Historic Fort Laurens

Fort Laurens, constructed in 1778, was a stepping stone across the West to stage an attack on the British at Fort Detroit during the American Revolution. The soldiers that built Fort Laurens started their journey at Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh making their way to the Ohio River and building Fort McIntosh. The soldiers traveled across Lenape (Delaware) land to reach the site of present day Bolivar. The British became curious of the Colonists’ activity in the Ohio Territory, so a group of Native American allies and British troops was sent to investigate. Among the group was Simon Girty. An unsuspecting group of American soldiers left the Fort to gather wood and were ambushed by the new arrived British and Native American forces. Defenseless, thirteen American soldiers perished in the attack. The Native Americans and British laid siege to the Fort. Unable to acquire food, many of the American soldiers were forced to eat roots and grass growing beneath the Fort wall. The American soldiers even resorted to boiling their own moccasins for broth. In total, twenty-one soldiers lost their live at Fort Laurens before it was abandoned in 1779. On site is the Tomb of the Unknown Patriot of the American Revolution, the final resting place of one of five soldiers who were unable to be identified. Later, part of the fort was demolished during the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Currently no parts of the original fort remain above ground, but the outline of the fort remains visible.