Friday, September 15, 2017

We've Done More

Dunmore vs. Dunsmore - We've Done More

Known as Lord Dunsmore (spelled with an 's') on the Daniel Boone TV show's Season 1-Episode 12 'Not In Our Stars', the real-life Lord Dunmore (no 's'), born John Murray, was the last Royal Governor of Virginia. His innovation of freeing slaves to fight for the British played a major role in Revolutionary War strategy and was the initial spark that led to all of the events described by this site.

Dunmore was born in 1732 in England, a distant but direct descendant of royalty. Murray inherited the title of Earl of Dunmore, and it was as Lord Dunmore that he became universally known. Dunmore was appointed Governor of New York in 1770, just as rebellion was spreading through all the colonies. Soon after, he was transferred to Virginia. His first act was to abolish the Virginia Assembly, which was dominated by Patriots like Thomas Jefferson.

Dunmore had to deal with many problems from the moment he arrived in Virginia. Rebels or various sorts were numerous and powerful. Both the Patriots and the local Shawnee Indians threatened his government. He also feared a slave revolt, commenting that 'whoever promises freedom to the slaves shall have all of them at his disposal'; likely considering the possibility of an Indian attack.

James Murray, Earl of Dunmore and last Royal Governor of Virginia.

By 1774, he had so many problems with the rebels that peace with the Indians became a necessity. He negotiated a treaty despite the provocation of the Shawnee by British attacks. Several soldiers burned down Shawnee villages during negotiations.

Dunmore's dealings with the Patriots were less successful. Being short of men, Dunmore began enlisting any man who was free and willing to serve, a practice that led him to recruiting blacks of uncertain origins. His easy victory at Kemp's landing helped him see the value of black troops, but also led him into a dangerous overconfidence. After issuing the Proclamation in November of 1783, Dunmore ordered the rash attack at Great Bridge a month later, which destroyed his forces and the Virginian slaves' hope for freedom.

Dunmore fled Virginia, and soon after left America for England. A short time later he was named British Governor of the West Indies in Nassau. Again he embraced the institution of slavery, buying a retinue of personal slaves and paying a bounty to slave ships that brought their cargo to the Bahamas. In a strange twist of fate, his escaped personal slaves jumped a ship traveling to Nova Scotia and met the slaves that Dunmore had once taken the initiative to set free.

Dunmore returned to England and died in 1809.  Hope this settles the Dunsmore vs Dunmore question.

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The Cumberland Gap is a narrow pass through the long ridge of the Cumberland Mountains, within the Appalachian Mountains, near the junction of the U.S. states of KentuckyVirginia, and Tennessee.
Famous in American colonial history for its role as a key passageway through the lower central Appalachians, it was an important part of the Wilderness Road and is now part of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
Long used by Native Americans, the Cumberland Gap was brought to the attention of settlers in 1750 by Thomas Walker, a Virginia physician and explorer. The path was explored by a team of frontiersmen led by Daniel Boone, making it accessible to pioneers who used it to journey into the western frontiers of Kentucky and Tennessee.

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May your weekend find you smiling!   Cheers.

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