LEESVILLE — After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Living History Days returns to the Crawford Park District this year.
The event is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, June 4-6 at Lowe-Volk Park, 2401 Ohio 598, Leesville. Organizer Julie Rossington said activities begin at 8 p.m. on Friday. The encampment is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“It was started about 19 years ago to commemorate the capture of Col. (William) Crawford on those grounds June 7 of 1782,” said Rossington, who is a member of Colonel Crawford’s Company, a reenactment group that specializes in the late American Revolution era.
Reenactors from Colonel Crawford’s Company and other groups as well as Native American storytellers, and period artisans are participating in Living History Days, Rossington said. She noted that the Living History Days will kick off with the Patriot Alliance Council on Friday evening, a gathering that will provide the historical background for the weekend.
“Basically, what people will find out is that both the British and the American armies went to the Native Americans and asked for their support for their particular cause,” Rossington said. “You will see American military talking to the Native Americans about helping them out, giving (the Native Americans) gifts, whatever it would take to get the natives to fight on our side. That’s something that a lot of people don’t know about.”
Rossington said the capture of Col. William Crawford will be reenacted at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Native American storytellers Shequonur and Roger Moore will conduct sessions each day. A lantern tour featuring Native American storytellers is planned from 8-10 p.m. Saturday. A native camp and military camp will be set up for the weekend and 18th Century vendors will have their wares available.
Commissioned to lead the ill-fated Sandusky Expedition in late spring of 1782, Crawford marched with an army of about 500 western Pennsylvania volunteers from what is now Mingo Junction, Ohio, in the eastern part of the state to the area that is now Crawford and Wyandot counties. The force was assembled to eliminate enemy Native American towns along the Sandusky River in hopes of quelling attacks against American settlers.
In the Battle of Sandusky, Crawford’s party squared off with warriors from the Delaware, Wyandot, and Shawnee tribes as well as British forces. Crawford’s army was forced to retreat.
While in retreat, Crawford’s force was separated during the Battle of Olentangy in Crawford County. He and five of his men, including Dr. John Knight, were captured by Delaware warriors on June 7, 1782, near Leesville, at the current site of the Lowe-Volk Nature Center.
Delaware Chief Wingenund took Crawford and Knight to his village, located about a half-mile northeast of the present-day Lowe-Volk Nature Center. Due to his previous positive relationship with Wingenund, Crawford thought he would be safe.
However, it was decided that Crawford would pay the price for the killing of the 100 peaceful Moravian Delaware Indians who lived at Gnadenhutten, Ohio. Col. David Williamson, Crawford’s second in command, led the raid that became known as the Gnadenhutten massacre. Williamson escaped back to Pennsylvania.
Crawford and Knight were transported to the Delaware tribe’s village of Tymochtee in present-day Wyandot County. Crawford was tortured and then burned at the stake on June 11, 1782.
Knight was given to Shawnee warriors for transport to southern Ohio, where the same fate that befell Crawford awaited him. However, Knight escaped and returned to Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania, surviving to tell the tragic tale of Crawford’s demise.
Living History Days event schedule
Friday, June 4
• Patriot Alliance Council, 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 5
• Opening Ceremony, 9 a.m.
• Shequonur, Native Storyteller, 10 a.m.
• Capture of Col. Crawford, 11 a.m.
• Lunch with Hannah and William Crawford, 12 p.m. (Front of the Nature Center)
• 18th Century Weapons of War, 1 p.m.
• Roger Moore, Native Storyteller, 2 p.m.
• Capture of Col. Crawford, 3 p.m.
• Event closes, 4 p.m.
• Lantern Tour (weather permitting), 8-10 p.m.
Sunday, June 6
• Event opens, 10 a.m.
• Schedule same as Saturday
• Event closes, 4 p.m.
For information about events and programming offered by the Crawford Park District, go to its website www.crawfordpd.org or call 419-683-9000. Information is also available on the Crawford Park District Facebook page.