Many times in the course of researching and writing an article for one of my books I come across a topic that, when I start reading about it, I discover a new course of events that leads to several more articles. The result of all of this leads me to include many events in my books, especially history, that readers will find in few, if any, other books on history.
A Good Example
This morning provides a good example of my writing and research methods. As I sipped my coffee, I noted the next topic that came up in my database of events that I created to track my articles. The topic was:
November 20, 1775 - Dr. John Connolly Captured
A check through my articles revealed that I had not written anything about Mr. Connolly, save for a prior short reference in one of my earlier books.
I followed the reference link I had placed in the entry and discovered that Mr. Connolly was at the center of a plot to incite the Indians to attack and harass colonists in the early stages of the American Revolution.
Mr. Connolly had been involved in some campaigns in an earlier war, Pontiac's Rebellion in the 1760's while still a young man. At the end of hostilities he settled in Pittsburg where he made acquaintance with George Washington, who plays little part in this story. He also became friends with British Royal Governor John Murray, Lord Dunmore. Dunmore was at the forefront of another war, Lord Dunmore's War, on the eve of the Revolution. Lord Dunmore had designs on making the Pittsburg region, in the Province of Pennsylvania, a part of Virginia based on his interpretation of the Royal Charter granted to Virginia when it was settled in the 1600's. He appointed Connolly as the Commandant of the local militia and had him occupy Fort Pitt in early 1774. The British had abandoned in the early 1770's and sold to a private landowner. Connolly organized a militia force and occupied the fort, renaming it Fort Dunmore.
Connolly began collecting taxes imposed by Lord Dunmore that annoyed the local Pennsylvanians. He also instituted some new courts at the behest of Lord Dunmore. These actions led to conflicts that led to animosity between the two colonies. The affair came to a head in May 1775 when the local Pennsylvanians heard the news about the first shots fired in what would become the American Revolution. They passed a resolution supporting their Massachusetts brethren and created enough heat for Connolly to abandon the fort, which the Pennsylvanians reoccupied in August 1775. Pennsylvania officials then arrested Connolly.
This created a quandary for Pennsylvania officials, as Connolly had been in the process of conducting treaty negotiations with some American Indian tribes. The chiefs had already gathered at Pittsburg and wondered at the sudden disappearance of Mr. Connolly, whom the officials had arrested in front of them in the early stages of the talks.
While reading all of this information, related on about five different websites, I found I needed several more articles to cover this fascinating turn of events. The Pennsylvanians did not trust Connolly, as his history suggested he might use the negotiations to incite the Indians to harass them. However, they needed the treaty he was working on to quell unrest among the natives at the very time that they sensed the conflict with Great Britain was going to escalate. They did release Connolly, who did go on to finish the treaty.
Thus, this generated these, and possibly more, articles:
Connolly's Later Meeting with Dunmore where the two spent two weeks plotting Connolly's trek into the area north of the Ohio River to incite the tribes
Connolly's progress in this plot
I still need to write about his arrest in November 1775 when colonial officials discovered his activities.
For those that would like to follow this story line, and more events in the saga that led to the creation of the United States, you can find them in my series:
Timeline of United States History
|Timeline of United States History|