John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1730-1809)

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John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1730-1809), was a British peer and colonial governor. He was the son of William Murray, 3rd Earl of Dunmore, and his wife Catherine (née Murray). Murray succeeded his father in the earldom in 1756 and sat as a Scottish Representative Peer in the House of Lords from 1761 to 1774 and from 1776 to 1790. He was the British governor of the Province of New York from 1770 to 1771 and the Virginia Colony, from September 25, 1771 until his departure to New York on New Years Eve, 1776. During his term as Virginia's colonial governor, he directed a series of campaigns against the Indians known as Lord Dunmore's War. The Shawnee were the main target of these attacks, and his purpose was to strengthen Virginia's claims in the west, particularly in the Ohio Country. However, some have accused him of colluding with the Shawnees and arranging the war to deplete the Virginia militia and help safeguard the Loyalist cause, should there be a colonial rebellion. From 1774 on, Dunmore was continually clashing with the Colonial Assembly. He left Williamsburg on June 8, 1775, retreating to his hunting lodge, Porto Bello, and had to take refuge on the British warship Fowey in the York River when the American Revolutionary War began. When he realized he could not regain control in Virginia, he returned to Britain in July 1776. He is noted for Lord Dunmore's Proclamation on November 7, 1775, whereby he offered freedom to enslaved Africans who joined his Army. This was the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America, however, after his retreat he resold these men back into slavery. He organized these Black Loyalists into the Ethiopian Regiment. However, after the Battle of Kemp's Landing, Dunmore became over-confident, which precipitated his defeat at the Battle of Great Bridge, December 9, 1775. Following this defeat, he loaded his army onto British ships and retreated to New York. From 1787 to 1796, he served as Governor of the Bahamas. Lord Dunmore married Lady Charlotte, daughter of Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway, in 1759. Their daughter Lady Augusta Murray was the daughter-in-law of King George III. Dunmore died in March 1809 and was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son George. The Countess of Dunmore died in 1818.

John Murray Dunmore, 4th Earl of in the SCRC database.

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