REPORT OF THE COMMISSION TO LOCATE THE SITE OF THE FRONTIER FORTS OF PENNSYLVANIA.
CLARENCE M. BUSCH.
STATE PRINTER OF PENNSYLVANIA.
THE FRONTIER FORTS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA.
"On the 9th of Feb., 1796, another portion of the territory of Washington county was erected into Greene county. By this act the following townships, namely, Greene, Cumberland, Morgan, Franklin and Rich Hill were struck off to form Greene county."
It is thus seen that none of the forts or blockhouses which are properly the subject matter of our inquiries, had existence during the civil history of Greene county; but in conformity with the plan which we have adopted the following places are specified as within that county. The history of these places, indeed, is always associated with the name of Washington county, for the apparent reason that the necessity which called for them existed only prior to the erection of Greene.
We apprehend that it is well nigh impossible to give an exact, and therefore a satisfactory account of these border posts along the line where the territory of Pennsylvania touches the territory of West Virginia. Many blockhouses and some stockade forts were within proximity of the people who were domiciled on what, for the most part of the time, was on our side of the imaginary line dividing Virginia and Pennsylvania. These became the refuge in times of danger of our people, while at the same time, as the occasion offered, the blockhouses and forts on our side of the line sheltered the Virginians.
The first depredations of Logan after he had taken up the hatchet against the whites occurred in the neighborhood of this fort. Admonished by these bloody occurrences, precautions were taken to prepare a place of safety to which the scattered settlers could betake themselves on the intimations of danger. Jackson's Fort was commenced in the same year, 1774, on the Jesse Hook property, then owned by a man by the name of Jackson. His cabin, which was the nucleus of the fort, stood near the bluff of the creek, directly south of Hook's town. Remains of the structure are still  visible. At first it was but a single cabin, but subsequently consisted of a regular system of cabins, arranged in the form of a hollow square, and enclosing an acre or more of ground. Between the cabins were palisades ten or twelve feet high, supplied with port holes. Each of the neighboring settlers owned one of these cabins, to which he could flee for refuge in times of danger, in addition to the home on his own tract of land. The doors of these cabins opened within the enclosure, the outside having neither windows nor doors, except some look-out in the upper part of each. There was but one entrance, and when once within, each family controlled its own cabin, the enclosed square being common to all. "Such is a very brief description", says Evans, "of an institution once regarded the hope and salvation of its people. Around this devoted spot cluster a myriad of reminiscences, which, if they could be intelligently unraveled, and woven into narrative, would make volumes of interesting matter. The traditions of Jackson's Fort are exceeding numerous, but are very vague, contradictory and unsatisfactory."
(1.) History of Greene county, Pa., by Samuel P. Bates, 1888. * * * The gentleman referred to above, L. K. Evans, Esq., during the centennial year of independence, published in the Waynesburg Republican, which he then edited, a series of articles running through an entire year of weekly issue, embracing investigations covering much of the early history of
Jackson's Fort was a short distancewithin about half a mile of the borough of Waynesburg, the county-town of Greene county, on lands now owned by Thomas Dougal, just south of Ten-Mile creek, opposite Hooktown. The printed accounts of its history are extremely meagre, and very unsatisfactory. During its existence as a defensive post it was of course within Washington county. The inhabitants about this fort suffered in common with their neighbors and with those of this entire region, very grievously, especially during the latter part of the Revolution. Col. Marshel writes to Gen. Wm. Irvine, at Pittsburgh from Catfish, [Wash., Pa.] July 4th, 1782, [Wash.-Irvine Cor., 298,], saying, "Repeated application by the inhabitants on the south line of this county namely: from Jackson's Fort to Buffalo creek, [Buffalo creek rises in what is now East Findley Township, Wash. Co., Pa., flowing westerly into the Ohio], and I am at a loss to know what to do. The people declare they must immediately abandon their habitations until a few men are sent to them during harvest. They also declare their willingness to submit to and supply the men on the faith of government. If you approve of sending a few men to this frontier, you will please to order the bearer such quantity of ammunition as you think proper."
The date of the erection of Jackson's Fort is given in a note to Withers' Chronicles as of the same time or cotemporaneously with the erection of Shepard's on Wheeling creek and those forts which were erected in Tygart's Valley, which date was 1774, after the collision of the whites with the Indians near the mouth of Captina creek, which led to Dunmore's War. It would therefore appear to have been in existence during the entire Revolution.
Lieut.-Col. Stephen Bayard writes to Col. William McCleery one of the sub-lieutenants of Washington county, under date of August 4th, 1782, as follows:
"I have sent you by the bearer, William Hathaway, eight pounds powder and sixteen pounds lead for the particular use of Jackson's Fort, which is all I could undertake to send in the General's [Irvine's] absence, who marches this morning with a party of Regulars toward the Mingo Bottom. When he returns, you will no doubt [have] supplied [me] with ammunition for the rangers."
Col. McCleery had written the following letter to Irvine which called out, in the General's absence, the letter of Col. Bayard, above:
"Traveler's Rest, Washington County. Aug. 3d, 1782.
"Dear Sir:The bearer will call upon you for powder, lead and flints for the use of the ranging company alloted for the defence of out frontiers [two months] the time proposed for their continuance.
"Permit me to observe that a small magazine kept at this place for the purpose of furnishing those men that may be called upon to repell the enemy from time to time, should they penetrate into our settlements would render essential service both to ourselves and country. * * * Should you think such a proceeding consistent, you will be good enough to augment the quantity alloted for the rangers, so as I may be enabled to furnish for the above purposes. At the same time, please to observe that men living in the woods, exposed to the weather (as these rangers must be) , will need more ammunition than those stationed at a garrison." [Correspondence, Wash-Irvine, 390-391.]
Garard's Fort is located in Greene township, Greene county, and the town of Garard, Garard's Fort, of the present day occupies almost the same site as the old Indian Fort. The site is on the left bank of Whiteley creek about seven miles west of Greensborough.
The fertility of the soil was such as to attract the eye of the early explorers, and here were their first lodgings. The township is well watered by Whiteley creek. Few sections of the county present a more inviting appearance than the valley of this stream. In the central portion of this township on the left bank of the creek was located Garard's Fort, a place of great importance at that period when Indian masacres were frequent, as a place of refuge and safety for the settlers, and around it has grown the principal village in the township."
This fort is made memorable by the horrible butchery of the Corbly family:
It was in the neighborhood of this fort that the first religious worship in this section was held, and here was organized in 1776, on the 7th day of October, the first church in the county. It was built by the Baptist denomination. Rev. Corbly and his family, and others had settled at a very early date on Muddy creek. Of this church he "was at an early day installed pastor, and ministered to the congregation at the time when the savages were reeking their vengeance upon the helpless and defenceless settlers. In May, 1782, his family was attacked on Sunday morning while on the way to church. In a letter written by Mr. Corbly dated 1785, to Rev. Wm. Rogers, of Philadelphia, he gives the following account of the heartrending circumstance:
"On the second Sabbath in May, in the year 1782, being my appointment at one of my meeting-houses, about a mile from my dwelling-house, I set out with my dear wife and five children for public worship. Not suspecting any danger, I walked behind 200 yards, with my Bible in my hand, meditating; as I was thus employed, all on a sudden, I was greatly alarmed with the frightful shrieks of my dear family before me. I immediately ran, with all the speed I could, vainly hunting a club as I ran, till I got within forty yards of them; my poor wife on seeing me, cried to me to make my escape; an Indian ran up to shoot me; I then fled, and by so doing outran him. My wife had a sucking child in her arms: this little infant they killed and scalped. They then struck my wife several times, but not getting her down, the Indian who aimed to shoot me, ran to her, shot her through the body and scalped her; my little boy, an only son, about six years old, they sunk the hatchet into his brain, and thus despatched him. A daughter, besides the infant, they also killed and scalped. My eldest daughter, who is yet alive, was hid in a tree, about 20 yards away from the place where the rest were killed, and saw the whole proceedings. She, seeing the Indians all go off, as she thought, got up, and deliberately crept from the hollow trunk; but one of them espying her, ran hastily up, and scalped her; also her only surviving sister, one on whose head they did not leave more than an inch round, either of flesh or skin, besides taking a piece of her skull. She, and the before mentioned one, are still miraculously preserved, though, as you may think I have had still have, a great deal of trouble and expense with them, besides anxiety about them, insomuch that I am, as to wordly circumstances, almost ruined. I am yet in hopes of seeing them cured; they still, blessed be the God, retain their senses, notwithstanding the painful operations they have already, and must yet pass through.
"Muddy Creek, Washington co., July 8, 1785."
FORT SWAN AND VAN METER.
"Cumberland township was probably one of the first settled townships in Greene county. John Swan, as early as 1767, looked upon the stately forests that encumbered all the valley of Pumpkin with an eye of satisfaction, and to notice that he had chosen this location for himself proceeded to put his mark upon it by blazing the trees around a goodly circuit. In 1768-69 he returned and made a fixed habitation. He was accompanied by Thomas Hughes and Jesse Vanmeter, who united their strength for mutual protection. These early pioneers determined to provide for the safety of their families, and accordingly built a strong stockade, which has ever since been known as old Fort Swan and Vanmeter. It was situated near the border of Cumberland township [near the present town of Carmichaels], on the spot where the house of Andrew J. Young stands and was a noted rallying point in its day for the venturesome pioneers and their families." The fort was erected early, not later than 1774, and probably earlier.
"Until the massacre by Logan and his band, in 1774, there was no trouble with the Indians; though for safety it had become necessary to have a place of refuge and a fort was built on John Swan's farm, known as Swan and Vanmeter's Fort." [Hist. Greene Co., Pa.]
"Ryerson's Fort, an important rallying point in times of danger, was located on the great Indian war path leading across from the Ohio river to the Monongahela, at the confluence of the north and south forks of Dunkard branch of Wheeling creek.
"It was recognized from the very first as an important strategic point of defence for the settlers against the incursion of hostile Indians from their villages across the Ohio. Here the authorities of Virginia had a fort built, to the defence of which Capt. James Seals was sent, having in his company the grandfather, father and uncles of Isaac Teagarden, and Thomas Lazear, father of Hon. Isaac Lazear." [Hist. Greene Co., 530-536.]
The following, is given on the authority of L. K. Evans, Esq., and taken from his centennial Articles, elsewhere referred to.
"About the year 1790, a family by the name, of Davis resided on the north branch of Dunkard Wheeling creek, about three miles above Ryerson's Station, and a short distance below Stall's or Kinkaid's Mill. The family, with the exception of one fortunate lad who had been sent to drive up the horses, were seated around the breakfast-table, partaking of a humble but substantial repast. Suddenly a party of warrior savages appeared at the cabin door. The old man and his two sons sprang up as by instinct to reach for their guns which hung on convenient pegs by the cabin wall; but the design was detected by the Indians, who instantly shot the three dead on the spot. After scalping the victims, despatching the breakfast and pillaging the premises, they made captive the mother and only daughter, and departed on their way up the creek. The boy managed to elude them, and escaped unharmed. It appears that they captured a horse. One of the Indians mounted it, and taking the girl before him, and the woman behind, him, was traveling gaily along. However, they had not proceeded far when a shot from the rifle of John Henderson, who lay concealed in an adjoining thicket, knocked the savage off. But whether the wound was fatal or not, Henderson did not remain to find out. He had to provide himself safety from the infuriated savages."
Some time after the decaying body of the daughter was found, but no trace of the mother was ever discovered. The mutilated bodies of the slain were buried near the cabin and their graves are still marked. The skeleton remains of an Indian were afterward found, supposed to have been the savage shot by Henderson. (Hist. Greene Co., 537.]
In a biographical sketch of James Paull by the Hon. James Veech in the Monongahela of Old, it is said that in 1784 or 1785 he commanded a company of scouts or rangers, on a tour to Ryerson's Station, on the western frontier of now Greene county.
The site of the fort is on the farm now owned by Francis Baldwin.
Some of the most noted of the settlers forts near the line of Greene county on the Virginia side were the following:
A fort frequently mentioned with the history of this section is Statler's Fort. It has sometimes been located in Greene county. Dunkard creek, upon which it was located, flows sinuously along the division line of the two states. The following is from the History of Monongahela county, West Virginia, by Samuel T. Wiley, p. 742: "Statler's FortThis fort has been located at different points along Dunkard creek. It was on lands now owned by Isaac Shriever. The writer, on visiting the place, found the fort to have stood on the bottom below the graveyard, on a slight elevation above the Dunkard creek bottom. Mrs. Shriever was positive that this was the location, she having heard Mrs. Brown (who was a Statler) tell of being in the fort when twelve years old and who said that this was the spot where it stood. It was but a short distance below Brown's mills." It would thus appear that it is properly located in Monongalia county, West Virginia.
In the northern part of Monongahela county, West Virginia, on Crooked runvery near the Greene county line. This fort was attacked in June, 1779, when ten whites were killed and captured. [See Border Warfare, by Withers and Hist. Monongalia Co., by Samuel T. Wiley.]
Harrison's Fort, built by Richard Harrison, was on the headwaters of Crooked run, and not a mile from Martin's Fort.
There was a Vanmeter's Fort a short distance above Wheeling, near the Ohio river in the Panhandle, somewhat more conspicuous than the fort called Fort Swan and Vanmeter in Greene county. [See Crawford's Expedition by Butterfield.]
Although there were some settlers in what is now Indiana county (then Westmoreland) very earlyshortly after the opening of the land office, (1769),yet the number was small, and after the Revolutionary War began, most of these abandoned their settlements and sought protection further southward nearer the rivers Kiskiminetas and Conemaugh; some stopped in Ligonier Valley, and some returned to the east of the Mountains. This condition continued until near the close of the war, at which time some of those who had been driven off, returned, and others came with them. Such places, therefore, as are here mentioned belong to the latter period. After the close of the War, this section became in its turn a frontier, and there were various places intended for temporary refuge constructed out of the houses of the settlers of that time; but while the apprehensions were great at times during the Indian wars of 1790 and 93, yet no serious depredations were committed by the few detached parties of savages who marauded through the region nearest the Allegheny.
"In the month of May, 1772, Fergus Moorhead, his wife and three children, his two brothers, Samuel and Joseph, James Kelly, James Thompson, and a few others, bid farewell to their friends in Franklin county, and set out on their journey to the 'Indian Country' west of the Alleghenies. Where the town of Indiana is now built, was the spot that had been selected by Fergus Moorhead, who had made an excursion into this country in 1770. For reasons which to them were obvious, the party changed their determination, and located a few miles further west. The land now (or lately) owned by Isaac Moorhead was that which was selected for their future residence.
"Fergus Moorhead was taken by the Indians in 1776, and the settlement was partly broken up. His wife returned to Franklin county, where Moorhead after making his escape from captivity rejoined her. In 1781, with his wife and children he returned to his border home. Among those who were his neighbors besides those first mentioned were Moses Chambers, Col. Sharp, S. and W. Hall, the Walkers, Dicksons, Dotys and others.
"The first thing that was accomplished was the erection of a fort or blockhouse near Moorhead's cabin (near the present site of the stone house), large enough to contain all the families and their effects. Here they remained at night and also during the ensuing winter, considering it unsafe to sleep in their cabins." [Jonathan Row, Indiana Register, 1859.]
In 1794 Andrew Allison and his wife and child with a neighbor Gawin Adams fled to "Moorhead's Fort" from the apprehension of danger caused by the Indians prowling around. When Allison returned he found his cabin in ashes, it having been burnt by them the night after he had left it. [Hist. Indiana County, p. 157, on authority of Jonathan K. Row.]
The following account of a place of defense used by the settlers in what is now West Wheatfield township, Indiana county, at a distance of rather more than five miles from Fort Palmer is taken from the history of Indiana county published by J. A. Caldwell, Newark, Ohio, 1880. The authority upon which the details rest is traditional and verbal. It is said to have been erected by those on the Conemaugh and Tubmill creek, who were, in part, James Clark, William Woods, David Inyard, William Bennett, Archibald McGuire, Benjamin Sutton, Neil Dougherty, David Lakens, James Galbraith, near the (Conemaugh. Near the Tubmill creek, there were among others the ancestors of the numerous families of Bradys now living in the northern part of Indiana county.
Not long after these pioneers had come to the river, Peter Dike, a Pennsylvania German, with a few associates, settled near the foot of Chestnut Ridge. For a time they were unmolested by their red neighbors, but during the Revolutionary war, they became their inveterate enemies. The settlers, therefore, joined their neighbors on the river, and, together with those on Tubhill creek,they built a most formidable blockhouse on what was then called the "Indian farm," which derived its name from David Inyard, who first improved it, and his many Indian neighbors. Fort Ligonier was too far distant to be reached in an emergency by families of women and children, with sufficient provisions to last a long siege, when they should be attacked by a large body of their foes. The blockhouse was about fifty feet long, and sixteen feet wide at the foundation, and was constructed of the straightest unhewn logs that could be found of the same length. The logs averaged in thickness about a foot at the top or smaller end. The walls were built perpendicularly to about the height of a man's breast, and were notched down tightly. The upper log of this perpendicular wall was notched its whole length, the notches being twenty inches apart. The log immediately below it was notched too, at distances to correspond to the upper log turned down, so that notch came to notch, forming port-holes of sufficient size to admit the muzzle of a rifle with the sight clear. The logs on the next round were notched down tightly at the corners, and all pushed out half their thickness; and each succeeding round up to the square was treated in the same manner, so that it would have been an impossibility for an Indian, or even a panther, to have scaled the walls and come in through the roof. The back of either man or beast would have been turned down, and the whole weight of the body was forced to be supported by the hands or claws, with nothing to which to cling but the scaly bark of the logs.
"All of these with Peter Dike, his colony, and the Tubmill settlement, on occasions of alarm, fled to the fort at Inyard's for safety. At certain seasons of the year when their corn required to be tilled, for instance, the women and children remained in the fort or strong-house, while a portion of the men turned out as scouts and the remainder with the boys continued day after day to start in the morning with their horses and rifles, as soon as it was light enough to see an Indian, and went to the river where they plowed and hoed their corn till evening. They always left their work in time to arrive at the fort before it became dark."
In a somewhat lengthy history of the Robinson family, as related in the History of Indiana county referred to, there appears the following:
"Robert Robinson with his family of three sons and two daughters, soon after 1780, moved from the Sewickley settlement in Westmoreland county to the north side of the Kiskiminetas river near the mouth of Lick run, on lands called "York," in Conemaugh township. In a short time they made their way north one mile (no roads), put up a building twenty-four by twenty-eight feet, two stories high, and used it as a stockade. No windows or doors were there for a time. The second log from the puncheon floor had four feet of it cut out for an entrance. The building is still (1880) standing, having been built nearly one hundred years. It is situated on part of the "York" lands."
Although the location of this house was in a very dangerous part of the country, and the time of its erection one of great peril, there is no further account of it.
STATION AT BLACK-LEGS CREEK.
Mention of this point as a station is made in a letter from Col. Brodhead at Pittsburgh, April 2d, 1780, to Col. Archibald Lochry wherein the latter is directed to order out sixty able-bodied men from the militia and a proper number of officers to command them. This number was to be divided into three detachments, one of which was to be stationed at the "Forks of Black-Legs where the officer is to make choice of a house on a commanding piece of ground convenient to water, and act agreeable to such orders as they may receive from me. They are to be drafted for two months if not sooner discharged." (Brodhead's Letter Book, No. 129.)
Squads or detachments of rangers would appear to have been stationed at this post at frequent intervals from now to the of the war.
The old Indian town of Kittanning was settled by the Delawares, prior to 1730. (1.) Shingas, King of the Delawares, on whom Washington called, in 1753, at his residence near McKee's Rocks, in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, occasionally resided with Capt. Jacobs, at the Kittanning, on the left bank of the Allegheny, or, as it was then called, Ohio, which the Indians pronounced Oh-he-hu, or Ho-he-hu, meaning beautiful or handsome, of which name the Senecas are said to be very tenacious.
In consequence of the failure of the expedition against Forts Niagara and Duquesne, and more especially of Braddock's defeat in 1755, hundreds of miles of the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia were exposed to the ravages of the Indians, instigated by the French. At a council held at Carlisle about the middle of January, 1756, at which Gov. Morris and others as Commissioners of the Province met Seneca George and other chiefs of the Delawares, Mr. George Croghan informed the Council "that he had sent a Delaware Indian, called Jo Hickman, to the Ohio for intelligence, who had returned to his house the day before he came away; that he went to Kittanning, an Indian Delaware town on the Ohio (otherwise Allegheny), forty miles above Fort Duquesne, the residence of Shingas and Capt. Jacobs, where he found 140 men, chiefly Delawares and Shawanese, who had there with them above 100 English prisoners, big and little, taken from Virginia and Pennsylvania. From the Kittanning, JO Hickman went to Loggstown, where he found about 100 Indians and 30 English prisoners; that he returned to Kittanning, and there learned that 10 Delawares had gone to the Susquehanna to persuade, as he supposed, those Indians to strike the English who might have been concerned in the mischief lately done in Northampton." Mr. Croghan said he was well assured by accounts given by other Indians that the Delawares and Shawanese acted in this hostile manner by "the advice and concurrence of the Six Nations, and that such of them as lived in the Delaware towns went along with them and took part in their incursions."
King Shingas, who, Heckewelder says, was "a bloody warrior, cruel his treatment, relentless his fury, small in person, but in activity, courage and savage prowess unexcelled," heading a party of warriors, fell upon the settlements west of the Susquehanna and committed the most cruel murders. To guard against such and other depredations, a cordon of forts and blockhouses was erected along the Kittatinny Hills, from the Delaware river to the Maryland line, east of the Susquehanna river. West of that river were Fort Louther, at Carlisle; Fort Morris and Fort Franklin, at Shippensburg; Fort Granville, now Lewistown; Fort Shirley, Shirleysburg, on the Aughwick branch, a creek which enters into the Juniata; Fort Littleton, near Bedford; Fort Loudoun, on the Conococheague creek, Franklin county.
One of the first prisoners of whom we have any definite account carried here, was Col. James Smith, the author of the narrative, who was taken on the 5th of July, 1755, from the force that was then employed in opening the road from Fort Loudoun to the three forks of the Youghiogheny. Smith was then but a lad. He was taken to Fort Duquesne, where he was compelled to run the gauntlet. (See Fort Duquesne.) Here at Kittanning, he remained several weeks.
At a council, held at Philadelphia, Tuesday, September 6th, 1756, the statement of John Coxe, a son of the widow Coxe, was made, the substance of which is: He, his brother Richard and John Craig were taken in the beginning of February of that year by nine Delaware Indians from a plantation two miles from McDowell's mill, which was between the east and west branches of the Conococheague creek, about 20 miles west of the present site of Shippensburg, in what is now Franklin county, and brought to Kittanning "on the Ohio." On his way hither he met Shingas with a party of 30 men, and afterward Capt. Jacobs and 15 men, whose design was to destroy the settlements on Conococheague. When he arrived at Kittanning he saw here about 100 fighting men of the Delaware tribe, with their families, and about 50 English prisoners consisting of men, women and children. During his stay here Shingas and Jacobs' parties returned, the one with nine scalps and ten prisoners, the other with several scalps and five prisoners. Another company of 18 came from Diahogo with 17 scalps on a pole, which they took to Fort Duquesne to obtain their reward. The warriors held a council, which, with their war dances, continued a week, when Capt. Jacobs left with 48 men, intending, as Coxe was told, to fall upon the inhabitants at Paxtang. He heard the Indians frequently say that they intended to kill all the white folks, except a few, with whom they would afterwards make peace. They made an example of Paul Broadley, whom, with their usual cruelty, they beat for half an hour with clubs and tomahawks, and then, having fastened him to a post, cropped his ears close to his head and chopped off his fingers, calling all the prisoners to witness the horrible scene.
Among the English prisoners brought to Kittanning, says Mr. Smith, in his History of Armstrong County, were George Woods, father-in-law of the eminent lawyer, James Ross (deceased), and the wife and daughter of John Grey, who were captured at Bigham's Fort, in the Tuscarora Valley, in 1756. Mr. Grey came out here with Armstrong's expedition, hoping to hear from his family. These three prisoners were sent from Kittanning to Fort Duquesne, and subsequently to Canada.
Fort Granville, situated on the Juniata, one mile above Lewistown, was besieged by the Indians July 30, 1756. The force then in it consisted of 24 men, under the command of Lieut. Armstrong, who was killed during the siege. Having assaulted the fort in vain during the afternoon and night, the enemy took to the Juniata creek, and, protected by its bank, attained a deep ravine, by which they were enabled to approach, without fear of injury, to within 30 or 40 feet of the stockade, which they succeeded in setting on fire. Through a hole made by the flames, they killed the lieutenant and one private, and wounded three others, who were endeavoring to put out the fire. The enemy then offering quarter to the besieged, if they would surrender, one Turner opened the gate to them. * * * * He and the others, including three women and several children, were taken prisoners. By order of the French commander, the fort was burned by Capt. Jacobs. When the Indians and prisoners reached Kittanning. Turner was tied to a black post, the Indians danced around him, made a great fire, and his body was run through with red-hot gun barrels. Having tormented him for three hours, the Indians scalped him alive, and finally held up a boy, who gave him the finishing stroke with a hatchet. (2.) * * * Turner had married the widow of the elder Girty, deceased, the mother of the Girty boys, Simon, James and George. The savages spared her and her son John Turner, Jr., and carried them to Fort Duquesne, where John Turner, aged two and a half years, on the 18th of August, A. D. 1756, was baptized by Fr. Denys Baron, Chaplain of the B. C. mission at that post. The record of the baptism is preserved in the Register, herein frequently referred to. Turner, Jr., died a resident of the township of Peebles, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Smith, in his History of Armstrong County, says: "The writer has not learned the exact locality of that "black post," or whether it was in the upper, central or lower one of the three villages, as the separate clusters of the 40 houses were called, and which were located on the bench now between McKean street and Grant avenuetwo of the villages having been above and one below Market street. (*The streets mentioned are in the borough of Kittanning.) Between these villages and the river was an extensive corn-field. * * * Tradition says that 'black post' was at the mouth of Truby's run, which was formerly several rods lower down than it is now."
In order to break up this harboring place, an expedition was authorized by the representatives of the Governor and Council to be conducted by Lieutenant Colonel John Armstrong, of the Second battalion of the Pennsylvania regiment. The eight companies which composed this battalion were stationed at the forts on the west side of the Susquehanna. Armstrong, with three hundred and seven men of his force, were at Fort Shirley, Monday, September 3d, 1756, whence he set out for the objective point of his campaign. The events which followed are so clearly detailed in his official report, which is conceded to be a model of its kind, that it is only necessary to refer to it for a complete history of the expedition.
Mr. Morris had informed the Governor and Council, Augt. 2. 1756, that he had concerted an expedition against Kittanning, to be conducted by Col. John Armstrong, who was to have under his command Capt. Hamilton, Capt. Mercer, Capt. Ward, Capt. Potter, and besides to engage what volunteers he could. The affair was to be kept as secret as possible, and the officers and men were ordered to march to Fort Shirley and thence to set out on the expedition. Mr. Morris had given Col. Armstrong particular instructions, which were entered in the orderly book. In pursuance thereof, and agreeable to the plan concerted, Col. Armstrong had made the necessary preparations and had written to Mr. Morris a letter from Fort Shirley in which he gave an account of the capture of Fort Granville by the French and Indians, and stated that they intended to attack Fort Shirley with four hundred men, and that Capt. Jacobs said, "I can take any Fort that will catch fire, and I will make peace with the English when they learn me to make gunpowder."
Col. Armstrong's Account of the Expedition.
"May it please your honor: Agreeable to mine of the 29th ult., we marched from Fort Shirley the day following, and on Beaver Dam, a few miles from Frankstown, on the North. Wednesday, the third instant, joined our advance party at the Branch of Juniata, we were there informed that some of our men having been out upon a scout had discovered the tracks of two Indians, about three miles on this side of the Allegheny Mountains, and but a few miles from the camp. From the freshness of the tracks, their killing of a cub bear, and the marks of their fires, it seemed evident that they were not twenty-four hours before us, which might be looked upon as a particular providence in our favor, that we were not discovered. Next morning we decamped, and in two days we came within 50 miles of Kittanning. It was then adjudged necessary to send some persons to reconnoitre the Town, to get the best intelligence they could concerning the situation and position of the enemy; whereupon an officer with one of the pilots and two soldiers, were sent off for that purpose. The day following we met them on their return, and they informed us that the roads were entirely clear of the enemy, and that they had the greatest reason to believe they were not discovered, but from the rest of the intelligence they gave it appeared they had not been nigh enough to the Town, either to perceive the true situation of it, the number of the enemy, and what way it might most advantageously be attacked. We continued our march, in order to get as near the Town as possible that night, so as to be able to attack it next morning about daylight, but to our great dissatisfaction, about 9 or 10 o'clock that night, one of our guides told us that he perceived a fire by the roadside , at which he saw 2 or 3 Indians a few perches distant from our front; where upon, with all possible silence, I ordered the rear to retreat about 100 perches in order to make way for the front, that we might consult what way we had best proceed without being discovered by the enemy. Soon after the pilot returned a second time, and assured us, from the best observations he could make, there were not more than 3 or 4 Indians at the fire, on which it was proposed that we should immediately surround and cut them off, but this was thought too hazardous, for if but one of the enemy had escaped, it would have been the means of discovering the whole design; and the light of the moon on which depended our advantageously posting our men, and attacking the Town, would not admit of our staying until the Indians fell asleep. On which it was agreed to leave Lieutenant Hogg with 12 men, and the person who first discovered the fire, with orders to watch the enemy, but not to attack them until break of day, and then, if possible, to cut them off. It was agreed (we believing ourselves to be about 6 miles from the Town), to leave the horses, many of them being tired, with what blankets and baggage we then had, and to take a circuit off the road, which was very rough and incommodious on account of the stones and fallen timber, in order to prevent our being heard by the enemy at the fire place. This interruption much retarded our march, but a still greater arose from the ignorance of our pilot, he neither knew the true situation of the Town nor the best paths that led thereto; by which means, after crossing a number of hills and valleys, our front reached the River Ohio, [Allegheny], about 100 perches below the main body of the Town, a little before the setting of the moon, to which place, rather than by the pilots, we were guided by the beating of the drum and whooping of the warriors at their dance. It then became us to make the best use of the remaining moonlight, but ere we were aware, an Indian whistled in a very singular manner, about thirty yards in our front, at the foot of a cornfield; upon which we immediately sat down, and after passing silence to the rear, I asked one Baker, a soldier who was our best assistant, whether that was not a signal to the warriors, of our approach. He answered no, and said it was the manner of a young fellow's calling a squaw after he had done his dance, who accordingly, kindled a fire, cleaned his gun, and shot it off, before he went to sleep. All this time we were obliged to lay quiet and hush, till the moon was fairly set; immediately after, a number of fires appeared in different places in the cornfield, by which Baker said the Indians lay, the night being warm, and that these fires would immediately be out as they were only designed to disperse the gnats. By this time it was break of day, and the men having marched thirty miles, were almost asleep. The line being long, the three companies in the rear were not yet brought over the last precipice. For these some proper persons were immediately dispatched, and the weary soldiers, being roused to their feet, a proper number, under sundry officers, were ordered to take the end of the hill, at which we then lay, and march along the top of said hill at least one hundred perches, and as much further, it then being daylight, as would carry them opposite the upper part, or at least the body of the town. For the lower part thereof, and the cornfield, (presuming the warriors were there), I kept rather the larger number of the men, promising to postpone the attack on that part for eighteen or twenty minutes, until the detachment along the hill should have time to advance to the place assigned, in doing of which they were a little unfortunate. The time being elapsed, the attack was begun in the cornfield, and the men, with all expedition possible, dispatched to the several parts thereof, a party being also dispatched to the houses, which were then discovered by the light of the day. Capt. Jacobs immediately gave the war-whoop, and with sundry other Indians, as the English prisoners afterwards told us, cried that the white men were come at last, and that they would have scalps enough; but at the same time ordered their squaws and children to flee to the woods. Our men with great eagerness passed through and fired into the cornfield, where they had several returns from the enemy, as they also had from the opposite side of the river. Presently after, a brisk fire began among the houses, which from the house of Capt. Jacobs were returned with a great deal of resolution. To that place I immediately repaired, and found that, from the advantage of the house and the port-holes, sundry of our people were wounded and some killed, and finding that returning the fire upon the house was ineffectual, ordered the contiguous houses to be set on fire, which was done by sundry of the officers and soldiers with a great deal of activity, the Indians always firing when an object presented itself, and seldom missed of wounding or killing some of our people. From this house, in moving about to give the necessary orders and directions, I was wounded by a large musket ball, in my shoulder. Sundry persons, during the action, were ordered to tell the Indians to surrender themselves prisoners, but one of the Indians in particular answered and said he was a man and would not be taken a prisoner, upon which he was told he would be burnt; to this he answered he did not care, for he would kill four or five before lie died; and had we desisted from exposing ourselves, they would have killed a great many more, they having a number of loaded guns by them. As the fire began to approach, and the smoke grew thick, one of the Indians began to sing. A squaw, in the same house, at the same time, was heard to cry and make a noise, but for so doing was severely rebuked by the men; but by and by the fire being too hot for them, two Indians and a squaw sprang out and made for the cornfield, and were immediately shot down by our people. Then surrounding the houses, it was thought Captain Jacobs tumbled himself out of a garret or cock-loft, at which time he was shot, our prisoners offering to be qualified to the powder-horn and pouch there taken off him, which they say he had lately got from a French officer in exchange for Lieutenant Armstrong's boots, which he carried from Fort Granville, where the Lieutenant was killed. The same prisoners say they are perfectly assured of the scalp, as no other Indians there wore their hair in the same manner. They also say they knew his squaw's scalp, and the scalp of a young Indian named the King's Son. Before this time, Captain Hugh Mercer, who, early in the action, was wounded in the arm, had been taken to the top of a hill above the town (to whom a number of men and some officers had gathered), from whence they had discovered some Indians cross the river and take to the hill, with an intent, as they thought, to surround us, and cut off our retreat, from whom I had sundry pressing messages to leave the houses and retreat to the hill, or we should all be cut off; but to this I could by no means consent, until all the houses were set on fire; though our spreading on the hill appeared very necessary, yet it did not prevent our researches of the cornfield and river side, by which means sundry scalps were left behind, and doubtless some squaws, children and English prisoners, that otherwise might have been got. During the burning of the houses, which were near thirty in number, we were agreeably entertained with a succession of reports of charged guns gradually firing off, as the fire reached them, and much more so with the vast explosion of sundry bags, and large kegs of gunpowder, wherewith almost every house abounded. The prisoners afterwards told us, that the Indians had often boasted that they had powder enough for a two years' war with the English. With the roof of Captain Jacobs' house, when the powder blew up, was thrown the leg and thigh of an Indian, with a child three or four years old, to such a height, that they appeared as nothing, and fell in the adjacent cornfield. There was also a great quantity of goods burnt, which the Indians had received as a present but ten days before from the French. By this time I had proceeded to the hill to have my wound tied up and the blood stopped, where the prisoners, who had come to us in the morning, informed me that that very day two batteaux of Frenchmen, with a large party of Delaware and French Indians, were to join Captain Jacobs at Kittanning, and to set out early the next morning to take Fort Shirley, or, as they called it, George Croghan's Fort, and that twenty-four warriors, who had lately come to the town, were sent out the evening before, for what purpose they did not know, whether to prepare meat, to spy the fort, or to make an attack on some of our back inhabitants. Soon after, upon a little reflection, we were convinced these warriors were all at the fire we had discovered the night before, and began to doubt the fate of Lieutenant Hogg and his party. From this intelligence of the prisoners (our provisions being scaffolded some thirty miles back, except what were in the men's haversacks, which were left with the horses and blankets, with Lieutenant Hogg and his party, and a number of wounded people then on hand), and by the advice of the officers, it was thought imprudent then to wait for the cutting down of the cornfield (which was before designed), but immediately to collect our wounded, and force our march back in the best manner we could, which we did by collecting a few Indian horses to carry off our wounded. From the apprehensions of being waylaid and surrounded (especially by some of the woodsmen), it was difficult to keep the men together, our march for sundry miles not exceeding two miles an hour, which apprehensions were heightened by the attempts of a few Indians, who, for some time after the march, fired upon each wing and ran off immediately, from whom we received no other damage than one of our men being wounded through both legs. Captain Mercer being wounded, he was induced, we have reason to believe, to leave the main body with his ensign, John Scott, and ten or twelve men (they being overheard to tell him we were in great danger and that they could take him into the road by a nigh way), and is probably lost, there being yet no account of him. A detachment of most of our men was sent back to bring him in, but could not find him, and upon the return of the detachment it was generally reported that he was seen with the above number of men to take a different road. Upon our return to the place where the Indian fire had been seen the night before, we met a sergeant of Captain Mercer's company and two or three others of his men, who had deserted us that morning, immediately after the action at Kittanning. These men, on running away, had met with Lieutenant Hogg, who lay wounded in two different parts of the body, near the road side. He then told them of the fatal mistake of the pilot, who had assured us there were but three Indians, at the most, at the fire-place, but when he came to attack them that morning, according to orders, he found a number considerably superior to his, and believes they killed and mortally wounded three of them the first fire, after which a warm engagement began, and continued for above an hour, when three of his best men were killed, and himself wounded. The residue fleeing off, he was obliged to squat in a thicket, where he might have laid securely until the main body came up, if this cowardly sergeant, and others that fled with him, had not taken him away. They had marched but a short distance, when four Indians appeared, upon which these deserters began to flee; the Lieutenant, notwithstanding his wounds, as a brave soldier, urging and commanding them to stand and fight, which they all refused. The Indians pursued, killing one man and wounding the Lieutenant a third time, in the belly, of which he died in a few hours; but having been placed on horseback some time before, he rode some miles from the place of action. But this attack of the Indians upon Lieutenant Hogg was represented by the cowardly sergeant in an entirely different light; be tells us there was a far larger number of Indians there than appeared to them, and that he and the men with him had fought five rounds; that he had there seen the lieutenant and sundry others killed and scalped, and had also discovered a number of Indians throwing themselves before us, and insinuated a great deal of such stuff as threw us into much confusion, so that the officers had a great deal to do to keep the men together, but could not prevail with them to collect the horses and what other baggage the Indians had left after their conquest of Lieutenant Hogg and the party under his command, in the morning, except a few horses, which a few of the bravest men were prevailed upon to collect; so that from the mistake of the pilot who spied the Indians at the fire, and the cowardice of the said sergeant and other deserters, we have sustained a considerable loss of horses and baggage. It is impossible to ascertain the exact number of the enemy killed in the action, as some were destroyed by fire, and others in different parts of the cornfield; but, upon a moderate computation, it is generally believed that there can be no less than thirty or forty killed and mortally wounded, as much blood was found in the cornfield, and Indians seen to crawl into the weeds on their hands and feet, whom the soldiers in pursuit of others then overlooked, expecting to find and scalp them afterward, and also several killed and wounded in crossing the river. On beginning our march back we had about a dozen scalps of eleven English prisoners, but now find that four or five of the scalps are missing, part of which were lost on the road, and part in possession of those men who, with Captain Mercer, separated from the main body, with whom, also, went four or five prisoners, the other seven being now at this place, where we arrived on Sunday night, not being even separated or attacked by the enemy during our whole march. Upon the whole, had our pilots understood the true situation of the town, and the paths leading to it, so as to have posted us at a convenient place, where the disposition of the men and the duty assigned to them, could have been performed with greater advantage, we had, by Divine assistance, destroyed a much greater number of the enemy, recovered a greater number of prisoners, and sustained less damage than we at present have; but though the advantage gained over our common enemy is far from being satisfactory to us, yet must we not despise the smallest degrees of success that God was pleased to give, especially at a time of such general calamity, when the attempts of our enemies have been so prevalent and successful. I am sure there was the greatest inclination to do more, had it been in our power, as the officers, and most of the men, throughout the whole action, exerted themselves with as much activity and resolution as could possibly be expected.
"Our prisoners inform us that the Indians have for some time talked of fortifying Kittanning and other towns; that the number of French at Fort Duquesne was about four hundred; that the principal part of their provisions came up the river from the Mississippi; and that in three other forts which the French have on the Ohio, there are not more men altogether than there is at Fort Duquesne." (3.)
Nothing of moment transpired at this point for some years. The harboring place of the savages was, for the time being, broken up, but no attempt was made to occupy the place by the whites until several years after the opening of the land office. Early after that date (April 3d, 1769) there were some settlers in the southern part of the present Armstrong county, but not many; and it was not until the era of 1774 that a permanent occupancy of the place was commenced. It came into prominence at that date. It was contemplated on the part of the representatives of the Penns in this region to have some troops who were raised in that emergency stationed here, as a post more favorable for the protection of the frontiers from the Indians. It is probable, indeed, that some troops were stationed here, for a short time. These troops were the militia of the county raised for short service. We see that it was a cause of complaint on the part of the inhabitants about Hannastown in 1774, in their petition to Gov. Penn, that "we are now rendered very uneasy by the removal of these troops, their arms and ammunition, on which our greatest dependence lay, and which we understand are ordered to Kittanning, a place at least twenty-five or thirty miles distant from any of the settlements." (4.)
Arthur St. Clair, the trusted representative of the Penns, had urgently represented the necessity of erecting a stockade fort and of laying out a town at the Kittanning, as the basis for the Indian trade on the part of the Province. (5.) Gov. John Penn in response to these representations, in a letter dated from Philadelphia, the 6th of August, 1774, says:
"Since my last letter to you, I have considered of what you mentioned in a former letter, and now repeat, respecting the establishment of some place of security for carrying on the Indian trade, as you say that Pittsburgh will be certainly abandoned by all our people; and I am now to acquaint you that I approve of the measure of laying out a town in the Proprietary Manor at Kittanning, to accommodate the traders and the other inhabitants who may chuse to reside there; and, therefore, inclose you an Order for that purpose. But I cannot, without the concurrence of the Assembly, give any directions for erecting a stockade or any other work for the security of the place, which may incur an expense to the Province."
Nothing of the kind advised was done; and little is heard of the place until the Revolution bad begun.
A memorial was presented June 5th, 1776, to the Assembly of Pennsylvania from the inhabitants of Westmoreland county, setting forth that they feared an attack from Detroit and the Indian country, and that Van Swearingen, Esq., had raised a company of effective men at a considerable expense, which the memorialists had continued and stationed at the Kittanning, and which they prayed might be continued.
Congress resolved, July 15th, 1776, that the battalion which was to garrison the posts of Presq' Isle, Le Boeuf and Kittanning be raised in the counties of Westmoreland and Bedford, in the proportion of seven in the former to one in the latter. July the 18th, 1776, John Hancock, then President of Congress, informed the President of the Pennsylvania Convention that Congress had resolved to raise a battalion in these two counties for the defense of the western part of Pennsylvania, and requested the convention to name proper persons for field officers; which was accordingly done, July 20th (1776).
The battalion raised in pursuance of these orders rendezvoused at Kittanning in November. (6.). Congress directed the Board of War of Pennsylvania, November 23d, 1776, to order Col. Mackay and Col. Cook's battalion to march with all possible expedition to Brunswick (now New Brunswick), New Jersey, where, at Amboy, Elizabethtown and Fort Lee, Washington, being perplexed by Howe's movements, distributed troops, about the middle of November, "so as to be ready at those various points to check any incursions, into the Jerseys." (7.)
Col. Mackay's letter to Richard Peters, Secretary of the Board of War, from Kittanning the 5th of December, 1776, reports: "I last night received your order from the Honourable the Board of War, in consequence of which I have this day issued the necessary orders, and shall march with all possible dispatch to the place directed.
"I beg leave to inform you at the same time, that scarcity of provision and other disagreeable circumstances obliged me to permit a number of the men to go to particular stations to be supplied, but have directed a general rendezvous on the 15th instant at a proper place, from thence shall proceed as ordered.
"As I would not choose that the battalion should labour under every disadvantage when at Brunswick, being now in need of everything, I shall be obliged to make Philadelphia my route, in order to be supplied. I therefore hope the proper provision will be made of regimental camp kettles and arms, as mentioned to Col. Wilson, per Capt. Boyd." (8.)
On the 26th of December, 1776, Wm. Lochry and John Moore, on the part of the inhabitants of Westmoreland, sent the following letter to the President of the Council of Safety:
"By the removal of Col. Mackay from Kittanning, the frontiers of this County is laid open and exposed to the Mercy of a faithless, incertain Savage Enemy, and we are Inform'd by Andrew McFarland, Esq'r, who lives at Kittanning, that, he is much afraid that the Mingoes will plunder the Country, and that he will not think himself Safe if there is not a Company of Men Stationed there, and if he Removes, a number more of the Inhabitants will follow; the Kittanning is a post of Importance, and we think a few men Stationed there would awe the Indians, and perhaps prevent much mischief, and as we are not certain there is any legal Representatives of the People of this State now sitting but the Council of Safety, we beg the favour of you to lay this letter before them, not doubting but they will take the matter into Consideration, and take such steps as the importance of it Requires." (9.)
The Committee of Westmoreland county addressed a communication to Col. George Morgan, Agent for Indian Affairs, Pittsburgh, from Hanna's Town, April 18th, 1777, in which they say: We received yours, dated the 12th instant, informing us of the incursions made by the Indians on the neighboring frontier, which we return you[r] our most hearty thanks. Any person appointed for victualling at the Kittanning is an appointment that is not clear to usbut we apprehend Devereux Smith, Esq., is appointed for that post, which appointment we approve of, and would be glad some method could be introduced to furnish Mr. Smith with money for the purpose of victualling the troops at that post, &c." (10.)
The following papers relate to this period. These letters are taken from the Historical Register for September, 1884. Their publication connects a link in the history of the place which has been wanting.
Devereux Smith writes to the Indian Commissioners:
"Hannastown, March 24th, 1777.
"Gentlemen: You have Long since been acquainted of Andrew Macfarlane, Esquire, is being taken Prisoner the 14th of February at Hatharings. From that date to the 17th or 18th of this Instant, Captin Moorhead was under necessity of staying at that Post with a small Party of Milica to Gard the Stors, &c., When he Was relieved by an officer and about 25 Men of the Milica, to whom he Delivered up the Stors, &c.; and was on his return to this Settlement to Recrut, when he found one Simpson killed and Scalpt, a hors shot by him, & Captin Moorhead's Brother Who was in Company with sayed Simpson a missing. Suposed to be taken prisnar. Whas found by the Dead Corps, a War Bullet, a Tammoake & a beevan Pouch containing a Written Speech, a Coppy of it you have inclosed. You have also inclosed a Letter from Colonel Morgan Which was sent to this Place Late Last Night by Express. The above Simpson & Captin Moorhead's Brother Left Kattaning the 16th, whas found the 18th about 10 miles from Thar, neer Blankit Hill. Captin Moorhead being obliged to Stay so Long at Kattanning & Luttent Macfarline being Prisnar put allmost a totall stop to the Recruiting sarvis of his Company. And the Calling of the Westmoreland Battalon & Milica as left this county very bare of Men and arms, and you both well no the Milica of this County are not to be Depended on When at home; therefore from the present apparance of things, if som speedy steps are not taken for ower Relief, Eithar by the Honnorable Congree or Gentelmen in authority in ower Government below, This infant Contery Sartinly will fall a victim to British tirants & mercyless Savages."
Mr. Smith, three days later, addresses the following"To Colonels Montgomery and Jaspar Yeates Commissioners for Indin affars, Midel Department.
"27th [March, 1777].Last night the Party of Milica, 30 men who ware sent to keep Garason at Kattaning & take care of the Stors till Captin Moorhead raised his Company, Returned to this Place, having Avacyated that Post; and asine no other Resan than becaus the was affreed. I hope we will Gett them to Return, by Reinforcing them, &c. Colonel Crafford [Crawford] has assured Captin [Samuel] Moorhead by Letter that he will send him Immedat asistance from his Battalon."
On the first day of June, 1777, Brig.-Gen. Hand assumed the chief command, on the part of Congress at Pittsburgh. This place, Kittanning, we have seen, was occupied by troops for the first time in the spring of that year. There were then only a few cabins at that point Capt. Samuel Moorhead was stationed there, when on the 14th of Sept., 1777, he received the following order from Gen. Hand: "Being convinced that, in your present situation, you are not able to defend yourself, much less render the continent any service, you will withdraw from Kittanning, bringing everything away portable, leaving the houses and barracks standing."
The whole region west of the mountains, because, of the disasters which had befallen the various posts on the Ohio and the enforced evacuation of the small post at Kittanning, was now thoroughly alarmed. Many feared the Alleghenies would again become the western frontier line of the settlements. "We have no prospects," wrote a citizen of the Western Department, "but desolation and destruction." "There are very few days," he continued, "that there is not a murder committed on some part of our frontiers." (11.)
Col. Lochry addresses President Wharton on the, 6th of Dec., 1777, saying:
"Not a man on our frontiers from Ligonier to the Allegheny except a few at Fort Hand, on Continental pay. * * * I have sent four Indian scalps taken by one of our scouting party, commanded by Col. Barr, Col. Perry, Col. Smith and Capt. Kingston [Hinkston?] being volunteers in the action. The action happened near Kittanning; they retook six horses the savages had taken from the suffering frontiers." (12.) During this period the frontier was protected by ranging parties, kept up, for the most part, by the inhabitants.
Early in the spring of 1779, Washington contemplated the establishment of a military post at this point. In his letter to Col. Daniel Brodhead, in command of the Western Department, dated at his headquarters, Middlebrook, New Jersey, Mar. 22d, he wrote:
"I have directed Col. Rawlings with his corps, consisting of three companies, to march from Fort Frederick in Maryland, where he is guarding the British prisoners, to Fort Pitt, as soon as he is relieved by a guard of militia. Upon his arrival you are to detach him with his own corps and as many as will make up one hundred, should his companies be short of that number, to take post at Kittanning, and immediately throw up a stockade fort for the security of convoys. When this is accomplished a small garrison is to be left there, and the remainder are to proceed to Venango (now Franklin) and establish another post of the same kind for the same purpose. The party is to go provided with proper tools from Fort Pitt, and Col. Rawlings is to be directed to make choice of good pieces of ground, and by all means to use every precaution against a surprise at either post. * * * * Neither the Indians nor any other persons are to know your destination until your movements point out the probable quarter. * * * * You are to inform me with precision, and by a careful express, when you will be ready to begin your movement from Fort Pitt, when you can be at Kittanning, when at Venango, when at the head of navigation, how far it is from thence to the nearest Indian towns, and when you can reach them." (13.)
The project of Washington which was disclosed in the foregoing letter was relinquished on account of difficulties which were insuperable, and which are given in his letter to Col. Brodhead of Apr. 21st, 1779. On the 3d of May, 1779, Col. Brodhead replying to Washington, says:
"I am very happy in having permission to establish the posts at Kittanning and Venango, and am convinced they will answer the grand purposes mentioned in your letter. The greatest difficulty will be to procure salt provisions to subsist the garrison at the different advanced posts, but I have taken every possible step to obtain them."
June the 3rd, 1779, he wrote to Col. Lochry: "I propose building a small fort at Kittanning as soon as possible, and that will be a more effectual security to the inhabitants than all the little posts now occupied by the garrison; these will be considerable, and I intend to send a field piece there to command the water, etc."
Col. Brodhead on June 24th, 1779, reports to President Reed:
"About a fortnight ago, three Men which I had sent to reconnoitre the Seneca Country, returned from Venango, being chased by a number of Warriors who were coming down the River in Canoes; they continued the pursuit until they came to this side of the Kittanning, and the White Men narrowly escaped. A few Days after they returned, Captain Brady, with twenty white Men and a young Delaware Chief, all well painted, set out towards the Seneca Country, and the Indian warriors proceeded towards the Settlements. They killed a Soldier between Forts Crawford & Hand, & proceeded to Saweckly Settlement, where they killed a Woman & her four Children, & took two Children prisoners. Captn. Brady fell in with seven Indians of this party about 15 Miles above Kittanning, where the Indians had chosen an advantageous situation for their Camp. He however, surrounded them, and attacked at the break of Day. The Indian Captain, a notorious Warrior of the Muncy Nation, was killed on the spot, and several more mortally wounded, but the woods were remarkably thick, and the party could not pursue the villains' tracks, after they had stopped their wounds, which they always do as soon as possible after receiving them. Captain Brady, however, retook six horses, the two prisoners, the Scalps and all their plunder, and took all the Indians guns, Tomahawks, Match Coats, Mocksins, in fine everything they had except their Breech Clouts. Captain Brady has great Merit, but none has more distinguished Merit in this enterprise than the young Delaware Chief, whose name is Nanowland (or George Wilson). Before Capy'n Brady returned, Lieut't Hardin set out with a party of eleven choice Men, and I am certain he will not return without scalps or prisoners from the Seneca Country.
"Lieut't Col'l Bayard, with 121 Rank & file, is now employed in Erecting a Stockade Fort at Kittanning, which will effectually secure the Frontiers of Westmoreland & Bedford Counties, provided Scouts are employed according to my Directions.
"The Mohickins & Shawnese have sent me a string of White Wampum and a Speech, requesting me to take pity on them and suffer them to enjoy the Blessings of peace. I believe I have frightened them by bringing over to our Interest their chief allies the Hurons, Iowas, Chepwas, & Pootiotomies. By the inclosed Letter & Speeches your Excellency will discover the change, and if I had but a small quantity of Indian Goods, I would make them Humble the Mingoes & capture many of the English, but unfortunately I am not in possession of a single Article to pay them with.
"I have now a considerable quantity of Provisions & could make a successful Campaign up the Alleghany, but I am not at Liberty to do it.
"It would give me pleasure to know what reward might safely be offered for Indian Scalps.
"The wicked Waggoners & pack horse drivers have destroyed at least one sixth of our Spirits, &c. In future it had better be cased."
To Col. Bayard, July 1st, 1779, he says:
"I think it is a compliment due to Gen. Armstrong to call that fort after him, therefore it is my pleasure that from this time forward it be called Fort Armstrong, and I doubt not but we shall be in the neighborhood of a place where greater regard is paid to saints than at Kittanning, where your sainthood may not be forgotten. I cannot conclude without once more recommending the strictest economy of public stores, and particularly ammunition."
To the same on July 9th."I have said that I thought it a compliment due to Gen. Armstrong to name the fort now erecting at Kittanning after him, and I should be sorry to have the first fort erected by my directions in the department named after me. Besides I consider it will be more proper to have our names at a greater distance from our metropolis. I never denied the sainthood of Stephen or John, but some regard to priority must be necessary even among the saints. [Col. Bayard had expressed a desire to name the fort after Col. Brodhead.] * * * I am glad the fort is in forwardness and hope you are able to keep out the scouts I ordered for the protection of the inhabitants. * * * * Capt. Harrison is ordered on a tour to Fort Armstrong, and he will deliver you this and my compliments to the officers."
Col. Brodhead to Col. Bayard, July 20th, 1779:
"His excellency the Commander-in-Chief, has at length given me leave to make an excursion into the Indian country, and as my route will naturally cover the garrison at Fort Armstrong, a few men can maintain it till my return, therefore, you will order two officers, two sergeants, and twenty-four rank and file, of the worst kind, to remain at the post, and with all the rest, march to this place by the first of next month, and bring with you likewise all the best men from Fort Crawford, except a sergeant, and twelve privates."
In reporting his expedition against the Seneca and Muncy nations to Gen. Washington, Sept. 16, 1779, from Pittsburgh, the Col. says: "I left this place the 11th of last month." * * * Oct. 2d, 1779, he orders Capt. Campbell to march his company with all the stores, to Fort Crawford, and states that Capt. Irwin will be ordered to Kittanning. The same date he says "I have ordered a quantity of provisions to Fort Armstrong, and Capt. Irwin is to garrison that post with his company. As soon as he takes the command (if the water will permit) you will proceed to this place (Pittsburgh) with your men, leaving the provisions with Capt. Irwin, bring down the canoes and other stores to these magazinesBut should the water continue too low, you will march down your men by land, and take a receipt for all the provisions, craft and stores left with Capt. Irwin."
Capt. Irwin, as well as Capt. Campbell under the instructions and orders from Col. Archibald Lochry, the County Lieutenant, disobeyed these orders. This was owing to a misunderstanding as to relative authority of these two officers, Brodhead and Lochry, on the question of the right to direct the movements of the county militia by a continental officer, when the militia had been called out for frontier service.
To Francis McIlwaine, Oct. 13, 1779, he says: "I expect Captain Irwin's company will be at Fort Armstrong within a few days, if he had done his duty it would have been there many days ago. * * * * I cannot send regular troops to be stationed at Fort Armstrong, the new levies raised in Pennsylvania are properest for that duty. * * * * I conceive the firing about Fort Armstrong is done by hunters and not by Indians."
To Captain Thomas Campbell, Oct. 16, 1779, "Col. Lochry informed me that you was stationed at Fort Hand and I understood your whole company was there, wherefore about the third day after the date of my instructions to you I sent a quantity of salt pork to Fort Crawford and ordered another quantity to Fort Armstrong, but as you was not yet arrived at your post, the whole of the pork was taken to Fort Armstrong. I herewith send you a small supply of provisions, and desire you will appoint a very careful person to issue it, and lest you should want a supply and make application to the commissary hereyou are directed to have your flour and salt brought from the issuing commissary at Fort Armstrong."
To. Lieut. Glass, or the commanding officer of Capt. Irwin's company, Oct. 18, 1879, he says: "You are to march the company under your command to Fort Armstrong and there relieve the present garrison under Mr. McIlwaine. Mr. Douglass, Assistant Commissary of issues, will furnish you with provisions for your garrison at that post. Mr. McIlwaine will consult with you and leave a proper quantity of military stores for which you are to be accountable. Capt. Campbell is instructed to send scouts to the mouth of the Kiskiminetas where you are to order scouts from your post to meet them, and upon discovery of the enemy or tracks you are to give me immediate notice. It may be likewise proper for you to keep out a spy or two up the Allegheny river to give you notice of an approaching enemy, of which I must likewise be acquainted. You are to be particularly careful to prevent any waste of public stores, and not suffer any firing except at an enemy or by a hunter particularly employed (if you have any in your company). You are to transmit to me a particular return of the company and the provisions and stores left at Fort Armstrong. You will write to me by every opportunity and inform me of the state of your garrison."
To Lieut. John Jameson (Jamison), Oct. 27, 1779, he writes, "I have received your favor of the 24th inst. I am glad to hear you have at length got to Fort Armstrong, and I should be happy if it was in my power to contribute to the relief of your men, but the means are not yet come up the country. I have wrote to the President of the state for blankets, and daily expect his answer, I have ordered for your garrison two keggs of whiskey and fifteen pairs of shoes. Whiskey being an expensive article, you will not issue it except in rainy weather, and to guards and fatigues. I approve of building the sentry boxes, as they will in some measure shelter the poor soldiers from the weather which will soon be unfavorable. Your captain returned to me forty-five men, I shall be glad to know from you where the men are, which it appears you have not returned."
The following orders were addressed to Lieut. John Jameson from headquarters Nov. 27, 1779, per Jos. L. Finley, M. B.: "I am directed by Col. Brodhead to require you to evacuate Fort Armstrong, and repair to this post with all convenient dispatch, taking care to bring off all the stores in your possession, and pertaining to the garrison of whatsoever kinds; for this purpose I have sent you two canoes, which with the craft you already have I expect you will be able to transport all the stores by water; if not you must have recourse to pack-horses, which you can receive from Capt. Carnaghan, who is now with a party at Bull's Town or the mouth of Kiskiminetas, and I will herewith receive an order to supply you if necessary; immediately on the receipt of this you will proceed to put the above orders into execution.
P. S.Those of your company who are not employed in working the craft will march by land."
In the spring of 1780 arrangements were early made to reestablish Fort Armstrong and Fort Crawford. On the 2d of April, 1780, he (Brodhead), wrote to Col. Archibald Lochry, County Lieutenant to fix upon a proper rendezvous, and a place where a small quantity of provisions would be laid in by the commissary for sixty able bodied rank and file and a proportioned number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers which he was to order out from the militia of the county, and have equipped with all possible expedition. One-third of the above number was to be detached to the post at Fort Crawford, one-third at Fort Armstrong, and the remaining third was directed to the Forks of Black Legs, where the officer was to make choice of a house on a commanding ground convenient to water. These were all to act agreeable to such orders as they might receive from Brodhead. They were drafted for two months if not sooner discharged. This body of men, with a number of regulars to support those detached to Fort Armstrong, the Colonel hoped would give sufficient countenance to the inhabitants of the county. He writes to the same, April 13th, 1780, that he expected to send a detachment to Fort Armstrong by the time the militia would be able to march out.
The savages early began their depredations on the southwestern frontiers of Pennsylvania; and it was necessary that the northern posts should be garrisoned without delay. To Col. Lochry he writes from headquarters April 25th, 1780, "I have been disappointed beyond all description in getting clothing for my troops, and therefore could not until now send a detachment to Fort Armstrong agreeable to my intention. I hope that no great disappointment has happened to the militia, and I send an express with this letter to inform you that Capt. Thomas Beal sets out with the party and provisions to Fort Crawford tomorrow morning, where he is to leave a part, provided any troops be there, otherwise he is to take the whole to Fort Armstrong, and your detachment must be furnished from thence."
Col. Brodhead, Mar. 27th, 1781, informed President Reed that it was impossible for him to garrison Forts Armstrong and Crawford, until the Commander-in-Chief was pleased to direct him to evacuate Fort McIntosh. He had been requested by President Reed to do so at the repeated and urgent demands of the people of the frontier. There does not appear to be any documentary evidence to indicate that the barracks here were such as were adequate to the wants of a permanent garrison.
Col. Brodhead feared they were unequal to the requirements of garrison life during winter time. In a letter to Capt. Thomas Campbell who was stationed at Fort Crawford, he states that he had better not build barracks at that station as yet, it being uncertain whether his continuance there would render it necessary; and in his letter to President Reed of Dec. 13th, 1779, referring to Fort Armstrong and Fort Crawford, he says, "I ordered the troops to this place because I apprehended no danger from the enemy during the winter season, and if provisions had been laid in at those posts they must have been exposed to loss; besides it would have been quite impracticable to have supplied them with fresh provisions, and the quarters at those posts were too uncomfortable for naked men."
Such extracts as are relevant, and which follow are taken from "Fort Armstrong and the Manor of Kittanning," by Rev. A. A. Lambing, A. M., Prest. of the Historical Society of Western Penna., a paper read before the Society, May 8th, 1884, and printed in the Historical Register for June, 1884.
"From what we are able to learn, especially from the letters of the commander of Fort Pitt, to which Fort Armstrong was subject, the following were the commanders of the place before, during, and after the construction of the fortification. Before the building of the fort, the first officer stationed at Kittanning, by which, I suppose, the site of the future fort is meant, was Van Swearingen, who, with some militia raised in Westmoreland county, arrived, most probably, some time before June 5, 1776. Soon after, July 20 of the same year, he was succeeded by Col. Aeneas Mackay, who, with his battalion, was posted there, and remained till December 15, when he was ordered elsewhere. Mr. Phillip Mechling, now past ninety years of age and residing at Kittanning, heard his father, Michael Mechling, relate, that when young he and others hauled provisions from about Hannastown and Greensburg to the soldiers then stationed in the manor, but whether to those under Col. Mackay's command, or to others stationed here afterwards, he cannot say. Col. Rawlings was, as we have seen, ordered to build the fort and leave in it a small garrison while he proceeded elsewhere; but it has been shown that he did not build the fort at all, or at least, only begun it. Whether he left a part of his command there without a fortification or not it would be difficult to determine at this distant day; but if so, the name of the commanding officer has not been transmitted to us. Col. Bayard, who completed the fort in July, 1779, was relieved of the command about the 1st of August. It would appear that the fort was not occupied for some time, after this date, for on October 2, Brodhead wrote to Capt. Campbell: "Capt. Irwin will be ordered to Kittanning." But it would appear that Capt. Irwin would not or did not obey the order, for a sharp correspondence took place between him and Brodhead. In one of his letters, dated October 13, the latter writes: "You had my positive orders to wait upon me for instructions to govern you at Fort Armstrong, which orders you have been hardy enough to disobey and are to answer for." During this dispute Francis McIlvaine was sent to occupy the fort. Capt. Irwin appears to have left the service about this time, or to have been deprived of his command, for Brodhead in a letter to Lieut. Glass, or the commanding officer of Capt. Irwin's company, of October 18, says: "You are to march the company under your command to Fort Armstrong, and there relieve the present garrison under Mr. McIlvaine." Later, there was talk of court-martialing Irwin, but it would seem not to have been done. But the officers of the fort were soon to experience another change, for under date of October 27, Brodhead wrote to Lieut. John Jameson: "I have received your favor of the 24th inst. I am glad to hear you are at length got to Fort Armstrong." He was to be the last commander of the post, for on the 27th of November, Joseph L. Finley wrote to him: "I am directed by Col. Brodhead to require you to evacuate Fort Armstrong, and to repair to this post (Fort Pitt) with all convenient dispatch, taking care to bring off all the stores in your possession and pertaining to the garrison of whatever kinds."
We are able to form no definite idea of the number of soldiers that garrisoned Fort Armstrong during the vicissitudes of its brief existence, as but one statement is found of the force quartered there. Here and there in the correspondence relating to the post an intimation is made that the garrison, as we would naturally suppose, was small, ill-provided, and not remarkable for strict discipline. I am inclined to believe that it never exceeded one hundred in number, and seldom, if ever reached it. Col. Brodhead writing to Capt. Finley says: "You will order two sergeants and twenty-four rank and file of ye worst kind to remain at ye post, and with all the rest march to this place" (Pittsburgh). And to Lieut. Jameson he writes: "Your captain returned me forty-five men." You may, if you like, take a further remark of his to the same officer as an evidence that the number was not large at that time. He says: "I have ordered for your garrison two kegs of whiskey and fifteen pairs of shoes." The soldiers who garrisoned the fort, it is needless to state, were not regulars but militia, as appears from the whole correspondence relating to the post.
But what ultimately became of the fort? After the withdrawal of the garrison November 27, 1779, it was never after regularly occupied. Col. Lochry complained of Col. Brodhead's removal of the troops from Fort Armstrong and other frontier posts, and in consequence there was for a time a spirited correspondence between them, which resulted in nothing, however, so far as related to Fort Armstrong other than in keeping it without a garrison. The frontier was, however, protected by scouting parties. On the 3d of April, 1780, Brodhead wrote to Col. Lochry requiring him to order out from the militia of Westmoreland county sixty able bodied men of the rank and file and a proportionate number of commissioned and non commissioned officers, one third of whom were to be detached to Fort Armstrong. But although on this and on other occasions Brodhead wrote to the militia commanders and to General Washington regarding the occupation of the fort, it was never again, as we have said, taken possession of permanently. Detachments of rangers and scouts may have been stationed there temporarily at various times after the close of the war of the Revolution, while the Indians were troublesome, but the fort would appear to have been permitted to fall into decay almost as soon as it was built. Such, in brief, appears to have been the history of Fort Armstrong.
As to the character of the fort, it was everywhere called "a stockade fort." I have not been able to learn anything definite regarding its size; but it must have been small, as a large fortification was not required either to accommodate the garrison usually quartered there, or to defend the place against the Indians. The short time, too, during which it was occupied, and the fact that it was never threatened with or called upon to sustain a siege would lead to the conclusion that it was not of great strength when built, and was not afterwards strengthened.
But where precisely was Fort Armstrong situated? It is always spoken of as "at Kittanning," and even, as occupying the site of the Indian village of that name. But the name was used, as we shall see, not because the fort stood precisely upon that spot, but because it being an historic name, and the best known near the place, the fort was naturally enough said to be there, the better to point out its location to persons living at a distance and unacquainted with the geography of the country. The fort stood, indeed, within the manor of Kittanning, but not on the site of the town, for the town was two miles, as I have said, above the northern limit of the manor of the same name. The fort was situated exactly two miles below the southern extremity of the present town of Kittanning, on property now owned by Peter F. McClarren, and within half a mile of the place where I was born. I distinctly remember seeing the well of the fort filled with stumps some thirty or more years ago; and my father, who came to that part of the country in 1830, when nearly the whole bottom was covered with a thick growth of laurel, remembers seeing where the ground was burnt from fires being kindled upon it, and other indications of the location of the fort. I have also heard some of the older inhabitants, whose memories went as far back as 1795, speak of the ruins of the fort as they appeared in their early days. In short, there is, and can be, no question as to its being situated at the place I have designated."
Notes to Kittanning and Armstrong.
(1.) The word Kittanning is of Indian origin. Heckewelder says that "Kittanning is corrupted from Kit-han-ne, in Munsi Delaware Gicht-han-ne, signifying the main stream, i. e., in its region of country. Kit-han-ne is perpetuated in Kittanning, corrupted from Kit-han-nink, signifying at or on the main stream, i. e., the town at or on the main stream. He also says: We indeed have the word "Kittanning on our maps for a particular spot on the Allegheny river, whereas the true meaning of the word, which should be written Kit-han-nink, denotes the river itself. He gives its etymology thus: Kitschi, superior, greatest, and Han-ne, which denotes flowing water, or a stream of flowing water. [Hist. Of Armstrong Co., Pa., by Robert Walter Smith, Esq., p. 106.]
We have not failed to consult Mr. Smith's History and to draw upon it wherever necessary in preparing this article. He was a careful, painstaking, and trustworthy historian of this county.
Kittanning was a notable point in the boundary line, established between the Northern Colonies and the Indians, at the treaty held by Sir William Johnson at Fort Stanwix (Rome, N. Y.), Nov. 5th, 1768, known as the purchase line of that treaty and year. The line between those two purchases divides the borough of Kittanning into nearly equal portions. Its bearing from, at or near the mouth of Trubys run to the nearest fork of the West Branch of the Susquehanna river is south seventy-nine degrees east.
"The Kittanning" is an expression almost invariably used in the old records and documents, and it must have included a much longer stretch of territory along the left bank of the Allegheny river than was included in the extent of the site of the old Indian town destroyed by Gen. Armstrong. This is manifest from the etymology and meaning of the word Kittanning, elsewhere given. The idea that the borough of Kittanning is located on this Manor (Appleby) is erroneous for the borough is a mile or more north of the Manor's northern limit. [Smith's History Armstrong Co., 312.]
From this point led out eastward the Kittanning Trail, the path upon which Indians travelled and on which they went on their marauding expeditions, and upon which Indian traders and settlers afterward came out. An objective point of one of the branches of this trail is preserved in the name and proximate locality of Kittanning Point, on the Penna. railroad near the summit of the Alleghenies.
As to the Indian word corresponding with the English word beautiful or the French word La Belle, there is not a harmony of opinion.
Description of Indian Town at Kittanning.
The description given by Col. Smith of the method of making their huts and their appearance may be applicable here, as it may give an idea of what an Indian town looked like.
"They cut logs about fifteen feet long, and laid these logs upon each other, and drove posts in the ground at each end to keep them together; the posts they tied together at the top with bark, and by this means raised a wall fifteen feet long, and about four feet high, and in the same manner they raised another wall opposite to this, at about twelve feet distance; then they drove forks into the ground in the centre of each end, and laid a strong pole from end to end on these forks, and from these walls to the poles, they set up poles, instead of rafters, and on these they tied small poles in place of lathes; and a cover was made of lynn bark, which will run even in the winter season.
"As every tree will not run, they examine the tree first by trying it near the ground, and when they find it will do, they fell the tree and raise the bark with the tomahawk, near the top of the tree, about five or six inches broad, then put the tomahawk handle under this bark, and pull it along down to the butt of the tree; so that sometimes one piece of bark will be thirty feet long; this bark they cut in suitable lengths in order to cover the hut.
"At the end of these walls they set up split timber, so that they had timber all around, excepting a door at each end. At the top, in place of a chimney, they left an open place, and for bedding they laid down the aforesaid kind of bark, on which they spread bear skins. From end to end of this hut along the middle there were fires, which the squaws made of dry split wood, and the holes or open places that appeared the squaws stopped with moss, which they collected from old logs; and at the door they hung a bear skin; and, notwithstanding the winters are hard here, our lodging was much better than what I expected."
In the Narrative of Marie Le Roy and Barbara Leininger (Archives, vii, 429, Sec. Ser.), there is mention made of this place at the time of its destruction by Col. Armstrong. These captives were taken from the neighborhood of Fort Augusta, in October, 1755.
"After having rested for five days at Puncksotonay (they say), we took our way to Kittanny. As this was to be the place of our permanent abode, we here received our welcome, according to Indian custom. It consisted of three blows each, on the back. They were, however, administered with great mercy. Indeed, we concluded that we were beaten merely in order to keep up an ancient usage, and not with the intention of injuring us. The month of December was the time of our arrival, and we remained at Kittanny until the month of September, 1756.
"The Indians gave us enough to do. We had to tan leather, to make shoes (moccasins), to clear land, to plant corn, to cut down trees and build hutts, to wash and cook. The want of provisions, however, caused us the greatest sufferings. During all the time that we were at Kittanny we had neither lard nor salt; and, sometimes, we were forced to live on acorns, roots, grass and bark. There was nothing in the world to make this new sort of food palatable, excepting hunger itself.
"In the month of September, Col. Armstrong arrived with his men, and attacked Kittanny Town. Both of us happened to be in that part of it which lies on the other (right) side of the river (Allegheny). We were immediately conveyed ten miles farther into the interior, in order that we might have no chance of trying, on this occasion, to escape. The savages threatened to kill us. If the English had advanced, this might have happened, for, at that time, the Indians were greatly in dread of Col. Armstrong's Corps. After the English had withdrawn, we were again brought back to Kittanny, which town had been burned to the ground."
It would thus appear that a village was also on the west side of the Allegheny at that time.
(2.) Smith's Hist. of Armstrong co., p. 107, et. seq., quoting from Gordon's History of Penna. See also History of the Girtys by C. W. Butterfield, Esq.
(3.) The Report of Col. Armstrong is in Arch. ii, 767.
For the signal success of Col. Armstrong and his force, achieved in the destruction of Kittanning, and thus breaking up a formidable base of French and Indian incursions, the corporation of the city of Philadelphia, October 5th, 1756, voted him and his command the thanks of the city and other favors. He was also presented with a medal struck in honor of the occasion.
"The report of this affair [the destruction of Kittanning by Armstrong, says Mr. Parkman] made by Dumas, Commandant at Fort Duquesne is worth noting. He says that Attique, the French name of Kittanning, was attacked by le General Wachinton;' with three or four hundred men on horseback; that the Indians gave way; but that five or six Frenchmen who were in the town held the English in check till the fugitives rallied; that Washington and his men then took to flight, and would have been pursued but for the loss of some barrels of gunpowder which chanced to explode during the action. Dumas adds that several large parties are now on the track of the enemy, and he hopes will cut them to pieces. He then asks for a supply of provisions and merchandise to replace those which the Indians at Attique had lost by a fire. Like other officers of the day, he would admit nothing but successes in the department under his command." [Montcalm & Wolfe, Chap. xiii.]
The French were somewhat obscure in their geography, and sometimes spoke of the Pennsylvania frontiers when they really meant those of Virginia, Maryland or Carolina. For instance, they report that their forces had made incursions, and that "Chevalier Villiers, on the 2d of Aug., has been very successful in burning another fort called Fort Grandville, [Granville], sixty miles from Philadelphia." [2d Arch. vi, 380]
(4 ) History Western Penna., Appx.
(5) Arch. iv, 545. Gov. Penn's response is found in Records x, 202.
The following is from Mr. Smith's History:
"Events of historical interest in this township (Manor township in which Kittanning is situated) occurred chiefly within the limits of this Manor (Appleby, or the Kittanning Manor). Various aged inhabitants of this township and other parts of this county remembered having seen the vestiges of a military fortification, consisting of a fosse, parapet and fort, on the left bank of the Allegheny, between Tubmill run and Fort run. * * * A trench or fosse extended along the bottom about seventy rods easterly from the river, and thence at an obtuse angle southeasterly, twenty or thirty rods, which the informant estimates from the quantity of earth thrown up, must have been four or five feet deep, and as many or more wide. The parapet around the fort, which was a considerable distance below the trench, must have been several feet high when it was constructed. Its shape, as he remembers it, was somewhat like, though more circular than a horse shoe, and enclosed about two acres which is in accordance with the recollection of John Christy, who, in 1833, owned and cleared a part of the land on which it had been constructed. The latter's impression is that a ditch originally four or five feet deep had once extended all around it. Samuel Monroe [the first informant, who was born on this Manor and resided near those vestiges until he was twenty-four years of age, or from 1809 until 1833], on the other hand, thinks that ditch-like appearance was caused by excavating the earth used in constructing the parapet. Robert Thompson, now of Templeton Station, who plowed there soon after the land was cleared, and John Patterson, of Manor township, whose remembrance extends back to 1834-5, think, it was not a regular trench. According to the recollection of the latter and John Meckling, the shape of the parapet was nearly semi-circular, or nearly that of a half-moon, the distance between the extremities of its lunes, or the horns of the half-moon, being about fifty rods, along the bank of the riverthat would have been the length of the diameter of the entire circle, or rather oblate spheroid, if it had been completed. Many lead bullets were found in the river bank in front of that parapet, which must have been shot from the opposite side of the river. Christy found, within the parapet, vestiges of small buildings, and at the depth of four feet, arrows-heads and pieces of pottery. A red-oak, says Monroe, which had grown up on the southern or lower lune of that parapet, indicated 105 annual growths when it was cut down in 1823 or 4, so that it must have germinated, there prior to 1718-19. How much longer before then had that parapet been constructed? Meckling remembers having seen, in 1836-7, a black-oak on the upper or northern lune fully two feet, more likely two and a half feet, in diameter, which must have germinated there more than two centuries since. And Christy remembers that there was a tree in what he thinks was the trench, that was between four and five feet in diameter.
"These works evinced a higher degree of skill, intelligence and civilization than the Indians possessed. Their construction required a different kind of labor than that performed by them. There are vestiges of similar works in other parts of the Allegheny Valley, on the southern shore of Lake Erie in this State, in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, and in western New York. In the trench and on the parlapet of those near Lake Erie are trees three feet in diameter, indicating that they were constructed two or more centuries or more before either the French or the English began to erect military fortifications in that region. The parapets in western New York were earthen, from three to eight feet high, with trenches on their exterior sides. On some of the parapets, many years ago, were oak-trees whose concentric circles indicated that they were 150, 260 and 300 years old, and there were evident indications that they had sprung up since the erection of those works. Some of the trenches were deep and wide, and others shallow and narrow."
"Various relics, such as white beads, and some colored ones from half an inch to two inches in length, a silver band an inch wide and ten inches long, knife-blade of a rather large size, have been found. From a description of these, however, it would appear that they might have been of modern workmanship.
"There were indications that there had been a burying ground on the second bench or bottom above or northerly from the trench, in which a large number of persons had been interred. Such of the bones as were exhumed, were sound. Samuel Monroe found a skull in which there was a hole about the size of a bullet, just above the ear, but none in any other part. Matthias Bowzer has related to the writer that, while he was plowing on the same tract, in 1836, then owned by John Meckling, he struck the bones of a human skeleton and part of a moccasin about 62 rods east of the Allegheny river, and 300 yards north of Pub-mill run, or about thirty feet a little west of north from the house now occupied by A. B. Starr. About two rods south-east from that grave he opened another, sixteen feet square and two feet deep, in which was a large number of human bones, so arranged as if the bodies had been piled one upon another, when they were buried.
"In the early part of this century those old fortifications and vicinity were frequented by various persons now living, to gather plums. James E. Brown remembers of that fort being then called "the old French fort." In 1835 James W. Campbell, now of North Buffalo township, and his brother were returning from the mill at Nicholson's Falls, and stopped near these old works over night. George Cook, an old resident in the Manor, accompanied them to the remains of the parapet, and showed them how the women and children of the surrounding country were protected there one night during the Indian troubles, 1790-5, when forced to flee thither from their homes. After the women and children had entered, the men guarded the entrance to the interior of the parapet. He said that James Claypole, John Guld and others with their families used to flee thither in those times for refuge. At least some of the bullets used in one of the occasions were made by the women while in the blockhouse, who melted their pewter plates and other dishes for that purpose.
"Such being the vestiges and surroundings of and the facts connected with that ancient fosse, parapet and fort, and history being otherwise silent in relation to them, it can of course only be conjectured when and by whom they were originally constructed, and on this question there is ground for an honest difference of opinion among antiquaries. It is a question well calculated to stimulate research, and one, too, that affords ample scope for profitable discussion by historical and debating societies." [History of Armstrong County, Pa., by Robert Walter Smith, Esq.]
"It is stated," says Mr. Smith in his History of Armstrong county, "in Albach's Western Annals, page 716, that a fort was built on the site of the old village of Kittanning, known also by the name of Appleby's Fort, by the government, in 1776.' His authority for that statement is not given. The writer has not been able to ascertain that there was ever a vestige of a fort on the site of that village. The Manor does not appear to have been called Appleby until 1805 and 1807. It seems clear, then, that Mr. Albach must have been misinformed respecting both the name and location of that fort."
Mr. Smith in his remarks here concerning Appleby is himself mistaken as to the time when the name Appleby was first applied to this placewe do not say Manorhe saying that it was not so applied prior to date 1805 or 7, as above stated. * * * * * * * * Arthur St. Clair writing to Gov. Penn from Ligonier Aug. 25th, 1774 (Arch. iv, 575), states: "This moment I have heard from Pittsburgh, that Mr. Speare and Mr. Butler's goods, that were going to Appleby, are seized by Mr. Connolly's orders." There is reason to suspect that these were in the initiatory steps in the scheme to make the Kittanning a point for the Pennsylvania traders. See Correspondence of this period in Pa. Arch., Iv, and St. Clair Papers. See also Historical Register, Sept., 1884, p. 202; "Armstrong Co.," etc., by Isaac Craig, Esq.
(7.) Smith's History, p. 26.
(8.) Arch., v, 93.
(9.) Arch., v, 134.
(10.) Arch., v, 314.
(11.) Washington-Irvine Cor., 13.
(12.) Arch., Vi, 69; Arch., vii, 564.
(13.) Wash.-I. Cor., 13.
(14.) The references and authorities, so far as they pertain to Col. Brodhead's correspondence, are taken from Col. Brodhead's Letter Book, while in command of the Western Department. See Arch., xii.
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