On Saturday July 29th on a beautiful summer morning there was a memorial service at Fort Laurens – Bolivar Ohio. We were fortunate that the rain had moved through the area an hour before the scheduled service and allowed us to continue our event as originally planned.
There was a Memorial Service and Wreath Presentation on Saturday July 29th, 2023 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Fort Laurens.
- Presentation of Colors by combined Ohio Chapter Color Guard members
- Keynote Address by Stephen Hinson – Central District Vice President General
- Soldiers Lost – a remembrance to them
- Memorial Wreath presentations by various SAR, DAR, CAR and Veterans groups
- A three volley musket salute
- Taps was played followed by
- Retirement of the Flags – colors
Photos of the Event:
History behind Fort Laurens
Fort Laurens was constructed in 1778 as a stepping stone across the western frontier to stage an attack on the British who controlled Fort Detroit during the American Revolution.
The soldiers built Fort Laurens started their journey at Fort Pitt in now Pittsburg, PA. They made their way to the Ohio River and built Fort McIntosh, named after their commander. They then travelled across Lenape (Delaware Indian) land to reach the site of present day Bolivar, Ohio (location of Fort Laurens).
The British became quite curious about the Colonists’ activity in the Ohio Territory and sent a group of their Native American allies and British troops to investigate. These combatants located an unsuspecting group of American soldiers who had left the Fort to gather wood. An ambush took place by these newly arrived British and Native American forces. The American soldiers were without their weapons and as a result thirteen American Patriots were killed as a result.
It was then that the Native Americans and British laid siege to the Fort causing starvation conditions within the Fort. Many of the American soldiers were forced to eat roots and grass growing beneath the Fort walls.
Some of the American soldiers resorted to boiling their own moccasins to get a broth for some nutrition. Now that is desperate!
In total, twenty-one soldiers lost their lives at Fort Laurens before the fort was abandoned in 1779 after nine months of habitation.
On the site of Fort Laurens is the “Tomb of the Unknown Patriot” of the American Revolution. This tomb is the final resting spot of one of the five soldiers who where unable to be identified.
Later in the early 1800’s the fort was demolished during the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Currently no parts of the fort remain above ground, however the outline of the fort has been identified and marked with corner posts. Note the the eastern portion of the fort is now part of the abandoned Ohio and Erie Canal as well as part of Interstate Highway 77.
Future Plans for Fort Laurens
There are current efforts underway to pursue building a partial fort on the original site as well as an alternative to rebuild a complete replica of the original fort in the field adjacent to the original footprint.
There is a museum on site which you can tour for a nominal fee.
The SAR is promoting the full replica so as to not disturb the original fort footprint and permit future archeological digging and research. This process is underway and we are hoping for decisions and financial commitments by the State of Ohio and the Ohio History Connection in the next year or so. SAR will be fully engaged and participating in these ongoing efforts.
The program of the event is attached:
After the service, the participants were invited to a lunch at a neighboring venue.
Thanks to all that participated in this event:
We are grateful for the efforts of the Ohio History Connection (OHC), the Friends of the Fort Laurens Foundation and the Zoar Community Association for their assistance in supporting this ceremony.
We are also so grateful for the outpouring of support for this event by the 20+ Ohio SAR Chapters. Thanks also to the DAR and CAR representatives who traveled to Bolivar to participate.
Fort Laurens Museum which is onsite was open for all attendees of the ceremony.
We will share any new developments in the plans for Fort Laurens.
If you have any photos you would like to share, please leave a comment and we will reach out to arrange connection.