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tory of the Ohio Valley" (p. 20). This defaced plate is shown in many
histories since published. The place of deposit is given as the Riviere
Yenangue on the part rescued, hence it was inferred by Atwater, Clinton
and some others that this plate had originally been deposited at Venango,

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the similarity of the names "Yenangue** and "Venango" sufficient to
mislead them. They presumed the plate had been unearthed and car-
ried down by a freshet, or perhaps removed to the place where discovered.
The finding pf Celoron's Journal left no doubt that it was buried where
found on the subsequent site of Fort Harmar, and opposite the point
where the town of Marietta stands.

Dr. Hildreth says that in the spring of 1798 there was a freshet in
the Muskingum which bore away large masses of earth from the banks
at the mouth, leaving it quite perpendicular. The following summer
the boys found the plate as stated projecting from the face of the bank.
With the aid of a pole they loosened it from its bed. They noticed the
engraven letters, but not being intelligible they naturally considered the
inscriptions of no importance. The lead was a treasure trove to them.
Lead was scarce and in demand. It was brought to the notice of Paul
Fearing that a curious plate had been unearthed a little below, or nearly
opposite the site of Fort Harmar. Obtaining possession of it, he ascer-
tained that the inscription was in French. William Woodbridge, a youth
then a resident of Marietta, had recently returned from the old French
town in Ohio, Gallipolis, where he had learned the French language.
Mr. Fearing took the plate to him, and Woodbridge informed him of
its meaning and that it had been deposited as evidence of the right of
the French to the possession of the country. Woodbridge, owing to its
defacement, could not translate all of the inscription, but sufficient re-
mained to indicate the purpose of it. Dr. Caleb Atwater obtained the
plate in 1821, but not until 1827 did it come into possession of the Anti-
quarian Society of Massachusetts, where in 1848, when Hildreth pub-
lished his history, it still remained.

Hildreth quotes Smith, historian of Canada (Vol. I, p. 209), in a few
paragraphs which he states throw more light on the subject :

Galissoniere persuaded that peace would soon be concluded and sensible of the
importance of giving boundaries of both Canada and Nova Scotia, detached an officer,
M. Celoron, with three hundred men with orders to repair to Detroit and from thence
to traverse the country as far as the Appalachian mountains, which he admitted to be the
bounds of the English plantations in America, and beyond which he denied that they
had any pretensions. This officer was directed not only to use his influence to procure
a number of Indians to accompany him, but to exact a promise ^rom them that they
would not in the future admit English traders among them. This officer was furnished
with leaden plates with the Arms of France engraved on them and he was ordered to
bury them at particular sUtions. A process verbal was then drawn by himself and those
officers that accompanied him.

With this gentleman Galissoniere sent a letter to Mr. Hamilton, the Governor of
Pennsylvania, apprizing him of the step he had taken and requesting he would give
orders to prevent his people from trading beyond the Appalachian mountains, as he had
received commands from the Court of France to seize the merchants and confiscate the
goods of those trading in these countries incontestibly belonging to France. De Cel-
oron discharged his commission with punctuality, but not without exciting the appre-
hensions of the natives who declared that the object of France in taking possession of
their country was either to make them subjects or perhaps slaves.

The immense load of proces verhaux that had been drawn up on this expedition
were handed over to Galissoniere and transmitted to the court of France. As a recom-
pense for his trouble, Celeron was two years after appointed to the command of
Detroit, while Galissoniere was appointed Governor of Canada September 25, 1747, and
the treaty of Aix-la-Chapdle alluded to in the extract was concluded in 174&

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Hildreth, nevertheless, presents the best fac-simile copy of the Mari-
etta plate, which he traced to the Museum of the Antiquarian Society at
Worcester, Massachusetts, The copy, he states, was made by Dr. James

Passing down the river. Father Bonnecamps took regular observa-
tions. August 17th they passed two fine rivers, one on each side of the
Ohio, but of these no names were given.

On the 1 8th, after an early start, the voyagers were arrested by a
heavy rain at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, which is called "Chin-
odaichta" by Bonnecamps. On the plate there is different spelling.
A brief record only was made of the ceremony here. Celoron omits a
copy of the inscription on the plate they deposited, and recorded the
date and the simple statement: "Buried at the foot of an elm on the
south bank of the Ohio and on the east bank of the Chinondaista, the
i8th day of August, 1749."

This plate came to light in March, 1846, nearly a century later. It
was found by a boy playing on the margin of the Great Kanawha. Its
finding left no doubt of the inscription. Like the fourth plate, it was
projecting from the bank a few feet below the surface. A great accu-
mulation of soil had been deposited above it by the numerous freshets
of a hundred years. The date of deposit as recorded on the plate cor-
responds exactly with Celoron's entry in his Journal. The spelling of
the Indian name of the river on the plate differs slightly from that in
the Journal. On the former it is "Chinodahichetha." Kanawha, in
another dialect, is said to mean "the river of the woods.'* Marshall
rhapsodises over the beauty that must have been apparent to the voy-
agers, "the native forests untouched by the pioneer, crowned with luxuri-
ant foliage of Northern Kentucky that covered the banks of both rivers/'
and concludes that the picturesque scenery justified on the name "Point
Pleasant" bestowed on the place by the first comers in the region. The
name has been retained in the town and county seat of Mason county
on the ground where. October 16, 1774, there was fought the bloody
battle between the Virginians under Colonel Andrew Lewis and the
forces of Western Indians, under Cornstalk and Logan, who were badly

Hildreth tells also of the plate found at the mouth of the Great
Kanawha, which was above its junction with the Ohio a short distance.
He ascribes its finding to a boy named R. P. Hereford, whereas all other
accounts say his name was Beal. Hildreth gives the dimensions of this
plate, "eleven inches and three lines long, by seven inches and six
lines broad, and the thickness varies on the different edges from one-
fourth to one-eighth of an inch." The engraving of the letters he said
was quite distinct and deeply cut, except the name of the river and date
of deposit, which appear to have been filled in at the time and are more
lightly cut. This he thought was probably the case with all the tablets,
as the period and place would depend on circumstances, but all the other
matters could have been put on by Le Brosse, the engraver, whose
name is on the back of the plates, but whether he lived in Quebec or

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Paris, does not appear. As the plates all contained the same amount
of matter, they were probably nearly of the same saze.

Hildreth thought the names Chinodaichta and Ye-nan-^-e were
the names given these streams by the savages. He dismissed the idea
that the Marietta plate could have been brought from Venango on the
Allegheny. At the time Hildreth wrote, Dr. Marshall had not brought
to light Celoron's Journals. Hildreth thought also that the time occu-
pied in voyaging and in depositing the plates and the legal forms attend-
ent of the Process Verbaux must have occupied several months. Celo-
ron's and Bonnecamps' Journals fix the duration. The object of their
mission Hildreth points out was to take possession of the country in
a legal form and in such a manner as could be established thereafter by
written evidence. To this the French were undoubtedly urged by the
proceedings of the Ohio Land Company. "No nation," says Dr. Hil-
dreth, "ever had a fairer claim to a newly discovered country than the
French had to the Valley of the Ohio, but a wise Providence had or-
dained that the beautiful region should be possessed by the Anglo-Saxon
race and not by the Gallic."

The inscription on the plate found at the mouth of the Kanawha was
translated by L. Soyer, at the time mayor of Marietta, a native of France
— "one well skilled in the French language," Hildreth states. Craig, in
the issue of his magazine, "The Olden Time," for May, 1846, (Vol. I,
No. 5), has two items relating to the plate found at the mouth of the
Kanawha. His heading for the first is "Tokens of French Possession
Along the Ohio;" the second an extract from the Parkersburg (West
Virgina) "Gazette," April 21, 1846, under the heading "Relic of the
French Dominion Found at Point Pleasant." Craig, in the first article,
said that he had this plate in his possession, but could add nothing to the
description given of it in the article which he copied from the Parkers-
burg paper, except to say that on the back of the plate these words were
distinctly seen : "Paul La Brosse, Fecit." ("La Brosse made it"). Craig
did not know how many of these plates were deposited, or at what points
on the Ohio, which river in French estimation included the Allegheny.
Craig knew of the plate found at Marietta, and records that Mr. Atwater
had seen one that was found at Venango. Craig said the Point Pleasant
plate was the third found.

Craig does not print the newspaper article in full, for want of space.
He notes that the writer of the article alludes to some confusion as to
dates as to the periods when M. Galissioniere was governor of Canada,
and quotes Kalm to show that La Jonquiere arrived in Montreal August
14, I749.**

Craig quotes Bouchette in a paragraph where the latter states that
Galissioniere succeeded La Jonquiere August 16, 1749, whereas the oppo-
site is true. The correspondent of the Parkersburg paper said nothing
about the arms of France on the plate, but Craig noted at once the lily

i9Aug. 15, 1749— "The new Governor-General of Canada, the Marquis de la Jon-
quiere, arrived last night The people assembled at the home of M. Vaudreuil, etc**
Kalm, "Travels," Second Edition, pp. 310-312.

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in six places. Craig received the plate "at so late a day he could not
have a facsimile of it" for the May number of the "Olden Time/' This
view did not appear until the July number. (Vol. I, Insert, opposite
P* 336). Craig attempted to correct Bouchette's error noted above and
made a new one.*** Craig said the name, Galissoniere, where it first
occurs on the page should be La Jonquiere and the latter name stand
in the place of Galissoniere in the sentence. Jonquiere served from August
17, 1749, to March 17, 1752, when he died. The statement concerning
him in Joncaire's letter in the "Olden Time" (Vol. I, p. 269), is correct.
The name Galissoniere is correct as sending Celoron on the expedition.*^
De Hass (p. 50), in his story of the leaden plates, says:

One of these plates has recently been discovered at the mouth of the Kanawha
(Point Pleasant). It was found by a son of John Beale, Esq., in April, 1846. [Mr.
Beale now lives in Covington, Ky.] We have procured an exact drawing of the relic
and made a literal translation of the inscription which is here given.

De Hass' drawing is the same as Craig's and doubtless was furnished
by Craig. The other two plates recovered were one at Venango, and one
at Marietta, a copy of the one found at Marietta given by Dr. Hildreth.
("Pioneer History," p. 21). In the "History of Venango" (1890), Craig's
plate is inserted opposite page 39.

We shall not follow Celoron farther except to tell of them passing St.
Yotoc, evidently a corruption of Scioto, called by Bonnecamps Sinihoto
on his map. There was a village of the Shawanese at the mouth of the
river which Pouchot calls in his **Mem(nres** Sonhioto. Deterred by rain,
Celoron remained a week at St. Yotoc, which seems neither French nor
Indian in etymology. They put out again in their canoes on August
27th and went down the Ohio as far as White river; La Blanche ^ they
called it. August 30th they passed the great north bend of the Ohio
and reached the mouth of the Great Miami, a celebrated river in our
Western history, the Riviere de la Roche of the French voyagers. They
turned their flotilla into this stream. Here at its mouth they buried the
sixth and last plate. So far, no trace of this plate has ever been found.
September ist they began the toilsome ascent of the Miami, and on the
13th arrived at the Indian village of Demoiselles, the residence of "La
Demoiselle," chief of that portion of the Miamis or Twightwees who
were favorable to the English. This town became noted in subsequent
Indian wars, and was destroyed by General George Rogers Clark in his
expedition in 1782. Wayne built a fort there, later called Fort Loramie.
The French under Celoron remained at "Demoiselles" a week in order
to recruit and prepare for their portage to the Maumee river. They burned
their canoes, and having obtained some ponies, set out overland for
Detroit. They expected to be five and a half days to the first French post.
This first stop was at Kis-Ka-kon, subsequently Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The French had a garrison there under command of M. de Raymond.

20"Olden Time;" Vol. I, op. 239-336.

2iThe letter to Governor Hamilton from Joncaire in French can be found in ^The
Colonial Records of Pennsylvania," Vol. V, p. 540. Patterson has it in his "History of
the Backwoods," in English, p. 4a. See also Hazard's '"Register;" Vol IV.

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Here Celeron was provided with pirogues and provisions. September
27th part of the expedition started overland for Detroit, and the re-
mainder went down the Maumee in their boats. Detroit was reached
October 6th. Celoron returning to Montreal via Lake Erie, did not get
away from the mouth of the Maumee until October 8th. His Indian
allies could not resist the chance to go on a drunken debauch there with
the white man's firewater. However, when they came to, the voyage
was continued with nothing worthy of notice. Fort Niagara was reached
October 19th and after a three days' rest there, they coasted along the
south shore of Lake Ontario, their frail boats badly shattered by the
autumnal gales, arriving at Fort Frontenac on November 6th, the men
greatly fatigued with the hardships of the voyage. With as slight delays
as possible they pushed on, reaching Montreal November loth, having
according to Celoron traveled at least 1,200 leagfues — ^five months in the
wilderness. De Bonnecamps, S. J., closing his Journal, penned this trib-
ute to his chief :

As for Monsieur de Celoron, he is a man attentive, clear-sighted, and active ; firm,
but pHant when necessary; fertile in resources and full of resolution— a man, in fine,
made to command. I am no flatterer and I do not fear that what I have said should
make me pass for one.

In 1750, after Celoron's return the French proceeded to erect forts
in "the Debatable Land."

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Washington and Gist; Emissary and Guide.

In the narration of events leading to the struggle for the Valley of
the Ohio, only a small part of the great struggle for the continent, the
narrator has arrived at the point where, as Cyrus Townsend Brady puts
it, the greatest figure of his age enters the pages of history, the "immortal
Washington," as old time orators and writers always mention him.
Washington makes his debut on these pages as an ambassador, and
his embassy has been placed among the most notable in the annals of
our country. It will appear in the story that this mission was futile,
and how the little party of white men with Washington at their head,
and his intrepid guide, Christopher Gist, took their leave of the French
at their rude frontier fort at Venango and plunged southward in the
primeval woodland extending for leagues in all directions. "Exhausted
and worn out from the tremendous hardships they had undergone,"
says Brady, "depressed by their lack of success — although their mission
had not been altogether a failure — their pack-horses jaded and feeble,
they were in no condition to undertake the terrible journey which inter-
vened between them and the report which would mark the completion
of thir duty."^

The story of Washington's mission to the French forts in what was
later Northwestern Pennsylvania, has been told and elaborated by all
American historians, among the most readable that of Parkman ("Mont-
calm and Wolfe," Chapter V). The embassy had been sent by Din-
widdie to protest against the French occupation of the region of Western
Pennsylvania, for many years claimed to be part of Virginia, which story
will develop as this history proceeds. Dinwiddle's letter challenged the
French invasion and summoned the invaders to withdraw. "He could
find none so fit to bear his message," says Parkman, "as a young man
of twenty-one. It was this rough Scotchman who launched Washington
on his illustrious career."^

Before proceeding with the story of the embassy, it will be well to
know something of the embassador as he then appeared, and something
of the rough Scotchman. This is furnished by Dr. Toner :

Between 19 and 20, Washington had been a licensed surveyor in Virginia for three
years, and shortly before sailing had been commissioned one of the adjutant generals
of Virginia with the rank of major and the pay £150 a year. Although he made no
pretensions to having a finished education, or to being an extensive reader of books, yet
he was well informed on all the affairs of life, and his manners and address proclaimed
him a gentleman and clearly indicated that his associations were with men of character
and culture. If we had no other means of knowing the fact, the "Journal to the Bar>
badoes'' of itself would show that Washington possessed strong and acute natural pow-
ers of observation and that his mind was, for his years, unusually matured and well
stored with practical knowledge and historical facts.

^"Colonial Fights and Fighters;" C. T. Brady, p. 189.
y'M. &W.;" Vol. I, p. 13a

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The journey to the Barhadoes was made with his invalid brother Lawrence, who was
fourteen years older than George, and between them there existed an exceedingly great
affection. This voyage resulted in no benefit to the ailing Lawrence, who died shortly
after his returns

Personal descriptions of Dinwiddle are wanting, but his picture is
displayed in various histories of the United States and notably in Park-
man's "Montcalm and Wolfe," (Vol. I, Champlain Edition). Short
biographies of the man and estimates of his character are common. We
can anticipate, in a manner, some events of our history in submitting
sketches of Dinwiddie's character and career.

If we are to search for a name that begins our history as a place, we
must go to Virginia for that of Dinwiddie, who came to that colony
from the West Indies in 1751. Dinwiddie was bom in Scotland in 1693
and died in England in 1770 full of years, but not honor.

Dinwiddie started his official life as a clerk to a collector of customs
in the West Indies. Discovering what we now term great crookedness
in his principal, Dinwiddie exposed him and was rewarded with the office
of surveyor of customs, and soon afterwards promoted to that of lieuten-
ant-governor of Virginia. So far virtue was following the beaten path in
the reward route. In Virginia the route changed. The rapaciousness
and unscrupulousness of the man found full bent. In the governing
process, however, he discovered George Washington, whom he made
adjutant-general of one of the four military districts of the colony. Ow-
ing to the exaction of enormous fees authorized by the Board of Trade
for the issue of land patents, Dinwiddie gained the ill will of the people
of Virginia and when he called for money to resist the encroachments
of the French in the Ohio valley the Virginia House of Burgesses paid
no attention to his expressed wishes.

Meanwhile he had sent Washington on his mission to St. Pierre at
Fort Le Boeuf and here our history begins. The captain's command
enlisted by Dinwiddie began the little fort at the Forks of the Ohio;
Captain Trent, Ensign Ward, Braddock, Halket, Forbes, Bouquet, et al,
appear in succession. Fort Pitt arises alongside of the smoking ruins
of Duquesne. The lilies of France float no longer to the breeze. Behold
the cross of St. George. Enter also Stanwix, Hand, Irwin, Neville, Craig,
Wayne, St. Clair, and the pioneers and patriots of Revolutionary days.
The subject is vast; its sequel vaster. It has been written. It is well
known history.

But Dinwiddie was a man of action, aggressive, loyal to the King,
hating his hereditary enemies, the French, fighting the marauding red-
skins. Dinwiddie was alive to the issues and met them. A man of his
stamp makes enemies, rightly or not. Arrogant to an extremity, ill
tempered, surely, given to caprices and folly, it was but natural that Din-
widdie should clash with the burgesses. He had given Washington many
a weary hour and vexed the whole colony.

In the end, Dinwiddie, aged and worn with trouble, went down under

8"Washington, Remarks On ; " by J. M. Toner, M. D., in his edition of "Washing-
ton's Journal to Barbadoes," 1751-1752.

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a cloud, He was recalled in 1758; the charge against him was that he
had appropriated £20,000 placed in his hands for compensation to the
Virginians for money expended by them in the public service; that is,
the expenditures in excess of their proper share of the warfare in which
Dinwiddie had involved them — ^but of necessity. He never satisfactorily
accounted for this fund. His name has been maintained in a well known
street in Pittsburgh, extending from Fifth avenue to Centre avenue.
In these twentieth century days the thousands who hear his name in
our street commemoration think nothing of the man or his times ; little
of his unlovely character and the great history his acts evoked. When
the "embattled farmers fired the shots heard 'round the world" in 1775,
this doughty and aggressive old grouch had been dead nearly five years.

Writers, especially headliners and cartoonists, are fond of "Father
Pitt." How about Father Dinwiddie? Alongside of Governor Dinwid-
die, Pitt is an insert page in our makeup story. But then Pitt was lovely
in his life and in death cannot be forgotten. But let us give some credit
to the French-hating, Indian-figHting, rancorous, grabbing and greedy old
Scotchman. He builded more wisely than he knew.

Dinwiddie sailed for England in January, 1758. It is well to look
closely into this unlovely character in our history for his deeds counted.

Sparks says of him :

His departure was not regretted. However amiable in his social relations, how-
ever zealous in the discharge of his public trusts, he failed to win the hearts or com-
mand the respect of the people. Least of all was he qualified to transact military
affairs. His whole course of conduct was marked with confusion, uncertainty and way-
wardness, which caused infinite perplexity to the commander of the Virginia troops.
Every one regarded the change as salutary to the interests of the colony. Francis
Fauquier was the next Governor, the Earl of Loudon had been commissioned as suc-
cessor to Dinwiddie, but his military duties in the North preventing him from serving.^

Further biography is available from many sources. In the following,
some additional information can be found.

Rohert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia from 1751-7, was bom near
Glasgow, Scotland, 1693; died near Clifton, England, August i, 1770L Having been
favored with a good education he was disciplined to the counting-house and commerce.
December ist, 1727, he was appointed Collector of Customs in the Island of Bermuda,
which position he held under successive commissions until April 11, 1758, when in

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 31 of 81)