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

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marched away in 1758. The Monongahela in those years had high banks.



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484 HISTORY OP PITTSBURGH

and the Allegheny also. Brackenridge records that a great flood had
taken away the banks on the Allegheny side of the fort and a number of
dwellings and other houses erected by the traders at Fort Pitt. The
town of Pittsburgh, a mere hamlet about the fort, by Ecuyer's orders,
was completely destroyed. Fort Pitt and Pittsburgh again coincided as
in the beginning soon after Forbes called the place "Pitts-Borough."

June 3d and 4th all the garrison were employed in repairing and
strengthening the fort. At 2 a. m. on the 5th a man named Benjamin
Sutton got in from Redstone and reported that fort abandoned, a^d that
shoe tracks going towards Cumberland indicated the garrison had sought
refuge there. Shoe tracks were significant indeed ; Indians wore mocca-
sins. With Sutton at Redstone there was a white man named Hicks and
an Indian, of what tribe not recorded. Hicks had difficulty in preveat-
ing the Indian from burning the fort. The Indian informed Hicks, who
told Sutton that an Indian war had broken out and that the white people
would be killed wherever found. The Indian had intended to murder a
fajnily named "Madcalf," nine miles from Fort Pitt, but they had re-
moved some time before. We may take it "Madcalf" was Ecuyer's spell-
ing of Metcalfe. Sutton intended to take the Indian prisoner, but could
not. His story was that as the wind was blowing very hard and "it
turned very dark when he came nigh the fort, he made for it and called
to the sentinel. Hicks and the Indian went by in their bark canoes."
The inference is plain that each had a separate canoe and that they had
come down the Monongahela.

We have some account of this man Hicks in a letter written by Cap-
tain Edward Ward (Ensign Ward in 1754) from Carlisle to Sir William
Johnson and dated May 2, 1764. Ward wrote :

Yesterday I received a letter from Lieut. Hutchiiu from Fort Pitt in five days and
he informs ine that a fue days ago, one Hicks (a renegade and a scoundrel) came into
Fort Pitt from the Indians who informs him that for certain my cousin Major Thomas
Smallman is a prisoner with the Shanneys at a place called Mugguck [on the Picka-
way Plains]. I woud begg as the greatest favor ever don my Brother that you would
please send some of the Five Nations to make enquirry for my poor Cousin, and if
possable, for them to bring Him to you, or to some post where he may be safe out of
their reach.

From this Hicks' known attachment to the Indian life, and a dog that was seen,
and some shotts that was heard after he came into the Fort, it is thought he came as a
spie. This Hicks was taken at the beginning of a former war, and he is in fact an
Indian and acquainted with every of the Indian's Villainy, and a greater Villain is not
in the Indian nations.

It is clearly evident why Hicks and the Indian went by Fort Pitt in
their canoes. The "Shanneys" were the Shawanese, the corrupted name
common on the frontiers. Smallman was among the prisoners surren-
dered to Bouquet on the Muskingum, November 9, 1764. He was a cap-
tain at Fort Pitt in 1759, under Colonel Hugh Mercer, a large trader
among the Ohio Indians, and one of the heaviest losers in goods when
Pontiac struck. Smallman served through the Revolution in the patriot
army. His name is familiar to Pittsburgh people in Smallman street.



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WHEN PONTIAC STRUCK 485

The original letter from Ward to Johnson is now in possession of C. A.
Hanna, the historian.^^^

June 6th Ecuyer records : ''Nothing extraordinary." On the 7th he
wrote : "This morning Mr. Wilkins with his wife and one child arrived
here in a day and a half from Venango." How is not stated. From the
rapid journey the inference is they came by canoe down the Allegheny.
Andrew Wilkins, often recorded Wilkey, was a trader at Venango. Re-
suming the records as Ecuyer wrote them :

June 9th — ^By a great smoke up the river, we suppose the enemy has burnt Mr.
Croghan's house, the smoke rising where we imagine his house stood. Nine o'clock,
two more expresses were sent to Venango.n

loth — ^This morning the two expresses returned, having lost themselves in the
night. About ten o'clock in the morning as some of the militia were putting up some
fences about 1000 yards from the fort the enemy fired, they returned the fire, and
retreated safe to the fort

June nth— -At break of day some Indians were discovered among the ruins of the
upper town.

About 10 o'clock at night they set fire to a house, on which a shell was thrown
among them ; some time after Indians were seen in the lower town and some hallooing
heard at a small distance from the fort

There was comparative quiet during the next three days.

15th— A party was sent out to cut speltsis and were fired on. Sergeant Miller of the
militia, contrary to orders, with three others, advanced to Grant's Hili, and just as they
had gained the summit, Miller was shot dead; a party advancing drove the enemy off
and prevented their scalping him. Between 11 ^d 12 o'clock at night, as an express
from Bedford was challenged by some of the sentinels from the rampart the enemy
fired a number of shots at him and the sentinels in the fort.

On the i6th four Shawanese appeared on the opposite side of the Allegheny and
requested Captain McKee to come over and speak to them. He complied. These
Indians said that they had some traders, prisoners in their towns, among them Baird imd
Gibson who had beoi taken by the Delawares but given to them. They promised to
take care of these prisoners until after the war was over. They said further that the
Delaware warriors had paid no regard to their chiefs but were determined to prosecute
war against the English. It was the Six Nation Indians and Delawares that had
ambushed and killed most of Calhoun's men at Beaver Creek.

On the 17th these same Indians called again and wanted McKee to meet them, but
he refused. They recommended, McKee said, that he set off for the inhabitants in the
night or to come with them and they would take care of him in their towns until the
war was over. They said all the nations had taken up the hatchet against the English
and in a few days a great body would attack Fort Pitt; and that all the other posts
were already cut off. They said, the Shawanese were afraid to refuse to take up the
hatchet against the English as so many Indians had done it, to force the Shawanese to
come to them.

June 19th — ^Two Indians crept along the bank of the Monongahela towards the
sentinel who was posted on the bank of the river and fired at hint Soon after a ntim-
ber of Indians were seen at the head of the fields, taking off some horses, as the garrison
was turning out a soldier's gun went off, by accident and mortally wounded him, of
which he died the next day.

On the nig^t of the 2st the Indians across the Monongahela mocked the sentinels
calling, "All's well."



loSee '-The Wilderness Trail;" VoL II, p. 29. "Colonial Records Pennsylvania;"

Vol. 14, p. 323«

i^Croffhan's house, an elaborate log structure, was burned to the ground. It stood
about the foot of McCandless avenue and was rebuilt.

i^German wheat (spelts), a cereal intermediate between wheat and barley.



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486 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

22d — Between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning a smoke was seen rising on the back
of Grant's Hill, where the Indians had made a fire and about 2 o'clock several of them
appeared in the spelts field, driving off the horses and cattle. About 5 o'clock one
James Thompson, who it was supposed was gone after a horse, was killed and scalped
in sight of the fort; on this a great number of Indians appeared on each river, and on
Grant's Hill shooting down the cattle and horses. A shell was thrown amongst a
number of them from a howitzer, which burst just as it fell among them. About an
hour after they fired on the fort from Grant's Hill and the other side of the Ohio, a
shot from the opposite side of tfie Ohio wounded a man in the Monongahela bastion.
About 7 o'clock three Indians were seen about 150 yards from the fort on the Monon-
gahela bank. Mr. McKee and two others fired on Uiem and killed one of them.

June 24th — ^Turtle's Heart and McKee had their parley. Out of regard to them
Ecuyer presented this chief with two blankets and a handkerchief from the small-
pox hospital which Ecuyer hoped would have the desired affect.

26th — Six o'clock in the morning Ensign Price with five men came in from Le
Boeuf and gave the following account of his miraculous escape from that place, and
while they were bringing him across the river seven Indians showed themselves on
Grant's Hill.

Early in the morning of the i8th instant five Indians came to his post and asked
for some tobacco and provisions, which he gave them. Soon after they went off, about
thirty men came down the road leading to Presqu' Isle, laid their arms a short distance
off, and asked liberty to come in and said they were going to war against the Cherokees,
would stay with him that night and that they proposed to pass by Fort Pitt in order to
speak with Mr. Croghan; Mr. Price, suspecting their design, had all his people under
arms and would not suffer them to go in, upon this the Indians took up their arms, and
got to the back of an out store, where they picked out the stones it was underpinned
with and got into it, then they began to roll out the barrels of provisions and shoot,
fired arrows into the top of the block house which was put out several times, this con-
tinued till some time in the night when Mr. Price finding it impossible to defend the
place any longer, or prevent its being consumed took advantage of the night, got all his
people out at a window and made off without being observed, but unfortunately left
six of his men and a woman who he supposed fell into the hands of the enemy, some
time after he left the block house the Indians began to fire upon it and when he came
to Venango, he found it in ashes, kept the road all the way here, and saw the bones of
several people who had been killed while going to Venango: they were Six Nation
Indians who attacked him.

28th — Several Indians have been seen to-day on Grant's Hill and about the fields.
About nine o'clock at night the sentinels discovered some canoes in the river and pres-
ently after saw some people in the ditch. The garrison turned out to their alarm posts,
remained under arms till 12 o'clock, then went to their barracks, all but the guard. A
great smoke was seen up the river this morning supposed to be a house on fire.

July 2, 1763 — ^About seven o'clock this morning some Indians appeared on Grant's
Hill ; at 12 o'clock they came into the cornfield, drove off a number of cows and shot
at several; this night several Indians were seen near the Glacis.

3rd. — ^At ID o'clock this morning as a party of men went to the gardens for greens
etc., they were fired upon by some Indians who had hidden within thirty yards of the
fort; our people hurried forward and fired upon them, and it was thought that Adam
Terrence either killed or wounded one badly, as the others were seen helping or carry-
ing him away. Our people pursued them till they were ordered back, they found Us
tomahawk, pipe and handkerchief which he dropped. At 10 o'clock two guns were
heard on the opposite side of the Allegheny and immediately four Indians naked and
their bodies painted with different colors, singing as they came along according to their
custom when appearing as friends; they had two small sets of British colors. Mr.
McKee went down and asked who they were and what their business was; they
answered him they were Ottawas and came from Detroit ten days ago, where they said
everything was settled between them and us m that place, and that they had brought
letters from the commanding officer there, therefore desired to be brought over. Not-
withstanding the fair appearance they came under, McKee directed them to go up the
river and cross at a place where Indians were frequently seen crossing and while



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WHEN PONTIAC STRUCK 487

they were away a canoe was sent and left for them on the other side. When they came
over McKee went and met them a snail distance from the fort. One of them (com-
monly called Chatterbox) displayed two large belts tied on a stick. They made the
following speech to Mr. McKee: "Brother: (showing die belts, one of which he
called the Friendship Belt, and the other for clearing the path between them and us).
This is what we called the writing we had for you and we are sent by our chiefs,
(who will be here to-morrow) to acquaint you that they are coming to renew their
friendship by their belts and to assure you that they are coming with a good inten-
tion and hope to be received as friends. This is all we have to say ; we propose to go
and meet our chiefs this afternoon and will return to-morrow." They asked for some
thread and tobacco. During this time on Grant's Hill a number of Indians appeared
very uneasy, and came running toward us; five more appeared over the Ohio or
Alleghany. Upon this the Ottawas went to dieir canoes, where they met those Indians
who came from Grant's Hill ; they talked some time together. During this our people
fired several shots at those who came from the hill, which they returned. At 6 in the
afternoon three of the Ottawas, with their colours, came to the same place and Mr.
McKee went to them; they informed him that their chiefs had come to the opposite
shore and desired them to deliver the following speech: "Brother the Commanding
Officer: — By this string of wampum we open your ears, wipe the tears from your eyes
and remove everything that is bad from your heart, that you may hear and receive them
in friendship to-morrow." Ckve a string painted with blue clay. Mr. McKee gave them
some bread and tobacco and they returned across the river.

As soon as it was dark our sentinels gave fire at some Indians in the ditch, the
whole garrison turned out and remained under arms until i o'clock, and then went to
their barracks and lay on their arms till daylight.

July 4th, This morning the canoe we had left the Indians yesterday was seen
aground in the middle of the river on a bar.

About II o'clock the Ottawas appeared on the opposite side, ten in number, and
requested to be brought over, upon which McKee desired them to take the canoe which
lay on the bar and cross in her, but they made many excuses saying they intended no
harm. Upon their fair promises the commanding officer sent two soldiers in a canoe for
them, and at their landing on the other side several haloos were heard on Grant's Hill
and the Ottawas began to sing, five of them came down to the canoe, three of which
seized the soldier at the head, the two others made toward the man in the stem who
threw himself into the water, they followed and stabbed him with their knives in two
places; the other soldier they had got up to the bank, but on some shots being fired
from small arms and a cannon with grape shot they all retreated into the woods and
left their kettle with one set of their colors on the bank; both soldiers got back without
further damage though one of the wounds is thought dangerous.

Three o'clock, the Indians returned and took their colours and kettle, then fired
several shots at the fort A cannon with grape shot was fired at them, the Indians on
Grant's Hill likewise fired several shots, this continued till dark; several bullets came
into the fort, but did no damage.

July 5th, II o'clock in the morning the Indians fired from both sides of each
river and Grant's Hill ; several crossed in a canoe up the Monongahela. 5 o'clock in the
afternoon they crossed back again.

From July 6th to the 14th Ecuyer records nothing alarming. Single
Indians were seen several times, some of whom fired the guns at the
fort. A large fire was discovered up the Ohio (Allegheny). On the 6th
Ecuyer thought this quiet ominous, for, he said: "By their being so
quiet we imagine they are gone down to meet our troops, attack Ligonier,
or fall on the country people." On the 9th and loth none of the enemy
were seen, which made the town people careless, for they struggled about
the fields in perfect security. Ecuyer recorded that July 13th was the
first night he had stripped since the alarm began :



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488 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

14th, One of the militia fired on and wounded in three places by some Indians
within two hundred yards of the fort as they were taking care of some cattle^ we sent
out a party and brought him in, but fear he will die, being shot through the arm, body
and thigh and the bones broken.

15th, i6th, and 17th — Nothing more than a number of Indians appearing and the
man wounded on the 14th djring.

i8th— A party was sent out to cut the spelts. An Indian killed near Grant's Hill
and scalped by Mr. Calhoun one of Mr. Fleming's party who went out the day before
to scour the hill while our people were at work, getting in part of the spelts; a large
body of the enemy appeared over the Monongahela, at the mouth of the Saw-mill Credc,
th^ called from this side over each river, on which the covering and working parties
came in. Soon after a large body of the enemy appeared about the upper end of the
field where our people had been at work. Three Indians from the Monongahela came
over, they are Delawares, they say they are for peace and wiM go to war against the
Ottawas and Chippawas. Another Indian, one James Wilson, came down from Grant's
Hill without arms and walked close to the fort, being known and without arms pre-
vented his being killed, he likewise says that the Beaver and chiefs of the Delawares are
coming here, as well as three Indians who came from the other side of the river, they
can tell nothing of Mr. Lowry and our people. They say that Mr. Gibson, Baird, Cam«
mel and one Robinson, a hired man, was at Beaver Creek waiting for their canoe
coming up the river; that canoe was just by when the enemy began to lire on them,
that Gibson and the rest jumped to their arms to go to their assistance, but they per-
suaded them not to, that they would be all killed, but they persisted That they seized
Gibson, Cammel and Robinson, but Mr. Baird who got to his arms fought bravely until
he was killed.i8

July 20th, The Indians, men, women, and children, continued passing over the
Allegheny in canoes and on horseback, near the fort, supposed to be going to fetch
Indian com, and I believe endeavoring to make us believe their numbers much greater
than what they are.

21 St, 9 o'clock in the morning, three Shawanese waded across the Ohio to the Point,
just by the fort, and asked for some provisions for their chiefs, who were just come.
The commanding officer told them he had none, and that he would not speak any more
with them till their chiefs came themselves.

22nd, Gray Eyes, Wingenum, Turtle's Heart and Mamaulter came over the river,
told us their chiefs were in council, and that they waited for Custaloga, whom they
expected that day. The Indians passed backwards and forwards, men, women and
children, up the river in canoes. It appeared that they were carrying things down to
the saw-mill in their canoes, and several horses passed with loads, in sight of the fort,
which I took to be Indian com from the deserted plantations and leather from Anthony
Thompson's tan-yard, though many suspect it is plunder from the frontier habitations.
They were told not to go backwards in their canoe or they would be fired upon.

July 23rd, we heard nothing from the Indians to-day; two of them appeared over
the Ohio but said nothing.

24th, Four Indians discovered at the upper end of the garden; several tracks
found about the River Ohio bank, where they had been last night At dusk three
Indians came on the opposite side of the Ohio and told us that Custaloga was come.
They were throwing the water out of the canoes, that lay on the shore where they
were, with the intentions, as I suppose of coming over when it is dark. While we were
talking with them we heard three death halloos. Mr. McKee asked them who it was.
They said they knew nothing of it (perhaps they were Ottawas) but said they would
let us know in the morning.

July 25th — Four Indians passing up the Monongahela, close by the opposite shore,
contrary to orders, a six-pounder with grape was fired on them. They all made their
escape (the shot fell all around them) leaving their canoe. Four of the militia set out
in a canoe to a bar in the middle of the river, and then one swam and brought off their



i8John Gibson, John Baird and Lowry were traders. "Cammell," Ecuyer's spelling
of Campbell, was a smith at Fort Pitt: see "The Wilderness Trail;" Hanna, VoL II,
p. 379.



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WHEN PONTIAC STRUCK 489

canoe. Th^ left four rifles with eight pair of new Indian shoes^ all their powder-horns
and pouches full of powder and ball, and two pairs of leggings for each, with five
blankets— a sure sign they were going to war.

STth— Fifty-seven Indians all on horsebadc were seen from the fort, going down
the road and some on foot. Soon after some were seen returning, some appeared in
Hulings' field cutting some wheat with their knives and scythe, we imagined they
were hungry.

A gun was fired according to agreement to call them over to get their answer, soon
after they appeared on the other side; as soon as they came over, Captain Ecuyer's
answer to this speech was delivered them, letting diem know that we took diis place from
the French, that this was our home and we would defend it to the last, that we were
able to defend it against all the Indians in the woods, that we had ammunition and
provisions for three years, (I wish we had for three months) that we paid no regard
to the Ottawas and Oiippawas that we knew that if they were not already attacked, that
they would be in a short time in their own country which would find enough for them
to do.

That they pretended to be our friends, at the same time they murdered our
traders in their towns and took their goods, that they stole our horses and cows from
here, and killed some of our people and every three or four days we hear the death
halloo, which we know must be some of their people who have been down the country
and murdered some of the country people. That if they intended to be friends with
us to go home to their towns and sit down quietly till they heard from us or else to
send some of their people down to Bedford to the General who had only power to
treat with them of Peace, they say they will come to-morrow and let us know when they
will go home.

The Yellow Bird, a Shawanee chief, asked for the four rifles we had taken from
the four Indians of the 25th, they were answered, if it appeared that their nation had
done us no harm, and that they continued to behave well, when we were convinced of
it, that then they should either have their guns, or pay for them. He was very much
enraged and the whole changed countenance on the speech that was made them. White
Eyes and Wingenum seemed to be very much irritated and would not shake hands with
our people at parting. These two were Delawares.

28th — In the morning the Indians were seen crossing the river by Shanopins' Town
on horseback, or swimming. Half an hour after, about 2 o'clock, they fired on our peo-
ple in the garden, who I had desired not to stay as I was positive they were coming
down, but they paid no regard to it, they got in with only one man wounded in the
knee. Soon after they began firing on the whole fort and continued to fire all day and
night Captain Ecuyer was wounded in the leg with an arrow, a Corporal and one of
the men, mortally.

29th — Continued firing on the fort, the whole day, from the Ohio bank, they kept
up a very smart fire, this day. and yesterday a number of shells were thrown to dis-
perse them, but they only shifted places, this day and yesterday about 1,500 small arips
fired on them from the fort. Wounded this day: Marcus Ruling's leg broken. Ser-
geant Hermon shot through the lungs; a grenadier shot through the leg; fired three
round shots from a six pounder, as they were passing the river in canoes ; obliged them
at once to throw themselves into the river, one of them said to be cut in two by one of
the shot These two days killed several of them from the fort, one of them wounded
and drowned in the river, attempting to swim over and five more seen carried out of
the canoe on the farther side of the Ohio, supposed to be wounded. The roofs of the



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 69 of 81)