Allegheny City before the White Man.
Hello… My name is Bill Gandy from the Allegheny City Historic Gallery. I preserve and promote the history of the Northside of Pittsburgh, formerly known as Allegheny City.
What is the history of the Native Americans in this region? I dedicate this Blog to the late, great Dan Rooney. He told me that he would like to do a book about the Native Americans of this region during a book signing at my gallery. This is not as detailed as a book but it is a quick overview.
The earliest people known to inhabit this region is the Adena culture. They existed from around 800 B.C.E. to 100 C.E.. This is before the Mayans and the Aztecs. They populated Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The name was given to them in the 1800’s from Thomas Worthington. It was the name he gave to a large mound that existed on the property that he acquired. The Adena people: Built complexes for burial and ceremonial rites, had an extensive trade network, carving small stone tablets, hunting gathering seeds and cultivating pumpkin, squash, sunflowers and more.
Next was the mysterious Allegewi culture. This is interesting because it is filled with legend and lore. The Lanape tribe (Delaware) kept a written history called the “Walum Olum” or Red Score. This book dates back to when Lenape crossed the land bridge into America. According to their records between 700 and 1100 A.D. they ran into a settlement of giants that populated what we call the Allegheny mountains and river. They called them the Ancient Ones. They described them as not being savages nor nomads. They were a great culture of fixed habitation. Created fortified cities along the river, lakes and mountains. The Shawnee and Mengue also attest to their presence. War broke out between the Lenape (Delaware) and the Allegewi and over land and hunting rights. The war lasted for many years and the Lenape (Delaware) suffered great losses and recruited the Mengwe for assistance. Together they were able to drive the Allegewi down the Mississippi river. There is a writing called “There Were Giants on the Earth” compiled by Glen Chapman on October 2, 2004 that references the Allegewi.
The Delaware (Lanape) and Mengwe divided the territory between the two. In the latter half of the 1600’s control of the valley switched between the Shawnee and the Iroquois. The Iroquois was known as the 5 Nation League. It was comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Onieda, Cayugas and Seneca.
By the time the French arrived in the early 1700’s, the Shawnee were in control. The British was also starting to invade the area so the Shawnee with the French fought them off. Point State Park which is at the confluence on the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers has Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt. Fort Duquesne is when the French were in control of the area with the Shawnee. Fort Pitt is from when the British took control of the area in 1763.
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