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k



HISTORY



OF



ptttsburgh anb Entitrons



From Prehistoric Days to the Beginning
of the American Revolution



VOLUME I



BY

GEORGE THORNTON FLEMING



"History — ^which is indeed little more than the register of the crimes,
follies and misfortunes of mankind." — Gibbon



:=^i(.^^»^



THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC.,

NEW YORK AND CHICAGO.

1922



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COPYRIGHT, 1932
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC.



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Crasmud Wiilsion



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FOREWORD.

N ORDER that accounts of notable events, the life stories of
men and women, the manners of the times, may be transmitted
to coming generations, it is necessary that these be recorded
from time to time, and that these records may meet the de-
mands of future ages it is most essential that they be exact
and true. Hence the necessity for choosing capable and de-
pendable recorders, for it is not everyone who can write well that can
write history, no more than that everyone who can write entertainingly
can write poetry. Indeed, historians, like poets, are born, not made to
order.

Pittsburgh has been quite fortunate in having such history writers as
Brackenridge, Craig, Veech, Darlington, Errett, Lambing, Parke, Dahl-
inger and Fleming, each and everyone a careful, conscientious chronicler
of the times in which he lived, or lives, as well as being industrious col-
lectors of data relating to the beginnings of local history, its growth and
present condition.

The latest extended history of Pittsburgh was published in 1898,
which was just at the beginning of the Vave of prosperity which, in the
course of a score of years, has placed it among the greater cities on the
continent, and well to the front among cities of the world, as cities go,
and far in the lead as a manufacturing and financial center. This has
made a revision and extension of its history necessary.

Fortunately we have with us a historian, to the manner bom, in
George T. Fleming, who is still actively and persistently engaged in local
historical research, as shown in the columns of the **Sunday Gazette-
Times," as well as in his wonderful collection of pictures and other data
relating to the growth and development of the city.

The selection of Mr. Fleming to prepare this latest history of Htts-
burgh, and the region round about, was most fortunate for the city as
well as for the publishers. He is not only a sturdy grubber after facts
but has the ability to dress them up in pleasing style and set them in
graceful order.

It is the desire, as well as the purpose of the editor and publishers of
this history, that it shall be valuable not only as a narrative of historic
events, but as a compendium of facts relating to men and matters, events
and happenings pertaining to the triumphant growth of Pittsburgh, its
institutions, and its fame. Necessarily it will be somewhat encyclopedic,
but space limits compel this. And yet it is, probably, the more fitting
form, as it will facilitate the finding of whatsoever data that may be de-
sired. Of one thing we feel assured, that the work will be thoroughly
dependable, and fully up to date. Erasmus Wilson.

Pittsburgh, December i, IQ20.



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INTRODUCTION.

HE necessity for another history of Pittsburgh for the purpose
of bringing it up to date is obvious when it is remembered that
the last extensive work was published in 1889. Great events
have happened in 'the more than a third of a century that has
elapsed, not only National in character but State and local
also, and Pittsburgh's share in these National and State events
demand recording. The city has grown largely, both in area and popu-
lation. These facts will be narrated by several writers in the subse-
quent volumes of this series, entitled "Pittsburgh and Environs," and the
narration will be a story of progress and success. However, in the
allotment of the various periods of Pittsburgh history to be given con-
sideration in the work as a whole, the earliest history of the region
alluded to in old histories as that "About the Forks of the Ohio;" the
"Region of the Upper Ohio," and "the Ohio Country," has been assigned
to the writer hereof, and finds place in the general work upon comple-
tion as Volume I, whereupon the inquiry arises: "Has the author of
Volume I in matter, character and manner of presentation given those
most interested in the general work such a volume as they will appre-
ciate ?" Before attempting an answer it may be well to note some objec-
tions that may be presumed.

First — "The subject matter ranges too widely, goes too far back, and
many things irrelevant and immaterial to the history of Pittsburgh and
the region round about, have been included in the text" This objection
was foreseen, hence explanations have been made as occasion required
in the text. The desire of the author has been to collect the whole story
of the period to be written of, heretofore recorded in fragments in more
than a score of books, many rare and long out of print and only a few
accessible, even as reference works, in our public libraries. It is for the
readers of this volume to decide whether or not the author has suc-
ceeded in his attempt. He is conscious of having done his best towards
that end, retarded and delayed by many disturbing conditions, physical
and otherwise.

Again, it may be said that too much space has been apportioned to
the history of the Indians who once inhabited this region. "As a race
they have withered from the land," declared Charles Sprague in an
oration in 1825. But they yet exist ; a changed race. Their part in the
wars of the Eighteenth Century that in the end gave this continent to
the Anglo-Saxon, has been best told by Francis Parkman, and all Ameri-
can historians have devoted pages to the "North American Indians" and
their deeds. The history of the Indian nations who ranged the Ohio



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viii INTRODUCTION

every manner. Mr. Edward E. Eggers, Librarian of the Carnegie Free
Library of Allegheny (now usually referred to as the North Side
Library), has been most helpful in many ways, and his assistants in the
Reference Department kind and obliging in every way. Dr. William J.
Holland, Director of the Carnegie Museum, deserves mention for his
interest and suggestions.

The great value of the researches of my friend, Mr. Charles A. Hanna,
of New York, has been exemplified by the number of references to his
exhaustive work, "The Wilderness Trail," a unique and engrossing his-
tory of the vast trans-Allegheny region and all the events of that region
wherein the Indian traders figured. Dr. Archer Butler Hulbert, of
Marietta, Ohio, is another living author who has been drawn on fre*
quently, whose labors evoke a degree of admiration scarcely less than Mr.
Hanna's. Miss Mary O'Hara Darlington, of Pittsburgh, is another
friend who has the most sincere thanks of the author for data regarding
Henry Bouquet and his times, drawn from her father and mother's
works. Attorney Charles W. Dahlinger, of Pittsburgh, editor of the
"Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine," a close friend, who was
called on for advice as a most competent authority on Pittsburgh history,
which was freely and cheerfully g^ven. His exceedingly entertaining
work, "Pittsburgh, a Sketch of its Early Social Life," has been most
valuable in many respects, and also his contributions to the "Magazine,"
above mentioned.

The late Erasmus Wilson, a fellow-worker for more than a decade,
evinced his interest in this history by contributing the short introductory
note. Now that he has passed to his reward, these few lines of his will
surely appeal to the subscribers and all readers of the history as a grace-
ful act of appreciation and testimony of his best wishes for the success
of the work.

To the many friends who have subscribed for the history by reason
of friendship and long association, my thanks are especially due, and
none the less to all subscribers, if for no other reason than that they are
loyal to old Pittsburgh, a city of opportunity.

George Thornton Fleming.

Pittsburgh, February 25, 1922.



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PUBLISHERS' NOTE




N this work is presented a comprehensive narrative of "Pitts-
burgh and Environs," from primeval days to the present time.
It is the first history of this region since that of 1898. Vol I,
entitled "From Prehistoric Days to the Beginning of the
American Revolution," is by Mr. George Thornton Fleming,
an investigator, annalist and writer of unusual power. Its
difference from the usual historical narratives lies not only in its great
particularity as to events, but in literary execution — ^authentic history
written with brilliancy and impressive originality. Investigators will
turn to these pages in very many days to come.

Volumns II and III, beginning with the formation of the community
and tracing its development to the present time, are the work of well
equipped local contributors, and members of the editorial staff. Princi-
pal among the former is Mr. Charles Sumner Howell, for many years
connected with the city press, who has contributed many of the most
important chapters; among other contributors are: Mr. George H.
Lamb, A. M., librarian Carnegie Free Library, of Braddock; and Mr.
William F. Stevens, librarian Carnegie Library, of Homestead. Chief
of the publishers' staff in the field is Mr. Frank R. Holmes, a writer of
wide experience.

The biographical volumes, which form a fitting adjunct to the work,
contain the life history of the Makers of Pittsburgh and Environs
from the first to those who are yet active in the various walks of com-
munity life. These narratives have been prepared in the field, and in
every instance have been submitted to the persons in interest for verifi-
cation.

In the various fields of history and biography the publishers feel
assured that the entire work will have an enduring value as a com-
pendium of information, and without which very much important history
would go unrecorded.



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CONTENTS

~ PAGE

Chapter I — Before the White Man Came i

Chapter II — Historic Mounds and Prehistoric Mound Builders 22

Chapter III — In the Days of the Iroquois 59

Chapter IV — ^The Barbaric Republic 72

Chapter V — The Lenni-Lenape, alias the Delawares 89

Chapter VI — The Migrations of the Delawares and the Shawanese.. no

Chapter VII — Indians in Petticoats 132

Chapter VIII — Our Indian Nomenclature 146

Chapter IX — The Wilderness Trail and the Wilderness Traders. . . 155

Chapter X — Conrad Weiser, Ambassador Extraordinary 184

Chapter XI — New France in America 204

Chapter XII — In the Name of the King 215

Chapter XIII — Washington and Gist; Emissary and Guide 234

Chapter XIV— The Struggle for a Continent 256

Chapter XV — ^Two Famous Hostages 289

Chapter XVI — Edward Braddock, Generalisimo 305

Chapter XVII — Edward Braddock, Generalissimo (continued) 345

Chapter XVIII — ^The French Regime in Western Pennsylvania. . . . 367

Chapter XIX — ^John Forbes and James Grant 385

Chapter XX— "I Have Called the Place Pittsburgh" 405

Chapter XXI — The Perilous Missions of Christian Frederick Post. . 417

Chapter XXII— Fort Pitt, 1758-1763 448

Chapter XXIII— When Pontiac Struck 473

Chapter XXIV — Henry Boquet, Soldier of Fortune 495

Chapter XXV— Fort Pitt, 1764-1774 519

Chapter XXVI — ^Virginia Assumes Jurisdiction 545

Chapter XXVII — George Croghan, King of the Traders 561



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CHAPTER I.
Before the White Man Came.

Before the white man came, the region herein termed "Pittsburgh and
Its Environs" was included in the wilderness lying contiguous to
the Ohio river and its tributaries, but a small part of that vast extent
of unoccupied and unexplored land south of the Great Lakes and east
of the Mississippi river. We may say practically unoccupied, in com-
parison with the state of occupancy during any time within the last
century. We are to use the word "wilderness" in its primary meaning
— 2L wild, the word pure Anglo-Saxon in origin, and defined as a tract
uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, whether a forest or
a barren plain. After the definition above, Webster in his earlier editions
distinctly states that in the United States the word "wilderness" is
applied only to a forest. The presumption is tenable that when the vast
prairies illuminated his comprehension, the great lexicographer con-
cluded there might be a prairie wilderness also, and therefore dropped
the statement that the word could be applied only to a forest. We can
in no wise consider the secondary meaning of the word, that of a
desert, to be applicable at any time to any part of the Upper Ohio
Valley region. The site of Pittsburgh lay long undiscovered and undis-
turbed in the vast solitude of the forest primeval, and far beyond the
British frontier, which was that part of the rugged Appalachian chain
we know as the Alleghenies, and that chain was a barrier to settlement,
as will be shown.

Who of white blood first set his feet upon the historic soil about
the Forks of the Ohio is a question to which no records can supply
an answer. That he was a white man, for the purpose of gain, is
altogether probable. His people needed, must have, furs. The habitat
of the fur-bearing animals that he knew lay in the forest wilderness.
The Indian inhabitants were few in number, and lived mainly by the
chase. With the first settlement of Canada by the French, there began
commercial transactions with the Aborigines. The Dutch traders from
the Albany region followed closely after the French, and then the
English traders, "brave, inglorious men, long since passed to deep
and merited oblivion," pioneers, nevertheless, leading the advance of
the settlers in the conquering march of the Course of Empire towards
the setting sun. We are to learn of these fur traders of our colonial
days, particularly of the Pennsylvania traders who toiled the wilderness
trail over the Alleghenies, and whose petty commerce involved two great
nations in a long war, and prepared the way for American independence
and territorial expansion for the United States of America, a nation
bom of that independence.

Pitta.— 1



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2 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

The first white men came through the wilderness, througn the. vast
solitudes of the forest primeval, where

The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and prophetic ;
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.

Yes, and the hardwoods, too, and all the well known deciduous trees
of our American flora, with their vines and creepers and tanglements,
and with the deadwood, the debris of numberless storms and hurricanes
of past ages. Nevertheless it was not a trackless forest, for there
existed certain well defined trails or paths, traversed for centuries by
the roving feet of the red men in their hunting trips, on their migrations,
by their warriors when on the war path, until the narrow trails changed
to well defined paths becoming, with the advent of the whites, historic
highways. Instances are the Venango trail, the Kittanning path, Ne-
macolin's path, later Braddock's road, the Muskingum and Sandusky
trails from the confluence of the two rivers forming the Forks of the
Ohio at Pittsburgh, and the Catawba or Great Warriors path from the
south via Cumberland Gap to the Ohio river at the mouth of the Sciota.

The wilderness was not trackless, for the wild beasts of the forest
made well marked paths. Buffalo trails were especially prominent,
for these animals ranged the region of the Upper Ohio Valley when the
white men came. Often these trails broadened into real roads, made
such by the tread of vast hordes of these heavy beasts, in countless
years, in going to and fro from the salt licks and their feeding grounds.
The first explorers in the western wilderness found the Indian trails
and the buffalo roads, and always spoke of them as distinct thorough-
fares. The Indian trail was usually a narrow path or runway, for
the Indians traveled always in single file. These runways were always
from two to three feet wide only, and were not worn so deeply into the
ground as the buffalo traces, though the Indians' path was often a
foot or two below the surrounding ground, worn thus by the hoofs of
their ponies.

Trees and bushes in places encroached upon the paths so that it
was not possible to see far ahead. Often these slender trails were
blocked by inpenetrable growths, and a single windstorm in the virgin
forests would fill the paths with fallen branches, and often trunks of
trees. The overhanging bushes, in the heavy dew of the morning or
after a rain, completely drenched the travelers with the water retained
in their branches.

There were other animals than the buffalo that laid off a road ; the
deer, too, made their runways by instinct, and found the easiest paths
to the passes of the mountains, to the shallowest fords, the richest feeding
grounds, and the indispensable salt licks. The Indian, dependent upon
game, followed the paths or traces made and frequented by the beasts



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BEFORE THE WHITE MAN CAME 3

going to their food, water and salt, and to other habitats in the chang-
ing seasons. It was only natural that these trails became vocational with
the Indians. The trails were not always silent, nor were they bloodless,
for the Indians' enemies sought them, and the evolution of the trail
into the warpath was easy, and natural also.

The trails were of different kinds. Archer Butler Hulbert divides
them into hunting, war, portage, river, and trade trails. One or more
of each variety led to the Forks of the Ohio at Pittsburgh. There were
no blazed trails in the wilderness forest. Blazing trees was peculiarly
a white man's custom, as well as his invention. It was beneath an
Indian's dignity to mark out his way. It was an affront also to suggest
it, as discrediting the keen woodcraft for which the red man is remark-
able. It required labor to hack trees, and patience, which was not an
Indian attribute. Then, too, a warrior never worked, and in any event
such work was useless. He could justly sneer at the clumsy white man
who depended on the white blaze to find his way through or out of the
wilderness of woods.

When the first white traders came into the western woodland, they
found the well marked forest trails, and followed them until they became
the avenues of trade. The traders established trading posts in the
wilderness, built warehouses of hewn logs, forts for the protection of
their goods, and then new routes became necessary — "fur routes," or
"traders' paths," and these came also to be traveled by the Indians
and their peltry-laden ponies, and backward with the trader's goods —
the peltries bought weapons, blankets, trinkets, powder and lead, and
bad liquor.

There is ample evidence that the going through the wilderness was
good. There are journals of the first missionaries who recorded things
as they saw them, strange things and most notable. The testimony of
the Rev. David McClure is material on this point. He said: "The
roads through this Indian country are no more than a single horse path
among the trees. For a wilderness, the traveling was pleasant, and
there was no underbrush, and the trees do not grow very close together."

McClure was journeying west from Pittsburgh in the fall of 1772.
Describing a stretch of the trail along the Ohio below the mouth of
the Big Beaver river, he said : "The woods were clear from the under-
brush, and the oaks and black walnut and other timber do not grow
very compact, and there is scarcely anything to incommode a traveler
in riding almost in any direction. The Indians have a habit of burning
over the ground, that they may have the advantage of seeing game
at a distance among the trees." Again he said : "The soil is luxuriant ;
the growth principally white and black oak. The sweetest plums
grow in great abundance in this country, and were in great perfection.
Grapes grow spontaneously here, and wind around the trees."^



i"Diaiy of the Rev. David McClure," 1772; pp. 49-Sa



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4 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

Dr. Schoepf, the German savant, tells of the forest as he exjplored
it in the vicinity of Pittsburgh in 1783: "In different wanderings on
the other side of the Allegheny from Pittsburgh, we had the oppor-
tunity of observing the fineness and luxuriant fruitfulness of the soil
in its primeval and undisturbed condition. The indigenous plants had
a rich and rank appearance, and grew to a greater height and strength
than they do elsewhere. The woods for the most part are entirely free
from undergrowth, which is very convenient for both the hunter and
traveler."^ Schoepf is telling of the land now the North Side of Pitts-
burgh. He saw the diversified forest of wildwood, river and small
streams, but the time was twenty-five years after General John Forbes



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 1 of 81)