Historical Markers
Logstown Historical Marker
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Pittsburgh Region


Marker Location:
Duss Ave. (old PA 65) at Anthony Wayne Dr. N of Ambridge

Dedication Date:
October 31, 1946

Behind the Marker

markerConrad Weiser, Pennsylvania's intrepid and seemingly tireless Indian interpreter, spent August 1748 traveling through the dense woods of the Pennsylvania frontier to visit Logstown, an Indian village in the Ohio Country. When he and his small party finally reached their destination on August 27, they saluted the inhabitants of the town by firing off four pistols. The Indians returned the compliment by firing off more than 100 guns.
A detail from a 1754 map showing "Log Town."
A detail from a 1754 map showing "Log Town."

The Indians' 100-gun salute must have sounded like cannon answering a firecracker. Fortunately for Weiser and his companions, the Indians' guns were pointed up in the air rather than at them. The Ohio Country in 1748 could be a dangerous place if you were not friends with the right people. As their guns attested, the Indians at Logstown were powerful, and Weiser's job was to make sure they remained friends with the Pennsylvanians.
In this modern rendition of the arrival of the French military  expedition at Logstown in 1749, painter Robert Griffing placed Father Joseph Pierre Bonnecamp, a Jesuit missionary, in the company of Shawnee warriors.  The distinctive cassocks worn by the Jesuits earned them the nickname "Black Robes" among the Indians
Robert Griffing, Welcome to Logstown. 1999.

Logstown was one of the largest and most politically significant Indian communities to form in western Pennsylvania during the eighteenth century. It was established near modern Ambridge in the mid-1740s by Shawnee Indians returning to homelands from which they had been dispersed by wars with the Iroquois in the late 1600s. Like other Indian towns in the Upper Ohio Valley, its population was culturally and linguistically diverse, including Delaware from eastern Pennsylvania and Seneca from western New York, as well as the Shawnee. Regardless of their origin, the Indian peoples who lived in Logstown were drawn to the region by its abundant game and autonomy from colonial governments.

British traders such as George Croghan began competing with French traders from the Great Lakes region for the commerce and alliance of Indians in the vicinity of Logstown in the 1740s. The Ohio Indians had a long history of trade with the French, but were attracted to the cheaper goods of the Pennsylvanians, especially when the French began building fortifications in the Ohio Country against the Indians' wishes. Weiser's job during his 1748 mission to Logstown was to marker open diplomatic relations with the Ohio Indians. The 100-gun salute he received there testified to both the Indians' discontent with the French and their proud independence from the British.

The French were not pleased with the Pennsylvanians' incursions into the Ohio Country, and they responded with a military expedition in 1749 led by Pierre-Joseph Cérolon de Blainville. Meant as a show of force to impress the Indians and evict the Pennsylvania traders, the Cérolon expedition also buried or posted lead plates along the Allegheny-Ohio watershed claiming the region for the French.

In spring 1752, agents for the Ohio Company, a land company formed by prominent Virginians, treated with the Indians at Logstown to gain permission to build a post at the Forks of the Ohio. The Indians were interested in expanding their trade with the British; the Virginians wanted a toehold for settlement in the region that would pre-empt occupation by either the French or Pennsylvanians. After greasing the wheels of negotiation with £1,000 worth of presents - no small sum in those days - the Virginians received permission to construct a storehouse for the fur trade at the Forks, but the Indians were clearly uncomfortable with the idea of the Ohio Company planting settlers there. These events set the stage for the French construction of Fort Duquesne and the outbreak of the French and Indian War.
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