Famous Speeches Logan's Lament History

About the famous speech Logan's Lament, history and biography of the famous member of the Mingo tribe.


For many years, one branch remained on the centuries-old elm; but several summers ago, time took its toll--the Logan Elm in Circleville, O., one of the nation's most famous landmarks, finally died.

It was under this old elm tree that John Logan, a leader of the Mingo Tribe, made his eloquent plea for peace between his tribesmen and the settlers in 1774--Logan's Lament--a speech which for generations was memorized and recited in schoolrooms throughout the U.S.

Logan's real story is more tragic than either his lament or legend ever tells. One night in April, 1774, while he was away on a hunting trip, a band of men broke into his cabin, brutally massacring his family. The following morning, upon arriving home, Logan found the bodies of all the relatives he thought he had in the world. He swore to avenge them.

Three generations had been destroyed in as many minutes. Half-white himself, his father captured as a child and raised by the Cayugas, John Logan, or Tahgahjute, had been known as a friendly man much respected by the Shawnee tribe into which he had married, but now blind hate overcame him. Swearing revenge against the white man, Logan sent a declaration of hostilities to Virginia's Governor Dunmore--attributing the mass killing to a drunken band led by militia captain Michael Cresap--and when the Shawnee chief, Cornstalk, supported Logan's declaration in 1774, there resulted the bloody uprising known as Lord Dunmore's War. Tribes went on the warpath throughout the Ohio Valley, and before militiamen finally overpowered the Indians at Point Pleasant, hundreds of lives were lost on both sides. Both settlers and Indians had been brutally massacred.

Logan was through with war then, had had his revenge, yet so intense was his sorrow that he refused to meet with Governor Dunmore in a council of peace. Cornstalk, speaking for all the Shawnee, accepted Dunmore's proposal, but John Logan would not sit with his enemies. Instead, he wrote Dunmore a letter that would go down in history.

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