The following is taken from "Annals of Southern West Virginia 1769-1800", Wikipedia, Ancestry.com sources:
The Battle of Point Pleasant was the only significant battle of Dunmore's War of 1774.
For years, Shawnee, Mingo and Cherokee laid claim to the land south of the Ohio for hunting purposes. In an attempt to make peace with the British and deflect hostility away from their own tribes the Iroquois Indians signed the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. However, some Indian tribes were present and refused to sign (including the Shawnee). Those tribes that did sign were paid by the British crown.
Due to increased pressure from land speculators and settlers, the British government signed the Treaty of Lochaber, 1770. The Cherokee relinquished their rights to land in parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and present day southern West Virginia; however the Shawnee and other tribes did not.
The Shawnee (led by Chief Cornstalk) refused to give up hunting grounds south of the Ohio (Shawnee built villages along the eastern coast, two of which were at present day Moorefield, WV and near Winchester Va).
As settlers began pouring into the Ohio River Valley the stage was set for Native-Anglo conflict.
In 1774, Lord Dunmore asked the Virginia House of Burgess to declare war on the Shawnee and their Mingo tribe allies. Subsequently, British diplomats managed to keep the Iroquois and Delaware tribes neutral during the conflict.
Lord Dunmore split his forces into two armies: commanded by himself and Col. Andrew Lewis (whom the city of Lewisburg is named).
Over 1100 able bodied men were assembled by Lewis at Camp Union. Lewis's army marched up the New and Kanawha Rivers with instructions to meet Dunmore's forces at the mouth of the Kanawha. However, once there, he received instructions to cross the Ohio and engage the Shawnee. On Oct. 10 Chief Cornstalk surprised Lewis's army. The Battle of Point Pleasant lasted for a day. Although Lewis and his forces "won" the battle and drove the Indians back, the ratio of Virginians killed to Shawnee was 5 to 1 in favor of the Shawnee.
As a footnote: some historians consider Dunmore's War the first war of the Revolution. Some accounts (and those of Lewis's ancestors) claim that Dunmore was two-faced. The governor was suspicious of colonist animosity with the British. In lieu of this, he may have tried building a coalition with Cornstalk in talks before Lewis reached his own forces. Lewis's presumed defeat would then squash the forces of the recalcitrant western Virginians.
--for a more detailed reading, check out "Wikipedia's Dunmore's War". There are also a number of books written on the subject.
Our ancestors who fought in this battle:
Francis, Thomas and and John Farley:
The Farley brothers spent several weeks constructing Fort Randolph (Point Pleasant) and assisted in getting the sick and wounded back to their homes on the Greenbrier and New Rivers. Thomas is buried near Sugar Run at Walker Creek in Giles Co., VA. Francis died at Shawnee Town, Illinois in 1829 at the age of 103.
Francis was in Michael Woods' Company during the Battle of Point Pleasant. He was also in Henderson's Company in 1782, and was one of Caperton's Rangers on the Greenbrier and Kanawha rivers.
Samuel and George Pack: See my Blog update posted 10/1/2011 for documentation!
James Ellison, Sr.:
1775 Compensation List for Dunmore's War...See my Blog update 10/1/2011
John Swope (possibly an ancestor/distant relation to Michael Swope) also served.