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History of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 online

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and smoke your pipes in safety. Let the French fight their own battles, as they were the
first cause of the war and the occasion of the long difference which hath subsisted
between you and your brethren, the English; but I must entreat you to restrain your
young men from crossing the Ohio, as it will be impossible for me to distinguish them
from our enemies; which I expect you will comply with without delay, lest by your
neglect thereof, I should be the innocent cause of some of your brediren's death. This
advice take and keep in your breasts, and suffer it not to reach the ears of the French.

As a proof of the truth and sincerity of what I say, and to confirm the tender regard
I have for the lives and welfare of our brethren on the Ohio, I send you tills string of
wampum. I am, brethren and warriors,

Your friend and brother, John Fchubbs.

Brethren: Kings Beaver and Shingiss, and all the warriors who join with you:
The many acts of hostility, committed by the French against the British subjects made it
necessary for the King to take up arms in their defence, and to redress their wrongs
which have been done them; heaven hath favored the justice of the cause, and given
success to his fleets and armies in different parts of the world. I have received his com-
mands with regard to what is to be done on the Ohio, and shall endeavor to act like a
soldier, by driving the French from thence and destroying them.

It is a particular pleasure to me to learn that the Indians, who inhabit near that
river, have lately concluded a treaty of peace with the English; by which the ancient
friendship is renewed with their brethren, and fixed on firmer foundation than ever.
May it be lasting and unmovable as the mountains. I make do doubt but it gives you
equal satisfaction, and that you will unite your endeavors with mine, and all the Gov-
ernors of these provinces, to strengthen it. The clouds that for some time hung over
the English and their friends, the Indians on the Ohio, and kept them both in darkness,
are now dispersed, and the cheerful light now again shines upon us and warms us both.
May it continue to do so, while the sun and moon give light

Your people, who were sent to us, were received by us with open arms ; they were
kindly entertained while they were here, and I have taken care that th^r shall return
safe to you ; with them come trusty messengers whom I earnestly recommend to your
protection ; they have several matters in charge, and I desire you may give credit to what



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 441

ihey say; in particular, they have a large belt of wasnpum, and hy this belt there shall
be everlasting peace with all the Indians, established as sure as the mountains, between
the English nation and the Indians all over, from the sun-rising to the sun-setting; and
as your influence on them is great, so you will make it known to all the different nations
that want to be in friendship with the English, and I hope by your means and persuasions,
many will lay hold of this belt and immediately withdraw from the French; this will be
greatly to their own interest, and your honor, and I shall not fail to acquaint the great
King of it; I sincerely wish it for their good; for it will fill me with concern to €nd
any of you joined with the French, as in that case you must be sensible I must treat them
as enemies; however, I once more repeat that there is no time to be lost for I intend
to march with the army very soon, and I hope I enjoy the pleasure of thanking you for
your zeal and of entertaining you in the fort ere long. In the meantime I wish happiness
and prosperity to you, your women and children.

I write to you as a warrior should, that is, with candor and love and I recommend
secrecy and dispatch. I am. King Beaver and Shingiss,
And Brother Warriors,

Your assured friend and brother, John FoiBBBS.

From n^ camp at Loyal-hannon, Nov. 9, 1758.

The messages pleased and gave satisfaction to all the hearers, except
the French captain. He shook his head with bitter grief and often
changed his countenance. Isaac Still ran down the French captain with
great boldness and pointed at him saying, "There he sits.'*

After Shingiss had stated they had rightly heard and understood
Post's messages, and promised full consideration of them, and Post had
thanked him and some others in answer. Post ''went out a little from the
house." A dramatic incident occurred towards the close of the confer-
ence. Post records it thus :

In the meantime Isaac Still demanded the letter which the French had falsely inter-
preted, that it might be read in public. Then they called us back, and I, Frederick Post,
found it was my own letter I had wrote to the GeneraL I, therefore, stood up and read
it, which Isaac interpreted. The Indians were well pleased and took it as if it was
written to them: thereupon they all said: ''We always thought the French report of
the letter was a lie; they always deceived us." Pointing at the French Captain who,
bowing his head, turned quite pale and could look no one in the face. All ^e Indians
began to mock and laugh at him; he could hold it no longer and went out

The Cayuga chief delivered a string of wampum in the name of the
Six Nations with appropriate words, and then one from the Cherokees
with their message and then the conference ended for that day. Post
closed his journal entries for the day as follows: "Then the council
broke up. After a little while messengers arrived, and Beaver came into
our house, and gave us the pleasure to hear that the English had the field,
and that the French had demolished and burnt the place entirely and
went oflF ; that the commander is gone with two hundred men to Venango,
and the rest gone down the river in battoes, to the lower Shawanese town,
with an intention to built a fort there ; they were seen yesterday, passing
Sawkung (Saukunk). We ended this day with pleasure and great satis-
faction on both sides ; the Cayuga chief said, he would speak further to
them to-morrow."

Pittsburghers are to remember that these proceedings took place
while General Forbes, carried on his litter, was leading his forces, trailing
slowly through the rough country between Turtle Creek and the site of



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442 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

Pittsburgh and that he came to the abandoned French fort when dusk
was coming on in the midst of a snow storm and saw only desolation.
The French regime in Western Pennsylvania was soon to end. Its
terrors had ended.

November 26, the council reconvened at 10 o'clock. That day and
the next were spent in deliberations. The Indians are slowly deliberative.
Post said he waited all of the 27th for an answer. Beaver came to him
and told him the Indians were "busy all the day long." "It is a great
matter," explained that sachem, "and wants much consideration." It
certainly got it.

On the morning of the 28th, "Beaver arose early before break of day
and bade all his people good morning and desired all to arise early and
prepare victuals, for he had to answer their brethren, the English." At
ten o'clock the council opened. The French captain was again present.
This time Post records his name as Canaquais. Beaver made a long
speech, addressing the French captain ; then the Mingoes ; then the gen-
eral, through Post; the governor next, but nothing decisive was de-
termined.

On the 29th, Beaver and Shinpss called Post and his companions to
a council before daybreak. The sachems had been deliberating the whole
night. It was determined that all the other nations should be notified
and Shingiss could not go with Post, but remain to help his brother,
Beaver, in the great work, for Beaver would send nobody but go himself
to the other nations.

Ketiuscund, one of the chief counselors, told Post in secret, "That
all nations had jointly agreed to defend their hunting place at Allegheny,
and suffer nobody to settle there; and as these Indians are very much
inclined to the English interest, so he begged us very much to tell the
Governor, General, and all pther people not to settle there. And if the
English would draw back over the mountain, they would get all the other
nations into their interest; but if they staid and settled there, all the
nations would be against them ; and he was afraid it would be a great
war, and never come to a peace again."

Post promised to inform the governor and General Forbes and all
others of it and again requested that the Indians not permit any French
to settle among them. That evening Post, attended with twenty Indians,
left for Saukunk. Halfway there they met a messenger from Fort
Duquesne with a belt from Thomas King, inviting all the chiefs to Sau-
kunk for a conference. King was an Oneida sachem, a notable Indian,
later an Iroquois overlord among the Western Indians. The inference
is that he was among Forbes' contingent, for Post recorded November
23 : "There are some chiefs of the Five Nations with the army. Many
Indians had English names and these are sometimes misleading. Teed-
yuscung had a son. Captain Bull, probably named for the companion of
Post, for it is plain that this companion was a white man."

King's messenger further informed Post that Croghan and Henry
Montour, the official interpreter of Pennsylvania, would be at Saukunk



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 443

that day. The messenger was one of three sent to meet Forbes. About
these there had been much solicitude. Post arrived at Saukunk in the
evening and was well received. Croghan, Montour and Thomas King
were there. On the evening of the 30th there was a long conference
with the chiefs lasting until eleven o'clock, at which Post explained the
meaning of the belts he had brought. The horses of Post's party, having
strayed, he was compelled to give an Indian three hundred wampum to
find them and the next day buy corn for the horses of the Cayugas,
which took three hundred also. It was agreed that Post should go
ahead to meet Forbes, and as his journey and the events attending it are
good history, it is well to follow Post's records from December 2 :

Beaver creek being very high, it was almost two o'clock in the afternoon before we
came over the creek; this land seems to be very rich. I, with my companion, Ketius-
cund*s son, came to Logstown situated on a hill. On the east side is a great piece of low
land, where old Logstown used to stand. In the new Logstown the French have built
about thirty houses for the Indians. They have a large cornfield on the south side,
where the com stands ungathered. Then we went farther through a large tract of fine
land, along the river side. We came within three miles of Pittsburgh, where we lodged,
on a hill in the open air. It was a cold nig^t, and I had forgot my blanket, being packed
upon Mr. Hays' horse. Between Sawkung and Pittsburgh, all the Shawanese towns are
empty of people.

We started early and came to the river by Pittsburgh; we called that th^r should
come over and fetch us; but their boats having gone adrift, they made a raft of black
oak palisadoes, which stmk as soon as it came into the water. We were very hungry,
and staid on that Island, where I had kept council with the Indians in the month of
August; for all I had nothing to live on, I thought myself a great deal better off than
at that time, having now liberty to walk upon the Island according to pleasure, and it
seemed as if the dark clouds were dispersed.

While I waited here, I saw the General march off from Pittsburgh, which made me
sorry that I could not have the pleasure of speaking with him. Towards evening our
whole party arrived ; upon which th^r fired from the fort with twelve great guns ; and
our Indians saluted again three times with their small arms. By accident some of the
Indians found a raft hid in the bushes, and Mr. Hays coming last, went over first with
two Indians. They sent us but a small allowance, so that it would not serve each round.
I tied my belt a litde closer, being very hungry and nothing to eat.^^ It snowed and we
were obliged to sleep without shelter. In the evening they threw light balls from the
Fort ; at which the Indians started, thinking they would fire at them ; but seeing it was
not aimed at them, they rejoiced to see them fly so high.

4th— We got up early and cleared a place from the snow, cut some fire wood and
hallooed till we were tired. Towards noon Mr. Hays came with a raft and the Indian
chiefs went across;, he informed me of Col. Bouquet's displeasure with the Indians'
answer to the general, and his desire that they should alter their mind, in insisting upon
the General's going back ; but the Indians had no inclination to alter their minds. In the
afternoon some provisions were sent over, but a small allowance. When I came over to
the Fort, the council with the Indians was almost at an end. I had a discourse with
Col. Bouquet about the affairs, disposition and resolution of the Indians.

Post drew provision for their journey to Fort Ligonier, and baked
bread for the whole company; towards noon the Indians met together
in a conference. Beaver conferred with some Mohawks regarding any
settling at Fort Pitt. The Mohawks said they lived at such a distance
they could not defend the English should any accident befall them.

i^This was an Indian custom when compelled to be without food for several days,
and a custom well known to Post from his long residence among them.



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444 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

The Delawares, living close by, must think what to do. The Delawares
were averse to any settlement here. Bouquet was anxious to learn the
Indians' answer committed to Post for the governor. Post records
December 5 :

Neither Mr. Croghan nor Montour would tell Colonel Bouquet the Indians' answer.
Then Mr. Crogfaan, Colonel Armstrong and Colonel Bouquet went into the tent by
themselves and I went upon my business. What they have further agreed I do not know ;
but when they had done, I called King Beaver, Shingiss and Kedeuscund and said:
"Brethren : If you have any alteration to make in the answer to the general, concerning
leaving this place, you will be pleased to let me know." They said they would alter
nodiing : ''We have told them three times to leave the place and go back ; but they insist
upon staying here; if, therefore, they will be destroyed by the French and Indians we
cannot help them."

This day there was a double tragedy due to liquor. Post tells it in
plain words : '^Colonel Bouquet set out for Loyalhannon : The Indians
got some liquor between ten and eleven o'clock. One Mohock died ; the
others fired guns three times over him ; at the last firing one had acci-
dentally loaded his gun with double fire; this gun burst to pieces and
broke his hand clean off; he also got a hard knock on his breast; and
in the morning at nine o'clock he died, and they buried them in that place,
both in one hole.''

On the 6th, Post had an altercation with Croghan, who was unjust
and abusive. Post's journal entry that day states :

6th^It was a cold morning; we swam our horses over the river, the ice running
violently. Mr. Crog^ian told me that the Indians had spoke upon the same string that I
had to CoL Bouquet, and altered their mind ; and had agreed and desired that 300 men
should stay at the fort I refused to make any alteration in the answer to the general
till I myself did hear it of the Indians ; at which Mr. Croghan grew very angry. I told
him I had already spoke with the Indians ; he said it was a lie ; and desired Mr. Hays
to enquire of the Indians, and take down in writing what they said. Accordingly he
called them and asked them if they had altered their speech, or spoke to Col. Bouquet on
that string they gave me. Shingiss and the other counsellor said they had spoken nothing
to Col. Bouquet on the string they gave me, but was agreed between the Indians at
Kushkushldng. They said Croghan and Montour had not spoken and acted honestly and
uprightly ; they bid us not alter the least, and said : "We have told them three times to
go back, but they will not go, insisting upon staying here. Now you will let the gov-
ernor, general, and all people know, that our desire is that they should go back, till the
other nations have joined in the peace, and then they may come and build a trading
house." They then repeated what they had said the 5th instant. Then we took leave
of them, and promised to inform the governor, general, and all other gentle people of
their disposition; and so we set out from Pittsburgh, and came within fifteen miles of
the breast works, where we encamped. It snowed, and we made a little cabin of hides.

The incidents of Post's return journey from this point are best told
by his entries, these following being salient extracts from them :

December 7th - 0ur horses were fainting, having little or no food. We came that
day about twenty miles, to another breast-work, where the whole army had encamped on a
hill, the water being far to fetch.

8th— Between Pittsburgh and Fort Ligonier the country is hilly with rich bottoms,
wdl timbered, but scantily watered. We arrived at Fort Ligonier in the afternoon about
four o'clock, where we found the general very sick; and, therefore, could have no
opportunity to speak with him.

9th— We waited to see the general; they told us he would march the next day, and



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 445

we should go with him. Captain Sinclair (the quartermaster) wrote us a return for
provisions for four days.

loUi— The general was still sidc» so that he could not go on the journey.

nth— We longed very much to go further; and, therefore, spoke to Major Halket,
and desired him to enquire of the general, if he intended to speak with us, or, if we
might go, as we were in a poor condition for want of linen and other necessaries. He
desired us to bring the Indians' answer and our journal to the general Mr. Hays read
his journal to Major Halket and Gov. Glen. They took memorandums, and went to
the general.

14th— The general intended to go, but his horses could not be found. They thought
the Indians had carried them off. They hunted all day for the horses, but could not
find them. I spoke to Col. Bouquet about our allowance being so small, that we could
hardly subsist and that we were without money, and desired him to let us have some
money» that we might buy necessaries. Provisions and everything \fi exceedingly dear.
One pound of bread cost a shilling, one poiuid of sugar four shillings, a quart of rum
seven shillings and sixpence, and so in proportion. Col. Bouquet laid our matters before
the general ; who let me call, and excused himself, that his distemper had hindered him
from speaking with me; and promised to help me in everything I should want and
ordered him to give me some money. He said farther, that I often should call, and when
he was alone he would speak with me.

i6tb— Mr. Hays, being hunting, was so lucky as to find the general's horses and
brought them home ; for which the general was very thankful to him.

iTtb— Mr. Hays, being desired by Major Halket to go and look for the other horses,
went but found none.

i8th— The general told me to hold myself ready, to go with him down the country.

Two days were spent hunting Post's horses. The weather was bad,
rain and snow, and becoming cold and stormy. When Post's horses were
found he was obliged to turn them over to the king's commissary, as
they were not able to carry their riders on account of weakness. Post's
entry of December 24 is most interesting, for its gives some history.
He wrote :

The sergeant, Henry Osten, being one of the company that guided us, as above men-
tioned, and was that same prisoner, whom the Shawanese intended to bum alive, came
to-day to the fort He was much r^oiced to see us, and said : "I thank you a thousand
times for my deliverance from the fire ; and think it not too much to be at your service
my whole life time." He gave us intelligence that the Indians were, as yet, mightily for
the English. His master had offered to set him at liberty, and bring him to Pittsburgh, if
he would promise him ten gallons of rum; which he did; and he was brought safe to
Pittsburgh. Delaware George is still faithful to the English; and was very helpful to
procure his liberty. Isaac Still, Shingiss and Beaver are gone with the message to the
nations living further off. When the French had heard that the garrison at Pittsburgh
consisted of only 200 men, they resolved to go down from Venango and destroy the
English fort. So soon as the Indians at Kushkushking heard of their intention, they sent
a message to the French desiring them to draw back, for they would have no war in
their country. The friendly Indians have sent out parties with that intention, that if the
French went on their mardi towards the fort, they would catch them, and bring them to
the English. They showed to Osten the place where eight French Indian spies had lain
near the fort. By their marks upon the place they learned that these eight were gone
back, and five more were to come to the same place again. He told us further, that the
Indians had spoke among themselves, that if the English would join them, they would go
to Venango and destroy the French there. We hear that the friendly Indians intend to
hunt round the fort at Pittsburgh, and bring the garrison fresh meat. And upon this
intelligence the general sent Captain Weddeshotz with fifty men to reinforce the gar-
rison at Pittsburgh.

Post spent a lonely Christmas, for he records :



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446 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

25th— The people in the camp prepared for a Christmas frolic, but I kept Christmas
in the woods b}- myself.

26th— To-day an express came from Pittsburgh to inform the general that the
French had called all the Indians in their interest together, and intended to come and
destroy them tliere.

.The privations Post was compelled to undergo will appear as the
story of the march progressed. Weather conditions could not have been
more disagreeable. One may well conclude Post was possessed of great
endurance, as well as the other endowments, such as heroism and fidelity :

27th — Towards noon the general set out, which caused joy among the garrison,
which had hitherto lain in tents, but now being a smaller company, could be more com-
fortably lodged. It snowed the whole day. We encamped by a beaver dam, under Laurel
HilL

28thr— We came to Stony Creek, where Mr. Quicksell is stationed. The general sent
Mr. Hays, express, to Fort Bedford (Rays Town) and commanded him to see if the
place for encampment, under the Allegheny Mountain, was prepared, as also to take care
that refreshments should be at hand at his coming. It was stormy and snowed all day.

29th — On the road I came up with some wagons; and found my horses with the
company, who had taken my horse up, and intended to carry the same away. We
encamped on this side, under the Allegheny hill.

30th — ^Very early I hunted for my horses, but in vain, and, therefore, was obliged to
carry my saddle bags, and other baggage on n^ back. The burden was heavy, the roads
bad ; which made me very tired and came late to Bedford, where I took my lodging with
Mr. Frazier. They received me kindly and refreshed me according to their ability.

31st — ^This day we rested, and contrary to expectation, preparation was made for
moving further to-morrow. Mr. Hays, who has his lodging with the commander of the
place, visited me.

January ist, 1759 — ^We set out early. I got my saddle bags upon a wagon; but my
bed and covering I carried upon my back, and came that day to the crossing of the
Juniata, where I had poor lodgings, being obliged to sleep in the open air, the night being
very cold.

2nd — ^We set out early. I wondered very much that the horses in these slippery
roads came so well with the wagons over these steep hills. We came to Fort Littleton,
where I drew provisions, but could not find any who had bread to exchange for flour.
I took lodgings in a conunon house. Mr. Hays arrived late.

3rd — ^We rose early. I thought to travel the nearest road to Shippen's Town, and
therefore desired leave of the general to prosecute my jotu-ney to Lancaster, and wait for
his Excellency there; but he desired me to follow in his company. It snowed, freezed,
rained, and was stormy the whole day. All were exceedingly glad that the general
arrived safe at Fort Loudon. There was no room in the fort for such a great company;



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 63 of 81)