George Tahkarihoken Croghan

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George Tahkarihoken Croghan

Also Known As: "Anagurunda", "King of the traders", "The Buck"
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Death: Died in Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Immediate Family:

Husband of ?? Tekarihuga and Catherine Croghan
Father of Susannah Croghan; Catharine Adonwentishon Brant; John Croghan; Henry Tekarihoken Croghan and William Croghan, Maj.

Managed by: Aaron Michael Haslam
Last Updated:

About George Tahkarihoken Croghan

George Croghan (c. 1718 – August 31, 1782) was an Irish-born fur trader in the Ohio Country who late 19th-century historian William M. Darlington first recognized as the region's key figure. Ohio's recorded history begins with Croghan's actions in the mid-1740s as fur trader, Iroquois sachem, and go-between for Pennsylvania, according to Alfred A. Cave, who concludes that the treason charge that ended Croghan's career was trumped up by his enemies.[9] Western Pennsylvania became the focal point of events in August, 1749 when Croghan purchased 200,000 acres from the Iroquois, exclusive of two square miles at the Forks of the Ohio for a British fort (a map accompanying the text for the first Croghan historical marker may be found on the Critical Comments page of the website).[10] Croghan soon learned that his three deeds would be invalidated if they fell into Pennsylvania, sabotaged that colony's effort to erect the fort, and led the Ohio Confederation to permit Virginia's Ohio Company to build it and settle the region,[11] thus setting the stage for the entrance into Ohio Country of the young man who would eventually supplant him there, George Washington.

The Seven Years' War (1756-1763) in North America, or French and Indian War, unofficially began in 1754 with the Jumonville Glen engagement and effectively ended in 1760 with the capture of Montreal. Its cause, French forces occupying the Ohio Country and expelling or arresting British fur traders, has obvious connections to Croghan, including the 1752 destruction of Pickawillany, Old Briton, and the British alliance with his Miami. Soon after Washington returned from delivering Virginia Governor Dinwiddie's summons to the French, Croghan was in Ohio Country gathering intelligence, helping to build the Ohio Company stockade commanded by William Trent, and supplying the Indians with food, rum, and weapons. When the French reached the Forks of the Ohio early that spring, Croghan's half-brother Ensign Edward Ward was in charge and forced to surrender.

At the end of May when the Half King murdered Jumonville shortly after conferring with Croghan and Montour, they were in Winchester, Virginia where Governor Dinwiddie commissioned them as captains under Col. Washington. Croghan was to supply flour for the expedition and advise Washington on Indian affairs, but Washington alienated his Indian allies during a crucial conference at Gist's plantation and blamed Croghan for the subsequent defeat at Fort Necessity.[36] The Half King and Queen Aliquippa took their people to Croghan's plantation on Aughwick Creek, where the Queen died and the Half-King grew fatally ill that winter.[37]

During the Braddock Expedition in 1755, Croghan, as always assisted by Montour, led eight Indian scouts, the same group with the Half King at Jumonville Glen a year earlier. Like Washington and at his urging, General Braddock alienated the other friendly Indians, yet Montour and the handful with Croghan attended the gravely wounded general. Teamsters Daniel Boone and Daniel Morgan fled on horseback as Croghan pressed Braddock to relinquish command[38] and, despite the general's refusal, apparently took charge. He got Braddock off the battlefield with the help of Braddock's aide, the 23-year-old Washington. Washington's account differs and his biographer James Flexner does not mention Croghan being present,[39] but captains Croghan and Montour were there, outranked the General's aide, and were ill-treatted as his subordinates in 1754, yet they all worked together to save Braddock, with Croghan the more likely leader in the emergency. It was a familiar role, one Croghan assumed on the Pennsylvania frontier a year earlier,[40] and during the almost continuous crises in Ohio Country before and after until 1777.

In 1755, friendly Indians again sought refuge at Aughwick. Croghan fortified it as Fort Shirley, one of four he built on the frontier. In 1756, he relocated to the New York frontier, beginning a 15-year career as Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs under Sir William Johnson.

With Montour at his side and in command of 100 Indians on an overlooking hilltop, Croghan witnessed in July, 1758 General James Abercrombie's calamitous frontal assault on Fort Ticonderoga. Afterwards Croghan wrote Johnson that he feared a similar "thrashing" for Gen. John Forbes advance forces nearing Fort Duquesne, unaware of Major James Grant's bloody defeat five days earlier.[41] Before joining Forbes on November 20 with fifteen Indian scouts, Croghan's management of the Indians at Easton, where he acknowledged being an Indian himself, produced a treaty that stripped the French of local allies and forced them to burn Fort Duquesne.[42]

Forbes assigned Croghan and Montour the dangerous task of bringing in recalcitrant regional Delawares, something Edward Shippen said not even Sir William Johnson could handle better.[43] Placed under Col. Henry Bouquet's command early in 1759, Croghan gathered intelligence about the French force at Venango, "700 troops and about 950 Indians." About to overwhelm Pittsburgh in July, they were instead ordered to relieve Fort Niagara, where they were ambushed and defeated by William Johnson.[44]

Preliminary treaties that Croghan negotiated with thirteen western tribes over the next two years were formalized in the September, 1761 conference at Detroit presided over by Johnson. Croghan's diplomacy countered Seneca efforts to enlist the western Indians in an anti-British alliance by organizing them, as he had in 1748, into a confederacy independent of the Six Nations.[45] Unfortunately, General Jeffrey Amherst considered the cost of maintaining peace with the Indians exorbitant, cutting Indian Department expenses to the bone (Croghan wrote that he served "the King for nothing").[46] More seriously, Amherst severely limited the gunpowder and lead the Indians needed to feed their families and acquire necessities through the fur trade. Amherst ignored Croghan's intelligence that an Indian war was imminent. The last straw for the Indians was news that the French had ceded all Indian territory to the British in the Treaty of Paris, prompting Pontiac's Rebellion and Croghan's journey to London seeking confirmation of his Indian deeds and reparations for trade losses.

Pontiac's Rebellion

When Indian attacks engulfed Ohio Country in 1763, Croghan was in Philadelphia advising Governor Hamilton on Indian affairs and selling real estate. He galloped to Lancaster where word reached him that his business partner Col. Clapham had been killed in the region's initial attack, their Sewickley Creek trading post burned along with Croghan Hall near Pittsburgh, and that Fort Pitt was under siege.

General Amherst in New York ordered Croghan to Fort Pitt to investigate the causes of the uprising and Col. Bouquet to relieve it with a few hundred men. Croghan provided Bouquet with the latest intelligence from Carlisle. At Shippensburg he helped calm fearful residents by recrutiting and arming 25 men to garrison abandoned Fort Lyttleton. He also hired locals to carry ammunition and supplies from Fort Loudon to Bedford. He reached Bedford on June 12 and, believing further travel west too dangerous, he fed starving families and bolstered the garrison of seven soldiers under Captain Lewis Ourry. A few weeks later Indians attacked fifteen men mowing Croghan's fields within a mile of the fort, scalping two. Croghan refused Bouquet's order to march with his column when it left Bedford on July 27. Instead on August 2 he set out for Philadelphia to pursue private interests.

Denied leave by General Amherst to travel to London, Croghan resigned as Deputy Indian agent, angering Amherst. The general sailed to London on his own business. Croghan, accompanied by two officers recently besieged in Ft. Detroit and recalled to testify about the Indian rebellion, set sail on the Britannia. The ship wrecked off the Normandy coast in January 1764. He survived and was taken to Le Havre.

from: Much more can be found in this Wikipedia article about Greorge Croghan and his place in American history.

There are at least 2 historical markers for George Croghan: one at Fort Shirley, PA, and another at Cooperstown, NY.

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George Tahkarihoken Croghan's Timeline

Dublin, Ireland
May 1750
Age 30
Pennsylvania, United States
Age 32
Age 39
August 31, 1782
Age 62
Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania