A Shawnee Sachem: Chief Cornstalk

A hostage. A murder. Revenge.

Chief Cornstalk was a great man. Born in the 1720’s, he became a warrior, Sachem (leader) of all Shawnee tribes, a friend of the settlers and a famous orator.Logan

However, Chief Cornstalk’s life was also filled with treachery, violence and encroachment.

It’s been told that his wrongful murder became the curse of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The words he spoke before his death echoed for 200 years. It is said that his murder brought about floods, tornadoes and most famously, the Mothman.

Hear firsthand of his battles, treaties, speeches and death. Listen as his desire for peace meets violence. With every encounter his fate is changed, and so, too, the fate of the native nations.

  • Pricketts Fort
  • History Alive: Chief Cornstalk
  • Portrayed by Dan Cutler
  • Sunday Sept. 14
  • 2 p.m.
  • Free


logansketch1Through the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, Dunmore’s War, countless expeditions and many peace treaties, Chief Cornstalk led his people, fought for them and died seeking peace for them.

What are believed to be his last words: “May the strength of the people be paralyzed by the stain of our blood.” (Chief Cornstalk, Fallout by Mark Ethridge)

Why? For The Shawnee Nation, his people:

Before the Pricketts or the Morgans, before any Columbuses or Vespuccis, there were The Shawnee.

The people spoke only Shawnee and lived in wigwams throughout Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Georgia. As a far-reaching nation, they had allies in other nations, like the the Delaware. They also had enemies in others, like the Iroquois.

Blog author: Leah Nestor

Blog author: Leah Nestor

Shawnee men wore leggings and shirts if they wanted. They also had the option to wear breechcloths, a piece of fabric in the front and one in the back. The Shawnee women wore leggings with skirts. They followed typical male/female roles. The men left the home to hunt and go to war. The women stayed to farm and rear the children.

Storytelling was very important to the Shawnee. Their stories became legend: a great serpent in the sea, woodland spirits. And their gods like family: a grandmother, an old man, an ornery child.

Learn more about Chief Cornstalk and the people he cared for most. Hear of his battles, his treaties and his desire for peace.

What do you know about the Curse of Cornstalk?


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