Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Cornstalk

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CORNSTALK, Shawnee chief, b. in Mason county, Va. (now W. Va.), about 1720: d. in Point Pleasant, W. Va., in the summer of 1777. He was the chief of the Shawnee Indians, and at the battle of Point Pleasant, 10 Oct., 1774, his plan of alternate attack and retreat occasioned the principal loss of the whites. After the battle he convened his tribe to consult what must next be done, and, after upbraiding them for not suffering him to make peace with the settlers the day before the fight, struck his tomahawk in the post in the centre of the town-house and said: “I will go and make peace.” He kept his treaty with the Americans till 1777, when the Shawnees, being incited by the British, began to disturb the frontier settlement. One day Cornstalk appeared at Point Pleasant, and, summoning the principal settlers, told them that he could make no secret of the disposition of the greater part of his tribe toward them, but that, although he was opposed to the British, he was afraid they would force him “to run with the stream.” The council then determined to detain him as a hostage, and while in confinement he and his son were murdered by colonists in retaliation for an outrage by Indians. The governor offered a reward for the apprehension of the murderers, but without effect. Cornstalk was regarded as the ablest soldier among the Indians on the Virginia frontier.