Michael B. Gunn, Ph.D.
Past President, Patriot Graves Chair CCSAR
Photos by Betty Franklin and Carole Gunn
The Americans during the Revolutionary War completed the construction of Fort Laurens—named after Henry Laurens, president of the Continental Congress—in early December 1778 under the command of General Lachlan McIntosh. The fort, built on the west bank of the Tuscarawas River (located in eastern Ohio 25 miles from both Canton in the north and Pennsylvania in the east) was to serve three purposes. First, the Americans hoped to use Fort Laurens as a base to attack the British garrison located at Detroit. Second, it would hopefully deter American Indians loyal to the British from conducting raids against American settlers in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. And finally, by offering protection to the neutral Christian Delaware’s, the Americans might convince them to forsake their neutrality and join the patriots’ cause.
In total, 21 soldiers (and 5 unknown) lost their lives at Fort Laurens after a handful of British soldiers and a couple hundred Wyandot, Mingo, Munsee, and Delaware warriors laid siege to the fort before it was abandoned in 1779. Later, part of the fort was demolished during the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Currently none of the original fort remains above ground, but the outline of the fort is visible.
However, we in the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution honor those who died here during the War that gave us our freedom our liberty and our Country and hope that some day Ohio will recognize this, the only Revolutionary War site in the State by re-constructing this important historical site!