Colonel Crawford MonumentCounty Road 300 & Township Road 29
Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351
Colonel Crawford Monument
The Crawford Burn Site Memorial can be found in Ritchey Cemetery. Dedicated in 1877 by the Wyandot County Pioneer Association, it is located near the place of Colonel William Crawford’s torture and death. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Colonel William Crawford, friend and associate of George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1722. In 1755, he served with Colonel Edward Braddock in the French and Indian War. During the Revolutionary War he commanded regiments in several eastern battles and built forts along the western frontier. With the Revolution over, the British hired Native Americans to attack pioneers living throughout Ohio. Crawford, a commissioned army officer and seasoned Indian fighter, believed that until the Indians were subdued, the frontier would not be safe for settlement. Since Indian towns along the Sandusky and Scioto Rivers were meeting points for British factors and their Native American allies, it was determined to send a force of American troops to destroy the villages and thus stop British aggression on the frontier.
Although he was fifty at the time and retired on his Pennsylvania farm, Crawford answered the call to lead the attack deep in the Ohio Country. After assembling a force of 480 mounted volunteer militia at Mingo Bottom, just south of Steubenville, on May 25, 1782, Crawford began a march to the Sandusky Plains. His objective was to destroy Wyandot and Delaware towns near present-day Upper Sandusky. Unbeknownst to the Americans, their movements were tracked by Indian scouts who reported Crawford’s activities to the British at Fort Detroit. By the time Crawford’s troops arrived at the Sandusky Plains, a force of Native Americans and British soldiers had assembled to block his advance.
On June 4, Crawford’s army engaged the Indians at Battle Island, a wooded area in the midst of the prairie. While the Americans could claim victory on the first day of battle, Shawnee and British reinforcements strengthened the positions held by the Indians and their allies; on the second day of fighting, Crawford’s troops began an unruly retreat. With his troops scattered and his horse exhausted, Crawford was ambushed by a group of Delaware. On June 11, Crawford was tortured and killed near the Tymochtee Creek. Details of his death were recorded by army surgeon Dr. John Knight, who was captured with Crawford. Knight’s account of Crawford’s ordeal describes a prolonged ordeal torture that included shooting his body full of gun powder, mutilation, scalping, and, finally, death by fire.
Notes for Travelers
The Colonel Crawford Memorial is a bit difficult to find; our GPS coordinates lead to a historic marker at the intersection of County Road 300 and Township Road 29, one mile east of the hamlet of Crawford. Directly opposite the marker is TR 29, a lane that leads to the Ritchey Cemetery. The monument is beside the road, at the west edge of the cemetery. In addition to the Crawford Memorial, this small cemetery is the final resting place of the region’s white settlers and war veterans.