Skip Navigation


(A copyrighted publication of West Virginia Archives and History)

Volume 56 "Manufactured History": Re-Fighting the Battle of Point Pleasant1

Volume 56 (1997), pp. 76-87

The Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 has been the subject of a long-running debate in West Virginia history. Was Point Pleasant the first battle of the American Revolution?

The Battle of Point Pleasant was the culmination of Lord Dunmore's War. In response to increased violence between settlers and Native Americans in western Virginia in 1774, Virginia Governor John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore, tried to impose peace on the Ohio Valley. Lord Dunmore created two armies, personally leading seventeen hundred men from the north, while Andrew Lewis directed eight hundred troops through the Kanawha Valley. Shawnee chief Keigh-tugh-qua, or Cornstalk, elected to strike the southern regiment before it united with Dunmore's force. On October 10 Cornstalk's force of approximately twelve hundred men attacked Lewis's troops at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers at present-day Point Pleasant. The battle resulted in significant losses on both sides and forced the Shawnee to retreat to protect their settlements in the Scioto Valley of present-day Ohio. As a condition of the subsequent Treaty of Camp Charlotte, Native Americans relinquished property and hunting claims on land south of the Ohio River. Consequently, the Battle of Point Pleasant eliminated Native Americans as a threat on the frontier for the first three years of the Revolutionary War and cleared the way for more rapid settlement of the region.2

Efforts to commemorate the battle began as early as 1848. However, it was a Point Pleasant newspaper editor and publisher who led the most ambitious campaign fifty years later. In 1899 Livia Nye Simpson Poffenbarger began a crusade in the State Gazette to have Point Pleasant officially designated the "first battle of the American Revolution," despite most historical interpretations which pointed to the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775. In 1901 Poffenbarger organized the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which lobbied the state to acquire the battlefield site. The following year, the site was dedicated as Tu-Endie-Wei Park. Poffenbarger's efforts resulted in an act passed by Congress on February 17, 1908, entitled, "A Bill to aid in the erection of a monument or memorial at Point Pleasant to commemorate the Battle of the Revolution fought at that point between the Colonial troops and Indians, October tenth, seventeen hundred and seventy-four." The bill appropriated ten thousand dollars to supplement funding for a monument at Tu-Endie-Wei. The eighty-four-foot granite obelisk was dedicated in 1909 and still stands in the park, which became Point Pleasant Battle Monument State Park in 1956.3

Poffenbarger's thesis is based, in part, on the claims of some settlers that Dunmore and the Shawnee were in collusion. After the Revolutionary War began and Lord Dunmore was no longer Virginia's colonial governor, even Andrew Lewis expressed the notion that Dunmore had never intended to join the southern forces, setting them up for annihilation. Lewis felt that Dunmore, anticipating the Revolution, intended to weaken the citizen militia.4

Poffenbarger presented her arguments in a speech to the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the dedication of Tu-Endie-Wei Park in 1902.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It has been deemed fitting and appropriate, that, by some means, this beautiful and historic spot of ground be dedicated to the noble purpose for which it has been purchased, and given a name by which it may be known in the future. This important duty has not been sought by the organization I have the honor to represent. I wish to emphasize the fact, without going into explanation or detail, that it has been rather thrust upon us. We are simply doing that which is denied to others who have been invited to do it, by their situation and present circumstances. We have accepted the trust and assumed the duty in the absence of others who might, and we sincerely believe, would have performed it better.
However, I wish to premise that it is not at all inappropriate that the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution performed this most important function. Ours is purely a patriotic organization and this work is carried on in the name of patriotism and inspired by love of country. The objects and purposes of our society are set forth in our constitution, Article I, as follows:
"(1) To perpetuate the memory of the spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence, by the acquisition and protection of historical spots, and the erection of monuments; by the encouragement of historical research in relation to the Revolution and the publication of its results; by the preservation of documents and relics, and of the records of the individual services of Revolutionary soldiers and patriots, and by the promotion of celebrations of all patriotic anniversaries. [
"](2) To carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, 'To promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge,' thus developing an enlightened opinion, and affording to young and old such advantages as shall develop in them the largest capacity for performing the duties of American citizens.
["](3) To cherish, maintain, and to extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty." Another thing I wish to impress upon all here to-day is the fact that ours is the only society professing to be founded exclusively upon our Revoutionary struggle that recognizes the Battle of Point Pleasant as a part of the war for American independence. Reputable historians, including Bancroft, President Roosevelt and others, have asserted that it was the initial, the first battle of the Revolutionary war. Moreover, they have produced the indisputable evidence upon which the assertion is based. What the consensus of American opinion will be as the years shall roll on and historical research shall bring to light the whole truth, we cannot say. If the verdict shall be the affirmative of that proposition then the first battle will not be lacking in display of heroism and patriotism, exhibited in the midst of an almost interminable wilderness and hand to hand with a savage and at the same time valorous foe.
The memory of that great struggle, will, we think, be well and fittingly preserved upon these grounds. A splendid and enduring monument is to be erected commemorative of the battle. On some part of it will be a bronze statue of the heroic Andrew Lewis, the commanding general. On it will be inscribed in imperishable letters the names of the brave Col. Chas. Lewis and Col. Fields and all those who fell with them in defense of liberty and the homes of our race. On these grounds will be laid down and preserved the outlines of old Fort Randolph.
Without some reference to the stubborn foe which drew the brilliant flash of fire from the steel of these heroes, in the shades of primeval forests, far from the abode of any white man, this history written in grounds, stone, marble and bronze would be incomplete. These red men were fighting for their homes and hunting grounds. From their standpoint, their conduct was patriotic. They were defending the graves of their fathers.
To the end therefore that history, as far as possible, may be fully preserved and patriotism, in its broadest sense may be recognized, it has been decided to give this park the oldest-first name it has ever been known to possess-its Indian name. By authority of the Monument Commission appointed by the Governor of this state, and in the name of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, we now dedicate this park the property of the state of West Virginia, to patriotism and the preservation of history and name it "Tu-Endie-Wei Park," which signifies in the Shawnee tongue "the mingling of the waters," this being the junction of two rivers.5

In The Battle of Point Pleasant: A Battle of the Revolution October 10, 1774, published in 1909, Poffenbarger again contended Point Pleasant was the first battle of the American Revolution. She quoted a number of historians, including Theodore Roosevelt, who noted the significance of the battle in relation to the Revolution. However, none of the historians stated Point Pleasant was part of the Revolution. In the 1930s Poffenbarger authored a pamphlet again defending her argument. In "Battle of Point Pleasant: First Battle of the American Revolution, October 10, 1774" (2d edition), she compiled documentation from the Point Pleasant Battle Monument Commission, the state legislature, and Congress. Poffenbarger also quoted an article by historian Virgil A. Lewis, published in the West Virginia Historical Magazine in April 1902. Like the historians referenced in Poffenbarger's 1909 book, Lewis pointed out the battle's significance but stopped short of calling it the first of the Revolution. Rather, he described Point Pleasant as the "connecting link between two of the greatest periods in all American history-closing, as it does the one [the colonial] and opening the other [the Revolutionary]."6

Lewis was incensed at Poffenbarger's "perversion" of history and was adamant that Point Pleasant was not a battle of the Revolutionary War. His 1909 book, History of the Battle of Point Pleasant, discusses Point Pleasant's place in history but never states outright that it was not a battle of the Revolution. The following is the text of a 1909 speech found in Lewis's collected papers and believed to be his most forthright pronouncement on the subject. It is unknown whether this speech was ever presented publicly.

THE BATTLE OF POINT PLEASANT
NOT THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE REVOLUTION

IT'S TRUE PLACE IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

CHIEF EVENT OF THE LAST AMERICAN COLONIAL WAR.

A Mail reporter called upon Hon. Virgil A. Lewis, the State Historian, and asked him if he had read the Article of Colonel Henry Haymond, which recently appeared in the Wheeling Intelligencer, in which he asserts that the battle of Point Pleasant was not the first battle of the Revolution. Yes, said the historian, enthusiastically, and I most fully endorse, as does every other student of history, all he has said upon this subject.
NOT A REVOLUTIONARY BATTLE
State pride-a love for my native State-has for many years, and now prompts me to claim for her all the honors to which she rightfully belongs, but never have I, nor can I now do this, when it means a sacrifice of historic truth. In an address delivered before the Ohio Valley Historical Association, at Marietta, in 1908, I attempted to explain that the battle of Point Pleasant was in nowise the first, nor any other battle of the Revolution. Since then I have done all I could to eliminate from that struggles [sic] the fiction, myths and legends which have gathered around it, that truth alone might be known concerning it. A great monument has now been reared upon this battlefield, and in connection therewith has gone out far and wide the statement that the battle fought thereon between Virginians and Indians, October 10, 1774, was the first in the war for American Independence. Many students of history and school men have asked me if I endorse the statement, to all I say, most certainly not, and as a more complete answer to this I now have in preparation a monograph containing my views as to the proper place in American history to which this battle of Point Pleasant properly belongs. This is in the last American Colonial War.
THE WAR OF 1774
In 1774 there were probably forty thousand white men, women and children, living on the west side of the Blue Ridge, on a frontier stretching from Pittsburg to the source of the Tennessee river. While men were pushing down into the Ohio Valley, the Indian nations northwest of the Ohio had formed a Confederacy and a race war, was at hand. Hostilities began. Messengers bore tidings of the horrors on the border to Williamsburg, and Lord Dunmore, the Colonial Governor by special message, dated May 13, 1774, informed the House of Burgesses, of these. That body the next day by enactment, directed him to prosecute the war against the Indians. This he hastened to do, and leaving Williamsburg, Sunday, July 10, 1774, crossed the Blue Ridge, and having fixed his head-quarters at, "Greenway Court," the home of Lord Fairfax in the Shenandoah Valley, he mustered an army of one thousand men in the counties of Berkeley, Frederick, Hampshire and Dunmore, and at its head proceeded, on foot to the Ohio river. 7
THE SOUTHERN DIVISION OF THE ARMY
Before leaving the Shenandoah Valley, Dunmore issued orders to General Andrew Lewis of Botetourt, to collect as many men as possible in Augusta, Botetourt and Fincastle counties, and join him, the Governor, either at Wheeling or the mouth of the Great Kanawha. Lewis chose the latter, again, August 30th, writing from the mouth of the South Branch of the Potomac, [Dunmore] requested General Lewis to meet him at the mouth of the Little Kanawha-now Parkersburg, West Virginia. Lewis declared to do this, and having collected about fifteen hundred men, at Camp Union-now Lewisburg, West Virginia-proceeded to the mouth of the Great Kanawha-now Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where October 10, 1774, he was attacked by an Indian army and that day there was waged the most desperate battle ever waged between white men and Indians in America.
FOR WHAT THE CONTESTANTS WAGED BATTLE
The Indian warriors of the Confederated nations of the Ohio Wilderness, waged battle at Point Pleasant, not as the allies of England, but to drive back the white invaders from their hunting grounds in the Ohio Valley. On the part of the Virginians, the battle was the crowning event of an offensive movement, not in defense of American liberty or Colonial independence, on their part, but to protect the inhabitants of pioneer homes west of the Blue Ridege [sic],-men, women and children-from the rifle, tomahawk and scalping-knife in the hands of barbarian warriors. The Military movements known as Lord Dunmore's War, would have taken place just they did [sic], and the battle of Point Pleasant, fought just the same, if there had never been an American Revolution. These two wars were entirely distinct, the one from the other.
THE AMERICAN CONGRESS AND THE
FIRST BATTLE OF THE REVOLUTION.
The battle of Lexington, Massachusetts, was fought April 19, 1775-the next year after Dunmore's War had ended. Affidavits regarding it were read in the Provincial Congress on the 26th, and that body that day prepared an "Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain," in which it was said: "Hostilities are at length commenced in this Colony by the troops under General Gage." (See "Journals of the Continental Congress," Vol. 1, pp. 79-89.) The second mention of the battle of Lexington by the Continental Congress, is in the "Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North America, now met in Congress at Philadelphia, July 5, 1775." In this it was set forth that on the 19th of April (1775) General Gage sent out from Boston a detachment of his army which made an unwarraned [sic] attack upon the inhabitants of Lexington, in Massachusetts. (See "Journals of the Continental Congress," Vol. 1. p. 137.) Soon after, the date of the beginning of the American Revolution was fixed as follows: "The Revolutionary War in opposition to the encroachments of Great Britain on the civil rights of the American Colonies commenced April 19, 1775." (See Saffell's "Records of the Revolutionary War," p. 440.) Upon this, rests all the pension legislation relating to Revolutionary pensions by Congress for a hundred years.
THE MEN AT POINT PLEASANT NOT PENSIONERS
The Revolution finally closed with evacuation of New York by the British, November 25, 1783. All battles fought between these dates-April 19, 1775 and November 25, 1785 [sic]-one [sic] Revolutionary battles, and all Americans participating therein were classed as Revolutionary soldiers. Ample provision was made for them by bounties, half-pay, land-warrants and pensions for invalids; but in the provisions of these laws no soldier in the battle of Point Pleasant was ever included for services therein. The valiant yoemanry [sic] whose courageous bearing achieved victory on that battle day, wounded and all left that battle field, never to be the recipients of rewards, from a nation yet unborn, for they were never included in any pension legislation pertaining to the soldiers of the Revolution. Joseph Mayse, a nineteen year old boy whose home was in the valley of the Cowpasture river then in Augusta county, was shot through the knee at Point Pleasant; the ball ranged downward and for want of proper surgical attention was not removed. When news of his condition was received at home, his mother with a family servant, rode on horse-back two hundred miles through the Allegheny wilderness, to Point Pleasant and took the boy home. There he discovered the ball between the bones near the ankle and removed it himself. But the calf of the leg withered and shrank away and he was a cripple. Forty years afterward inflamation [sic] set in and in 1821, the limb was amputated above the knee. The old veteran of Point Pleasant survived this for twenty-one years on crutches; but he could not obtain a pension or land warrant from the National Government, because his services had been mustered and wound received in a Colonial War, and not in connection with the Revolution. So it was with all the men who fought the Battle of Point Pleasant. It was because of this, as Colonel John Stuart, the historian of Dunmore's War, writing twenty-four years after the battle, says: "that it could not be [sic] hardly be considered as connected with the Revolution, and that because of this, neither the heirs of General Lewis nor those of any of his officers, ever made claims for services in lands or otherwise." Thus it was that the men who fought the battle of Point Pleasant were never regarded as Revolutionary soldiers, that is because of their participation in it.
WHAT THE STUDENT OF HISTORY KNOWS.
Every student of American history who has made research for truth in the sources of information, at this time readily available, is aware of the falsity of this statement. That Point Pleasant is the scene of the first battle of the Revolution. He regrets the perversion of historic truth in connection with it. When that battle was fought there was no revolution in progress; there were no United Colonies, or United States. Dunmore's War was waged between Virginians and Indians, no other Colony participating. The Indians were not allies of England then, nor did they become such until the Spring of 1778-four years after the battle-and no student of either Virginian or American Annals now questions the integrity of Lord Dunmore, or his faithfulness to the interest of the Colony of which he was the Executive head. There was not an English soldier with the Indians at Point Pleasant; nor did England, or a representative of the British Government, furnish a gun, an ounce of powder, nor a pound of lead, to them. The Virginians in that battle, were at that time, loyal to their Colonial Government, and had every confidence in their Governor. Colonel Charles Lewis was killed while wearing the uniform of an English Colonel; and other officers who fell on that field were wearing that of their rank.
LORD DUNMORE JUSTLY APPRECIATED BY THE VIRGINIANS.
With the "American Archives" at hand, the recent publication of Thwaites, "Documentary History of Dunmore's War," the printing by Virginia of the "Journals of the House of Burgesses" and other contemporary documentary sources of information recently brought to light, and made readily accessible to all students in quest of truth, it is far too late to think of dishonorable action on the part of Lord Dunmore in the war of 1774. Roosevelt, says that his letter written at Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley, August 14th, to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, and British Secretary of State for the American Colonies, in which he outlines his plan for the war, should forever exhonorate [sic] him from charges afterward made, if there were no other evidence. At the beginning of the war-June 14th-Captain Valentine Crawford writing Colonel George Washington of conditions on the frontier, said: "But it is a happy circumstance for us that Lord Dunmore is so warm in our favor." Colonel William Preston in his circular letter, urging the men of Fincastle county to enlist in General Lewis' division said: "The Earl of Dunmore is deeply engaged with us in the war." When his Lordship met Lewis' army on the Pickaway plains, he asked General Lewis to arrange his officers in line and personally shake hands with them and personally thank each for his heroic bravery at Point Pleasant. This was done, as stated by Colonel Haymond, the officers of his division, when on their return, assembled at the mouth of Hockhocking river, and in a ringing resolution fully endorsed the conduct of their commander-in-chief, in the war. Lord Dunmore hastened homeward and arrived at Williamsburg, December 4th, having been absent on his western campaign just one hundred and fifty days. Just twenty-four hours before his arrival, an interesting event took place at the Gubernatorial Mansion, Lady Dunmore gave birth to a daughter, upon whom the name Virginia was bestowed, in honor of the Colony over the affairs of which the father presided. Then came an address from the citizens of Williamsburg, congratulating him upon his victory over the Indians, and extending a welcome back to the capital; similar addresses came from the President and faculty of William and Mary College; from the Mayor and Common Council of the borough of Norfolk; from the Virginia Council of State; from the Virginia Convention of March 20, 1775; and from the citizens of Fincastle county. Theodore Roosevelt speaking of these compliments paid Dunmore by the Virginians says: "And he fully deserved their gratitude." George Bancroft, the historian, says: "Virginia has left on her record her judgment, that Dunmore's conduct in this campaign was truly noble, wise and splendid." Butterfield says: "There can be no doubt of his Lordship's sincerity in taking these measures for the protection of the frontiers." Thwaites says: "There seems to be no doubt that Dunmore was thoroughly in earnest, that he prosecuted the war with vigor." Such is the numerous verdict of those who have examined the sources of information regarding Dunmore's War.
IMPORTANCE OF THE BATTLE OF POINT PLEASANT-ITS INFLUENCE
UPON THE SUBSEQUENT HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.
But the men who defeated the confederated nations at Point Pleasant achieved a mighty victory, one that inured exclusively to the benefits of a nation about to begin its existence. That victory made possible the preliminary treaty [between] Dunmore and the Indians, at Camp Charlotte in the Pickaway Plains, the "Wilderness Garden," of the Scioto Valley, a few days after the battle. This led to the Supplemental treaty at Pittsburg the next year. The terms there agreed upon kept the Indians quiet until the Spring of 1778. This enabled General Gates to collect the border soldiery from Maine to Georgia, and overthrow Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777. This meant France to the rescue, and that meant the independence of the United States. Not only this. The Battle of Point Pleasant made possible the settlement of the Kentucky wilderness the next year; these settlements became a basis of operations, for General George Rogers Clark in his conquest of the Illinois Country in 1777-8; this led to the creation of Illinois County, by the Virginia Assembly in 1778, by which civil government was extended to the Mississippi. Because of this the Treaty Convention at Paris in 1783, made that river, and not the crest of the Alleghenies, the western boundary of the new American Nation-the United States. It was because of influence upon subsequent history, the battle of Point Pleasant, by which the course of history was changed on this continent-and not because it was the first battle of the Revolution-that a Nation and a State-the United States and West Virginia have united in rearing a towering battle monument upon this historic and romantic spot Tu-enda-wee [sic] Park,-"the point where rivers meet."8

Long after the deaths of Lewis and Poffenbarger, the debate continues to rage over the status of the Battle of Point Pleasant. The century's second wave of controversy began with the formation of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission (ARBC) in 1967. The commission failed to recognize Point Pleasant in its commemoration of the Revolutionary War. A former title abstractor, Patricia Burton of Detroit, picked up where Poffenbarger had left off, petitioning the ARBC for recognition of Point Pleasant. In 1972 the ARBC's Commemorations and Convocations Advisory Panel, which included representatives of the DAR, Sons of the American Revolution, and Colonial Williamsburg, rejected her request:

The Panel's unanimous decision was that, while the Dunmore campaign was a significant episode in the nation's Westward expansion, it was not essentially related to the ideals and events of the American Revolution, nor sufficiently of national impact to warrant inclusions in the National Bicentennial program.9

The opposition from the National Society of the DAR was a serious blow considering it had endorsed Point Pleasant as the first battle of the Revolution in 1901 and 1937. Poffenbarger's Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter of the DAR had played a significant role in the original Congressional recognition of the battle and was named for one of its fallen heroes.10

In 1973 Burton persuaded West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr. to issue a proclamation honoring Point Pleasant as the first battle. However, this failed to secure the desired national attention and funding at a time when the government was investing large sums of money in Revolutionary War sites. Point Pleasant was virtually ignored by the media and tourists during the nation's Bicentennial celebration.

During the 1980s and 1990s the town of Point Pleasant has suffered through a recession, forcing local businesses to close. Many residents consider tourism the town's only salvation and continue seeking financial assistance from the federal government to promote development. A precedent for such aid was established in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, where the National Park Service revitalized the town of Harpers Ferry, which had been devastated by a series of floods. When the Park Service opened the town's historic section to tourists in the 1950s, Harpers Ferry's economy was virtually non-existent; today, it is West Virginia's most popular tourist site, attracting nearly one million visitors per year.

When West Virginia's industrial economy collapsed in the 1980s, the state turned to tourism as the economic lifeline of the future. In addition to recreational opportunities and scenic locations, sites of historical significance are also being touted as attractions. However, tourism funding from the state is limited and federal assistance is being sought, particularly in the economically debilitated southern coalfields. U.S. Representative Nick Joe Rahall has spearheaded efforts to establish a "coal heritage" area, comprising a large portion of southwest West Virginia. Rahall recently has attempted to obtain National Park status for Matewan, site of a showdown between mine guards and union activists during the mine wars, and Bramwell, known as the "millionaires' town."11

Historical interpretation now has significant economic ramifications. Arguments over Point Pleasant and other historical events are no longer just topics of academic debate. Establishing Point Pleasant as the first battle of the American Revolution means the difference between millions of dollars from the federal government or a continued small allotment from the state. Dwindling federal funds have sparked intense competition among historic sites, many of which have contracted with historians to "manufacture history." More than ever, the interpretation of our past profoundly affects our future.


Notes

1. In the draft of a speech, state historian and archivist Virgil A. Lewis coined the term "manufactured history" to describe the interpretation of Point Pleasant as the first battle of the American Revolution. Virgil A. Lewis Papers, West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, WV, hereafter referred to as Lewis Papers. Virgil Lewis was one of the state's most respected historians. He founded the Southern Historical Magazine and served as the first state historian and archivist. Lewis's best known works include How West Virginia Was Made, History and Government of West Virginia, and Hand Book of West Virginia. Lewis was considered one of the foremost experts on Point Pleasant and his book, History of the Battle of Point Pleasant (1909), remains a pivotal study on the topic.

2. Information on Dunmore's War and the Battle of Point Pleasant can be found in the following: Irene B. Brand, "Dunmore's War," West Virginia History 40(Fall 1978): 28-46; Richard O. Curry, "Lord Dunmore-Tool of Land Jobbers or Realistic Champion of Colonial 'Rights?': An Inquiry," West Virginia History 24(April 1963): 289-95; William D. Hoyt, Jr., "Colonel William Fleming in Dunmore's War, 1774," West Virginia History 3(January 1942): 99-119; Robert L. Kerby, "The Other War in 1774: Dunmore's War," West Virginia History 36(October 1974): 1-16; Harold Lambert, "Cornstalk-King of the Rhododendron Country," West Virginia History 19(April 1958): 194-203; Otis K. Rice, The Allegheny Frontier: West Virginia Beginnings, 1730-1830 (Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1970), 54-87; Reuben Gold Thwaites and Louise Phelps Kellogg, eds., Documentary History of Dunmore's War, 1774 (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1905); John Alexander Williams, West Virginia: A Bicentennial History (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1976), 3-29; and Elizabeth Ann Wrick, "Dunmore-Virginia's Last Royal Governor," West Virginia History 8 (April 1947): 237-82.

3. The process of establishing the first battle thesis is outlined by Kenneth R. McDonald, Jr. in "The Battle of Point Pleasant: First Battle of the American Revolution," West Virginia History 36(October 1974): 40-49. Poffenbarger's efforts on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution are detailed in Nancy Whear, "Livia Simpson Poffenbarger (1862-1937)" in Missing Chapters II: West Virginia Women in History , ed. Frances S. Hensley (Charleston: West Virginia Women's Commission, 1986), 1-22. See also Juliette Boyer Baker, The West Virginia State History of the Daughters of the American Revolution (n.p., n.d. [1928]).

4. Richard Orr Curry, "Lord Dunmore and the West: A Re-evaluation," West Virginia History 19(July 1958): 231-43.

5. "One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Anniversary of the Battle of Point Pleasant-The First Battle of the Revolution-October 10th, 1774," West Virginia Historical Magazine 2(January 1902): 21-24.

6. Virgil A. Lewis, "The National Character of the Battle of Point Pleasant and of the Men Who Fought It: The Federal Government Should Mark the Spot," West Virginia Historical Magazine 2(April 1902): 35-38.

7. Dunmore County was created in 1772 and renamed Shenandoah County in 1778.

8. Lewis Papers.

9. Patricia Burton, Supplement to Point Pleasant Register , June 1983, 4.

10. Ibid. In 1975, Patricia Burton contacted the Smithsonian Institution for copies of the DAR records relating to Point Pleasant. The Smithsonian was unable to locate either the 1901 or 1937 reports.

11. On Matewan, see Williamson Daily News , 21 May 1990; Bluefield Daily Telegraph , 20 September 1990; Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail , 17 January 1993. In 1989, the Matewan Revitalization Task Force was formed to work with the National Park Service to develop an interpretive plan for the town. See Matewan Revitalization Task Force, Matewan: A Time of Change (n.p., 1990). On Bramwell, see Bluefield Daily Telegraph , 8 April 1990; Guyandotte Voice , 5 September 1990; and Charleston Gazette , 31 January 1991.


Volume 56Volume 56

West Virginia History Journal

West Virginia History CenterWest Virginia History Center