PRELUDE TO WAR
British and French Move West
North American colonies of the British and French
Entered into warfare over land each did clench,
Proclaiming entitlement as occupied dominance.
As there were no clear division lines
To ownership of land, lack of agreeable confines
Pushed rivalry to strong-arm intolerance.
Prelude to war was the movement west–
Traders in the Ohio Valley spread their interest
Toward outposts and better Indian friendship.
Virginia’s Ohio Company shared the same intention
With a kingly land grant to Ohio’s upper extension,
Sending surveyor Gist exploring land for ownership.
British Land Grant Threatened By French
Control of Ohio’s valley rivers meant trade regulation
And distribution along waterways with no restriction;
An important route to the Mississippi and westward.
Ohio Company shareholders had an economic stake
And the forays that the French did partake,
Threatened the Virginian’s British land award.
Some of the shareholders were Virginia planters
Prospecting trade and land as venturers,
Till the French blocked the Ohio territory.
Company prospects halted and left undone;
Shareholders affected were three Washingtons,
Mason, Mercer, Lee, Dinwiddie, and Hanbury.
Now, the French settlers in the Ohio Valley region
Resented English traders, and their reason
For more protection was build domination.
They raised forts in Pennsylvania’s backcountry,
A bold advance along its southern boundary;
A most defiant turn to exact provocation.
Great Britain rejected their land claim right away,
As monarchy land grants outweigh
Any such insolent French declaration.
Resistance grew, and the French did not withdraw
Their key river position for another king’s law;
Their fate to the west hinged on this possession.
British Major George Washington
In November 1753, Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie
Sent Maj. George Washington on a difficult journey
To deliver to the French at Fort Le Boeuf a warning.
Washington left Williamsburg for that long, cold ride,
Meeting up with his French interpreter, translator, and surveyor guide;
To confront and recommend the French into withdrawing.
Uniformed and commanding upon his horse,
Muscular and long-boned, he was an arresting force
Of proportion, strength, composure, and dignity.
Washington wore his dark brown hair in a queue,
His British hat pulled down slightly askew
Against an autumn turned gray and wintry.
The expedition needed more skills and techniques,
So they hired Indian traders and servants at Wills Creek;
At sunrise, they rode west farther into backcountry.
It was late November, through icy rain and deep snow
They reached Monongahela River and saw its overflow;
Its high water a crossover quandary.
Washington agreed with his men to take a canoe
From fur trader, John Fraser, whom they knew,
To send their supplies ahead down river.
They rode their horses ten miles to meet
The canoe with supplies, build camp, and retreat;
Washington needed a new plan to consider.
At a high point above the river fork of the valley,
Washington and Gist surveyed the area to tally
Britain’s best advantage and defense.
A fort at the fork on two rivers, the Ohio-Allegheny
And the deep Monongahela, they agreed would oversee
All waters around the fork’s confluence.
FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, P2
Mount Vernon Ladies Association. 2015. The Journal of Major George Washington.
MountVernon.Org. Ten Facts About George Washington and the French & Indian War.
Colligan, K., A. Manella, and M. Gorzalski. 2009. Ohio Company Papers – Ohio Company (1747-1779). University of Pittsburgh Library System, ULS Archives Service Center.
R.Blanchard. 1880. The Discovery and Conquests of The Northwest. Chicago: Cushing, Thomas & Company, Publishers. Library-University of California Davis.
History of the Brookline Community (1754-2014)