The History of Logan Elm
The consolidation of Pickaway, Washington, and Salt Creek schools in 1957 created a new school district in southern Pickaway County. The name Logan Elm was chosen for the new school in honor of the famed tree located within the area. Our high school opened in 1960 and the first graduation was the Class of 1961. The joining of Laurelville in Hocking County to the district in 1972 completed our present boundaries.
The namesake of our school was a magnified American Elm already grown to a good size by the time pilgrims arrived in New England in the 1600’s. The tree became famous when the celebrated Mingo chief, Logan, delivered an eloquent speech under its spreading branches in 1774.
Taj-ja-jute, called Logan by whites, was one of the several renowned Indian leaders in this area. While Tecumseh, Blue Jacket, Cornstalk, and the Grenadier Squaw, Nonhelema, contributed greatly to the historical events of the times, Logan is especially remembered for his moving thoughts and strong character. A white trader of this period described Logan as “the best specimen of humanity I ever met with, either white or red.”
With the constant encroachments of the whites on Indian Lands in the 1760’s and 70’s, disputes between Indians and settlers increased. The unprovoked massacre of Logan’s family at Yellow Creek in April of 1774, by Daniel Greathouse brought open warfare throughout the Ohio Valley. Logan, who had been white man’s friend, now became a relentless seeker of revenge; his scalp-hunting raids spread panic among the whole frontier.
The defeat of the Shawnees by Col. Lewis at Point Pleasant brought Lord Dunmore’s army marching into the Pickaway Plains. The chiefs were ready for peace by this time and Dunmore had invited the Indians to meet with him at Camp Charlotte to discuss terms. Logan, his desire for revenge now satisfied, refused to attend. Lord Dunmore, knowing of Logan’s fame and influence and needing his support, sent the trader John Gibson to try and persuade Logan to join the peace treaty. Logan came to him. They went into a wooden area and sat down under the branches of a great tree where Logan’s tears gave release to his profound grief. The words that then followed were copied down by Gibson and reflected the desperate spirit that was now Logan.
I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked and he clothed him not? During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his camp, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed as I passed and said ’Logan is the friend of the white man’. I had even thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace; but don’t harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to safe his life. Who is there to mourn Logan? Not one.
This speech, printed by Lord Dunmore and subsequently by Thomas Jefferson in his ‘’Notes on Virginia’’, remains a classic oration, its impact undiminished through the years. As the source of such honor, tradition has held ‘’Logan elm’’ in great esteem.
Though damaged by age and weather, the elm, by 1940 had grown to a height of 104 feet. The diameter of the trunk was seven feet and its branches spread over 150 feet. Time and storms gradually took their toll, however, the Logan Elm put forth its last leaves in 1964. While the magnificent tree is gone, its memory is the stuff of legend and it will not be forgotten. Our school is proud to carry its name.
The section of a limb of the Logan Elm that we have in our showcase was presented to the school by the class of 1965. Robert Ely made the tomahawk with wood from the tree. This was presented to the school in 1976 for a donation of $672 raised by our students for Easter Seals.