Simon Girty


Simon Girty
Simon Girty was born to a family of settlers in Pennsylvania, but at a young age, he and his brothers were taken prisoner and adopted by the Seneca Indians. Seven years later, Girty was returned to his family, but by that time he had come to prefer the Indian lifestyle to that of his own people. During the Revolutionary War, he sided with the colonists for only a short time before instead serving the British Loyalists, a traitorous move that turned the American frontiersmen against him.

Toward the end of the war, he furthered this opposition by helping an Indian force attack a troop of U.S. soldiers on their return from New Orleans. Girty was also present for the torture and execution of Colonel William Crawford, but different accounts offer two opposing positions on Simonís responseóone witness claimed that he enjoyed the colonelís suffering, while another insisted that he did all he could to prevent it, ceasing to resist the Native Americans only when his life was also threatened. The first account was used during and after Girtyís life to vilify him, but the latter might in fact be closer to the truth; Simon was said to have saved the lives of many American prisoners, often by putting himself in danger as well.

After the warís conclusion, Girty moved to Canada and settled in present-day Ontario. His son was killed during the War of 1812, but Girty himself did not become directly involved in the war. By this time completely blind, he passed away in 1818.

Key events during the life of Simon Girty:

Assisted a large group of Native Americans in attacking and killing a U.S. force.
Son served in the war of 1812

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Backwoodsmen of Kentucky  in  Indian History for Young Folks  by  Francis S. Drake
Gallant Defense  in  Historical Tales, Vol I: American  by  Charles Morris

Short Biography
Benjamin Franklin Statesman, publisher, inventor, and non-conformist. Founding father, and benefactor of Philadelphia.
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Benedict Arnold Hero of the Revolutionary War, but tragically turned traitor. He escaped to the British before discovery.