We Dined in the Hollow Cottonwood Tree, by Robert Griffin.
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Oil on canvas painting of a hollow cottonwood tree depicting Europeans and Native Americans engaged in trade and conversation. To the left of the painting sit canoes at the waters edge.

Credit: Painting by Robert Griffing; used by permission of Paramount Press, Inc.

In the mid-1700s, both Britain and France were eager to take control of western Pennsylvania, a region of strategic importance and vast economic potential. In this modern painting, artist Robert Griffin depicts a scene recounted in the diary of French Jesuit priest Joseph-Pierre de Bonnecamps, who in the summer of 1749 dined in a hollow cotton wood tree, "in which 29 men could be ranged side by side" near the site of present-day Pittsburgh.

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