Dinwiddie, Robert

Dinwiddie, Robert,

1693–1770, colonial governor of Virginia (1751–58), b. near Glasgow, Scotland. He was collector of customs (1727–38) for Bermuda and surveyor general (1738–51) for the Bahamas, Jamaica, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Appointed lieutenant governor of Virginia in 1751, he was really the chief executive of the colony, always known as governor, since the two men who held the titular office during his term never came to Virginia. Dinwiddie favored an aggressive policy to forestall the French in the Ohio valley, and late in 1753 he sent George Washington on a mission to Fort Le Boeuf, c.12 mi (19 km) south of the site of Erie, Pa., to warn the French to withdraw from the territory claimed by the British. The French declined to heed Washington's demand, and early in 1754 Dinwiddie dispatched a force of workmen to build a fort at the junction of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, generally called the forks of the Ohio. Washington, made a lieutenant colonel of the colonial militia, soon followed with a detachment to protect them. The French drove the workmen away before Washington arrived and then defeated him on July 3, 1754, at Fort NecessityFort Necessity,
entrenched camp built in July, 1754, by George Washington and his Virginia militia at Great Meadows (near the present Uniontown, Pa.). He retired there when he learned that the British fort at the forks of the Ohio (the site of Pittsburgh) had been captured (and
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. Hostilities in the last of the French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
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 had begun. Dinwiddie worked energetically preparing for Gen. Edward BraddockBraddock, Edward,
1695–1755, British general in the French and Indian War (see under French and Indian Wars). Although he had seen little active campaigning before 1754, Braddock was reputed to have a good knowledge of European military tactics and was noted as a stern
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's campaign and the others that followed, but failed to win the full cooperation of other colonies that he constantly sought. His exertions finally ruined his health, and he left Virginia in 1758.


See biography by L. K. Koontz (1970).

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Dinwiddie, Robert

(1693–1770) colonial administrator; born near Glasgow, Scotland. He served as lieutenant-governor of Virginia (1751–58). He sent George Washington to warn the French to stay out of western Pennsylvania in 1753–54. After the defeat of Braddock's army (1755) he had the almost impossible task of defending the extended frontier from Indians' raids; the danger was finally eliminated by the capture of Fort Duquesne in 1758.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Dinwiddie, Robert (editor) POPULAR SCIENCE: Science Year by Year.