Louis Lorimier in the American Revolution, 1777-1782: A Mémoire by an Ohio Indian Trader and British Partisan

William L. Potter (formerly Extended) Publication Series, no. 2

Paul L. Stevens

61 pages, 2 maps | 1997

Much has been written about how the American Midwest’s French inhabitants helped Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark to overthrow British rule on the frontier. But little has been told of the other French of mid-America–the ones who actively supported Britain’s cause in opposition to Clark. Paul L. Stevens does much to fill that historical void with this study of the frontier service of one such man: Louis Lorimier.

French-Canadian Pierre-Louis de Lorimier was a wilderness entrepreneur operating a trading post in Ohio on the strategic Auglaize-Miami portage, the main military route between British Detroit and the Ohio valley. Lorimier not only helped facilitate overland transit of British/Indian strike forces and provided supplies, but also willingly joined their expeditions against the Kentucky settlements and the Ohio frontier. The ultimate results of Lorimier’s pro-British activities were the destruction of his post at the hands of George Rogers Clark’s vengeful forces–and his own financial ruin. Lorimier’s mémoire–a six page recap of his wartime activities–was apparently written from amongst the smoldering wreckage of his destroyed business and was intended to remind British authorities of his service in hopes of winning some sort of compensation for his staggering losses. It appears Lorimier was unsuccessful; his debts forced him to abandon Ohio and eventually reestablish himself in Spanish Missouri after the war.

Dr. Stevens provides us with an English translation of Lorimier’s unique document (perhaps the only existing period account by a French participant of British raids on the Ohio and Kentucky frontiers). A detailed introduction presents the reader with an interesting background to Lorimier and to the shadowy world of warfare in the western wilderness, and extensive textual annotations provide a wealth of ancillary information relating to the events and personages of the Revolution in the West.


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