Cresap, Michael (krēˈsăp) [key], 1742–75, American frontiersman and soldier, b. Allegany co., Md. A Native American fighter, he was accused by Thomas Jefferson and others of massacring the family of the friendly Native American chief Logan and thus starting (1774) Lord Dunmore's War. But this is denied by most modern historians who accept a letter from George Rogers Clark stating that Cresap was with him at the time of the massacre. Cresap fought in the war, and after the American Revolution began he became (1775) captain of a company of riflemen. Cresap drove his men at such a hard pace to support the patriots at Boston—traveling 550 mi (885 km) in 22 days—that he died of exhaustion as a result.
See biography by J. J. Jacob (1826, repr. 1971).