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I, therefore^ and some others, went two miles further, and got lodgings at a plantation.

4th^-I and my company took the upper road; which is three miles nearer to Ship-
pen's Town, where we arrived this evening. The slippery roads, made me as a traveler,
very tired.

Near Shippenstown, now Shippensburg, Post awaited Forbes' arrival,
there being no room for him in the crowded town. General Forbes felt
strong enough to go ahead, so the next stop was at Carlisle. Post could
find no lodging there, but Montour was kind enough to share his room
with him. Post begged Forbes to give him leave to proceed to Lancaster
to transact some private business, and the general consented. Sinclair
g^ve him an order for horse, but Post very much disgusted with the hunt
for one, resolyed to walk, as he had been doing. January 9, he crossed
the Susquehanna on the ice, but was obliged to stop within thirteen

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miles of the town. It was slippery and heavy travelling, he said. The
next day was rainy ; he kept on, however, arriving in Lancaster at two
in the afternoon, quite refreshed to have the favor of seeing his brethren.

In Post's narrative there are found the names of many noted Indians,
the brothers, Shingiss, Beaver and Pisquitomen, among them. Shingiss,
whom Heckewelder calls "Shingask," and Post, "Shingas," was the chief
sachem of the Turkey tribe of Delawares in 1753, when Washington and
Gist met him at his town at the mouth of Chartiers creek. When Bou-
quet went to the Muskingum towns in 1764, Beaver was the chief sachem
of the Turkey tribe. When the Virginia commissioners, Patton, Fry and
Lomax, were at Logstown in June, 1752, to make a treaty, Tanacharison,
the Half King, was there in his official capacity, the oveflord of the Iro-
quois, and he then bestowed the sachemship upon Shingiss. A memo-
randum made by Jasper Yeates at Fort Pitt in 1776 states that Beaver
was chief of the Turkey tribe. White Eyes, Custaloga and Killbuck
figure largely in all the exciting Indian history previous to and during the

It was common for Indians to have English names. Thomas Hick-
man, one of Post's Indian guides, was a Delaware. It was also com-
mon for English notables to have Indian names. Washington's Indian
name was Conotocaurious, as he himself attested in a letter to Montour
in 1755, whom he addressed as "Dear Montour." This was Captain Mon-
tour, sometimes called Henry and as often Andrew, a noted character in
Pennsylvania history, whose family name has been well commemorated
in the State's geographical nomenclature.

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Fort Pitt, 1758-1763.

General Forbes and his army left Pittsburgh on December 3, 1758,
and arrived in Philadelphia on January 17, 1759. The winter having set
in, there was no possibility of erecting a permanent fort at the Forks, not
alone by reason of weather conditions but for lack of workmen and
materials. It was the firm intention of the British Government to hold
the place at all hazards, for as it had been a vantage point for the French,
it was to be likewise for the new power in control. Accordingly Forbes'
men had immediately set to work to build a temporary fortification, the site
slightly southeast of the ruins of Fort Duquesne. The cabins that had
stood around the French fort were mostly destroyed, and as there had
been much ground cleared about it, there was no delay in preparing a
site for the new work. This was a square stockade with a bastion at
each angle, and was erected on the banks of the Monongahela between
what is now Liberty and West streets. The Map of Pittsburgh in 1795
shows that the eastern bastion crossed West street, and the western bas-
tion extended to within 125 feet of the southerly line of Liberty street.
From the plan obtained by William G. Johnston, the distance from one
stockade to the opposite was 290 feet.^

Craig in his history states that it is not known precisely when this
temporary work was completed; most probably about January i, 1759,
for Col. Hugh Mercer, who was left in command, wrote on January 8th :
"This garrison now consists of 280 men and is capable of some defence,
though huddled up in a very hasty manner, the weather being extremely

Mercer's situation was indeed perilous. We may believe the severity
of the weather which entailed so great discomfort and at times suffering
upon the little garrison, operated to their advantage as it prevented any
expedition of the French against them. The enemy, although driven from
the Forks, were able to maintain a force at Venango and had some troops
at Kushkushking (or Kuskuskies), a Delaware town on the Mahoning
river at its junction with the Big Beaver, the site of the Indian town now
that of Mahoningtown, Lawrence county. In the letter of January 8th,
Mercer said that the intelligence he had from every quarter made it evi-
dent that the French had not lost hopes of securing a post again on the site
of Duquesne. They were extremely busy in collecting their over-the-
lake Indians and assembling them near Kuskuskies, where they were
forming a magazine of arms and provisions. They had yet many friends
among the Delawares, Mercer was informed, and also by the deputies of
the Six Nations who come from Venango; the French then had but a

i"Life and Reminiscences/' W. G. Johnston. See plan opposite his p. 22.
^"History of Pittsburgh;*' Craig (Edition 1917). P. ^ "Olden Time;" Vol. I,
p. 194. "Colonial Records;" VoL VIII, p. 292.
Pitta.— 19

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small force there. However, the winter passed without an attack on
Mercer, and the spring also, but early in July Mercer had positive assur-
ance that a formidable force of French and Indians were about to
descend the Allegheny from Venango and with sufficient artillery to
render his holding Fort Pitt impossible. Only the fortune of war saved
Mercer. Had not circumstances intervened to divert this French force,
Mercer was doomed. The urgent necessity of the French at Niagara com-
pelled them to abandon their cherished project of again securing the
Forks of the Ohio. Niagara had been invested by the English under
Prideaux on July 6th.

A letter from William Pitt to Governor Denny, of Pennsylvania,
shows that Fort Pitt was built by special orders from the King. The let-
ter is dated Whitehall, January 23, 1759. An extract reads:

Sir: I am now to acquaint you that the King has been pleased, immediately upon
receiving the account of the Success of his Arms on the River Ohio, to direct the Com*
mander-in-chief of his Majesty's Forces in North America, and Brigadier-General Forbes
to lose no time in Concerting the properest and speediest means for completely restoring,
if possible, the ruined Port Duquesne to a defensible and respectable State, or for
erecting another in the Room of it, of Sufficient Strength and every Way adequate to
the great importance of the several objects of maintaining His Majesty's Subjects on
the undisputed Possession of the Ohio ; of Effectually cutting off all Trade and Com-
munication this Way, between Canada and the Western and Southern Indians ; of pro-
tecting the British Colonies from the Incursions to which they have been exposed since
the French built the above Fort, and thereby made themselves Masters of the Naviga-
tion of the Ohio; and of fixing again the Several Indian Nations in their Alliance
with and dependance upon His Majesty's Government*

An express, the records state, brought two letters received by the
Halifax packet. The other was to Amherst, who immediately wrote to
Denny enclosing Pitt's letter. These were read at the Provincial Coun-
cil in Philadelphia, April 2, 1759. Urgency was strongly set forth in each
letter. Amherst's, dated New York, March 38, 1759, complete, is as
follows :

Sir : With my Dispatches from Mr. Secretary Pitt, this Moment received by the Hal-
ifax Packet, came the enclosed for you, by which you will see that the King has been pleased
to direct me and Brigadier Genersd Forbes to lose no Time in concerting the properest
and speediest means for compleatly restoring, if Possible, the mined Fort Duquesne to
a defensible and respectible state, or for erecting another in the room of it, of suffi-
cient strength and every way adequate to the great importance of the several objects of
maintaining His Majesty's Subjects in the undisputed possession of the Ohio; of
effectually cutting off all Trade and Communication this way between Canada and the
Western and Southern Indians ; of protecting the British Colonies from the Incursions
to which they have been Exposed since the French built the above fort, and thereby
made themselves Masters of the Navigation of the Ohio; and of fixing again the Sev-
eral Indian Nations in their alliance with and dependence upon his Majesty's Govern-
ment, for all which wise and good purposes, it is his Majesty's Pleasure that you should
use your utmost endeavours with your Council and Assembly to induce them to exert
every means in their power for collecting and forwarding the Materials of all sorts, and
the workmen which shall be wanted, and which the Commander-in-Chief in North
America or Brigadier-general Forbes shall require for this service; and that your

•"Colonial Records;" Vol. VIII, p. 315.

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FORT PITT, 1758-1763 451

Province do also furnish every other Assistance of men, cattle, carriages, provisions,
etc., that shall be necessary for the support and maintenance of the King's forces that
shall be employed in this essential work, as well as in all further operati<xis to be under-
taken in those parts the ensuing campaign.

These directions being so full and explicit, leaves me nothing to doubt, to add to
them than my warmest wishes and hopes, that they will meet with a vigorous and
speedy execution, as well on the part of your Province as those of Virginia and Mary-
land, who are equally with you so particularly and nearly interested therein, and to
whom the same is likewise recommended in the strongest terms.

And as I have already signified to you that I had appointed Brigadier General
Stanwix to succeed Brigadier General Forbes in the Command to the Southward, and
desired you to correspond and co-operate with him in every matter relative to the serv-
ice in those parts, I am now to request of you that all the aid and assistance required
t^ you by Secretary Pitt's letter in favor of the late Brigadier Forbes may be granted
to Brigadier Stanwix to enable him in die most expeditious manner to execute the
before mentioned great and salutary work or any other that may be found necessary
for the good of the Service, and that you would look upon whatever he may ask or
require of your province, during his continuance in that command, as coming from

I am, with great regard. Sir,

Your most humble and obed't. servt.,

JSF?. Amherst.^

The reference to General Forbes in the second paragraph was an inad-
vertence, as a subsequent paragraph shows that Amherst knew Forbes
was dead. It is evident that the King had not yet received the intelli-
gence, for he had not had time. In the meantime Mercer was kept well
informed, for his Indian spies had easy access to the French camps. One
of these was Killbuck, a Delaware, famous on the side of the Colonists
during the Revolution. Another was "Captain Bull," who was a son of
Teedyuscung, therefore a Delaware, who later turned against the Eng-
lish when Pontiac struck. Mercer wrote Governor Denny, March 17,

The greatly superior force which the enemy had collected at Venango greatly
alarmed the Indians. Again on the 15th instant we had the following accounts from
two Six Nations Indians sent to spy at Venango, who left this place the 7th. They found
at Venango, 700 French and 400 Indians. The commanding officer told them he
expected 600 more Indians, that as soon as they arrived he would come and drive us
from this place. Next day 200 Indians came to Venango, and the same number the
next day, and the third day they were all fitted off for the expedition by the nth at
night, and three pieces of cannon brought from Le Boeuf, the others expected every
hour, with a great many batteaux loaded with provisions. In the morning, the 12th,
a grand council was held, in which the commandant thanked the Indians for attending
him, threw down the war-belt and told them he would set off the next day. The
Indians consented, but were somewhat disconcerted by one of the Six Nations, ^o
gave them wampum, telling them to consider what they did, and not to be in too great
a hurry ; soon after messengers arrived with a packet for the officer who held the coun-
cil, at which he and other officers appeared much concerned, and at length he told the
Indians : "Children, I have received' bad news ; the English are gone against Niagara.
We must give over thoughts of going down the river, till we have cleared that place of
the enemy. If it should be taken, our road to you is stopped, and you must become
poor." Orders were immediately given to proceed with the artillery, provisions, etc.,
up French Creek, which the spies saw set off, and the Indians making up their bundles

^"Colonial Records;" Vol. VIII, pp. 316-317.

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to follow. They reckon there were upwards of looo Indians, collected from twelve dif-
ferent nations, at Venango. Half the party that attacked Ligonier were returned with-
out prisoner or scalp. They had, by their own account, one Indian killed and one
wounded. Twenty-two Wyandots have just arrived, probably of those collected at
Venango. Since the Conference we have, in conjunction with the Delawares, sent
messengers with belts to all the nations in French interest, to inform them of what
their chiefs have agreed to here, and this, with the enemy's embarrassed situation, we
expect may break off numbers off from them.B

On March 17th, Mercer made a return of the garrison as follows:
10 commissioned officers; 18 non-commissioned officers; 3 drummers,
346 rank and file, fit for duty ; 79 sick ; 3 unaccounted ; making a total of
428. Twelve had died since January i, 1759. In respect of their com-
mand they were divided as follows: Royal Artillery, 8; Royal Amer-
icans, 20; Highlanders, 80; Virginia regiment, 99; First Battalion,
Pennsylvania, 136; Second Battalion, Pennsylvania, 85.® It will be
noted that over twenty per cent, of the entire force were sick.

Mercer's return for April 4, 1759, shows only 326 eflFectives, nine men
having died since the previous report, and one was captured ; four officers
were absent on leave, among them Captain Ward, on detached duty. No
reinforcements had arrived and no details had been sent out."^

The following list of officers at Fort Pitt, July 9, 1759, will be found
in Craig's histories: Col. Hugh Mercer; Captains Waggoner, Wood-
ward, Prentice, Morgan, Smallman, Ward and Clayton; Lieutenants
Matthews, Hydler, Biddle, Conrod, Kennedy, Sumner, Anderson, Hut-
chins, Dangerfield, and Wright of the train ; Ensigns Crawford, Crawford
and Morgan.®

There are some noted names here, easily recognized as leading
characters in the history of Pittsburgh in the Colonial era. First there
is gallant Hugh Mercer, physician and soldier, who fell at Princeton. A
native of Scotland, then thirty-nine years old, Mercer had served as an
assistant surgeon at Culloden on the side of the Pretender, and in con-
sequence was obliged to leave his native land. He came to Virginia and
settled at Fredericksburg. He served under Braddock and was wounded
at the battle on the Monongahela, but managed to conceal himself until
the French and Indians left the field ; when he slowly and painfully made
his way back to civilization. He was a captain under John Armstrong,
and was wounded at Kittanning when that place was destroyed in 1756,
and again was compelled to brave the perils of the wilderness to reach a
haven. He was reported wounded and missing by General Armstrong.
This time Mercer had some of his men with him, and four English pris-
oners rescued from the Indians — ^a woman, a boy and two little girls.*

^"Colonial Records;" Vol. VIII, pp. 292-293. "Olden Time;" Vol. I, pp. i<>4-i95.
"History of Pittsburgh;" Craig (Edition 1917), p. 67. "Frontier Forts of Pennsyl-
vania;" Vol. 11, p. loi.

e"Colonial Records;" Vol. VIII, p. 314.

7"Colonial Records;" Vol. VIII. p. 580.

8"History of Pittsburgh;" (Edition 1917), p. 6^. "Olden Time;" Vol. I, p. 195.

<> Armstrong's report in "History of Pennsylvania and the West," etc; p. 129,
"Colonial Records," Vol. VII.

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FORT PITT, 1758-1763 453

Mercer was really pleased at his appointment for he wrote Governor
Denny from "Loyal Hanning, 3rd December, 1758: Give me leave to
render your Honour my most grateful acknowledgements for so distin-
guishing a mark of the command of a Battalion in your Regiment," etc.^®

At the taking of Fort Duquesne, Mercer was lieutenant-colonel of
the First Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment of which John Arm-
strong was colonel. In this battalion Edward Ward was a captain — ^who
as a Virginia ensign had surrendered to Contrecceur's overwhelming force
of French and Indians, April 17, 1754, on the same ground
where Fort Duquesne arose. John Prentice was another captain in the
First Battalion under Mercer, and Robert Anderson, Nicholas Conrad,
and Edward Matthews lieutenants. Of the same rank and quartermaster
was the celebrated Thomas Hutchins, subsequently geographer-general
of the United States, who served under Bouquet and Harry Gordon, and
who after the war was possessed of much land in Pittsburgh and who
died there in 1789.^^

The Second Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment was Colonel
Burd's ; of his captains, Jacob Morgan, Asher Clayton, Thomas Small-
man were with Mercer at Fort Pitt. Smallman is the only one of the
three who has any further history in this region. He became prominent
later as a trader, and suffered great loss and was made a prisoner during
Pontiac's w:ar. His name is commemorated in Smallman street in Pitts-
burgh, and there are numerous descendants from him in Pittsburgh at
this day. Waggoner was a Virginia officer who had served under Wash-
ington at Fort Necessity and with the Virginia Regiment at Braddock's
battle. Edward Biddle, a lieutenant in Burd's Battalion, in Pennsylvania
history ranks high — ^as high as his chief. Biddle was bom in Philadel-
phia, but located at Reading after his military service, where he was
admitted to the bar and became noted as an attorney. He entered
the General Assembly of Pennsylvania before the Revolution, and became
speaker of that body. He was a member of the First Continental Con-
gress and elected to the second, but could not attend its sessions on
account of the lingering illness that caused his death in 1779. He was
a true patriot and one of the foremost advocates of independence, having
served as a delegate in the Provincial Convention that met in Philadel-
phia in January, 1775, and on the Committee of Safety for Berks county
in June the same year.

Of the ensigns under Mercer at Fort Pitt, Hugh Crawford was one
of Armstrong's First Battalion. He was an Indian trader, first licensed
in 1747, and is accredited of having made the first settlement at Standing
Stone, subsequently Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Crawford also was
made prisoner when Pontiac's allies made sad work of the traders and
confiscated their goods. Crawford served as a guide and interpreter for
Mason and Dixon in 1767 when they were "running** their famous line.
Crawford died in 1770. Like Captains Smallman and Ward, he was one

io"Pennsylvania Archives;" First Scries, Vol. Ill, p. 571.
ii"01dcn Time;" Vol. I, p. 325.

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of the noted traders setting out on their trips from the Forks of the
Ohio. Many references to Crawford's career can be cited.^^ At the time
of his capture in 1763 Crawford was an employee of Smallman.

Captains Samuel Miles and Samuel Atlee, of Burd's Battalion, both
colonels in the Pennsylvania line during the Revolution, were at Fort
Pitt with their companies in 1760, and Capt. William Clapham, also of the
same battalion, a lieutenant in 1759, most probably colonel in 1763, and one
of the first victims of Pontiac's hordes under Guyasutha when they
attacked Fort Pitt in 1763."

In the records of the British army, Thomas Hutchins is listed as an
ensign from March 2, 1762, in the 60th Regiment of Foot, and a lieuten-
ant in the same from August 7, 1771. Hutchins, who was a native of
New Jersey, was a patriot during the Revolution. He was in England
when the war began, and was for a time imprisoned. His services with
Bouquet were most valuable.^*

In 1759 three expeditions were planned by Amherst — ^the first under
Wolfe against Quebec; the second, under Amherst himself, against
Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and the third against Niagara, under
Prideaux. "It was this last expedition," says Craig, "whose influence
was so timeously felt at Venango/' General Prideaux immediately
invested the French fort at Niagara, an old-time stronghold at the mouth
of that river, and was soon after killed in the battle that ensued, where-
upon the command devolved upon General Sir William Johnson, who
pressed the siege with great vigor. July 24th a battle took place in which
the French were defeated and D'Aubry, their commander, was captured.
On the following day, Niagara capitulated, the garrison, 607 men, sur-
rendered. After reciting Mercer's reports of danger from Venango, Craig
says, "So much for Col. Mercer's statements. We will complete the
narrative of the providential means by which this place (Fort Pitt) was
relieved from any further alarm from the French."^'

Craig found evidence of the scare at Fort Pitt during this eventful
summer. To resurrect an obsolete word used by Craig, once good and
thoroughly expressive, the situation at Venango prior to the fall of
Niagara was "timeously felt" at Pittsburgh. If Craig himself did not
know John Ormsby at anytime, Craig's father, Maj. Isaac Craig, who
came to Pittsburgh during the Revolution, knew Ormsby well and lived
neighbor to him. Neville Craig records having had access to Ormsby's
books after his death and has given in the "Olden Time" many extracts
from the journals Ormsby kept by penning them on pages of books he
had owned.^®. Craig quotes Ormsby, who was a most competent wit-

i2<'Gist'8 Journals;" Darlington, pp. 128-129, and his citations, '^he Wilderness
Trail ;" Hanna, VoL II, p. 329, and his citations.

I'Capt Jacob Morgan had a long and distinguished career. His home was in
Berks county. Sec "Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania;" Vol. 1, p. 121.

i*"British Officers in America, 1754-1774;" W. C Ford, p. 56.

i6"History of Pittsburgh;" (Edition 1917)1 p. 6a Cf., also "Frontier Forts
Pennsylvania;" Vol. II, p. 103, and 'Tennsylvania Archives;" First Series, Vol. Ill,
pp. 671, 674.

i«See "Olden Time;" Vol. II, p. i.

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FORT PITT, 1758-1763 455

ness. Craig says : "There is something so frank, and so full of naivete,
in John Ormsb/s account of this matter, that we cannot overlook it."
The extract reads :

Very few incidents occurred during the early part of the year 1759. Towards the
close of it, however, fresh troubles commenced. The French in Canada began to raise
an army at Niagara, to attack our small garrison, (now called Fort Pitt) which was in
an ill state for defence, when our commandant, Col. Mercer, was informed by express
that there were 1500 regulars and a strong body of Indians at Venango, making ready
for an expedition against our post, which would attack us within three days. This
information, you may be sure, struck a panic into our people, being 300 miles from any
aid, and surrounded by the merciless savages, from whom no expectation of mercy was
in view, but immediate destruction by the tomahawk, or lingering starvation. I must
own I made my sincere application to the Almighty, to pardon my sins and extricate us
from this deplorable dilemma. Our prayers were heard, and we extricated from the
dreadful massacre, for day before the expected attack, an Indian fellow arrived from
Niagara, informing Col. Mercer that General Johnson laid siege to Niagara, with a

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 64 of 81)