Tales of the frontier

Tales of the frontier

Allan W. Eckert

That Dark and Bloody River

David Nuzum, Harrison Rural Electrification Association

Q. I’m curious about your article in the February 2021 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living concerning Chief Logan (Logan’s Trees, pages 10–11).  I recently finished reading That Dark and Bloody River by Allan Eckert, and had no idea an author could write so much in one book.  The length of the book intimidated me at first, and the gruesomeness made me put it down at times, but I finished it. Years ago, I took a picture of a plaque alongside a road somewhere in the Seneca area of West Virginia with the title Logan’s Speech. Do I have the wrong Indian?

A. At least two possibilities come to mind, David. You may be confusing Chief Logan with Johnny Logan or General Benjamin Logan. Johnny Logan was a Shawnee named Spemica Lawba (Big Horn). As a young man, he was befriended/adopted by General Logan, which is how he came to acquire the name Johnny Logan. 

If you’d like to read more of Allan Eckert’s books about the Ohio frontier, I’d suggest starting with The Frontiersmen, published in 1967. It’s the first of six books in his Winning of America series. And yes, they are all as lengthy and detailed, and at times, as gruesome, as That Dark and Bloody River. But Eckert recounts frontier history as it was, often brutal and unforgiving, yet occurring in a virgin wilderness setting that was no doubt extremely beautiful.

By the way, Allan Eckert, now deceased, was an Ohioan; much of his writing life spent living in Bellefontaine.