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MONTRESOR, JOHN

MONTRESOR, JOHN (22 Apr. 1736-26 June 1799), an engineer in the British Army in North America between 1754-78 and a member of Bradstreet's Expedition into the Lake Erie region, conducted the first preliminary survey of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. Montresor was born in Gibraltar, served as assistant engineer under his father in the Engineer Corps of the British Army, and came to America in 1754 with Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock. After the French & Indian War, he conducted a partial survey of the St. Lawrence River and built redoubts around British forts in Canada. In 1764, Montresor accompanied Col. John Bradstreet's expedition to Detroit as chief engineering officer and commander of a detachment of Canadian volunteers. On the expedition's return, most of its ships were wrecked in a storm near Rocky River. Montresor, using one of the few remaining boats, engaged in minor exploration of some of Lake Erie's tributaries. According to his Journal, one of the rivers he apparently visited was the "Cayahuga." Montresor went approximately 5 mi. up the river, measuring the depth and width of the channel in order to learn its potential for navigation. He then returned to Canada and later worked on British fortifications in the present northeastern U.S., and helped establish the long-disputed boundary between New York and New Jersey. During the Revolutionary War, until his retirement due to poor health in 1778, he was the principal engineer of the British.


Journals of Capt. John Montresor, Collections of the New York Historical Society (1881).

Webster, John. Life of John Montresor (1928).