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George Rogers Clark

He Played Leading Role in Harassing Enemy
in West during Revolution.

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. 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. George 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. He 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 settlers. 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.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546