News Of History


The second undertaking, financed by federal funds, is a two-year project to search further for Virginia colonial records in British repositories and secure microfilm copies. Dr. George Reese, a Virginia scholar formerly with the State Department, has gone abroad to be in charge of the work. He will report to an advisory committee of archivists appointed by the commissions, who plan to make positive prints of the microfilm available for purchase by research libraries.

Dr. Thomas J. Wertenbaker, formerly of Princeton University, has been named chairman of a committee to draft a constitution and at make arrangements for the initial meeting this fall in Philadelphia of a group of persons interested in early American history and in forming a new historical society. A preliminary meeting to set this machinery in motion was held at Columbia University late in April.

Historians, writers, and others interested in early American history are scattered throughout the United States, most of them working in isolation without much knowledge of what others are doing in the same general field and without the stimulus that association with others concerned with this period of our history could bring. To meet this need is the primary goal of the group now at work forming the new organization.

Professor Lawrence Henry Gipson of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has played a leading role in the movement up to this point.

In Tennessee work is again underway on the restoration and reconstruction of historic Fort Loudoun 35 miles south of Knoxville on the Little Tennessee River. The Fort was built by the Colony of South Carolina in 1756–57 in the heart of the Cherokee Indian country as a barrier to French advance in the Mississippi Valley.

It was named for the Earl of Loudoun, British commander on chief in North America and garrisoned by troops from South Carolina.

In 1760, incited by the French, Cherokees besieged the fort and the garrison surrendered on August 7. When the troops marched out they were attacked by the Indians who killed a number of officers and privates as well as some women and children. The fort was burned.

The Fort Loudoun Association, incorporated in 1933 to maintain the site and to restore the fort, has carried on its task as best it could with limited funds. Now, however, with the bicentennial of the original fort drawing near, work is under way with renewed vigor. A special appropriation from the state of Tennessee is being used to reconstruct a section of palisades with loop holes, gun port, and firing platform and to erect a contemporary cannon of the National Park Service.

Tentative plans are being made to celebrate the bicentennial of Fort Loudoun in 1956–57.