: This photograph gives an aerial view of the site on which Fort Gower was built in 1774. Located at the confluence of the Hocking and Ohio Rivers, the site is downstream from Hockingport, Ohio, in Athens County.
England, in order to maintain control of its colonies and to protect Native American homelands, prohibited American colonists from moving west of the Appalachian Mountains in the Proclamation of 1763. However, following the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768), white settlers immediately moved into the Ohio Country. Violence quickly began in the disputed area as the Native Americans, especially the Shawnee and Seneca-Cayuga, tried to drive the English colonists back to the east side of the Appalachian Mountains.
In August 1774, Pennsylvania militia entered the Ohio Country and quickly destroyed seven villages of the Seneca-Cayuga Indians, which had been abandoned as the soldiers approached. At the same time, Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia Colony, sent one thousand men to the Little Kanawha River in modern-day West Virginia to build a fort and to attack the Shawnee. Cornstalk, a Shawnee leader, sent nearly one thousand warriors to drive Dunmore's force from the region. The two sides met on October 10, 1774, at what became known as the Battle of Point Pleasant. After several hours of intense fighting, the English drove Cornstalk's followers north of the Ohio River. Dunmore, with a large force of his own, followed the Shawnees across the river into the Ohio Country. Upon nearing the Shawnee villages on the Pickaway Plains north of modern-day Chillicothe, and near what is now Circleville, Ohio, Dunmore stopped. From his encampment named Camp Charlotte, Dunmore requested that the Shawnee come to him and discuss a peace treaty.
As a result of this war, some Shawnee Indians agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768) and promised to give up some of their lands east and south of the Ohio River. This was the first time that some of the natives who actually lived in the Ohio Country agreed to relinquish some of their land. This military campaign came to be known as Lord Dunmore's War.
As Dunmore's soldiers were returning to Virginia, they stopped where the Hocking River joins the Ohio River. There the soldiers built Fort Gower. While the men were building the fort, they learned that the First Continental Congress had ordered the boycott of any goods from England as a response to the Coercive Acts, including the Quebec Act, which England issued in 1774.
Most of the soldiers agreed with the action of the Continental Congress. The men recorded their sentiments in a document known as the Fort Gower Resolutions, officially recorded on November 5, 1774. The Virginians wrote the Fort Gower Resolutions for a number of reasons. Chief among them was England's policy on the Ohio Country. Many people living east of the Appalachian Mountains looked at the Ohio Country as a place to start a new life in a new land. The Fort Gower Resolutions were an expression of the increasing spirit of American independence as the American Revolution was about to begin. The resolutions reads:
“Resolved, that we will bear the most faithful allegiance to His Majesty, King George the Third, whilst His Majesty delights to reign over a brave and free people; that we will, at the expense of life, and everything dear and valuable, exert ourselves in support of his crown, and the dignity of the British Empire. But as the love of liberty, and attachment to the real interests and just rights of America outweigh every other consideration, we resolve that we will exert every power within us for the defense of American liberty, and for the support of her just rights and privileges; not on any precipitate, riotous or tumultuous voice of our countrymen. Signed by order and in behalf of the whole corps. Benjamin Ashby, Clerk."
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL07008 Subjects
: Athens County (Ohio); Forts & fortifications; Lord Dunmore's War, 1774; Cornstalk, Shawnee chief, 1720?-1777; American Indians in Ohio Places
: Hockingport (Ohio); Athens County (Ohio)