By Beverley Bittner.
Michael Hare claimed to have witnessed the horrible death of famed frontier soldier Col. William Crawford.
The colonel was a personal friend of George Washington. From Fort Pitt, he led many raids against hostile Indians.
In 1782, the fifty-year-old colonel led a major expedition into Ohio to put down an Indian uprising. He first encountered a group of Moravian Christian Indians and massacred them all. Then he came across a band of warlike Delawares. At first the battle went Crawford’s way. The fighting was fierce, then more Indians arrived, and finally Butler’s Rangers, a mixture of Tories, Indians, and regular British troops.
Crawford ordered his defeated troops to retreat.
As he attempted to reach the Ohio River at night, he was captured by Delawares. They marched their prized captive to a campsite near Sandusky and tethered him to a pole by a long leash. Fires were lit around the pole and the colonel was forced to dance through them as he was chased by frenzied Indians who poked at him with firesticks or flintlock rifles.
He died at the stake June 11, 1782.
Although Col. Crawford never lived in the county, in 1800 he was honored for his service to the state, by having Crawford County named for him.
Beverley Bittner (1930–2006) was born in Dunkirk, NY, a daughter of Paul and Doris Blakeslee. She was raised and educated in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania where she graduated from Spartansburg High School in 1948. She moved to Corry, Pennsylvania in 1960, and resided there until 1979 when she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, for several years. She was the Associate Editor for the Union Gospel Press in Cleveland, and was a free-lance writer for various religious publications. She had a special interest in history, wrote about veterans of World War II, and wrote and published a series of five novels about the history of western Pennsylvania and the origins of the local oil industry. She founded the Writer’s Block in 1999 after moving back to Corry and served as a mentor to other writers until her death in 2006.