Simon Girty: The Outlaw

Girty.JPG
Girty.JPG

Simon Girty: The Outlaw

20.00

Born Simon Girty Jr. in 1741 near present-day Harrisburg, PA, his life would become something of a romantic tragedy and like many other legendary figure, his life elevated itself quickly to mythical status. At age 10, his natural father was murdered by Indians and during his 15th year, his stepfather was burned at the stake before his very eyes. 

His next decade was spent living among the Senecas of northwestern PA, by whom he was adopted, introducing Girty to the language and culture of the natives. In 1771, Girty resurfaced near Ft Pitt, where he began to make a name for himself as a capable frontier scout, interpreter and eventual spy for the Americans. His life along the Ohio River helped him make permanent ties with both natives and whites, while continuing to practice his native mode of dress and lifestyle.His official military career began as a frontier scout during Lord Dunmore's 1774 War between Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Shawnee. But two defining episodes would abruptly change the course of Girty’s life. The first turn took place in March 1778 while serving as interpreter for General Edward Hand's infamous "Squaw Campaign." On their return march to Ft Pitt, Hand lost control of his troops, resulting in the wanton killing of women and children in a nearby Indian village. Girty, disgusted by the savagery of the Americans, soon defected to the British along with fellow scouts Alexander McKee and George Elliot. His ascent into infamy would be forever notarized with his participation in the second event, the graphic account of the 1782 torture and death of American Colonel William Crawford at the hands of Delaware Indians. The Colonel Crawford incident helped define Girty’s reputation and became the cornerstone of the savagery and brutality that would be forever associated with his name. Suddenly, the legend of Girty the Savage took on a life of its own. Employed in the British Indian Department at Ft Detroit after the Rev War, Girty would continue to help resist American advances into the Ohio country by leading countless Indian excursions against the Americans. It was in this capacity that Girty earned notoriety as the "white savage," for these highly successful raids were always conducted in the Indian manner of war. When Detroit was ceded to the U S in 1796, Simon Girty fled to Canada, eventually to settle on his farm in Canada, where his health slowly declined. He died blind and destitute in 1818. Today, modern historians still disagree on the accuracy of the facts of Simon Girty’s life and no one knows how many massacres, battles or atrocities he engaged in nor how many native passions he inflamed and influenced to do the same. However, most historians do agree on the general events of Girty’s life, his participation in events and how he may have affected the outcomes. But one thing I know for sure, all students of early American History will enjoy this first narrative on the life of the white savage turned outlaw known simply to us as “GirtyHistory should be a true record of the events of the past. However, many incidents have never or will never be told because it remains a reality that many people who knew certain facts were unable to set their thoughts down in writing and fix them upon the pages of history as truths of their times. Unfortunately, some of these facts, now recorded by later generations become known as legends or folklore. This original 1846 "Simon Girty, The Outlaw" falls into that category. U.J.Jones was born in 1818 in Union County, PA and while an apprentice printer wrote "Simon Girty, The Outlaw." The legacy of this first known Girty biography is a bittersweet one. On the one hand, without this book, much of the information we know about Girty might have been lost to history; but with it, we have a romanticized historical narrative written in the style of many of modern writers. Fortunately a century later, A. Monroe Aurand, in 1931, reviewed and updated Jones’ original version to amend some of those facts that makes this book fun, easy to read and historically correct. This early Girty bio is very scarce and unlike other legendary figures of American frontier mythology, he was not originally well known.

Quantity:
Add To Cart