Confusingly well-known and yet obscure at the same
time, Logan was born around 1725, probably at Shamokin (now known as
Sunbury, in Pennsylvania). He died in 1780, near Lake Erie, and was
a prominent Indian leader whose initially excellent relations with
white settlers in Pennsylvania and the Ohio Territory deteriorated
into a vendetta after the slaughter of his family in 1774.
Logan's mother was a Cayuga Indian; his father was
Chief Shicellamy, who was purportedly a white Frenchman who had been
captured as a child and raised by the Oneida. Chief Shicellamy became
a friend of the secretary of the Pennsylvania colony, James Logan,
whose name the chief's second son assumed.
Logan moved to the Ohio River valley following the
French and Indian War (1754-1763). He was apparently never an official
chief but he did achieve renown amongst many Indian tribes, at first
because of his friendship with the white settlers.
However, Logan's initial friendship was converted
into an intense hatred of all white men in 1774, when his entire family
was treacherously slaughtered by a frontier trader named Daniel
Greathouse during the Yellow Creek Massacre.
In the ensuing conflict, which is known as Lord
Dunmore's War, Logan was a prominent leader of Indian raids on white
settlements, and he took the scalps of more than thirty white men.
But when the defeated Indians finally gathered at Chillicothe, Ohio,
to make peace after the Battle of Point Pleasant (which took place
on 10 October 1774), Logan sent a message containing his refusal to
participate in the negotiations.
His memorable statement of his grievances was widely
circulated through the colonies and was recorded for posterity by
Thomas Jefferson. The statement remains known as 'Logan's Lament'.
Logan continued his attacks on white settlers and associated himself
with the British Mohawk auxiliaries during the American Revolution.
By then he had become a violent alcoholic and he died
in an altercation.
The great identity debate
Scholars agree that Logan Elrod was a son of Shicellamy,
an important diplomat for the Iroquois league.
However, historian Anthony F C Wallace has written:
"[Precisely] which of Shikellamy's sons was
Logan the orator has been a matter of dispute. Logan the orator has been
variously identified as Tah-gah-jute, Tachnechdorus (also spelled
'Tachnedorus' and 'Taghneghdoarus'), Soyechtowa, Tocanioadorogon, the
'Great Mingo' James Logan, and also John Logan."
After Logan moved in the 1760s he was considered a
Mingo (seemingly a division of the Mohawk).
The name Tah-gah-jute was popularised 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.
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.
This commemorative signpost points the way to the home of Chief
Logan between 1766 and 1771, before he moved to Ohio's territory