Robert Stobo Papers
Stobo, Robert, 1726-1770
0.08 linear feet (1 box)
This collection contains an original French and Indian War era letter written by Robert Stobo to Colonel Innes, who were officers in the British Army. Stobo writes in captivity from Fort Duquesne, describing French negotiations with the Shawnee [Shanoe] Indians. On the reverse of the letter is a map of Fort Duquesne and its environs. The collection also contains a manuscript copy of the 1754 letter, and transcriptions of the letter. Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically by following the respective "Digitized Folder Contents" links within the finding aid.
ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Finding aid prepared by Angela Manella.
November 12, 2009:
Controlled access terms revised (dar)
Robert Stobo was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1727. Following the deaths of his parents in the 1740s, Stobo moved to the Virginia colony to seek his fortune as a merchant. In Virginia, Stobo became a favorite of Governor Dinwiddie. As the conflicts of the French and Indian War escalated, Stobo joined the Virginia Regiment. He served as an engineer at Fort Necessity under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Washington. After Fort Necessity fell to the French on July 3, 1754, Stobo was captured and became a prisoner of war at Fort Duquesne. The French occupied Fort Duquesne until November 1758 when they burned and abandoned the site; a year later, the British built Fort Pitt on the ruins.
Collection Scope and Content Notes
This collection contains the original letter written by Robert Stobo on July 28, 1754 during his captivity at Fort Duquesne to Colonel Innes. The letter, delivered to Innes by an Indian, describes the concerns of the Shanoe (Shawnee) Indians about the alleged imprisonment of two of their "kings and 300 warriors." Stobo communicates the plight of the Shanoe left in the villages who are vulnerable to raids from Cheroquees (Cherokees) and Cotabes. Stobo describes the competing English and French attempts to ally themselves with the Shanoe. At the time of writing, the Shanoe council is deliberating on the matter.
The remainder of the letter describes the number and movement of French troops at Fort Duquesne. On the reverse of the letter is a map of the fort and its environs. The map shows the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers with the Allegheny River drawn but not identified by name. A descriptive legend translates letters and numbers depicted on the diagram of the fort revealing the location of arms and embankments. The map indicates a half mile of cornfields and woods beyond the fort. Stobo closes with an optimistic assessment of the British position, stating that one hundred Indians could take the fort by autumn. According to author Walter R. Borneman, this letter was found in General Edward Braddock's trunk and returned to Fort Duquesne after the defeat of Braddock by the French and Indians on July 9, 1755. This proved to be an embarrassment to Major Stobo, rendering him now a spy rather than a "gentleman prisoner."
The collection also contains an undated manuscript copy of the 1754 letter, and transcriptions of the letter.
- Cherokee Indians -- Pennsylvania -- History
- Indians of North America -- Pennsylvania -- History
- Shawnee Indians -- Pennsylvania -- History
- Fort Duquesne (Pa.) -- History
- Pittsburgh (Pa.)
- United States -- History -- French and Indian War, 1755-1763
Access and Use
Part of the original donation of William M. Darlington’s family library to the University of Pittsburgh in 1918 and 1925 by his daughters, Edith Darlington Ammon and Mary Carson Darlington.
Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically by following the respective "Digitized Folder Contents" links within the finding aid.
This collection was located in the Darlington Memorial Library in the University’s Cathedral of Learning until 2007 when it was moved to the ULS Archives Service Center for processing, storage, preservation and service. However, it remains in the custodianship of the ULS Special Collections Department.
Robert Stobo Papers, 1754, DAR.1925.05, Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
This collection was processed by Angela Manella in August 2007.
No copyright restrictions.
- Stobo, Robert and Neville B. Craig.
Memoirs of Stobo. Pittsburgh: John S. Davidson, 1854.