West Virginia, the Mountain State

By Charles H. Ambler; Festus P. Summers | Go to book overview

Chapter V
The Trans-Allegheny 1763-1775

PONTIAC'S CONSPIRACY

WITH THE TERMINATION of the French and Indian War in favor of the British, there were many persons in America who expected to make settlements in the Trans-Allegheny in the region of the upper Ohio. Would-be settlers thought of this region as a "Promised Land," coveted all the more because of the good reports--some from former residents--which reached them from time to time regarding it. Other would-be settlers had fought to win this land from the French and Indians and regarded it as belonging to the victors by the right of conquest. All remembered the proclamation of 1754 by Governor Dinwiddie, promising two hundred thousand acres along the Ohio to such persons as would serve in the impending war against the French and Indians and later settle upon grants.1 Many were familiar also with the conditions under which companies had been formed in Virginia for the settlement of lands beyond the mountains. Thus it was that interested parties asked, "Why not resume the westward movement?"

Answers to this question were disappointing. First of all was the refusal of the Indians to give up their hunting grounds. Accustomed to a close association with his former allies, the French, whose coureurs de bois moved among his people--in some instances adopting their customs and intermarrying with them--the red man was reluctant to yield his lands to the "Long Knife," whole reputation for thoroughness, close bargaining,

____________________
1
Kontz, Virginia Frontier; Robert Dinwiddie, "Official Records" in Virginia Historical Society Collections, 2 vols. ( Richmond, 1883- 1884), Vol. 1, 96; Hening, Statutes, Vol, VII, 661-662.

-51-

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