A SHORT HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH 1758-1908
A SHORT HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH 1758-1908
BY SAMUEL HARDEN CHURCH
AUTHOR OF "OLIVER CROMWELL: A HISTORY," "PENRUDDOCK OF THE WHITE LAMBS," "JOHN MARMADUKE," "BEOWULF: A POEM," ETC.
PRINTED AT THE DE VINNE PRESS NEW YORK 1908
Copyright, 1908, by SAMUEL HARDEN CHURCH
PAGE HISTORICAL 13
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
George Washington, the first Pittsburgher Frontispiece PAGE William Pitt, Earl of Chatham 26
Plan of Fort Pitt 31
Henry Bouquet 32
Block House of Fort Pitt. Built in 1764 33
Anthony Wayne 41
Conestoga wagon 44
Over the mountains in 1839; canal boat being hauled over the portage road 47
View of Old Pittsburgh, 1817 50
Pittsburgh, showing the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers 80
The Pittsburgh Country Club 88
Panther Hollow Bridge, Schenley Park 93
Entrance to Highland Park 97
The Carnegie Institute 101
Zooelogical Garden in Highland Park 107
Carnegie Technical Schools (uncompleted) 111
Margaret Morrison Carnegie School for Women 115
Design of University of Pittsburgh 119
Allegheny Observatory, University of Pittsburgh 123
Phipps Conservatory, Schenley Park 125
Some ten years ago I contributed to a book on "Historic Towns," published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, of New York and London, a brief historical sketch of Pittsburgh. The approach of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Pittsburgh, and the elaborate celebrations planned in connection therewith, led to many requests that I would reprint the sketch in its own covers as a souvenir of the occasion. Finding it quite inadequate for permanent preservation in its original form, I have, after much research and painstaking labor, rewritten the entire work, adding many new materials, and making of it what I believe to be a complete, though a short, history of our city. The story has developed itself into three natural divisions: historical, industrial, and intellectual, and the record will show that under either one of these titles Pittsburgh is a notable, and under all of them, an imperial, city.
S. H. C.
Lake Placid Club, Adirondack Mountains, August 25, 1908.
A SHORT HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH 1758-1908
A SHORT HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH
George Washington, the Father of his Country, is equally the Father of Pittsburgh, for he came thither in November, 1753, and established the location of the now imperial city by choosing it as the best place for a fort. Washington was then twenty-one years old. He had by that time written his precocious one hundred and ten maxims of civility and good behavior; had declined to be a midshipman in the British navy; had made his only sea-voyage to Barbados; had surveyed the estates of Lord Fairfax, going for months into the forest without fear of savage Indians or wild beasts; and was now a major of Virginia militia. In pursuance of the claim of Virginia that she owned that part of Pennsylvania in which Pittsburgh is situated, Washington came there as the agent of Governor Dinwiddie to treat with the Indians. With an eye alert for the dangers of the wilderness, and with Christopher Gist beside him, the young Virginian pushed his cautious way to "The Point" of land where the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers forms the Ohio. That, he declared, with clear military instinct, was the best site for a fort; and he rejected the promontory two miles below, which the Indians had recommended for that purpose. Washington made six visits to the vicinity of Pittsburgh, all before his presidency, and on three of them (1753, 1758, and 1770), he entered the limits of the present city. At the time of despatching the army to suppress the whisky insurrection, while he was President, in 1794, he came toward Pittsburgh as far as Bedford, and then, after planning the march, returned to Philadelphia. His contact with the place was, therefore, frequent, and his information always very complete. There is a tradition, none the less popular because it cannot be proved, which ascribes to Washington the credit of having suggested the name of Pittsburgh to General Forbes when the place was captured from the French. However this may be, we do know that Washington was certainly present when the English flag was hoisted and the city named Pittsburgh, on Sunday, November 26, 1758. And at that moment Pittsburgh became a chief bulwark of the British Empire in America.
As early as 1728, a daring hunter or trader found the Indians at the head waters of the Ohio,—among them the Delawares, Shawanese, Mohicans, and Iroquois,—whither they tracked the bear from their village of Logstown, seventeen miles down the river. They also employed the country roundabout as a highway for their march to battle against other tribes, and against each other. At that time France and England were disputing for the new continent. France, by right of her discovery of the Mississippi, claimed all lands drained by that river and its tributaries, a contention which would naturally plant her banner upon the summit of the Alleghany Mountains. England, on the other hand, claimed everything from ocean shore to ocean shore. This situation produced war, and Pittsburgh became the strategic key of the great Middle West. The French made early endeavors to win the allegiance of the Indians, and felt encouraged to press their friendly overtures because they usually came among the red men for trading or exploration, while the English invariably seized and occupied their lands. In 1731 some French settlers did attempt to build a group of houses at Pittsburgh, but the Indians compelled them to go away. The next year the governor of Pennsylvania summoned two Indian chiefs from Pittsburgh to say why they had been going to see the French governor at Montreal; and they gave answer that he had sent for them only to express the hope that both English and French traders might meet at Pittsburgh and carry on trade amicably. The governor of Pennsylvania sought to induce the tribes to draw themselves farther east, where they might be made to feel the hand of authority, but Sassoonan, their chief, forbade them to stir. An Iroquois chief who joined his entreaties to those of the governor was soon afterward killed by some Shawanese braves, but they were forced to flee into Virginia to escape the vengeance of his tribe.
Louis Celeron, a French officer, made an exploration of the country contiguous to Pittsburgh in 1747, and formally enjoined the governor of Pennsylvania not to occupy the ground, as France claimed its sovereignty. A year later the Ohio Company was formed, with a charter ceding an immense tract of land for sale and development, including Pittsburgh. This corporation built some storehouses at Logstown to facilitate their trade with the Indians, which were captured by the French, together with skins and commodities valued at 20,000 francs; and the purposes of the company were never accomplished.
Washington's first visit to Pittsburgh occurred in November, 1753, while he was on his way to the French fort at Leboeuff. He was carrying a letter from the Ohio Company to Contrecoeur, protesting against the plans of the French commander in undertaking to establish a line of forts to reach from Lake Erie to the mouth of the Ohio River. The winter season was becoming very severe, in despite of which Washington and Gist were forced to swim with their horses across the Allegheny River. On the way they fell in with a friendly Indian, Keyashuta, a Seneca chief, who showed them much kindness, and for whom a suburban town, Guyasuta, is named.
Washington, in writing of his first sight of the forks of the river, says:
As I got down before the canoe, I spent some time in viewing the rivers and the land at the fork, which I think extremely well situated for a fort, as it has the absolute command of both rivers. The land at the point is twenty-five feet above the common surface of the water, and a considerable bottom of flat, well-timbered land all around it very convenient for building. The rivers are each a quarter of a mile across and run here very nearly at right angles, the Allegheny being northeast and the Monongahela southeast. The former of these two is a very rapid and swift-running water, the other deep and still without any perceptible fall. About two miles from this on the southeast side of the river at a place where the Ohio Company intended to erect a fort, lives Shingiss, King of the Delawares. We called upon him to invite him to a council at Logstown. As I had taken a good deal of notice yesterday at the fork, my curiosity led me to examine this more particularly and I think it greatly inferior either for defense or advantages, especially the latter. For a fort at the fork would be equally well situated on the Ohio and have the entire command of the Monongahela, which runs up our settlement and is extremely well designed for water carriage, as it is of a deep, still nature. Besides, a fort at the fork might be built at much less expense than at the other place.
Leaving Pittsburgh, Washington and Gist proceeded in a northeasterly direction, and after a day's journey they came upon an Indian settlement, and were constrained by the tribe to remain there for three days. A group of these Indians accompanied the two travelers to the French fort, and on the journey a large number of bear and deer were killed. At Leboeuff Washington received from the French commander a very satisfactory reply. On the trip back the two pioneers encountered almost insupportable hardships. Lacking proper food, their horses died, so that they were forced to push forward in canoes, often finding it necessary, when the creeks were frozen, to carry their craft for long stretches overland. When Venango was reached, Washington, whose clothes were now in tatters, procured an Indian costume, and he and Gist continued their way on foot, accompanied by an Indian guide. At this point an illustrious career was put in deadly peril, for on the second day of his escort, the treacherous guide deliberately fired his gun at Washington when standing only a few feet away from him. Bad marksmanship saved the intended victim, and Gist started to kill the Indian on the spot; but Washington, patient then as always, sent the savage away, giving him provisions to last until he could reach his tribe. But an apprehension of further trouble from the friends of the discomfited guide impelled the two men to travel all that night and the next day, although Washington was suffering acute agony from his frosted feet. While recrossing the Allegheny River on a rude raft, Washington fell into the icy waters and was saved by Gist from drowning only after the greatest efforts had been employed to rescue him. Reaching Herr's Island (within the present city limits), they built a fire and camped there for the night, but in the morning Gist's hands were frozen. The bitter cold had now solidified the river and the two wanderers passed over it on foot. By noon they had reached the home of John Frazier, at Turtle Creek, where they were given clothes and fresh supplies. The journey was completed in three more days, and on receiving the reply of Contrecoeur, the English began their preparations for sending troops to Pittsburgh.
As soon as Washington's advice as to the location of the fort was received, Captain William Trent was despatched to Pittsburgh with a force of soldiers and workmen, packhorses, and materials, and he began in all haste to erect a stronghold. The French had already built forts on the northern lakes, and they now sent Captain Contrecoeur down the Allegheny with one thousand French, Canadians, and Indians, and eighteen pieces of cannon, in a flotilla of sixty bateaux and three hundred canoes. Trent had planted himself in Pittsburgh on February 17, 1754, a date important because it marks the first permanent white settlement there. But his work had been retarded alike by the small number of his men and the severity of the winter; and when Contrecoeur arrived in April, the young subaltern who commanded in Trent's absence surrendered the unfinished works, and was permitted to march away with his thirty-three men. The French completed the fort and named it Duquesne, in honor of the governor of Canada; and they held possession of it for four years.
Immediately on the loss of this fort, Virginia sent a force under Washington to retake it. Washington surprised a French detachment near Great Meadows, and killed their commander, Jumonville. When a larger expedition came against him, he put up a stockade near the site of Uniontown, naming it Fort Necessity, which he was compelled to yield on terms permitting him to march away with the honors of war.
The next year (1755) General Edward Braddock came over with two regiments of British soldiers, and after augmenting his force with Colonial troops and a few Indians, began his fatal march upon Fort Duquesne. Braddock's testy disposition, his consuming egotism, his contempt for the Colonial soldiers, and his stubborn adherence to military maxims that were inapplicable to the warfare of the wilderness, alienated the respect and confidence of the American contingent, robbed him of an easy victory, and cost him his life. Benjamin Franklin had warned him against the imminent risk of Indian ambuscades, but he had contemptuously replied: "These savages may indeed be a formidable enemy to your raw American militia; but upon the king's regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible they should make any impression." Some of his English staff-officers urged him to send the rangers in advance and to deploy his Indians as scouts, but he rejected their prudent suggestions with a sneer. On July 9 his army, comprising twenty-two hundred soldiers and one hundred and fifty Indians, was marching down the south bank of the Monongahela. The variant color and fashion of the expedition,—the red-coated regulars, the blue-coated Americans, the naval detachment, the rangers in deerskin shirts and leggins, the savages half-naked and befeathered, the glint of sword and gun in the hot daylight, the long wagon train, the lumbering cannon, the drove of bullocks, the royal banner and the Colonial gonfalon,—the pomp and puissance of it all composed a spectacle of martial splendor unseen in that country before. On the right was the tranquil river, and on the left the trackless wilderness whence the startled deer sprang into a deeper solitude. At noon the expedition crossed the river and pressed on toward Fort Duquesne, eight miles below, expectant of victory. What need to send out scouts when the king's troops are here? Let young George Washington and the rest urge it all they may; the thing is beneath the dignity of his majesty's general.
Meanwhile, all was not tranquil at the French fort. Surrender was talked of, but Captain Beaujeu determined to lead a force out to meet the approaching army. Taking with him a total effective of thirty-six officers and cadets, seventy-two regular soldiers, one hundred and forty-six Canadians, and about six hundred Indian warriors, a command less than half the number of the enemy, he sallied out to meet him. How insignificant were the armed forces with which the two empires were now challenging each other for the splendid prize of a new world! Beaujeu, gaily clad in a fringed hunting dress, intrepidly pressed on until he came in sight of the English invaders. As soon as the alert French commander felt the hot breath of his foe he waved his hat and his faithful followers disappeared behind rocks and trees as if the very earth had swallowed them.
The unsuspecting English came on. But here, when they have crossed, is a level plain, elevated but a few feet above the surface of the river, extending nearly half a mile landwards, and then gradually ascending into thickly wooded hills, with Fort Duquesne beyond. The troops in front had crossed the plain and plunged into the road through the forest for a hundred feet when a heavy discharge of musketry and arrows was poured upon them, which wrought in them a consternation all the greater because they could see no foe anywhere. They shot at random, and not without effect, for when Beaujeu fell the Canadians began to flee and the Indians quailed in their covers before the cannon fire of the English. But the French fighters were rallied back to their hidden recesses, and they now kept up an incessant and destructive fire. In this distressing situation the English fell back into the plain. Braddock rode in among them, and he and his officers persistently endeavored to rally them, but without success. The Colonial troops adopted the Indian method, and each man fought for himself behind a tree. This was forbidden by Braddock, who attempted to form his men in platoons and columns, making their slaughter inevitable. The French and Indians, concealed in the ravines and behind trees, kept up a cruel and deadly fire, until the British soldiers lost all presence of mind and began to shoot each other and their own officers, and hundreds were thus slain. The Virginia companies charged gallantly up a hill with a loss of but three men, but when they reached the summit the British soldiery, mistaking them for the enemy, fired upon them, killing fifty out of eighty men. The Colonial troops then resumed the Indian fashion of fighting from behind trees, which provoked Braddock, who had had five horses killed under him in three hours, to storm at them and strike them with his sword. At this moment he was fatally wounded, and many of his men now fled away from the hopeless action, not waiting to hear their general's fainting order to retreat. Washington had had two horses killed and received three bullets through his coat. Being the only mounted officer who was not disabled, he drew up the troops still on the field, directed their retreat, maintaining himself at the rear with great coolness and courage, and brought away his wounded general. Sixty-four British and American officers, and nearly one thousand privates, were killed or wounded in this battle, while the total French and Indian loss was not over sixty. A few prisoners captured by the Indians were brought to Pittsburgh and burnt at the stake. Four days after the fight Braddock died, exclaiming to the last, "Who would have thought it!"
Despondency seized the English settlers after Braddock's defeat. But two years afterward William Pitt became prime minister, and he thrilled the nation with his appeal to protect the Colonies against France and the savages.
William Pitt, the great Earl of Chatham, the man for whom our city is named, was one of the most indomitable characters in the statesmanship of modern times. Born in November, 1708, he was educated at Eton and at Oxford, then traveled in France and Italy, and was elected to Parliament when twenty-seven years old. His early addresses were not models either of force or logic, but the fluent speech and many personal attractions of the young orator instantly caught the attention of the people, who always listened to him with favor; and it was not long before his constant participation in public affairs developed the splendid talents which he possessed. Wayward and affected in little things, Pitt attacked the great problems of government with the bold confidence of a master spirit, impressing the clear genius of his leadership upon the yearning heart of England in every emergency of peace or war. Too great to be consistent, he never hesitated to change his tactics or his opinion when the occasion developed the utility of another course. Ordinary men have been more faithful to asserted principles, but no statesman more frequently departed from asserted principles to secure achievements which redounded to the honor of the nation. During the thirty years in which Pitt exercised the magic spell of his eloquence and power over the English Parliament, the stakes for which he contended against the world were no less than the dominion of North America and of India. In the pursuit of these policies he fought Spain and subdued her armies. He subsidized the king of Prussia to his interests. He destroyed the navy of France and wrested from her the larger part of her possessions beyond sea. Having always a clear conception of the remotest aim of national aspiration, he was content to leave the designing of operations in detail to the humbler servants of the government, reserving to himself the mighty concentration of his powers upon the general purpose for which the nation was striving. The king trusted him, the Commons obeyed him, the people adored him and called him the Great Commoner. He was wise, brave, sincere, tolerant, and humane; and no man could more deserve the honor of having named for him a city which was destined to become rich and famous, keeping his memory in more enduring fame than bronze or marble.
Pitt's letters inspired the Americans with new hope, and he promised to send them British troops and to supply their own militia with arms, ammunition, tents, and provisions at the king's charge. He sent twelve thousand soldiers from England, which were joined to a Colonial force aggregating fifty thousand men, the most formidable army yet seen in the new world. The plan of campaign embraced three expeditions: the first against Louisburg, in the island of Cape Breton, which was successful; the second against Ticonderoga, which succeeded after a defeat; and the third against Fort Duquesne. General Forbes, born at Dunfermline (whence have come others to Pittsburgh), commanded this expedition, comprising about seven thousand men. The militia from Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland was led by Washington, whose independent spirit led the testy Scotchman, made irritable by a malady which was soon to cause his death, to declare that Washington's "behavior about the roads was no ways like a soldier." But we cannot believe that the young Virginian was moved by any motive but the public good. On September 12, 1758, Major Grant, a Highlander, led an advance guard of eight hundred and fifty men to a point one mile from the fort, which is still called Grant's Hill, on which the court-house now stands, where he rashly permitted himself to be surrounded and attacked by the French and Indians, half his force being killed or wounded, and himself slain. Washington followed soon after, and opened a road for the advance of the main body under Forbes. Fort Frontenac, on Lake Ontario, had just been taken by General Amherst, with the result that supplies for Fort Duquesne were cut off. When, therefore, Captain Ligneris, the French commandant, learned of the advance of a superior force, having no hope of reinforcements, he blew up the fort, set fire to the adjacent buildings, and drew his garrison away.
On Saturday, November 25, 1758, amidst a fierce snowstorm, the English took possession of the place, and Colonel Armstrong, in the presence of Forbes and Washington, hauled up the puissant banner of Great Britain, while cannons boomed and the exulting victors cheered. On the next day, General Forbes wrote to Governor Denny from "Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh,[A] the 26th of November, 1758," and this was the first use of that name. On this same Sunday the Rev. Mr. Beatty, a Presbyterian chaplain, preached a sermon in thanksgiving for the superiority of British arms,—the first Protestant service in Pittsburgh. The French had had a Roman Catholic chaplain, Father Baron, during their occupancy. On the next day Forbes wrote to Pitt with a vision of prophecy as follows:
PITTSBOURGH, 27th Novem'r, 1758.
I do myself the Honour of acquainting you that it has pleased God to crown His Majesty's Arms with Success over all His Enemies upon the Ohio, by my having obliged the enemy to burn and abandon Fort Du Quesne, which they effectuated on the 25th:, and of which I took possession next day, the Enemy having made their Escape down the River towards the Missisippi in their Boats, being abandoned by their Indians, whom I had previously engaged to leave them, and who now seem all willing and ready to implore His Majesty's most Gracious Protection. So give me leave to congratulate you upon this great Event, of having totally expelled the French from this prodigious tract of Country, and of having reconciled the various tribes of Indians inhabiting it to His Majesty's Government.
* * * * *
I have used the freedom of giving your name to Fort Du Quesne, as I hope it was in some measure the being actuated by your spirits that now makes us Masters of the place.... These dreary deserts will soon be the richest and most fertile of any possest by the British in No. America. I have the honour to be with great regard and Esteem Sir,
Your most obed't. & most hum'le. serv't.
[Footnote A: Local controversialists should note that the man who named the city spelt it with the final h.]
As a place of urgent shelter the English proceeded to build a new fort about two hundred yards from the site of Fort Duquesne, which is traditionally known as the first Fort Pitt, and was probably so called by the garrison, although the letters written from there during the next few months refer to it as "the camp at Pittsburgh." This stronghold cut off French transportation to the Mississippi by way of the Ohio River, and the only remaining route, by way of the Great Lakes, was soon afterward closed by the fall of Fort Niagara. The fall of Quebec, with the death of the two opposing generals, Montcalm and Wolfe, and the capture of Montreal, ended the claims of France to sovereignty in the new world.
The new fort being found too small, General Stanwix built a second Fort Pitt, much larger and stronger, designed for a garrison of one thousand men. The Indians viewed the new-comers with suspicion, but Colonel Henry Bouquet assured them, with diplomatic tergiversation, that, "We have not come here to take possession of your country in a hostile manner, as the French did when they came among you, but to open a large and extensive trade with you and all other nations of Indians to the westward." A redoubt (the "Blockhouse"), built by Colonel Bouquet in 1764, still stands, in a very good state of preservation, being cared for by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The protection of the garrison naturally attracted a few traders, merchants, and pioneers to Pittsburgh, and a permanent population began to grow.
But the indigenous race continued to resent the extension of white encroachment; and they formed a secret confederacy under Pontiac, the renowned Ottawa chief, who planned a simultaneous attack on all the white frontier posts. This uprising was attended by atrocious cruelties at many of the points attacked, but we may take note here of the movement only as it affected Pittsburgh. At the grand council held by the tribes, a bundle of sticks had been given to every tribe, each bundle containing as many sticks as there were days intervening before the deadly assault should begin. One stick was to be drawn from the bundle every day until but one remained, which was to signal the outbreak for that day. This was the best calendar the barbarian mind could devise. At Pittsburgh, a Delaware squaw who was friendly to the whites had stealthily taken out three of the sticks, thus precipitating the attack on Fort Pitt three days in advance of the time appointed.
The last stick was reached on June 22, 1763, and the Delawares and Shawanese began the assault in the afternoon, under Simon Ecuyer. The people of Pittsburgh took shelter in the fort, and held out while waiting for reinforcements. Colonel Bouquet hurried forward a force of five hundred men, but they were intercepted at Bushy Run, where a bloody battle was fought. Bouquet had fifty men killed and sixty wounded, but inflicted a much greater loss on his savage foes and gained the fort, relieving the siege. As soon as Bouquet could recruit his command, he moved down the Ohio, attacked the Indians, liberated some of their prisoners, and taught the red men to respect the power that controlled at Pittsburgh.
In 1768 the Indians ceded their lands about Pittsburgh to the Colonies, and civilization was then free to spread over them. In 1774 a land office was opened in Pittsburgh by Governor Dunmore, and land warrants were granted on payment of two shillings and six pence purchase money, at the rate of ten pounds per one hundred acres.
Washington made his last visit to Pittsburgh in October, 1770, when, on his way to the Kanawha River, he stopped here for several days, and lodged with Samuel Semple, the first innkeeper, whose hostelry stood, and still stands, at the corner of Water and Ferry Streets. This house was later known as the Virginian Hotel, and for many years furnished entertainment to those early travelers. The building, erected in 1764 by Colonel George Morgan, is now nearly one hundred and forty years old, and is still devoted to public hospitality, but the character of its patronage has changed from George Washington to the deck roysterers who lodge there between their trips on the river packets. At the time of Washington's visit the lower story of the house was divided into three rooms, two facing on Ferry Street, and the third, a large room, on Water Street, and in this latter room was placed, in the year of Washington's stop there, the first billiard table ever brought to Pittsburgh. The mahogany steps from the first to the second floors, which were once the pride of the place, are still in the house.[B] According to Washington's journal, there were in Pittsburgh in 1770 twenty houses situated on Water Street, facing the Monongahela River. These were occupied by traders and their families. The population at that time is estimated at one hundred and twenty-six men, women, and children, besides a garrison consisting of two companies of British troops.
[Footnote B: On going again to look at this house, which I have seen many times, I find that it was recently demolished to make room for railway improvements.]
In October, 1772, Fort Pitt was ordered abandoned. The works about Pittsburgh, from first to last, had cost the British Crown some three hundred thousand dollars, but the salvage on the stone, brick, and iron of the existing redoubts amounted to only two hundred and fifty dollars. The Blockhouse was repaired and occupied for a time by Dr. John Connelly; and during the Revolution it was constantly used by our Colonial troops.
With the French out of the country, and with William Pitt out of office and incapacitated by age, the Colonies began to feel the oppression of a British policy which British statesmen and British historians to-day most bitterly condemn. America's opposition to tyranny found its natural expression in the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. The fires of patriotism leapt through the continent and the little settlement at Pittsburgh was quickly aflame with the national spirit. On May 16th a convention was held at Pittsburgh, which resolved that
This committee have the highest sense of the spirited behavior of their brethren in New England, and do most cordially approve of their opposing the invaders of American rights and privileges to the utmost extreme, and that each member of this committee, respectively, will animate and encourage their neighborhood to follow the brave example.
No foreign soldiers were sent over the mountains to Pittsburgh, but a more merciless foe, who would attack and harass with remorseless cruelty, was impressed into the English service, despite the horrified protests of some of her wisest statesmen. American treaties with the Indians had no force against the allurements of foreign gold, and under this unholy alliance men were burnt at the stake, women were carried away, and cabins were destroyed.
With the aim of regaining the friendship of the Indians, Congress appointed commissioners who met the tribes at Pittsburgh; and Colonel George Morgan, Indian agent, writes to John Hancock, November 8, 1776:
I have the happiness to inform you that the cloud that threatened to break over us is likely to disperse. The Six Nations, with the Muncies, Delawares, Shawanese, and Mohicans, who have been assembled here with their principal chiefs and warriors to the number of 644, have given the strongest assurance of their determination to preserve inviolate the peace and neutrality with the United States.
These amicable expectations were not realized, and General Edward Hand came to Pittsburgh the next year and planned an expedition against the Indians. Colonel Broadhead took out Hand's expedition in the summer and burned the Indian towns.
The depreciation of paper currency, or Continental money, had by this time brought the serious burden of high prices upon the people. The traders, who demanded apparently exorbitant rates for their goods, were denounced in public meetings at Pittsburgh as being "now commonly known by the disgraceful epithet of speculators, of more malignant natures than the savage Mingoes in the wilderness." This hardship grew in severity until the finances were put upon a more stable basis.
In 1781, there was demoralization and mutiny at Fort Pitt, and General William Irvine was put in command. His firm hand soon restored the garrison to obedience. The close of the war with Great Britain in that year was celebrated by General Irvine by the issue of an order at the fort, November 6, 1781, requiring all, as a sailor would say, "to splice the mainbrace." This order read as follows:
The commissioners will issue a gill of whisky, extraordinary, to the non-commissioned officers and privates, upon this joyful occasion.
The Penn family had purchased the Pittsburgh region from the Indians in 1768, and they would offer none of it for sale until 1783. Up to this time they had held the charter to Pennsylvania; but as they had maintained a steadfast allegiance to the mother country, the general assembly annulled their title, except to allow them to retain the ownership of various manors throughout the State, embracing half a million acres.
In order to relieve the people of Pittsburgh from going to Greensburg to the court-house in their sacred right of suing and being sued, the general assembly erected Allegheny County out of parts of Westmoreland and Washington Counties, September 24, 1788. This county originally comprised, in addition to its present limits, what are now Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango, and Warren Counties. The Act required that the court-house and jail should be located in Allegheny (just across the river from Pittsburgh), but as there was no protection against Indians there, an amendment established Pittsburgh as the county seat. The first court was held at Fort Pitt; and the next day a ducking-stool was erected for the district, at "The Point" in the three rivers.
In 1785, the dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania for the possession of Pittsburgh was settled by the award of a joint commission in favor of Pennsylvania.
A writer says that in 1786 Pittsburgh contained thirty-six log houses, one stone, and one frame house, and five small stores. Another records that the population "is almost entirely Scots and Irish, who live in log houses." A third says of these log houses: "Now and then one had assumed the appearance of neatness and comfort."
The first newspaper, the Pittsburgh "Gazette," was established July 29, 1786. A mail route to Philadelphia, by horseback, was adopted in the same year. On September 29, 1787, the Legislature granted a charter to the Pittsburgh Academy, a school that has grown steadily in usefulness and power as the Western University of Pennsylvania, and which has in this year (July 11, 1908) appropriately altered its name to University of Pittsburgh.
In 1791, the Indians became vindictive and dangerous, and General Arthur St. Clair, with a force of twenty-three hundred men, was sent down the river to punish them. Neglecting President Washington's imperative injunction to avoid a surprise, he led his command into an ambush and lost half of it in the most disastrous battle with the redskins since the time of Braddock. In the general alarm that ensued, Fort Pitt being in a state of decay, a new fort was built in Pittsburgh at Ninth and Tenth Streets and Penn Avenue,—a stronghold that included bastions, blockhouses, barracks, etc., and was named Fort Lafayette. General Anthony Wayne was then selected to command another expedition against the savages, and he arrived in Pittsburgh in June, 1792. After drilling his troops and making preparations for two years, in the course of which he erected several forts in the West, including Fort Defiance and Fort Wayne, he fought the Indians and crushed their strength and spirit. On his return a lasting peace was made with them, and there were no further raids about Pittsburgh.
The whisky insurrection demands a brief reference. Whisky seems to be a steady concomitant of civilization. As soon as the white settlers had planted themselves securely at Pittsburgh, they made requisition on Philadelphia for six thousand kegs of flour and three thousand kegs of whisky—a disproportion as startling as Falstaff's intolerable deal of sack to one half-penny-worth of bread. Congress, in 1791, passed an excise law to assist in paying the war debt. The measure was very unpopular, and its operation was forcibly resisted, particularly in Pittsburgh, which was noted then, as now, for the quantity and quality of its whisky. There were distilleries on nearly every stream emptying into the Monongahela. The time and circumstances made the tax odious. The Revolutionary War had just closed, the pioneers were in the midst of great Indian troubles, and money was scarce, of low value, and very hard to obtain. The people of the new country were unused to the exercise of stringent laws. The progress of the French Revolution encouraged the settlers to account themselves oppressed by similar tyrannies, against which some of them persuaded themselves similar resistance should be made. Genet, the French demagogue, was sowing sedition everywhere. Lafayette's participation in the French Revolution gave it in America, where he was deservedly beloved, a prestige which it could never have gained for itself. Distillers who paid the tax were assaulted; some of them were tarred and feathered; others were taken into the forest and tied to trees; their houses and barns were burned; their property was carried away or destroyed. Several thousand insurgents assembled at Braddock's Field, and marched on Pittsburgh, where the citizens gave them food and submitted to a reign of terror. Then President Washington sent an army of fifteen thousand troops against them, and they melted away, as a mob will ever do when the strong arm of government smites it without fear or respect.
It was not long after the close of the Revolutionary War before Pittsburgh was recognized as the natural gateway of the Atlantic seaboard to the West and South, and the necessity for an improved system of transportation became imperative. The earliest method of transportation through the American wilderness required the eastern merchants to forward their goods in Conestoga wagons to Shippensburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown, Maryland, and thence to Pittsburgh on packhorses, where they were exchanged for Pittsburgh products, and these in turn were carried by boat to New Orleans, where they were exchanged for sugar, molasses, and similar commodities, which were carried through the gulf and along the coast to Baltimore and Philadelphia. For passenger travel the stage-coach furnished the most luxurious method then known.
The people of Pennsylvania had given considerable attention to inland improvements and as early as 1791 they began to formulate the daring project of constructing a canal system from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, with a portage road over the crest of the Alleghany Mountains. In 1825, the governor appointed commissioners for making surveys, certain residents of Pittsburgh being chosen on the board, and in 1826 (February 25th) the Legislature passed an act authorizing the commencement of work on the canal at the expense of the State. The western section was completed and the first boat entered Pittsburgh on November 10, 1829. Subsequent acts provided for the various eastern sections, including the building of the portage railroad over the mountains, and by April 16, 1834, a through line was in operation from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. The termini of the road were Hollidaysburg, 1,398 feet below the mountain summit, and Johnstown, 1,771 feet below the summit. The boats were taken from the water like amphibious monsters and hauled up the ten inclined planes by stationary engines. The total cost of the canal and portage railroad was about ten million dollars, and the entire system was sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in 1857 (June 25th) for $7,500,000. The importance of canal transportation in the popular mind is shown by the fact that in 1828, when the Pennsylvania Legislature granted a charter to the Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad Company (which never constructed its road), the act stated that the purpose of the railroad was to connect Pittsburgh with the canal at Massillon, Ohio. The railroad quickly superseded the canal, however, and when men perceived that the mountains could be conquered by a portage road, it was a natural step to plan the Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Ohio railroads on a system of easy grades, so that all obstacles of height and distance were annihilated. The Pennsylvania Railroad was incorporated April 13, 1846, and completed its roadway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh February 15, 1854. The canal was for a time operated by the Pennsylvania Canal Company in the interest of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, but its use was gradually abandoned. The division from Pittsburgh to Johnstown ceased to be operated in 1864, and that portion which was in the Juniata Valley was used until 1899, while the portion lying along the Susquehanna River was operated until 1900.[C]
[Footnote C: There is an interesting relief map of the portage railroad of the Pennsylvania Canal in the Carnegie Museum.]
Other railroads came as they were needed. The Baltimore and Ohio received a charter from the State of Maryland on February 28, 1827, but did not reach Pittsburgh until December 12, 1860, when its Pittsburgh and Connellsville branch was opened. The Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad was built into Pittsburgh July 4, 1851, and became part of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway in 1856, that line reaching Chicago in 1859. The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway (the "Pan Handle") was opened between Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, October 9, 1865. The Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, now a part of the New York Central Lines, was opened into Pittsburgh in February, 1879. The Wabash Railway completed its entrance into the city on June 19, 1904.
In 1784 the town was laid out and settlers, among whom were many Scotch and Irish, came rapidly. The town was made the county seat in 1791, incorporated as a borough in 1794, the charter was revived in 1804, and the borough was chartered as a city in 1816. The first charter granted to Pittsburgh in 1816 vested the more important powers of the city government in a common council of fifteen members and a select council of nine members. In 1887 a new charter was adopted giving to the mayor the power to appoint the heads of departments who were formerly elected by the councils. On March 7, 1901, a new charter, known as "The Ripper," was adopted, under the operations of which the elected mayor (William J. Diehl) was removed from his office, and a new chief executive officer (A. M. Brown) appointed in his place by the governor, under the title of recorder. By an act of April 23, 1903, the title of mayor was restored, and under the changes then made the appointing power rests with the mayor, with the consent of the select council. The following is a list of the mayors of Pittsburgh:
1816-1817, Ebenezer Denny 1817-1825, John Darragh 1825-1828, John M. Snowden 1828-1830, Magnus M. Murray 1830-1831, Matthew B. Lowrie 1831-1832, Magnus M. Murray 1832-1836, Samuel Pettigrew 1836-1839, Jonas R. McClintock 1839-1840, William Little 1840-1841, William W. Irwin 1841-1842, James Thomson 1842-1845, Alexander Hay 1845-1846, William J. Howard 1846-1847, William Kerr 1847-1849, Gabriel Adams 1849-1850, John Herron 1850-1851, Joseph Barker 1851-1853, John B. Guthrie 1853-1854, Robert M. Riddle 1854-1856, Ferdinand E. Volz 1856-1857, William Bingham 1857-1860, Henry A. Weaver 1860-1862, George Wilson 1862-1864, B. C. Sawyer 1864-1866, James Lowry 1866-1868, W. S. McCarthy 1868-1869, James Blackmore 1869-1872, Jared M. Brush 1872-1875, James Blackmore 1875-1878, William C. McCarthy 1878-1881, Robert Liddell 1881-1884, Robert W. Lyon 1884-1887, Andrew Fulton 1887-1890, William McCallin 1890-1893, Henry I. Gourley 1893-1896, Bernard McKenna 1896-1899, Henry P. Ford 1899-1901, William J. Diehl 1901, A. M. Brown (Title changed to Recorder) 1901-1903, J. O. Brown (Recorder) 1903, W. B. Hays (Recorder; served about one week under that title) 1903-1906, W. B. Hays (Mayor again) 1906-1909, George W. Guthrie
A movement to consolidate the cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny together with some adjacent boroughs, was begun in 1853-54. It failed entirely that year, but in 1867 Lawrenceville, Peebles, Collins, Liberty, Pitt, and Oakland, all lying between the two rivers, were annexed to Pittsburgh, and in 1872 there was a further annexation of a district embracing twenty-seven square miles south of the Monongahela River, while in 1906 Allegheny was also annexed; and, as there was litigation to test the validity of the consolidation, the Supreme Court of the United States on December 6, 1907, declared in favor of the constitutionality of the act.
The first national convention of the Republican party was held in Pittsburgh on February 22 and 23, 1856. While this gathering was an informal convention, it was made for the purpose of effecting a national organization of the groups of Republicans which had grown up in the States where slavery was prohibited. Pittsburgh was, therefore, in a broad sense, the place where the birth of the Republican party occurred. A digression on this subject, in order that the record may be made clear, will probably not be unwelcome.
In 1620, three months before the landing of the Mayflower at Provincetown, a Dutch vessel carried African slaves up the James River, and on the soil of Virginia there was planted a system of servitude which at last extended throughout the Colonies and flourished with increasing vigor in the South, until, in the War of the Rebellion, Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation put an end forever to slavery in America. When the builders of our Government met in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, slavery was a problem which more than once threatened to wreck the scheme for an indissoluble union of the States. But it was compromised under a suggestion implied in the Constitution itself, that slavery should not be checked in the States in which it existed until 1808. In the meantime the entire labor system of the South was built upon African slavery, while at the North the horror of the public conscience grew against the degrading institution from year to year. By 1854 the men in the free States who were opposed to slavery had begun to unite themselves by political bonds, and in the spring and summer of that year, groups of such men met in more or less informal conferences in Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Iowa, Ohio, and other northern States. But it was at Jackson, Michigan, where the men who were uniting their political fortunes to accomplish the destruction of slavery first assembled in a formal convention on July 6, 1854, nominated a full State ticket, and adopted a platform containing these declarations:
Resolved: That, postponing and suspending all differences with regard to political economy or administrative policy, in view of the imminent danger that Kansas and Nebraska will be grasped by slavery, and a thousand miles of slave soil be thus interposed between the free States of the Atlantic and those of the Pacific, we will act cordially and faithfully in unison to avert and repeal this gigantic wrong and shame.
Resolved: That in view of the necessity of battling for the first principles of Republican government, and against the schemes of an aristocracy, the most revolting and oppressive with which the earth was ever cursed or man debased, we will cooeperate and be known as "Republicans" until the contest be terminated.
On January 17, 1856, "the Republican Association of Washington, D. C.," referring to the extension of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska as "the deep dishonor inflicted upon the age in which we live," issued a call, in accordance with what appeared to be the general desire of the Republican party, inviting the Republicans of the Union to meet in informal convention at Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856, for the purpose of perfecting the national organization, and providing for a national delegate convention of the Republican party, at some subsequent day, to nominate candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency, to be supported at the election in November, 1856.
The Republican party met accordingly for the first time in a national convention in Pittsburgh on the date appointed, and was largely attended. Not only were all the free States represented, but there were also delegates from Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri. John A. King was made temporary chairman, and Francis P. Blair permanent chairman. Speeches were made by Horace Greeley, Giddings and Gibson of Ohio, Codding and Lovejoy of Illinois, and others. Mr. Greeley sent a telegraphic report of the first day's proceedings to the New York "Tribune," stating that the convention had accomplished much to cement former political differences and distinctions, and that the meeting at Pittsburgh had marked the inauguration of a national party, based upon the principle of freedom. He said that the gathering was very large and the enthusiasm unbounded; that men were acting in the most perfect harmony and with a unity of feeling seldom known to political assemblages of such magnitude; that the body was eminently Republican in principle and tendency; and that it combined much of character and talent, with integrity of purpose and devotion to the great principles which underlie our Government. He prophesied that the moral and political effect of this convention upon the country would be felt for the next quarter of a century. In its deliberations, he said that everything had been conducted with marked propriety and dignity.
The platform adopted at Pittsburgh demanded the repeal of all laws allowing the introduction of slavery into free territories; promised support by all lawful measures to the Free-State men in Kansas in their resistance to the usurped authority of lawless invaders; and strongly urged the Republican party to resist and overthrow the existing national administration because it was identified with the progress of the slave power to national supremacy.
On the evening of the second day, a mass meeting was held in aid of the emigration to Kansas. The president of the meeting was George N. Jackson, and D. D. Eaton was made secretary. Horace Greeley and others made addresses, and with great enthusiasm promises of aid to the bleeding young sister in the West were made.
This record seems to show beyond question that the Republican party had its national birth at Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856, and that it came into being dedicated, as Horace Greeley described it at that moment, to the principle of human freedom. A later formal convention, as provided for at Pittsburgh, was held at Philadelphia on June 17, 1856, which nominated John C. Fremont, of California, for President, and William L. Dayton, of New Jersey, for Vice-President. This ticket polled a total popular vote of 1,341,264, but was beaten by the Democratic candidates,—James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, for President, and John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, for Vice-President, who polled 1,838,169 votes. This defeat of a good cause was probably a fortunate piece of adversity, for the men who opposed slavery were not yet strong enough to grapple the monster to its death as they did when Lincoln was nominated four years later. It was the high mission of the party in 1856 and 1860 to stand against the extension of slavery, and in 1864 against all slavery as well as against the destruction of this Union; and in 1868, against those who wished to nullify the results of the war. Its later mission has been full of usefulness and honor.
Among the eminent men who visited Pittsburgh in bygone days we find record of the following:
1817, President Monroe 1825, General Lafayette 1833, Daniel Webster 1842, Charles Dickens 1848, Henry Clay 1849, President Taylor and Governor Johnston 1852, Louis Kossuth 1860, Prince of Wales (now King Edward VII) 1861, President Lincoln 1866, President Johnson, Admiral Farragut, General Grant, and Secretaries Seward and Welles
In 1845 (April 10th), a great fire destroyed about one third of the total area of the city, including most of the large business houses and factories, the bridge over the Monongahela River, the large hotel known as the Monongahela House, and several churches, in all about eleven hundred buildings. The Legislature appropriated $50,000 for the relief of the sufferers.
In 1889, the great flood at Johnstown, accompanied by a frightful loss of life and destruction of property, touched the common heart of humanity all over the world. The closeness of Johnstown geographically made the sorrow at Pittsburgh most poignant and profound. In a few hours almost the whole population had brought its offerings for the stricken community, and besides clothing, provisions, and every conceivable thing necessary for relief and comfort, the people of Pittsburgh contributed $250,000 to restore so far as possible the material portion of the loss.
In the autumn of 1908 a series of imposing celebrations was held to commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Pittsburgh.
In 1877, the municipal government being, in its personnel, at the moment, incompetent to preserve the fundamental principles on which it was established, permitted a strike of railroad employees to grow without restriction as to the observance of law and order until it became an insurrection. Four million dollars' worth of property was destroyed by riot and incendiarism in a few hours. When at last outraged authority was properly shifted from the supine city chieftains to the indomitable State itself, it became necessary, before order could be restored, for troops to fire, with a sacrifice of human life.
For some months preceding the riots at Pittsburgh disturbances among the railroad employees, especially the engineers and brakemen of freight-trains, had been frequent on railroads west and east of this city. These disturbances arose mainly from resistance to reductions in the rates of wages, made or proposed by the executive officers of the various railroads, and also from objections of train crews to regulations governing the transportation system.
The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, some time after the panic of 1873, reduced the wages of its employees ten per cent., and, on account of the general decline in business, made another reduction of ten per cent. to take effect on June 1, 1877; these reductions to apply to all employees from the president of the company down. The reductions affected the roads known as the Pennsylvania Lines west of Pittsburgh, as well as the Pennsylvania Railroad, and similar alterations were also made on the New York Central and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroads. The changed conditions caused a great deal of dissatisfaction among the trainmen, but a committee was appointed by them, which held a conference with Mr. Thomas A. Scott, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and agreed to the reduction, reporting its conclusions to the trainmen.
On July 16th an order was issued by the railroad company that thirty-six freight-cars, instead of eighteen, as before, were to be made up as a train, without increase in the number of the crew, and with a locomotive at the end to act as a pusher, assisting the one at the front, making what is technically called "a double header." The train employees looked upon this order as doubling their work under the decreased pay of June 1st, and in its effect virtually tending to the discharge of many men then employed in the running of freight-trains. The strike which followed does not seem to have been seriously organized, but was rather a sudden conclusion arrived at on the impulse of the moment, and was probably strengthened by a wave of discontent which was sweeping over the roads to the east and west, as well as by an undercurrent of hostility toward the railroads exhibited by some of the newspapers. As far back as July 23, 1876, a Pittsburgh paper, in publishing an article headed "Railroad Vultures," had said: "Railroad officials are commencing to understand that the people of Pittsburgh will be patient no longer; that this community is being aroused into action, and that presently the torrent of indignation will give place to condign retribution"; and in another paragraph the same paper had said: "We desire to impress upon the minds of the community that these vultures are constantly preying upon the wealth and resources of the country; they are a class, as it were, of money jugglers intent only on practising their trickery for self aggrandizement, and that, consequently, their greed leads them into all known ways and byways of fraud, scheming, and speculating, to accomplish the amassing of princely fortunes." These intemperate utterances were the first seeds of popular sedition.
It was not until 8.30 o'clock on the morning of the 19th that the real trouble began. Two freight-trains were to start at 8.40, but ten minutes before that the crews sent word that they would not take the trains out. Two yard crews were then asked to take their places, but they refused to do so. The trains were not taken out, and the crews of all the trains that came in, as they arrived, joined the strikers. As the day wore on the men gradually congregated at the roundhouse of the road at Twenty-eighth Street, but did not attempt or threaten any violence. The news of the strike had spread through the two cities, and large numbers of the more turbulent class of the population, together with many workmen from the factories who sympathized with the strikers, hastened to Twenty-eighth Street, and there was soon gathered a formidable mob in which the few striking railroad employees were an insignificant quantity.
When the railroad officials found their tracks and roundhouse in the possession of a mob which defied them, they called upon the mayor of the city for protection, to which Mayor McCarthy promptly responded, going in person with a detail of officers to the scene of the trouble. When the police arrived on the ground they found an excited assemblage of people who refused to listen to their orders to disperse, and the mayor made no serious effort to enforce his authority effectually. There was no collision, however, until a man who had refused to join the strikers attempted to couple some cars, when he was assaulted. An officer of the road who undertook to turn a switch, was also assaulted by one of the mob, who was arrested by the police. His comrades began throwing stones, but the police maintained their hold of their prisoner, and conveyed him to the jail. A crowd then gathered in front of the police station and made threats of rescuing their comrade, but no overt act was committed. The mob, which had by this time become greatly enraged, was really not composed of railroad employees, who had contemplated no such result of their strike, and now generally deplored the unfortunate turn which the affair had taken. It was for the most part composed of the worst element of the population, who, without any grievance of their own, real or imagined, had gathered together from the very force of their vicious inclinations and the active hope of plunder.
The strikers held a meeting that evening, at which they demanded that the ten per cent. should be restored, and the running of double headers abolished. In the meantime, the railroad authorities, perceiving the inefficiency of the local police powers, and alarmed at the still-increasing mob and the vicious spirit which it displayed, invoked the aid of the sheriff of the county. At midnight Sheriff Fife came to Twenty-eighth Street with a hastily summoned posse, a part of which deserted him before he reached the scene of action, and ordered the rioters to disperse, which they, with hoots and jeers, defiantly refused to do. The sheriff then sought aid from the military, and General A. L. Pearson issued an order to the Eighteenth and Nineteenth regiments of the National Guards of Pennsylvania, with headquarters at Pittsburgh, to assemble at half past six the next morning, armed and equipped for duty. Sheriff Fife also telegraphed to the State authorities at Harrisburg, stating that he was unable to quell the riot, and asking that General Pearson be instructed to do this with his force; and Adjutant General Latta issued the orders accordingly. General Pearson marched his forces to the Union Depot and placed them in position in the yard and on the hillside above it. The mob was not, however, deterred by this action, as the troops were supposed to be more or less in sympathy with the strikers, and were expected to be disinclined to fire upon their fellow citizens if they should be ordered to do so. The employment of local troops at this moment constituted a grave mistake in the management of the riot.
The governor had, however, been telegraphed to, and had ordered General Brinton's division of troops to leave Philadelphia for Pittsburgh. This became known to the mob, which was still increasing in numbers and turbulence, and the calling of troops from the east drove them to fury. The feeling had spread to the workingmen in the factories on the South Side, where a public meeting was held, and demagogical speeches made, upholding the action of the strikers; and five hundred men came thence in a body and joined the crowd.
At this critical moment the mob received an endorsement that not only greatly encouraged it, but incited it to extreme violence. A local newspaper, on Friday, the 20th, in the course of an editorial headed "The Talk of the Desperate," which formulated what was assumed as the expression of a workingman, used this language:
This may be the great civil war in this country between labor and capital that is bound to come.... The workingmen everywhere are in fullest sympathy with the strikers, and only waiting to see whether they are in earnest enough to fight for their rights. They would all join and help them the moment an actual conflict took place.... The governor, with his proclamation, may call and call, but the laboring people, who mostly constitute the militia, won't take up arms to put down their brethren. Will capital then rely on the United States Army? Pshaw! Its ten to fifteen thousand available men would be swept from our path like leaves in a whirlwind. The workingmen of this country can capture and hold it, if they will only stick together, and it looks as though they were going to do so this time. Of course, you say that capital will have some supporters. Many of the unemployed will be glad to get work as soldiers, or extra policemen; the farmers, too, might turn out to preserve your law and order; but the working army would have the most men and the best men. The war might be bloody but the right would prevail. Men like Tom Scott, Frank Thomson—yes, and William Thaw—who have got rich swindling the stockholders of railroads, so that they cannot pay honest labor living rates, we would hang to the nearest tree.
Although the paper in a later edition suppressed that part of the editorial, and the other papers of the city refrained from any editorials that might increase the excitement, yet the mischief had been done, the unfortunate words had been widely read, and the more intelligently vicious of the rioters proceeded to make the most of them.
The eastern troops left Philadelphia on Friday night and arrived at the Union Depot on Saturday afternoon, tired and hungry. After a scant and hasty lunch they were placed out along the tracks to the roundhouse where the great bulk of the mob was assembled. In order to secure and protect the building and tracks it was necessary that the crowd should be forced back. When the troops undertook this movement some stones were thrown and a few soldiers were hit. Then one of the subordinate officers gave an order to fire, and about twenty persons were killed and thirty wounded, three of whom were children.
When the rioters beheld their associates attacked, their rage passed all control, and the troops were closed in upon and driven into the roundhouse. Encouraged by this retreat, the mob took steps to burn them out. Many cars loaded with whisky and petroleum were set on fire and sent down the track against the building, and fire was opened on it with a cannon which the crowd had seized from a local armory. General Brinton came personally to one of the windows of the roundhouse and appealed to the mob to desist, warning them that if they did not he must and would fire. The rioters paid no attention to his appeal, but continued their assaults, whereupon General Brinton gave orders to his men to fire at those who were handling the cannon, and several of them were killed and wounded. Incendiarism, having been inaugurated, went on through the night, whole trains being robbed and then burned. The troops held their position until Sunday morning, and then retreated out Penn Avenue to Sharpsburg, where they went into camp.
During Saturday night and Sunday morning the mob seemed to have taken possession of the city. They broke open several armories and gun stores, and supplied themselves with arms and ammunition. The banks were threatened, and the city seemed about to be pillaged, the business part of the city being filled with bands of rioters who uttered threats of violence and murder. On Sunday morning the roundhouse and all the locomotives which it contained were destroyed by fire. The Union Depot, the grain elevator, the Adams Express building, and the Pan Handle depot were also set on fire and consumed. The firemen who hastened to the scene and attempted to extinguish the flames were met by armed men and driven back. At half past twelve on Sunday morning a committee appointed by a citizens' meeting tried to open a consultation with the mob, but were promptly driven away. The committee found that they were not dealing with dissatisfied railroad employees but with a mob of the worst of the city's population, there being neither organization nor leader, but each man or party of men doing what the frenzy of the moment suggested. When it seemed as if the whole city was to be destroyed, some of the original strikers were persuaded to attend a meeting of the citizens at four o'clock and arrange to aid in suppressing the incendiarism, and they did this with such a good spirit as showed that the railroad strikers were not a part of the mob and did not countenance its violence. At this meeting the mayor was authorized to enroll five hundred police, but the accounts of the day show that the ranks filled up slowly. The state of terror continued through all of Sunday night, and on Monday morning the mob was still in an unorganized control.
Throughout the thirty-six hours from Saturday night until Monday morning a most unusual state of public mind developed here and there which seemed like a moral epidemic. There was almost a wholesale appropriation of goods from the burning cars by men and even women who would at other times have shuddered at the idea of robbery; and after the riot was suppressed goods were for some time voluntarily returned by persons who had taken them unreflectingly, having at length recovered their moral perceptions, which had seemingly been clouded by the vicious influence of the mob.
On Monday morning, however, the uprooted law seemed to be recovering a portion of its dissipated majesty. During the night posters had been placed conspicuously throughout the city, on which was printed the law under which the citizens of Allegheny County were liable for all the damage done by the mob or arising from its actions. At eleven o'clock in the morning, a meeting of citizens was called at the Chamber of Commerce, to form a Committee of Public Safety to take charge of the situation, as the city authorities, the sheriff, and the military seemed powerless to control it. This committee presented the following address to the public:
The Committee of Public Safety, appointed at the meeting of citizens held at the Chamber of Commerce July 23d, deeming that the allaying of excitement is the first step toward restoring order, would urge upon all citizens disposed to aid therein the necessity of pursuing their usual avocation, and keeping all their employees at work, and would, therefore, request that full compliance be accorded to this demand of the committee. The committee are impressed with the belief that the police force now being organized will be able to arrest and disperse all riotous assemblages, and that much of the danger of destruction to property has passed, and that an entire restoration of order will be established. The committee believe that the mass of industrious workmen of the city are on the side of law and order, and a number of the so-called strikers are already in the ranks of the defenders of the city, and it is quite probable that any further demonstration will proceed from thieves and similar classes of population, with whom our working classes have no affiliation and will not be found among them.
It is to this end that the committee request that all classes of business be prosecuted as usual, and our citizens refrain from congregating in the streets in crowds, so that the police of the city may not be confused in their effort to arrest rioters, and the military be not restrained from prompt action, if necessary, from fear of injuring the innocent.
While the rioters had by this time been somewhat restrained by the resolute action of the committee, yet they were, although dispersed as a body, holding meetings and still breathing sullen threats of further outrage and murder. The strike had spread to the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway, and its trains were for two or three days virtually stopped; in other sections of the country the railroad troubles were increasing, and the committee thought best to call Major-General Joseph Brown and Colonel P. N. Guthrie, of the Eighteenth National Guards, into consultation. Under their advice a camp of the military was formed at East Liberty, to be held in readiness for any further outbreak. Mayor McCarthy, at last inspirited by the determined men who urged him to his duty, enrolled five hundred extra police, and issued a proclamation in which he said:
I have determined that peace, order, and quiet shall be restored to the community, and to this end call upon all good citizens to come forward at once to the old City Hall and unite with the police and military now organizing. I call upon all to continue quietly at their several places of business and refrain from participating in excited assemblages.
A proclamation had also been issued by Governor Hartranft, and he had come to Pittsburgh to address the rioters, and subsequently two or three thousand troops were ordered by him to Pittsburgh, and were encamped near East Liberty for several days.
Under these vigorous measures quiet was in a few days restored, although the Committee of Public Safety continued to hold sessions and to take steps not only to prevent any further demonstrations, but to arrest and bring to punishment a number of the prominent rioters.
Claims for losses in the riot were made on Allegheny County in the sum of $4,100,000, which the commissioners settled for $2,772,349.53. Of this sum $1,600,000 was paid to the Pennsylvania Railroad, whose claim for $2,312,000 was settled for that sum. In addition to the buildings already specified as burned, there were 1,383 freight-cars, 104 locomotives, and 66 passenger coaches destroyed by fire. Twenty-five persons in all were killed.
The lesson was worth all it cost, and anarchy has never dared to raise its head in the corporation limits since that time.
The Homestead strike and riot of 1892 is another incident of false leadership in industrial life which must be chronicled here.
For many years the Carnegie Steel Company, whose principal works were situated at Homestead, just outside the present boundaries of the city, had employed a large number of skilled workmen who belonged to the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, and had contracted for their employment with the officers of that Association. On July 1, 1889, a three years' contract was made which was to terminate at the end of June, 1892. The workmen were paid by the ton, the amount they received depending on the selling price of steel billets of a specified size which they produced. If the price of these billets advanced, the wages they received per ton advanced proportionately. If the price declined, their wages also declined to a certain point, called a minimum, but a decline in the selling price below this minimum caused no reduction in wages. The minimum was fixed in the contract at $25.00 per ton. At the date the contract was made the market price of the billets was $26.50 per ton.
As the time drew near for the contract to expire, the Carnegie Company, through its chairman, Mr. Henry C. Frick, submitted to the workmen belonging to the Association a proposition as the basis of a new contract. The three most important features of the proposed contract were, first, a reduction in the minimum of the scale for billets from $25.00 to $22.00; second, a change in the expiration of the date of the scale from June 30th to December 31st; third, a reduction of tonnage rates at those furnaces and mills in which, by reason of the introduction of improved machinery, the earnings of the workmen had been increased far beyond the liberal calculation of their employers. At those places where no such improvements had been made, no reduction in tonnage rates was proposed. The company gave as a reason for reducing the minimum that the market price of steel had gone down below $25.00 per ton, and that it was unfair for the workmen to have the benefits of a rise in the market above $25.00, and share none of the losses of the company when the market price fell below that figure. Indeed, the company contended that there ought to be no minimum as there was no maximum under the sliding scale. The workmen insisted that there ought to be a minimum to protect them against unfair dealing between the company and its buyers, as they had no voice or authority in selling the products of their labor.
The reason for changing the time for closing the contract was that the company's business was less active at the end of the calendar year than in midsummer, and that it was easier to complete new arrangements for employment at that time. Another reason was that the company often made sales for an entire year, and consequently contracts for labor could be more safely made if they began and ended at times corresponding with contracts made with their customers. The workmen opposed this change in the duration of the contract on the ground that in midwinter they would be less able to resist any disposition on the part of the company to cut down their wages, and that in the event of a strike, it would be more difficult to maintain their situation than it would be in summer. They claimed, therefore, that the change in time would be a serious disadvantage to them in negotiating with their employers. They proposed to the company, as a counter proposition, that the contract should end the last of June, as had formerly been the case, and that if any change was to be demanded, three months' notice must be given them, and that, if this was not done, the contract, which was to run for three years, should continue for a year longer; in other words, from June 30, 1895, until June 30, 1896. This suggestion was rejected by the company. But the company then proposed to make the minimum $23.00 per ton for steel billets, and the Association, through its committee, named a price of $24.00, refusing to concede any more.
While these negotiations were pending, the superintendent of the Homestead Steel Works had concluded contracts with all the employees, except three hundred and twenty-five of the highest skill, who were employed in three of the twelve departments. All the others were to be paid on the former basis of remuneration without any reduction whatever. Of the three hundred and twenty-five high-priced men with whom contracts had not been made, two hundred and eighty would have been affected by the tonnage reductions and about forty-five more by the tonnage reductions and scale minimum.
Under the proposed readjustments those who received the low grades of compensation and the common laborers would not have been touched in their earnings. The actual controversy was thus narrowed down to a small number of men, less than ten per cent. of those employed at Homestead.
During the remainder of the month of June other steps were taken to effect an agreement, but the relations between the officers of the company and the workmen, instead of improving, grew worse. On the 28th the company began to close the different departments, and on the last day of the month work in all of them ceased. On July 1st the striking workmen congregated about the gates, stopped the foremen and employees who came to work, and persuaded them to go away. The watchmen of the company were turned away from the works; guards were placed at all the entrances, the river, streets and roads entering the town were patrolled by strikers, and a rigid surveillance was exercised over those who entered the town or approached the plant. When the sheriff came on July 4th and attempted to put deputies of his own selection in possession of the works, to guard them for the company, he was opposed by a counter force, the striking workmen proposing to place guards of their own and give indemnity for the safety of the property; but this the sheriff declined because it would enable the strikers to keep any new non-union men from taking their places. On July 5th, when the sheriff sent twelve deputies to take possession of the works, they were driven away.
In the meantime Mr. Frick had begun negotiations as early as June 20th with Robert A. Pinkerton, of New York, for the employment of three hundred watchmen to be placed in the works at Homestead. They were brought from Ashtabula to Youngstown by rail, thence to Pittsburgh by river. On the evening of July 5th, Captain Rodgers' two boats, with Deputy Sheriff Gray, Superintendent Potter, of the Homestead works, and some of his assistants, on board, dropped down the river with two barges in tow, until they met the Pinkerton men. When the boat, with the barges in tow, approached Homestead in the early morning of the 6th, they were discovered by a small steamer used by the strikers as a patrol, and the alarm was given. A short war of words was followed by firing on each side, which resulted ultimately in the death of three of the Pinkertons and seven of the workmen, and the wounding of many on each side. After a brief fusillade those on shore fled in various directions, and the Pinkerton men retreated into their barges. About five o'clock in the afternoon the Pinkertons surrendered, being allowed to take out their clothing, but their arms and supplies fell into the possession of the Homestead people. The barges were immediately set on fire and burned, and in their burning the pump-house belonging to the Carnegie Company was also destroyed. The Pinkerton men, now being practically prisoners of war, were marched up-town to the skating-rink for temporary imprisonment. The sheriff was notified, and he came down that night and took the prisoners away. He then informed the governor of Pennsylvania of what had occurred, and called upon him for troops to enforce the law and restore public order. Governor Pattison made a prompt response to this appeal, as his duty under the law required him to do. On the morning of the 12th the soldiers of the State militia entered Homestead. As soon as they arrived the Carnegie Company took possession of its works, and began to make preparations to resume work with non-union men. It was difficult to secure employees, and several months passed away before the company was able to obtain all the men it desired. At first the new employees were fed and housed within the enclosure, and this plan continued for several weeks until their number had increased to such a degree that they felt secure in going outside for their meals with the protection afforded by the sheriff's deputies.
The company made an effort to employ their old workmen and fixed a time for receiving applications for employment from them. When the time had expired, however, which was on July 21st, not one participant in the strike had returned. At a later period many of the old employees returned to work. By the close of July, nearly a thousand men were at work at Homestead. On July 23d Mr. Frick was shot in his office by Alexander Berkman, an anarchist, who was not, and never had been, an employee. The chairman recovered from his wounds and his assailant was sent to the penitentiary.
The last of the troops were not withdrawn until October 13th. At that time the mill was in full operation with non-union men.
Though the strike was ended in October, its formal termination by the Amalgamated Association was not declared until November 20th, when the disposition of the strikers to return to work was very general. Assuming that the strike lasted nearly five months, as the monthly pay-roll of the mill was about $250,000, the loss to the striking employees for that period was not far from $1,250,000. No estimate of the loss sustained by the company has been published. The cost to the State in sending and maintaining the National Guard at Homestead was $440,256.31.
Pittsburgh has thus passed through many battles, trials, afflictions, and adversities, and has grown in the strength of giants until it now embraces in the limits of the county a population rapidly approaching one million. This seems a proper moment, therefore, turning away from the romantic perspective of history, to attempt a brief description of Pittsburgh as we see her to-day. In order to give value to the record it will be necessary to employ certain statistics, but the effort will be to make these figures as little wearisome as possible. The present population after the annexation of Allegheny (December 6, 1907) is estimated at 550,000, and if we were to add McKeesport with its tube mills, Homestead with its Carnegie works, and East Pittsburgh with its Westinghouse plants, all of which lie just outside of the present corporate limits, the population would be 700,000. In 1900 we can give the population definitely (omitting Allegheny) at 321,616, of whom 85,032 were foreign born and 17,040 were negroes. Of these foreign born 21,222 were natives of Germany, 18,620 of Ireland, 8,902 of England, 6,243 of Russian Poland, 5,709 of Italy, 4,107 of Russia, 3,553 of Austria, 3,515 of German Poland, 2,539 of Wales, 2,264 of Scotland, 2,124 of Hungary, 1,072 of Sweden, 1,025 of Austrian Poland, and 154 Chinese.
It has already been said that the city is a gateway from the East to the West and South, and as such it is the center of a vast railway system. The principal railroads serving Pittsburgh are the Pennsylvania, Baltimore and Ohio, the New York Central Lines, and the Wabash System, and she has also a numerous fleet of boats plying the three rivers. Coal is brought to the city by boats as well as by rail, and great fleets of barges carry it and other heavy freight down the Ohio. A ship canal for the establishment of water transportation between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie (127.5 miles) has been projected. The railroads carry through Pittsburgh over eight per cent. of all the railroad traffic of the United States; and have a particularly heavy tonnage of coal, coke, and iron and steel products; while a large proportion of the iron ore that is produced in the Lake Superior region is brought here to supply Pittsburgh manufactures. The total railway and river tonnage is greater than that of any other city in the world, amounting in 1906 to 122,000,000 tons, of which about 12,000,000 tons were carried on boats down the Ohio. Her tonnage is equal to one half the combined tonnage of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The following table will be very interesting as showing the extraordinary fact that the tonnage of Pittsburgh exceeds the combined tonnage of the five other greatest cities in the world (1902):
Pittsburgh 86,636,680 tons London 17,564,110 tons New York 17,398,000 " Antwerp 16,721,000 " Hamburg 15,853,490 " Liverpool 13,157,720 " ————— Total 80,694,320 " ————— Pittsburgh's excess 5,942,360 "
Pittsburgh has freight yards with a total capacity for more than 60,000 cars. Its harbor has a total length on the three rivers of twenty-eight miles, with an average width of about one thousand feet, and has been deepened by the Davis Island Dam (1885) and by dredging. Slack water navigation has been secured on the Allegheny River by locks and dams at an expense of more than a million and a quarter dollars. The Monongahela River from Pittsburgh to the West Virginia State line (91.5 miles) was improved by a private company in 1836, which built seven locks and dams. This property was condemned and bought by the United States Government, in 1897 for $3,761,615, and the Government is planning to rebuild and enlarge these works.
Pittsburgh is surrounded by the most productive coal-fields in the country. The region is also rich in petroleum and natural gas, and although the petroleum in the immediate vicinity has been nearly exhausted, it is still obtained through pipes from the neighboring regions. The first petroleum pipe line reached Pittsburgh in 1875.
Pittsburgh is also a port of entry, and for the year ending December, 1907, the value of its imports amounted to $2,416,367.
In 1806 the manufacture of iron was begun, and by 1825 this had become the leading industry. Among the earlier prominent iron industries was the Kensington Iron Works, of which Samuel Church (born February 5, 1800; died December 7, 1857), whose family has been resident in Pittsburgh from 1822 to the present day, was the leading partner. In the manufacture of iron and steel products Pittsburgh ranks first among the cities of the United States, their value in 1905 amounting to $92,939,860, or 53.3 per cent. of the total of the whole country. Several towns in the near neighborhood are also extensively engaged in the same industry, and in 1902 Allegheny County produced about 24 per cent. of the pig iron; nearly 34 per cent. of the Bessemer steel; 44 per cent. of the open hearth steel; 53 per cent. of the crucible steel; 24 per cent. of the steel rails, and 59 per cent. of the structural shapes that were made that year in the United States. In 1905 the value of Pittsburgh's foundry and machine-shop products amounted to $9,631,514; of the product of steam railroad repair shops, $3,726,990; of malt liquors, $3,166,829; of slaughtering and meat-packing products, $2,732,027; of cigars and cigarettes, $2,297,228; of glass, $2,130,540; and of tin and terne plate, $1,645,570. Electrical machinery, apparatus, and supplies were manufactured largely in the city, to a value in 1905 of $1,796,557. The Heinz Company has its main pickle plant in Pittsburgh, the largest establishment of its kind in the world.