Crawford’s Defeat

A continuation of the McQueen and Brown involvement in Indian wars.

After the massacre at Gnadenhutten the thirst for blood on both sides was high. All of this conflict was occurring towards the end of the revolutionary war largely because the American’s wanted to put a lid on any Indians helping out the enemy or causing trouble on the western frontier. So an expedition was organized, to be led by Crawford, to destroy any enemy Indian towns along the Sandusky River in Ohio Country.

The expedition was a disaster from the start, partly because the Indians and British knew they were coming, and were quite prepared for the coming battles, and partly because of the poorly trained miliamen, bad leadership and poor planning on the part of those in Crawford’s organization.

Crawford_expedition
Crawford Route (Image from Wikipedia page).
Sandusky_sites
Significant battles (Image from Wikipedia page).

The McQueen brothers and George Brown were all part of this campaign. George was married to Elizabeth McQueen (their sister; and my 5xgreat grandparents). George had his own company of which he was a captain, brother-in-laws James and Benjamin McQueen were part of this company.

Between May 20th and 24th of 1782 the frontiersmen all met at Mingo Bottom and on the 25th the expedition left and begin their 150 mile trek to the enemy, the enemy that watched their every move. It wasn’t until June 6th that anything of importance happened. They had run across the deserted villages along the Sandusky where they expected to find villages full of people to exterminate. The miliamen upon seeing this, became very impatient to return to their homes as there was nothing of interest to continue pursuing. It was decided by the officers in charge to march one more day and if they didn’t find anything, to abandon their course and return home.

No sooner had they made this decision than a scout showed up to inform them of an advancing party of Indians about 3 miles away. The army eagerly moved to meet the enemy and proceeded to attack. The melee went on all day with heavy fire on both sides. But the Indians didn’t outright attack during the day, although they appeared to be increasing in numbers at an alarming rate, becoming so noticeable that the American officers decided they would have to begin a night retreat in an effort to save the army. The Indians who were aware of their plans, attacked at sundown. The frontiersmen (comprising about 1/3 of the army) retreated into different directions in small groups hoping that the Indians would follow the main body of the army. But they didn’t.

George Brown’s company was one of those that split off. Another McQueen brother, Thomas, who was with a different company, also left. The Indians had no intention of letting the enemy go so easily and spent several days pursuing and killing any straggling parties they found.

George was shot in the arm or thigh (depending on which telling you read) and the bone broke, he managed to escape on horse, but had to hide quite often before he could make it home. He had spent time trying to find others in his company before he was shot and gave up to head home. Two weeks later he showed up at his door much to the joy of his wife Elizabeth. His brother-in-law Thomas McQueen was not so lucky, he was caught when a fellow traveler decided it was a good idea to shoot a raccoon for dinner and the shots were heard.

“My brother Tom was taken in Crawford’s campaign…and [they] made Tom run the gauntlet. There was not a sound place in [his] head when he got through. But a squaw gave, I forget how many buckskins for him. The 3 had been separated from the rest of the army. Got way down on the Ohio, and being nearly starved, the lieutenant would shoot at a raccoon in the tree, & the indians heard them and took them. The British had him in irons a great while for saying something about Simon Girty…”2, 3

Thomas did eventually make it home, although in later years he was nearly blind due to the trauma to his head during the gauntlet.

So this particular campaign on the part of the Americans to annihilate the Indians was a bust. And, because of the Gnadenhütten massacre, the Ohio Indians had resolved to kill all American prisoners who fell into their hands. The number of Americans executed is unknown. Crawford’s execution was especially gruesome and I don’t have the stomach to tell it, you can read all about it at the wiki site.

Burning_of_Colonel_Crawford
The burning of Crawford.

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawford_expedition
2. “Metes and Bounds I: Dugal McQueen and Some Descendants”, by Donna Hechler. Wyandotte, OK, The Gregath Publishing Company: 1999.
3. The story of Simon Girty

Another Goble murder…

Stephen P. Goble
Stephen Porter Goble, Stephen, senior’s son with his first wife, Elizabeth Brown. (1832-1866).

Stephen Goble and his first wife Elizabeth had, according to online trees, seven children. Sadly only one, a son, lived to adulthood and had a family of his own, Stephen Porter Goble, who was born in 1832. When Stephen senior died in 1889 his will left all his property to his 5 daughters (whom he had with his second wife Alice), clearly indicating that none of his son Stephen’s heirs were to receive a farthing:

Item 2nd — It is now considered by me that my deceased son Stephen P. Goble, having in his lifetime received his full share and proportion of my estate and assets, It is my wish and will that his heirs viz; the heirs of the said Stephen Goble, deceased, shall not inherit or have any part or portion whatever of my said estate, or of any estate or assets of which I may die seized.1

As one can see in the reading of the will, there was actually nothing nefarious going on, Stephen had already given Stephen Porter his share of the estate, probably when he had married. The fact that Stephen Porter’s heirs are mentioned instead of Stephen Porter himself also clearly indicates that his son had died previous to 1889, so of course I was curious as to why he had died before his father. The possibility of it having happened during the civil war was pretty high as he was of an age to have enlisted.

I found one online tree that had this to say regarding his passing: ‘met his death in 1866, by a shot fired from the gun of a trespasser.’…and that was it. All I could think was – ‘Seriously, that’s all you wrote? Weren’t you curious about the details?’ But this did give me a clue that he probably wasn’t killed in the war. The Goble family website has the following entry for Stephen Porter:

“Stephen Porter Goble died May 30, 1866. He and a farm hand were going through his farm on the lane when they saw a stranger walking through the wheat field. This would cause the wheat to be mashed down so that it could not be harvested. They called to the stranger who turned and shot Stephen P. Goble. The farm hand took Stephen on the farm sled to the house and a doctor was sent for. Stephen P. Goble died, leaving a wife, Frances S. (Ashburn) Goble, and three young children and a farm.”

The above story being shared by a descendant of Stephen Porter had been passed down for several generations through the family. However, thanks to the good old internet, and those great folks who are digitizing newspapers as fast as they can, here is the story as found in a Minnesota newspaper just days after the event3:

newspaper_goblestephenjr_murder

At this time, I can find no record of the perpetrator of the crime having ever been caught.

This event is an interesting and excellent example of how family stories change over the years, where the basics of the story turn out to be mostly true, but the details get all muddied up at each telling.

The murder of his son and the loss of 6 children with his first wife, were not the only devastating things to happen to the family. I caught this horrible bit of news in an 1885 paper:

The house of Stephen Goble, near New Richmond, O., was destroyed by fire.4

Who knows what precious heirlooms were lost to the family. Thankfully no lives were. So, we can be relieved that this wasn’t a Goble doing the murdering, but a Goble getting murdered. Although I am sure Stephen Porter would have preferred to have not been the subject of this gruesome post.


  1. Will probated April 10, 1889, Wills of Clermont County, Ohio, 1800-1915, Book P, p. 512-517 [image on FHL digital images of these wills is 303-305 of 669].
  2. Told to Jean E. (Coddington) Bogart by her mother Marguerite (Frey) Coddington and her Aunt Dorothy E. (Frey) Lanter.  Goble family website
  3. A Horrible murder…, Taylors Falls Reporter, June 2, 1866, page 23, col. 4; Stillwater, Minnesota weekly.
  4. Newark Daily Advocate, Saturday, September 5, 1885, Newark, Ohio, page 1, column 7.