On Friday, Crawford County, Ohio, employees confirmed that the statue of Colonel William Crawford outside the Crawford County Courthouse had been decapitated.
The county is named for Crawford, who served in the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars and was killed by Native Americans in 1782.
Crawford County sheriff Scott Kent said authorities were unclear as to when the vandalism took place. Attorney Joel Spitzer said he has photos as recently as August 20 showing the statue unharmed. He added, “It’s actually quite shocking to see this in little old Bucyrus, where we really have little connection to what’s going on in the south. … William Crawford was from the Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War, so I thought he was fairly safe,” calling the vandalism “a pitiful display of what someone thinks or feels.”
Spitzer stated, “I think it might be some sense of carryover from Charlottesville, and it may not be someone who knew the history of Colonel Crawford but it may be monkey see, monkey do.” He is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information about the vandalism that leads to an arrest and conviction. He said, “I consider the courthouse a true gem of the county. So many people work hard to keep things nice and if something like that happens, people need to be held accountable.”
Crawford was a lifelong friend of George Washington; he surveyed with him, fought in Washington’s Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War. Crawford led his regiment in the Battle of Long Island, crossed the Delaware with Washington and fought at the battles of Trenton and Princeton in the Revolutionary War.
After the Gnadenhutten massacre, in which Crawford did not take part but 96 peaceful Christian Indian men, women, and children were murdered by Pennsylvanian militiamen, Washington ordered Crawford to lead a militia to stop Native Americans from their revenge-driven raiding of settler’s homes in Pennsylvania.
After the Battle of Sandusky in 1782, Native Americans captured Crawford, tortured him for two hours and then burned him at the stake. Bruner said the native Americans wanted to capture another colonel named David Williamson, a known killer of Native Americans, but decided to make an example of Crawford.