Fort Laurens
One fort was built for the Revolutionary War in the Ohio Valley. Fort Laurens in near Canton Ohio.

George Washington put a plan together to attack the British at Fort Detroit during the Revolutionary War in early 1778. The British were encouraging their Indian Allies, the Iroquois, to attack the American settlements along the frontier region. Washington was hoping to put a stop to that.

Instead being unable to raise adequate men and supplies and from political pressure from Pennsylvania and Virginia, the mission objectives changed to attacking Indian villages and towns along the southwestern edge of Lake Erie.

So off went General Lachlan McIntosh and his group of 1,200 men and Delaware Indian scouts went on the Great Trail. This path was a well established Indian Trail that lead westward into the Ohio Territory. In the fall of 1778 about 20 miles from Fort Pitt, the group built Fort McIntosh to store supplies and provisions. This is near the present-day Beaver, PA. Then on November 4, 1778, headed toward the Sandusky towns.

The weather worsened as McIntosh and his men reached Tuscarawas Valley. He made the decision to postpone any attacks on the Indians to build a fort where the Great Trail crossed the Tuscarawas River. McIntosh left a small garrison of 172 men and woman there and headed back east to Fort McIntosh with plans to return in the spring. The Fort was named Fort Laurens after the President of the Continental Congress, Henry Laurens.

Bolivar, Ohio, is now located where Fort Laurens was built.

The fort was built in late November 1778. It covered about one acre. It was quadrangular shape with four bastions approximately 240 feet from the top of one angle of a bastion to another. Barracks and storehouse buildings were located inside the walls.(1)

Fort Laurens was an active American post until August of 1779.The British and their Indian Allies deemed it a threat and attacked it many times. More than 20 American soldiers died and were buried just outside the walls.

In 1915 the Ohio General Assembly passed a law authorizing purchase of the land that Fort Laurens set on. The Fort has not been rebuilt. There is an organization, Friends of Fort Laurens Foundation, that is trying to raise money and awareness to restore this important part of Ohio history.




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