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Updated: 03.18.21

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    John Roberts : Chief James Logan :: Kingsport

    John Roberts : Chief James Logan :: Kingsport

    The Story of Chief James Logan and the John Roberts Family Massacre on Reedy Creek North Fork

    On a quiet morning of September 24, 1774, there was a sudden retribution made in the southern most boundary of Native American territory as War Chief James Logan and his companions massacred the John Roberts family, except one son, at the north fork of Reedy Creek. The note that was left tacked to the cabin triggered the infamous Dunmore War.. which has been called the "beginning of the American Revolution".

    "“To Captain Cresap: What did you kill my people on
    Yellow Creek for? The White People killed my kin at
    Conestoga a great while ago and I thought nothing
    of that; but you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek
    and took my cousin prisoner. Then I thought I must
    kill too; and I have been three times to war since;
    but the Indians are not angry, only myself.
    July 21, 1774 – Captain John Logan”

    Chief Logan
    This note was posted just outside east Kingsport in the Reedy Creek Settlement area
    The Yellow Creek Massacre happened just west of East Liverpool Ohio near Wellsville Ohio on the west side of the Ohio River at Yellow Creek. Logan had traveled south over 400 miles.

    Read about Chief Logan

    John Robert Family Massacre

    "On 8 September Logan and his Mingos attacked the settlements on the Main Fork of the Holston, who then evacuated to Royal Oak at Marion. On 13 September Logan’s Mingos attacked the militia near Maiden Spring Fort in Tazewell County. On 23 September Logan’s band of warriors attacked Fort Blackmore in Scott County. The 24th found them at King’s Mill (Kingsport) where they killed the John Roberts family and left the “Cresap letter.”

    Chief Logan from Ohio to Tennessee

    On 29 September they went to Moore’s Fort in Castlewood where Daniel Boone was in command. It was there John Duncan was killed. On 9 October they simultaneously attacked Fort Blackmore and the Fort at Sapling Grove (Bristol, Tennessee). At that same time Logan was eluding pursuit by a party of militiamen led by a man named McClure. Logan took thirty scalps during the war, a number he estimated as equal to the toll taken on his family and the Mingo Indians in the Grave Creek, Kanhaway, Pipe Creek, Fort Pitt, and Yellow Creek massacres.
    Lord Dunmore's War & Logan
    On 10 October 1774, Colonel Andrew Lewis’s thousand militia men met Chief Cornstalk’s thousand braves at Point Pleasant, where the Great Kanawha River meets the Ohio. A terrible day long pitched battle occurred, devolving at times into hand-to-hand combat. It ended in a draw with losses to the Virginia militia of 215 casualties, while the Indians lost 40 killed. (Accounts and numbers vary) At the conclusion of the battle the Indians withdrew. (Doddridge, 1824; Payton, 1867; Thwaites, 1905; Lewis, 1909; Caruso, 2002)
    Logan continued on the warpath until he heard of the battle, and then “sat still,” refusing to fight any longer. Logan also refused to participate in the peace talks, and the Indians who did characterized him as “being like a mad dog, with his bristles up.”

    Logan’s Lament
    "Gibson, who was Lord Dunmore’s aide/interpreter, Ann “Kooney” Gibson’s husband, Chief John Logan’s brother-in-law, was tapped on the shoulder by Logan at the peace conference and beckoned out into the woods. Tah-Gah-Jute, to use his Indian name, there sat on a log, under an Elm tree, located six miles south of present day Circleville, Ohio; such a tree is sometimes called a witness tree, and this particular one stood for nearly two more centuries until 1964. It was there Logan poured out his broken heart.
    “Remembering” is a painting by Andrew Knez, Jr., which depicts Chief John Logan looking at the last vestige of work made by the loving hands of his family, now gone forever at the hateful hands of white men. His prior faith in peace gone in a flash; vengeance now complete, he is alone and empty. It was in these sad circumstances that he dictated to Captain John Gibson the now famous words of “Logan’s Lament.”

    “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 for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed as they passed and said, ‘Logan is the friend of the white men.’ I had even thought to have lived with you but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations 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.” (Jefferson, 1787, pp 68-69)

    This little piece of pros went viral, first in the American colonial press, and then on into Europe. It not only grew legs, it grew whiskers. Logan’s Lament was included in the McGuffey Reader, and became an oft memorized piece of prose in primary schools across America in the early Nineteenth Century. (Logan, 1788; McGuffey, 1857, pp 324-325) It was more memorized, and more recited in America following the American Revolution, than was even the Gettysburg Address following the American Civil War.

    This story of the Yellow Creek Massacre and Logan’s Lament is told in nearly a hundred books, including an historic novel or two. I will not attempt to list them all, but suffice it to say that President Thomas Jefferson was writing about it in the late 1700's and President Theodore Roosevelt was still writing about it in the late 1800's."

    This marked the Treaty of Camp Charlotte recognizing the Ohio River as the boundary between the Native Americans and whites. The Shawnees agreed to stop attacking travelers on the river. The treaty secured a temporary peace for Western Virginia settlers, which lasted through the early part of the American Revolution.

    "The battle of Point Pleasant has been called the most extensive and the most bitterly contested Indian battle in American history, and with the most potent results. At the time it occurred it aroused world-wide interest; English, French and German newspapers published extensive articles descriptive of the battle."

    "Hinderacker and Mancall summarize the significance of Dunmore's War to the continental concerns of the period as follows:
    If Dunmore's War serves as the epilogue to one story, it is the prologue to another: the story of American independence. The events of the preceding decade amounted to nothing short of a revolution in backcountry affairs, and the military campaign led by Lord Dunmore against the Ohio Indians constituted the opening chapter of a new epoch in American affairs. From the perspective of the backcountry, the shots fired on the Ohio late in 1774, not those at Concord six months later, constituted the beginning of the American Revolution. Though the Ohio campaign was led by a royal governor, its muscle was provided by two thousand men who had waited a decade in mounting frustration and anger while the king neglected their needs. This was their declaration of independence.[15]" wiki Hinderacker and Mancall (2003), Op. cit., pg 160.

    [On March 24, 1775, a band of Shawnee who apparently did not recognize the Ohio river boundary attacked Daniel Boone in Kentucky along the Wilderness Road. And in May 1776, as the American Revolution got underway, the Shawnee joined renegade Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe in again declaring war on the Virginia colonists. These were the Cherokee–American wars of 1776-1794.]
    ['War'Chief Logan is called both 'John' and 'James'..]
    [Read more on Chief Logan]
    [Lord Dunmores War]
    [Treaty Camp Charlotte]

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