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A Word About the Rangers of the Ohio Company

As early as August 1753 William Fairfax suggested that William Trent be commissioned to raise “a body of Rangers” to give the British traders and the families some sense of security.  They were Rangers of the Ohio Company!  They wore no uniforms but dressed as the frontier demanded, very similar to the ways that the Natives dressed.  They fought, lived and died as men who were seeking a better life in an expanding world.


In 1754, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed an Act authorizing ₤10,000 for the defense of the frontier.  In addition to the rangers that Trent already had employed, he was commissioned a captain and ordered to raise a company of 100 men from Augusta County Virginia and from the exterior settlements of the Dominion.  Land was also offered which provided “that over and above their pay, 200,000 acres of His Majesty the King of Great Brittan’s Land on the east side of the Ohio River, …, shall be laid off and granted to such persons, who by their voluntary engagement and good behavior in said Service, shall deserve the same.”  These men were from all backgrounds and trades who volunteered for the promise of pay and land, but were driven by many reasons. 


The Rangers of the Ohio Company were rugged men who ranged away from the settlements and traveled into the wildness to establish and protect the fur trade routes of the Ohio Company.  Early pioneers gathered for the common defense of their communities and fought an irregular warfare with the Natives and French.  Rangers served as scouts, pathfinders, snipers, hunters, interpreters, Indian agents and intelligence gatherers for the Ohio Company and the established colonial government. They were among the first to open the frontier for British settlement and expanding Ohio Company trade in the vast regions and resources of the Ohio Country. 


These Rangers patrolled between fixed frontier fortifications conducting reconnaissance missions and providing early warning of enemy raids. In offensive operations, they were scouts and guides, locating villages and other targets for forces drawn from the colonial militia or other troops.  They responded when danger was present, fighting in the way of the woods, rather than lined up by battalions and firing as a mass at an unseen enemy.


The Rangers of the Ohio Company is a living history presentation honoring these Rangers.  Please come and visit the camp and see, smell and hear about life as a Ranger in mid-eighteenth century America.  Better yet, come join us!

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