Logan Elm State Memorial was established by the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society in 1912 to preserve the memory of Chief Logan and the site and tree where he delivered his speech. Since then, it has served as both a historic site to remember Chief Logan, other Native Americans, and early white settlers in the vicinity and a community park. Today, the Pickaway County Park District works with the Ohio Historical Society, successor to the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, to preserve and maintain the park on behalf of the citizens of Pickaway County and Ohio, and the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, the tribal descendants of Chief Logan, and other Native Americans.
About Chief Logan
Born around 1730 in the village of Shamokin, in modern day Pennsylvania, Chief Logan was the son of renowned Cayuga chief, Shikellimus. Chief Logan came of age during a time of intense conflict and devastation for Native American peoples. Ravaged by European diseases, forced from their land, and embroiled in constant struggles with the British and French, Native Americans fought for the survival of their people and culture.
During what came to be known as the French and Indian Wars, most Native Americans sided with the French. Chief Logan remained neutral, which caused him and a few others to be castigated by his tribe. In response, Chief Logan set up a separate community and named the group “Mingo,” meaning “chiefs, all and warriors, all.” In this new setting, Chief Logan became popular for his hospitality and generosity, much like his father. Forced to resettle numerous times in his life, by the 1770s, Chief Logan resided in the Ohio valley. At this time, relations between Native Americans and white settlers were particularly contentious. In 1774, Shawnee chief Pucksinwah, appealed to Chief Logan to help align the tribes against the English. Chief Logan refused and, instead, advocated peace and diplomacy as more practical solutions.
The spring of 1774 marked a time of complete devastation for Chief Logan. Twelve of Chief Logan's relatives including his brother, sister, and wife were murdered by a band of white men at Yellow Creek along the Ohio River. This deplorable and unprovoked attack provided the impetus for what would become his famous speech.
After losing his family and fellow tribe members, Chief Logan no longer advocated peace and diplomacy with the English. Instead, Chief Logan actively fought for the preservation of his people’s community and lands in Ohio. He led several attacks on frontier settlements, which prompted Lord Dunmore, Colonial Governor of Virginia, to send troops to fight the Native Americans. Called Lord Dunmore's War, the Native Americans fought valiantly, but were eventually defeated. When the two sides met near Chillicothe to determine peace terms, Chief Logan refused to attend. Instead, he sent a speech to Lord Dunmore, which came to be known as “Logan’s Lament.”
After Lord Dunmore’s War, much of Chief Logan’s life and activities remain a mystery and continue to be debated by scholars. It is thought that Chief Logan spent the remainder of his life trying to preserve his people’s place in the Ohio Country. On June 17, 1791, at the approximate age of fifty, Chief Logan was murdered near his home by an unknown assassin.
Chief Logan’s Speech
Chief Logan’s speech was very well known at the time as it was widely printed in colonial newspapers in 1775. President Thomas Jefferson assured the speech’s place in history when he included it in the manuscript of his book Notes on the State of Virginia, completed in 1781 and first published in English in 1787.
“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 have even thought to live with you but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This has 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 harbour 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.”
Sources and Further Reading
Eckert, A. W., (1995). That Dark and Bloody River: Chronicles of the Ohio River Valley. Bantam Books. New York.
Jefferson, Thomas. An Appendix to the Notes on Virginia Relative to the murder of Logan's Family. Philadelphia: Printed by Samuel H. Smith., 1800.
---. Notes on the State of Virginia. 1787. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1955.
“Logan.” Ohio History Central: An Online Encyclopedia of Ohio History. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=498
Toth, Barbara. “Talgayeeta: Pacifist to Warrior.” The Early American Review 9.3 (Summer/Fall 2010). http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/2010_summer_fall/talgayeeta.html