On this date, in 1774, at a trading post in Baker’s Bottom, near Wheeling on the Ohio River, a peaceful band of Mingo Indians were set upon by rogue frontiersmen under Daniel Greathouse and brutally slaughtered. Among the dead were members of the family of Chief Logan, who had until this time always been a friend of the whites and an advocate for peace between his people and theirs. From this point onward, however, all was changed. Within weeks Logan was on the warpath with a select band of warriors. Up and down the Virginia and Pennsylvania frontier other bands of Mingo and Shawnee warriors were also on the warpath, wreaking revenge on the isolated white settlements. As a direct response to this threat Jacob Prickett and his family helped to form a civilian militia, made up of older boys and men from neighboring families, and together they began construction on Pricketts Fort, which they completed probably sometime in July.
At about this time (early July), three militiamen from Pricketts Fort, who had left to harvest a field of flax opposite Simpson’s Creek on the Monongahela, were set upon by Logan and his band. The youngest militiaman, Coleman Brown, was killed instantly and his scalp taken by Logan himself. The other two militiamen, William Robinson and William Hellen, were taken captive and led back across the Ohio and deep into Shawnee country. Here Hellen was forced to run the gauntlet, where he was beaten into unconsciousness, while Robinson was tied to the stake in preparation for torture and execution.
At this critical juncture Logan stepped in and spared the sergeant’s life by claiming the condemned militiaman as his adopted son. Strange as it may seem, a fast friendship had grown between the two men during their journey into Ohio, and Robinson remained, an accepted member of the Shawnee tribe, until chancing to escape some four months later.
Such attacks by Mingo and Shawnee bands up and down Pennsylvania and Virginia frontiers in the spring & summer of 1774, triggered a mass exodus of whites back across the mountains to the safety of civilization, and led directly to Lord Dunmore’s War and the Battle of Point Pleasant.
Painting “Logan’s Revenge” by Robert Griffing. Paramount Press, Inc.