From Ohio History Central
The Fort Gower Resolutions were an expression of the increasing spirit of American independence as the American Revolution was about to begin.
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 Mingo, tried to drive the English colonists back to the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1774, Captain John Connolly, commander of Fort Pitt, immediately prepared to attack the Ohio Country natives. John Murray, Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, offered his colony's assistance. In August 1774, Pennsylvania militia entered the Ohio Country and quickly destroyed seven villages of the Mingo Indians, which the Indians had abandoned as the soldiers approached. At the same time, Lord Dunmore sent one thousand men to the Little Kanawha River in modern-day West Virginia to build a fort and to attack the Shawnees. 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, Ohio, and near what is now Circleville, Ohio, Dunmore stopped. From his encampment named Camp Charlotte, Dunmore requested that the Shawnees 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 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.
England, in order to maintain control of their colonies and protect Native American homelands, prohibited American colonists from moving west of the Appalachian Mountains in the Proclamation of 1763. England also levied new taxes and placed other restrictions on its colonists. Many Americans, including these Virginians, began to resent the Mother Country. These disagreements led to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
- John Murray
- Fort Duquesne
- Mingo Indians
- Shawnee Indians
- Lord Dunmore's War and the Battle of Point Pleasant
- Ohio Country
- Shawnee Indians
- Quebec Act
- Proclamation of 1763
- Declaration of Independence
- Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1768)
- Appalachian Mountains
- Pickaway Plains
- Battle of Point Pleasant