Copyright
American Historical Society George Thornton Fleming.

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

. (page 76 of 81)
Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 76 of 81)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


FORT PITT, 1764-1774 533

and could be, only the Six Nations. Accordingly a council was arranged
by Sir William Johnson, who lived in his magnificent castle on the
Mohawk river in the heart of the Mohawk country. This congress, as
Craig calls it, met at Fort Stanwix, October 24, 1768. It must be remem-
bered that Sir William Johnson was his majesty's superintendent of
Indian affairs, Croghan, his deputy at Fort Pitt, and Alexander McKee,
assistant agent or deputy under Croghan. McKee is found designated
as commissary of Indian affairs in the minutes of the conference at Fort
Pitt, April 26, 1768, to which reference has been made. McKee had
accompanied Bouquet on his expedition to the Muskingum in 1764, and
in the minutes of the various conferences is usually recorded as assistant
agent. In some conferences Captain William Trent's name appears with
McKee's as assistant agent.

At the momentous conference. Sir William, as his majesty's superin-
tendent, presided. Richard Peters and James Tilghman were present as
delegates from Pennsylvania. Some Shawanese and Delawares were
present, but none signed, for it was a conference with the Six Nations
exclusively. Commissioners were also present from Virginia and New
Jersey. The treaty then made was one of the most important ever made
with the Indians as far as Pennsylvania was concerned, for it opened
up the country about Fort Pitt for settlement, and as Father Lambing
put it, "made the way clear for the march of civilization to the Ohio from
its headwaters to the mouth of the Tennessee."

It was a notable conference, and John Penn was so greatly interested
that he went himself, but the Indians being slow to assemble, Penn was
obliged to return after considerable wait and leave Messrs. Peters and
Tilghman, of the Pennsylvania Council, to represent him. New Jersey
was represented by Governor William Franklin, son of Benjamin, and by
Chief Justice Frederick Smith. Virginia had but one representative,
Thomas Walker. Croghan was present as deputy Indian agents and
Andrew Montour was one 'of the three interpreters. Craig names some
of the Iroquois "chiefs" present. He meant sachems. The Shawanese
had one representative, Benevissica, and the Delawares two, Killbuck
and Turtleheart, or "Turtle's Heart," who had made himself thoroughly
obnoxious at the siege of Fort Pitt. Killbuck became famous on the side
of the colonies during the Revolution and his has remained a well known
name commemorated in Killbuck township, Allegheny county.

The usual addresses were made at the congress, but nothing definite
was passed until November 5th, when the following official record was
made:

The deed to his Majesty— one to the proprietors of Pennsylvaiiia, and one to the
traders being then kid on the table, were executed in iht presence of the Governor of
New Jersey, the Commissioners of Virginia and Pennsylvania and the rest of the gen-
tlemen present, after which the chiefs of each nation received the cash which was piled
on the table for that purpose, and then proceeded to divide the goods amongst the
people which occupied the remainder of the day.

Jared L. Sparks thought the withholding of the names of Killbuck
and his colleague and the Shawanese chief a suspicious circumstance.



Digitized by



Google



534 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

They must have admitted the right of the Six Nations to cede the lands,
for they made no protest. Craig agreed with Sparks because the names
of these chiefs are mentioned in the caption of the conference, and be-
cause they did not sign, some suspicions must arise as to the fairness of
the transaction. At the great conference at Fort Pitt in the spring the
Delaware sachem, Beaver, said, "The country lying between this river
(the Ohio) and the Allegheny mountains has always been our hunting
ground." A Six Nation chief said to Commissioners Allen and Shippen:
"It is not without grief that we see Our Country settled by you." The
commissioners in their instructions to the messengers spoke of the Six
Nations as the owners of the land. The truth is that the Six Nations
had sent the two Algonquin nations over the mountains and had never
relinquished their claim to all the Ohio country, nor their sovereignty
over the conquered and vassal tribes in the region. Cannassatego had
told the Delawares in 1742 to remove instantly and the Delawares had
removed except a few who had remained east of the Susquehanna under
the close surveillance of their Iroquian masters. Craig maintains this
view, for he states that it is the only one we can take to reconcile the
various allusions to the lands between the Ohio and the mountains, and
is to suppose that the Six Nations held the absolute dominion over it,
but had assigned it to the other nations as a hunting ground — k country
to dwell in, he could have said. "Be this as it may," he continued, "the
treaty at Fort Stanwix in 1768 put an end to all controversy about the
title to the territory about to be ceded." Craig confines his history to the
cession then made to the Penns.^* In 1784 another treaty was made at
Fort Stanwix, but this time the contracting parties were different, for
there were no representatives of the crown. October 23, 1784, all the
remaining lands claimed by the Six Nations in Pennsylvania were pur-
chased and their title extinguished. The article reciting the cession to
the Penns in 1768, with Craig's comments, is as follows :

"We, TVanhasare, or Abraham, sachem or chief* of the Indian nation called the
Mohocks; Senaghsis— of the Oneydas; Gienughiata— K>f the Onondagoes; Gaustrax
—of the Senecas; Sequarisera— of the Tuscaroras; Tagaaia— of the Cayugas; in gen-
eral council of the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, assembled for the purpose of setting
a general boundary line between the said Six Nations, and their confederates and inde-
pendent tribes, and his majesty's middle colonies, send greeting, etc In consideration
of ten thousand dollars, they grant to Thomas and Richard Penn, all that part of the
province of Pennsylvania, not heretofore purchased of the Indians, within the said gen-
eral boundary line, on the east side of the east branch of the river Susquehannah, at a
place called Owegy, and running with the said boundary line, down the said branch on
the east side thereof till it comes opposite the mouth of a credc called by Indians
Awandac, (Tawandee) and across the river and up the said creek on the south side
thereof, along the range of hills called Burnett's hills by the English, and by die Indians

, on the north side of them, to the head of the creek which runs into the west

branch of Susquehannah, which creek is by the Indians called Tiadaghton, and down
the said creek on the south side thereof, to the said west branch of the Susquehannah,
tiien crossing the said river, and running up iht same on the south side thereof, the sev-
eral courses thereof to the fork of the same river which lies nearest to a place on die
river Ohio, called Kittanning, and from the said fork t^ a straight line to Kittanning



i«"01den Time;" VoL I, pp. 39P-403- "History of ^«»buigh;'* Edition X917, pp.



Digitized by



Google



FORT PITT, 1764-1774 535

aforesaid, and then down the said river Ohio by several courses thereof to where the
western bounds of the said province of Pennsylvania crosses the same river, and then
with the said western bounds to the south boundary thereof, and with the south bound-
ary aforesaid to the east side of the Allegheny hills, and with the said hills on the east
side of them to the west line of a tract of land purchased by the said proprietors from
the Six Nation Indians, and confirmed October 23rd, 1758^ and then with the northern
bounds of that tract to the river Susquehannah to the northern boundary line of another
tract of land purchased by the Indians by deed, and then with that northern boundary
line to the river Delaware at the north side of the mouth of a creek called Lechawach-
sein, then up the said river Delaware on the west side thereof to the intersection of
it, by an east line to be drawn from Owegy aforesaid to the said river Delaware, and
then with that line to the beginning at Owegy aforesaid"

Some doubts arose as to what stream it was that was called Tiadaghton, and* what
hiUs were meant by "Burnett's Hills." At a subsequent treaty held in 1784, questions
of these points were put to the Indians, and they replied that the creek was Pine Creek,
which enters the west branch of the Susquehannah above Jersey Shore, and that
Burnett's Hills were by them called the Long Mountains.

It is a singular drcumstance of history of this treaty that although Virginia claimed
a very considerable portion of the territory ceded to the Penns; yet her commissioner
Thomas Walker, Esq., was present, saw the money paid to the Indians, and their chiefs
executed a deed for the territory which embraced Pittsburgh, the very bone of conten-
tion, between those colonies, and yet made no objection, so far as we can learn.

The blank in the text where the Indian name of the creek is omitted
is found in all printed copies of the treaty. It is so in the text of the
"Pennsylvania Archives," Series Four, Vol. Ill, p. 403. A fac-simile
reproduction of the original document by photostatic process shows some
of the signatures of the sachems clearly and their totemic marks, notably
those of Tyanhasare, the Mohawk, and Tagaaia, the Seneca.

The title being thus acquired, measures were immediately taken to prepare the new
purchased land for sale. Febrtiary 23, 1769, an advertisement was published for general
information that the land office would be opened on the third day of the ensuing April
at 10 o'clock A. M. to receive applications from all persons inclined to take up land in
the new purchase upon the terms of five pounds sterling per hundred acres, and one
penny per acre per annum quit rent. This quit rent was afterwards abolished by the act
vesting in the Commonwealth the title of the Penns, commonly called the Divesting Act,
passed November 27, 1779. In Washington county and in that portion of Allegheny
west of the Monongahela river many settlements were also made under Virginia titles,
so that there was a rapid increase from 1770 to 1775. Much of the very best lands in
that quarter is held by titles based on Virginia entries which by the compromise of
1779 are recognized as equally good as a Pennsylvania warrant. A large portion of
the lands along Chartiers Creek is thus held under entries made between the years 1769
and 1779, both inclusive. The place spoken of in the deed as the ford nearest to the
Kittanning is the point which now marks the northwest comer of Cambria County.iT

. The point is at the town of Cherry Tree, in Indiana county, at the
juncture of Indiana, Qearfield and Cambria counties, where a monument
has been erected to commemorate its historic associations.

Craig continues: "This cession of 1768 gave to the Penns all the
territory in Pennsylvania south of the west branch of the Susquehanna
and of a straight line from the northwest comer of Cambria county to
Kittanning and all the territory east of that part of the Allegheny river
below Kittanning and all the country south of the Ohio. So that Pitts-



i7<'History of Pittobuxgh;'' Edition 19171 P- 90. "Olden Time;" Vol I, p. 40a.



Digitized by



Google



536 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

burgh and the country eastward of it was ceded, while the country west
of the Allegheny and north of the Ohio was still Indian countiy, and
preserved that name until within the memory of the writer."^*

Craig could justly say this, for he was seven years of age at the time
of Wayne's victory over the Western tribes in 1794, and the section
referred to was not opened for settlement until about that time, surveyed
after the supplementary treaty with the Delawares and Wyandots at
Fort Mcintosh (since Beaver, Pennsylvania) in January, 1785, and lots
sold between 1785 and 1787. "The whole Western territory," says Judge
Agnew, "north of the Ohio was then an uninhabited wilderness and this
state of aflFairs continued much later/'^^

After Wayne's victory this Indian country rapidly became the white
man's country. Previously under the designation the "Indian country,"
it was distinguished from the country south of the Ohio, which was
known as the Virginia lands. Craig has some further history to be re-
peated here. He says :

While the proprietaries prepared to sell the other lands within their recent pur-
chases, they also made provisions to reserve certain portions as their own private prop-
erty. The country around Fort Pitt was regarded as being very favorably located; it
was, therefore, determined to withdraw it from market and reserve it to the private
use of the proprietaries.

On the 5th day of January, 1769, a warrant was issued for the survey of the
''Manor of Pittsburgh.'* On the 27^1 of March the survey was completed and returned
the 19th of May, 1769. It embraced within its bounds five thousand seven hundred and
sixty-six acres, and allowance of six per cent, for roads, etc The survey began at a
Spanish oak on the south bank of the Monongahela, thence south 800 perches to a
hickory, thence west 150 perches to a white oak, thence north 35 degrees west 144
perches to a white oak, thence west 518 perches to a white oak, thence north 758 perches
to a post, thence east 60 perches to a post, thence north 14 degrees east 208 perches
to a white walnut, on the bank of die Ohio, thence up the river 200 perches to a
white walnut, thence crossing the river obliquely and up the south side of the Alle-
gheny 762 perches to a Spanish oak, the comer of Crog^an's claim, thence south 60
degrees east 249 perches to a sugar tree, south 85 degrees east 192 perches to a sugar
tree, thence l^ vacant land south 18 degrees east 2j6 perches to a white oak, thence
south 40 degrees west 150 perches to a white oak, thence west by claim of Samuel
Semple 192 perches to a hickory, thence south 65 degrees west 74 perches to a red oak,
on the bank of the Monongahela, thence obliquely across the river, south 78 degrees
west 308 perches to the beginning, at the Spanish oak.

As these hickories, white oaks, sugar trees, and Spanish oaks have nearly all dis-
appeared, and even if still standing, would not be readily recognized, we have procured
a more modem and intelligent account of this survey.

The Spanish oak, the place of beginning, stood near the south bank of the Monon-
gahela river, just in the middle of McKee Street The manor line is there the eastern
line of the Gregg property. The hickory comer, south of the Spanish oak, stood not
far from the Buck Tavern on the Brownsville Road. The white walnut on the Ohio,
stood a short distance above the Saw-mill Run where the Washington and Steubenville
roads unite. The whi^e walnut from which the line starts across the river, stood near
the old glass house, erected by James O'Hara and Isaac Craig, and now owned l^
Frederick Lorenz. The Spanish oak on the Allegheny River, stood near the line between
Croghansville and Springfield Farm. From that point the manor line passes along the

i8"History of Pittsburgh ;" Editkm 1017, p. 91.

i9"Settlement and Land Tides, etc.r Darnel Agnew, p. 29, citing Gen. Richard
Butler's letter, August 10, 179a See "Pennsylvania Archives," First Series, Vol. XI,
p. 715.



Digitized by



Google



FORT PITT, 1764-1774 537

western side of the Springfield Farm, crosses the Fourth street road five or six hundred
yards east of the Colony, makes a corner near Mrs. Murray's tavern and strikes the
Monongahela three or four hundred feet above the mouth of die Two Mile Run.

Curious questions for speculation are presented by this matter of the "Manor of
Pittsburgh." By surveying it off and separating it from the country around, the pro-
prietary manifested his determination to reserve it from sale and hold it as private
property, while the land in the vicinity was offered for sale. The occurrence of our
revolution and the conduct of the proprietary rendered it necessary for the Common-
wealth to pass the act divesting the proprietary of all interest in the territory without
the various manors, but leaving his title in the manors undisturbed. This action of the
Legislature, no doubt, induced the proprietaries, John Penn Jr., and John Penn. to
divide and sell the manor at an earlier day than they would have done, had they
retamed all the land in the State which was unsold. Now the questions : what would
have been the population of the country around and its condition had the proprietaries
continued to hold it as private property. Could such a monopoly be tolerated here,
and how long?^^

Craig published this matter first in 1847, '^^ the June number of "The
Olden Time" (Vol. II, No. 6). His interpretation was sufficient for the
people of that time and it must be conceded that he knew the ground
thoroughly well. As a lawyer and the city solicitor of Pittsburgh prior
to becoming the editor and proprietor of the "Pittsburgh Gazette," he
would most likely be interested in the survey of the manor, and all the
surveys pertaining to Pittsburgh. Now, seventy-four years after he
made plain the metes and bounds of the manor, another interpretation
is necessary. McKee street was in the old borough of Birmingham and
is, since 1874, when that borough was annexed to the city, South Tenth
street. The Sydney Gregg estate composed most of the flat as far down
as South Seventh street. The Buck Tavern is still a house of public
entertainment on its original site and just as it was when Craig wrote.
It is in the present borough of Carrick— on the Brownsville road, a short
distance west of the South Side Cemetery. Craig and O'Hara's pioneer
glass house, subsequently owned by Frederick Lorenz, and later by
Lorenz & Wightman, stood on the site of the power house of the Pitts-
burgh Railways Company, on the lower side of the Point bridge, at the
west end of the bridge. Croghansville and the Springfield Farm were
"out the pike," later made Penn avenue. These were originally O'Hara
holdings and passed to General O'Hara's daughters at his death, Mrs.
William Croghan and Mrs. Harmar Denny. The former was the mother
of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Schenley. The Springfield public school on
Smallman street, near Thirty-first, is on the Denny tract known as the
Springfield Farm and commemorates the name. The Fourth street road,
later Pennsylvania avenue, has been for many years the extension of
Fifth avenue from Ross street east. The original road turned from
Fourth street beyond Ross and was changed by the building of the rail-
road, tunnel and tracks. The "road" from Diamond street to Chatham,
for fifty years called Old avenue, has been made part of Diamond street.
The Murray Tavern was in the big bend of the road at the head of the
hill above Brady street.



20**Hi8tory of Pitteburgh;" Craig, Edition 1917, pp. 91-93. "Olden Time;" Vol.

n» pp^ 330-331.



Digitized by



Google



538 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

Jttst what Craig means by the word "Colony^ that occurs in the text
in both the "History" and the "Olden Time" is certainly puzzling to
the generations of these years. William G. Johnston explains it. Com-
ing west on the Fourth street road he tells of driving through the
Shadyside district of those years: "Ten, or a dozen, country seats,
known as the 'Third Church Colony' (for the reason that most of their
owners were members of the Third Presbyterian Church), occupied the
site of what had been, when I first knew the locality, the Chadwick farm,
and later, and even yet, Oakland. This farm, to the east, adjoined the
extensive lands of Colonel William Croghan's (now Schenleys), where
the traction power house has been erected."**

This power house is on Fifth avenue, between Atwood street and
Oakland avenue. The Chadwick farm lay on both sides of the road, with
the mansion on the hill where the Academy of the Sisters of Mercy
stands. Two Mile run, before being sewered, came down the hollow be-
tween Ruch's and Gazzam's Hills and emptied into the Monongfahela
under the Brady (or Twenty-second street) bridge.**

It will be noted that much of the manor of Pittsburgh, in fact the
greater part of it, lay outside of the area included in the first incorpora-
tion of the town. The plat of the manor shows that it took in most of
the South Hills district and its most westerly point was in the present
borough of Greentree. The Penn manors were not confiscated, hence the
Penn heirs were still seized of the land and competent to make the grants
to the churches and sell lots in the manor when Woods and Vickroy laid
oflF the town of Pittsburgh in 1784.

George Croghan's settlement mentioned on a preceding page was on
the grant to him subsequently (from 1868) within the limits of the City
of Pittsburgh and which grant was held valid. The westerly line of this
grant was at the Two Mile run on the Allegheny, or about the foot of
Thirty-second street, and this had been the site of Shannopin's Town.
Croghan rebuilt his pretentious castle that had been burned by the
Indians during the siege of Fort Pitt. This stood on the banks of the
Allegheny about the foot of McCandless avenue. Darlington asserts that
Croghan's settlement was undoubtedly the first except Gist's within the
county of Allegheny. Croghan's house Darlington located a few rods
from the late residence of Judge Wilson McCandless. Darlington wrote
this prior to 1893, noting that Judge McCandless was dead. The Mc-
Candless family resided there from 1844. Judge McCandless died in
1882. The reference to the late residence might be taken to mean other-
wise, for the original McCandless home was burned in 1877. Darlington,
who knew the locality well, says that two ancient apple trees marked the
exact spot of Croghan's house, on the draft of the survey. The White
Mingo's castle was directly across the river at the mouth of Pine creek.
Croghan held numerous conferences with the Indians at his castle and



siSee "Life and Reminiscences of William G. Johnston ;'' p. 294.
s^This two-mile run, to distins^uish it from tfe stream of the same name on die
Allegheny, was called Soho Run, and also the Yellow Run.



Digitized by



Google



FORT PITT, 1764-1774 539

it was a rendezvous for them when he was at home. Washington and
his friends dined with Croghan there, October 18, I770.2*

Darlington has given us authentic information regarding the Croghan
land. He states :

In the Ms. copy of the Land Office Survey in June 1769 for George Croghan's tract
of 1352 acres, the White Mingoe's Castle is laid down on the north side of the river
ojyposite the land surveyed near the mouth of Pine Creek on the east side. It was a
much older place of resort by the Indians. The present Kittanning road from a half
mile above Pine Creek direct to Kittanning was the old Kittanning Path of the Indians
and so called by the older white settlers within the memory of the writer.24

It may be remarked here that much of Croghan's land passed into the
possession of Thomas Collins, an attorney in the early years of the City
of Pittsburgh, who was the father of Sarah Collins, wife of Wilson Mc-
Candless, and that the district from the Allegheny to Negley's run on
the east and the Greensburg pike (Penn avenue now) on the south was
until 1868 Collins township, and upon annexation that year became the
eighteenth and nineteenth wards of the city. Croghan's claim is re-
ferred to in the warrant for the survey of the manor of Pittsburgh, as
has been noted.^*

When Pontiac struck in 1763, the English traders in the Indian coun-
try were heavy losers. Many were most fortunate in escaping with their
lives, among them Thomas Smallman. William Trent, who was attor-
ney in fact for the traders, petitioned Sir William Johnson for relief, re-
questing that Johnson demand retribution from the Six United Nations.
This came with the adoption of the treaty of 1768. Trent himself was a
loser to the extent of £4,500. Other heavy losers were Captain Robert
Callender, £8,110; John Gibson, £3,384, 8s., 4d.; Baynton, Wharton &
Company, £4,369, is., iij4d.; John Ormsby, £3,561, 17s., 7d.; Thomas
Smallman, £3,085, 10 s. ; Franks, Trent, Simons & Company, the heaviest
of all, £24,780, IS., 8d.; a total of over £80,000. It will be noted there
were some close figurers in those years. John Welch, enrolled as a resi-
dent of Pittsburgh in Bouquet's census of April 14, 1761, was killed.
Samuel Wharton, his administrator, put in a claim for his estate of
£6,000. It was a just retribution these traders demanded. The Western



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 76 of 81)