August 18, 1749: de Blainville Plate Sets French Claim to Ohio Valley

Celoron de Blainville

On August 18, 1749, explorer Pierre-Joseph Celoron de Blainville buried a lead plate at Point Pleasant as part of his task to claim the entire Ohio Valley for France.

In the mid-1700s, France and Great Britain were continually on the brink of war around the world, particularly in places where the two nations contended for the same land.

Perhaps no place was more tense than the North American frontier, which included most of present West Virginia.

Earlier in August 1749, Celoron de Blainville, accompanied by 230 Canadian militia and Indian guides, had buried a lead plate at the junction of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River. The explorers then traveled down the Ohio to the mouth of the Kanawha River at present Point Pleasant and buried another plate. In all, Celoron buried four plates along the Ohio, but his effort ultimately failed. Great Britain’s victory in the ensuing French and Indian War forced the French from the region, and France surrendered to the British all claims on the Ohio Valley.

The Point Pleasant plate was found by a boy playing on the riverbank in 1846.