National Geographic : 1932 Jan
THE TRAVELS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON Cumberland; there he engaged Christo pher Gist as guide, two white servants and two Indian traders, to go with him. Little could he then have dreamed that the message he bore from Governor Din widdie, under instructions from the King of England, would lead to a war which, in the words of Parkman, "kindling among the forests of America, scattered its fires over the kingdoms of Europe and the sul try empire of the Great Mogul; the war made glorious by the heroic death of Wolfe, the victories of Frederick the Great, and the exploits of Clive; the war which controlled the destinies of America and was first in the chain of events which led on to her Revolution, with all its vast and undeveloped consequences." WASHINGTON RIDES OVER THE SITE OF FUTURE PITTSBURGH The party set out from Wills Creek on the 15th of November. The first night they came to Georges Creek and camped a mile or so south of what is now Frost burg, Maryland. They reached Gist's house, in the new settlement around what is now Mount Braddock, on Sunday night, November 18. Anyone who has been over such mountains as Big Savage, Negro Mountain, Keysers Ridge, and Laurel Hill by the Old National Trail knows what hard climbing those four days involved. The snow was ankle deep when they set out from Gist's. Crossing the Youghio gheny just below Connellsville, they headed north to Jacobs Creek, and spent the night at Jacob's cabins, which stood not far from what is now Mount Pleasant; then they turned northwest, crossed Se wickley Creek, and came to the big bend of the Monongahela almost at the spot where the highway bridge crosses the river from McKeesport to Duquesne. Here they marched across the site of that busy in dustrial center of to-day and then recrossed the river after passing below what is now Kennywood Park. Frazier's cabin stood just about where the plant of the Edgar Thompson Steel Works stands to-day, between the river and Washington Street, at the mouth of Turtle Creek. From here Barnaby Currin and Henry Steward, in a canoe, carried the baggage down the river to its confluence with the Allegheny. Washington, with Gist, rode over the site of the future Pitts- burgh. He reached the forks of the Ohio ahead of his baggage and, while he waited for Currin and Steward, studied the point as a site for a fort. He found a "consid erable bottom of flat, well-timbered land all around it." How different the "point" at Pittsburgh to-day, with its downtown district and its great highway bridges! The party swam its horses across the Allegheny in almost the same spot where the Manchester Bridge crosses it to-day and camped not far from the present Fed eral Highway No. 19. The next morning they set out down the river, and at what is now known as McKees Rocks came to the home of the Indian Shingiss, at that time a friend of the English, but later to justify Hecke welder's description of him as "a terror to the frontier settlements of Pennsylvania." While at the home of Shingiss, Wash ington, not yet 22 years old, made a careful study of the site, for it was here that the Ohio Company had planned to build its fort. The youthful major was quick to see the disadvantages of this site as com pared to that within the forks of the Ohio, and reported thereon to Governor Dinwid die. The French, English, and American governments in later years put their seal of approval on the findings of the boy soldier. THE OHIO RIVER THEN AND NOW When Washington left McKees Rocks, Shingiss accompanied him to Logstown, the headquarters of the Half-King, a Seneca chief so known because he owed allegiance to the Six Nations and could be overruled by them. What changes have been wrought in the land over which Shingiss and Washington marched together that day! Along the river is one unending succession of indus trial plants, with Ohio River stern-wheel ers, vast fleets of coal barges, and all sorts of river craft. Washington marched over the sites of what are now Bellevue, Avalon, Ben Avon, Emsworth, and fashionable Sewickley, and just below Ambridge, with all its factories, came to Logstown. On one of the many railroads of the Pittsburgh district there is the flag station of Legionville, near the town of Economy. Here, where Mad An thony Wayne camped in his final march to end Indian hostilities, was Logstown, built by the French as a trading post.