Colonel William Crawford's Cabin
|Colonel William Crawford's Cabin in Connellsville
The Crawford Cabin has been authentically reconstructed in honor of Colonel William Crawford - soldier, surveyor and pioneer on the frontier.
William Crawford was born in Virginia in 1732. He first traveled west over the mountains in 1758 as an officer in the army of General Forbes. Crawford was impressed with the western country and resolved to make it his home. However, hostile Indians prevented him from homesteading until 1765.
In that year Crawford and his half-brother, Hugh Stephonson, came over the mountains via Braddock's Road. Coming to the Youghiogheny River, they surveyed a tract of land and erected a log cabin. The following year, Crawford, his wife and four children moved into the one-room cabin. It was a humble dwelling, fourteen by sixteen feet in size, yet many illustrious men were entertained within, including George Washington, Crawford's life-long friend.
Washington and Crawford became acquainted in 1749 when Washington, during his surveying, took lodging with Crawford's family in Virginia. Washington and Crawford were the same age, seventeen at the time, and a friendship soon developed.
George Washington taught Crawford to survey, and Crawford later surveyed for Washington seven tracts of land in Fayette County, over 2,000 acres. These tracts included Great Meadows, embracing the site of Fort Necessity, and 1,600 acres of valuable land in Perry Township, the site today of Historic Perryopolis.
Besides being a farmer and surveyor, Crawford was also a leader in civil affairs, serving as Justice of the Peace in Cumberland, Bedford, and Westmoreland Counties. Crawford's military career, however, claimed much of his life and, eventually, his tragic death.
In 1774, Crawford took part in "Dunsmore's War" against the Shawnee Indians of the Ohio Valley. The Indians had been attacking frontier settlements, and many of the settlers had fled the area.
Crawford served with the distinction during the Revolutionary War and was commissioned Colonel of the 7th Virginia in 1776. He and his men were with Washington at the crossing of the Delaware, and he served in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown.
In late 1777, the colonel was sent to Western Pennsylvania to take command of the continental troops and militia in that area. In 1781, he retired from the service. The following year, however, he was again engaged in border warfare, this time with the Sandusky Indians of Ohio. On this ill-fated "Sandusky Expedition," Crawford's force of experienced frontiersman was defeated, and Crawford was captured by the Indians. He was tortured for hours, and then on June 11, 1782, he was burned at the stake.
Reconstruction of the Crawford Cabin began in 1965 as a Bicentennial project of the Connellsville Historical Society. Most of the labor for the project was supplied by the Fayette County Commissioners through their Manpower Program.
On June 20, 1976, Bicentennial dedication services were held. Since this time the Historical Society has sponsored special events at the cabin and manned a summer, Sunday visitation program for the public.
Through continuance of such programs, the Connellsville Historical Society hopes to preserve for the present that special quality of our American heritage exemplified through the life of Colonel William Crawford.