George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Beverley Randolph, 10 December 1790

From Beverley Randolph

Richmond [Va.] December 10th 1790.


I do myself the Honor to inclose a copy of a Memorial of the Delegates of the counties of Ohio, Monongalia, Harrison, Randolph, Kanawha, Greenbriar, Montgomery and Russell together with an extract of a letter from Colonel Arthur Campbell on the subject of Indian affairs.1

The Inhabitants of the Frontiers are greatly alarmed for the safety of their country, in consequence of accounts lately received of the defeat of the troops under General Harmar.2 Their Apprehensions are all communicated to the Executive of the state who being destitute of means to afford them the protection which they wish, can only transmit to you their Applications.3 This we do sir, in the fullest confidence that the power of the federal Government will be so applied as to quiet the Apprehension and insure the Safety of these distressed people. I have the Honor &c.

Beverley Randolph

LB, Vi: Executive Letter Book.

1Randolph is probably referring to a letter from Benjamin Biggs and John Henderson of Ohio County, John Evans, Jr., and William McCleery of Monongalia County, George Jackson and John Prunty of Harrison County, Cornelius Bogard and Abraham Claypool of Randolph County, Andrew Donnally and George Clendinen of Kanawha County, Thomas Edgar and W. H. Cavendish of Greenbrier County, and Steven Gomsey and R. Sayers of Montgomery County, dated 1 Nov. 1790. The delegates complained that the “defenceless condition of those counties, forming a line of nearly four hundred miles along the Ohio river, exposed to the hostile invasions of the Indians and destitute of every support is truly alarming, notwithstanding all the regulations of the General Government in that country. Hitherto these regulations have been totally ineffectual for their protection; that it could not be otherwise, as the Garrison kept by the Continental troops on the Ohio can be of little service, if any, except to the Kentucky settlements which they immediately cover, and being from two to four hundred miles below their frontier Settlements. . . . that having entirely exploded their old experienced mode of defending the frontiers by keeping out Scouts & Rangers for their information & protection, owing to the fact, as they are informed, that the new plan is less expensive (though the saving, if any, must be small), ought not to be deemed a good reason to alter from a known measure to one that is only supposed to be as good, when the lives of so many of the citizens are exposed to the Enemy” (Calendar of Virginia State Papers, description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 5:222–23). The delegates from Russell County apparently did not sign this letter, but Randolph had forwarded a similar complaint from these delegates to GW on 29 Nov. 1790 (see the source note to that letter).

The letter from Arthur Campbell, dated 1 Nov. 1790, described the escape from the Indians of Hannah Tackitt, “one of the Captives taken at the mouth of Cole River in Kanawha County,” and attacks on travelers by a party of Indians (ibid., 221).

2For Harmar’s defeat, see GW to Knox, 19 Nov. 1790, n.4.

3GW submitted the letter from the delegates of Virginia’s frontier counties and the letter from Campbell to Henry Knox for his opinion on 19 Dec. 1790 (Tobias Lear to Knox, 19 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW).

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