by Gwynne Tuell Potts
Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2020. Pp. viii, 306.
Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $40.00. ISBN: 0813178673
The First ”West” from Colonial Times through the Early Republic
Author Potts is president of the National Historic Landmark at Locust Grove, the home of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark (1752-1818), and has produced a book that is difficult to categorize and of considerable value. Billed as a dual biography of the Clark and his less famous, but equally accomplished friend and kinsman William Croghan (1752-1822), this is much more than the tale of the two men’s lives.
Potts gives us a look at the American frontier from the mid-eighteenth century through the American Revolution and thence on through the early Republic and into the early nineteenth century. This was an era in which white and Indian relations in the “Ohio Country” were characterized by virtually continuous war for some six decades, as settlers and speculators sought to displace Native Americans, the latter riven by tribal rivalries and threatened by great power– British, French, Spanish – competition.
Potts profiles many people, some famous, including many “Founding Fathers” and some who should be better known, from Aaron Burr to the notorious James Wilkinson, among them many Indians and people of mixed race, such as Joseph Brant.
George Rogers Clark and William Croghan is a very useful read for those interested in civil life or military affairs during the late colonial period, the Revolutionary War, and the early Republic.
Note: George Rogers Clark and William Croghan is also available in several e-editions.
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