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Dunmore's War - 250 Years: Class 1 Who Was Lord Dunmore

July 18, 2024
7:00pm - 8:30pm

Dunmore's War - 250 Years: Class 1 Who Was Lord Dunmore

July 18, Class 1:  Who Was Lord Dunmore?

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Dunmore’s War, seen by many historians as the last conflict of America’s colonial period. If you grew up in Wheeling, or the Ohio River Valley, Lord Dunmore’s name is no doubt familiar. While the general impression is that he is remembered for some sort of villainy, how he earned this reputation and the true nature of his character are somewhat murky. Long dismissed as an incompetent hothead and neglected by most historians, James Corbett David’s book, Dunmore’s New World (U. of Virginia Press, 2013), provides the basis for the first class in our series, focused on John Murray, Viscount Fincastle and 4th Earl of Dunmore. Who was this man? What personal circumstances motivated his desire for an imperial appointment in America? Why was he appointed royal governor of the Virginia colony? What role did he play in his eponymous war? And what became of him after his departure from Virginia back to England? 

Presented in memory of the late Debi Smith, D.A.R. member and officer. 

Instructor James H. Frey: Born and raised in Wheeling, Jay Frey was educated in Ohio County Public Schools and he is a graduate of Oberlin College. His career as a teacher and later as a fundraising professional took him outside of his home state. In 2010 he returned to the area for an executive position at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. He retired in 2014. With a lifelong passion for local history and genealogy, Jay is involved in a number of organizations reflective of those interests, namely the Fort Henry Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, the Friends of Wheeling, Wheeling Heritage and the newly formed Ohio County Cemeteries Foundation. He has worked as a volunteer to raise up our community’s colonial and Revolutionary legacy hence his interest in Lord Dunmore and Dunmore’s War.


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In 1951, the Ohio County Public Library's librarian, Virginia Ebeling, referenced British historian Thomas Carlyle, who said, “the public library is a People’s University,” when she initiated a new adult education program with that name. Miss Ebeling charged the library with the responsibility of reaching “as many people in the community as possible.” In keeping with that tradition of public libraries as sanctuaries of free learning for all people, the Ohio County Public Library revived the series in 2010.

The People’s University features courses (taught by experts in each subject) that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, music appreciation, philosophy, and literature. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements and all programs are free and open to the public. For more information about PU: The Cold War, EMAIL US,  visit, or call the library at 304-232-0244.

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