CHIEF CORNSTALK Biography - Royalty, Rulers & leaders


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In studying Shawnee Chief Cornstalk, several different native names for him         
appear, purporting to have the same meaning. The word cornstalk is an English       
rendition of something similar to a stalk, stem or blade of maize, however, few     
if any writings about the Chief document the meaning of the native names. In a       
plea for researchers of things Shawnee, several responders graciously               
contributed some excellent information of which, some is newly exposed to many       
of us..                                                                             
A great deal about Cornstalk has been written, both in manuscript and published     
form, so here, a note on his life is short, just outlining his background. He       
was born ca 1720 in one of the Shawnee villages in the drainage of the upper         
Susquehanna River. At that time, the Shawnees were undergoing another of their       
migrations and as a youngster, his family moved to Ohio River country on itís       
Scioto River tributary, in what is now southern Ohio. By the end of the French       
and Indian War in the early 1760ís, he had become a principal leader of the         
Tribe and remained so until he was murdered by whites at Fort Randolph (Point       
Pleasant, now West Virginia) in 1777. His 1763 foray up the Kanawha River to its     
Greenbrier reaches was a scourge to Virginians. Cornstalk attempted to ambush       
part of Lord Dunmoreís Virginia army at Point Pleasant where the Kanawha empties     
into the Ohio in 1774. Failing, he deftly negotiated a peace settlement, saving     
the Tribe from devastation. Largely however, Cornstalk and his family were           
peacemakers and his 1777 death happened on such a mission. He had guided the         
Tribe through the years just prior to the American Revolution, leading them on       
another migration to put distance between them and European usurpers.