Thomas Cushing.

History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests, i online

. (page 5 of 231)
Online LibraryThomas CushingHistory of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests, i → online text (page 5 of 231)
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might advance promptly along Braddock's road. But the expedition was not
merely a military enterprise; it was also the march of civilization toward the
west, and was made memorable by the construction of a better avenue to the
Ohio. This required long-continued labor. September had C(jme before


Forbes, whose life was slowly ebbing, was borne on a litter as far as Rays-
town (now Bedford). But be preserved a clear head and a tine will, or, as he
himself expressed it, was actuated by the spirit of William Pitt; and he
decided to keep up the direct communication with Philadelphia as essential
to present success and future security."*

At the same time the events of the year seemed to promise success to an
embassy to the western Indians, if the proper messenger could be found. The
influence of the Quakers, together with the campaign of Armstrong, had
induced the Indians located in the eastern part of the province to confer with
the whites at Easton in November, 1756. The contracting parties were Gov.
Denny on the part of the province, and the noted Delaware chief, Tedyuscung,
on the part of the aborigines. Each party was attended by a considerable
retinue. When questioned as to the cause of the dissatisfaction and hostility of
the Indians, the chief mentioned the overtures of the French and the ill-usage
of the provincial authorities. He boldly declared that the very land on which
they stood had been taken from the rightful owners by fraud, and not only had
the country fi'om Tohickon creek to Wyoming been thus taken, but several
tracts in New Jersey had been similarly stolen from his people. And subse-
quently, when the Six Nations had given the Shawanese the country on the
•Juniata for a hunting-ground, with the full knowledge of the governor, the lat-
ter permitted settlers to encroach upon their lands. Again, in 1754, the gov-
ernor had gone to Albany to purchase more lands of the Six Nations, describ-
ing the lands sought by points of the compass, which the Indians did not
understand, and by the profusion of presents obtained grants for lands which
the Iroqtiois did not intend to sell. When these things were known to the
native occupants they declared they would no longer be fiiends with the
English, who were trying to get all their country.

This council lasted nine days, and resulted in a treaty of peace between the
two parties, and the former differences were amicably adjusted. Another
council for settling certain other questions was held in July, 1757. These con-
ferences did not, however, include the Indians on the Ohio, who were under
the immediate influence of the French, but Tedyuscung promised to endeavor
to bring them into friendly relations with the English. His efforts did not,
however, avail, and the western tribes contimted their hostilities. But in
1758, with Forbes' army on the point of marching against Fort Duquesne, the
provincial authorities determined to make one more effort to alienate the Ohio
Indians from their allegiance to the French. Accordingly Christian Frederic
Post, a Moravian missionary, who was held in high esteem by the Indians in
the east, was sent out in July. He proceeded by way of Venango to Kiska-
skunk on the Beaver, a short distance below New Castle, and was accom-
panied by several Indians to insure him a favorable reception. He was
well received, though the Indians refused to hear of Tedyuscung or the Easton


treaty. He remained about a week and made a favorable impression upon all,
till a French officer arrived with an Indian delegation from Fort Duquesne,
which caused the Indians to waver. An effort was also made to bring him near
enough to the fort to capture him; but he escaped through the influence of his
friends, and after an anxious delay, so skillfully managed his cause as to get an
agreement from the chief men that, if all the nations agreed to join the English
in a treaty of peace, they would also join. He set out on his return journey
on the 8th of September, and reached the east some two weeks later. A severe
blow was then struck at the confidence of the Indians in the ultimate success
of the French, which was destined to be deeply felt by the latter.

A grand council was accordingly held at Easton in the fall of the same
year for the adjustment of the whole question of Indian grievances, in which
all matters were amicably settled, though not without difficulty. When the
Indians dispersed it seemed advisable to send a messenger with the delegation
fi'om the west to negotiate with the wavering tribes on the upper Ohio and
claim the fulfillment of their promise. No one being so well suited as Post,
he was again sent out.

The army under Forbes had been making slow progress westward; audit
was September before he reached Raystown, where Col. Bouquet awaited his
arrival. Bu^t this very tardiness was not without its effect. It gave Post an
opportunity of perfecting his negotiations with the already wavering Indians;
it exhausted their patience and made many of those assembled around Fort
Duquesne withdraw; and it worked the consumption of the provisions at the
fort, and made it expedient to reduce the forces there; and in this way it ren-
dered the capture of the fort more certain and less difficult. Washington joined
the army with his command at Raystown, and Bouquet with a force of two
thousand men was sent forward to the Loyalhanna. Every day seemed to seal
more certainly the fate of the French, who were beginning to be disheartened
by the success which attended the British arms on the lakes. Their distance
from their base of supplies was another difficulty they had to contend against,
which, with the mutual jealousies of the rulers in Canada, rendered the posi-
tion of the garrison at Fort Duquesne far from enviable. Gen. Montcalm,
writing at this time to his friend the Chevalier de Bourlamaque, gives this jjict-
ure of the condition of affairs at the fort: "Mutiny among the Canadians,
who want to go home ; the officers busj"^ with making money, and stealing like
mandarins. Their commander sets the example, and will come back with
three or four hundred francs; the pettiest ensign who does not gamble will
have ten, twelve or fifteen hundred francs. The Indians do not like Ligneris,
who is drunk every day."* Insignificant successes served in a measure to keep
up the spirit of the French ; but the entire policy of that nation in the New
World was erroneous, and the fall of their power was only a question of time.
The defeat of Maj. Grant within a mile of the fort, to which he had been


sent with eight hundred men, was due rather to his imprudence than to the
valor or vigilance of the enemy; while the attack of the French and Indians
on Fort Ligonier produced no permanent result. The fall of Fort Frontenac,
at the outlet of Lake Ontario, August '27th, by cutting off supplies, made it
impossible to hold Fort Duquesne long. All hope being lost, on the 24th of
November, 1758, when the English were within ten miles of the fort it was
blown up and the buildings around it, to the number of about thirty, were
l)urnt. The French, who counted about four hundred, besides a large force
of Indians of several tribes, withdi'ew. Some of the former went down the
Ohio to the Illinois country, others across the country to Presqu' Isle,
and part with their commander, De Ligneris, up the Allegheny to Fort Ma-
chault, at the mouth of French creek. On Saturday, November 25, 1758,.
the English moved in a body, and at evening the yolithful Washington could
point out to officers and men the meeting of the waters. The hand of the
veteran Armstrong raised the British flag over the ruins of the fort; and as the
banner floated to the breeze, the place, at the suggestion of Forbes, was
named Pittsburgh.

But all danger had not been removed by the capture of Fort Duquesne.
That part of the French forces which retreated up the Allegheny halted at
Fort Machault; that fortification was strengthened, and it was the intention
to remain there during the winter, defend the place in case of an attack, and
descend the river in the spring with a view of recapturing S"'ort Duquesne.
L'nder favorable circumstances this would not have been difficult; for the
British, after throwing vip a little fortification not far from the captured strong-
hold, retired to Philadelphia, leaving a garrison of not more than two hundred
men. In case of a sudden attack these could not be reinforced in time to
hold the place. Having collected a force of about seven hundred French and
Canadians, and a thousand Indians, with batteaux and canoes for their trans-
portation, toward the end of June, 1759, the French were about to embark
for the forks, when word was received that Fort Niagara was besieged. The
importance of holding that point induced them to abandon Machault and
hasten to concentrate all their available forces at Niagara. They saw their
route to the Mississippi cut off by way of the Ohio, and if Niagara should fall
into the hands of the enemy, all communication with the west would be broken
off. The stores and munitions of war prepared for the expedition to the forks
were hastily destroyed or distributed among the Indians, while the large fleet
of batteaux and canoes was burnt. Forts Le Bceuf and Presqu' Isle, having
served as relays during the occupation of Duquesne, lost their importance,
and were evacuated, and the power of the French in Pennsylvania was
extinguished forever.

The subsequent history of the French in North America is soon told. Fort
Niagara was captured on the 5th of August, 1759, and with it the French were
cut off from all communication with the west; Quebec fell with the death of


Montcalm, September 14th, of the same year; and with the capitulation of
Montreal, September 8, 1760, all the possessions of the French east of the
Mississippi fell into the hands of the English. But as the star of the French
sank behind the western horizon, the sun of American Independence rose
gloriously in the east.

A word on this apparent triumph of England. Long before the expulsion
of the FreDch from Canada, thoughtful minds on both sides of the Atlantic
foresaw that such an event must be the prelude to the fi'eedom of the colonies.
The presence of the French there retarded their progress, trained them to
war, and made them feel their dependence on the mother-country; and no one
understood this better than the French themselves. ' ' We have caught them
at last," said Choiseul, on the definite surrender of New France; and at once
giving up Louisiana to Spain, his eager hopes anticipated the speedy struggle
of America for separate existence. So soon as the sagacious and experienced
Vergennes heard of the conditions of the peace, he said: " The consequences
of the entire cession of Canada are obvious. I am persuaded England will
ere long repent of having removed the only check that could keep her colonies
in awe. They stand no longer in need of her protection; she will call on them
to contribute toward supporting the burdens they have helped to bring on her,
and they will answer by striking off all dependence. ' ' Sixteen years later the
hall in Philadelphia resounded with the Declaration of Independence; and
less than seven years afterward Great Britain acknowledged the independ-
ence of the colonies she had made every effort to defend.



The Fourth Treaty— Fort Pitt— Concentration of Forces— Chief Pon-
TiAC — The Shawanese and Delawares— Advent of Settlers— Land


TT^VERY obstacle to the colonization of the territory west of the mountains
-*-—' was not removed with the overthrow of French rule in the valley of the
rivers. Two formidable barriers still remained: the presence of the aborigines,
and the claim of Virginia to the soil. The Indians were more jealous of the
English taking possession of their hunting-grounds than of the French; and
they still entertained the hope that the latter would soon retm-n, as the French
continued to assure them. For this reason they entered only half-heartedly
iato terms of peace with the dominant party; and the little gan-ison left at the
frail Fort Pitt during the winter of 1758-59 was in a very precarious condition.


Any considerable force of Indians could easily have cut o£P all communication
with the east, and have destroyed it: while the French at Fort Machault, who
doubtless kept themselves well informed of the slate of affairs at the forks,
could descend the river, should it break up in the winter, as it often does,
and retake their former stronghold. The opening of the spring of 1759 was,
therefore, looked forward to with apprehension, by the garrison and the front-
ier settlers, lest the French should execute their threat before assistance could
reach the garrison from beyond the mountains; and had it not been for the
siege of Fort Niagara, referred to at the close of the last chapter, their fears
woiild have been only too well groiinded.

At the second treaty held at Easton, in October, 1758, and known in history
as the "fourth treaty," the natives were represented by the chiefs of the Six
Nations and of the Delawares, and Pennsylvania and New Jersey by George
Croghan, the agent of Sir William Johnson. The causes of the late war were
discussed at length, the complaints of the Indians concerning the taking pos-
session of their lands were heard, and the chiefs of the Six Nations were pre-
vailed upon to use their influence, which was supreme, to induce the Shawanese
and Twigtwees to desist from their hostilities on the Ohio. By far the most
important end attained was the gaining possession of a large tract of country
by the proprietaries in the southern half of the colony, extending west from the
Susquehanna river and the Kittatinny mountains to the summit of the Alleghe-
nies. Besides the territory which the colony thus gained, it was enabled, as time
went on, not only to extend its settlements on it, but to trespass, as usual, on
lands beyond its boundaries, till the savages, seeing they could no longer hold
the occupied territory, would be disposed to part with some of it by a so-called
purchase, and the fair fame of Pennsylvania would go down untarnished on the
pages of history for having obtained from the natives by purchase all the ter-
ritory she claimed as her own.

The English having gained a footing on the Ohio, the next step was to enter
into more amicable relations with the tribes of the vicinity, both for their own
seciu-ity and to hinder them fi-om aiding their enemies, the French. But in
order to do this successfully it was necessary to lead the savages to believe that
they had not come to take jjossession of their lands, but only to establish
trading-posts by means of which the wants of the Indians could be more easily
supplied, and a more ready market prepared for their peltries: for the Indians
were always suspicious, and with good reason, as long experience had taught
them that the real object of the English was permanent settlement. For this
purpose a conference was held by Col. Bouquet with the chiefs of the Delaware
Indians "at the Pitts-Bourgh,"' December 4, 1758, at which were present, be-
sides the colonel — who appears to have been left in command by Forbes. Ijefore
the arrival of Col. Hugh Mercer — Col. Armstrong and several officers, with
George Croghan, deputy agent of Sir William Johnson, and Capt. Henry
Montour, the interpreter. In the course of his speech Col. Bouquet said;


wm^^ W'&ti&T^


" 15r(4hi(Mi, \v(i liiivo not come horo to take |)os80HHi()ii of yoiu- limiljrig country
in a lioHtilo niiiunor, uh the French did when they ciinie mnoii^ yuii, but to open
a Iiirf^e and exteiiHive trade with you and all other uationa of Indians to the
woHtward who choose to live in friendHhip with uh. You are Hensible wo are
at war with the French and can not Heud tradern among you, as, we formerly
did, to be robbed and murdered by the enemy, an our traders formerly wore to
your knowledge, for which reason the general has left here two hundred men in
order to ))rotect our traders, and I can assure you that as soon as gcjods can be
brought up you will see a large trade o])ened for you, and all other nations in
alliance with you, and yon may di^pend on it, your brethren, the English, are
not only the most powerful ])ooplo on this continent, but the most wealthy and
best inclined to sei've you in every necessary you want, and on the cheapest
terms; therefore the general ox|)octs, as you value the friendship of your
brethren, the English, that you will treat those men he leaves here as your
brethren, and supj)ort them, in case the enemy should come and attempt to
drive them away, and as the enemy can do nothing in your country without
your knowledge, ho expects you will give the commanding oflicer notice, from
time to time, of the enemy's movements, or what they are doing." They
were also earnestly recommended to drivo the French out of their country, as
"they are a restless and mischievous people," and oblige them to destroy their
forts. They wore further urged to koifj) their ])romise to send back the pris-
oners they had taken in their repeated raids on the frontier. In thoir reply,
which according to thoir wise custom was not delivered until the following
day, they oxprossod thoir readiness to comply with the demands of the colonel,
thanked him, and enlarged on the pleasure thoy felt on seeing the English
come to trade with thom. But they would not promise to protect the garrison
till they had conf(u-ro(l with the tribes further to the west.

The iirst Fort Pitt was iinislied, most probably, al)out the 1st of January,
17oU, and was placed under the command of (Jol. Hugh Mercer, who wrote
under date of January Sth; " The garrison now consists of two hundred and
eighty men, and is capable of some dofcuise, though huddled up in a very
hasty manner, the weather being very severe." Ho was succeeded about July
of the same year l)y Gen. John Stanwix, who built the larger Fort Pitt, which
was to figure so prominently in frontier history. It is said to have cost the
British government .£()0,0()0. Writing of the measures taken by Gen. Stan-
wix at this time, Smollot, in his " History of I'jngland," says: "The h&ppy con-
setjuouces of those measures were soon apparent in the pro<lucti(.)n of a con-
srderablo trade between the natives and the merchants of Pittsburgh, and in
the perfect security of about tour thousand settlers, who now returned to the
quiet possession of lands they were driven from on the frontiers of Penn-
sylvania, Maryland and Virginia." Unless a very large tract of country is
embraced in this estimate of the number of inhabitants, it must be regarded
as exaggerated.


Gen. Stanwix weat to Philadelphia- early in the yeai- 1760, leaving Maj.
Tulikens in command of the fort, the garrison of which consisted at that time
of one huncb-ed and fifty Virginians, as many Pennsylvanians, and four hun-
dred of the first battalion of Koyal Americans. Gen. Stanwix soon afterward
sailed for London, where he arrived some time in July.

Gen. Monckton arrived at Fort Pitt on the 29th of June, and immediately
gave orders for the march of a large detachment of the army to Presqu" Isle;
and on the 7th of July foiu- companies of the Royal Americans, under com-
mand of Col. Bouquet, marched from Pittsburgh toward that point, as did
also Capt. McNeil's company of the Virginia regiment. On the Wednesday
following Col. Hugh Mercer, with three companies of the Pennsylvania regi-
ment, under Capts. Biddle, Clapham and Anderson, and two days afterward
two other companies of the same regiment, under Capts. Atlee and Miles,
were to follow. A letter fi-om Philadelphia, dated July 31st, says: "From
Pittsburgh we learn that Maj. Gladwin had ariived at Presqu' Isle with four
hundred men from the northward, and that our troops from Pittsburgh would
be at the same place by the 15th of this month." These movements were all
made with a view of taking possession of Detroit and Mackinac, which had
been sm-rendered along with Montreal on the Sth of September, 1759.

After the fall of the French power in North America. • ' the whole of the
forces raised by the province of Pennsylvania had been discharged . . . except
150 men, a part of whom were employed in transporting provisions from Niagara,
and in garrison at Presqu' Isle and Le Bceuf. These were detained until they
should be relieved by a detachment of the Royal Americans, but such was the
weakness of that regiment that this had hitherto been impracticable . . . The
province of Pennsylvania now looked for the enjoyment of a long and undis-
turbed peace, since her mild and forbearing policy had conciliated the Indians,
and their dangerous neighbors, the French, were removed. But the sources
in which they sought for safety were fruitful of dangers. The unprotected
state of the frontiers, consequent on the discharge of the forces of the middle
and southern colonies, held forth irresistible temptations to the whetted appe-
tite of the border savage for plunder. Their hostility had been rewarded
rather than chastised by Pennsylvania; every treaty of peace was accompanied
by rich presents, and their detention of the prisoners was overlooked upon
slight apologies, though obviously done to afford opportunities for new treaties
and additional gifts. The mistaken and perverted humanity of the Quakers
had softened down their offenses, and its apologies gave them contidence in
their allegations of injuries received from the whites. These reasons, how-
ever, are insufficient to account for the wide extension of the Indian confederacy,
which was probably caused by motives of profound policy. The aborigines
beheld the French driven out of their whole country, themselves threatened by
forts commanding the gi'eat lakes and rivers, and thev felt that an immediate


and mighty effort was necessaiy to restrain the tide which now, unimpeded,
would spread itself over the continent."*

The hopes of peace upon which some of the more sanguine relied proved
delusive. The opening of Braddock's and Forbes' roads prepared the way
for an easy emigration from the whole east of the mountains, and the Indians
soon became conscious of the fact that the English, though professing to have
driven oiit the French for the benefit of the natives, had in reality oulj' done so
that they themselves might the more successfully take possession of the rich
hunting-grounds. Something must be done to arrest this influx of population,
this threatened overrunning of their lands. The fi-ontier settlements were as
yet weak, and a well-directed effort might drive the whites beyond the mountains,
if not entirely out of the country. So thought the Indian sages. All that was
required was a leader equal to the emergency; and, unfortunately for the pio-
neers, such a leader was found in the person of Pontiac, the chief of the
Ottawas. Far-seeing and diplomatic to a degree that is truly surprising in a
rude son of the forest, he not only saw the danger of extermination that
threatened his people, but he also saw the only remedy, if remedy at all
existed; and he alone had the ability and influence to apply it. He was ably
seconded by Kiashuta (a name variously spelled), a chief of the Seneca tribe
of the Six Nations. Had the execution of the assault on the frontier forts
and settlements been equal to the planning of it, it is hardly too much to say
that they would have realized their determination of diiving the palefaces into
the sea. It was nothing less than inducing all the tribes to forget for the present
their party strifes ^nd animosities, and combine to strike a blow at the palefaces
from which they would never be able to recover. So secretly and yet so per-
fectly was this plan laid that, had it not been for an accidental circumstance,
to which reference will presently be made, it would have met with such a
measure of success as would have necessitated a general war against the sav-
ages to subdue them, and would have retarded settlement for an indefinite

ilessengers were sent to all the tribes of the west to interest them in the
scheme of these Napoleons of the western wilderness to destroy the whites
and leave their settlements a smoldering ruin. The plan was entered into

Online LibraryThomas CushingHistory of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests, i → online text (page 5 of 231)