Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trotter's Curse

Anthony Wayne, by James Sharples, Sr., from Explore Pennsylvania

In 1792, General Mad Anthony Wayne built Fort Fayette. It was slightly downstream from the site of old Fort Pitt, and served as a HQ and supply post for the the troops during the Indian Wars. When he wasn't fighting, he was drinking, and he was a nasty, thoughtless drunk.

Sergeant John Trotter, a camp aide, caught him in one of his stupors, and figuring he would be out of commission for awhile, took a trip home to what is now Murrysville. While he was gone, Wayne called for him. Discovering that he was away, the hung over general commanded three officers to find him and shoot him on the spot for desertion.

They ran across him returning to the fort, and prepared to do Wayne's bidding. Trotter asked for a Bible first, and called down the Lord's vengeance via Psalm 109 (The Prayer Of A Falsely Accused Person). He finished with "My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak." Then the officers carried out their orders.

When Wayne sobered up and realized what he had done, he sank into a deep depression. Trotter's curse would be enough to depress anyone and it worked on everyone involved. Not only was it said that his spirit haunted Wayne and the guys who executed him, but the futures of the perps were...well, cursed.

One officer became an alcoholic and for the rest of his life believed that Satan, in the form of a mad dog, followed him. The second officer was afflicted with a form of diabetes that made him continuously thirsty. The third officer went insane, convinced he was possessed by the Devil.

As for Wayne, he died four years later, never winning elective office as he so fervently desired. His body was disinterred from its' Fort Presque Isle grave, and his bones had the flesh boiled off them and then were buried in different spots around the state. Trotter is buried in Penn Hill's Beulah Presbyterian Cemetery, where he's said to lay quietly at rest.

This story is retold in Haunted Pennsylvania by Patty Wilson & Mark Nesbitt.


Anonymous said...

Nice photo he is looking so smart........

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