Fort Gower Resolutions
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 American Indians -- especially the Shawnee and Ohio Seneca-Cayuga -- 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 American Indians. 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 Ohio Seneca-Cayuga, which the American 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 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 Shawnee 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 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 a group of American Indians 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 American Indian 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.