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

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tribes, under subserviency to the Six Nations, broke away and made
trouble for their masters, who were unwilling to admit loss of control
and made due compensation. Darlington has furnished the following
account ("Gist's Journals," pp. 245-248) :

Land Company ot Wm. Trsnt & Co.— November 3, 1768^ at Fort Stanwix the
Sachems and Chiefs of the Six Nations in full council convened by his Majesty's order,
and held under the Presidency of his Superintendent of Indian Affairs Sir William
Johnson, in consideration of the great losses and Damages, amounting to Eighty five
Thousand nine hundred and sixteen pounds ten shillings and eight pence lawful money
of New York sustained by sundry Traders in the spring of the year 1763, when the

28"History of Pittsburgh;" Craig, Edition 1917, pp. 93-94, footnote.

24Darlington dtes Clancson's Diary of 1766, referring to the "Indian Settlement of
the Mtngoes, and the mention of the place by Schoolcraft in ''American Abridged
Archives;" Yd. IV, pp. 269. See "Darlington's Gist," pp. 188-189.

•^"History of Pittsburgh;" Edition 1917, p. 91. "Olden Time;" Vol I, p. 330.

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Shawnese, Delawares and Huron Tribes of Indians, Tributaries of the Six Natioiis
did seize upon and unjustly appropriate to themselves the Goods, Merchandise and
effects of the Traders.

The said Sachems and Chiefs did give srrant Bargain and sell unto us our heirs and
assigns forever, all the Tract and parcel of Land.

''Beginning at the southerly side of the South of little Kenhawa River, where it
empties itself into the Ohio River, and running from thence northeast to Laurel HiU->
thoice along the Laurel Hill until it strikes the river Monongahela— thence down the
stream on the said river Monongahela, according to the several courses thereof to the
southern boundary line of the Province of Pennsylvania.— Thence westerly along the
course of the said province boundary line as far as the same shall extend and from
thence by the same course to the Ohio River according to the several courses thereof
to the place of beginning;"

And whereas we understand there are numbers of families settled on the said lands,
we do hereby give notice that they may be assured of peaceable possession on complying
with the terms of our general Land Office which will be shortly opened for the sale of
the said lands in behalf of all grantees and that the purchase ihHOI be made easy.

Proceedings of the Grantees of Lands from die Six Nations to the suffering
Traders Anno 1763.

Present Pittsburgh, September 2, 177S'

Robert CaUender Thomas Smallman

William Trent Joseph Spear

John Gibson George Crogfaan

Joseph Simon John Ormsfay

George Morgan.

At a meeting of several of die Grantees of Lands from the She Natsoos Indians hf
Deed Poll dated November 3, 1768, to the suffering Traders Anno 1763.

Present PttUburgh, September 2X, 1775.

Robert Callender George Croghan

William Trent John Onnsl^

John Gibson Thomas Smallman

Joseph Simon Joseph Spear

George Morgan

Mr. William Trent informs the Company present that on his arrival in England
Anno 1769 being advised by Doctor Franklin, Lord Cambdin and others, that it was
unnecessary to make application to the Crown of King in Council for a Confirmation of
the above mentioned Grant but that all he had to do was to return and take possession
thereof, and understanding that Lord Hillsborough was determined to oppose a Con-
firmation of the said Grant as wHl appear by his Letters to Sir William Johnson, he
declined making the said application for the same to be confirmed. The Mr. Trent
recommends not to be made Public, as it may perhaps give an unfavorable Idea of our
Right to the common People ; but he thought it his duty to communicate it to this com-
pany. He further explained to them that soon after his arrival in England a Company
of Gentlemen made a purchase from the Crown of a Tract of Land on the Ohio, whi^
includes the Grant of all the Tract given or Granted by the Six Natum Indians to the
suffering Traders as aforesaid. That the said Company of Purchasers Stiling them-
selves the Grand Ohio Company agreed in the Minutes of their proceedings to confirm
and convey to the said suffering Traders all dieir Right and Title to that part of their
purchase which includes the Grant from the Indians to the suffering Traders as afore-
said. And he will furnish this Company with a copy of the said Minutes. The Meet-
ing then adjourned till to-morrow morning at 6 o'clock.

At the following meeting rules and regulations for the organized Company were
adopted and the following letter addressed to Mr. Walpole:

"Pittsburgh, Sept 22, 1775.

"Sir: A number of the sufferers by the Indian War in 1763, having met at this
place to consult on the most proper method to dispose of their Lands granted to them by
the Indians at Fort Stanwix in November 1768, and understanding from Mr. William
Trent that you have the Original Deed from the Indians for the said Lands; we request

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FORT PITT, 1764-1774 541

the favor of you to transmit the same to us or to your brother, Thomas, in order that
it may be recorded at Williamsburg in Virginia as the jurisdiction of that colony is
now extended and exercised as far west at the Ohio and Courts established, etc. We
think it our duty to inform you as one of the Grantees, that many Difficulties are like
to arise from any delay in taking Possession of the Lands, and that those Difficulties
will double on us if we do not very speedily fall on some measures to obtain Peacable
Possession of them and Permission to proceed in their sales. Lands have been and
are now surveying to Officers, soldiers and others in Consequence of the King's Procla-
mation of October 1763, in every part of this Country from hence downward as low as
Scioto and indeed as far as Kentucky and the Falls. And you may be assured the>
have not hesitated to lay their Warrants in many parts of our Grant of which most oi
the good Lands are already surveyed

"We are sir

"Your most Obedient Servants."
[Names of Trent, Croghan, Traders etc]
Virginia declared by express legislation enacted in 1779^ that all sales and deeds
by Indians for lands within their limits to be void and of no effect Congress, by acts
of the i6th and i8th of September, 1776, and others subsequent thereto, conferred
grants of land to the officers and soldiers of the Continental army. Virginia holding
the immense tracts of unappropriated land, very soon adopted the idea suggested by
Congress of granting land bounties to her officers and soldiers both in the State and
Continental establishments. To a Major-General 15,000 acres of land, and to a Briga-
dier-General 10,00a For this purpose the lands surveyed by Christopher Gist were
again surv^ed, and the land not in possession of settlers was so disposed of.

Colonel George Morgan, whose name appears above, was a member
of the firm of Baynton, Wharton & Company. In 1776 he was made the
Indian agent for the Middle Department, with headquarters at Pitts-
burgh. He remained here after the war and settled in Washington
county, his extensive estate called Morganza, a .name that has endured
and has been well known for many years as the seat of the Pennsylvania
Reform School.

Things seemed to run smoothly about Fort Pitt after the treaty at
Fort Stanwix. The oply important event was the arrival of Washing-
ton and his party in October, 1770, the details of which Washington re-
corded in his journal of his journey to the Kanawha. Craig says : "We
will permit him to speak for himself as to what he saw here by an extract
from his journal." We may read it here as Washington recorded :

October 17— Dr. Craik and myself with Capt. Crawford and others arrived at Fort
Pitt, distant from the crossing forty-three and a half measured miles. In riding this
distance we passed over a great deal of exceedingly fine land, especially from Sewiddey
creek to Turtle creek, but the whole broken, resembling, as I think the ^ole lands in
this country do the London lands. We lodged in what is called the town distant about
three hundred yards from the fort at one Semple's, who keeps a very good house of
public entertainment. The houses which are built of logs, and ranged in streets, are on
the Monongahela, and I suppose, may be about twenty in number, and mhabited by
Indian traders. The fort is built on the point between the rivers Allegheny and Monon-
gahela, but not so near the pitch of it as Fort Duquesne. It is five sided and regular,
two of which near the land are of brick; the other stockade. A moat encompasses it
The Garrison consists of two companies of Royal Irish commanded by Captain

This was Washington's first return to a well known locality, for he
had been here with Gist in 1753 and with Forbes in 1758. He knew the
situation of Fort Duquesne, but had not seen the second Fort Pitt,

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though he did see the first begun and parted there with his friend Cap-
tain Hugh Mercer. The London lands referred to were those of the
London Company. Craig observes most justly :

It happens singularly enough that the very first description of the point on which
Pittsburgh stands was from the pen of Washington, and the very first statement, which
exists, of the number of houses here, is from the same pen. He estimates the number
of houses at this place, out of the fort of course, as about twenty. We have no doubt
that the number was more likely to be under than over his estimate. But suppose there
were twenty, and that there were six persons to a house; Pittsburgh then contained,
exclusive of the garrison, one hundred twenty persons, men, women and children.

There is much conjecture here. In 1760 Bouquet enumerated 149
people, which fact Craig seems to have overlooked. Colonel Burd re-
corded that there were 201 houses finished and unfinished, including
huts, and made an "N. B.*' to this eflfect: "The above houses exclusive
of those in the fort ; in the fort five long barricks and a long casimitt."
The last word is his spelling of casement. What became of this aggre-
gation during the decade that had elapsed? Washington surely could
count the houses, and that he had ample opportunity to view the little
town is clear, for he rode out to Croghan's, as he relates :

October 18 — ^Dined in the fort with Colonel Crogh'an and the officers of the gam-
bon: supped there also, meeting with great civility from the gentlemen, and engaged
to dine with Colonel Croghan the next day at his seat about four miles up the Allegheny.

19th Received a message from Colonel Croghan that the White Mingo and other
Chiefs of the Six Nations had something to say to itie, and desiring that I would be at
his house about eleven where they were to meet me. I went up and received a speedi
with a string of wampum, from the White Mingo, to the following effect :

"That as I was a person whom some of them remember to have seen when I was
sent on an Embassy to the French, and most of them had heard of, they were come to
bid me welcome to this country and desire that the people of Virginia would consider
them as friends and brothers linked together in one chain; that I would inform the
Governor that it was their wish to live in peace and harmony with the white people,
and that though there had been some unhappy differences between them and the people
on our frontiers, they were all made up, and they hoped forgotten ; and concluded with
saying that their brothers of Virginia did not come among them and trade as the inhabi-
tants of the other provinces did, from whence they were afraid that we did not look
upon them with so friendly an eye as they could wish."

To this I answered after thanking them for their friendly welcome "that all the
injuries and affronts that had passed on either side were now totally forgotten, and that
I was sure nothing was more wished and desired by the people of Virginia than to live
in the strictest friendship with them; that the Virginians were a people not so much
engaged in trade as the Pennsylvanians, which was the reason for their not being so
much among them, but that it was possible they might for the time to come have stricter
connexions with them and that I would acquaint the government with their desires."

After we dined at Colonel Croghan's we returned to Pittsburgh, Colonel Croghan
with us, who intended to accompany us part of the way down the river, having engaged
an Indian called die Pheasant, and one Joseph Nicholson, an interpreter, to attend us
the whole voyage; also a young Indian warrior.

20th — ^We embarked in a large canoe with sufficient store of provisions and neces-
saries and the following persons besides Dr. Craik and myself, to wit : Captain Craw-
ford, Joseph Nicholson, Robert Bell, William Harrison, Charles Morgan, and Daniel
Kendon, a boy of Captain Crawford's, and the Indians who were in a canoe by themr
selves. From Fort Pitt we sent our horses and boys back to Captain Crawford's with
orders to meet us there again on the 14th day of November. Colonel Cros^an, Lieu-
tenant Hamilton and Magee set out with us. At two we dined at Mr. Magee's and

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FORT PITT, 1764-1774 543

encamped ten miles below, and four miles above Logstown. We passed several large
islands which appeared to be very good, as die bottoms did on each side of the river
alternately: the hills on one side being opposite the bottoms on the other, which seem
generally to be about three or four hundred yards wide and so vice versa.

"Magee" referred to Alexander McKee. William Crawford, subse-
quently colonel during the Revolution, was one of Washington's firm
friends, whose melancholy end must ever awaken emotions. Harrison was
a son-in-law of Crawford, and he, too, perished at the stake when cap-
tured by the Indians in the ill-fated Crawford expedition in 1782. Craw-
ford's home was on the Youghiogheny, at what is now New Haven,
Pennsylvania, opposite Connellsville, the locality in border times known
as Stewart's Crossing. Before coming to Pittsburgh in 1770, Washing-
ton stopped at Crawford's. At Logstown, Washington was on familiar
ground, as he had been there with Gist in 1753. Proceeding down the
river everything went well with the Washington party. On October
28th, when encamped below the Big Hocking river, Washington met an
old acquaintance in the person of Guyasutha, whom he records as "Kiya-
shuta," — "he being one of the Indians who went with me to the French
in 1753." . There was a pow-wow immediately, similar to that with the
White Mingo at Croghan's which Guyasutha rehearsed to Washington —
how informed Washington does not state. He did record and lament the
tedious ceremony which the Indians observe in their counselling^ and
speeches which detained Washington until 9 o'clock — ^preventing an early
start However, the party was treated with great kindness and Guya-
sutha presented a quarter of a very fine buffalo. In Washington's jour-
nal of 1753, Guyasutha is mentioned as "the Hunter."

An account of the services of the Moravian brethren in Western
Pennsylvania, Zeisberger, Heckewelder, Post, Roth, Ettwein and others,
may be omitted, as not being strictly local in character and as being con-
fined to missionary efforts among the Indians. In April, 1770, four years
after the arrival of the Revs. Beatty and Duffield, the garrison of Fort
Pitt and the townspeople were astonished to see fifteen canoes of Chris-
tianized Delawares descend the Allegheny, proceeding down the Ohio
and up the Big Beaver, encamping and establishing a town five miles
below the site of New Castle. These were the converts of the Moravian
missionaries and their town has been commemorated in the Lawrence
county town of Moravia. These Christian Indians removed to the Tus-
carawas in Ohio in 1773, where their settlements lasted for nine years
and their massacre in 1782 by Washington county settlers brought un-
told calamities on the Western frontier, the ' ill-fated expedition and
tragic death of Colonel Crawford.

Following the visit of the Revs. Beatty and Duffield there came, in
the summer of 1772, the Rev. Daniel McClure, a missionary visiting the
Indians on the Muskingum. He, too, kept a diary in which he recorded
that "he tarried three weeks at Pittsburgh and preached several times to
the people of the village who live in about thirty log houses, and also to
the British garrison in the fort, a few rods distant, at the request of the
commanding officer. Major Edmundstone."

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The account of the hospitality shown Washington wiU serve to recall
the fact that he was already famous. The White Mingo attested that
His coming was a bright ray in the dreary round of frontier garrison life
Undoubtedly the various officers of the garrison at the fort from its erec-
tion were gentlemen by birth, education and inclination. They could
exercise little influence of an uplifting nature upon the rabble that lived
in the village "a few rods away." These officers had a social circle pecu-
liarly their own, narrow of necessity and not open to any of the villagers.
We must not include Croghan, who was an official of the crown. Crog-
han was a unique character. E. W. Hassler says Croghan was an Epis-
copalian when he allowed religion to bother him at all.

Croghan was a faithful official, a man of some education, a land
grabber and an Indian trader to the extent that historians have called
him the "King of the Traders." As the greatest man in authority here
he was looked up to in matters of safety. As an individual he did little
for the moral side of the community. In Colonial days preceding the
Revolution, with no schools, no churches and but little preaching, it takes
slight imagfination to picture the collection of hovels about Fort Pitt,
which then constituted Pittsburgh as a town without uprightness and
we are in a manner prepared for Hugh Henry Brackenridge's comments
made in 1786, and Arthur Lee's unfavorable mention in 1784.

In October, 1772, orders were received by Major Edmondstone, in
command at Fort Pitt, from General Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief
of the British forces in North America, directing him to abandon the fort.
Edmonstone sold the pickets, stone, timbers, brick and iron of the fort
and redoubts for £50, New York currency. A corporal and three men
were left to take care of the boats and batteaux intended to keep up com-
munication. *Thus," says Craig, "it appears that Fort Pitt, which had
cost the government about £60,000 sterling, and which was designed to
secure forever British empire on the Ohio, was within thirteen years
ordered to be abandoned. Such is the short-sightedness of our wisest
statesmen that even William Pitt could not foresee the early abandon-
ment of the formidable work which bore his name."2«

But the fort was not destroyed, though abandoned as a military post
by the British government. John Connolly came, as detailed in our next
chapter, and during the Revolutionary War the work was constantly
occupied by Continental troops, first the Virginia battalion under Cap-
tain John Neville, and then by the Continental forces under General Ed-
ward Hand, Colonel Daniel Brodhead and General William Irvine, and
there thus came into Pittsburgh history these notable names.

s«"History of Pittsburgh;" Edition I9i7i P. 97.

;^ w ih ^ ^^^;

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Virginia Assumes Jurisdictioii.

Virpnia assumed jurisdiction of the region of the Forks of the Ohio
in no gentle manner. Smithfield street is one of the original streets of
Pittsburgh, and since the laying out of the town one of the principal
thoroughfares north and south. In its name is commemorated the name
of Devereux Smith, a thorough patriot and a devoted adherent of the
Penns, whose strong opposition to the designs of Lord Dunmore and
his scoundrelly factotum, John Connolly, made much of the history of
Pittsburgh of 1774- 1775 and brought suffering and imprisonment upon
Smith. Incidentally the name of Devereux Smith opens up the whole
controversy between Lord Dunmore and the Penns regarding the bound-
ary line of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and serves to recall how nearly
Pittsburgh came to being included in slave territory. The story ramifies
widely. It can be made to include the conflict of jurisdiction between
the Pennsylvania magistrates, chief of whom were Arthur St. Clair and
Devereux Smith, and those of Virginia appointed by Dunmore, chief of
these being George Croghan and his cousin, Thomas Smallman. Con-
nolly was a Pennsylvanian by birth, "smart," as we say now, and thor-
oughly unscrupulous. Craig says he was a daring, enterprising and
sanguine man, and had been a good deal in this country. Connolly
reigned with a high hand. He was thoroughly hated by the Pennsyl-
vania contingent in Pittsburgh and his downfall was sudden and com-
plete. When Connolly took possession of the ruined Fort Pitt he
changed its name to Fort Dimmore, but the name did not stick. The
troubles inspired by Connolly involving Smith and his compatriots lasted
until the summer of 1775.

The boundary dispute arose from the transactions of the Ohio Com-
pany, which originated in London in 1748. Its projector was John Han-
bury, a merchant of London, seconded by Thomas Lee, president of the
Council of Virginia, and the stockholders were largely Virginians, among
them the executors of the estate of Lawrence Washington, and Augustine
Washington, Robert Dinwiddie, governor of Virginia, Colonel Thomas
Cresap, and George Mason. George II., in 1749, granted the company
500,000 acres, 200,000 to be taken from the south side of the Allegheny
(otherwise the Ohio) between the Kiskiminetas and Buffalo creek, and
between Yellow creek (Ohio) and Cross creek on the North side, or in
such other part of the country west of the Allegheny Mountains as they
should think proper, on condition that they should settle 100 families
thereon within seven years, and erect and maintain a fort. On compliance
with these terms the 300,000 acres additional were to become the com-
pany's to adjoin the first grant. The company began operations immedi-
ately. It brought a large cargo of goods from England, built a storehouse
opposite the mouth of Will's creek, on the site of Cumberland, Maryland,


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and by 175 1 had built a road to Turkey-foot, or the three forks of the
Youghiogheny. It employed Christopher Gist in 1750, who then began his
surveys in its interest. The company first designed a fort at Shurtees creek
on the Ohio, which we know as Chartiers, the name Shurtee a border pro-
nunciation of the French cognomen of Peter Chartier, the half-breed rene-
gade, who had a trading post there as early as 1743. Colonel Cresap,
Captains Trent and Gist were appointed a committee and authorized to
procure workmen to build the fort there, stock it and provide ammuni-
tion and ordnance. Twenty swivel guns were ordered from London
through Hanbury, the plans and transactions of the committee approved
by the company at a regular meeting November 2, 1753, and an assess-
ment of £20 sterling made upon each member for building and finishing
the proposed fort and clearing the road from Will's creek to the "Mohon-
galy," which was to be finished with the utmost dispatch. This pro-
jected fort was not built. The doubt as to jurisdiction over the territory
about the Forks of the Ohio had already arisen.^

James I., in his original grant of Virginia, made it broad enough in
terms to cover nearly one-half of the continent. Dunmore and his clique
relied upon this grant in the original charter of Virginia, although the
company to which it had been made had been dissolved on a writ of quo
warranto, and the lands had reverted to the crown. The Penns claimed
under the charter granted William Penn by Charles II. in 1681, which
assigned the Delaware river on the eastern boundary, and further said:
"Said lands to extend westward five degrees in longitude to be computed
from the said eastern bounds." The contention of the Penns was that
their grant extended several miles west of Fort Pitt. Virginia claimed
all the country west of the Laurel Hill, or ridge, as we now say.

As early as 1754 the Penns had tried to have their western boundary
fixed. The claims of Virginia to the lands west and northwest of their
coastline were indefinite. The fort proposed by Dinwiddie and begun
by Ensign Ward at the forks of the Ohio was to have been built with

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 77 of 81)