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Greathouse Point > Greathouse County > VA > Augusta

Greathouse of Augusta County, VA

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1797, Apr 19 - Deposition: Benjamin Tomlinson on Yellow Creek Massacre. Logan and Treaty of Camp Charlotte, in court at Cumberland, MD

The first witness we introduce is Benjamin Tomlinson, Esq., who is still living—a man universally respected, and whose testimony no man dare to call in question. It is given by way of interrogatory.

Question 1st. What number of Indians were killed at Yellow Creek?

Answer. Logan's mother, younger brother, and sister, who was called Gibson's squaw; this woman had a child half white, which was not killed.

Ques. 2d. Do you recollect the time and circumstances of the affair at Yellow Creek ?

Ans. Yes; the time was the third or fourth day of May, 1774, and the circumstances were that two or three days before these Indians were killed at Yellow Creek [the reader has not forgotten that this is precisely what I say in my fourth chapter, and the more gratifying to me as I had not Mr. Tomlinson's certificate then before me,] by the whites, two men were killed and one wounded in a canoe belonging to a Mr. Butler, of Pittsburg, as they were descending the Ohio river near the mouth of Little Beaver, [Little Beaver and Yellow Creek are not far apart,] and this canoe was plundered of all the property; and moreover, about this time the Indians were threatening the inhabitants about the river Ohio, [this I state in my fourth chapter also, and confirm it by Connoly's letter or proclamation,] and I was also informed they had committed some depredations on the property of Michael Cresap. I assisted in the burial of the white men killed in Butler's canoe.

Ques. 3d. Who commanded the party that killed the Indians at Yellow Creek, and who killed those Indians ? Do you know?

Ans. The party had no commander. I believe Logan's brother was killed by a man named Sappington; who killed the others I do not know, although I was present. But this I well know—that neither Captain Michael Cresap nor any other person of that name was there, nor do I believe within many miles of the place.

Ques. 4th. Where was Logan's residence, and what was his character ?

Ans. I believe his residence was on Muskingum. His character was no ways particular; he was only a common man among the Indians—no chief, no captain.

Ques. 5th. Where and when did Logan die ?

Ans. To this question I answer, that I do not know when or where Logan died, [1] but was informed by Esquire Barkley, of Bedford, that he became very vile; that he killed his own wife, and was himself killed by her brother. I am, however, certain he did not die until after Dunmore's treaty on the Scioto.

Ques. 6th. Was Logan at the treaty held by Dunmore with the Indians at Camp Charlotte, on the Scioto? Did he make a speech ? And if not, who made a speech for him ?

Ans. To this question I answer: Logan was not at the treaty; perhaps Cornstalk, the chief of the Shawanee nation, mentioned among other grievances the Indians killed on Yellow Creek; but I believe neither Cresap nor any other persons were named as the perpetrators. I perfectly recollect that I was that day officer of the guard, and stood near Dunmore's person, and consequently I saw and heard all that passed; that also two or three days before the treaty, when I was on the out-guard, Simon Girty, who was passing by, stopped with me and conversed; he said he was going after Logan, but he did not like his business, for he was a surly fellow; he, however, proceeded on, and I saw him return on the day of the treaty, and Logan was not with him. At this time a circle was formed and the treaty begun. I saw John Gibson, on Girty's arrival, get up and go out of the circle and talk with Girty; after which he (Gibson) went into a tent, and soon after returning into the circle, drew out of his pocket a piece of clean, new paper, on which was written, in his own hand-writing, a speech for and in the name of Logan. This I heard read three times—once by Gibson and twice by Dunmore —- the purport of which was, that he (Logan) was the white man's friend; that on a journey to Pittsburg to brighten this friendship, or on his return from thence, all his friends were killed at Yellow Creek; that now, when he died, who should bury him?—for the blood of Logan was running in no creature's veins ; but neither was the name of Cresap or the name of any other person mentioned in this speech. But I recollect having seen Dunmore put this speech among the other treaty papers.

Ques. 7th. If Logan was not at the treaty, and made no speech, pray from whence came and who was the author of that famous speech ?

Ans. In addition to what is stated above, I say there is no doubt in my mind that it originated altogether with and was framed and produced by Colonel John Gibson.

Ques. 8th. Do you recollect the names of any gentlemen who were present at the treaty ?

Ans. Yes; I recollect the following persons, and believe they are still alive [2] and live at the following places, to-wit: General Daniel Morgan, Berkley county, Virginia; Colonel James Wood, now Governor of Virginia; Captain David Scott, Monongahela; Captain John Wilson, Kentucky ; Lieutenant Gabriel Cox, Kentucky; Captain Johnson, Youghiogheny; Captain James Parsons, Moorfield; General George R. Clark, Captain William Harrod, Colonel L. Barret, Lieutenant Joseph Cresap and Captain Wm. Henshaw, Berkley.

Ques. 9th. Was the question as to the origin of the war discussed at the treaty ?

Ans. Yes; the Indians gave as a reason, the Indians killed at Yellow Creek, Whetstone Creek, Beech Bottom and else

where. But the Indians were in fact the first aggressors, and committed the first hostilities.

Ques. lOth. Were not some white men killed by the Indians in the year 1773?

Ans. Yes; John Martin and two of his men were killed on Hockhocking, about one year before Dunmore's army went out, and his canoe was plundered of above £200 worth of goods.

I lived on the river Ohio, and near the mouth of Yellow Creek, from the year 1770 until the Indians were killed at Yellow Creek, and several years after; I was present when the Indians were killed, and also present at the treaty in September or October, 1774, near Chillicothe, on the Scioto; and certify that the foregoing statements of facts are true, to the best of my recollection.


Cumberland, April 17, 1797.


[1] Logan, at an Indian Council held at Detroit, became wildly drunk, and, in the midst of delirious passion, prostrated his wife by a sudden blow. She fell before him apparently dead. In a moment, the horrid deed partly sobered the savage, who, thinking he had killed her, fled precipitately lest the stern Indian penalty of blood for blood might befall him at the band of some relative of the murdered woman. While traveling alone, and still confused by liquor and the fear of vengeance, he was suddenly overtaken in the wilderness between Detroit and Sandusky, by a troop of Indians with their squaws and children, in the midst of whom he recognized his nephew or cousin Tod-kah-dohs. Bewildered as he was, he imagined that the lawful avenger pursued him in the form of his relative,—for the Indian rule permits a relation to perform the retributive act of revenge for murder,—and rashly bursting forth in frantic passion, he exclaimed that the whole party shonld fall beneath his weapons. Tod-kah-dohs, seeing their danger, and observing that Logan was well armed, told his companions that their only safety was in getting the advantage of the desperate man by prompt action. But Logan was quite as alert as his adversary; yet while leaping from his horse to execute his dreadful threat, Tod-kah.dohs leveled a shot-gun within a few feet of the savage and killed him on the spot!

Tod-kah.dohs, or The Searcher, originally from Conestoga, and probably a son of Logan's sister residing there, died, about 1844, at the cold spring on the Allegheny Seneca Reservation, nearly 100 years old. He was better known as Captain Logan, and was either a nephew or cousin of the celebrated Indian. He left children, two of whom have been seen by Mr. Draper; so that, in spite of Logan's speech, tome of his "blood" Ml "runt" in human veins, 77 years after the Yellow Creek tragedy. The substance of this narrative was given me in MS. by Mr. Lyman C. Draper, who received it from, or Captain Decker, as it was related to him by Tod-kah-dohs, who killed Logan. " Decker, " says Mr. Draper, " was a venerable Seneca Indian, and the best Indian chronicler I have met with. His narratives are generally sustained by other evidence, and never seem confused or improbable." Logan's wife, who was a Shawanese, and had no children by him, did not die in consequence of her husband's blow, but recovered and returned to her people.—Branlz Mayert Addrttt, p. 67.

[2] This was on the 17th of April, 1797. [I believe most of these gentlemen are now (1826) dead.]


John Jeremiah Jacob, George Rogers Clark, A biographical sketch of the life of the late Captain Michael Cresap ... First American frontier. Re-printed from the Cumberland ed. of 1826, with notes and appendix for W. Dodge, by J. F. Uhlhorn, steam job printer, 1866. Page 133 - 137, Deposition: Benjamin Tomlinson on Yellow Creek Massacre. Logan and Treaty of Camp Charlotte, in court at Cumberland, MD. View @ Google Books


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