Chief Logan

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Chief Logan statue, Logan, West Virginia

Tachnedorus (c.17251780), usually known as Chief Logan or John Logan in historical records, was a Mingo Native American leader in the era before the American Revolutionary War, whose revenge for the brutal killing of his family members by white frontiersmen helped spark the conflict known as Dunmore's War. Also known as "The Great Mingo" and "Captain Johnny Logan," he has often been confused with his brother James Logan (Tah-gah-jute) in historical accounts.Template:Ref

Logan's father was Shikellamy, an important Cayuga diplomat for the Iroquois Confederacy, who worked to maintain the "Covenant Chain" relationship with the colony of Pennsylvania. Shikellamy worked closely with Pennsylvania official James Logan, and following a Native American practice, adopted the Logan family name for his children as a way of promoting good relations with his diplomatic counterpart.

John Logan (Tachnedorus) was a village leader, not a tribal chief, but his white contemporaries and subsequent historians generally called any influential American Indian "chief."Template:Ref Those Iroquois who had migrated to the Ohio Country were usually called "Mingoes." Like his father, Logan maintained friendly relationships with white settlers moving from eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia into the Ohio Country, the region which is now Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania.

That all changed with the Yellow Creek Massacre on 3 May 1774, in which a group of Virginia frontiersmen led by one Daniel Greathouse brutally murdered about a dozen Mingoes, among them Logan's mother, sister, and cousin, at the mouth of Yellow Creek near present-day Wellsville, Ohio along the Ohio River. The bodies of the murdered Indians had been scalped, which among Native Americans meant that war had been declared.

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, and he intended to do just that. The chiefs managed to have Logan agree to take out his vengeance only on Virginians, not Pennsylvanians.

Leading a war party of 13 Shawnees and Mingoes, Logan attacked settlements west of the Monongahela River. His reprisals were as brutal as the earlier murders, and he and his warriors killed numerous settlers, many of them women and children. White settlers fled in droves, and the royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, responded by going to war against the Mingoes and Shawnees, in the war that bears his name. Some of Dunmore's contemporaries, and some subsequent historians, have suspected that Dunmore had a hand in provoking the Yellow Creek Massacre with the intention of seizing the Ohio Country from the natives before the rival colony of Pennsylvania did so.

The war ended with the defeat of Cornstalk — who reluctantly led his eager young men in the war — at the Battle of Point Pleasant, and the Native American peoples of the region were forced to recognize the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, surrendering their hunting lands in Kentucky. (Logan was probably not at Point Pleasant.) While Cornstalk conducted the negotiations for the defeated Indians, Logan refused to attend. Instead he issued a speech that would become famous, known as "Logan's Lament." In the speech, Logan described how he had always befriended the white people and helped when they were in need, but rather than receiving any thanks, he had seen his entire family murdered. He ended: "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 famous Notes on the State of Virginia. The authenticity the text of the speech has sometimes been doubted.

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 possibly murdered in 1780, possibly by a nephew.


  1. Template:Note Wallace, p. 343. He writes: "Which of Shikellamy's sons was Logan the orator has been a matter of dispute."
  2. Template:Note White, p. 358, writes: "He was not a chief. Kayashuta and White Mingo were the Mingo chiefs. Logan was merely a war leader...."


  • Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Sugden, John. Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
  • 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.

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