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George Rogers Clark (November 19, 1752 – February 13, 1818) was a soldier from Virginia and the highest ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. He served as leader of the Kentucky (then part of Virginia) militia throughout much of the war. Clark is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia (1778) and Vincennes (1779) during the Illinois Campaign, which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. Because the British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Clark has often been hailed as the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest."
Clark's military achievements all came before his 30th birthday. Afterwards he led militia in the opening engagements of the Northwest Indian War, but was accused of being drunk on duty. Despite his demand for a formal investigation into the accusations, he was disgraced and forced to resign. He left Kentucky to live on the Indiana frontier. Never fully reimbursed by Virginia for his wartime expenditures, Clark spent the final decades of his life evading creditors, and living in increasing poverty and obscurity. He was involved in two failed conspiracies to open the Spanish-controlled Mississippi River to American traffic. After suffering a stroke and loss of his leg, Clark was aided in his final years by family members, including his younger brother William, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark died of a stroke on February 13, 1818.
George Rogers Clark was born on November 19, 1752 in Charlottesville, Virginia, near the home of Thomas Jefferson. He was the second of ten children of John Clark and Ann Rogers Clark, who were Anglicans of English and Scots ancestry. Five of their six sons became officers during the American Revolutionary War. Their youngest son, William Clark, was too young to fight in the Revolution, but later became famous as a leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In about 1756, after the outbreak of the French and Indian War (part of the worldwide Seven Years' War), the family moved away from the frontier to Caroline County, Virginia, and lived on a 400-acre (1.6 km2) plantation that later grew to over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2)
Little is known of Clark's schooling. He lived with his grandfather so he could attend Donald Robertson's school with James Madison and John Taylor of Caroline and received a common education. He was also tutored at home, as was usual for Virginian planters' children of the period. Becoming a planter, he was taught to survey land by his grandfather.
At age nineteen, Clark left his home on his first surveying trip into western Virginia. In 1772, as a twenty-year-old surveyor, Clark made his first trip into Kentucky via the Ohio River at Pittsburgh. Thousands of settlers were entering the area as a result of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix of 1768. In 1774, Clark was preparing to lead an expedition of ninety men down the Ohio River when war broke out with the American Indians. Although most of Kentucky was not inhabited by Indians, several tribes used the area for hunting. The tribes living in the Ohio country had not been party to the treaty signed with the Cherokee, which ceded the Kentucky hunting grounds to Britain for settlement. They attacked the European-American settlers to try to push them out of the area, conflicts that eventually culminated in Lord Dunmore's War. Clark served in the war as a captain in the Virginia militia.
Note: General George Rogers Clark was a Revolutionary War Veteran and the founder of Louisville, Kentucky. He was an excellent frontiersman, a skilled Indian negotiator and a superb Military commander. Concerned with the safety of settlers exposed to attack from both the British and their Indian allies in the American Revolution, he led an expedition north of the Ohio River to capture British outposts. His Military exploits in Illionis, Kentucky and Ohio helped to secure those regions for the United States.
Tragically, after serving his country faithfully, George in his old age was left to a life of povery and obscurity. The State of Virginia gave him a sword as a token of thanks, to which he replied, "When Virginia needed a sword, I gave her one. She sends me now a toy. I want bread".
* Burial: Cave Hill Cemetery Louisville Jefferson County Kentucky, USA Plot: SECTION P Lot 245
Beware: There are two profiles on Find A Grave for same man. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=143763651
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On 14 Nov 2014 at 04:25 GMT Doug Lockwood wrote:
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