Chapter VI. The Ohio Country
You have already learned how the English
people had control of all that
part of our country which borders upon the Atlantic Ocean.
learned, also, that they had made thirteen great settlements
coast, while all the vast region west of the mountains remained
and unknown land.
Now, because Englishmen had been the first white men to see
the line of
shore that stretches from Maine to Georgia, they set up a claim
the land west of that line.
They had no idea how far the land extended. They knew almost
about its great rivers, its vasts forests, its lofty mountains,
prairies. They cared nothing for the claims of the Indians
"All the land from ocean to ocean," they said, "belongs
to the King of
But there were other people who also had something to say
The French had explored the Mississippi
River. They had sailed on the
Great Lakes. Their hunters and trappers were roaming through
forests. They had made treaties with the Indians - and they
trading posts, here and there, along the watercourses.
They said, "The English people
may keep their strip of land between the
mountains and the sea. But these great river valleys and this
around the Lakes are ours, because we have been the first to
make use of them."
Now, about the time that George Washington was thinking of
sailor, some of the rich planters in Virginia began to hear
stories about a fertile region west of the Alleghanies, watered
noble river, and rich in game and fur-bearing animals.
This region was called the Ohio Country,
from the name of the river - and
those who took pains to learn the most about it were satisfied
would, at some time, be of very great importance to the people
should control it.
And so these Virginian planters and certain Englishmen formed
called the Ohio Company, the object of which was to explore
and make money by establishing trading posts and settlements
of this company, Lawrence Washington was one of the chief managers.
Lawrence Washington and his brother George had often talked
"We shall have trouble with the French," said
already sent men into the Ohio Country - and they are trying
in every way
to prove that the land belongs to them."
"It looks as if we should have to drive them out by force," said
"Yes, and there will probably be some
hard fighting," said
Lawrence - "and you, as a young man, must get yourself
ready to have a hand in it."
And Lawrence followed this up by persuading the governor of
to appoint George as one of the adjutants-general of Virginia.
George was only nineteen years old, but he was now Major Washington,
one of the most promising soldiers in America.