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Simon Girty

The Girty Brothers

By Jim Cummings

When most re-enactors and some historians hear the names of George, Simon or James Girty they sometimes hiss, boo, spit on the ground, fire their guns in the air, sharpen their long knives and tomahawks or drink a pint of grog.

But talk to a British Re-Enactor or a British Patriot and they will honor such patriots to the crown.

Jay Kell (George Girty and Rick Apsley (James Girty)

Let’s focus on the three most famous or infamous of the brothers - Simon, James and George. The Girtys spent the first part of their lives with an abusive, drunken father whose chief concern was his next pint of whiskey. And when the settlement they brothers were living in was attacked they were taken prisoner. George was taken by one tribe and Simon and James by another. Different tribes but all were Eastern Woodland Indians.

Each of the Girty Brothers were adopted into their respective tribes and they assimilated into their adoptive families. Their new families treated them with respect and taught them the native ways. The brothers had a better life than with their birth parents.

The Girtys fought alongside the Colonists during the French and Indian War. In the following years George leaned toward the colonial’s side in the coming Revolution. But as George saw first hand the treatment the Americans were giving the native tribes his feelings began to change. The American thirst for more and more land began to alienate him

It was at this point that George turned back to the native ways. And it was at this point that the three brothers Simon, James and George were labeled renegades and traitors. But they did not consider themselves renegades or traders. To themselves and to each other the Girtys were British Patriots loyal to the King and loyal to their native ways.

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