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
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
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