Simon Girty (1741-1818)

Simon Girty was an early settler who sided with the British during the Revolutionary War and eventually joined a group of Indian renegades.

 

When he was young, his family was captured by Seneca Indians who later adopted them. During the Revolutionary War, Girty served as an interpreter between the British and their Native American allies. American troops at Fort Pitt considered him a traitor.

 

Girty eventually joined a group of renegade Indians. They terrorized white settlers and peddled their scalps to the British for $10 apiece. According to legend, they would kill white settlers, taking anything of value to be traded or sold at a later date. They roamed the area as far as Richland Township.

 

At some point, Girty betrayed his Indian friends and took the loot they had collected. He reportedly buried it along a tributary of the Allegheny River.

 

The Indians returned from their raiding party sooner than he had anticipated and discovered Girty’s betrayal. The Indians trailed him to the spot where he was burying the loot and planned an ambush. However, his instincts saved him from the ambush, and he was able to evade the Indians by running through a creek bed in Ross Township. He escaped and disappeared into Indian country, and apparently died in Canada.

 

The creek, which runs parallel to Babcock Boulevard, was later named Girty’s Run after him.

 

According to legend, Girty also had an interaction with West View’s first settler, Casper Reel.

 

Casper and his brother-in-law, John Wise, were returning from Reel’s traps on the Beaver River when they were hailed by a man standing on the shore, who asked for something to eat. Reel was immediately suspicious and started turning his canoe toward the opposite shore while simultaneously keeping up a conversation. Reel asked the man if there were any Indians nearby, to which the man replied, “No they are all gone to hell.” Wise began to insist that they ought to go help the man, but Reel commanded him to lie down flat in the canoe. Knowing the ruse was up, the Indians came out of hiding and fired at the canoe. Reel and Wise were able to escape unharmed, although their canoe had been hit in several places. The man on the shore was none other than Simon Girty.