John Murray Dunmore, 4th earl of
Dunmore, John Murray, 4th earl of, 1732–1809, British colonial governor of Virginia, a Scottish peer. Appointed governor of New York in 1770, he remained there for about 11 months before being transferred to Virginia. In 1774 he led the Virginians in a campaign against Native Americans usually known as Lord Dunmore's War. Sending one expedition under Andrew Lewis west by the Kanawha valley, he personally headed the northern column, which set out from Fort Dunmore at Pittsburgh. Lewis defeated the Native Americans at Point Pleasant, and Dunmore negotiated a final treaty with them in the Scioto valley. When the news of Lexington and Concord reached Virginia, Dunmore, who twice before had dissolved the house of burgesses for its procolonist stand, removed the colony's gunpowder stores to a man-of-war. The aroused Virginians made him pay for the powder. Threats against his life forced him to take refuge (June, 1775) on shipboard where he declared martial law and sent out loyal troops, who were defeated at Great Bridge on Dec. 9, 1775. In Jan., 1776, he attacked Norfolk from the sea, but in July he was forced to return to England. From 1787 to 1796 he was governor of the Bahamas.
See R. G. Thwaites and L. P. Kellogg, ed., Documentary History of Dunmore's War, 1774 (1905).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.