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In Dunmores War

virginia, pennsylvania, western, boundary, west, john and english

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When added to this constant danger from Indian out breaks, came Dunmore's War in 1774, all turned to St. Clair as the one above all others who should take charge of the home forces and also of the troops of the Province in defend ing this section from the invading enemy. But to under stand thoroughly his work in this war it will be necessary to go back a few years, and look into its cause.

All of Western Pennsylvania was then claimed by Vir ginia, and, though the claim had really no foundation in fact, the Old Dominion exercised almost complete civic jurisdic tion over it for some years. The grant by Charles II to William Penn, was to extend five degrees west from the Dela ware river, and thence north to the waters of Lake Erie. This five degree line had never been surveyed, and the Vir ginia authorities claimed that it would not extend west of the Allegheny mountains, or not as far at most, as the Monon gahela and Allegheny rivers, either of which would make a natural western boundary for Pennsylvania. It is true that in 1767, Jeremiah Mason and Samuel Dixon, two English surveyors, had been authorized to survey and determine the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. As a re sult of their work Mason and Dixon's line was definitely and irrevocably determined, and it has preserved their names in American history for all time. But their jurisdiction did not extend west of the western point of Maryland, and in reality, settled nothing beyond the boundary of that state.

The reader will remember, too, that in the long contest of the English and American armies to expel the French from Western Pennsylvania, begun by Washington tinder Gover nor Dinwiddie and later carried on by Generals Edward Brad dock and John Forbes, Virginia had battled most royally, and had in truth furnished more men and money than Pennsyl vania, though the point of contention lay nominally within the Province of the Penns. On several occasions when the Penns were asked to contribute their share in soldiers and in money, to expel the French from the Ohio Valley, they re fused the assistance and gave as a reason, that they were not certain that the section held by the French, was within their territory. In the meantime many citizens of Virginia had set

tled near the Fork of the Ohio, (Pittsburg) supposing that they were still within the boundary of the Old Dominion.

After the passage of the Stamp Act and kindred legisla tion on the part of the English Parliament, both Massa chusetts and Virginia manifested great hostility toward Eng land. Perhaps to chastise the Virginians for their insolence, John Murray, known in history as the Earl of Dunmore, was appointed governor of Virginia. He proved to be a most cruel and selfish man. Bancroft says of him, "No royal gov ernor showed more rapacity in the use of official power." In June, 1774, he sent an army to Western Pennsylvania under John Connolly, his object being to conquer and humiliate its people. Both the commander and his soldiers were without character. They rode rough-shod over the rights of the peo ple; they burned the farmers houses and fences; they wanton ly shot down and destroyed live stock; they subsisted entirely by stealing; they broke open houses in the night time and frightened the inmates; they arrested three judges as they sat on the bench and sent them in irons to Staunton, Virginia, for trial. They broke open the jail at Hannastown and liber ated its prisoners; they arrested prominent citizens and im prisoned them in Fort Pitt, the name of which they changed to Fort Dunmore. They named the region West Augusta County of Virginia and set up Virginia courts in Pittsburg and elsewhere. Citizens of Western Pennsylvania were elect ed to and actually sat as members of the Virginia Legislature.

It was Arthur St. Clair to whom the people turned as their leader, in this reign of terror. In one of his letters to Governor Penn he says that in riding over the country a dis tance of twenty miles, that morning, he saw more than one hundred families with more than two thousand head of live stock, on the highways, fleeing from their homes to forts for safety or to their old homes in the east, leaving their harvests uiigathered, and deserting their log cabins because of these outrages.

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