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The Story of Logstown Revisited

Milestones Vol 33 No. 3

Editor's Note--Somebody gave me the following item to include in Milestones. It is a reprint of a pamphlet, "Logstown: A Legacy Lost" published the Logstown Associates Historical Society. It seems like a good time to refresh our knowledge of one of the most important sites, along with adjoining Legionville, Beaver County ever lost. It is a shame that these vital sites have been thrown on the scrap pile of history. So many individuals have dedicated portions of their lives over the years to save this vital heritage only to have the dream shattered by political ploys and divisive agendas.

The era of established residences in Beaver County began about 300 years ago, when the Iroquois Confederation claimed the area on which it built Logstown.

The establishment of that historic village, which was located north of present-day Ambridge in an area along present-day Route 65, marks the beginning of organized life in the Ambridge area.

The story of Logstown is best told by the Logstown Associates Historical Society, which has devoted its existence to telling the story and fighting for preservation of the land on which the village stood.

In Logstown, A Legacy Lost, published by that group, the following story is told:

"Logstown (Loggs Town, Maugh-wa-wa-me), the historically famous Native American community/trading post, was located on the right bank of the Ohio River as it flows north, 17 1/2 miles, 57 perches from Fort Pitt. This location is now Harmony Twp., Beaver County.

"Logstown was viable from 1725 to 1758 and its inhabitants at its peak included 789 fighting men from 10 tribes.

This Logstown area in southwestern Pennsylvania was claimed about 1700 by the Iroquois Confederacy, which was a union of these tribes, reading from east to west along the southern shores of Lake Ontario: Mohawk, Oneida, Onond

"In 1714, the confederacy appointed from Logstown the "Half-King" Tanacharison (also known as Serunlyattha) to be in charge of the Delaware Inhabitants, and Scarouady (also known as Monacatootha) to rule the Shawnee inhabitants. Tanacharison (ca. 1700-October 4, 1754) was Catawba/Seneca and Scarouday was Oneida.

"Soon, the Native Americans living in Logstown had to deal with the English, coming from the east, and the French journeying south from Canada. Both were to claim this land and each, too, wanted the allegiance of the Native Americans in their designs to control the area.

"The first Englishmen on the scene were traders George Groghan (Pa.), John Fraser(Va.), Christopher Gist (Va.) and Conrad Welser (Pa.)

"Andrew Montour (half- breed mother, Native American father) was also prominent as an interpreter.

"On August 8, 1749, the French Captain, Pierre Joseph Celoreon sieurde Blaianville, Night of the Military Order of St. Louis, accompanied by 215 soldiers and 55 Canadian Indians, arrived at Logstown and stayed until the 11th of August. Associated with him were The Rev. Joseph Peter Bonnecamps, S. J., Catholic Chaplain, and Pierre Claude de Contracocur, Coulon de Villiers and Chalbert Joncaire.

"Major George Washington, age 21, one of the Adjutants-General of the Troops and Forces of the Colony was in Logstown from November 24th to the 30th, 1753. He was accompanied by Jacob Vanbraam, a French interpreter, and Christopher Gist, Barnaby Currin, John MacQuire and traders, Henry Steward and William Jenkins.

"Washington was commissioned by Governor Robert Dinwiddie of the Colony of Virginia, 'to enquire into the Numbers & Force of the French on the Ohio and to deliver at letter to the Commander of Western Forts of the French,' requiring 'your peaceable departure.'

"The response of Captain Jacques Legardeur de St. Pierre, Knight of the Military Order of St. Louis, at Fort fur la Riviere au Beuf (near Erie, Pa.) was, 'I do not think myself obliged to obey ... whatever may be your instructions.'

"Eventually, the French and Indian War occurred, with the diplomatic position of the Iroquois Confederacy being one of neutrality both with respect to the English and to the French. Tanacharison, nevertheless, allied himself with the English and was with Lieutenant Colonel Washington at Fort Necessity.

"In June of 1754, Washington learned that Scarouady had burned Logstown to the ground, and that he and his people traveled to join the Virginians.

"On July 3, 1754, at 8:00 P.M.., James Mackey and Washington signed the Articles of Capitulation of Fort Necessity, with Coulon de Villiers signing for the French. On July 4, 1754, 'at break of day,' the French took possession of Fort Necessity. Of this battle, Tanacharison said to Conrad Weiser a few weeks later, ' ... the French had acted as Cowards, and the English as fools...'

"Tanacharison did not return to Logstown. He found himself on the losing side, and was no longer supported by the Iroquois Confederacy because he violated the confederacy's position of neutrality and because he chose the wrong side in the conflict. With a few hundred followers, Tanacharison went east and died at the home of John Harris at Harris' Ferry (Harrisburg, Pa.).

"The date given for the abandonment of Logstown is 1758, perhaps because that was when the Moravian missionary, Christian Frederick Post, visited Logstown and spoke to some Native Americans there. When Washington again visited Logstown in 1770, it was inhabited by whites.

"The Native Americans had no future in Logstown. The white men were crowding them, and in the struggle between the French and the English, they believed they would be the losers, no matter which side won. They felt that neither the French nor the English respected them so much as they wished to use them for their own advantage."

Logstown, A Legacy Lost also states the objectives of the society:

1. To encourage research into Logstown, pinpointing its exact geographical location and bring to life the daily activities of its leaders and inhabitants;

2. To stimulate pride in our past and give us a new interest in our future by promoting Logstown at the academic, community and cultural levels;

3. To find the exact location of the Logstown Path, which ran from Logstown along the Ohio River to Crow's Town (Conway) and then inland to Venango, and, if research is convincing, have that portion of Route 65 Ohio River Boulevaard, from Ambridge to Conway, certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the Logstown Path; and

4. To dream of reconstructing Logstown as an authentic and working Native American Community to attract tourists from Pittsburgh by river and land and from everywhere by air to visit Logstown.

(This article came from South News, September 4, 1997)