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Simon Girty

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The Resume

    (November 14, 1741-February 18, 1818)
    Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
    Frontiersman, soldier and interpreter
    Captured with his siblings by the Seneca Tribe during the French-Indian War (1756)
    Learned the Seneca language and culture over seven years until his repatriation in 1764
    Became an interpreter for the Continental Army (deserted in 1778)
    Led British and Native American war parties against frontier settlers
    Acted as liaison between the British and their Indian allies during the American Revolution
    Known in frontier legend as ‘The Great Renegade’

Why he might be annoying:

    He was nicknamed ‘Dirty Girty’ and ‘The White Savage.’
    He tended to switch sides based on what was most convenient for him at that moment.
    Legend tends to point out that he wasn’t particularly close to his stepfather and thereby probably didn’t mind him getting scalped before his very eyes!
    He famously stood by and watched as Colonel William Crawford was brutally tortured for hours before being burnt at the stake by his Indian captors (June 11, 1782).
    He was falsely reported to have been killed with Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames.
    It is unlikely he served in the War of 1812 at all – despite what historical markers say – because he would have been 71 at the time and was experiencing debilitating illness at the time.
    His name became shorthand for bloodthirsty savage and turncoat, usually getting him lumped in with Benedict Arnold and John Andre as a Revolutionary War traitor.
    For instance, he was made a jury member in Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster, described by the author as ‘the renegade, who saw white men burned at the stake and whooped with the Indians to see them burn.’

Why he might not be annoying:

    He reportedly knew eleven languages, including the Seneca tribe’s.
    He was returned to his birth family but retained a sympathy for the Native Americans.
    Many of the stories about him and his brutality are deeply exaggerated and sometimes questionably racist.
    He was the head interpreter at the signing of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the Iroquois and the Royal British Army (1768).
    He fought and beat back the Americans at St. Clair's Defeat in 1791 (the worst defeat the United States Army has ever suffered).
    He was reportedly threatened with torture himself by tribal leaders if he attempted to intervene on behalf of prisoners (although he did succeed in saving the lives of some settlers).
    He was portrayed by John Carradine in the 1936 ‘Daniel Boone’ film.
    He spent his final years at his family farm in Canada, where he died, by this time suffering from blindness and severe rheumatism.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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Year In Review:

    In 2023, Out of 18 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2022, Out of 2 Votes: 100% Annoying