When he was in his teens, he moved to the Kishacoquillas area, married a Shawnee girl, built a cabin, and put down roots. Some of the details from this time are sketchy at best, but somewhere along the way he joined the Mingo tribe. In time, he proved himself as a capable leader and became the tribe’s chief. He was well known and loved for his compassion and good humor within his tribe as well as with the white settlers. He was also known for his hunting abilities both with a gun and a bow.
The story is told of a white hunter by the name of William Brown who once propped up his gun and stooped to get a drink from a spring while trailing a bear. He sprang into action when he saw the reflection of a large armed Native American in the water. In fear he jumped to his feet, grabbed his gun, and aimed it at him. The Native American then offered him a warm smile, knocked the priming from his own gun to signify he meant no harm, and extended his hand in friendship. Brown (the namesake for Brown Township by the way) later built a cabin near Chief Logan’s home and when his daughter Mary was learning to walk Chief Logan took her to his cabin and made her a pair of moccasins.
He must have been quite the site to behold as he was described as tall and angular. One man even described him as, “the best specimen of humanity I have ever met.” Not only was he impressive on the outside, but he was also described as a great orator and trustworthy, wise, and persuasive on the inside, a true 18th century protagonist!
Logan eventually moved into the Ohio territory, and his sphere of influence and wisdom followed him. He was loved and respected by both Indians and settlers alike. His cabin door was always open to any weary traveler. This once peaceful area soon began to simmer with unrest as more and more settlers crossed into Ohio. Chief Logan voiced his concern for this influx but did so peacefully. Little did he know that all of that was about to change.
The fighting between the Native Americans and the settlers continued to escalate and on April 30, 1774, Logan’s remaining family members had set up a temporary camp along Yellow Creek with a group from their tribe. They were busy preparing food and doing other various chores when a group of men led by Jacob Greathouse viciously attacked. This unprovoked massacre took Logan’s entire family, annihilating any hope for descendants. This was historically referred to as the Yellow Creek Massacre.
This senseless attack would forever change Logan. Upon finding them, he compassionately cared for their bodies and brokenheartedly mourned their deaths all while questioning how his white brothers could have done such a horrible thing. His sorrow soon turned to bitterness as he vowed that his tomahawk would never rest until each of his loved ones was avenged.
With the unrest growing, Chief Logan was invited by English commander, Lord Dunmore, to join in peace talks, which he refused to attend. Instead, he gave a speech entitled Logan’s Lament that became quite famous. Here is an excerpt, “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 gutted 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!” It was reported that while making this speech, Logan was overcome with grief and wept. His words spread quickly and were quoted by many with President Thomas Jefferson including his speech in one of his books.
Logan never recovered from his intense grief and turned to alcohol for solace. It is believed that one day, while drunk, he imagined that he had killed his Shawnee wife and was about to be arrested. He began to fight and was shot dead by his own nephew, tragically ending his story.
Now it is time for us to decide, is Chief Logan worthy of our remembrance and loyalty? I believe yes. For me Chief Logan’s story is like so many of ours. Perhaps ours are not so tragic or far reaching, but his life is the perfect example of the potential for good and evil that exists within us all. It reminds us how dangerous it is to define a person by just one chapter of their life’s book instead of seeing it in its entirety.
There is a historic marker in Chief Logan’s honor located between Reedsville and the Church Hill Cemetery along old Route 322.
Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director
Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce