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Chief Logan was a well-known orator. His father was Chief Shikellamy, an Iroquois diplomat who long worked with James Logan of Pennsylvania for diplomacy between the settlers and his tribe. Shikellamy eventually renamed his son Logan in admiration of his friend and fellow diplomat.
Logan grew up in Pennsylvania and later moved to Ohio. Though he considered many whites his friends, his attitude changed on May 3, 1774. A group of settlers murdered a dozen Native Americans in what became known as the Yellow Creek Massacre. Logan's brother, mother and sister were among the dead. In revenge, Logan killed thirteen settlers. An all-out conflict, Dunmore's War, ensued, ending quickly when the army forced Logan into a peace treaty.
According to tradition, Logan would not attend negotiations and gave an impassioned speech instead. Logan's Lament, as it came to be known, focused on relations between American Indians and early Ohio settlers. Thought to have been given under a massive elm, the tree was thereafter referred to as Logan's Elm. It stood 65 feet tall, had a trunk circumference of 24 feet and branches that spread over 180 feet at the top.
A state memorial now sits where Chief Logan is said to have delivered Logan's Lament. Though the original tree died in 1964, a plaque marks its former location. A new elm honoring arguably the most important speech ever given by a Native American was planted here in 2012.
Cover photo credit: Kevin Myers via Wikipedia.