I have been asked why I chose to tell the story of William Crawford’s life and how I came to learn about him. In 2013, my first book, A Woman of Courage on the West Virginia Frontier, was published. This book was a regional history of the Virginia colonial frontier told around the story of my 5th great grandmother. She was taken captive by a Wyandot Raiding party in 1785 and lived with them for three years until she was ransomed by the infamous renegade traitor, Simon Girty. In researching and writing about Girty for the book, I happened upon the story of William Crawford’s campaign against the Native American towns on the Sandusky River in 1782.
I found this to be a compelling story and I continued to research Crawford after my book was published. In doing so, I learned about his 30-year relationship with George Washington, which included surveying, land speculation, and military service, both in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.
After learning a little more about him, I was surprised to discover that no one had ever written and published a biography on Crawford. I found references to an unpublished biography by Consul Butterfield from the late 19th century, but nothing more. So I decided to research some more and develop a manuscript that served as a biography and a narrative history of this intriguing figure from our colonial frontier.