Historic Fort Laurens

Fort Laurens was 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. They then travelled across Lenape (Delaware) land to reach the site of present day Bolivar. The British became curious about the Colonists’ activity in the Ohio Territory and sent a group of their Native American allies and British troops to investigate, among them 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. The American soldiers were without their weapons and left defenseless in the attack leaving thirteen dead. It was then that the Native Americans and British laid siege to the Fort causing conditions of starvation in the Fort. Many of the American Soldiers were forced to eat roots and grass growing beneath the Fort wall. The American soldiers also resorted to boiling their own moccasins to get a broth for some form of nutrition. In total, 21 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 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 is visible.