The Chain of Forts Built by the Province
from the Indians
Colonel Armstrong, who was the Washington of early Pennsylvania, in a letter to Governor Morris, after referring to the massacre of the inhabitants in the Great Cove by the Indians under Shingas, the Delaware King, says, "I am of the opinion that no other means than a chain of forts along the south side of the Kittachtinny Mountains from Susquehanna to the temporary line, can secure the lives and properties of even the old inhabitants; the new settlements being all fled except those of Sherman's Valley."
These forts, beginning at Carlisle, incuded Shippensburg, Chambersburg, Fort Loudon, Fort Lyttleton, Fort Shirley in Huntingdon County, at a place about twenty milesnorth of Fort Lyttleton, named in honor of General Shirley. This stands near the path used by the Indians and Indian traders to and from the
, and is therefore the easiest way of access for the Indians. Swinging toward the southwest from Ohio Fort Lyttletonto Bedford--then known as Raystown, another fort was built at Ligonier, and, last Fort Duquesne, built by the French where nowstands. It was fired by the French, who fled at the approach of the forces led by Pittsburgh in November, 1758. Washington was serving under General Forbes. These forts were supplemented by blockhouses built by the settlers. Officers were sent out tolocate and build them in 1755. Washington
Under the date of February 9, 1756, Governor Morris says in a letter to General Shirley: "For the defense of our western frontier I have caused four forts to be built beyond the Kittochtinny Hills. One stands on the new road toward the
opened by this Province, and about twenty miles from the settlement. I have called it Ohio in honor of my friend, Sir George Lyttleton. The road will not only protect the inhabitants of that region, but being upon a road which in it few miles joins General Braddock's route, coming from Cumberland, Maryland, met the road referred to at the Mountain House, (Lincoln Highway), it will prevent the march of any regulars that may enter the Province,and at the same time, serve as an advance post or magazine to the westward. I have placed a garrison of seventy-five men at each of these forts, and ordered them to range the woods each way. Fort Lyttleton Fort Shirleyin Huntingdon County, Fort Lyttletonin Fulton County, and Fort Loudonin were almost in a straight line north and south. The original plan of Franklin County Fort Lyttletonpreserved at , shows it to have been an elaborate and well-arranged defensive work. Nothing now remains of the Fort, but the name perpetuated by the small village near its site. The choice of name interests us. George Lyttleton, statesman and man of letters, was born in Harrisburg Englandin 1709 and was educated at Eaton and . From 1744 to 1754 he held the office of Lord Commissioner of the Treasury. In 1755 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, retiring from that office in 1756, which year he was raised to the peerage of Lord Lyttleton, Baron of Frankley, in the Oxford . Lord Lyttleton took a lively interest in the affairs of Countyof Worchester and corresponded not only with General Forbes, but with General Shirley, Governor Morris and several members of the Penn family. In the letter from Governor Morris to General Shirley he states he had named the new fort for his friend, George Lyttleton, in honor of his having been elevated to the peerage. Pennsylvania
Sipes (Indian Wars ofPennsylvania) relates that after the destruction of the Indian
by Armstrong, September 8, 1756, in which Captain Hugh Mercer was wounded, the latter tried to make his way back to the settlements. The journey took an entire month and Mercer nearly starved. Seven miles east of Frankstown he lay down, abandoning all hope of reaching the sett1ements. A band of Cherokees in the British service, coming from Lyttleton on a scouting expedition, found the exhausted captain and carried him to the fort on a bier of their own making. Colonel Armstrong stopped several days at villageof Kittanning in September, 1756, on his return from the Kittanning expedition. Fort Lyttleton
In June, 1757, several murders were committed near the fort. In a letter to Colonel Armstrong from George Croghan he says, "On Friday there was a man killed near Henry Paulius' and two of his children taken. The same evening a young lad was fired on by .seven Indians, from whom he made his escape, wounded in three p1aces. The same day a daughter of GerrardPendegrass was killed and scalped in sight of
." Croghan adds that the troops were to march from the fort the same evening, in February, 1758. Fort Lyttleton
Again the authority is Sipes. In July, 1763, George Croghan, without authorization and at his own expense, raised a garrison of twenty-five men for
. When Bouquet, marching from Carlisle the third week of July to the relief of Fort Lyttleton , came to Forts Loudon and Lyttleton, he found they had been abandoned by their garrisons. Bouquet reached Fort Ligonier --then Raystown--July twenty-fifth. Fort Bedford
It was in these Indian wars that the settlers learned to think and act independently of the mother country and thus learned to know their strength. They had become fond ofliberty. They knew their rights and dared to maintain them. Men from different colonies had learned to fight shoulder to shoulder, and many sectional jealousies were allayed. The treatment by the British also helped to unite the colonists. The best American officers were often thrust aside to make place for young British subalterns. Yet Washington, Gates, Montgomery, Stark, Arnold, Morgan, Putman, all received their training, and learned how, when the time came, to fight even the British regulars.
THE FIRST WARRANT
David Scott is believed to have held the oldest proprietary title to land in the Great Cove, dated November 6, 1749. (Five years before the purchase of the land from the Indians. Colonial Authorities had no legal claim to the land). David Scott gave his bond to pay and maintain a body of twenty-seven scouts for three months, during which time the Indians were repulsed, and the settlers were enabled to harvest their crops. This seems to have been during the summer of 1763, when the Indians, by a preconcerted movement, fell upon the frontiers during harvest time and killed many settlers in sections surrounding the Great Cove. (This David Scott was an ancestor of Charles Scott, of McConneIlsburg). The Scott farm over the ridge is site of land in this warrant.
(Source: The History of Fulton County Pennsylvania, Elsie S. Greathead, 1936, pp. 7-9.)
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