Robert J. Holden
The events that took place on the Trans-Appalachian frontier had a lasting effect on the shaping of world history. In this vast area lying between the Appalachian Mountains, Mississippi River, Great Lakes and the Gulf Coast, a direct confrontation took place among the Indians, French, British, Spanish and Americans. The ultimate success of the Americans in this region made possible the expansion of the United States to the Pacific Ocean.
The annual George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference was inaugurated in October 1983 to encourage research into this important field of study and to serve as a focal point for its presentation. Although papers on the subject are often presented at other meetings, no regularly scheduled conference had existed which was devoted solely to this theme. The importance of both George Rogers Clark and the settlement of Vincennes in the early history of this region make this historic city on the Wabash River, the site of George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, a perfect setting for such a gathering. These selected papers from the 1985 and 1986 conferences cover a wide variety of topics. Light T. Cummins' "Oliver Pollock and George Rogers Clark's Service of Supply: A Case Study in Financial Disaster" provides an insight into the often overlooked field of financing military operations. George M. Wailer's "Regularity: Military Policy in the Old Northwest 1789-1794" looks at American efforts against the Indians during a particularly crucial time. Louis M. Waddell's "Expansion in Western Pennsylvania and the Upper Ohio Valley, 1754-1800" compares certain parallels in events during this period. Leroy V. Bid's "'Their Rules of War': James Smith's Summary of Indian Woodland War" explores the tactics of Indian warfare. Peter Peregrine's "Black Robes and Blackened Faces: A History of Miami-Jesuit Relations" discusses the role of two early missionaries. James H. O'Donnell's "'National Retaliation': Thomas Jefferson's Brief for the Imprisonment of Henry Hamilton" examines the rationale for the unusual treatment accorded this British frontier official.
For their great assistance and efforts in the 1985 and 1986 conferences, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to former Superintendent John Neal, Terri Utt and Pat Wilkerson of the National Park Service, and to President Phillip M. Summers, Robert R. Stevens and David A. Bathe of Vincennes University.
Robert J. Holden
Last Updated: 23-Mar-2011