Friday, March 28, 2003

Ohio Moments

Ex-soldier aided Indian cause against settlers

On March 28, 1778, Simon Girty, a former American soldier who had been acquitted of treason, fled Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania and offered to help the British during the American Revolution. Born in Pennsylvania in 1741, Girty was captured by Indians at 14. Adopted by the Seneca tribe in Ohio country, he learned its language and customs. He was released in 1764, but his sympathies were always with the Indians. A frontiersman and farmer, Girty was enlisted by the British to help negotiate treaties with Native Americans. When the Revolution broke out, he initially sided with the Americans. But after frequent clashes with the army, he was discharged in 1777.

The Americans acquitted him of treason for plotting to take over Fort Pitt, but he no longer desired to help them. In 1779, Girty led the Indians in a siege on Fort Laurens in eastern Ohio. After the war, Girty continued to aid the Indians in resisting American settlement in Ohio. They carried out a vicious attack on Fort Coleraine in Hamilton County in 1790. Girty also played an active role in the defeat of Arthur St. Clair in 1791 and participated in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Native Americans eventually gave up and began moving West. Girty moved to Canada, where he died in 1818.

Rebecca Goodman

Contact Rebecca Goodman at or (513) 768-8361.

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