Point Pleasant Museum, built elsewhere as a tavern in 1796
and later moved to this site overlooking the
mighty Ohio and Kanawha Rivers.
The Point Pleasant Battle Monument State Park, at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, marks an important historic site in American history. The park's centerpiece is an 84-foot granite obelisk that honors the Virginia militiamen who gave their lives during the battle, while the statue of a frontiersman stands at the base.
The Shawnee had never given up their claims to western Virginia and interpreted the rapid settlement of whites into the area as acts of aggression. Hostilities reached a climax in 1773 when a group of volunteers from Fort Fincastle raided Shawnee towns. One of the worst atrocities of the conflict was the murder of several family members of Mingo chief Logan. Logan, who had previously lived peacefully with the settlers, killed at least 13 western Virginians that summer in revenge. (See The Logan Elm )
The Battle of Point Pleasant, fought between the Long Knives of Virginia and the Shawnee Indians and their allies on October 10, 1774, was the final battle of Governor John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore, and is considered by many to be the first battle of the American Revolution. It is said that when George Washington surveyed the area in the 1740s, he referred to it as the Pleasant Point.
Cornstalk was the principal chief of all the Shawnee sects at this time. He led both the Shawnee warriors and other tribes who joined the Shawnee in this battle. The Shawnee, who had lived in this area for hundreds of years, were hunters and farmers. They burned parts of the forests to make fields, and then they grew maize, beans, and pumpkins. They lived in wigwams, which they made by bending small trees and tying them together, then draping animal skins over them.
Virginia Governor John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, plotted to crush the Shawnee and end hostilities. Dunmore drew up a plan to trap the Shawnee between two armies. The governor personally led the northern army while land speculator Andrew Lewis led a smaller force from the south. But Shawnee leader Cornstalk struck the southern regiment before it united with Dunmore's troops. On October 10, 1774, Cornstalk's force of approximately 1,200 men attacked Lewis at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers at present-day Point Pleasant. After the battle, which resulted in significant losses on both sides, the Shawnee retreated to protect their settlements in the Scioto Valley in present-day Ohio. As a condition of the subsequent Treaty of Camp Charlotte, the Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo relinquished all claims to land south of the Ohio River. The Battle of Point Pleasant eliminated Native Americans as a force on the frontier for the first three years of the American Revolutionary War, which began in April 1775, clearing the way for peaceful settlement of the region.
The monument to Cornstalk is at the site of the Logan Elm, near Cornstalk's village on the Scippo Creek. He was celebrated for his leadership of the Indian Army against the Virginia Volunteers at Point Pleasant. Although the Indians destroyed one-fifth of the Virginia Volunteers, under Colonel Andrew Lewis, they retreated and made peace with Lord Dunmore at Camp Charlotte, a few miles east of the Logan Elm.
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