George Croghan and the Westward Movement 1741-1782

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George Croghan and the Westward Movement 1741-1782

20.00

Students of 18th century Indian history are certainly familiar with Braddock, Pontiac, Weiser, and Sir William Johnson, but in George Croghan, we have perhaps the most fascinating and influential of the great American frontiersmen on the early westward movement across the Alleghenies into the Ohio country. Coming to Pennsylvania in 1741 during the Irish potato famine, Croghan entered the Indian trade and soon became the colony’s most prominent trader. No man led a more adventurous life in colonial America. His name soon became legendary on the western frontier and to advance his Indian business, Croghan promoted an Indian uprising against the French. But at the same time he became a superlative peacemaker, and in the period of the French and Indian War, Croghan’s ability to understand and influence the Indians was unsurpassed. 
Failing in Indian trade, Croghan acted as George Washington’s Indian agent on his Fort Necessity campaign of 1754 and later served with and survived Braddock’s fateful battle in 1755 . 1756 saw Croghan organize the defenses of Pennsylvania’s western border, but left the colony’s service to become deputy under Sir William Johnson, superintendent of the Six nations. He witnessed the desperate charge of the Black Watch at Ticonderoga and marched with Forbes to capture Fort duQuesne. He soothed the French leaning Indians at Detroit so Roger’s Rangers could take over the fort and negotiated treaties with Teedyuscung and hundreds of Indian chiefs and pacified Chief Pontiac. Yet this tobacco chewing, heavy drinking, unschooled, high living trader at times was much despised. But all it took was the sound of his heavy Irish brogue and hardy laugh that could put even the most suspicious at ease and along with his charm, wit and humor help make him an idol on the frontier. 
But Croghan’s mind was constantly stirred by visions of westward colonization and he disastrously promoted this idea of western land speculation to prominent men of the day. Unfortunately, the men who trusted Croghan generally lost money and most came to distrust him. During the American Revolution both America and the British treated him as a traitor and in 1782 he died in Philadelphia a tired and penniless man. 
This book, however, does not try to dwell on Croghan’s private life but rather concentrates on giving the reader a better understanding of the power and influence he had on the events of the mid 18th century’s early westward movement. Not since Charles Hanna’s The Wilderness Trail are we treated to such an outstanding peak into the world of the early Pennsylvania trader’s westward movement. Anyone interested in this time will surely enjoy accompanying him on the many roads he traveled. .

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