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Greathouse Party Massacre

On April 30, 1774, Daniel Greathouse led an ambush at Joshua Baker’s Tavern, at Baker’s Bottom in what is now Hancock County, against a party of Mingo Indians. This attack appears to have been motivated by the settlers’ fears of an impending Indian attack, fears based upon rumors circulated in the upper Ohio Valley and the hostile actions between settlers and Indians. Greathouse assembled a party of frontiersmen, including his brother Jacob, Joseph Tomlinson, and others. The day before the attack they spied on the Mingo camp at the mouth of Yellow Creek, in present Ohio. They found that it was too strong to attack and recrossed the river to Baker’s Tavern in present West Virginia.

On the night of the attack, a party of eight Mingos arrived at Baker’s Tavern. Accounts of the ensuing events differ. The Greathouse party apparently plied the Indians with alcohol and then killed them in a premeditated act. None of the Indians who were in the tavern survived the attack. The Greathouse party also fired on two canoes of Indians who came to investigate the noise. After the ambush, Greathouse, his men, and some settlers retreated to nearby Washington, Pennsylvania. The massacre had dire consequences on the frontier. Among the dead were Chief Logan’s brother and sister. The attack turned Logan against the settlers and led to several retaliatory raids during the summer of 1774. Logan, who mistakenly credited the attack to frontiersman Michael Cresap, spoke of his grief and ensuing anger in his famous speech.

Written by Thomas Swift Landon


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  2. Cranmer, G. L. History of the Upper Ohio Valley. Madison, WI: Brant, Fuller & Co., 1891.

  3. Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. Richmond: J. W. Randolph, 1853.