Washington’s Trail 1753

This trail is a driving route through western Pennsylvania.  Though using modern highways, the route commemorates young George Washington’s first military and diplomatic venture in the Fall and Winter of 1753-1754.  

Washington’s Mission

In 1753, France, Great Britain, and the Native Americans all claimed control of the area encompassing the present-day western PA and eastern Ohio.  On orders from Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie, twenty-one year-old George Washington embarked upon a dangerous expedition north from Williamsburg to deliver a diplomatic message to the French ordering them to evacuate the region.  Already the French had erected three forts to reinforce their claim to the area: Fort Presque Isle (Erie, PA), Fort LeBoeuf (Waterford, PA), and Fort Machault (Franklin, PA).  

During his journey to the French forts in the winter of 1753-1754, young Washington encountered many hazards, including excessive rains and vast quantities of snow.  He was nearly shot by an Indian guide near Harmony, PA, and he nearly drowned in the icy waters of the Allegheny River near present-day Pittsburgh, PA.  When Washington returned to Williamsburg in January 1754, he reported to the governor that the French intended to remain entrenched in the region.  This marked the beginning of the military struggle known as the French and Indian War.

Historic markers are erected along Washington’s route through the scenic western Pennsylvania countryside.

Washington’s route passed through present-day Conway, and three of these route markers are posted within the Borough limits, roughly following his direction of travel.  

George Washington made his first venture to Beaver County in late 1753.  From the mouth of the Turtle Creek on the Monongahela River, he traveled by canoe to what is now Pittsburgh where he met the King of the Delawares, Shingiss.  Shingiss accompanied Washington to Logstown, an important trading center on the Ohio River, where he enlisted 2 indian chiefs as guides to the French forts further north.  They traveled the Logstown Trail, which followed the Ohio River (the present day Route 65) to Crow’s Town, at the beginning of Crow’s Run, then eastward (to Route 989) past Big Knob, then north (Route 68) through Zelienople and on towards Fort LeBoeuf.

The 3 trail markers in Conway are posted along Route 65 near the “Welcome to Conway Sign”, part way up the hill near the bend from 7th Ave. to 13th St., and just before 13th St./Conway Wallrose Rd. passes into Economy Borough.

**The markers look exactly like the round, blue logo at the top of this page.

**Much of this information was taken from the Washington’s Trail website:  www.frenchandindianwar250.org/visit/washingtons_trail  

Please visit this website for additional information.

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