George Washington's 7 Trips to Pittsburgh Were Certainly Eventful

A look back at our nation’s first president’s many visits. Don’t worry — we’ll save the best (and first) for last.



George Washington apparently had a fondness for our part of the world, visiting at least seven times in the 18th century. Here’s a quick rundown; we’ll save the best (and first) for last.

ON HIS SECOND TRIP: In 1754, Washington helped kick off the French and Indian War when he provoked a skirmish with French soldiers. He and his men were subsequently attacked (and many of his soldiers slaughtered) at the hastily built Fort Necessity in Fayette County.

ON HIS THIRD TRIP: As the war continued, he returned with Gen. Edward Braddock and colonial troops in 1755, bound for Fort Duquesne at the Point. His group was surprised and soundly defeated near what is now Braddock borough at the Battle of Monongahela.

ON HIS FOURTH TRIP: Washington was with Gen. John Forbes when British soldiers built a road across Pennsylvania in 1758 to convince the French at Fort Duquesne to get out of town. The outnumbered French fled.

ON HIS FIFTH TRIP: He wasn’t just a soldier. Washington was a farmer and investor, too, and he owned real estate in the area, including acres near Canonsburg and what is now Perryopolis. In 1770, he stopped in Connellsville, visited Fort Pitt, dropped in on a friend in Etna (then called Pine Creek) and took a canoe ride down the Ohio.

ON HIS SIXTH TRIP: In 1784, Washington did some research for Virginia Gov. Thomas Jefferson, who wanted him to investigate whether a canal linking the Potomac River system to the Ohio might be feasible.

ON HIS SEVENTH TRIP: In 1794, Washington — then President — led a force of 12,000 American soldiers as far as Bedford, when he found it necessary to put an end to the Whiskey Rebellion. This was the “first and only time a sitting American president led troops in the field,” according to historian Joseph Ellis.

But George Washington’s first visit, when he was only 21, may be the most remarkable. He volunteered to do some frontier diplomacy with the French, who were building forts in this part of the world.

ON HIS FIRST TRIP: Washington was a surveyor and a diplomatic messenger, coming first to the Forks of the Ohio — which he thought wonderfully suitable for a fort. After meeting with natives and brave residents of this wild territory, he and a small group set off in wretched November weather to the French outpost at Venango and then to Fort LeBoeuf, near Erie. The French weren’t intimidated by this young colonial major with his message from the British powers.

On his way back in late December — with poor weather and horses in sad shape — Washington and explorer Christopher Gist set off on foot, eventually trying to cross the icy Allegheny on a crude raft. The raft didn’t make it. Floundering in frigid waters, the men swam to a now-vanished island near the Lawrenceville shore (not the island later renamed Washington’s Landing) and lived to tell the tale.

Washington reported to Lt. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia, who surprised the young surveyor by having “The Journal Of Major George Washington” printed for the public. It was widely read, and his engaging tale of travel, diplomacy and adventure did more to make the young man a noted leader than any legendary cherry tree. 

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.
Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

The new space, called the East End Brewery Taproom, will offer lunch and dinner service, expanded hours and a place for customers to sit and enjoy a pint of beer from one of the brewery’s 12 taps.
See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

This rare video gives you a passenger's perspective of street car trolley travel in the 1960s.
Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

In a pair of TV ads, watch the Steelers' running back tackle styling the hair of his two adorable daughters.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

This third Renaissance has allowed us to be spectators as Pittsburgh changed from a city suffering the damages wrought by the collapse of its steel industry to a vibrant, active place known for its academic, medical and technology sectors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

The Strip District distillers will launch a hard cider business this fall.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

The LGBTQ-friendly variety show offers one of the city's most unusual (and often unforgettable) lineups of comedic talent.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Denver's upset win over Carolina -- predicted by hardly anyone (including yours truly) -- should be interpreted as good news for Steelers' fans.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Let your heart do the talking with these fun sweaters from Rosewood Boutique.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

Our reviews of "Hail, Caesar!," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The Choice."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Love and Lace: Six Stand-Out Dresses

Love and Lace: Six Stand-Out Dresses

To coincide with the launch of our Spring 2016 Weddings magazine, we’ve created a Week of Wedded Bliss — seven stories to introduce you to the couples featured in our Real Pittsburgh Weddings. On day two, we fall head over heels in love with these six dresses.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Check out the new pillow collection from local interior designer Zach Mitchell. Plus, get the scoop on The Pittsburgh Christmas Carol Tour.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments