From " A Man of Distinction Among Them, Alexander McKee and the Ohio Country Frontier" by Larry L. Nelson, pp. 78-81.
The violence unleashed by Creasap's men spread unabated across the region, culminating in an incident that, even by frontier standards, was distinguished by its cold-blooded brutality. in 1773, a Mingo headman named Johnny Logan and a small band of followers had established a village thirty miles north of Wheeling, near the mouth of Yellow Creek (close to present-day Wellsville, Ohio). Logan was the oldest son of Johnny Shikellamy, and both father and son were well known along the western border for their steadfast loyalty to the British. During the Seven Years War, Shikellamy and his family had sought refuge at Thomas McKee's trading post. There can be little doubt that Logan and Alexander McKee knew one another well, but the extent of their contact during the spring of 1774 is unknown.
Logan's home lay opposite the site of Joshua Baker's Virginia homestead and trading post. Baker and the Mingos had lived peacefully ever since Logan's arrival. But in early May, a group of Virginians, led by Daniel Greathouse, methodically lured ten members of the Mingo village to Baker's trading post where, over the course of the afternoon, they were murdered. Among the dead were several members of Logan's immediate family, including his mother and brother. Greathouse and his companions also killed Logan's sister as she carried her newborn infant on her back.
The incident began on May 1, when two men asked Capt. Michael Myers of Washington County, Pennsylvania, to guide them over to the west side of the Ohio River where they wished to travel up Yellow Creek and examine some land a few miles from the stream's confluence with the Ohio. Myers's party did not have permission to be in Indian territory and crossed the Ohio at dusk to avoid detection. Camping for the night a short distance from their destination, Myers and the two men were wakened later that evening by the loud rattling of a bell attached to one of their horses. Investigating, they discovered an Indian apparently in the act of stealing the animal. Myers shot and killed the Indian.
A short while later, a second Indian, drawn to the site by the report of Myers's rifle, also was executed. Frightened, Myers and his two companions fled back to Virginia and Baker's trading post. Worried that their actions would prompt a retaliatory raid from the Yellow Creek Indians, Myers sent word to Greathouse and other neighbors within the vicinity to assemble at Baker's and prepare an ambush. Although Baker was not present, by dawn, thirty-two men were lying in wait.
The following morning, unaware that the perpetrators of the previous evenings violence awaited them, eight members of Logan's band crossed the river to Baker's. Among the group were four men and three women, including Logan's brother, mother, and sister who carried her two-month-old infant on her back. Logan's band had frequently visited Baker's post and usually spent their time buying liquor, milk, and other small items. Today, Nathaniel Tomlinson, Baker's brother-in-law, was more generous than usual with his liquor and eventually invited the Indians to take part in a shooting match. As the contest began, one of the Indians, John Petty, who was somewhat intoxicated, wandered through the trading post. Coming upon Tomlinson's regimental coat and hat, he put them on and swaggered through the house claiming, "I am a White Man." The action insulted Tomlinson, and when the Indians discharged their weapons at a target, he grabbed his rifle and shot Petty as he stood in the doorway. The shot was a signal for Greathouse and the others to come out of hiding and attacked the remainder of the Mingos.
The attack was swift and brutal. John Sappington, one of the Virginians, shot and killed Logan's brother and then scalped him. For years after, Sappington took particular delight in boasting of the feat and de- scribed the trophy, which still was adorned with trade silver, as a "very fine one." Logan's sister was panic stricken; she ran across the courtyard in front of the trading post and stopped six feet in front of one of Greathouse's men. in the split second that their eyes met, he put a bullet into her forehead. Grabbing the infant from her cradleboard, he took hold of its ankles and was about to dash its brains out when one of his companions intervened to save the child's life. The remaining Indians also were shot or tomahawked. Within seconds, all the Mingos were dead. The savagery of the attack was astounding, and even James Chambers, a neighbor of Baker's who was not present, declared that the murderers "appeared to have lost, in a great degree, all sentiments of humanity as well as the effects of civilization."
Alarmed by the gunfire from across the river, seven other members of Logan's camp started across the Ohio in two canoes to investigate. Greathouse and his men spread out in the underbrush on the eastern shore and fired on the Mingos as they neared land, killing two and sending the others back in retreat. A second group of Mingos attempted another landing, but like the first, was turned away by Greathouse and his companions.
McKee learned of the Yellow Creek murders on May 3, and he immediately called Connolly, Kayashuta, a deputation from the Six Nations, and members of the local militia together for a meeting at Croghan's home, where he informed them of the Mingos' deaths. McKee assured his guests that the incident was the act of "a few rash and inconsiderate White People, and not by the intention or Knowledge of any of our Wise People"; he promised them that Dunmore, after he learned of the murders, would surely take every step to rectify the situation. In the meantime, McKee urged all parties to remain calm and to keep the peace. Two days later, on May 5, McKee met again with many of the same representatives. He performed the condolence ceremony, "covering the Bones of their deceas'd Friends with some Goods suitable to the Occasion and agreeable to their Custom," and he dispatched several messages to the western tribes "to convince those People to whom they were to be delivered, of our Sincerity, And That We did not countenance these Misdemeanors."
McKee had responded appropriately and energetically to the dangerous situation. But the viciousness of the murders that had precipitated the crisis, when combined with the long-standing grievances of the western tribes, meant that a peaceful resolution would be difficult to obtain. Word of the murders raced through the western border settlements and with it the fear of Indian retaliation. Many fled, abandon- ing their homes and their possessions. "The panic becoming universal, claimed Connolly, "nothing but confusion, Distress and Flight was conspicuous."
The frightened settlers were more than warranted in their apprehension. The Shawnees and Mingos had often disagreed over policy in the Ohio Country, yet Michael Creasap's adventuring and the Yellow Creek murders had been enough to bring the two tribes together for a council along the Scioto River. The two nations listened to the message sent from McKee on May 5. While dismissing McKee's words as lies, the Shawnees refused for the moment to go to war with the Virginians. But fifteen to twenty Mingos under Logan set off for the Ohio Valley to seek retribution for the loss of their family and friends."
By late May, only Logan's Mingos were at war. McKee, with Croghan's assistance, had fashioned a fragile peace that greatly restricted the scope of open warfare along the Ohio frontier. As the month drew to a close, Connolly, who had seemed to support McKee's efforts up to that time, began to take a much harder diplomatic stance, possibly at Dunmore's instruction. He called out the local militia, ordered needed repairs to Fort Dunmore, and sent a party of soldiers to patrol the Ohio River below Pittsburgh, hoping to engage and defeat one of the hostile bands that roamed the area. Clearly, Virginia sought to widen the conflict, hoping that a victory over the western tribes would legitimize Virginia's claims to the region.
On June 10, realizing that the local situation was well beyond his ability to influence, McKee wrote to Johnson and advised the superintendent that only the reimposition of imperial or Pennsylvanian control could halt the violence. It was impossible to predict, wrote McKee, whether the worsening situation around Pittsburgh would result in a general Indian war. But despite the violence perpetrated by natives and whites alike, there seemed to be a temporary lull in the hostilities. Now was the time that "some wise interposition of Government is truly necessary, and would undoubtedly restore peace," claimed the agent. "Without it it is impossible, and thousands of the inhabitants must be involved in misery and distress." Speaking of the Indians living in the Ohio Country, McKee wrote that "they have given great proofs of their pacific disposition, and have acted with more moderation than those who ought to have been more rational." A war to chastise them ,would be ineffective and would inevitably lead to the "destruction of this country."