark, brother of Lucy Clark Cro-
ghan and uncle of George Croghan, died at the Croghan home-
stead and was buried in the Croghan family burying ground at
Locust Grove, Ky. In 1869 the State of Kentucky authorized the
removal of the remains to Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Ky.,
where a beautiful and imposing monument was erected in his
Arrangements were at once made for the disinterment by
Messrs. Ballard and Thruston who, with their wives and Miss
Mary Clark, of St. Louis, were present, all being related to Col.
Croghan through his mother, of the great Clark family.
The mahogany casket, found at a depth of six feet, was
badly decomposed, but the leaden casket within was intact, being
six and one-half feet in length, 20 inches wide and eight inches
deep. It was immediately boxed and taken to Louisville and
thence directly to Fremont.
The remains arrived in Fremont Monday evening, June 11th,
1906, and were conveyed to the city hall on the fort. The room
had been beautifully decorated by the George Croghan Chap-
ter, D. A. R., with flowers and evergreen, and myrtle from the
Kentucky grave. A detail from Company K stood at the head and
foot of the casket as the remains lay in state. On the afternoon
of the 13th, the flag-draped casket was lifted to the shoulders
of six members of Company K, who were preceded by the com-
pany's trumpeter, and followed by the five local veterans of the
Mexican War who had served in that campaign under Croghan.
These veterans acted as honorary pall-bearers. The ladies of the
D. A. R. and many citizens followed. The procession passed out
in front of the Soldiers' Monument, where it was photographed,
and then proceeded to Oakwood Cemetery, marching over the
Harrison trail through Spiegel Grove. At Oakwood the re-
mains were placed in the vault, a song was sung by the D. A. R.,
and the trumpeter sounded taps.
4 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The.surviving members of the Croghan family graciously ac-
quiesced in Col. Hayes' action and gave all assistance in their
power. The following letter, from a nephew of Colonel Croghan,
Mr. R. C. Ballard-Thruston, tells the story of the discovery, to-
gether with other important facts regarding the distinguished
family to which our hero belonged. We give the letter entire:
LOUISVILLE, KY., June 13, 1906.
COL. WEBB C. HAYES.
My Dear Colonel: As per my letter of a few days ago I now take
pleasure in writing you of certain data regarding the Clark family, which
you desired and, in addition thereto, the facts regarding the location of
the grave of Col. George Croghan and the exhuming and forwarding of
his remains to you.
Major William Croghan and wife Lucy, lived about five or six
miles east or northeast of the court house of Louisville, Ky., and probably
something over a mile from the Ohio river, at a place which was called
Locust Grove, now owned by J. S. Waters. What was formerly the rear
of the house is now the front. An illustration of the house with the
present front is shown in Gov. English's work, vol. II, page 887. And it is
north of this house about 300 yards that their family burying ground
is located. A description of this and what we found there will follow
later. Quite an account of them is given by Gov. English in his work,
vol. II, page 1002 et seq., in which there are a few errors that should
be corrected as follows: Page 1003, first line, "1767" should be "1765."
Page 1004, line four, "seventy-first" should be "seventy-third." And on
line 3, after the word "marriage" should be inserted the words "License
issued July 13, 1789-no return made." In the next paragraph on that
page is a list of the children of Major William Croghan and wife, which
I notice does not include "Serina E," mentioned in the foot note on that
page. I think she was Serena Livingston, wife of George Croghan, and
therefore a daughter-in-law.
I have no list of the dates of the births of these Croghan children.
Their names as given in Gov. English's work, page 1004, are correct.
From an original letter which I have, written about the early part of last
century, John, George and Nicholas were among the eldest of the chil-
dren and I have a newspaper clipping giving the death of Nicholas
Croghan in 1825.
The marriage records of this county show that a marriage license
for George Hancock and Elizabeth Croghan, daughter of Major William
Croghan, was issued September 29, 1819, and return made by the Rev.
D. C. Banks on the same day. A marriage license for Gen. Thomas
Jessup with Ann Croghan, daughter of Maj. William Croghan, was is-
The Croghan Celebration. 5
sued May 15, 1832. Return made two days later by the Rev. Daniel
Smith. My notes on this subject were made some years ago and I fail
to find among them the marriage records of any other of these Croghan
As to the family burying ground at Locust Grove. It lies about
three hundred yards north of the dwelling surrounded by a stone wall
eighteen inches thick and from three to five feet high, the sides facing the
cardinal points, and the entrance six feet wide in the center of the
southern wall. It, however, has since been filled in with stone, making a
north and south walls which are each 48 feet long on the outside, the east
and west walls being 47 feet. There are quite a number of trees within
the enclosure, the most prominent of which is a five-pronged elm. We
also found two red elms, four hackberries, two cherries and two locusts.
Almost the entire space is covered with myrtle and some underbrush.
The walls are largely overgrown with Virginia creeper and poison ivy
or oak. The graveyard seems to have been designed with four parallel
rows of graves running from north to south, in each case the grave
facing the east. The eastern one of these rows apparently was not
used, as we saw neither headstone nor evidence of a grave on that row.
On the next row, five feet from the north wall, we found a headstone
marked "McS." I am at a loss to know whose grave this could be.
Fourteen feet from the north wall on this line is the center of a one-
foot space between two large marble slabs, each being three feet wide
and six feet long with ornate edges. The northern one of these seems
to have rested on four pedestals, one at each corner. They have since
fallen and the slab is now resting on the ground and covers the remains
of Mary Carson O'Hara, wife of William Croghan, Jr. The inscription
on this slab is as follows:
Beneath this slab
are deposited the remains of
Mrs. Mary Carson Croghan
(late of Pittsburgh)
who departed this life
October 15th, A. D. 1827,
In the 24th year of her age.
her infant daughter
who expired July 18, 1826,
in the ninth month of her age.
6 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Slab B rests on four slabs, each of which is ornately carved. The
youngest daughter of
William and Lucy Croghan,
born April 9th, 1801,
married George Hancock Sept., 1819,
died July 12th, 1833.
The next headstone was twenty feet from the north wall and was
marked "Mrs. L. C." The next headstone, twenty-three feet from the
north wall, was marked "Maj. W. C." These were evidently the graves
of Major and Mrs. William Croghan, the parents of Colonel George
Croghan. On this same row south of Major Croghan's grave was quite
a sunken space, which probably marks the spot from which the remains
of Gen. George Rogers Clark were removed in 1869. On the next row
of graves west of the last and fourteen feet from the north wall is a
headstone marked "E. C." This is probably Edmund Croghan's grave.
On this row, seventeen feet from the north wall, is a headstone marked
"N. C.," or Nicholas Croghan, a brother of Col. George Croghan, who
died in 1825. At ten feet from the south wall on this same row is a
headstone marked "Dr. J. C.," Dr. John Croghan, who lived at Locust
Grove after the death of his parents and at whose home my mother was
a frequent visitor in her younger days. As there were no other head-
stones found between those of Dr. John Croghan and Nicholas Croghan,
the probabilities are that other members of the family were buried within
this enclosure whose headstones have since been lost, or whose graves
were not properly marked.
Near the southwest corner in the most western one of these rows,
we found but one headstone, four feet from the western wall and five
feet from the southern wall. It was lying on its face entirely covered
with myrtle and upon investigation bore the marks of "Col. G. C." mark-
ing the grave of Col. George Croghan, which you were searching for,
and whose remains you desired to remove to Fremont, Ohio, having ob-
tained permission of his daughter and other descendants.
When this grave was found, on Thursday, June 7, there were
present yourself, my brother, S. Thruston Ballard, Mr. J. S. Waters
and myself. After definitely locating and identifying the grave, my
brother sent to his country place for two negro hands (John Bradford
and Alex Howard) and after lunch we proceeded to open the grave. At
nearly five feet below the surface we found fragments of a mahogany
casket, now almost entirely decayed, and a leaden case which con-
tained the remains. This latter was broken in several places, and as
would naturally be expected, its top was resting upon the skeleton.
The Croghan Celebration. 7
This leaden case containing the remains, the headstone above mentioned,
a footstone marked "G. C." which we also found at the foot of the
grave, and some myrtle which was growing over the grave, which you
desired, were carefully taken to my brother's place, and the following
morning brought into Louisville, where I had them properly boxed (the
leaden case being covered with a United States flag) and the following
day, June 9, expressed them to you at Fremont, Ohio, and I hope, before
R. C. BALLARD THRUSTON,
Member of the Filson Club, Virginia Historical Society.
George Croghan himself left three children; a son, Col. St.
George Croghan, a brave soldier on the Confederate side, killed
in Virginia, in one of the early battles of the Civil War; Mrs.
Mary Croghan Wyatt, who died in California in February, 1906;
and the youngest and only surviving child, Mrs. Serena Livings-
ton Rodgers, wife of Augustus F. Rodgers, U. S. N. Mrs.
Rodgers lives in San Francisco, and is now 86 years of age.
8 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Col. St. George Croghan left two children, both living, a
son, George, and a daughter, Elizabeth Croghan, now the widow
of Capt. Duncan Kennedy, U. S. N., who has one son.
Mrs. Rodgers has a daughter, and Mrs. Wyatt a son,
Judge Wyatt, of New York. All living descendants of Croghan
were invited to be present at the re-interment of the remains of
their famous father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
On the occasion of the unveiling of a tablet to Croghan, on
Fort Stephenson Park, by the D. A. R., Mrs. Wyatt, to whom
an invitation to be present had been sent, wrote, under date of
July 14, 1903:
"My Dear Miss Keeler: It was indeed most gratifying to receive
your invitation to be with you when the Croghan tablet will be unveiled.
If would indeed be a delight to me to be present when such honor was
paid to my dear father, but with sorrow I must decline. My journeyings
in this world are pretty much over. I have lately injured my knee and
walk with difficulty. * * * Sincerely,
"MARY CROGHAN WYATT."
CROGHAN'S ANCESTRY AND LIFE.
The name Croghan is an illustrious one in the early annals
of our country, especially in the Western annals preceding the
establishment of the Republic.
On the paternal side George Croghan came of fighting blood.
He belonged to the race of "the Kellys, the Burkes and the
Sheas," who always "smell the battle afar off." The first Cro-
ghan we hear of in this country was Major George Croghan, who
was born in Ireland and educated at Dublin University. Just
when he came to America we do not know. He established him-
self near Harrisburg, and was an Indian trader there as early as
1746. He learned the language of the aborigines and won their
confidence. He served as a captain in Braddock's expedition in
1755, and in the defense of the western frontier in the following
year. The famous Sir William Johnson, of New York, who was
so efficient in dealing with the natives and whom George II had
commissioned "Colonel, agent and sole superintendent of the
affairs of the Six Nations and other northern Indians," came to
recognize Croghan's worth, and made him deputy Indian agent
for the Pennsylvania and Ohio Indians. In 1763 Sir William
The Croghan Celebration. 9
sent him to England to confer with the ministry in regard to
some Indian boundary line. He traveled widely through the In-
dian country which is now the Central West. While on a mis-
sion in 1765 to pacify the Illinois Indians he was attacked,
wounded and taken to Vincennes. But he was soon released and
accomplished his mission. He was deeply impressed with the
great possibilities of this western country and urged upon Sir
William Johnson the importance of securing this region to the
English colonies. It is a singular coincidence that this first
Major George Croghan was pitted against Pontiac in much the
10 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
same way that Major George Croghan the second was pitted
against Tecumseh. In May, 1766, he fixed his abode near Fort
Pitt, using his good offices and influence in pacifying the Indians
and conciliating them to British interests. He died about 1782.
It is altogether probable that his reports regarding the northwest-
ern country had something to do with impressing George Rogers
Clark with its importance.
The similarity of name and title makes this reference to the
first George Croghan pertinent, although his kinship with the
second George Croghan was but collateral. The father of our
hero of Ft. Stephenson was William Croghan, born in Ireland
in 1752. Just when he came to this country it has been impossible
to ascertain. At any rate the young man was well established
here at the time of the Declaration of Independence. He
promptly volunteered his services, becoming a captain of a Vir-
ginia company. He served to the end of the war, being mustered
out the senior Major of the Virginia line. He took part in the
battles of Brandywine, Monmouth and Germantown; and he was
with the army that bitter winter at Valley Forge. In 1780 his
regiment was ordered South and he was made prisoner at the
surrender of Charleston. He was present at Yorktown, when the
last great battle of the war was fought, though he could not share
in the fighting, as he was on parole. He served for a time on the
staff of Baron Steuben, and he was one of the officers present at
the Verplanck mansion on the Hudson in May, 1783, when the
Society of Cincinnati was instituted. Shortly after the war Cro-
ghan joined the increasing drift of Virginians over the moun-
tains into the new land of Kentucky and found a home near the
Falls of the Ohio.
There, presumably, he won and wed his wife. She, too,
came of valorous stock. Her name was Lucy Clark, daugh-
ter of John Clark, recently come to Kentucky from Virginia.
She had five brothers, four of whom served in the Revolu-
tionary War. The most distinguished of these was George
Rogers Clark, to whose great and heroic campaign through
the wilderness to Vincennes we owe the winning of the North-
west Territory. It was to this George Rogers Clark, uncle of
Croghan, that Harrison referred in his official report of the
The Croghan Celebration. 11
battle when he said with evident gratification: "It will not be
among the least of General Proctor's mortifications to know
that he has been baffled by a youth who has just passed his
twenty-first year. He is, however, a hero worthy of his gallant
uncle, Gen. G. R. Clark, and I bless my good fortune in having
first introduced this promising shoot of a distinguished family
to the notice of the government." Another brother, William,
who was too young to participate in the Revolution, was the
Clark who, with Captain Lewis, made the famous expedition of
exploration across the continent. He was appointed in 1813 by
President Madison Governor of Missouri Territory.
To William Croghan and his wife, Lucy, at Locust Grove,
Ky., November 15, 1791, was born the boy that was destined to
make the family name illustrious. He was christened George, in
honor of the mother's brother, whose great and daring achieve-
ment had given his name vast renown. We know practically
nothing of George Croghan's boyhood. Doubtless it was like
that of the ordinary Virginia boy of the period, who was the
son of a well-to-do planter, modified by the exigencies of frontier
Our boy had books to read, and lessons to learn; and there
were always his father's and his uncles' tales of the recent Revo-
lutionary War and of the untamed country through which they
had traveled; as well as of the Dublin kindred and society.
George was ready for college at an early age, and went to
William and Mary, in Virginia, next to Harvard the oldest col-
lege in the land. From it graduated four presidents of the
United States, Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler and Harrison, beside
Chief Justice Marshall and Gen. Winfield Scott. After Croghan's
graduation he took up the study of law. War was in the air,
however, as well as in his blood, and in 1811 the youth enlisted
as a private in the volunteer army under Harrison. His hand-
some face, alight with intelligence, won him speedy notice from
the officers, a good impression which was strengthened by his
conduct and ability. He was soon appointed aide-de-camp to Gen.
Boyd, second in command. At the battle of Tippecanoe, shortly
after, his zeal and courage induced Gen. Harrison to recommend
12 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the lad's appointment to the regular army, and he was made cap-
tain of the 17th U. S. Infantry.
In August, 1812, his command accompanied the detachment
under Gen. Winchester, which marched from Kentucky to the
relief of Gen. Hull at Detroit. Hull's disgraceful surrender made
a change of plan necessary, and Winchester's men marched
through the wilderness to assist Gen. Harrison at Fort Wayne,
and then down the Maumee to Fort Defiance, in September,
1812. Here, in spite of his extreme youth, Croghan was left
in command by Harrison. So successful was he in this trying
ordeal that Winchester left him in command of Fort Defiance,
while he himself marched on to the River Raisin. All know the
frightful massacre which followed, Croghan owing his escape to
his duty at Defiance.
Capt. Croghan then joined Gen. Harrison at the newly con-
structed Fort Meigs on the Maumee, taking gallant part in its
defense during the seige. Here the famous pair, Proctor and
Tecumseh, the one with a thousand British regulars and the
other with twice that number of Indians, were the besieging
leaders. The siege continued during thirteen days of that May,
and included one direful incident. Col. Dudley, with his Ken-
tucky troops, came to the relief of the fort, but owing to an am-
buscade arranged by Tecumseh, Dudley's forces were surrounded
and 650 of the 800 soldiers were killed, wounded or taken
In a sortie made to save these unfortunate troops, Capt.
Croghan so distinguished himself by the vigor and bravery of his
assault on a battery, that Gen. Harrison recommended him for
further promotion. He was soon afterward commissioned major
in the 17th U. S. Infantry. In July of that year he and his
command appeared at Fort Stephenson, the wretched little stock-
ade in Lower Sandusky. When they left this place three weeks
later, they were the heroes of the whole country.
The story of the battle of Fort Stephenson, the hurried prep-
aration therefor, and its results in the War of 1812 are given on
a later page in the words of a contemporary. For this notable
victory Croghan was brevetted lieutenant colonel by the president
of the United States; Congress awarded him a medal, and the
The Croghan Celebration. 13
ladies of Chillicothe, then the capital of Ohio, presented him with
a beautiful sword. The famous repulse of August 2, 1813, marks
the turning point in the war that ended in sweeping the haughty
British navy from our Lakes, and hurling their army from our
Croghan remained in the army after the close of the war
till March, 1817, when he resigned. In May, 1816, he mar-
ried Serena Livingston, daughter of John R. Livingston, of New
York, and niece of Chancellor Robert Livingston, famous as
jurist and diplomat, who administered the oath of office to Wash-
ington when he first became president of the United States, and
wonder that the flame of patriotism burned intensely in the veins
There was much of the Irish in our hero, as his impulsive
speeches, which sometimes got him into trouble, easily testify;
and like well-born Irish everywhere, he was proud of his good
blood, proud of his forebears, and determined not to bring dis-
credit on their name. It is the best heritage any man can have,
and Croghan, for one, knew it.
Just before the attack on Fort Stephenson Croghan wrote a
"The enemy are not far distant. I expect an attack. I will
defend this post to the last extremity. I have just sent away the
14 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
women and children, with the sick of the garrison, that I may
be able to act without incumbrance. Be satisfied. I shall, I hope,
do my duty. The example set me by my Revolutionary kindred
is before me. Let me die rather than prove unworthy of their
Thursday, August 2, 1906, dawned auspiciously on the his-
toric city of Fremont. The Toledo battery which had arrived
the night before and was stationed in Fort Stephenson aroused
the people at sunrise with a salute of twenty-one guns, announc-
ing that the events of the day had begun. Thousands of visitors
from far and near, including many prominent officials of state and
nation, made pilgrimage to the historic shrine of Fort Stephenson.
The city was appropriately decorated and every hospitality and
courtesy possible was extended by the citizens to their guests.
At eight o'clock the casket of Major Croghan, which had been
temporarily placed in the vault at Oakwood, was taken therefrom
and borne to the city, with military honors of music and soldiery
escort. The line of march was over the old Harrison trail,
through Spiegel Grove, down Buckland and Birchard avenues
to Park avenue and then to the high school building where, in
the hallway, the casket, draped with flags, was placed. Guarded
by a detachment of state troops the remains lay in state until the
big parade of the day passed the school house, when the casket,
borne on the shoulders of six stalwart members of the National
Guard, was tenderly escorted to Fort Stephenson Park. The
civic and military parade, which was the feature of the forenoon,
was an imposing spectacle. It was headed by the city police force
and fire department, followed by a provisional Brigade of the
Ohio National Guard commanded by Brigadier General W. V.
McMaken, O. N. G. the local and visiting posts of the Grand
Army of the Republic, Spanish War Veterans, Masons, Wood-
men of the World and secret orders, German musical socie-
ties, commercial organizations and school children waving the
American emblem and singing patriotic songs. An interesting
link in the procession brought the present event in close touch
with the historic past, for in a spacious carryall were Fremont's
five Mexican War veterans, Captain Andrew Kline, his brother
Thc Croghan Celebration. 15
Louis Kline, Grant Forgerson, Martin Zeigler and Jacob Faller.
They had all personally known Croghan. The parade passed in
review before the handsomely decorated stand at Croghan street
and Park avenue, on which stood Vice President Fairbanks, Gov-
ernor Harris, Mayor Tunnington, General Chance, Congressman
Mouser, Hon. J. F. Laning and Hon. A. H. Jackson; behind them
the governor's staff, Col. Kautzman, Col. Weybrecht, Major Hall,
Captain Williams, Capt. Knox, Capt. Garner, Capt. Wood and
Lieut. Moulton. Vice President Fairbanks stood up in his auto-
mobile almost the entire length of Front street, and with his hat
in hand acknowledged the cheers and applause of the crowds,
while Governor Harris kept bowing to people on both sides of
the street in response to the cheers with which he was greeted.
At the high school the procession halted and the Croghan remains
were escorted from their resting place at the base of the monu-
ment by the George Croghan Chapter of the D. A. R., the mem-
16 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
bers of which had charge of the final interment. The children
scattered flowers in the grave, a salute was fired, taps were
sounded, and the honored dust of the gallant George Croghan
was consigned to its final resting place on the spot and in the
sacred soil he had so bravely and loyally defended ninety-three
years before. The grave was covered with a large block of
Quincy granite bearing this inscription:
Major 17th U. S. Infantry,
Defender of Fort Stephenson,
August 1st and 2d, 1813.
Born Locust Grove, Ky., Nov. 15, 1781.
Died New Orleans, La., Jan. 8, 1849,
Colonel Inspector General
United States Army.
Remains removed from
Croghan Family Burying Ground,
Locust Grove, Ky.,
August 2, 1906.
REV. W. E. TRESSEL, CHAPLAIN.
God of our fathers, we praise and worship Thee! Assembled on
historic ground, which has been consecrated by heroes' blood, we not only
hold in glad and grateful remembrance the noble deeds of valiant men,
The Croghan Celebration. 17
but we proclaim Thy great glory, O Lord of hosts; for Thou art the
God of battles, and right and truth triumph by Thy blessing. And whilst
we thank Thee for the brave men of that older day who fought so nobly
in freedom's holy cause, we give Thee laud and honor for the pa-
tience, the skill, the industry, through which were won those notable
victories of peace, no less renowned than those of war, that made the
wilderness to blossom as the rose and laid the foundations for the
splendid material prosperity which to-day is our portion. For health,
and peace, and plenty, for home, good government, for our great educa-
tional system, we give Thee thanks, 0 God. And richer gifts than these
have flowed to us from Thy bounteous hand. Thou hast revealed to us
Thy dear son, Jesus Christ, and hast made Him to be our Savior from
the bondage of sin and from eternal death; and in Thy precious word
Thou hast conveyed to us Thy saving grace and power. Eternal praise be
to Thee for these, Thy choicest gifts!
We pray Thee to continue to us Thy favor. To this end bless
with repentance and faith; help us to renounce all sin and error, to love
and to follow truth and righteousness, that we may hold fast what
Thou hast in mercy given. Instil more and more into our hearts love
of country. Do Thou use the exercises of this day to impress on our
mind the responsibilities of citizenship. Awaken and quicken within us
civic spirit. And thus let this memorable day on which we stand before
Thy holy throne, result in countless blessings, for time and eternity, to us
and to our children.
"Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home!
"Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure:
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.
"Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
For aye wilt be the same.
"A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Swift as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
18 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away:
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.
"0 God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our Guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home!"
Thou, who hearest prayer, for Jesus' sake give ear to these our
prayers and praises, which we sum up in the words of our Lord:
Our Father, Who art in heaven; Hallowed be Thy name; Thy
kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; Give us
this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive
those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory, forever and ever. Amen!
ADDRESS OF HON. SAMUEL D. DODGE.
When your fellow citizen, Col. Webb C. Hayes, asked me to ad-
dress you upon this occasion, and I accepted the invitation, I did so
1812; eminent writers have described to you the campaign preceding the
attack on Fort Stephenson; and distinguished orators, with brilliant
phrases, have pictured to you the handsome youth standing upon the ram-
parts of Fort Stephenson, and amid the yells of savages and the fierce at-
tacks of the veterans of Wellington urging his little band to deeds of hero-
The Croghan Celebration. 19
ism. The life and deeds of George Croghan are familiar tales in every
household of this historic neighborhood. Your fellow townswoman, Miss
Julia M. Haynes, in her admirable paper, "Fremont in History," read to
you a few years ago, has given us a clear, concise and eloquent statement
of the events which have made your city famous. Dr. Charles R. Williams,
in his public address delivered at Spiegel Grove, a few years since, has
added to the historical literature of Fremont a brilliant and polished essay,
and other distinguished men and women have placed before you the
geography, history, and traditions of your town in pamphlet and speech.
You have listened to the thrilling eloquence of General Gibson and the
polished sentences of Governor Jacob D. Cox, and at that memorable
meeting when you dedicated this handsome monument, a meeting pre-
sided over by your distinguished citizen, Rutherford B. Hayes, you lis-
tened to the voices of Sherman, Foraker, Henry B. Payne and others.
That I could add anything to what has been said and written concerning
these historical events, I have not for a moment dared to hope, but per-
haps a personal allusion, if I may be allowed, will partially explain my
presumption and willingness to accept this invitation.
On July 9th, 1813, there was born in my grandfather's house in
Cleveland, a son, and for several weeks no agreement could be reached
as to the name he was to bear. Less than a month after the child's
birth, from every hill top to every valley, from settlement to settlement
of pioneers along shores of Lake Erie came the news that Major George
Croghan, a young man, had put to rout the English and Indians and
saved Fort Stephenson, and my grandfather's family had found a name
for their son, and to-day there is a grave in Lake View cemetery in
Cleveland and at its head a simple granite monument with the inscription
George Croghan Dodge, born July 9th, 1813, died June 6th, 1883; and
so I regard it as a privilege to pay a simple tribute to-day to a man
whose name my father bore, the story of whose achievement told me in
my boyhood was a narrative to which no tale of giants or fairies could
Fifty years before the defense of Ft. Stephenson or "Sandusky," as
the name was engraved on the gold medal presented by congress to the
peerless Croghan, this historic neighborhood had been the scene of the
capture and utter destruction at the outbreak of Pontiac's gigantic con-
spiracy of old Fort Sandusky, built in 1745 on the left or west side
of Sandusky bay and river on the Marblehead peninsula.
"The storm burst early in May of 1763. * * *Nine British forts
yielded instantly and the savages drank, scooped up in the hollow of
joined hands, the blood of many a Briton. * * * Sandusky was the
first of the forts to fall, May 16th. Ensign Paully * * * was seized,
carried to Detroit, adopted, and married to a squaw, who had lost her
husband, the remainder of the garrison were massacreed and the fort
20 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Fort Sandusky, the first fort established in Ohio, was built in 1745 by
British traders from Pennsylvania and Virginia under the instruction, it
is said, of George Croghan, later deputy Indian Commissioner to Sir.
Wm. Johnston. It was located on the Marblehead peninsula on the
left or west side of the Sandusky river and bay at the portage where
Indians and trappers coming from Detroit, in their course skirting
the chain of islands in Lake Erie, would land to carry their canoes
across to the Sandusky river on their way to the Scioto and Ohio.
The French, resenting this intrusion, "usurped F. Sandoski" and in 1754
built another fort, "Junundat," on the east or right side of the Sandusky
river and bay. The maps of John Mitchell and Lewis Evans, both pub-
lished in 1775, clearly show the location of these two forts.
Mitchell's map shows the fort on the west side of the river and
bay with the notation "Sandoski usurped by the French, 1751," while
Evans' map has "F Sandoski" on the west side and also "F Junundat
built in 1754" on the east side of the river and bay and diagonally across
"Sandusky was afterward evacuated and on the 8th of September,
1760, the French governor, Vandreueil surrendered Canada to the Eng-
lish" and then ended French dominion in America. "Major Robert Rogers,
a native of New Hampshire, was directed to take possession of the west-
ern forts. He left Montreal on the 13th of September, 1760, with two
hundred rangers. * * * Proceeding west, he visited Sandusky * * *
after securing the fort at Detroit returned by land via Sandusky and
and Tuscarawas trail to Fort Pitt."
Soon after Major Rogers took possession of the western forts for
the British, Ensign Paully was placed in command of Fort Sandusky and
so remained until his capture, and the massacre of his garrison and the
utter destruction of the fort on May 16, 1763, at the outbreak of Pon-
tiac's conspiracy. As soon as the news of the capture of the nine British
forts reached the British authorities, Detroit and Fort Pitt alone escap-
ing capture, expeditions were sent to relieve the latter and to re-establish
British supremacy in the northwest. Captain Dalyell arrived at the
ruins of old Fort Sandusky in the fall of 1763 and then proceeded up
the Sandusky river to the village of the Hurons and Wyandots at the
lower rapids of the Sandusky river (now Fremont) and utterly destroyed
the Indian villages located there.
In 1764, twelve years before the declaration of Independence, Col.
John Bradstreet started from Albany to relieve Major Gladwyn at De-
troit. Pontiac, the crafty, powerful and ambitious chief of the Ottawa
Indians, the year before, had sent his red-stained tomahawk and his
war belts to the various Indian tribes between the Allegheny mountains
and the Mississippi river, stirring the hearts of the red men against the
pioneers, and was preparing to continue his attacks upon the various
western forts, and in his hatred toward the whites was determined
The Croghan Celebration. 21
to accomplish by force what he could not accomplish by treachery. He
had returned from Detroit in November, 1763, and it was evident that
he was preparing for a more complete siege of that important military
post. It was then that General Thomas Gage wrote the Colonies and
asked for troops to suppress the growing insurrection of the Indian na-
tions; and Colonel Bradstreet set forth from Albany with his army of
1180 men, 766 being provincial troops from New York, New Jersey and
Connecticut under Israel Putnam. Along they came to Lake Ontario
and with two vessels, 75 whale boats, and numberless canoes, issued
forth and steered westward. Remaining a while at Fort Niagara, passing
on and founding Fort Erie, they pushed on to Detroit after making
short encampments on the banks of the Cuyahoga river, on the present
site of Cleveland, and at the ruins of old Fort Sandusky. All along the
journey Indians had been sent to treat for peace, but knowing from
experience the treacherous character of the Indians, Bradstreet was warned
against putting trust in the overtures of the savages. Yet notwithstanding
the protests of his followers, Bradstreet promised to refrain from march-
ing against the Delawares, Shawanese and other tribes, if within twenty-
five days the representatives of the tribes would meet him at Fort San-
dusky for the purpose of giving up prisoners and concluding a definite
treaty. Bradstreet had, however, been ordered to give to the Wyandots,
Ottawas and Miamis a thorough chastisement, but on the approach of
the English commander these three tribes sent deputies to meet him
and promised to follow him to Detroit and make a treaty there, if he
would abandon the hostile plan against them. It was with this expecta-
tion that he reached Detroit, only to learn that the Indians whom he
had expected to meet on his return to Fort Sandusky for the purpose
of making a treaty, had assembled there to oppose the disembarkment
of the English soldiers. So Bradstreet started with sixty long boats and
one barge and glided down the Detroit river out upon the bosom of
Lake Erie. All expected to engage in a fierce combat with the savage
foe, but Bradstreet soon received better news. With this expedition of
Bradstreet was one Lieutenant Montresor, who kept a journal, and this
journal has been preserved among the collections of the New York
Historical Society. From the journal we learn that "news soon arrived
that the Delawares and Shawanese are assembled at Sandusky where the
old fort stood in order to treat with us for peace." With this information
Bradstreet's "troops entered Sandusky lake or bay" September 18, 1764,
and "encamped on a good clay bank half a mile west of the spot where
sixteen months before Pontiac had butchered the English garrison and
burned the fort." Indians soon appeared and pledged if he would not at-
tack the Indian village they would conclude a definite treaty and surrender
all prisoners they had. Bradstreet did not attack them. After waiting
seven days "Col. Bradstreet then proceeded up Sandusky river to the
village of the Hurons and Wyandots, which had been destroyed by Cap-
22 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
tain Dalyell the preceding year." Montresor in his journal says "Brad-
street's whole force proceeded and encamped one mile below the rapids
of the Sandusky River, and here at this camp near the Huron village
on Sandusky river, Major Israel Putnam served as Field Officer for the
picket and presided at a General Court Martial at his own tent to try
all prisoners brought before him."* So to this very spot, now Fort
Stephenson Park, Fremont, Ohio, fresh with the laurels won while in
command of Provincial troops in the siege of Havana, Cuba, with this
expedition came Israel Putnam, who afterwards became Senior Major
General in the army of the United States of America, one of the heroes
of Bunker Hill, an indomitable soldier, a man of generous soul and
sterling patriotism, and of whom his biographer, Col. David Humphreys,
says, "He seems to have been formed on purpose for the age in which
he lived. His native courage, unshaken integrity, and established repu-
tation as a soldier gave unbounded confidence to our troops in their first
conflict in the field of battle."
The colonial records of Connecticut for March, 1764, says this as-
sembly doth appoint Israel Putnam, Esq., to be major of the forces now
ordered raised in this colony for his Majesty's service against the In-
dian Nations who have been guilty of perfidious and cruel massacres of
Thus to the long list of patriots and statesmen and pioneers, who
in the early days wandered through the densely wooded trails, over these
plains which smiled to the sun in grass and flowers, and along the banks
of this historic river; to the names of Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton,
William Henry Harrison, George Croghan and a host of others we can
add the immortal name of Israel Putnam.
The fifty odd years between the campaign of Bradstreet and the
War of 1812, the years preceding and following the Revolutionary War
are filled with the stirring events of pioneer history. Northern Ohio was
the scene of border wars and Indian outrages. The massacre of the Mo-
ravians, Crawford's Expedition, the destruction of St. Clair's army, and
the victory of General Wayne at Fallen Timbers are a few of the many
important events that go to make up the history of the region around
the Maumee and Sandusky rivers. The disasters to the American arms
incident to the opening of the campaign of the War of 1812 in the north-
west-the disgraceful surrender of Hull at Detroit, the massacre of Win-
chester's men at the River Raisin, and Dudley's massacre, so-called, in the
otherwise successful defence of Fort Meigs culminated, however, on
August 2, 1813, in the unparalleled discomfiture of the British and In-
dians by a young Kentucky major. This defense, so brilliant and com-
plete, followed by Perry's Victory on Lake Erie and General Harrison's
triumph at the battle of the Thames practically closed the campaign.
* Livingstone's Life of Israel Putnam, p. 139.
The Croghan Celebration. 23
The war of 1812 only supplemented the Revolutionary War. We
had become at once independent and feeble. Articles of confederation
bound us loosely together, and we had not yet fully won our place
among the nations of the earth. Other nations looked upon us as an
easy prey-they could seize our ships and imprison our seamen, but these
results were only incidents which gave rise to the conflict for which the
time was ripe and for which there was and could be no postponement.
This war must be had. We must consolidate and finish the work of
independence. It must be a reality and not a name, England must ac-
knowledge us as a distinct member of the family of nations, and this is
what we accomplished by the contest of 1812 and 1813. When that war
broke out the Indians were banded together in this Northwestern quar-
ter of the state under the leadership of Tecumseh, to whom the English
had given the rank of a general in their army. There was no city of
Fremont. The spot called Lower Sandusky was a military reservation two
miles square, established by treaty in 1785. Here was built Fort Stephen-
son-one of the many outposts in the midst of this hostile country. Built
to protect the communications of the army with the more distant posts
at Chicago and Detroit; built perhaps that a crossing at this point of this
then important river might be made in safety. Up this Sandusky river
from the lake came all who wished to reach the Ohio river on their way
from Canada to Mississippi for, with a short portage, they could enter
the Scioto and then on down to the great rivers beyond. It was an im-
portant place then for a growing settlement, a vigorous colony might
be started here and Major Croghan appreciated its importance even if
Harrison did not. The English had made allies of the Indians. Te-
cumseh was made a general. British emissaries were busy among the
Northwest tribes stirring them up to war upon the Americans. Gen-
eral Proctor, with his savage allies had failed to capture Fort Meigs,
and Proctor had withdrawn to his old encampment and there he re-
mained until on July 28th, 1813, the British embarked with their stores
and started for Sandusky bay and river for the purpose of attacking
Fort Stephenson. Again and again have you heard the story of this
fight. How General Harrison had sent word to Major Croghan that
if the British approached with force and cannon and he could discover
them in time to retreat, that he must do so. How Harrison in council
with his other Generals had decided that the fort was untenable and
ordered him to abandon it. How the messenger lost his way, and when
he did arrive Croghan sent back word to Harrison the memorable mes-
sage, "We have determined to maintain this place, and by heavens we
can." The natural anger of General Harrison at this seeming diso-
bedience to his order and the summoning of Croghan to come to Fort
Seneca and the placing of another in command until the gallant boy
had explained and appeased the wrath of his superior and was sent back to
his post, are familiar facts of history. On the afternoon of August 1st,
24 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
1813, we find the young hero back in command and with 160 men and
"Old Betsy," sending back to Proctor with his 700 veterans, 2,000 In-
dians and Barclay's gunboats in the river, a defiant refusal to his summons
General Harrison, in his report to the Secretary of War, thus de-
scribes the battle. "Their troops were formed into two columns, one led
by Lieut.-Colonel Short, headed the principal one. He conducted his men
to the brink of the ditch under a galling fire from the garrison, and
by Lieut.-Colonel Shortt headed the principal one. He conducted his men
and the light infantry. At this moment a masked porthole was sud-
denly opened and the six-pounder, with a half-load of powder and a
double charge of leaden slugs, at a distance of thirty feet, poured destruc-
tion upon them, and killed or wounded every man who entered the ditch.
In vain did the British officers try to lead on the balance of the column.
It retired under a shower of shot, and sought safety in the adjoining
And who was this young man who defended this place against a
force of British and Indians and drove them discomfited from the field
of battle. We seem to see him now as he stood there a model of manly
beauty in his youthful prime, "a man in all that makes a man ere man-
The Croghan Celebration. 25
hood's years have been fulfilled"; standing on the threshold of his
career. This young, accomplished, handsome youth was born at Locust
Grove, Ky., November 15, 1791. His mother was Lucy Clark. Of
uncles he had upon his mother's side, George Rogers Clark, whose great
campaign through the wilderness won for us the Northwest Territory
was one; and William Clark, who with Captain Lewis made the famous
Lewis and Clark expedition of exploration across the continent, was
another. His father, William Croghan, was born in Ireland in 1752,
was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and fought at Brandywine,
Monmouth and Germantown, and when young George had finished
his preliminary schooling he entered at the age of 17 the College of
William and Mary and graduated two years later with the degree of
Bachelor of Arts. His purpose was to become a lawyer, but when the
governor of Indiana, William Henry Harrison, called for volunteers to
strike at Tecumseh and his stirring red men, Croghan joined the little
army as a private and began his life as a soldier at the battle of
From that day until General Harrison sent him to this place, the
spirit of the soldier in him had met every test of skill and bravery, and
he took command of Fort Stephenson with the confidence of his su-
periors and with the love and admiration of his soldiers. In a report
of this battle by an English historian occurs this sentence: "The first
division were so near the enemy that they could distinctly hear the various
orders given in the fort and the faint voices of the wounded and dying
in the ditch, calling out for water, which the enemy had the humanity
to lower to them on the instant."
Over in that beautiful cemetery at Clyde, on its sunkissed slopes,
bright with the foliage of this August day, rests one who, fifty years
after the defense of Fort Stephenson, honored this country, his state and
his country by his conduct upon the field of battle-General James B. Mc-
Pherson, as good a soldier, as chivalrous a leader, as gallant a gentle-
man, as pure a man as ever fell upon the field of battle. General Sher-
man says of him "History tells us of but few who so blended the grace
and gentleness of the friend with the dignity, courage, faith and man-
liness of the soldier." Now Sandusky County has gathered to herself
all that remains of another hero, her first if not her greatest. Here under
the shadow of this monument among the people who love to do him honor,
on the very spot he so gallantly defended, will he lie
Till mouldering worlds and tumbling systems burst;
When the last trump shall renovate his dust.
Till by the mandate of eternal truth,
His soul will flourish in immortal youth.
Such names as Croghan and McPherson are like the sound of a
26 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
trumpet. They are the precious jewels of our nation's history, to be
gathered up among the treasures of the nation and kept immaculate from
the tarnishing breath of the cynic and the doubter.
My Friends; Wars are cruel. They crush with bloody heel all
justice, all happiness, all that is God-like in Man. We have but to
read the History of Nations to discern the hideous slaughters which
have marked their progress, and yet man is such a savage that until
the present generation he has insisted that the only way to settle things
is by the gage of battle. He has covered a hundred battle fields with
men and horses; with the groans of the wounded and the dying. He
has covered the pages of our history with gore, and if history, such
history as you have learned here on the banks of this gentle flowing
river that for a half a century had been the scene of strife and battle,
if such history I say, cannot cultivate out of man the brutal spirit of
war, teach him the wisdom of diplomacy and the need of arbitration,
then has the lesson been lost and he has failed to taste the fruit or
imbibe the philosophy of humanity. It is for us to substitute law for
war, reason for force, courts of reason for the settlement of contro-
versies among nations following up the maintenance of the law with the
vitalizing forces of civilization until all nations are molded into one
International Brotherhood, yielding to reason and conscience. Then can
we draw the sword from its sheath and fling it into the sea rejoicing
that it has gone forever. Let us recognize this truth and today on this
anniversary we will lay a new stone in the temple of Universal Peace.
This temple which shall rise to the very firmament and be as broad as
the ends of the earth. May such occasions as this lead us away from
an era of wars and battleships and new navies and bring us to a time
when Patriotism and Humanity can be compatible one with another and
to a time
When navies are forgotten
And fleets are useless things,
When the dove shall warm her bosom
Beneath the eagle's wings.
When memory of battles.
At last is strange and old,
When nations have one banner
And creeds have found one fold.
Then Hate's last note of discord
In all God's world shall cease,
In the conquest which is service
In the victory which is peace!
The Croghan Celebration. 27
ADDRESS OF HON. CHARLES W. FAIRBANKS.
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
I am gratified, indeed, to be present and participate with you for
a brief while upon this historic occasion. I have not come to make a
formal speech, nor did I come to make you a speech at all. According
to the programme, I am to indulge only in a few "remarks."
What I shall say to you shall be born of the moment. I have
brought with me no well-turned phrases. I have come simply to join
with you in paying tribute to the memory of men who did valiant service
remains of this brave soldier to their everlasting sleep beneath the shade
of yonder monument.
I wish we knew the names of the hundred and sixty men who stood
with him August 2, 1813, that we might call the roll of them here to-
day and pay to them the tribute of our gratitude and our admiration.
The brave commander who rendered illustrious service here in a critical
period of the war of 1812, is known to us and his name is upon our
lips and it will be sung by our children in days to come, but his brave
compatriots are unknown. The one hundred and sixty men who stood
here--as brave men as ever placed their lives upon the sacrificial altar
of their country--are known, for God Almighty knows men who go
down to the battle field to preserve American institutions for ages to
There is one brave young man, who stood with Croghan, whose
name we cannot forget, and which we recall with pride and satisfaction,
and that is the name of Ensign Shipp. When the British General Proctor
28 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
came bearing a flag of truce, supported by an army trained in the art
of arms -five hundred British, eight hundred savages, I believe, twelve
hundred in all, -against an hundred and sixty-one, commander and
soldiery, it was believed that the flag of truce would win a complete
surrender of the small garrison. But the British commander knew little
of the metal that was in George Croghan and Ensign Shipp and the
hundred and fifty-nine others who shared with them the fortunes of
war. The young commander who had barely reached his majority sent
to meet the officers bearing the flag of truce, this young Ensign, younger
still than himself. The British officer demanded the surrender of the
garrison. The Ensign answered--and history can never forget his an-
swer: "My commandant and the garrison," said he, "are determined
to defend the post to the last extremity and bury ourselves in its ruins
rather than surrender to any force whatever."
It was pointed out by the British commander that resistance would
probably result in massacre by the savages. To this suggestion the
Ensign defiantly replied: "When the fort shall be taken there will be
none to massacre. It will not be given up while a man is able to
This was the note of sublime heroism. It was essentially the
answer of a brave American patriot. It was a sentiment kindred to
one uttered by General Grant during the Civil War. The great General,
as I remember, in one of his campaigns, crossed a river and sought an
engagement with the enemy with the river in his rear, and with only
one transport. When it was suggested that this was, perhaps, inade-
quate provision in the event of the necessity of a retreat, the great
captain of our armies made the laconic reply that if he was obliged to
retreat, one transport would be sufficient.
As Shipp made his way back to the fort, Major Croghan awaited
him. The latter knew the British would demand surrender and that
the brave Ensign would decline to accede to his demand. As the fort
opened for the Ensign's return, Croghan said: "Come in Shipp and
we will blow them all to Hell." That was a naughty word. (A voice:
"But it was the right one under the circumstances.") Yes, you are
right. If it was ever to be used, then was the occasion to use it, and
I think that a word like that, used in the cause of liberty, is a dis-
(The Vice-President indicated he was about to close. Several
voices: "Go on! Go on!")
I do not want to talk longer than it took George Croghan to lick
the British and the savages here. He illustrated better than any man
can that it is not words which win victories, but it is deeds that accom-
Fellow citizens, American liberty has cost something. It is a
singular fact that those great blessings to the human race which it
most longs for, which it most prays for, always come at the greatest
The Croghan Celebration. 29
cost. Humanity, in all her march, back from the early mist of history,
down to this present hour, has won her victories for liberty mainly
upon the battle field. We who are here to-day are in the enjoyment
of liberty which was won upon the field of battle. We are a great,
happy, contented nation of eighty millions. We look out across the sea
to the Empire of Russia, with her one hundred and forty millions
struggling with the great problems of human liberty. We see their wars,
we see their massacres, we see their bloodshed unspeakable. We each
and every one wish that those people could come out of the bondage
of iron rule into the glad sunshine of liberty.
America has had five wars: the War of the American Revolution;
the War of 1812 which made us forever secure against the efforts of
Great Britain to wrest liberty from us - the liberty fought for by our
continental fathers; the war with Mexico was the third, and I am glad
to see here to-day and take by the hand several of the survivors of the
war with Mexico. Their presence is an inspiration. It is a curious
coincidence that there is now present a man who knew Croghan in the
Mexican War. It seems to carry us back from the present to the very
presence of the hero of Fort Stephenson. Then the war of the great
Rebellion-the mightiest war in the history of man. There are here
to-day scores of men bearing upon their breasts the evidence of their
loyalty to the Union in the hour of its supremest exigency. And later
came the war with Spain.
These five wars were fought by the people of the United States,
30 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
not to enslave men but to make men free, to enlarge in a vast degree
the zone of Republican government.
All honor to George Croghan and his heroic band. All honor
to the soldiers of the revolution. All honor to the soldiers of the
Mexican war. All honor to the soldiers of the Union. All honor to
the soldiers of the Spanish-American war. The American people honor
them. They honor them each and all. They hold them forever within
the embrace of their fondest memory.
Fellow citizens, it would be impossible for me to close these few
words without expressing that appreciation to Col. Webb C. Hayes
which is in the hearts of all of us here to-day. It is a happy circum-
stance that he, a soldier himself, and a son of one of the brave defenders
of the Union in the Civil War, should thoughtfully and generously bring
back from the soil of Kentucky where he was sleeping his everlasting
sleep the remains of this brave, fearless leader, in order that they might
rest here amid the theater of his immortal achievements.
All honor to Colonel Hayes for what he has so splendidly done,
and all honor to the community which respects and preserves the memory
of those who have served so well in the cause of their country.
I will leave you, my friends, and I leave you with regret. I leave
you, however, with the confident hope that you will go forward in the
enjoyment of peace and happiness which are the legitimate fruits of
those who fought here and elsewhere for Republican government.
ADDRESS OF GENERAL ANDREW L. HARRIS.
GOVERNOR OF OHIO.
The chairman has stated that I will make a few remarks, and this
is truly said. When your committee came to Columbus to invite me to
participate on this occasion I frankly told them that it would be im-
possible for me to make any preparation, but that I could come provid-
ing no speech was expected of me, and, fellow citizens, Col. Hayes
gladly accepted the promise, and it was with that understanding that I
am here to-day, for the purpose of participating with you in my pres-
ence more than by words or speech on this memorable occasion.
I sometimes think that we have never given sufficient importance
in history to the gallant deeds that were performed here in 1813. You
remember that up to that time the results of the war seemed against us.
We had met many reverses, but it was Col. Croghan and his 160 men
who won one of the most important victories, according to the numbers
engaged on our side and the numbers of the enemy, that is recorded
in American history. It was from this moment that the tide of the
battle turned in our favor. From that time victory after victory followed
until in a few months' time the war was ended, and victory seemed
vouchsafed to us so far as the mother country was concerned, the
The Croghan Celebration. 31
liberty that we are enjoying to-day, and I wish to say that upon this
spot, this historic spot that the tide turned in favor of the American
nation, in the war of 1812-13. How unfortunate you are to have within
your corporate limits the most historic spot in the United States of
America. I never stood upon this ground, upon this battlefield until to-
day. My mind turns back to my youthful days, when I read of the
ory of the American people, in the person of Col. Webb C. Hayes.
I thank you for your attention for you must be getting tired and I
will leave you, saying that I am glad it was my privilege to be with
you to-day, and I will ever remember this meeting as long as I live.
This day will be deep in my memory.
ADDRESS OF E. O. RANDALL.
SECRETARY OHIO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
The only apology I have for the honor of appearing before you on
this interesting occasion is that my college friend of years ago, your
splendid, patriotic and enterprising fellow-citizen, Colonel Webb. C.
Hayes, invited me to come; his apology being that I am an official of
the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, whose business it
is to gather, preserve and disseminate the lore, historic and prehistoric
of our great state. The orator of the day, the Hon. Samuel D. Dodge,
has recited to you in graphic terms the history that led up to the
siege of Fort Stephenson and the incomparable bravery and patriotism
with which the youth George Croghan and his gallant little band defended
the crude stockade fort and stemmed the tide that to that moment seemed
against the Americans. The successful repulse of Proctor and the British
32 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
soldiers and Tecumseh, with his hundreds of braves, was the first real
victory on Ohio soil in the War of 1812. That we may all the more
appreciate the extent and significance of that event, let us for purposes
of comparison look to other parts of the world, and note some of the
stupendous acts that were being performed in the theatre of great
things. In this very month, indeed on this very day and the days fol-
lowing, in August, 1813, Bolivar, known as the Liberator and often called
the Washington of South America, as the head of several hundred vol-
unteer revolutionists, was entering as conqueror, Caracas, the capital of
Venezuela, which country was thus freed from the oppression of Spanish
monarchial rule and became one of the first republics of South America.
In Europe a greater scene was being enacted. The incomparable Napo-
leon was engaged in that series of military movements on the banks
of the Elbe, which were the crowning events of his generalship and the
culmination of his career. At this date (August 1813) Napoleon was
of the Ohio Valley, devoid of the "pomp and circumstance" of gigantic
war, was being fought the battle for freedom and the best form of demo-
cratic government ever given man. Here, in this little stockade fort George
Croghan, a native American lad, with but 160 men, heroes of struggle and
sacrifice with a might almost miraculous, repelled the forces of the British
under Proctor, with 500 of the weathered veterans of the Peninsula War,
the trained troops of the victorious Wellington and two thousand or more
Indian braves under command of Tecumseh, the most sagacious and
daring leader of his race. How did George Croghan do it? He had
the versatility as well as the valor of the pioneer soldier. He had but
one mounted gun, "Old Betsy," whose venerable presence now stands
guard over the new grave of her old commander,-this one cannon
Croghan so deftly shifted behind the stockade walls, firing a shot now
through one port-hole and then through another, that the enemy were
fooled into the idea that Fort Stephenson was "chuck full" of firing
The Croghan Celebration. 33
Betsies. The bravery of this American boy and his dauntless band ex-
ceeded in results for the betterment of humanity arid the advance of
civilization all the campaigns combined of Napoleon and his antagonists.
Croghan and his 160 followers were victorious because they were typical
pioneer Americans- Americans, a new type of character in the history
of the world. Someone has said that God sifted four races to produce
the American. Each one of you within the sound of my voice can
vividly recollect how on that magnificent May morning, 1898, Dewey
sailed into the Bay of Manila and almost in the twinkling of an eye sunk
the Spanish fleet, without the loss of a single American sailor and
scarcely the scratching of the paint from any of the American ships.
We thought that that was the most unparalleled event in history and
could never be repeated, but in sixty days thereafter it was encored in
the Bay of Santiago when the fleet of Cervera emerged and on that
July Sunday morning left the bay for the sea to encounter the storm
of fire and shot from the ships of Sampson and Schley. The war cor-
respondent of the London Times, one who for the last forty years had
been an eye-witness of the chief military and naval feats, both in the
old world and the new, gave in his paper a most graphic picture of this
battle of Santiago, which he viewed from the deck of one of the American
vessels. At the close of his vivid description, he made the significant
remark that the behavior of the American sailor was one of the most
marvelous exhibitions of coolness, bravery and accuracy he had ever wit-
nessed. Said he, "I verily believe that had those rival seamen exchanged
places, namely, had the Spanish sailors possessed the modern, thoroughly
equipped American ships and thus emerged from the bay, and had the
American sailors possessed the decrepid and time-worn ships of Spain,
the result would have been the same, namely, that the Americans
would have won the victory, because that victory was won by the char-
acter of the American boy who manned the American ships." The
American boy, Croghan, who defended Fort Stephenson against such tre-
mendous odds was the same type as the sailors of Dewey and Sampson
and Schley and the followers of the generals who led in the Spanish
War. It is related that when the Sultan of Turkey heard of the great
victory of the Americans at Manila and Santiago, he sent for the Amer-
ican ambassador and asked him if the reports of the marvelous feats
of the Americans were true. The ambassador replied that they were,
when the sultan asked if he could buy ships and guns like those which
the Americans employed. The ambassador told him that he supposed
the sultan could get them, they were made in America for money by
great manufacturers. "Then," said the sultan, "I will buy some of them
that I may win great victories." "Oh," said the ambassador, "that you
can do; but you cannot buy the American boys to man them for you."
It is of such men and boys as those who fought the American Revolution,
Vol. XVI- 3.
34 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the War of 1812, of 1848, the Rebellion of 61-5 and the Spanish War
that this republic is composed. Your Vice-President and your Governor
have told you in eloquent language of the heroism and patriotism of
the American soldiers in those wars for independence, unity, liberty and
humanity. It is a noble record of a noble people and in that record
Ohio has taken a most conspicuous part. Three thousand Revolutionary
soldiers, scarred and wearied after the battles for independence, came
across the Alleghanies to establish homes for their declining years in the
peaceful and fruitful plains and valleys of Ohio. Their lives had been
dedicated to independence and freedom and their buried bones made
sacred the soil of Ohio. The seed of that Revolutionary patriotism
ripened into an hundred fold in the war for the national Union, for
300,000 loyal recruits went forth from the "Buckeye State" to fight on
the battle-fields of the Sunny South for the preservation of the republic
whose foundation was laid by their revered sires. In the crypt of St.
Paul's Cathedral, London, that splendid temple erected to the faith of
Christianity, lie the remains of its great architect, Christopher Wren.
They repose beneath the floor in which is sunken a simple plate, upon
which is inscribed the name "Christopher Wren," and the Latin inscrip-
tion "si monumentum requiris, circumspice"; if you seek his monument,
look about you. So I say, we may erect monuments, the graven metal
or carved marble, to the heroes of the past, not for them, for they
need them not, but for us that this reminder of their heroic deeds may
lead us to emulate their examples and push on to loftier heights. No,
I would say of George Croghan and the heroes of 1776 and 1812, if you
should ask for their monument, look about you and contemplate the mag-
nificent republic of which they laid the corner-stone, a republic whose
people present the highest of type character and civilization and whose
principles of liberty and humanity are being borne to all the inhabitants
of the earth and the islands of the sea. James A. Garfield, than whom
there was no more exalted example of the American citizen, soldier,
statesman, scholar and orator, a martyred President from Ohio, at the
close of one of his brilliant addresses used these words: "The history
of the worlds is a divine poem; the history of every nation is a canto in
that poem; and the life of every man is a word in that poem. The
harmony of that poem has ever been resounding through the ages and
though its melody has been marred by the roaring of cannon and the
groans of dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher, to you and me,
that poem breathes a prophecy of more happy and halcyon days to
come." What a word was the life of George Croghan in that poem of
universal history--a word that was a clarion note of bravery, heroism
and patriotism, a note that shall ever resound clear and distinct in the
harmony of American history.
The Croghan Celebration. 35
BY BASIL MEEK, ESQ., FREMONT, OHIO.
We have met today on this ground, famous in history, because of
the victorious defence of Fort Stephenson, then standing on this spot,
tablet near the spot from which the British cannon bombarded the fort.
The tablet reads as follows:
Near this spot
British cannon from Commodore Barclay's fleet bombarded
Major Croghan in Fort Stephenson August 1, and 2, 1813.
General Proctor attempted to capture the fort by assault with
his Wellington veterans, assisted by Indians under Tecumseh.
Major Croghan with only 160 men and one cannon
"Old Betsy,"repulsed the assault.
The British retreated to their ships with many killed and wounded,
but leaving Lt. Col. Short, Lieut. Gordon
and 25 soldiers of the 41st regiment dead in the ditch.
Commodore Barclay was wounded and with his entire fleet including
the cannon used against Fort Stephenson was captured by
Commodore Perry at the battle of Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1813.
General Proctor, with his British regulars, was defeated and
Tecumseh with many of his Indians, was killed by
General Harrison at the battle of the Thames, Oct. 5, 1813.
Major Croghan was awarded a gold medal and each
of his officers a sword by the congress of the United States
for gallantry in the defense of Fort Stephenson.
Erected by the George Croghan Chapter, D. A. R.
It is not for me, in this paper, to enter into any detailed account
of the engagement, or any description of the fort; nor to enter into
details of the causes or military movements that led up to the attack,
36 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
as these have been assigned to others. Reference, however, is made to
the accompanying cut of the plan of the fort and its environs.
"In long years past, on the banks of this river
Whose current so peaceful, flows silently down,
Roamed the race of the red man, with bow and with quiver,
Where stands fair Fremont, our beautiful town."
Here centuries ago, according to tradition, there were two fortified
neutral towns. One on the east and one on the west bank of the river,
remains of which, in the shape of earthworks were visible within the
remembrance of inhabitants now living.
REFERENCE TO THE ENVIRONS.--a--British gunboats at their place
of landing. b- Cannon, a six-pounder. c - Mortar. d - Batteries.
e - Graves of Lieut. Col. Short and Lieut. Gordon, who fell in the
ditch. f - Road to Upper Sandusky. g -Advance of the enemy to the
fatal ditch. i-Head of navigation.
Major B. F. Stickney, for many years Indian agent in this locality
and familiar with its history and traditions, in a lecture in Toledo in
1845, speaking of these towns, said: "The Wyandots have given me
this account of them. At a period of two and a half centuries ago
all the Indians west of this point were at war with those east. Two
walled towns were built near each other, inhabited by those of Wyandot
origin. They assumed a neutral character. All of the west might enter
The Croghan Celebration. 37
the western city and all of the east the eastern. The inhabitants of one
city might inform those of the other that war parties were there; but who
they were or whence they came or anything more must not be mentioned."
Gen. Lewis Cass, in an address in 1829 before the Historical Society
of Michigan, alluding to these neutral towns, said: "During the long and
disastrous contest which preceded and followed the arrival of the Euro-
peans, in which the Iroquois contended for victory, and their enemies
for existence, this little band (Wyandots) preserved the integrity of
their tribe and the sacred character of peacemakers. All who met
upon their threshold met as friends. This neutral nation was still in
existence when the French Missionaries reached the upper lakes two
centuries ago. The details of their history and of their character and
privileges are meager and unsatisfactory, and this is the more to be
regretted as such a sanctuary among the barbarous tribes is not only a
REFERENCES TO THE FORT. -Line 1-Pickets. Line 2-Embank-
ment from the ditch to and against the picket. Line 3. Dry ditch, nine
feet wide by six deep. Line 4-Outward embankment or glacis. A-
Blockhouse first attacked by cannon, b. B-Bastion from which the
ditch was raked by Croghan's artillery. C--Guard blockhouse, in the
lower left corner. D- Hospital during the attack. E E E -Military
store-houses. F-- Commissary's store-house. G - Magazine. H-
Fort gate. K K K-Wicker gates. L- Partition gate.
singular institution but altogether at variance with that reckless spirit
of cruelty with which their wars are usually prosecuted." Internal
feuds finally arose, as the tradition goes, and the villages were destroyed.
Here then the Indians for centuries had their homes and swarmed
along the banks and in the forests and plains of the valley of their beloved
river. Large game abounded on every hand, the river teemed with fish,
38 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and the marshes were alive with wild fowl. To them it was an ideal
abode and typical of their heaven, the happy hunting ground. They were
mostly of the Wyandot tribe, whose ancestors' home was once on the
north side of the river St. Lawrence, and who, becoming involved in a
war with the Senecas, living on the opposite side, which threatened their
extermination, concluded to leave their country. They settled first in the
vicinity of Greenbay; the Senecas followed them and the war was
renewed with varying fortunes, until finally it came to an end with the
Wyandots victors, but so badly worsted as to be unable to take much
advantage of their victory, and they finally settled here. They were
more civilized than any of the other tribes inhabiting this region, among
whom were Delawares, Shawanees and Ottawas.
The origin of the name of the river has been variously explained.
A map, published in Amsterdam in 1720 founded on a great variety of
Memoirs of Louisiana, represents within the present limits of Erie
county a water called Lac San douske. There is also a map published by
Henry Popple, London in 1733, where the bay is called "Lake Sandoski."
A very probable account of the origin of the name is the tradition of
aged Wyandot warriors given to Gen. Harrison in the friendly chat of
the Wigwam from which it appeared that their conquering tribes in
their conflict with the Senecas, centuries ago, having landed at Maumee,.
followed the lake shore toward the east, passing and giving names to
bays, creeks and rivers until on coming to Cold creek, where it enters.
the bay, they were so charmed with the springs of clear, cold water in
the vicinity that they pitched their tents and engaged in hunting and
fishing, and by them the bay and river was called Sandusky. Meaning
in their language "At the Cold Water." Butterfield gives a conversation
of John M. James, with William Walker, principal chief of the Wyandots
at Upper Sandusky, at Columbus, 1835. He said the meaning of the
word was "at the cold water," and should be pronounced San-doos-tee.
The Lower San-doos-tee (cold water) and Upper San-doos-tee being the
descriptive Wyandot Indian names known as far back as our knowledge
of this tribe extends.
Here at Lower Sandusky was one of the most important Wyandot
villages, named Junque-indundeh, which in the Wyandot language, noted
for its descriptive character, signifies "at the place of the hanging haze
or mist (smoke)," a name applicable and of a poetic tinge when its site
with the surrounding forests, prairies and marshes, and the burning
leaves and grass are considered. Through this village passed one of
the main Indian trails from Detroit to the Ohio River country through
the Ohio wilderness. There was good navigation from here to Detroit
and the upper lakes, and a good waterway for their canoes, with but a
short portage, between the Sandusky river and the Scioto, to the Ohio
For a period of nearly sixty years before the battle of Fort Stephen-
The Croghan Celebration. 39
son this spot was on the route pursued by military expeditions of France,
Great Britain and our forefathers, and by the war parties of the savage
red man from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi. The first military ex-
pedition of white men to this place of which we have a record at the pres-
ent time, was that of the French sent out by DeLongueuil, commandant at
Detroit, in 1748, during the conspiracy of Nicolas, the Wyandot chief
who resided at Sandosket, on the north side of the bay of that name,
and who had permitted English traders from Pennsylvania to erect
a large blockhouse at his principal town on the north side of Lake
Sandoski, in 1745, named Fort Sandusky. After the failure of his con-
spiracy, Nicolas resolved to abandon his towns on Sandusky Bay, and
on April 7, 1748, destroyed his villages and forts and with his warriors
and their families moved to the Illinois country.
The French sent another expedition in 1749 under Captain de
Celeron who after passing up the Sandusky river conducted an expe-
dition to the Ohio country, burying engraved leaden plates along the
Ohio river. The first British expedition up the Sandusky was after
the close of the old French War in 1760, when Robert Rogers, a native
of New Hampshire, was directed to take possession of the western forts.
He left Montreal on the 13th of September, 1760, with two hundred Ran-
gers-proceeding west he visited Sandusky--after securing the fort at
Detroit returned by land via Sandusky and Tuscarawas Trail to Fort
Pitt, stopping at the Lower Rapids of the Sandusky, probably on this
very knoll. The succeeding expedition, that of Colonel Bradstreet and
Israel Putnam in 1764, was outlined in the address of Hon. S. D. Dodge.
In May, 1778, the Renegades Alexander McKee, Matthew Elliott
and Simon Girty passed through Lower Sandusky to join the notorious
Lieutenant-Governor Henry Hamilton at Detroit, and lead the savages
in their attack on the settlers. James Girty came from Fort Pitt a few
weeks later to join them. Later in the year 1778 Daniel Boone and
Simon Kenton, then held captive by the Indians, at different times passed
through Lower Sandusky en route to Detroit. Strange to say Simon
Girty saved Simon Kenton's life and sent him to Detroit after he had
been condemned to be burned and tortured.
The next military expedition of which we have knowledge which
stopped at or passed through this place was the British contingent which
served with the Indians in repelling Crawford's expedition which cul-
minated in the terrible scene of Crawford's execution by burning at
the stake. This followed about two months after the passage of the
Moravians through this place on their removal to Detroit.
The pathetic story of the Moravian Indians whose villages were
originally planted on the banks of the Tuscarawas river, in 1772, had a sad
ending some ten years later in the brutal massacre which forms one
of the darkest pages of Revolutionary times. The Moravian missio-
naries and Christian Indians seemed to excite the special enmity of the
40 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
savages both white and red, British and American. The renegades, Elliott,
Girty and McKee, finally persuaded the British Commandant at Detroit
to order their removal, and sent the bloody Wyandot Indians under
their war chiefs Kuhn of Lower Sandusky, and Snip of Upper Sandusky,
accompanied by the famous Delaware chief Captain Pipe of Upper San-
dusky, to transfer them to the Sandusky villages or to the vicinity of
Detroit. This was carried out in their usual ruthless manner. While
the Indian converts remained at Upper Sandusky, De Peyster, the Com-
mandant of Detroit, through the machinations of Simon Girty, ordered
the missionaries brought before him. Rev. John Heckewelder, one of
the missionaries, afterward wrote, in his "History of the Mission": "On
the morning of the 13th of March, 1782, a Frenchman named Francis
Levallie, from Lower Sandusky, gave us notice that Girty who was to
have taken us to Detroit, having gone with a party of Wyandots to war
against the Americans on the Ohio, had appointed him to take his place
in taking us to Detroit, and that on the next day after tomorrow (the
15th) he would be here again to set out with us. A little conversation
with this man satisfied us that we had fallen into better hands. He
told us: 'Girty had ordered him to drive us before him to Detroit, the
same as if we were cattle, and never make a halt for the purpose of
the women giving suck to their children. That he should take us
around the head of the lake (Erie) and make us foot every step of
the way.' He, however would not do this, but would take us to Lower
Sandusky, and from that place send a runner with a letter to the Com-
mandant at Detroit, representing our situation and taking further orders
from him respecting us."
Notwithstanding Girty's hard order, the kind-hearted Frenchman
conducted the missionaries with every regard for their comfort and
safety, and boats were sent to take them from Lower Sandusky to Detroit.
A short time after reaching Lower Sandusky they received word that the
almost equally brutal white borderers on the American side, led by the
notorious Col. Williamson, had marched from Fort Pitt and cruelly
slaughtered some ninety or more Christian Indians who still remained
at the Moravian villages on the Tuscarawas. The missionary band at
Lower Sandusky consisted of the senior missionary David Zeisberger,
and his wife; John Heckewelder, wife and child; Senseman, wife and
babe but a few weeks old; Youngman and wife; and Edwards and
Michael Young, unmarried. The two latter were, while in Lower San-
dusky, lodged in the house of Mr. Robbins. The other four missionaries
with their families were guests of Mr. Arundel. Robbins and Arundel
were English traders at this place.
Heckewelder in his History of Indian Nations describes the ordeal
of running the gauntlet as follows:
"In the month of April, 1782, when I was myself a prisoner at
Lower Sandusky, waiting for an opportunity to proceed with a trader to
The Croghan Celebration. 41
Detroit, - three American prisoners were brought in by fourteen war-
riors from the garrison of Fort McIntosh. As soon as they had crossed
the Sandusky river to which the village lay adjacent, they were told
by the captain of the party to run as hard as they could to a painted
post which was shown to them. The youngest of the three without a
moment's hesitation immediately started for it, and reached it fortu-
nately without receiving a single blow; the second hesitated for a moment,
but recollecting himself, he also ran as fast as he could and likewise
reached the post unhurt. The third, frightened at seeing so many men,
women and children with weapons in their hands ready to strike him,
kept begging the captain to spare him, saying that he was a mason and
would build him a fine large stone house or do any work for him that
he would please.
"Run for your life," cried the chief to him, "and don't talk now of
building houses!" But the poor fellow still insisted, begging and praying
to the captain, who at last finding his exhortations vain and fearing the
consequences turned his back upon him and would not hear him any
longer. Our mason now began to run, but received many a hard blow,
one of which nearly brought him to the ground, which, if he had fallen
would have decided his fate. He, however, reached the goal, and not
without being sadly bruised, and he was beside bitterly reproached and
scoffed at all round as a vile coward, while the others were hailed as
brave men and received tokens of universal approbation."
"In the year 1782," says Heckewelder, "the war chief of the Wyandot
tribe of Indians of Lower Sandusky sent a young white man whom he
had taken as prisoner as a present to another chief who was called the
Half King of Upper Sandusky, for the purpose of being adopted into
his family in the place of one of his sons who had been killed the pre-
ceding year. The prisoner arrived and was presented to the Half King's
wife, but she refused to receive him; which according to the Indian rule
was in fact a sentence of death. The young man was therefore taken
away for the purpose of being tortured and burnt on the pile. While
the dreadful preparations were making and the unhappy victim was
already tied to the stake, two English traders, moved by feelings of pity
and humanity, resolved to unite their exertions to endeavor to save
the prisoner's life by offering a ransom to the war chief; which how-
ever he refused, saying it was an established rule among them to sacri-
fice a prisoner when refused adoption; and besides the numerous war
captains were on the spot to see the sentence carried into execution.
The two generous Englishmen, were, however, not discouraged, and
determined to try another effort. They appealed to the well-known high-
minded pride of an Indian. 'But,' said they, 'among all these chiefs
whom you have mentioned there is none who equals you in greatness;
you are considered not only as the greatest and bravest, but as the
best man in the nation.' 'Do you really believe what you say?' said
42 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the Indian looking them full in the face. 'Indeed we do.' Then without
speaking another word, he blackened himself, and taking his knife and
his tomahawk in his hand, made his way through the crowd to the un-
happy victim, crying out with a loud voice, 'what have you to do with
my prisoner?' and at once cutting the cords with which he was tied,
took him to his house, which was near that of Mr. Arundel, whence he
was secured and carried off by safe hands to Detroit, where the Com-
mandant sent him by water to Niagara, where he was soon after liberated;
the Indians who witnessed this act, said it was truly heroic; they were
so confounded by the unexpected conduct of this chief and by his
manly and resolute appearance, that they had not time to reflect upon
what they should do, and before their astonishment was well over, the
prisoner was out of their reach."
Another description of the same ordeal is related by Jeremiah Arm-
strong, who with an older brother and sister, was captured by the
Indians in 1794 opposite Blennerhassett's Island and brought to this
place. He says: "On arriving at Lower Sandusky, before entering the
town, they halted and formed a procession for Cox (a fellow prisoner),
my sister and myself to run the gauntlet. They pointed to the home of
their chief, Old Crane, (Tarhe), about a hundred yards distant, signifying
that we should run into it. We did so and were received very kindly by
the old chief; he was a very mild man, beloved by all." Tarhe when
critically analyzed means "at him," "the tree," or "at the tree," the tree
personified. Crane was a nickname given him by the French on account
The Croghan Celebration. 43
of his height and slender form. Tarhe's wife was a white woman, a
captive named Sally Frost, who had been adopted by the Wyandots.
The two mile square tract which still comprises the corporate limits
of the city of Fremont, was ceded to the government of the United States
by the Indians at the treaty of Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, renewed
at Fort Harmar, January 9, 1789, and reaffirmed at the treaty of Green-
ville, August 3, 1795; and has constituted a distinct military or civil
jurisdiction now for 121 years. Gen. George Rogers Clark, the uncle
of our Major George Croghan, was one of the Commissioners of the
United States who made the treaty with the Indians at Fort McIntosh,
by which the spot so gallantly defended by his nephew, twenty-eight years
after, was first ceded to the government.
While this region was within the jurisdiction of Delaware county
(1809-15) the term or name Lower Sandusky was sometimes understood
to apply to all that region within the Sandusky river valley north of
an undefined line dividing the upper from the lower Sandusky country.
On April 29, 1811, as recorded in journal 1, page 35, the board of county
commissioners of Delaware county passed the following resolution:
"Resolved by the board of commissioners of Delaware county in
conformity to a petition from the white inhabitants of Sandusky and by
the verbal request of some of the inhabitants of Radnor township, that
all that part of country commonly known and called by the name of
Upper and Lower Sanduskys shall be and now is attached to Radnor
township enjoying township privileges so far as is agreeable to law."
This is the first record concerning local civil government here, that
I have been able to find.
It is quite reasonable to conclude that more than the two-mile square
tract is meant by "All that part of country commonly known and called
by the name of Lower Sandusky." In further support of this conclusion
may be mentioned a criminal prosecution in the common pleas court of
Huron county at the May term, 1819, while this territory was within
that jurisdiction. - Law Record, Vol. 1, page 217.
The case referred to was the State of Ohio vs. Ne-go-sheek, Ne-
gon-e-ba and Ne-gossum, three Ottawa Indians, indicted for the murder
of John Wood and George Bishop, white men, at a hunter's and trap-
per's camp on the Portage' river, at a point about twelve miles from its
mouth, near what is now Oak Harbor in Ottawa county, April 21, 1819.
The indictment was drawn and the prosecution conducted by Ebenezer
Lane, assisted by Peter Hitchcock, both very able lawyers and not likely
to be mistaken in the averments as to the venue or place where the
crime was committed, which, though known to have been several miles
distant from the two-mile square tract, was nevertheless charged in the
indictment as committed "At the county of Huron in Lower Sandusky."
44 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
A very interesting account of this case may be found in the Fire-
land Pioneer, June 1865, page 43. Ne-gossum was discharged without
trial. The other two were convicted and sentenced to be hung, which
sentence was executed at Norwalk, July 1, 1819. Lane and Hitchcock both
subsequently became Judges of the Supreme Court of the State.
On August 1, 1815, while the region known as Lower Sandusky was
within the civil jurisdiction of Huron County, having been transferred
from Delaware County to Huron, January 31, 1815, the Township of
Lower Sandusky was formed by the commissioners of that county, and
provision made for the first election of township officers for the town-
ship, the same to be held August 15, 1815, at the house of Israel Har-
The order, among other things, provided: "Said township to
comprise all that part of Huron County west of the 24th range of Con-
necticut Reserve," which meant then all that region of country between
the west line of Huron and the east lines of Hancock, Wood and Lucas
Counties, lying south of Lake Erie and extending to the south line of
At this election Israel Harrington, Randall Jerome and Jeremiah
Everett (father of Homer Everett) were elected township trustees;
Isaac Lee, clerk; Morris A. Newman and William Ford, overseers of
the poor, and Charles B. Fitch and Henry Dubrow, appraisers.
This immense township thus remained until May 18, 1819, when by
action of the county commissioners of Huron County another township
was formed by detaching from the township of Lower Sandusky all that
part of the same east of the Sandusky river. To the new township the
name of Croghan was given.
FORT STEPHENSON PARK AND BIRCHARD LIBRARY.
Fort Stephenson Park, the site of the fort, covers a little more than
two acres of ground, and is a part of a 57 acre tract, numbered 9, of
the subdivision of the two-mile square reservation made in 1817, and
about that time platted into inlots and is located near the center of
the historic two-mile square tract. The first purchaser from the gov-
ernment was Cyrus Hulburd, whose deed is dated March 11, 1824.
From him it passed through successive grantees till the title to the three-
fourths part fronting Croghan street was acquired by Lewis Leppelman,
the southwest one-eighth by Dr. W. V. B. Ames, and the southeast
one-eighth by Lucinda Claghorn. The city of Fremont purchased this
property in 1873, the Birchard Library Association, having contributed
$9,000 toward the purchase of the property, and being the equitable owner
of one-third thereof. On March 29, 1878, the Birchard Library Associa-
tion became the owner of the legal title to the undivided one-third of
this ground by deed of conveyance from the City council of Fremont
pursuant to an ordinance duly passed February 18, 1878. This deed
The Croghan Celebration. 45
contained the conditions prescribed in the ordinance which are as fol-
lows: "That said Birchard Library Association are to have the right to
erect, maintain and occupy a building for the Birchard Library on Lots
number two hundred and twenty-one (221) and two hundred and forty
(240), and that said City have the right to erect, maintain and occupy a
building on said premises for a City Hall, where the same is now be-
ing erected on the corner of Croghan and Arch streets, and that no other
building, fence or structure of any kind shall hereafter be erected or
put upon any part of said Lots, nor shall the same ever be used for any
purpose other than as a Public Park or any part thereof sold or con-
veyed without the consent of both the said City Council and the said
Birchard Library Association. The control and supervision of said Park
shall be vested in the City Council and said Birchard Library Associa-
tion jointly, but said City Council shall have the exclusive use and con-
trol of the building now on said Lots."
The Birchard Library Association, which was largely instrumental in
preserving old Fort Stephenson for the public, was founded in 1873 by
Sardis Birchard, who named a Board of Trustees of which his nephew
Rutherford B. Hayes was the president, and arranged to place with such
Board property and securities to the value of $50,000. Mr. Birchard died
January 21, 1874, before the property intended to be given was legally
vested in this Board of Trustees, and his last will, dated August 21, 1872,
contained no provision for the Library.
His nephew and residuary legatee, Rutherford B. Hayes, however,
on February 14, 1874, but fifteen days subsequent to the probating of Mr.
Birchard's will, himself made a will in his own handwriting, witnessed
by J. W. Wilson and A. E. Rice, which will was for the sole purpose of
correcting this omission and securing for the Library the endowment in-
tended by Mr. Birchard. Item 2 of General Hayes's will was as follows:
"To carry out the intention of my uncle for the benefit of the people
of Fremont and vicinity, I give and bequeath to the Birchard Library all
my right, title and interest to the following property, viz." Then fol-
lowed the description of parcels of real estate in Toledo, out of which
was to be realized an aggregate of $40,000 for the Library. Subse-
quently this property was conveyed by deed and later it was sold. It
was undoubtedly the expectation and intention of Mr. Birchard to com-
plete his gift while living; hence the absence of any provision for it in
his will, although his cash bequests to educational and charitable institu-
tions and relatives and friends other than his residuary legatees, aggre-
gated some $40,000.
General Hayes, in making this will at the time he did, evidently in-
tended that even in the case of his own death, the people of Fremont
and vicinity should receive the unexecuted gift of Mr. Birchard; so that
the people are indebted both to the benevolence of Sardis Birchard and to
the generosity of Rutherford B. Hayes for Birchard Library.
46 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
It is an interesting fact that the existence of the above mentioned
will was only learned during the present year by the finding of a photo-
graphic copy of it, which has since been placed in Birchard Library.
The name Fort Stephenson first appears in the military records as
"FORT STEPHENSON, May 22, 1813.
May it please your Excellency:
Sir: Agreeably to your orders I have forwarded all the articles
specified therein. * * * Considerable manual labor has been done on
the garrison since you left this place and improvements are daily making.
* * *One person has been buried since you left this place. He came
from Fort Meigs with a part of the baggage of Major Tod. * * * "
R. E. Post, Adjutant.
The Major Tod mentioned became the president judge of the com-
mon pleas court of the district to which Sandusky county was attached
when organized and presided at the first term of that court held in the
county, May 8, 1820, at Croghansville.
At the time of the defense of Fort Stephenson there were but very
few white inhabitants in Lower Sandusky, as is evidenced by the follow-
ing petition to Governor Meigs, dated December 21, 1813:
"May it please your Excellency:-
"The undersigned inhabitants and settlers on the plains of Lower
Sandusky on the reservation beg leave to humbly represent their present
"In the first instance B. F. Stickney, Indian Agent has denied us
the right or privilege of settling on these grounds * * * and has
actually instructed Gen. Gano, our present Commandant, to dispossess us
of our present inheritance. Many of us * * * have been severe suff-
erers since the commencement of the present war. * * * We do not,
neither can we attempt to claim any legal right to the ground or spot
of earth on which we have each individually settled; but the improve-
ments which we have made and the buildings which we have erected we
trust will not be taken from us. * * * Permission to build has been
granted by Gen. Gano to those who have erected cabins since his arrival."
Signed by Morris A. Newman, Israel Harrington, George Bean,
Geo. Ermatington, R. E. Post, Asa Stoddard, R. Loomis, Jesse Skinner,
William Leach, Walter Brabrook, Louis Moshelle, Wm. Hamilton, Lewis
Geaneau, Patrick Cress.
Whether this petition was granted or not there is no record to
show, but it is probable that it was. But few of the names of the four-
teen signers appear in the subsequent history of the county affairs.
Israel Harrington and Morris A. Newman, however, became Associate
Judges of the Common Pleas Court, and Judge Newman was also County
Commissioner. It was at his tavern on the northeast corner of Ohio
The Croghan Celebration. 47
Avenue and Pine Street, in Croghansville, that the first term of the
common pleas court in the county was held, and Judge Harrington was
one of the associate judges presiding at that term.
On July 30, 1813, when General Harrison sent Colonel Wells to
relieve Major Croghan from command at Fort Stephenson, he was
escorted from Fort Seneca by Colonel Ball's squadron, consisting of about
100 horse. On the way down they fell in with a body of Indians and
fought what has since been called Ball's Battle. Israel Harrington, a
resident of Lower Sandusky at the time of the battle and one of the
first associate judges of Sandusky county, said that "three days after
he passed the ground and counted thereon thirteen dead Indians awfully
cut and mangled by the horsemen. None of the squadron were killed
and but one slightly wounded." The scene of this battle is about one
and a half miles southwest of Fremont on the west bank of the river,
near what is now the residence of Birchard Havens. There was an
oak tree on the site of the action within the memory of persons still
living, with seventeen hacks in it to indicate the number of Indians killed;
but this tree has unfortunately disappeared as have many other monu-
ments of those stirring times. Howe says: "The squadron were moving
toward the fort when they were suddenly fired upon by the Indians from
the west side of the road, whereupon Colonel Ball ordered a charge
and he and suite and the right flank being in advance first came into
action. The colonel struck the first blow. He dashed in between two
savages and cut down the one on the right; the other being slightly in
the rear, made a blow with a tomahawk at his back, when, by a sudden
spring of his horse, it fell short and was buried deep in the cantel and
pad of his saddle. Before the savage could repeat the blow he was shot
by Corporal Ryan. Lieut. Hedges (now Gen. Hedges of Mansfield) fol-
lowing in the rear, mounted on a small horse pursued a big Indian and
just as he had come up to him his stirrup broke, and he fell headfirst
off his horse, knocking the Indian down. Both sprang to their feet, when
Hedges struck the Indian across his head, and as he was falling buried
his sword up to its hilt in his body. At this time Captain Hopkins was
seen on the left side in pursuit of a powerful savage, when the latter
turned and made a blow at the captain with a tomahawk, at which the
horse sprang to one side. Cornet Hayes then came up, and the Indian
struck at him, his horse in like manner evading the blow. Serj. Ander-
son now arriving, the Indian was soon dispatched. By this time the
skirmish was over, the Indians who were only about 20 in number being
nearly all cut down; and orders were given to retreat to the main
squadron. Col. Ball dressed his men ready for a charge, should the
Indians appear in force, and moved down without further molestation
to the fort, where they arrived about 4 P. M."
48 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Among Colonel Ball's troopers was a private, James Webb, the
father of Lucy Webb Hayes, whose old flint-lock rifle and hunting horn
are among the treasures of Spiegel Grove.
In the plan of the environs of the Fort, it will be noted that the
spot where the British officers, Lieut. Colonel Shortt and Lieut. Gordon
were buried, is marked. The new High School building now covers this
spot, and in 1891, while excavating for its foundation portions of the
graves were uncovered and metallic buttons with the number of the
regiment, 41, stamped on them were found, which have been placed in
Birchard Library by Mr. H. S. Dorr, their owner. Mr. Dorr, soon after
finding these buttons showed them to President Hayes who stated that
in reading an autobiography of a Scotch Bishop Gordon, he found the
following: "The great sorrow of my life was the loss of a son in an
unimportant battle in an obscure place in North America--called Fort
From an English work, the "Dictionary of National Biography" the
following facts are gathered. The father of Lieut. Gordon was James
Bently Gordon (1750-1819) of Londonderry, Ireland, who graduated from
Trinity College, Dublin, in 1773 took Holy Orders and subsequently was
presented with the living, first of Cannaway on Cork and finally that of
Killegney in Wexford, both of which he retained till his death, in April,
1819. He was a zealous student of history and geography and a volum-
inous writer of books on such subjects, among which were "Terraquea
or a New System of Geography and Modern History," "A History of the
Rebellion in Ireland in 1798," "A History of the British Islands" and
"An Historical and Geographical Memoir of the North American Con-
He married in 1779 a daughter of Richard Bookey of Wicklow, by
whom he had several children. His eldest son, James George Gordon,
entered the army and was killed at Fort Sandusky in August, 1813.
DEFENDERS OF FORT STEPHENSON.
The public is greatly indebted to Col. Webb C. Hayes for his un-
tiring and partially successful efforts in procuring the names, appearing
below, of the officers and soldiers in the garrison at Fort Stephenson at
the time of its heroic defence.
The list is not complete, containing only seventy-eight names out of
the 160 in the fort at the time. The war records at Washington do not
show the names of the volunteers, who were detached and assigned to
this service; hence it was impossible for him to obtain their names.
The following are the names furnished by Col. Hayes:
Major George Croghan, Seventeenth U. S. Inf., commanding.
Captain James Hunter.
First lieutenant, Benjamin Johnson; second lieutenant, Cyrus A.
The Croghan Celebration. 49
Baylor; ensign, Edmund Shipp; Ensign, Joseph Duncan, all of the
Seventeenth U. S. Infantry.
First Lieutenant, Joseph Anthony, Twenty-fourth U. S. Infantry.
Second Lieutenant, John Meek, Seventh U. S. Infantry.
Captain Hunter's company, Capt. James Hunter commanding. Ser-
geants, Wayne Case, James Huston, Obadiah Norton. Corporals, Matthew
Burns, William Ewing, John Maxwell.
Privates: Pleasant Bailey, Samuel Brown, Elisha Condiff, Thomas
Crickman, Ambrose Dean, Leonard George, Nathaniel Gill, John Harley,
Jonathan Hartley, William McDonald, Joseph McKey, Frederick Metts,
Rice Millender, John Mumman, Samuel Pearsall, Daniel Perry, William
Ralph, John Rankin, Elisha Rathbun, Aaron Ray, Robert Row, John
Salley, John Savage, John Smith, Thomas Striplin, William Sutherland,
Martin Tanner, John Zett, David Perry.
Captain Duncan's company, 17th U. S. Inf., First Lieutenant Benja-
min Johnson commanding. Second Lieutenant Cyrus A. Baylor. Ser-
geants, Henry Lawell; Thomas McCaul, John M. Stotts, Notley Williams.
Privates: Henry L. Bethers, Cornelius S. Bevins, Joseph Blamer,
Jonathan C. Bowling, Nicholas Bryant, Robert Campbell, Samuel Camp-
bell, Joseph Klinkenbeard, Joseph Childers, Ambrose Dine, Jacob Downs,
James Harris, James Heartley, William Johnson, Elisha Jones, Thomas
Linchard, William McClelland, Joseph McKee, John Martin, Ezekiel
Mitchell, William Rogers, David Sudderfield, Thomas Taylor, John
Detachment Twenty-fourth U. S. Infantry. First Lieutenant Joseph
Privates: William Gaines, John Foster, Jones, Samuel
Riggs, Samuel Thurman.
Greensburg Riflemen. Sergeant Abraham Weaver.
Petersburg Volunteers. Private Edmund Brown.
CAPTAIN SAMUEL BRADY.
During the war of the Revolution, Captain Samuel Brady was sent
here by direction of Washington to learn if possible the strength of the
Indians in this quarter. He approached the village under cover of night
and fording the river secreted himself on the Island just below the falls.
When morning dawned a fog rested over the valley which completely
cut off from view the shore from either side. About 11 o'clock a bright
sun quickly dispelled the mist and the celebrated borderer became the
witness from his conealment of a series of interesting horse races by
the Indians during the three days he remained on the Island, from which
50 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
he concluded that they were not then preparing for any hostile move-
ments, and started to return, and after a perilous tramp of several days
reached the fort from which he had been sent out. This Island where
Brady secreted himself was known among the early settler's as Brady's
Island. Capt. Brady subsequently started on a scout towards the San-
dusky villages as before and had arrived in the neighborhood, when he
was made a prisoner and taken to one of the villages. There was great
rejoicing at the capture of Brady, and great preparation and parade were
made for torturing him. The Indians collected in a large body, old
and young, on the day set for his execution. Among them was Simon
Girty, whom he knew, they having been boys together. Girty refused
to recognize or aid him in any way. The time for execution arrived,
the fires were lighted, the circle around him was drawing closer and he
began sensibly to feel the effects of the fire. The withes which confined
his arms and legs were getting loose and he soon found he could free
himself. A fine looking squaw of one of the chiefs ventured a little too
near for her own safety and entirely within his reach. By one powerful
exertion he cleared himself from everything by which he was confined,
caught the squaw by the head and shoulders, and threw her on top of the
burning pile, and in the confusion that followed made his escape. The
Indians pursued, but he outdistanced them, the crowning feat being his
celebrated leap across the Cuyahoga river at the present site of Kent,
known as Brady's Leap.
Brady's name is perpetuated in the chief island of Sandusky river,
within the limits of the city of Fremont; his exploits are typical of the
emergencies of that early frontier life and of the spirit in which they
were everywhere met.
Gen. Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, or-
ganized Hamilton County, February 11, 1792, with Cincinnati as the
county seat, and the present Sandusky County forming a very small
portion of it. Subsequently Wayne County was organized, August 15,
1796, with Detroit as the county seat, covering a vast extent of terri-
tory from the Cuyahoga river on the east and extending as far west
as Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the present site of Chicago, with its northern
boundary the Canadian boundary line, extending through the Great Lakes
from Lake Superior to Lake Erie. This included the present county of
Sandusky. On the organization of the state of Ohio it was included
in Franklin county with Franklinton as the county seat, until February 17,
1809, when it became a part of Delaware county with Delaware the county
seat, and so remained until January 31, 1815. In April, 1811, Lower
Sandusky by name was attached to Radnor township of Delaware county,
by the county commissioners for township purposes. On January 31,
1815, it became a part of Huron county with Avery, now Milan, as the
county seat, until 1818, and after that date with Norwalk as the county
The Croghan Celebration. 51
seat. On February 20, 1820, the state legislature organized the terri-
tory ceded by the Indians under the treaty of September 29, 1817, into
fourteen counties, of which Sandusky was one. Sandusky county as
thus organized, extended from the west line of the Western Reserve
to the east line of Wood county, and from the north line of Seneca
county to the lake; and included all of the present counties of San-
dusky and Ottawa, and parts of Erie and Lucas. For the first four
years, Sandusky and Seneca counties were joined for judicial purposes.
Croghansville, on the east bank of the Sandusky river, was the first
county seat, until 1822, when the town Sandusky on the west bank became
the permanent county seat and later these two towns were joined and
known as the town of Lower Sandusky, as mentioned below.
The name of the county is derived from that of the river, which
enters from the south, two miles east of the southeast corner of Ball-
ville township, and flows northeasterly, entirely across the county, a dis-
tance, following its meanderings, of about thirty miles, when it empties
into the bay which by early geographers was named Lake Sandusky.
Originally, as is shown by a plat of a survey made by Josiah At-
kins, Jr. (Plat Record 3, page 3), the term "Lower Sandusky" was ap-
plied to the entire tract of "two miles square on each side of the lower
rapids of the Sandusky River," as originally ceded by the Indians at the
treaty of Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, and contained the village of
Croghansville. According to this plat, Croghansville extended across the
river and included several inlots and some larger tracts on the west side,
the 57-acre tract containing the site of the Fort being one.
After the township of Croghan was formed in 1819, this term had
reference to the whole tract on both sides of the Sandusky river; but
thereafter the name "Sandusky" was applied to the west side exclu-
sively, both as to the village and township, the village being sometimes
called "Town of Sandusky."
When the county was organized it contained two townships only,
namely, Sandusky, which included the village of that name on the west
side and all of the county west of the river; and Croghan, which in-
cluded the village of Croghansville and all of the county east of the
river. Subsequently, in 1827, that portion of Croghan township in which
the village on the east side was located, was attached to Sandusky town-
ship by the county commissioners. In 1829 the territory of both villages,
by act of the legislature, was incorporated by the name of the "Town
of Lower Sandusky." It was changed to Fremont at the October term,
1849, of the common pleas court (Journal 6, page 437).
It is a matter of regret that the name about which cluster so many
interesting traditions and local historical associations was ever changed
to one which, however highly honored, carries with it no suggestions of
these traditions or local history. The change was, however, thought to
be called for in order to prevent confusion in the matter of the postal ser-
vice, owing to the quadruplication of names.
52 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The name Croghansville, for the village, was probably first suggested
by Josiah Meigs, Commissioner of the General Land Office, in a letter
from Washington City, April 12, 1816, in which, among other words
are these: "If it were left to me to name the town at Lower Sandusky
I should name it in honor of the gallant youth, Col. Croghan -and should
say it should be Croghansville.
The name is still preserved in that of the school on the hill on the
East Side, known as Croghansville School, as well as in the street
abutting on Fort Stephenson.
REMARKS OF J. P. MOORE.
I was born in Pennsylvania in 1829 and brought to the Black
Swamp in, 1834. All my older brothers attended the Croghan celebra-
construction of the fort and many incidents connected with its building
and its defense against the British and Indians.
The late David Deal, who was a member of Col. James Stephen-
son's regiment of Ohio militia, told me that Col. Stephenson left them
at Fort Meigs in January, 1813, to go to Lower Sandusky to build the
fort which has ever since been called Fort Stephenson.
I had always supposed that the first fort constructed on this site
was built by Col. Stephenson's soldiers in January, 1813, but Col. Hayes
has shown me a number of official records and a copy of an order
issued by Brig. General William Irvine dated at Fort Pitt (now Pitts-
burg) November 11, 1782, during the Revolutionary War, to Major Craig
as follows: "Sir. I have received intelligence through various channels
that the British have established a post at Lower Sandusky, etc., etc.,
also a copy of the treaty by which the reservation (present corporation
limits of Fremont), two miles square, of which Fort Stephenson is
about the center, was established by the treaty of Fort McIntosh as
early as 1785 and continued in all subsequent treaties. Also an order
from Governor Meigs of Ohio to Captain John Campbell dated Zanes-
The Croghan Celebration. 53
ville, June 11, 1812. "You will take with you the necessary tools for
building two blockhouses at Sandusky." * * *. "You will build two
blockhouses and piquet them so as to protect the United States trading
house and store at the place." * * * "I expect you will meet at San-
dusky Major Butler, from Delaware with a company to assist you."
Governor Meigs' letter shows that the fort was built in 1812, but
the official record also shows that it was abandoned for a short time
after Hull's surrender.
The old soldier Figley, of Columbiana county, came here early in
February, 1813, and worked on the fort until mustered out at Cleveland
on June 1st of that year. He related to me how the pickets were drawn
by oxen from the vicinity of Stony Prairie to the fort and points sharp-
ened and the posts set in the ground close up one against the other.
Many of the oxen engaged in drawing them died of starvation or were
devoured by the wolves howling around the fort.
The company to which James Kirk belonged came to the fort June
1, 1813, and worked here until the arrival of the British and Indians
the day before the battle. James Kirk himself had been detailed to carry
dispatches to Fort Seneca the day before the battle so that he was not
present but came down early on the morning of August 3 and helped
bury the British dead. He distinctly heard the firing of the British can-
non and howitzers and noticed that some discharges were louder than
Kirk was 25 years old at that time and after his discharge opened
a blacksmith shop in Lower Sandusky in 1818 and in 1828 went to Port
Clinton. He said that the well in the fort was not a good one, so that
the garrison got their water from a spring at the foot of Garrison
street, bringing it through a small gate on the east side of the fort,
for which gate Kirk made the hinges.
I sent my son Theodore to visit James Kirk in 188- and get a
description of the fort. Kirk said "Mark off a square plat of ground
containing half an acre with a block house on the northeast corner and
one in the northwest corner, this was the original fort. In June, 1813,
when we came here the fort was found to be too small. He said, "mark
off another square on the west side of the old square and this you will
see will place the northwest blockhouse in the center of the north line
of the enlarged fort. This was the blockhouse from which "Old Betsy"
cleared the ditch when it was filled with Col. Shortt's men. There was
a sealed log house in the new part filled with biscuit for Perry's fleet.
This house was knocked down level with the pickets by the British
cannon balls. The northeast blockhouse was in the center of Croghan
and Arch streets. The center blockhouse was about opposite the monu-
ment. The northwest angle of the fort extended out about 15 feet into
High street. There were many extra guns in the fort, as a company
of Pennsylvania soldiers had deposited their guns there a few days be-
54 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
fore the battle on their way here from Fort Meigs. Their time being
out, they were on their way home to be mustered out.
The walls of the fort were made of logs, some round, some smooth
on one side, half of the other logs averaging about 18 inches in thick-
ness, all set firmly in the earth, each picket crowded closely against the
other and all about ten feet high, sharpened at the top. The walls
enclosed about one acre of ground. After Major Croghan took com-
mand July 15, 1813, he had a ditch dug six feet deep and nine feet
wide around the outside, throwing about one-half of the earth against
the foot of the pickets and graded down to the bottom of the ditch;
the rest of the earth was thrown on the outer bank and the depth of
the ditch thus increased.
Major Croghan had large logs placed on top of the wall of the
fort, so adjusted that an inconsiderable weight would cause them to
fall from their position and crush any who might be below.
When the British landed opposite Brady's Island they sent a flag
of truce under Col. Elliott who was met by Ensign Shipp on the ridge
where the parsonage of St. John's Lutheran Church (which was for-
merly the court house), now stands. This was eloquently described to
me by Thomas L. Hawkins, the poet, preacher and orator.
A ravine ran up from the river north of the fort through Justice
street across the pike in a southwestern direction near the court house,
The Croghan Celebration. 55
the British brought their cannon up this ravine. They would load
their cannon and then run them up out of the ravine and after dis-
charging them, back them down again to reload out of range of the
guns of the fort. The next ravine south of this ran up Croghan street,
turning to the southwest at High street, thence northwest through the
northwest corner of the Presbyterian church lot. This ravine formed
the north boundary of the plateau or ridge on which Fort Stephens on
was located and on which ridge ran the Harrison trail to the southwest
up through Spiegel Grove and on to Fort Seneca. The next ravine
south of this extended between Birchard avenue and Garrison street,
one branch ran towards the Methodist church through the Dorr and
McCulloch property. It was from this last named ravine that the British
Grenadiers made a feint against Capt. Hunter's company just before Col.
Shortt made his assault on the northwest corner of the fort.
Lieut. Col. Short and Lieut. J. G. Gordon, of the 41st Regt. were
buried near the south entrance of the high school building.
RECEPTION AT SPIEGEL GROVE.
Following the exercises of the afternoon at Fort Stephenson, an
informal reception was held at Spiegel Grove, to the out-of-town guests
of the city and the citizens at large. Col. Webb C. Hayes, the prime
mover of the whole celebration, Mr. and Mrs. Birchard A. Hayes and
Mrs. Fanny Hayes Smith cordially received the guests on the great
piazza, where the Vice-President, the Governor, the Governor's Staff
and the staff and line officers of the Sixth Regiment were guests of
honor. Great numbers of persons moved about through the beautiful
grounds, enjoying the music by the Light Guard Band stationed in
front of the house, the superb weather and the gay spectacle. The week
having been observed as Old Home Week, many former residents of
Fremont were at hand to renew old acquaintances and assist in doing
the honors of the place to the crowds of strangers.
THE VENETIAN SPECTACLE.
With the falling of dusk the immense crowds commenced to assemble
to witness the glories of as realistic a Venetian night as was possible
to produce, following the plans originated by Dr. Stamm, who has
several times viewed these spectacles in Venice.
The river banks between the L. E. & W. and State street bridges
were thronged with crowds, while the special guests and those, by whose
efforts the day was a success, occupied the guests' stand, built on the
water just north of the bridge.
More than a hundred boats and launches, gaily decorated and illum-
inated, approached the reviewing stand, presenting a beautiful sight
with their swaying colored lights on a background of dark sky,
56 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
emphasized by the hundreds of Japanese lanterns strung along either
bank and in sweeping festooons across the big Lake Erie bridge. Near
the bridge, and extending across the river, were seven of the largest boats
in the river, bearing huge electric transparencies upon which appeared
six-foot letters spelling the name Croghan, which was also seen in a
set piece. The hit of the evening was the reproduction of Fort Stephen-
The fireworks, in charge of Chief Reiff, of the fire department, were
magnificent and no accidents occurred. Especial praise is due Charles
Hermon, the lamplighter, who superintended the illuminations. Commo-
dore Coonrod's fleet as managed by Charles Grable, was a thing of
beauty. The display occupied three hours and general satisfaction on the
part of all was evident in their attention.
HARRISON'S NORTHWESTERN CAMPAIGN.
The best description extant of General Harrison's Northwestern
Campaign is that contained in "A History of the Late War in the
Western Country," by Robert B. McAfee, Lexington, Ky., 1816, a rare
and valuable volume.
Major McAfee was himself an officer in that campaign, serving as
a captain in the regiment of mounted riflemen commanded by Col. Richard
In his Preface he acknowledges his indebtedness to Gen. Harrison,
Governor Shelby, Colonels Croghan and Tod and Colonel Wood of the
Engineers for official correspondence and assistance in procuring material
and formation. The chapter relating to the Tippecanoe campaign in
1811 contains the following references to some of the Kentucky Vol-
"Colonel Keiger, who raised a small company of 79 men near
Louisville, including among them Messrs. Croghan, O'Fallen, Shipp,
Chum and Edwards, who afterward distinguished themselves as officers
in the army of the United States."
The Croghan Celebration. 57
Governor Shelby in his letters to the War Department speaks
highly of Colonel Boyd and his brigade and of Clark and Croghan who
were his aides.
Of the above, Croghan and Shipp fought together at the defense
of Fort Stephenson. Shipp was the officer sent by Croghan to meet the
flag of truce sent by General Proctor when the formal demand for the
surrender of Fort Stephenson was made. O'Fallen was a cousin of
Croghan and during the campaign was aide-de-camp to General Harrison.
We copy from McAfee his account of the defense of Fort Stephenson
and of Harrison's expedition to Canada and the victorious battle at the
Thames. Also Colonel Croghan's subsequent campaign against the British
at Mackinac in the joint army and naval expedition under the command
of Commodore Sinclair.
"General Harrison had returned from Cleveland to Lower Sandusky
(July, 1813) several days before the arrival of the enemy, and received
at that place from the express the information that Camp Meigs was
again invested. He then immediately removed his headquarters to Seneca
town, about nine miles up the Sandusky river, where he constructed a
fortified camp, having left Major Croghan with 160 regulars in Fort
Stephenson and taken with him to Seneca about 140 more, under the
immediate command of Colonel Wells. A few days afterward he was
reinforced by the arrival of 300 regulars under Colonel Paul, and Colonel
Ball's corps of 150 dragoons, which made his whole force at that place
upwards of 600 strong. He was soon joined also by Generals McArthur
and Cass; and Colonel Owings with a regiment of 500 regulars from Ken-
tucky, was also advancing to the frontiers; but he did not arrive at head-
quarters before the siege of Fort Meigs had been abandoned by the
enemy. * * *
The force which Proctor and Tecumseh brought against us in this
instance has been ascertained to have been about 5,000 strong. A greater
number of Indians were collected by them for this expedition than ever
were assembled in one body on any other occasion during the whole war.
Having raised the siege of Camp Meigs, the British sailed round
into Sandusky bay, whilst a competent number of their savage allies
marched across through the swamps of Portage River, to co-operate in
a combined attack at Lower Sandusky, expecting no doubt that General
Harrison's attention would be chiefly directed to forts Winchester and
Meigs. The General however had calculated on their taking this course,
and had been careful to keep patrols down the bay, opposite the mouth
of Portage River, where he supposed their forces would debark.
Several days before the British had invested Fort Meigs, General
Harrison, with Major Croghan and some other officers, had examined the
heights which surround Fort Stephenson; and as the hill on the opposite
or southeast side of the river, was found to be the most commanding
eminence, the General had some thoughts of removing the fort to that
place, and Major Croghan declared his readiness to undertake the work.
58 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
But the General did not authorize him to do it, as he believed that if
the enemy intended to invade our territory again, they would do it be-
fore the removal could be completed. It was then finally concluded, that
the fort which was calculated for a garrison of only two hundred men,
could not be defended against the heavy artillery of the enemy; and that
if the British should approach it by water, which would cause a pre-
sumption that they had brought their heavy artillery, the fort must be
abandoned and burned, provided a retreat could be effected with safety.
In the orders left with Major Croghan it was stated,-"Should the
British troops approach you in force with cannon, and you can dis-
cover them in time to effect a retreat, you will do so immediately, destroy-
ing all the public stores. * * * You must be aware that the attempt
to retreat in the face of an Indian force would be vain. Against such
an enemy your garrison would be safe, however great the number."
On the evening of the 29th, Gen. Harrison received intelligence by
express from Gen. Clay, that the enemy had abandoned the siege of Fort
Meigs; and as the Indians on that day had swarmed in the woods round
his camp, he entertained no doubt but an immediate attack was intended
either on Sandusky or Seneca. He therefore immediately called a council
of war, consisting of McArthur, Cass, Ball, Paul, Wood, Hukill, Holmes
and Graham, who were unanimously of the opinion that Fort Stephen-
son was untenable against heavy artillery, and that as the enemy could
bring with facility any quantity of battering cannon against it, by which
it must inevitably fall, and as it was an unimportant post, containing
nothing the loss of which would be felt by us, that the garrison should
therefore not be reinforced but withdrawn and the place destroyed. In
pursuance of this decision the General immediately despatched the fol-
lowing order to Major Croghan:
"Sir, immediately on receiving this letter, you will abandon Fort
Stephenson, set fire to it and repair with your command this night to
headquarters. Cross the river and come up on the opposite side. If
you should deem and find it impracticable to make good your march
to this place, take the road to Huron and pursue it with the utmost
circumspection and despatch."
This order was sent by Mr. Conner and two Indians, who lost
their way in the dark and did not arrive at Fort Stephenson before 11
o'clock the next day. When Major Croghan received it, he could not
then retreat with safety, as the Indians were hovering round the fort
in considerable force. He called a council of his officers, a majority
of whom coincided with him in opinion that a retreat would be unsafe,
and that the post could be maintained against the enemy at least until
further instructions could be received from headquarters. The major
therefore immediately returned the following answer:
"Sir, I have received yours of yesterday, 10 o'clock P. M., ordering
me to destroy this place and make good my retreat, which was received
The Croghan Celebration. 59
too late to be carried into execution. We have determined to maintain
this place and by heavens we can."
In writing this note Major Croghan had a view to the probability
of its falling into the hands of the enemy, and on that account made
use of a stronger language than would otherwise have been consistent
with propriety. It reached the General on the same day, who did not
fully understand the circumstances and motives under which it had been
dictated. The following order was therefore immediately prepared, and
sent with Colonel Wells in the morning, escorted by Colonel Ball with
his corps of dragoons.
"July 30, 1813.
"Sir. The General has received your letter of this date, informing
him that you had thought proper to disobey the order issued from this
office, and delivered to you this morning. It appears that the informa-
tion which dictated the order was incorrect; and as you did not receive
it in the night as was expected, it might have been proper that you should
have reported the circumstance and your situation, before you proceeded
to its execution. This might have been passed over, but I am directed
to say to you, that an officer who presumes to aver that he has made
his resolution and that he will act in direct opposition to the orders
of his General can no longer be entrusted with a separate command.
Colonel Wells is sent to relieve you. You will deliver the command to
him and repair with Col. Ball's squadron to this place. By command
etc.; A. H. Holmes, Asst. Adj. General."
The squadron of dragoons on this trip met with a party of Indians
near Lower Sandusky and killed 11 out of 12. The Indians had formed
an ambush and fired on the advance guard consisting of a sergeant and
five privates. Upon seeing the squadron approach they fled, but were
pursued and soon overtaken by the front squad of Captain Hopkins's
troop. The greater part of them were cut down by Colonel Ball and
Captain Hopkins with his subalterns, whose horses being the fleetest over-
took them first. The loss on our part was two privates wounded and
two horses killed.
Colonel Wells being left in the command of Fort Stephenson, Major
Croghan returned with the squadron to headquarters. He there explained
his motives for writing such a note, which were deemed satisfactory and
having remained all night with the General who treated him politely,
he was permitted to return to his command in the morning with written
orders similar to those he had received before.
A reconnoitering party which had been sent from headquarters to
the shore of the lake, about 20 miles distant from Fort Stephenson, dis-
covered the approach of the enemy by water on the evening of the 31st
of July. They returned by the fort, after 12 o'clock the next day, and
had passed it but a few hours when the enemy made their appearance
before it. The Indians showed themselves first on the hill over the river,
60 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
and were saluted by a 6-pounder, the only piece of artillery in the fort,
which soon caused them to retire. In half an hour the British gun-
boats came in sight; and the Indian forces displayed themselves in every
direction, with a view to intercept the garrison should a retreat be
attempted. The 6-pounder was fired a few times at the gun-boats,
which was returned by the artillery of the enemy. A landing of their
troops with a 51/2-inch howitzer was effected about a mile below the
fort; and Major Chambers accompanied by Dickson was despatched
towards the fort with a flag, and was met on the part of Major Cro-
ghan by Ensign Shipp of the 17th Regiment. After the usual cere-
monies Major Chambers observed to Ensign Shipp, that he was in-
structed by Gen. Proctor to demand the surrender of the fort, as he
was anxious to spare the effusion of human blood, which he could not
do, should he be under the necessity of reducing it by the powerful force
of artillery, regulars and Indians under his command. Shipp replied
that the commandant of the fort and its garrison were determined to
defend it to the last extremity, that no force however great could induce
them to surrender, as they were resolved to maintain their post or to
bury themselves in its ruins. Dickson then said that their immense
body of Indians could not be restrained from massacring the whole
garrison in case of success-of which we have no doubt, rejoined
Chambers, as we are amply prepared. Dickson then proceeded to re-
mark that it was a pity so fine a young man should fall into the hands
of the savages-sir, for God's sake surrender, and prevent the dreadful
massacre that will be caused by your resistance. Mr. Shipp replied that
when the fort was taken there would be none to massacre. It will not
be given up while a man is able to resist. An Indian at this moment
came out of an adjoining ravine and advancing to the Ensign took hold
of his sword and attempted to wrest it from him. Dickson interfered,
and having restrained the Indian, affected great anxiety to get him safe
into the fort.
The enemy now opened their fire from their 6-pounders in the gun
boats and the howitzer on shore, which they continued through the
night with but little intermission and with very little effect. The forces
of the enemy consisted of about 500 regulars, and about 800 Indians
commanded by Dickson, the whole being commanded by Gen. Proctor
in person. Tecumseh was stationed on the road to fort Meigs with a
body of 2,000 Indians, expecting to intercept a reinforcement on that
Major Croghan through the evening occasionally fired his 6-pounder,
at the same time changing its place occasionally to induce a belief that
he had more than one piece. As it produced very little execution on
the enemy, and he was desirous of saving his ammunition, he soon dis-
continued his fire. The enemy had directed their fire against the north-
western angle of the fort which induced the commandant to believe that
an attempt to storm his works would be made at that point. In the
The Croghan Celebration. 61
night Captain Hunter was directed to remove the 6-pounder to a block-
house from which it would rake that angle. By great industry and per-
sonal exertion, Captain Hunter soon accomplished this object in secrecy.
The embrasure was masked, and the piece loaded with a half charge of
powder and double charge of slugs and grape shot.
Early in the morning of the second, the enemy opened their fire
from their howitzer, and three 6-pounders which they had landed in
the night, and planted in a point of woods about 250 yards from the
fort. In the evening, about 4 o'clock, they concentrated the fire of all
their guns on the northwest angle, which convinced Major Croghan that
they would endeavor to make a breach and storm the works at that
point; he therefore immediately had that place strengthened as much
as possible with bags of flour and sand, which were so effectual that
the picketing in that place sustained no material injury. Sergeant Weaver
with five or six gentlemen of the Petersburg Volunteers and Pittsburgh
Blues, who happened to be in the fort, was entrusted with the manage-
ment of the 6-pounder.
Late in the evening when the smoke of the firing had completely
enveloped the fort, the enemy proceeded to make the assault. Two
feints were made towards the southern angle, where Captain Hunter's
lines were formed; and at the same time a column of 350 men were dis-
covered advancing through the smoke, within 20 paces of the north-
western angle. A heavy galling fire of musketry was now opened upon
them from the fort which threw them into some confusion. Colonel
Shortt who headed the principal column soon rallied his men and led
them with great bravery to the brink of the ditch. After a momentary
pause he leaped into the ditch; calling to his men to follow him, and in
a few minutes it was full. The masked porthole was now opened, and
the 6-pounder, at a distance of 30 feet, poured such destruction upon
them that but few who had entered the ditch were fortunate enough to
escape. A precipitate and confused retreat was the immediate conse-
quence, although some of the officers attempted to rally their men. The
other column which was led by Colonel Warburton and Major Chambers,
was also routed in confusion by a destructive fire from the line com-
manded by Captain Hunter. The whole of them fled into the adjoining
wood, beyond the reach of our small arms. During the assault, which
lasted half an hour, the enemy kept up an incessant fire from their
howitzer and five 6-pounders. They left Colonel Shortt, a lieutenant
and 25 privates dead in the ditch; and the total number of prisoners
taken was 26, most of them badly wounded. Major Muir was knocked
down in the ditch, and lay among the dead, till the darkness of the
night enabled him to escape in safety. The loss of the garrison was
one killed and 7 slightly wounded. The total loss of the enemy could
not be less than 150 killed and wounded.
When night came on, which was soon after the assault, the wounded
in the ditch were in a desperate situation. Complete relief could not be
62 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
brought to them by either side with any degree of safety. Major Cro-
ghan however relieved them as much as possible - he contrived to convey
them waterover the picketting in buckets, and a ditch was opened under
the pickets through which those who were able and willing were en-