Home .. Email .. Articles .. Simply .. Links

Welcome to Canada

Photo Essay

British Columbia
BC - Mainland Photo Essay
Vancouver Island Photo Essay

New Brunswick
Acadian Village
King's Landing

Nova Scotia
Amherst Shore to Pictou
Brier Island Whale Watching
Digby to Annapolis Royal
Granville to Windsor
Photo Essay
Parrsboro to Amherst
Truro to Parrsboro
Windsor to Truro
Yarmouth to Digby

Ontario - North
Autumn Splendor
Driving the TransCanada - The Sault to Wawa
Driving the TransCanada - Wawa to Thunder Bay
North of Superior - Armstrong
North of Superior - Nipigon to Armstrong
North of Superior - Sault Ste. Marie to Terrace Bay
  Sudbury Rocks!
A Woman's Work is Never Done

Ontario - South
A 'Grand' Canyon
A Wee Bit o’ Perth
Christmas in the Valley
Kate Aitken
Lucy Maud
Mennonite Country
Teepee Camping
Fergus - Rural Ontario's Scottish Town

Corridor #132 Grosse Ile through Bay St Laurent to Gaspe
Highway #132, L’Islet to Matane
Highway #132, Matane to Gaspe
Highway #132, Perce to Matapedia
Photo Essay
Photo Essay 2
Montmorency Falls, Ile d'Orleans and the Cote de Beaupre
Quebec City's Historical Treasures
Quebec's Old City & Petit Champlain
The Eastern Townships
The Eastern Townships Photo Essay

Apple Butter & Cheese
Brighton's AppleFest
Celtic Festival
Elvis Festival
Festival of the Maples
Headwaters Country
Herb Festival
Maple Madness
Northern Lights
Pow Wow
Pumpkin Festival
Scarecrow Festival
Split Rail Festival

Quiet Corner
River Valley

Country Music Highway
Golden Triangle - Photo Essay
Golden Triangle
Kentucky East
Kentucky North
Kentucky South
Kentucky South-Central
River Corridor

Bar Harbor
Bounding Maine
Classic Maine

Old Sturbridge Village

New Hampshire
Mount Washington

New York State
Adirondack's Autumn Surprises
Autumn in the Adirondacks
Grandma Moses
More Than Baseball
Lake Placid

North Carolina
Cape Lookout to Cape Fear
Cruising the Coast
From Sea to Mountain
My Heart's in the Highlands
The Gardens of Eden
Western Reaches - Hidden Treasures Photo Essay
Western Reaches of North Carolina

The Quiet Land

Beautiful York
Bridges; Markets
Festivals, Frolics
The History Trail
The Johnstown Flood

Rhode Island

South Carolina
Beaufort, Bluffton
& Hilton Head
Charleston and Area
Myrtle Beach
Olde English District
Photo Essay
Thoroughbred Country

Cumberland Highlands
Eastern Tennessee
Knoxville, Norris, Oak Ridge & The Gap
North & East of Nashville
North & West of Nashville
Pickett County - Photo Essay
Photo Essay
South & East of Nashville
South & West of Nashville
The World of Dale Hollow

Christmas Village
Middlebury Inn


- - - - - - - - - - - -
Jewels of the North
Breezy Blackpool
Witches and Hot Pot
A Lightning Tour

- - - - - - - - - - - -


- - - - - - - - - - - -

The Island of Crete

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Ancient Rome
Renaissance Rome

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Some tips on
Living Simply

The History Trail

Print this page
By Pat Mestern

History is alive and well in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania where the British army and its influence on the western interior of Colonial America, is remembered through a number of important rebuilt historical sites.

Three, of many sites worth visiting along Pennsylvania's Trail of History, are Fort Necessity, Fort Ligonier and Bushy Run Battlefield. Each gives an excellent insight, yet different view of British army life and strife during the mid-years of the eighteenth century. People tend to forget that before the American Revolution in the 1770's, the Colonies were British and had a more structured British lifestyle than that of settlers in the robust and wild Canada West. There is also a tendency to forget that in the eighteenth century, the French exercised their considerable territorial influence from Montreal to New Orleans, bolstering their presence with a line of outposts and forts along the route.

The Allegheny River, on the western border of Pennsylvania lead directly to the Ohio River Valley and on to the great Mississippi. This route, dominated by the French, played a key role in their lucrative fur trade. By the early 1750's, the English were challenging the territorial rights of the French, who had allied themselves with the powerful Six Nations of Indians. Along with a formidable enemy, British troops had to contend with bridging the Allegheny Mountain range to access French fortifications. In 1754 concern mounted about a large French contingent building Fort Duquesne at Forks of the Ohio.

Twenty-one year old Major George Washington was dispatched in May, with company of 132 men to the western border. Washington decided a direct western route was necessary for movement of troops and supplies so proceeded to cut a road over the impregnable Memacolin Path. Progress was slow but eventually Washington's group hacked their way to a mile wide meadow, where a temporary camp was established. 'A fort of necessity' Washington called the fortification he ordered built. By June reinforcements brought his troops up to four hundred individuals, but work on the fort went slowly. On July lst the first skirmish took place near Fort Necessity at Great Meadow, with French and Indians fighters pushing British soldiers across the open field and pinning them in the unfinished palisade. By July 3, Washington's attempt to lure the enemy out onto the meadow for open battle had failed. Both sides were suffering losses from battle, desertion and distractions which included the 'demon rum.' By mutual agreement, a gentleman's surrender was negotiated on July 4, 1754. George Washington had lost his first battle and started a war.

The next thrust was conceived from a plan prepared by the Duke of Cumberland, son of George 11 and notorious for his success at Culloden in 1745. Under the direction of Edward Braddock, a forty-five year veteran of the Coldstream Guard, an attack was perpetuated on Fort Duquesne. Braddock traveled across the mountains uneventfully but through a series of tactical blunders, he was routed close to Forks of the Ohio, leaving the frontier defenseless until 1758. During this period of time both the French and native Indians forces wrecked havoc, driving pioneers out of western frontier with unprovoked vicious attacks toward undefended settlements. In 1757, British Secretary of State William Pitt, with General John Ligonier as Chief Miliary Advisor, took charge of the war. A Scot, Brigadier General John Forbes and Colonel Henry Bouquet were given the task of routing the French and securing the Forks of the Ohio. In a daring move, reminiscent of George Washington's thrust three years before, Forbes decided to cut a direct route over the hump of the Allegheny Mountains to access the Ohio river valley.

The road was begun in July of 1758 and by September 1, a fort on the Loyalhanna River at the midway point way was begun. The fort, aptly named Ligonier, was strategic to the assault on Fort Duquesne, fifty miles west. Several skirmishes between September and November led the French to believe they should withdraw for the winter to positions closer to supplies on the Great Lakes. In November 1758, the British walked into Fort Duquesne without a fight. With the fall of Quebec in 1759 and Montreal in 1760, the war with New France was over and the British took full control of the western American interior. Native populations who were used to easy relations and negotiations with the French, became increasingly annoyed that their demands and concerns were being ignored.

By 1762, when it became apparent that their way of life was in jeopardy, a number of Great Lakes tribes banded together in one last attempt for native independence. Six British outposts fell quickly to their onslaught and a siege was perpetrated on Fort Pitt, now the site of Pittsburgh. By Jan of 1763 they had become such a threat that Colonial Henry Bouquet was sent over the Forbes Road via Fort Ligonier to engage the enemy and relieve a siege at Fort Pitt. In August, Bouquet found himself in an uncomfortable position at Edge Hill near Bushy Run. Through a brilliant military tactic, Bouquet managed to turn a bad situation into victory effectively destroying the Indian initiative.

Rebuilt Fort Ligonier is an excellent site, rich with artifacts, museum and introductory film. Tours are self-guided, giving lots of time for viewing both museum and fort. The use of mannequins in period costume throughout the fort is genius. A number of Scottish Highland Regiments saw duty on the western frontier, and Ligonier's interpretation and display of Scots Highland dress is exceptional. Don't miss their gift shop with its abundance of books pertaining to military campaigns and dress.

In the heart of the Laurel Highlands, one does not expect to find such a salute to the British period in America. Very British! Very good! Fort Necessity, with its rebuilt palisades is strategically placed on Great Meadow. An excellent view of the area and fort can be had from the Interpretive and Visitor Center at the entrance. Staff is always eager to answer questions before a self-guided tour of the fort and meadow is taken.

Great Meadow is an unusual natural meadow, surrounded by the highlands. As Washington surmised, it would have been a marvelous place for a small skirmish, had the enemy cooperated by showing themselves in full on it, instead of hiding behind trees on its perimeter. Bushy Run Battlefield has an excellent Visitor Centre with well thought-out exhibits pertaining to both the British and the Native Indians. Their interpretation of the Native participation is very good. Once again mannequins are used to advantage. If you decide to take a walk along the Edge Hill Trail, pick up a pamphlet at the Centre, which outlines the important locations and events pertaining to General Bouquet's battle.


  • Accomodations include:
    • Ligonier
      on Route #30, in the heart of the Laurel Highlands

      The Ramada Inn
      located three blocks from Fort Ligonier
      216W Loyalhanna
      Ligonier, Pennsylvania 15658

  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield
    • located on #40 Highway
      at #1 Washington Parkway
      Farmington, Pennsylvania
      A reasonable admission is charged

  • Fort Ligonier, is situated at
    • 216 South Market Street
      Ligonier, Pennsylvania 15658-9701
      An admission is charged

  • Bushy Run Battlefield
    • on State Route #993
      Jeannette, Pennsylvania
      Their postal address is
      P.O. Box 468
      Harrison City, Pennsylvania 15636-0468
      Visitors are asked to pay a small admission fee.

  • For information on the Pennsylvania's Trail of History, write to
    • Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
      P.O. Box 1026
      Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17108-1026

Copyright © 2005 Mestern.Net All rights reserved.