College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)
American Indians, Virginia, Colonial, Dunmore's War, Frontier, Shawnee
Bialko, C. Nicole Rigney, "The Shawnee and the Long Knives: Loyalty and Land in Lord Dunmore’s War" (2022). Masters Theses. 844.
This thesis looks at Lord Dunmore’s War, the last Indian War of the colonial period, from a social history perspective. Essentially a land dispute, it was heightened by the political pressures of 1774 and ongoing conflicts between white colonists and the Shawnee, Lenape, and Haudenosaunee of the Ohio River Valley. These events were complicated by the actions of Captain John Connolly at Fort Pitt and Virginia’s Governor Dunmore. Dunmore endeavored to secure the loyalty of Virginians and American Indians through this war and instead lost both. Many historians have mistakenly portrayed this as a war with only one battle—the Battle of Point Pleasant. However, months earlier McDonald’s Expedition was met by armed resistance in what this study suggests should be called the Battle of Wakatomika. Meanwhile, loyalties were shifting along the frontier. Following the temporary peace at Camp Charlotte, a group of militia officers stated their willingness to fight Britain in the Fort Gower Resolves. The frontier counties of Fincastle, Augusta, and Botetourt published similar resolutions as their men returned home from Point Pleasant. Then, during the Treaty at Fort Pitt in 1775, the Ohio River Valley tribes asserted their own independence from the Haudenosaunee after years of their land being given to the British. Few histories cover these events after Camp Charlotte, yet they are some of the most important events to come out of the Indian War. Dunmore’s War affected the American Revolution and beyond.