EARLY COLONIAL TIMES IN BEDFORD COUNTY PRIOR TO 1750
MAJOR S. M. LUTZ ADDRESSES DUNNINGS COVE SPORTSMEN
Describes Colonial Times in Bedford County; the Old Allegheny Trail; Shawnee Indian Migration; Indian Traders.
Major S. M. Lutz delivered an address full of valuable historical information at a meeting of the Dunnings Creek Sportsmens Club, Dunnings Cove, on Tuesday evening.
Major Lutz described Colonial times in Bedford County. He told of the old Allegheny Trail, the Shawnee Indian migration, pioneer Indian traders, and many incidents in the early history of Bedford county.
The text of Major Lutz' address to the Dunnings Creek Sportsmen on Tuesday, follows:
History is a result of causes. One must know antecedents to understand results.
The Pioneer Indian Traders was a very potential factor in the exploration. and settlement of Bedford County. Whence he came and why, where he tarried and what he did are questions of equal interest and importance.
Back of the western Pennsylvania Trader, like a phantom stands the ubiquitous Shawnee (Southern) Indian. His advent into Pennsylvania and devious migrations within its border are difficult and intricate problems of “Colonial History" --as the remaining records of his activities are few, meager and remote in time.
The coming of the Shawnee Indians within the present territorial limits of Pennsylvania dates from the latter part of the seventeenth century from about 1680 and subsequent. Along about 1700 after the defeat and dispersion of the Conestoga, Susquehanna Indians by the Iroquois at Indian Town near what is now Millersville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a considerable party of Potomac Shawnee Indians from the vicinity of Old Town, Maryland, were permitted to settle in the Conestoga district. With these Indians came some traders who had been previously associated with them before and after their coming to the Potomac. Among these were some of the earliest Pennsylvania Traders west of the Susquehanna.
The LeTorts (Huguenots) were in the Conestoga district prior to 1700. Martin Chartier (a renegade Frenchman) was in the Conestoga region prior to 1680 with a Company of Mississippi Shawnees who came via the Carolinas. Peter Brazallian, another Frenchman, (a professed Episcopalian) was in the same Shawnee settlement along the Maryland line east of the Susquehanna, associated with LeTort and Chartier during the same period.
As early as 1707 or before, this triumvirate, Chartier, LeTort and Brazallian had trading posts along the upper (Northern) branch of the Potomac, Antietam and Conococheague Creeks within the territory of the present Franklin County, Pennsylvania, where they were engaged in trade with the Potomac Shawnees from the Old Town Maryland District. These, their associates and descendants were foremost of the pioneer traders west of the Susquehanna in subsequent years.
During this period about the same time, 1698, another clan of Shawnee the Hathawekela tribe with whom Chartier was associated, removed from the Potomac to the Allegheny and the Monongehela districts. They did not go to the Susquehanna, but to Old Town on the Potomac from South Carolina and then over the Warrior Trail to Allequippa Gap and then westward by the Old Allegheny Indian Trail along the Juniata to the Shawnee Cabins, west (note in margin: east) of Schellsburg where they probably left some families for a time. A part of this migration after settling westward from Allequippa Gap eventually found their way to the Conemaugh River, in the vicinity of Johnstown, Cambria county, Pennsylvania, who later moved on westward. This migration was the earliest to southwestern Pennsylvania. and formed the nucleolus for the Shawnee settlements along the Monongehela Allegheny and Ohio, which followed in subsequent years from the Susquehanna and other districts of Pennsylvania and Maryland Shawnee settlements.
It is reasonable to suppose, in fact evident that this Shawnee caravan to Ohio was piloted by LeTort and Chartier or both with some of their younger associates from the Conestoga and Maryland districts. Both of whom must have been very familiar with the celebrated Ancient Warrior Trail between Old Town on the Potomac and Standing Stone on the Juniata and Allequippa Gap, the gateway of the west, where the trail crossed the Juniata on the east side of the Gap, just west of Old Bloody Run, now Everett, Pennsylvania, the junction of the Warrior Trail and the Allegheny trail which leads almost directly west to the Ohio across the intervening Allegheny mountains. They also would of necessity have been equally familiar with the Old Allegheny Indian trail itself -- the only westward branch of the ancient Warrior trail.
There has been considerable confusion about this Allegheny trail. To get an intelligent understanding of some early events it is necessary to know the correct location of the Old Allegheny Indian Trail as traveled by the Indian and Pioneer Trader.
This original Old Allegheny Indian trail intersected the Ancient Warrior trail on the southeast side of the Allequippa Gap near Mt. Dallas. It ran westward on the south side of the Juniata river (through Allequippa Town) for a distance of about three miles where it crossed the river about one hundred yards north of the old Lutz Woolen Mill and passed through a ravine leading to the summit of the hill at the east end of Willow Grove (about a mile east of the Narrows) where it crossed the mountain and crossed over to the west side of Dunnings Creek, near the present bridge at Chalybeate and continuing westward on the north side of (Town Creek) the Raystown branch of the Juniata by way of the Shawnee Cabins on the flat about a half mile west of Schellsburg from whence it continued westward by way of Buckstown (Edwards Swamp) Stoyestown (Stoney Creek) Fort Ligonier (Loyal Hanna), Harrison City (James Dunning's Sleeping Place), and thence to the Allegheny river (Logstown: crossed off in text) about twenty miles up the Allegheny river from the site of Old Fort Duquesne, the "Forks of the Ohio", in round numbers a distance of about one hundred miles.
The southwest branch of the Old Allegheny Indian Trail left the main trail about four miles west of the crossing of Dunning's Creek (west of Wolfsburg about a mile) at what is commonly known as the “Forks” where the Glade Pike branched southwestward from the Pittsburgh Pike (being long known as Stuckeyville). The old Burd-Braddock road followed this trail over Dry Ridge to the Yougheheney and this trail was used by Allequippa and her people in their migrations between the Juniata and Monongehela when she reigned over her flourishing tribe at old Alliquippa Town at the southwest side of the Mt. Dallas Gap.
The great significance of this trail cannot be over emphasized for it was the major factor in the conquest and settlement of southwest Pennsylvania. In early Colonial days it was the only direct east and west trail in Maryland and Pennsylvania, considering the part it played in the French and Indian War. It had a large share in deciding the destiny of the continent. Beyond every question and notwithstanding all that may have been said and written to the contrary this trail antedates both the Frankstown and Nemocolin trails. It was the remote ancestor of these trails.
The first county organized west of the Susquehanna was York in 1749 followed by Cumberland in 1751, then considered the Frontier of Pennsylvania. In 1756 Colonel John Armstrong erected a stockade at Raystown toward the western border of Cumberland County in the foot hills of the Alleghenies to the west of the great Warrior Trail along the route of the Old Allegheny Indian Trail and named it Fort Bedford in honor of the Duke of Bedford, which became the advanced frontier post of the English facing the French at Fort Duquesne on the opposite side of the Alleghenies. The building and naming of the stockade at Raystown may be considered the first official Colonial Act which contributed to the founding of Bedford and the organization of the county to follow a few years later in 1771.
Hence Fort Bedford became the advanced frontier post of all the southwestern part of the Colony. In other words it became the eastern portal of the famous Old Allegheny Indian Trail. The history of this hundred mile trail depicted in the life of the Indian, the Trader, the Ranger, and the Pioneer settlers scattered along its devious way through the rugged Allegheny mountains during the eighteenth century, would be a marvelous story of adventure and heroism unparalleled by no other in the annals of America.
Doubtless the first white man to visit and explore within this vast primeval territory, all once embraced within the bounds of Bedford County, was Thomas Powell in 1625. In the autumn of that year from the summit of Martin Hill he looked out over the peaceful scenes nestled between Evitt's and Tussey mountains, now Friends Cove and Snake Spring Valley, and the endless mountains towering beyond, believing that the waters of Martin Hill drained predominantly toward the north star, he turned and went back to the more hospitable. and salubrious shores of the Chesapeake.
Our knowledge of activity along this trail and its branches during the first half of the eighteenth century, from 1700 to 1750 is meager and incomplete. It is a case of fragmentary history and tradition gathered from widely scattered and remote sources, assembled and reconstructed into a consecutive and intelligent whole, a picture replete with the life of the times. Those were the days of the Shawnee Indian, the Trader and the Ranger, who mingled together in the forests along the streams and mountain trails, without a fixed or settled abode, with now and then a transient intervening settler. It was the beginning of the struggle for supremacy between the Indians and the white man, a period of armed truce out of which was to come eventually the French and Indian War, precipitated by the aggressions of the French on English territory along the Ohio.
Martin Chartier was doubtless the first white man to travel the Old Allegheny Indian trail. He was an adopted son of the Shawnees, married a Shawnee woman and spent his life with them and shared their wanderings and fortunes. He probably joined the Shawnees prior to 1675 below the mouth of the Ohio on the Mississippi, detached from LaSalle's southern expedition.
A few years later, about 1680 he came with the Shawnees from the vicinity of St. Louis on the Mississippi to Old Town on the Potomac. He was a leader in their councils and had much to do with the shaping of their destiny. He doubtless led the caravan of Shawnees in 1698 from the Potomac by way of the Warrior and Allegheny Trails back to the Ohio, the Allegheny and Monongahela, their ancient home.
Others followed where Chartier led. He and LeTort were the pioneer traders from the Susquehanna to the Ohio. He had associates and followers. At this period Chartier was no longer a young man. Among the early western Pennsylvania traders were Peter Chartier, a son of Martin, Edmund Cartledge and James Dunning, who doubtless were associated with the elder Chartier and LeTort, who traveled and traded along the Allegheny trail and its branches, long before the opening of the Raystown and Frankstown routes, about 1745 to 1750.
Edmunds Swamp, now Buckstown, Somerset County, was named for Edmund Cartledge, and Dunning's Sleeping Place, near Harrison City, Westmoreland County and Dunning's Mountain, Dunnings Creek, and Dunnings Cove all in Bedford County, were named for James Dunning prior to the opening of the Raystown trail in 1745.
It is relevant to mention here that the Indian Village Conemaugh Old Town, a Shawnee settlement on the present site of Johnstown, Cambria County, prior to 1730 had its origin from some Shawnee Indian families who settled in 1698 during the migration from Old Town on the Potomac to the Allegheny River by way of Allequippa Gap and the Allegheny Trail along the branches of the Conemaugh crossed by the caravan -- Quemahoning and Stoney Creek. Bearing this fact in mind it explains the origin and fixes the date of the many Shawnee settlements found west of the ancient Warrior Trail along the Allegheny Trail and its southwest branch to the Monongahela once scattered over the original territory of Bedford County when it embraced the whole southwest portion of the state, 10,000 square miles.
James Dunning (Scotchman) left his name indelibly fixed in Bedford County, Dunnings Mountain, Dunnings Creek and Dunnings Cove, being prominent land marks in the north central part of the county. To have so imposed his name on the locality his activities must have been predominate in his day. Being an Indian Trader his activities must have been of that nature. Exactly where his trading post was located is not definitely known but it most likely is the locality of the old Schaffer or (Ewalt) farm lying between Dunning Creek on the west and the Dunning mountain on the east, which is crossed by the Allegheny Trail. This district along Dunning’s Creek and Mountain was in the early pioneer days the first rendezvous of the Shawnees west of the ancient Warrior Trail.
It was in this locality that the first Shawnees facing west from Alliquippa Gap during the migration of 1698 detached from the main Caravan, settled. The Shawnees later found at Assunepachia (Frankstown Blair) about 1730 undoubtedly came from this settlement by the way of the Old Traders Path, following northward along Dunnings mountain, that old Indian Path between the two branches of the Juniata west of Standing Stone (Huntingdon). In later years subsequent to 1730 Dunning very likely used this path between the two branches of the Juniata. In fact it is patent that these early Conestoga Indian Traders could have reached Frankstown more easily by this route than any other. LeTort who visited Franks town in 1731 most likely traveled this route.
NOTE--The historical statements made in this discussion are based on documentary papers found in the Colonial Records and other recognized authoritative records.
(Ed. note: some spellings were corrected from the original. CCE)
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