"Logan, A Friend To The White Man"

by James L. Hupp
December 15, 1965

On the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, stood an Indian town called Shomokin. The chief of this town had become a Christian. His second son was a brave young man, whom he named Logan when he had him baptized by the Moravian missionaries. Logan was with the white people a great deal and soon he grew fond of them as they did of him. He supported his family by killing deer, dressing the skins and selling them to the whites.

During the French and Indian War, Logan would take no part against the whites, being such a true friend to them. But all this was soon changed, and this friend became an enemy. And this is the way it happened:

Logan had moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio and had taken up his home with a small tribe of Mingoes, near Steubenville. They soon made him their chief. One day a party of Indians was camping at the mouth of Yellow Creek. Some white men were camping on the other side of the Ohio River. The Indians, consisting of five men, a woman and a babe, crossed over to the white camp. The whites gave them run and when they had made them drunk, they killed them. The Indians on the other side of the stream, hearing the shooting, started over to see what was the matter. These were also shot. Among the killed were Logan's relatives his father, brother, and sister.

Logan at once turned into a savage avenger. Blood was now to be shed for blood. He went on the war path and during the summer he himself took thirty scalps. The Indians in Ohio followed his example and soon no white roan was safe. The Shawnees living on the Scioto, near Circleville, were the leaders in the uprising under their great chief, Cornstalk. Logan thought a man by the name of Cresap had killed his family, and once he wrote him a letter in which he said: "What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for? I thought I must kill, too, and I have been three times to war since. But the Indians are not angry. Only myself. Captain John Logan."

The war did not last very long, for the white people in Virginia raised two armies to go against the Indians. A terrible battle was fought where Point Pleasant, on the Ohio River, now stands, October, 1774, and the red men were thoroughly defeated, and hastened back to their homes on the Scioto to sue for peace.

When the conference was being held between the Governor of Virginia and the chiefs of the tribes, it was discovered that Logan, chief of the Mingoes, and the real cause of the war, was not present. Of course, it was necessary that he should be there, and a white man was sent to bring him. He found Logan in a thicket seated on a log. The tears rolled down his cheeks and he wept like a child. His thoughts went back to the time when he was the "white man's friend," to the 'murder of his relatives, and in his broken English burst out in one of the most beautiful speeches ever uttered"

"I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate of peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed at me as they passed and said, "Logan is the friend of white men." I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man, who the last spring in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relatives of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it, I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one."

The remainder of the life of Logan was a melancholy one. His friends were all dead. His tribe was broken up. His hunting ground had gone to make corn fields for the white man. He wandered about from tribe to tribe, dejected and broken-hearted, a solitary and lonely man. He took to drink and partially lost his mind. He said he had two souls, the one good and the other bad. When the good soul was uppermost, he was kind and gentle, but when the bad soul controlled him, he was savage and wanted to murder.

In the dusk of the evening he sat before his camp fire, at the foot of a tree, with a blanket over his head, his elbows resting on his knees, and his head resting on his hands, thinking, no doubt, of his checkered life. An Indian who had been offended at something Logan had said at a council stole up behind him and sank a tomahawk into his brain.

Such was the fate of Logan, the Friend of the White Man.

Sources on Chief Logan