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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch


Fort Pitt came into existence after General John Forbes reclaimed Fort Duquesne from the French in November of 1758, renaming the fortification in honor of the English Prime Minister, William Pitt. The fort was rebuilt in 1759 and was reportedly the most sophisticated English stronghold on the frontier. Though the fort's main purpose was to provide a citadel for the British and Colonial troops who were continuously engaged in maintaining the land interests of England during the French and Indian War (1754-1764), the fort was an extensive outpost for traders due to its prime location at the "point" of three rivers.

Although it was peaceful at the newly rebuilt fort in 1759, the surrounding areas experienced attacks by Native American forces who later besieged Fort Pitt between May 27 and August 9, 1763, during Pontiac's War (1763-1766). Fort Pitt was well prepared to withstand the siege that ended with Colonel Henry Bouquet's victory at the Battle of Bushy Run (August 5-6, 1763). Trade escalated during this entire time period with business mainly being conducted by colonial frontiersmen, Native Americans, and soldiers. Goods typically traded included animal skins, wampum, metal products such as knives, kettles, and needles; textiles, musical instruments, gun flints, gun powder and other goods. The Commissioners for Indian Affairs for the Province of Pennsylvania directed trade and recorded business transactions at the fort.