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Who was George Rogers Clark?

Updated on December 2, 2016

George Rogers Clark was an American general and frontiersman. Born Charlottesville, Va., November. 19, 1752.

Clark settled in the Ohio Valley in 1772 and became a leader of the frontiersmen. In 1774 he fought against the Shawnee Indians in Lord Dunmore's War. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Clark was appointed a colonel in the Virginia militia, given men and arms, and authorized to cross the Ohio River to drive the British from the Illinois country, which was then a part of the province of Quebec, Canada. In company with 170 men, Clark invaded the territory in 1778 and captured the strategic British outposts at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes. When the British recaptured Vincennes, Clark was 200 miles (320 km) away, but he marched his men swiftly over the Illinois prairie to retake the outpost in February 1779.

After the fighting in the east came to an end, Clark continued to engage the British and their Indian allies in the region west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1782 he destroyed the Indian stronghold at Chillicothe. His success in this raid saved many American frontier settlements from attack and confined the British garrison to Detroit. By this time, Clark had conquered all the land north of the Ohio River to the Canadian border. The region became known as the Northwest Territory and, in 1783, was recognized as part of the United States by the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution.

After the war, Clark was troubled by financial difficulties and was forced to resign his army commission. He served as an Indian commissioner and led an expedition against the Indians in Ohio in 1786. He later retired on land granted to him by Virginia, and his declining years were spent near Louisville, Ky. Clark's younger brother, William, won fame as one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

George Rogers Clark died in Locust Grove, Ky., on February 13, 1818.


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good bio, who knew, until I read this hub? It's such a good way to keep history alive. Thank you.