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The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road (Pennsylvania State Road)

The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road (Pennsylvania State Road)
Category: History
Title: The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road (Pennsylvania State Road)
Release Date: 2012-10-20
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 26 March 2019
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Transcriber’s Note:   Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation havebeen corrected. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the text body. Alsoimages have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest paragraph break,causing missing page numbers for those image pages and blank pages in this ebook.


[Pg 3]



The Old Glade (Forbes’s) Road


Archer Butler Hulbert


With Maps and Illustrations




[Pg 4]


The Arthur H. Clark Company

[Pg 5]


I.The Old Trading Path15
II.A Blood-Red Frontier35
III.The Campaigns of 175865
IV.The Old or a New Road?81
V.The New Road124
VI.The Military Road to the West163
VII.The Pennsylvania Road190

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I.Shippen’s Draught of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers, and Braddock’s Road (1759)29
II.Frontier Forts and Blockhouses in 175651
III.Forbes’s Road to Raystown (1757)103
IV.The Remains of Bouquet’s Redoubt at Fort Pitt184

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When General Edward Braddocklanded in Virginia in 1755, one ofhis first acts in his campaign uponthe Ohio was to urge Governor Morris tohave a road opened westward throughPennsylvania. His reason for wishinganother road, parallel to the one his ownarmy was to cut, was that there might bea shorter route than his own to the northerncolonies, over which his expressesmight pass speedily, and over whichwagons might come more quickly fromPennsylvania—then the “granary ofAmerica.”

It was inevitable that the shortest routefrom the center of the colonies to the Ohiowould become the most important. Theroad Braddock asked Morris to open wascompleted only three miles beyond thepresent town of Bedford, Pennsylvania,when the road choppers hurried home on[Pg 10]receipt of the news of Braddock’s defeat.

Braddock made a death-bed prophecy; itwas that the British would do better nexttime. In 1758 Pitt placed Braddock’s unfulfilledtask on the shoulders of Brigadier-generalJohn Forbes, who marched toBedford on the new road opened by Morris;thence he opened, along the general alignmentof the prehistoric “Trading Path,” anew road to the Ohio. It was a desperateundertaking; but Forbes completed hiscampaign in November, 1758 triumphantly—atthe price of his life.

This road, fortified at Carlisle, Shippensburg,Chambersburg, Loudon, Littleton,Bedford, Ligonier, and Pittsburg becamethe great military route from the Atlanticseaboard to the trans-Allegheny empire.By it Fort Pitt was relieved during Pontiac’srebellion and the Ohio Indians werebrought to terms. Throughout the RevolutionaryWar this road was the mainthoroughfare over which the western fortsreceived ammunition and supplies. In thedark days of the last decade of the eighteenthcentury, when the Kentucky andOhio pioneers were fighting for the foot[Pg 11]holdthey had obtained in the West, thisroad played a vital part.

When the need for it passed, Forbes’sRoad, too, passed away. Two great railways,on either side, run westward followingwaterways which the old road assiduouslyavoided—keeping to the high groundbetween them. Between these new andfast courses of human traffic the old GladeRoad lies along the hills, and, in the dustor in the snow, marks the course of armieswhich won a way through the mountainsand made possible our westward expansion.

The “Old Glade Road,” the old-timename of the Youghiogheny division (Burd’sor the “Turkey Foot” Road) of this thoroughfare,has been selected as the title ofthis volume, as more distinctive than the“Pennsylvania Road,” which would applyto numerous highways.

A. B. H.

Marietta, Ohio, December 30, 1902.

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The Old Glade (Forbes’s) Road

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When, in the middle of the eighteenthcentury, intelligent white menwere beginning to cross the AlleghenyMountains and enter the Ohio basin,one of the most practicable routes wasfound to be an old trading path which ranalmost directly west from Philadelphia tothe present site of Pittsburg. Accordingto the Indians it was the easiest route fromthe Atlantic slope through the dense laurelwildernesses to the Ohio.[1] The course ofthis path is best described by the route ofthe old state road of Pennsylvania to Pittsburgbuilt in the first half-decade succeedingthe Revolutionary War. This road passedthrough Shippensburg, Carlisle, Bedford,Ligonier, and Greensburg; the Old TradingPath passed, in general, through the[Pg 16]same points. Comparing this path, whichbecame Forbes’s Road, with Nemacolin’spath which ran parallel with it, convergingon the same point on the Ohio, one mightsay that the former was the overland path,and the latter, strictly speaking, a portagepath. The Old Trading Path offered noportage between streams, as Nemacolin’spath did between the Potomac and Monongahela.It kept on higher, dryer groundand crossed no river of importance. Thismade it the easiest and surest course; inthe wintry season, when the Youghioghenyand Monongahela and their tributaries wereout of banks, the Old Trading Path musthave been by far the safest route to theOhio; it kept to the high ground betweenthe Monongahela and Allegheny. It wasthe high ground over which this path ranthat the unfortunate Braddock attempted toreach after crossing the Youghiogheny atStewart’s Crossing. The deep ravines drovehim back. There is little doubt he wouldhave been successful had he reached thiswatershed and proceeded to Fort Duquesneupon the Old Trading Path.

As is true of so many great western[Pg 17]routes, so of this path—the bold ChristopherGist was the first white man ofimportance to leave reliable record of it.In 1750 he was employed to go westwardfor the Ohio Company. His outward route,only, is of importance here.[2] On Wednesday,October 31, he departed from ColonelCresap’s near Cumberland, Maryland andproceeded “along an old old Indian PathN 30 E about 11 Miles.”[3] This led himalong the foot of the Great Warrior Mountain,through the Flintstone district ofAllegheny County, Maryland. The pathran onward into Bedford County, Pennsylvania,and through Warrior’s Gap to theJuniata River. Here, near the old settlementBloody Run, now Everett, the pathjoined the well-worn thoroughfare runningwestward familiarly known as the “OldTrading Path.” Eight miles westward ofthis junction, near the present site of Bedford,a well-known trail to the Alleghenyvalley left the Old Trading Path andpassed through the Indian Frank’s Townand northwest to the French Venango[Pg 18]—Franklin,Pennsylvania. Leaving this onhis right, Gist pushed on west over theOld Trading Path. “Snow and such badWeather” made his progress slow; from thefifth to the ninth he spent between whatare now Everett in Bedford County andStoyestown in Somerset County.[4] On theeleventh he crossed the north and eastForks of Quemahoning—often called“Cowamahony” in early records.[5] Onthe twelfth he “crossed a great LaurelMountain”—Laurel Hill. On the fourteenthhe “set out N 45 W 6 M to Loylhannanan old Indian Town on a Creek ofOhio called Kiscominatis, then N 1 M NW 1 Mto an Indian’s Camp on the said Creek.”[6]The present town of Ligonier, WestmorelandCounty, occupies the site of this Indiansettlement. “Laurel-hanne, signifying themiddle stream in the Delaware tongue.The stream here is half way between theJuniata at Bedford and the Ohio [Pittsburg].”[7]Between here and the Ohio, Gist[Pg 19]mentions no proper names. The path rannorthwest from the present site of Ligonier,through Chestnut Ridge “at the Miller’sRun Gap, and reached the creek again atthe Big Bottom below the present town ofLatrobe on the Pennsylvania Central Railway;there the trail forked ... themain trail [traveled by Gist], led directlywestward to Shannopin’s Town, by acourse parallel with and a few miles northof the Pennsylvania Railway.”[8]

The following table of distances fromCarlisle to Pittsburg was presented to thePennsylvania Council March 2, 1754:

From Carlisle to Major Montour’s10
From Montour’s to Jacob Pyatt’s25
From Pyatt’s to George Croghan’s at Aucquick Old Town[9]15
From Croghan’s to the Three Springs10
[Pg 20]From the Three Springs to Sideling Hill7
From Sideling Hill to Contz’s Harbour8
From Contz’s Harbour to the top of Ray’s Hill1
From Ray’s Hill to the 1 crossing of Juniata[10]10
From 1 crossing of Juniata to Allaquapy’s Gap[11]6
From Allaquapy’s Gap to Ray’s town[12]5
From Ray’s town to the Shawonese Cabbin[13]8
From Shawonese Cabbins to the Top of Allegheny Mountain8
From Allegheny Mountain to Edmund’s Swamp[14]8
From Edmund’s Swamp to Cowamahony Creek[15]6
From Cowamahony to Kackanapaulins5
[Pg 21]From Kackanapaulins To Loyal Hanin[16] foot Ray’s Hill18
From Loyal Hanin to Shanoppin’s Town[17]50

By this early measurement the total distancebetween Carlisle to Pittsburg by theIndian path was one hundred and ninetymiles; ninety-seven miles from Carlisle toRaystown and ninety-three miles fromRaystown to Pittsburg.[18] When it isremembered that this was the originalIndian track totally uninfluenced by thewhite man’s attention it is interesting tonote that the great state road of Pennsylvaniafrom Carlisle to Pittsburg, laid outin 1785, so nearly followed the Indianroute that its length between those points(in 1819) was just one hundred and ninety-sevenmiles—seven miles longer[19] than[Pg 22]that of the prehistoric trace of Indian andbuffalo. Perhaps there is no more significantinstance of the practicability ofIndian routes in the United States thanthis. The very fact that the Indian pathwas not very much shorter than the firststate road shows that it was distinctively autilitarian course. One interested in thissignificant comparison will be glad to comparethe courses of the old path and that ofthe state road as given by the compass.[20]

Other references to the Old Trading Pathare made by such traders as George Croghanand John Harris. Croghan wrote toRichard Peters, March 23, 1754: “Theroad we now travel ... from LaurelHill to Shanopens (near the forks of theOhio), is but 46 miles, as the road nowgoes, which I suppose may be 30 odd mileson a straight line.”[21] In an “Account ofthe Road to Loggs Town on AlleghenyRiver, taken by John Harris, 1754” thisitinerary is given:[Pg 23]

“From Ray’s Town to the Shawana Cabbins8 M
To Edmund’s Swamp8 M
To Stoney Creek6 M
To Kickener Paulin’s House, (Indian)6 M
To the Clear Fields7 M
To the other side of the Laurel Hill5 M
To Loyal Haning6 M
To the Big Bottom8 M
To the Chestnut Ridge8 M
To the parting of the Road[22]4 M
Thence one Road leads to Shannopin’s Town the other to Kisscomenettes, old Town.”[23]

So much for the Old Trading Path beforethe memorable year of 1755. It is signifi[Pg 24]cantthat the route had already been“surveyed”; Pennsylvania herself desireda share of the Indian trade which Virginiahoped to monopolize through her OhioCompany, which already had storehousesbuilt at Wills Creek on the Cumberlandand at Redstone Old Fort on the Monongahela.But with the beginning of hostilitieswith the French, precipitated byWashington and his Virginians in 1754,the Indian trade was now completely ata standstill.

General Braddock and his army whichwas destined to march westward and captureFort Duquesne arrived at Alexandria,Virginia, February 20, 1755. AlreadyBraddock’s deputy quartermaster-general,Sir John St. Clair, had passed throughMaryland and Virginia and had decidedupon the route of the army to Fort Cumberland,the point of rendezvous. Fourdays after Braddock reached Alexandria,Governor Morris of Pennsylvania

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