Colonel William Crawford

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Colonel William Crawford, IV

Birthplace: Westmoreland, Orange County, Virginia
Death: Died in Tymochtee Creek, Wyandotte, Ohio.
Cause of death: Tortured for at least two hours before he was burned at the stake by Indians
Place of Burial: Ritchy-Crawford Cemetery, Crawford, Wyandot County, Ohio
Immediate Family:

Son of Valentine Crawford, Sr. and Honora Stephenson
Husband of Anne Connell; Ann Crawford and Hannah Crawford
Father of Nancy Crawford; Anne Connell; Sarah "Sally" Harrison; John Vance Crawford; Ophelia Ephelia (Effie) McCormick and 3 others
Brother of Elizabeth Ross; Martha Crawford; Mary Margaret Munn; Col. Valentine Crawford; John Crawford and 2 others
Half brother of John Stephenson; James Stephenson; Richard Stephenson and Marcus Stephenson

Occupation: colonel/soldier, surveyor, farmer, land agent for George Washington
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Colonel William Crawford

William Crawford (1732 – 11 June 1782) was an American soldier and surveyor who worked as a western land agent for George Washington. Crawford fought in the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War. He was tortured and burned at the stake by American Indians in retaliation for the Gnadenhutten massacre, a notorious incident near the end of the American Revolution.

Early career

In 1732, Crawford was born in Orange County, Virginia, at a location which is now in Berkeley County, West Virginia. He was a son of William Crawford and his wife Honora Grimes, who were Scots-Irish farmers. After his father's death in 1736, his mother married Richard Stephenson. Crawford had a younger brother, Valentine Crawford, plus five half-brothers and one half-sister from his mother's second marriage.

In 1749, Col. William Crawford became acquainted with George Washington, then a young surveyor the same age as Crawford. He accompanied Washington on surveying trips and learned the trade. In 1755, Crawford served in the Braddock expedition with the rank of ensign. Like Washington, he survived the disastrous Battle of the Monongahela. During the French and Indian War, he served in Washington's Virginia Regiment, guarding the Virginia frontier against Native American raiding parties. In 1758, Crawford was a member of General John Forbes's army which captured Fort Duquesne, where Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now stands. He continued to serve in the military, taking part in Pontiac's War in 1763.

In 1765 Crawford built a cabin on the Braddock Road along the Youghiogheny River in what is now Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His wife and three children joined him there the following year. Crawford supported himself as a farmer and fur trader. When the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix with the Iroquois opened up additional land for settlement, Crawford worked again as a surveyor, locating lands for settlers and speculators. Governor Robert Dinwiddie had promised bounty land to the men of the Washington's Virginia Regiment for their service in the French and Indian War. In 1770 Crawford and Washington travelled down the Ohio River to choose the land to be given to the regiment's veterans. The area selected was near what is now Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Crawford also made a western scouting trip in 1773 with Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia. Washington could not accompany them because of the sudden death of his stepdaughter.

At the outbreak of Dunmore's War in 1774, Crawford received a major's commission from Lord Dunmore. He built Fort Fincastle at present Wheeling, West Virginia. He also led an expedition which destroyed two Mingo villages (near present Steubenville, Ohio) in retaliation for Chief Logan's raids into Virginia. During the expedition, Crawford's men rescued two captives held by American Indians, killing six and capturing 14 Indians.

Crawford's service to Virginia in Dumore's War was controversial in Pennsylvania, since the colonies were engaged in a bitter dispute over their borders near Fort Pitt. Crawford had been a justice of the peace in Pennsylvania since 1771, first for Bedford County, then for Westmoreland County when it was established in 1773. Arthur St. Clair, another Pennsylvania official, called for Crawford to be removed from his office, which was done in January 1775. Beginning in 1776, Crawford served as a surveyor and justice for Virginia's short-lived Yohogania County.

American Revolution

When the American Revolutionary War began, Crawford recruited a regiment for the Virginia Line of the Continental Army. On 11 October 1776, the Continental Congress appointed him colonel of the 7th Virginia Regiment. Crawford led his regiment in the Battle of Long Island and the retreat across New Jersey. He crossed the Delaware with Washington and fought at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. During the Philadelphia campaign, he commanded a scouting detachment for Washington's army.

After the war on the western frontier intensified in 1777, Crawford was transferred to the Western Department of the Continental Army. He served at Fort Pitt under Generals Edward Hand and Lachlan McIntosh. Crawford was present at the Treaty of Fort Pitt in 1778, and helped to build Fort Laurens and Fort McIntosh that year. Resources were scarce on the frontier, however, and Fort Laurens was abandoned in 1779. In 1780, Crawford visited Congress to appeal for more funds for the western frontier. In 1781, he retired from military service.

Crawford expedition

Main article: Crawford expedition

In 1782, General William Irvine persuaded Crawford to come out of retirement and lead an expedition against enemy Indian villages along the Sandusky River. Before leaving, on 16 May he made out his will and testament.[9] His son John Crawford, his son-in-law William Harrison, and his nephew and namesake William Crawford also joined the expedition.

After his election as commander of the expedition, Crawford led about 500 volunteers deep into American Indian territory with the hope of surprising them. However, the Indians and their British allies at Detroit had learned about the expedition in advance, and brought about 440 men to the Sandusky to oppose the Americans. After a day of indecisive fighting, the Americans found themselves surrounded. During a confused retreat, Crawford and dozens of his men were captured. The Indians executed many of them in retaliation for the Gnadenhütten massacre earlier in the year, in which about 100 peaceful Christian Indian men, women, and children had been murdered by Pennsylvania militiamen. (

Crawford's execution was brutal; he was tortured for at least two hours before he was burned at the stake. His nephew and son-in-law were also captured and executed. The war ended shortly thereafter, but Crawford's horrific execution was widely publicized in the United States, worsening the already strained relationship between Native Americans and European Americans.


In 1982, the site of Colonel Crawford's execution was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1994, the Wyandot County Patriotic Citizens erected an 8.5 ft (2.6 m) Berea sandstone monument at the site. The Ohio Historical Society also has an historical marker nearby.

Crawford County, Ohio, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and Crawford County, Indiana are named for William Crawford. So too is Colonel Crawford High School in North Robinson, Ohio.

There is a replica of Crawford's cabin in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Colonel William Crawford Col (b. 02 Sep 1722, d. 11 Jun 1782) William Crawford Col (son of William Valentine Crawford and Honora Grimes)172 was born 02 Sep 1722 in Westmoreland, Virginia, USA173, and died 11 Jun 1782 in TYMOCHTEE CR, WYANDOTTE, OHIO. He married (4) Ann Stewart on 1742 in VA, USA174. He married (5) Hannah Vance on 05 Jan 1741/42 in Berkley, Co, VA175, daughter of John Vance and Elizabeth Glass.

More About William Crawford Col: Date born 2: Orange, VA, USA.176, 176, 176 Date born 3: 1722, VA.177 Date born 4: 1722, VA.178 Date born 5: 02 Sep 1722179 Date born 6: 02 Sep 1722180 Date born 7: 02 Sep 1722, ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Date born 8: 02 Sep 1722, Orange, Co, VA.181 Burial: 1782, Sandusky, Ohio, USA. Died 2: 11 Jun 1782, Sandusky, OH, USA.182 Died 3: 11 Jun 1782, Sandusky, Ohio, USA.183 Died 4: 11 Jun 1782, Tymochtee Cr, Wyandotte, OH, USA.184 Died 5: 11 Jun 1782, Tymochtee Cr, Wyandotte, OH, USA.184 Died 6: 11 Jun 1782, Tymochtee Cr, Wyandotte, OH, USA.184 Died 7: 11 Jun 1782, Tymochtee Cr, Wyandotte, Ohio, USA.185 Died 8: 11 Jun 1782, Tymochtee Creek.186 Residence: VA, United States.187

More About William Crawford Col and <Unnamed>: Marriage: NO.188

More About William Crawford Col and Ann Stewart: Marriage: 1742, VA, USA.188

More About William Crawford Col and Hannah Vance: Marriage 1: 05 Jan 1741/42, Berkley, Co, VA.189 Marriage 2: 1744, VA.190 Marriage 3: 05 Jan 1743/44, SHENANDOAH VALLEY, FREDERIC, VIRGINIA. Marriage 4: 05 Jan 1743/44, Shenandoah Valley, Frederick, VA, USA.191

Children of William Crawford Col are:

   James Connell, b. 1765, Frederick, VA, USA191, d. 1830, Shepheardstown, VA, USA191.
   William Connell, b. 02 Feb 1764, Ripley, IN, USA191, d. 08 Aug 1825, Friendship, Ripley, IN, USA191.
   Mary Polly Connell, b. 1771191, d. date unknown.

Children of William Crawford Col are:

   William Crawford, b. 21 Feb 1762, Middle River, Augusta, VA, USA191, d. 09 Jan 1839, Shelby, KY, USA191.
   Polly Crawford, d. date unknown.
   James Crawford, d. date unknown.
   Delilia Crawford, d. 1862, Wise, TX, USA191.

Children of William Crawford Col are:

   +Ophelia Crawford, b. 02 Sep 1747, SHENANDOAH VALLEY,FREDERIC, VIRGINIA, d. 1825, Fayette, PA, USA191.
   Sarah Crawford, b. 1749, WINCHESTER, FREDERIC, VIRGINIA, d. 10 Nov 1838, Fayette, Pennsylvania, USA192.

Children of William Crawford Col and Hannah Vance are:

   +Ophelia Crawford, b. 02 Sep 1747, SHENANDOAH VALLEY,FREDERIC, VIRGINIA, d. 1825, Fayette, PA, USA193.
   Sarah Crawford, b. 1749, WINCHESTER, FREDERIC, VIRGINIA, d. 10 Nov 1838, Fayette, Pennsylvania, USA194.
   Nancy Crawford, b. 1767, BERKLEY, VIRGINIA, d. date unknown.
   +John Vance Crawford, b. 27 Dec 1744, Frederick, Virginia, d. 22 Sep 1816, Iron Ridge, Ohio.
   Ann Crawford, b. 1760, BERKLEY, Virginia, d. date unknown. Birth: Sep. 2, 1722 Virginia, USA Death: Jun. 11, 1782 Crawford Wyandot County Ohio, USA

United States Army Officer. Born at what was then Orange County, Virginia, he became an early friend of George Washington. In military service he survived Braddock's Defeat during the French and Indian War, served in Dunmore's War, and was an American commander involved in numerous engagements during the Revolution. In May of 1782, he was appointed to lead an expedition against the Indians of the Sandusky Plains, an area which is now in Wyandot County, Ohio. The American forces were defeated at the Battle of Sandusky on June 4 and 5 by Indians and British rangers from Fort Detroit. Separated from his men and taken captive by the Indians, Crawford was tortured and burned. Counties in Pennsylvania and Ohio were later named for him. (bio by: Robert Malone)

Family links:

 William Valentine Crawford (1692 - 1736)
 Hannah Grimes Crawford Stephenson (____ - 1776)

 Hannah Vance Crawford (1724 - 1817)*

 Sarah Crawford Harrison Springer (1748 - 1838)*
 John Crawford (1750 - 1816)*
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Search Amazon for William Crawford Inscription: IN MEMORY OF COL. CRAWFORD WHO WAS BURNED BY THE INDIANS IN THIS VALLEY JUNE 11, 1782.


Note: This monument is a replica of one originally erected in 1877 on the traditional site of Crawford's death. That monument is no longer accessible to the public.

Burial: Ritchy-Crawford Cemetery * Crawford Wyandot County Ohio, USA Specifically: Body burned. Site of death is believed to have been along Tymochtee Creek near this cemetery.

William and his wife, Hannah, led the Sandusky Expedition and was burned at the stake by Indians. Several of his nephews and relatives went with him and perished in the expedition. Willaim fought in the French Indian War and the American Revolutionary War.

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Colonel William Crawford's Timeline

September 2, 1732
Westmoreland, Orange County, Virginia
Age 10
December 27, 1744
Age 12
Frederick County, Virginia, United States
Age 15
September 2, 1751
Age 19
Connellsville, Fayette Co., PA
Age 27
Age 34
Virginia, United States
June 11, 1782
Age 49
Tymochtee Creek, Wyandotte, Ohio.