When the American Revolution ended, the British
ceded lands that later became Ohio, Michigan,
Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The man
chiefly responsible for this development was
General George Rogers Clark.
played a leading role in protecting America’s
western flank from raids by the British and
their Indian allies. In spite of great hardship
on the frontier, General Clark and his men
destroyed the main British bases at Vincinnes in
Indiana, and Kaskaskia and Cahokia in Illinois.
Rogers Clark was born November 19, 1752, in
Albermarle County, Virginia. He was descended
from Scottish immigrants on both sides of the
family. His great-grandfather, John Clark, came
to Virginia from Southwest Scotland in 1630.
received little formal education but learned
surveying from his grandfather. He worked as a
surveyor and fought with Lord Dunsmore against
the Indians in 1774. When the Revolution broke
out, Clark was in Kentucky and quickly saw the
need to organize a militia to protect the
He devised a strategy to destroy the British
forts to the west, then wheel around for the
attack on the strong northern British anchor at
Detroit. He continued to harass the enemy
throughout the war, but the men and money needed
to take Detroit never came, and the war ended
before he could act. In fact, neither he nor his
men, mostly Scottish settlers like himself, were
ever paid for their services by the Virginia
government, which went bankrupt. General Clark
assumed the debts for the Army supplies, which
burdened him for the rest of his life.
■ He was
appointed an Indian commissioner and later
worked for the French. He retired to Louisville,
Kentucky, where he died February 13, 1818.