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George Croghan - Fallen Hero

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Historic Locust Grove was the family home of William and Lucy Croghan. Lucy was the sister to General George Rogers Clark, and multi generations of the Clark and Croghan families assembled on the property over the years to share their triumphants and tragedies. Both William Croghan and George Rogers Clark (who spent his last years at the house) were Revolutionary war heroes. But few of the next generation followed their footsteps and certainly never achieved the acclaim of the first generation or even that of William’s father the first George Croghan who had emigrated from Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1741. Traveling west from Pennsylvania, this George Croghan became a prominent fur trader, frontiersman, and Indian agent.

William and Lucy had 8 children. George attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and then joined the army in 1811. He quickly saw military service as the young republic entered the War of 1812. Croghan, (pronounced - Crawn) participated in the Battle of Tippecanoe and the siege of Fort Meigs and was soon given command of Fort Stephenson along the Sandusky. But that was the highlight of both his military career and his life. After this peak he quickly spiraled out of control. Family members bailed him out financially and worried constantly about the military and political scrapes he found himself in. Although he married Serena Livingston Croghan and had 7 children of his own - he returned alone to Locust Grove around 1842 and even joined a temperance league.

In 1846, he rejoined the army with General Zachary Taylor in Mexico and served at the battle of Monterey. On January 8, 1849, he died of cholera at New Orleans.

The Exhibit

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Nestled away in the rear gallery (the portion of the building housed in a circa 1810 cabin) is the temporary exhibit on George Croghan.

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The exhibit examines the troubled life of “The Hero of Fort Stephenson.” To learn more about Fort Stephenson and the battle that made his name visit the Ohio Historical Society here.

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The exhibit on George Croghan runs from August 1, 2013 to September 17, 2013. Although you enter through the main museum in the visitors center at Locust Grove - the George Croghan exhibit is housed in it’s own section - in the log section of the building.

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This 1812 uniform was worn by another Clark relation - George Rogers Clark Floyd, and according to descendants he was present at the Battle of Ticppecanoe.

This replica hat is the type worn by the riflemen in the War of 1812. George Croghan was moved from the 17th US Infantry Unit to the 2nd US Regiment of Rifles in 1814.

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According to most accounts it was money and alcohol that were the downfall of young George Croghan. His first home - a plantation he bought near New Orleans failed miserably because of his poor money management. Later he was awarded a post as Postmaster General in New Orleans but was caught embezzling funds from that office. Alcohol too, undermined him, although in 1842 while living at Locust Grove he tried to avoid his drinking habit and joined The Temperance Society. His Bible from this time period is shown below.

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It was his oldest brother John, (photo right) that tried repeatedly to stop his brother’s destructive behavior. Besides monetary help over the years he allowed George to live at Locust Grove after years of problems with his finances, his marriage and even failed suicide attempts. John Croghan was the last descendant to own and live at Locust Grove.

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A sword presented to George Croghan and a Congressional Medal awarded for his part in the defense of Fort Stephenson were among his possessions.

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George Croghan participated at the Battle of Monterey in 1846 during the War with Mexico. Also shown above are a portrait of wife, Serena and Zachary Taylor a boyhood neighbor who made his name in that war and went on to become the 12th President.

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See Photos of the opening event of the Exhibit - George Croghan day - August 3, 2013.

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George Croghan as portrayed by Brian Cushing speaks from the porch at Locust Grove.

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A portrait (at left) of his wife Serena Livingston Croghan who bore him 7 children (only 3 survived infancy) and faithfully followed him throughout his career. At one point she took over the financial management of their money, nursed him after his failed suicide attempts and even separated from him to protect their remaining assets.

Above is a portrait of Mary Angelica, the oldest of their surviving children.

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