Simon Girty: Traitor or patriot?


Sorting out the story of an American Revolution turncoat

Submitted story



SPRINGFIELD – On Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. in the clubhouse of the Ohio Masonic Home in Springfield, West Virginia historian Earl Nicodemus will present “The Mostly True Story of Simon Girty.” Known as the “White Savage” and the “White Renegade,” Girty is perhaps second only to Benedict Arnold when it comes to treacherous notoriety during the War of Independence. Is this reputation, however, undeserved?

Retired professor Earl Nicodemus is a charter member and founding president of the West Liberty, West Virginia, Historical Society. He has authored several articles on the history of West Liberty and the surrounding area and frequently gives presentations on history to civic and social organizations.

Nicodemus will help sort out the real story behind Girty, an oft-maligned character who played a storied role in American History, perhaps especially in the area around Springfield where he formed a close friendship with famous area pioneer Simon Kenton. In spite of having saved Kentons life, Girty’s evil reputation was set in place when Native Americans tortured Col. William Crawford to death. Sitting with the Natives and watching as Crawford was burned at the stake, Girty was reported to have gleefully ignored Crawford’s agonized pleadings for mercy.

The George Rogers Clark Heritage Association invites the public to learn the real story behind the man. Was Girty a hero or a villain, a traitor or a patriot? Nicodemus would be the first to say it depends on which side of the war you were on and whose version of the stories you listen to.

This program is part of the association’s ongoing mission to bring the history of the area alive. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be available. Signs placed at the entrance of the Masonic Home will direct visitors to the clubhouse. Visit the group’s Facebook page for updates and more information.

Sorting out the story of an American Revolution turncoat

Submitted story

Submitted by the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association, which hosts The Fair at New Boston each year at George Rogers Clark Park in Springfield.

Submitted by the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association, which hosts The Fair at New Boston each year at George Rogers Clark Park in Springfield.