George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Connolly, 7 June 1774

From John Connolly

Fort Dunmore [Pa.] June 7th 1774.

Dear Sir

I have by the Bearer hereof acquainted His Lordship with the late Murders committed by the Savages upon our Inhabitants in this quarter:1 and at the same time, have taken the liberty to make a requisition of assistance, & to recommend some Matters to His Lordship’s considration.

I shall here take the liberty of speaking to you, well knowing that you must be a competent Judge of measures necessary to be pursued, upon this critical occasion. As the Shawanese have for these some years past constantly shook the Tomahawk over our Heads, & threatened to strike should our People even attempt to pass below the Kanhawa; a Stockade there for very many & obvious reasons must be necessary, & another one opposite to Hohocking River;2 from which places we may be enabled to send terror into their Country for the present, & keep them from annoying our Settlements; & hereafter will forever deter them from daring to affront our Adventurers in the prosecution of their lawfull designs down the Ohio. Mr Croghan intends going to Williamsburgh: you must well know how specious He is, but you may be assured that His business there is not for the publick good, but to answer private, & ungenerous designs; which I hope you will use your utmost to defeat—His principle View is to endeavour to secure his Indian Grant in Virginia, after the great Government Scheme is blown over; which like the Mountain in labor has bro’t forth a Mouse.3 As He is specious where unknown he may impose & carry points; but I can assure you on the Word of a Man of Honor, that if the Legislature of Virginia listens to him, that He will involve the Colony in trouble, & difficulties, nothing to its credit—I could unfold many matters scarcely credible, but I forbear. I am afraid that the Shawanese have been told that they were to permit no People to settle on the Ohio, below the Kanhawa.4

This Place is in such confusion that I must beg leave to finish this hasty Scrawl by subscribing Myself Dr Sir, Your Obliged Frd & Servt

Jno: Connolly


1For the “late Murders,” see Valentine Crawford to GW, 8 June (two letters [ref A, ref B]), and William Crawford to GW, 8 June.

2A small palisaded fort with two blockhouses, Fort Blair was erected at Point Pleasant at the mouth of the Great Kanawha River. For the fort built at the mouth of the Great Hockhocking River, see John Connolly to GW, 1 May, n.1.

3In 1748 George Croghan received from the Iroquois a grant of 200,000 acres on the south side of the Ohio River near Pittsburgh. It was within the bounds of the grant petitioned for in 1769 by the Walpole Company, and Croghan was assured of his grant being at last confirmed if the company’s Vandalia, or Pittsylvania, colony were established (see Jonathan Boucher to GW, 18 Aug. 1770, n.4, and GW to Botetourt, 9 Sept. 1770, n.3, 5 Oct. 1770, n.4). Although word was received early in 1772 that the new colony had been approved by the king, the Board of Trade had not acted upon it, and in 1774 the prospects of the Walpole Company appeared bleak. In the meantime, because Pennsylvania refused to confirm his grant, Croghan was drawn to Virginia’s side in the boundary dispute, and Dunmore agreed in 1773 to recognize Croghan’s Indian title. Although Croghan sided with Virginia in the boundary dispute, he refused to countenance what he considered John Connolly’s disastrous Indian policy. Wishing both to secure from Dunmore a Virginia patent for his 1749 Indian grant and to prevent an Indian war, Croghan started for Williamsburg to confer with Dunmore. His departure caused consternation among the settlers who thought he was abandoning the frontier, and so he returned to his home near Pittsburgh. See Wainwright, George Croghan description begins Nicholas B. Wainwright. George Croghan: Wilderness Diplomat. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1959. description ends , 26–28, 274–93, and Albert T. Volwiler, George Croghan and the Westward Movement, 1741-1782 (Cleveland, Ohio, 1926), 302.

4John Floyd, Virginia surveyor, wrote to William Preston on 26 April: “The Shawneese . . . sent [prisoners] off: telling them at the same time it was their directions from the Superintendent Geo Crohon to kill all the Virginians they could find on the River & rob & whip the Pennsylvanians” (Thwaites, Dunmore’s War description begins Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds. Documentary History of Dunmore’s War, 1774. Madison, Wis., 1905. description ends , 7–9).

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