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Logan statue, Logan, West Virginia

Logan the Orator (c. 1723?–1780) was a Native American orator and war leader born in the Iroquois Confederacy[specify] . Although he was of the Cayuga nation, after his 1760s move to the Ohio Country, he was sometimes referred to as a Mingo. His revenge for the killing of family members by Virginian Long knives helped spark the 1774 conflict known as Dunmore's War. Logan became famous for a speech, later known as Logan's Lament, which he reportedly delivered after the war. Scholars dispute important details about Logan, including his original name and whether the words of Logan's Lament were actually his.[citation needed]

Identity debate

Scholars agree that Logan Elrod was a son of Shikellamy, an important diplomat for the Iroquois Confederacy; however, as historian Anthony F. C. Wallace has written, "Which of Shikellamy's sons was Logan the orator has been a matter of dispute."[1] Logan the orator has been variously identified as Tah-gah-jute, Tachnechdorus (also spelled "Tachnedorus" and "Taghneghdoarus"), Soyechtowa, Tocanioadorogon, the "Great Mingo"[citation needed], James Logan, and John Logan. After Logan moved in the 1760s he was considered a Mingo.

Oneida Chieftain Shikellamy

The name "Tah-gah-jute" was popularized in an 1851 book by Brantz Mayer entitled Tah-gah-jute: or Logan and Cresap. However, historian Francis Jennings wrote that Mayer's book was "erroneous from the first word of the title" and instead identified Logan as James Logan, also known as Soyechtowa and Tocanioadorogon.[2] Historians who agree that Logan the orator was not named "Tah-gah-jute" sometimes identify him as Tachnechdorus, although Jennings identifies Tachnechdorus as Logan the orator's older brother.

Logan's father Shikellamy, who was of the Oneida nation, worked closely with Pennsylvania official James Logan to maintain the Covenant Chain relationship with the colony of Pennsylvania. Following a prevailing Native American practice, the man who would become Logan the Mingo took the name "James Logan" out of admiration for his father's friend.[2]

Iroquois who migrated to the Ohio Country were often called "Mingos." Logan the Mingo is usually identified as a Mingo "chief", but historian Richard White has written that "He was not a chief. Kayashuta and White Mingo were the Mingo chiefs. Logan was merely a war leader...."[3] Like his father, Logan maintained friendly relationships with white settlers moving from eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia into the Ohio Country—the region that is now Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania.


Early life and family

Yellow Creek Massacre

Logan’s friendly relations with white settlers changed with the Yellow Creek Massacre of April 30, 1774. A group of Virginia Long knives led by Daniel Greathouse murdered a number of Mingos, among them Logan’s brother (commonly known as John Petty) and at least two other close female relatives, one of them pregnant and caring for her infant daughter. Her children were fathered by John Gibson, a prominent trader in the region. These Mingos had been living near the mouth of Yellow Creek, and had been lured to the cabin of Joshua Baker, a settler and rum trader who lived across the Ohio River from their village. The Natives in Baker’s cabin were all murdered, except for the infant child, who was spared with the intention of giving her to her father. At least two canoes were dispatched from the Yellow Creek village, but they were repelled by Greathouse’s men concealed along the river. In all, approximately a dozen were murdered in the cabin and on the river. Logan was not present in the area when the massacre took place, and was summoned to return by runners.

Logan's revenge

Influential tribal chiefs in the region, such as Cornstalk (Shawnee), White Eyes (Lenape), and Guyasuta (Seneca/Mingo), attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution lest the incident develop into a larger war, but by Native American custom Logan had the right to retaliate for the murders. Several parties of mixed Mingo and Shawnee warriors soon struck the frontier, including one led by Logan. They attacked settlers in several frontier regions, both killing and taking captives. The Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, responded by launching an expedition against the Mingos and Shawnees, in the conflict known as Dunmore’s War.

Logan's Lament

Monument to Logan at the Logan Elm State Memorial in Pickaway County, Ohio. The text of "Logan's Lament" is inscribed on the other side of the monument.

Logan was not at the Battle of Point Pleasant (10 October 1774), the only major battle of Dunmore's War. Following the battle, Dunmore's army marched into the Ohio Country and compelled the Ohio Indians to agree to a peace treaty. According to tradition, Logan refused to attend the negotiations and instead issued a speech that would become famous:

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.

The speech was printed in colonial newspapers, and in 1782 Thomas Jefferson reprinted it in his book Notes on the State of Virginia. However, the authenticity of the speech is the subject of much controversy.[citation needed] The American elm tree in Pickaway County, Ohio under which he supposedly gave the speech became famous as the Logan Elm, and grew to great size before dying in 1964.[4]

Logan's Letter

"To Captain Cressap - What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for. The white People killed my kin at Coneestoga a great while ago, & 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 time[s to war since but] the Indians is not Angry only myself."
-- Captain Joh[n Logan][5][6][7]

Later life and death

The remainder of Logan's life is shrouded in obscurity. Along with many other Ohio natives, he participated in the American Revolutionary War against the Americans. He was murdered near Detroit in 1780 by a nephew.[citation needed]

Clipper ship Logan


Numerous places carry Logan's name, including:

  • Logansport, Indiana
  • Logan, Ohio
  • Logan County, West Virginia (None of the 9 other "Logan Counties" in the USA are named for the Mingo leader.)
    • Logan, West Virginia
    • Chief Logan State Park, West Virginia
  • Logan Elm State Memorial, Ohio
  • Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York, an area traditional to the Cayugas, has a large monument to him.
  • The relationship between Logan and Michael Cresap led to the latter naming his son after Logan after the two resolved their differences and Cresap proved his innocences.[citation needed] Since then three generations of Logans followed and still continue today.
  • Logan Honors Program at Fort Steuben Scout Reservation in Freeport, OH of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America.


  1. Wallace, Jefferson and the Indians, 343.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jennings, "James Logan".
  3. White, Middle Ground, 358.
  4. "The Logan Elm". Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  5. From Documentary History of Dunmore's War, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1905), pp. 246-47 (4/30/2009)
  6. State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Library; Lyman Copeland Draper; Mabel Clare Weaks (1915). The Preston and Virginia papers of the Draper collection of manuscripts. The Society. pp. 95–. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  7. Shawnee History First Nations Histories, Direct same to Lee Sultzman, as re-directed by West Virginia Archives and History,
    At present-day Hancock County, West Virginia, "On This Day in West Virginia History..., April 30, 1774: Massacre of Logan's family", West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Copyright 2009.
    "Logan, A Friend To The White Man", by James L. Hupp, December 15, 1965 (7/15/09)


  • Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Jennings, Francis. "James Logan". American National Biography. 13:836–37. Ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-19-512792-7.
  • Sugden, John. Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8032-4288-3.
  • Tanner, Helen Hornbeck. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. Norman, OK, 1987.
  • Wallace, Anthony F. C. Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans. Cambridge: Belknap, 1999.
  • White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. New York, 1991.
  • "John Logan". Appleton's cyclopædia of American biography. 4. 1887. pp. 4–5.  Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography


  • Logan — The Mingo Chief, 1710-1780, Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications: Volume 20 [1911], pp. 137–175.

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