YOUNGSTOWN - Dan Cutler believes portraying Chief John Logan is his opportunity to demonstrate how a man of peace could become a man of vengeance.
"I think there are a lot of misconceptions about John Logan," Cutler said. "I think it's important to look at why and how he got where he was. It was his job to keep the peace. But when he went to war, he couldn't do that and he ceased being chief. He had his reasons."
Cutler, a Chautauqua scholar, has been portraying Logan the past 12 years, although he first became interested in historical re-enactments and presenting living history performances long before that. This week he will portray the Iroquois leader when the 2012 Ohio Chautauqua program, sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council, visits Warren.
Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Dan Cutler, shown here as Chief John Logan, is among the scholars who will portray historical figures this week at the Ohio Chautauqua.
Warren is among five communities to host the program this year. The event features daytime workshops for adults and children, and nightly presentations. The theme of this year's program is "When Ohio Was the Western Frontier."
On each of five evenings a scholar dressed in full costume will portray a featured character and interact with the audience. There also will be a question-and-answer period at the end of each performance.
This year's historic characters also include Johnny Appleseed, Margaret Blennerhassett, Oliver Hazard Perry and a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition named York.
About Ohio Chautauqua
Ohio Chautauqua is a five-day event that combines living history, music and entertainment, education, theater and audience interaction in a cultural event the entire community can enjoy.
The Ohio Humanities Council will bring the 14th installment of Ohio Chautauqua to Warren Tuesday through Saturday to coincide with the community's ongoing celebration of Ohio's Frontier period. The theme of this tour is "When Ohio Was the Western Frontier."
Each historical personality is portrayed in full character by an actor-historian versed in that person's life and experiences. The performance is a 30-minute monologue on significant events in the character's life, followed by a question-and-answer period with the character, and then a Q-and-A with the actor.
Performance schedules are Jeremy Meier as Oliver Hazard Perry on Tuesday; Dan Cutler as Chief John Logan on Wednesday; Debra Conner as Margaret Blennerhassett on Thursday; Marvin Jefferson as York on Friday; and Hank Fincken as John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman on Saturday.
All performances are 7:30 p.m. on the south lawn of the historic Kinsman House, 303 Mahoning Ave., Warren. They are free and open to the public.
Musical entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m. before Wednesday's presentation about Chief John Logan and will include Jeff Spencer on Native American wood flute.
The tour also will include daytime youth and adult workshops each day at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library.
Cutler, of West Virginia, is of American Indian ancestry. He explained that he was introduced to the character of John Logan through his association with producers of the Aracoma story and the Shawnee Trail groups at Chief Logan State Park in West Virginia, and also through his work with an American Indian reenactment group.
Cutler said he's always felt a connection with Logan and that period of history.
In 1763 Logan's sister was killed in the Paxton Rebellion, during which a group of Irish settlers attacked and killed peaceable American Indians along the Conestoga River. In April 1774 he went to war in what was referred to as "Logan's Revenge" after his family was killed after crossing the Ohio River at Bakers Bottom. It was also sometimes called "Cresap's War," after Michael Cresap, a trader and militia colonel whom the American Indians blamed for the murders.
Cutler said when Logan heard about the murders, it lit a fire of rage in his heart.
When Logan didn't show up for a meeting called by the Earl of Dunmore in November 1774, Dunmore sent Simon Girty to find him. Logan refused to go but gave Girty a speech he wrote to give to Dunmore which has since come to be known as "Logan's Lament." The speech was published in Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the Settlement of Virginia.
"He could no longer be a man of peace," Cutler said. "He could no longer do things the way they wanted him to do them."
Cutler said it's important to note that the message in Logan's story shows even when American Indians did the right things more often than not they still weren't treated right.
"(Logan) was an early explorer," Cutler said. "He was an important figure in history. I like to focus on that time. It was a time when when we still had some power."
The presentation is part of the 14th installment of the Ohio Humanities Council's Ohio Chautauqua, returning to Warren for the fourth time this summer.
The event this year is being sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library and Trumbull 100 in partnership with the Ohio Humanities Council and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau. It is part of a year-long string of events helping to mark the Tribune Chronicle's celebration of the 200th year of newspaper publishing in Warren.