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Simon Girty

  • Front St. at Fort Hunter Park Harrisburg, PA
Overview
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Simon Girty was born near Harrisburg to Scots-Irish parents around 1741. In 1756, during the French & Indian War, Simon and his siblings were captured by Delaware Indians. They were taken to Ohio where they were adopted by the Seneca. Simon was trained as an interpreter, learning Seneca language and customs, and fully assimilated to their way of life. At the end of the war, Girty and his siblings were repatriated to surviving family members at Fort Pitt. Simon worked in the area as an interpreter, allying himself with a group of Loyalists. He was employed by royal governor Lord Dunmore as an agent and interpreter during the governor’s 1774 war against the Shawnee Indians. Following the outbreak of the American Revolution, Girty quickly became a controversial figure. First siding with the colonists, he switched allegiances in 1777 to side with the British after being accused of helping to plan a Native American attack on Fort Pitt. For the rest of the war, Girty worked against the Patriots serving the British Army as an interpreter and war party leader. Much of the controversy surrounding Girty stems from his alleged participation in the torture and subsequent execution of Pennsylvania militia commander Colonel William Crawford at the hands of the Delaware Indians.