Captain Michael Cresap (April 17, 1742 – October 18, 1775) was a noted frontiersman born in Maryland.
Cresap was the son of the celebrated pioneer Colonel Thomas Cresap (c. 1702–c. 1790). He spent part of his adult years in the Ohio Country as a trader and land developer. He led several raids against Indians whom he believed were hostile to white settlement. The war leader Logan (c. 1723?–1780), of the Mingo Indians, accused Cresap of murdering his family. In fact, the killings were almost certainly perpetrated by Daniel Greathouse, yet Cresap was immortalized in Logan’s speech — quoted in Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1785) — as the murderer of Logan’s family.
As a result of the murders, Logan waged war on the settlements along the Ohio and in western Pennsylvania, killing, perhaps, nearly thirty men, women and children. Lord John Murray Dunmore, the British Royal Governor of Virginia, raised an army and appointed Cresap to the rank of captain. The decisive battle of Dunmore’s War was the Battle of Point Pleasant (10 October 1774) in Virginia (now West Virginia). Here Dunmore’s forces defeated a band of Shawnee Indians led by Cornstalk.
After Lord Dunmore’s War, Cresap returned to Maryland and subsequently raised a company of riflemen for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He died from illness in New York City while in the service of the army; he is interred there in Trinity Church Cemetery.
* The Michael Cresap House (ca. 1764) — Cresap’s stone and brick house in western Maryland — was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.