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N-O  -   Names to Ownership




Names. Indian children were often not given names until six or seven years old. Within the family, they were addressed by their relationship—son, brother, sister, niece, nephew, or whatever. Family names such as Smith, Jones, Johnson, or whatever, did not exist in the Indian culture. Each person was given a distinct name within his local tribe or possibly nation. This practice of unique names avoids the confusion we find with persons of the same name, but—understanding relationships among persons becomes difficult.

(See Bald Eagle and Half-King, and Indian Personal Names.)


Nantes. Edict of Nantes. An edict by Henry IV of France in 1598 granting considerable religious and civil freedom to Huguenots (Protestants). Henry IV was a Protestant who gained approval of the Catholic leaders for the edict by performing the political compromise of becoming a Catholic himself. Louis XIV revoked the edict in 1685 resulting in an exit from France of Huguenots to various countries in Europe and to North America. A crucial effect of Louis’ action was that Canada after that date was to receive no one who was not Catholic and French.

(See Huguenots and Population-New France.)


Nanticokes. Algonquin-speaking Indian with principal residence on present-day Maryland-Eastern Shore and Delaware areas. Heavily under Iroquois influence after around 1680. After being pushed out of their homeland by settlers, they asked the Iroquois to allow them to move into more-protected areas in Pennsylvania (c1722). They first moved up into the Wyoming Valley and then into the flats now known as Nanticoke. The annual treks they made to their home territory on the Chesapeake Bay gave rise to the Nanticoke Path designation of the way through Reading, Hazelton on down to the Chesapeake Bay.


Napier. Colonel Robert Napier. Private secretary to the Duke of Cumberland (William Augustus). Correspondence between Braddock and the Duke of Cumberland presumably went through Colonel Napier.


Nebby. The Scotch-Irish settlers referred to their nose as their “neb.” Persons prying into someone else’s affairs were said to be “nebby.”


Negotiators. The negotiator/interpreters  for the Penn Proprietary—Conrad Weiser, George Croghan, Andrew Montour, Thomas McKee, and others would negotiate with Indians such as Shickellamy, Tanagharison, Scarrooyady, and others. In many cases, these participants were not persons of particularly  high stature within their own communities. They were in many respects no more than messengers from Onondaga or Philadelphia. Pisquetomen spoke English, while Teedyuscung and Shickellamy could understand a little. The ”English” who could speak any of the Indian dialects were normally métis.

The lack of language ability on both sides during the colonial period was undoubtedly at the root of several of the treaty misunderstandings. The problem presented by the lack of a written Indian language was never solved. The negotiators had perhaps an impossible job

Remembrance: "What do you call a person who speaks two languages?” Answer. “Bilingual.” “What do you call a person who speaks one language?” Answer  “An American.”

(See Métis.)


Negro Mountain.

Negro Mountain. US 40 near Grantsville, Garrett County, MD. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged poster and enlarged site photo.

"The Naming of Negro Mountain. Nemesis, a black frontiersman, was killed here while fighting Indians with Maryland frontiersman Thomas Cresap in the 1750s. Legend tell us that he had a premonition of his death. In his honor, they named this mountain after him."

Image from the Enoch Pratt Library Cator Collection.

(See Cresap and Springs.)


Neill Log House. Probably built in the 1770s, but some sources record as late as 1787. The cabin measures 19 feet by 25 feet on the interior with a large fireplace and loft. The builder, Robert Neill, was married with five daughters. They also owned a house on Market Square (downtown Pittsburgh). Neill died in 1795 and his wife a few years later. The log house was sold and resold several times before ending as property of James O'Hara. James O'Hara's grandaughter, Mary Schenley, gave the property (including the log house) to the City of Pittsburgh in 1889.

Neill Log House. Serpentine Drive, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged sign and enlarged site photo.

"Neill Log House Built c.1787."

The Neill property included 262 acres and survived through not being on land subdivided into small lots. Over the years the house deteriorated until absorbed by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in 1969 who dismantled it and rebuilt it in place. They were able to maintain the original fireplace and chimney. It is open to the public during special events.

Compiler's note: In the photo, the viewer can discern the Cathedral of Learning in the background—PITT).


Nemacolin. Delaware Indian who, with Thomas Cresap, created a trail from Wills Creek (Fort Cumberland) to a point a couple miles west of the Great Meadows (Fort Necessity) with one branch leading north to Gist’s Plantation and the other leading west on to Redstone Creek on the Monongahela. Fort Necessity is located on this path (also called Nemacolin’s Trail and Braddock’s Road) A connecting path joined Gist’s with the Redstone location. Braddock’s grave is located on this path (currently US 40). Some accounts refer to Nemacolin as “Chief” Nemacolin. This is possible as many Indians are referred to as Chief, e.g., the expression “too many chiefs; not enough Indians.”


Neolin. The Delaware Prophet. (now-lyn)  To some “The Imposter.” A Delaware (Lenni Lenape) religious leader who taught a return to the old ways of life—a nativist. He spoke of being talked to directly by the Master of Life who scolded him. "This land where ye dwell I have made for you and not for others. Whence comes it that ye permit the whites upon your lands? Can ye not live without them?" He preached that the Lenni Lenape would be stronger if they gave-up guns, rum, and other European goods—totally. In the period following the French & Indian War (1762), the Indians found themselves short of rifles and powder due to new edicts—largely from Jeffery Amherst. Their hunts produced few kills and the people were starving. Neolin blamed it on their forgetting how to talk to the animals and an over-reliance on the European’s guns. Boys should be taught to use the bow and arrow.

Neolin approved of armed resistance against the Europeans and was a major inspiration to Pontiac. “As to those who come to trouble your land—drive them out, make war upon them. I do not like them at all.” For one reason or another, Neolin spewed most of his venom against the English, rather than the French. He was known to refer to the French as “brothers.”

The name Neolin in the Delaware/Algonquin language has a meaning of “four,” which carries symbolic significance—as “the four winds,” “four directions,” etc. Some settlers who were exposed to Neolin believed he adopted some of his attitudes from the Christian faith—he spoke of a heaven in the sky, life as a spiritual journey, the road to hell was easier than the road to heaven, et cetera. He opposed polygamy and the torture of prisoners. Although he did not attack the use of medicine bundles and other shaman-like practices, he encouraged collective worship and the development of a written language. He dreamed of a heaven "where there was no White people but all Indians."

(See Amherst.)


Netawatwees—(See Newcomer below.)


Neutral. An Iroquoian group living in present-day Ontario who attempted to remain "neutral" between the warring Huron and Iroquois. They called themselves Attiwendaronk. When the Iroquois and the Huron fought each other in 1649, the Huron lost the fight and members of their nation spread in several directions—one of which was to join with the Neutrals. Other Hurons were adopted by the Iroquois while the larger proportion formed the basis of the Wyandot Nation.


Neville. John Neville. Born in Prince William County, Virginia in 1731; died near Pittsburgh July 29, 1803. Captain and later Brigadier General. An aristocratic Virginian who built a mansion at Bower Hill, which was probably the most elaborate in western PA at the time. He participated in Braddock’s Monongahela venture in 1755 and later became a colonel in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War.

John Neville plaque at Old St. Luke's Church. 330 Old Washington Pike in Scott Township, Allegheny County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"To the glory of God and in commemoration of the life and services of General John Neville 1731-1803. Patriot and churchman. Founder of this the First Episcopal church in Allegheny County. This tablet is placed by his descendants A.D. 1912 under the auspices of The Historical Society of the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

Neville was a commander of the militia at Fort Pitt and in 1792 was at the center of the “Whiskey Rebellion” as he was the appointed tax collector. His elaborate house “Bower Hill” was burned-down in 1794. He later retired to a portion of his estate located on Neville Island in the Ohio River.

Neville's "Woodville" house. Photo by compiler. Enlarged photo

The house they built in 1785, “Woodville,” was inherited by son Presley. It sits in Collier Township and is available to visitors on an abbreviated schedule ( Off Rte 50—1375 Washington Pike, May-November, Sundays 1-4 pm. ).

Presley was a colonel in the Revolutionary War and served for a time as aide-de-camp to Lafayette. Presley married a daughter of General Daniel Morgan. Presley’s son, Morgan, was an editor of the Pittsburgh Gazette and wrote “Mike Fink, the Last of the Boatmen.”

(See O’Hara below, Isaac Craig, and Whiskey Rebellion.)


New Brunswick. Area in present-day Canada immediately to the north of the state of Maine. Sometimes referred to as a part of “Acadia” in writings of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Indian nations living in the area were Abenaki, Mic-Macs, Maleseets (Malecites), Passamaquoddy, and perhaps others. Some consider the Maleseets and Passamaquoddy as branches of the Abenaki. The French Acadians and the Abenaki both played a part in the French & Indian War.

New Brunswick, or Acadia, was an area of dispute from around 1630 up to 1763. The English colonies in Massachusetts extending up through Maine found themselves in conflict with the French settled along the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. After Queen Anne’s War and the treaty at Utrecht, “Acadia” was to fall to British rule. But—what is Acadia? The British said it included the area of present-day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “Non,” the French countered. They insisted Acadia was solely the territory of Nova Scotia. New Brunswick became a land “under dispute” until 1755 when the British expelled around 90% of the Acadians.

Actions in the New Brunswick area impacted western PA through the influence of the Abenaki and military actions to the east of Cape Breton Island (Ile Royale) at Louisbourg.

New Brunswick is now a bi-lingual province.

(See Abenaki and Acadia.)


New Castle. Also Newcastle.The First Duke of Newcastle. Thomas Pelham-Holles. (1693-1768). British Secretary of State for the Northern Department—treasury, patronage, et cetera, while William Pitt was charged with external affairs—state and military. This relationship is muddy in that George II would not accept Pitt as Prime Minister; therefore, responsibilities were split between the two men.

Some history books incorrectly mention Pitt and Newcastle both as PMs during the 1750s. If either should be referred to as “Prime Minister” at that time, it would be Newcastle. William Pitt became Prime Minister in the 1766-68 period.

Newcastle was the uncle of General George Townshend, who had opposed General Wolfe in the lead-up and fight on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec in 1759. Townshend had drawn cartoons of Wolfe and ridiculed his every plan. After the battle, it was clear that Admiral Charles Saunders, Colonel Guy Carleton, and Major Barré had all been in Wolfe's corner in the planning and execution of the battle. The politics of the situation resulted in the estate of General Wolfe to be grossly short-changed by the crown.


Newcastle. Also Kanuksusy and Fairfax. Son of Queen Alliquippa. Seneca/Iroquois. Died in November 1756. Alleged to have met William Penn as a child. Loyal to the British cause. In 1756 when chaos reigned in PA with settlers chasing Indians, Delaware expressing hatred toward Iroquois and nobody safe on the paths and rivers, Newcastle traveled back-and-forth among the camps as a negotiator and peacemaker. Every trip he made was life-threatening. Newcastle was a follower of Scarrooyady. He was known for his sometimes bawdy anti-Delaware orations and was particularly critical of Teedyuscung. When he died, the cause was believed to have been smallpox.

(See Alliquippa.)


Newcomer. Netawatwees. (c1686-1776). Newcomer became chief of the turtle clan (Unami) of Delawares around 1757. As a youth he was exposed to William Penn along the Delaware River. He was a signatory of the Treaty of Conestoga in 1718. He moved west to the Ohio Country at “Allegania.”

After the death of Sassoonan in 1747, the Unami were without a chief for a few years. Tanagharison appointed Shingas “Half-King” of the Ohio Country Delaware in 1752. Shingas was replaced by his brother, Beaver (Tamaqua), in 1758. During this same period, Newcomer, became chief of the Unami in 1757, and recognized as chief of the Delawares. In some Delaware (Lenape) customs the Unami are considered the first among the three clans (Turtle, Wolf, and Turkey).

Newcomer settled Gekelmukpechunk (Newcomerstown)—east of present-day Coshocton, OH on the Tuscarawas River. During the French and Indian War and into the 1760s, Newcomer tried to form alliances with the British, but became discouraged when a smallpox epidemic hit his people. His pleadings for help from the British went unanswered. He turned to Neolin the prophet for help in returning to the old ways in divorcing themselves from the White culture. This placed him in Pontiac’s camp and the losing side of the “Rebellion.” In the 1770s, Newcomer turned to the Moravians for help—David Zeisberger and John Heckewelder. This established the Delaware communities of Gnadenhutten, Lichtenau, and Schoenbrunn. The Delaware, at this point, became split between the “Christians” and the “Traditionalists.” Newcomer’s grandson, Killbuck, resented his grandfather drawing off from the Delaware population potential braves lost to resisting the white settler advance into their territory.

Newcomer died in Pittsburgh October 31, 1776.

Newcomerstown. 221 West Canal Street in Newcomerstown, Tuscarawas County, Ohio (US 36). Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"The Old Delaware Indian Town GEKELEMUKPECHUNK stood here until after 1775.

"Leni Lenape Capital under Chief Netawatwes, also called KING NEWCOMER of the Turtle Tribe.

"Greyhound Post Houses, Inc. 1954"

(See Mary Harris.)


New Cumberland. Located on the east bank of the Ohio river in present-day Hancock County, WV. A manufacturing area with a past heavy in the processing of fire and paving bricks as well as sewer pipes and assorted glasswares.

New Cumberland. WV 2 (Ridge Avenue) at intersection with Lincoln Street in New Cumberland, Hancock County, WV. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

New Cumberland. Near New Cumberland, George Chapman settled, about 1783, and built an Indian fort. Here are the graves of the Chapmans, Gregorys, Graftons, and other pioneer families. Pughtown, settled about 1810, was the first county seat."


New France.La Nouvelle France.  Name given to area in North America claimed by France in 1535 following the voyage of Jacques Cartier up the Saint Lawrence River. The territory was expanded by Samuel de Champlain (1603) and Robert de la Salle (1666). New France was centered on the Saint Lawrence River with additional centers on the upper Mississippi River and at New Orleans. Unlike the English colonies in North America, French Canada did not attract the thousands of settlers necessary for significant growth of the colony. France was a nearly feudal country lacking much of a middle-class. The wealthy spent their money on castles—or perhaps buying military commissions or affairs at court. The short growing season in Canada (150 days) discouraged farmers. The fruit trees growing in the south of France could not weather the Canadian winters. The French people, for whatever cultural reason, do not travel well. Spanish and Portugese immigrated to Central and South America in significant numbers. The English and other Northern Europeans arrived in North America as families. France was forced to entice women to emigrate through various financial inducements. The French forced indigent peasants into the military, took them to New France, and left them there.

(See Champlain and La Salle.)


New France-Governors. La Nouvelle France. Canada became an independent nation in 1867. From 1763-1867 it was British North America. Prior to 1763 it was New France. Western PA and La Nouvelle France interacted across many fields in the period prior to 1800. References are often made to its several governors. A chronological list follows:


Governor Generals of La Nouvelle France                                     Dates in Office


Samuel de Champlain1627-1635Born France 1567; died Quebec 1635.
Charles de Montmagny1635-1648Born France 1599; died 1654 West Indies.
Louis d'Ailleboust de Coulonge1648-1651Born 1612; died 1660.
Jean de Lauzon1651-1657Born Paris 1582; died Paris 1666.
Le Vicomte d'Argenson1658-1661Born 1625; died 1709.
Le Baron d'Avaugour1661-1663Born 161?; died 1664.
Augustin de Mésy1663-1665 Died 1665 in Quebec
Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy1665Born 1603; died 1670.
Daniel de Courcelle1665-1672Born 16??; died 1698.
Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau1672-1682Born France c1620; Died Quebec 1698.
Joseph-Antoine de LaBarre1682-1685Born 1622; died 1688.
Jacques-René de Brisay, Marquis de Denonville1685-1689Born 1638; died 1710.
Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau1689-1698Born France c1620; died Quebec 1698.
Louis-Hector de Calliére1698-1703Born 1648; died 1703.
Philippe de Rigaud Vaudreuil1703-1725Born 1643; died 1725. Canadian born.
Charles Le Moyne, Baron de Longueuil1725-1726Born Montreal 1656; died Montreal 1725.
Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois1726-1747Born 1670; died 1749. Naval Officer.
Le Comte de la Galissonniére1747-1749Born France 1693; died France 1756. Navy.
Le Marquis de la Jonquiére1749-1752Born France 1658; died 1752 in Quebec.
Charles-Jacques Lemoine de Longueuil1752Interim governor April-August 1752.
Le Marquis de Duquesne1752-1755Born 1700; died 1778. Admiral.
Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal1755-1763Born Quebec 1698: died Paris 1778.



Governors General of British North America


General James Murray1763-1766
Sir Guy Carleton1766-1778
General Sir Frederick Haldimand1778
Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester1778-1786
General Robert Prescott1786-1808


New Orleans. La Nouvelle Orléans. La Salle reached the mouth of the Mississippi in 1682 by coming down from the north. New Orleans was critical to the French settlement of North America in that it gave them a warm-water port as well as control of the mouth of the greatest waterway in the continent. (See LaSalle.)

At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, France and Spain entered into a side agreement (1762) where France ceded to Spain New Orleans and the territory that was to become the Louisiana Purchase. The Pinckney Treaty of 1795 with Spain guaranteed United States the passage of goods through the port of New Orleans. Napoleon repurchased the territory from Spain in 1800 in the Treaty of Ildefonso. Although New Orleans became legally French, the Spanish continued to run the territory awaiting French entry on the scene and among other actions; they decided to close the port to the Americans. Commerce down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh and other centers was then cut-off from ocean commerce. President Jefferson wrote Ambassador Robert R. Livingston in 1802 to enter into negotiations with France to buy New Orleans. At that same time, France faced a revolt in Santo Domingo and decided to extricate themselves from the large, indefensible territory on the North American continent—and when the Americans offered to buy it—the Louisiana Purchase was consummated on April 30, 1803. With this purchase, western PA and the northwest territories gained unfettered access to world trade.


Newspaper. In 1786 The Pittsburgh Gazette was published. It is said to be the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies. Daily newspapers did not appear in the colonies until 1784. The first four newspapers in PA found two in English and two in the German language.

(See Pittsburgh Gazette.)


Niagara. The connecting river between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The falls on the Niagara River forced a “carrying place” to be a vital link between the two lakes. During most of the period of the 1600s and up until 1759, the French controlled the river and portage path. They were largely assisted by Seneca Indians who “owned” the portage business. As the river enters Lake Ontario, Fort Niagara was found on the right-hand side with the natural protection of the lake on two sides. The falls and portage are an important factor in the first French explorers moving up the Ottawa River and portaging into Lake Huron rather than facing the Niagara portage. French control of Niagara was crucial for maintaining dominance of the upper country (pay d’en haut).

Niagara Falls was called "Nee-ah-gah-rah" by the Seneca and Huron. It has a meaning of "thundering waters."


North. Lord Frederick North. Second Earl of Guilford. (1732-1792). Became Prime Minister in 1770 and remained in that post until 1782. He was confronted with the Townshend Act of 1767 which, among other things, had placed a tax on the importation of tea into the colonies. North wanted to repeal the entire act, but was met with opposition in the Parliament. They insisted on maintaining the tax on tea—mostly as a symbolic gesture. North was the British Prime Minister during the Revolutionary War period. When British General Cornwallis surrendered in 1781 at Yorktown, George III wanted to continue the fight against the Americans, but the politicians were more concerned about conflicts with Spain and Ireland. Lord North resigned.

North’s term as PM saw the Tea Act of 1773, the Quebec Act of 1774, and in 1774 the closure of the port of Boston, dramatic reduction of the self-governing power of the individual colonies, permission to Royal military officers to be tried in England rather than in the colony of their crime, and provision for the quartering of British troops in colonist’s out-buildings or empty houses without consent. These acts came after the unpopular Stamp Act and Sugar Act of the 1760s. To the colonists in western PA the most damaging was the Quebec Act of 1774. In today’s jargon the Quebec Act was the “Killer Act.”

(See Quebec Act and Townshend Acts.)


North Ten Mile Baptist Church. Founded 1786. Mt. Herman Independent Baptist Church. The congregation began by meeting in a home located on Little Ten Mile Creek and then built a log structure in 1786. The first cabin was replaced by a more finished hewn-log cabin in 1794.

Mt. Herman Independent Baptist Church. At the junction of PA 2007 and PA 3020 (near Prosperity) in Washington County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

The beginning of the current building was put-up in 1840 and then extended in 1975. A small cemetery adjoins the church.


Northwest Ordinance. The first ordinance was written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted in April 1784. Congress approved a second ordinance on July 13, 1787. The ordinance spelled out the rules for the Northwest Territory (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). The territory was to be divided into states having the same political rights as the original thirteen and was to prohibit slavery after 1800. Congress would appoint a governor, a secretary, and three judges for each territory until certain population levels were reached making the territory eligible for statehood. Up to the time of the ordinance the Ohio Company and other land speculators backed by persons in high places claimed this territory. Some feel this ordinance was one of the more important documents passed by Congress under the Articles of Confederation.

The first community settled in the Northwest Territory was Marietta, OH in 1788.

Northwest Ordinance. 601 Second Street in Marietta, OH (on grounds of Campus Martius Museum). Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"The Northwest Ordinance, 1787. Following the establishment of the public land system in 1785, the Continental Congress appointed a committee, chaired by James Monroe, to establish government in the new territory north and west of the Ohio River. Drafted prior to the Constitution of the United States, the Ordinance of 1787 provided the mechanism by which prospective states would enter the Union on an equal basis with existing states. It also prohibited slavery in the new territory and pledged good faith in dealing with Native American tribes. According to this plan, the Northwest Territory became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota in due course."

Gateway to the Northwest. PA 68 west to Ohio state line. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"Near this site on Sept. 30, 1785, Thomas Hutchins, first Geographer of the United States, drove a stake. This was the "Point of Beginning" of the Geographer's Line for the survey of the first "Seven Ranges" of six-mile square townships in compliance with the Federal Land Ordinance of 1785. This survey served as prototype for most of the western United States (except Texas) and many countries of the world.

"Columbiana County Historical Association, East Liverpool Historical Society, and the Ohio Historical Society. Sept 1985."

The Seven Ranges. PA 68 west to Ohio state line. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"In late 1785, Thomas Hutchins, geographer of the United States began the first federal land survey according to the terms of the recent Land Ordinance of 1785. Hutchins' party extended a base line (the Geographer's Line) from the Pennsylvania border due westward from the north bank of the Ohio River, laying out the northern boundary of seven ranges of townships. Each six-mile-square township was subdivided into one-mile-square sections with a north-south row called a range. A one-mile-square section (640 acres) was the smallest unit offered for sale at public auction. As few could afford to purchase a section at $1.00 per acre, land sold slowly. The presence of illegal settlers and tensions with Native Americans slowed the surveying process and only Ohio's Seven Ranges was completed under the first survey.

"The Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Marietta Chapter NSDAR, The Ohio Historical Society. 2003."

Onward in Peace. Fallen Timbers, Ohio. Photo by compiler. Enlarged relief.

"Onward in Peace. To the pioneers of Ohio and the great northwest."

The opening and settling of Ohio was critical to the development of western PA. Up until that time the area was subject to Indian raids and frontier turmoil. The northwestern section of PA was not stable until after the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the subsequent Treaty of Greenville.


Nova Scotia. A peninsula on the eastern coast of Canada extending into the Atlantic Ocean from New Brunswick. The connecting link between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is at the former site of Fort Beauséjour. A Scottish charter in 1621 granted land to Sir William Alexander in the area that was to become Port Royale, thus Nova Scotia. The area was sometimes referred to as Acadia. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 designated “Acadia” as being British. The question for the next forty-years was “What is Acadia?”

(See Acadia, Fort Beauséjour, and New Brunswick above.)








Oak. Quercus. With the white pine, the oak was the most dominant tree in the forests of early PA. The acorns from the white oak were eaten by the Indians and subsequently by the early settlers. Acorns from the red oak were avoided due their bitter taste and the digestive difficulties posed. Youngsters of both groups quickly learned to distinguish between the two basic members of the oak family—the white oak has rounded, smooth edged leaves, while the red oak’s leaves are the same general shapes but have pronounced needlelike projections on their tips.

Sawn white oak stands-up against the weather much better than red. In making fortifications, the builders would search-out white oak. For example, Washington at Fort Necessity had his people construct the fort with white oak logs. In this case, they were split logs to reduce the weight so that each half could be lifted and carried by two men.

White Oak. Addison, Somerset County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

A large white oak tree in the cemetery in Addison. The eight-foot strap used by thelittlelist in tree identification was not long enough to encircle this tree.

A forest of oak trees was a godsend for settlers. It is great firewood; it splits evenly and burns hot. But, it does take some months or a season to dry properly. It makes great housing, furniture, wagons, tool and implement handles, and so forth. If it has drawbacks, some would be that it doesn’t turn (lathe) well and the wood is heavy to carry or pull through the woods. Oak is one of those trees having the ability to sprout from an errant root. Settlers would attempt to plank-out the oak (or any other tree) as soon after cutting down as possible—it saws easier when the moisture content is still high. Unlike the maple or beech, oak prefers a drier soil.

George Washington Bicentennial Oak. Randolph and Market Street in Meadville, Crawford County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

The tree represents a location where George Washington stopped during his trip to Fort LeBoeuf to deliver a message to the French from Governor Dinwiddie of VA in the winter of 1753. The site is on a gradual hillside sloping up from French Creek. It is on property next-door to the house built by David Mead. (See David Mead.)

"Front Royal Oak. Museum, Front Royal VA. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged oak branch slice.

"An oak tree, considered the symbol of royalty, long grew in the middle of the town. It was used to help farm boys, recruited to train for the Revolutionary War, line up appropriately with the order 'Front the Royal Oak.' This is one explanation of how the town of Front Royal attained its name.

"This slab from an oak tree that flourished on the lawn of the Rose Hill estate was 328 years old when it was uprooted in 1997 by a storm. This particular slice was taken from a limb, 21 feet high, and is approximately 240 years old."

Although the "Front Royal Oak" grew in Virginia, it was not atypical of the size of the trees the settlers found in early western PA. Unfortunately, trees of this size were prime lumber for planking-out for building purposes.

Compiler's note: After a tornado type macro-burst in the woods in back of the compiler's house in the early 1990s, several of the downed white oaks exceeded the 32-inch bar capacity of his chain-saw. Each tree yielded several hundred board-feet of lumber. One particularly large oak is now a bed, a table, a breakfront, a couple chairs, et cetera.


O’Hara. James O’Hara. Colonel. (1752-1819). Born in County Mayo, Ireland and educated at Saint-Sulpice, Jesuit seminary in Paris. He immigrated to the colonies in 1772 from Ireland at age 20. He became an Indian trader for Devereaux Smith (as in Smithfield Street) and Ephraim Douglass and served in the colonial army during the revolution—leading troops as far west as the area around present-day Vincennes, IN. In 1781 he became assistant quartermaster of the army and eleven years later was promoted to Quartermaster General of the Army of the United States. He served in this post for four years, including the period of General Anthony Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers and the subsequent Greenville Treaty. O'Hara was assisted during this period by Major Isaac Craig, and then—in 1996 was followed by John Wilkins, Jr. as Quartermaster General. This military background provided O'Hara a firm basis for future commercial dealings. His business ventures included shipbuilding, salt, banking, fur trading, provisions for the military, sawmill, grist mill, brewery, etc. Along the line he amassed huge holdings of real estate.

 Although participating in many business ventures, he is perhaps best known as one of the prime movers in establishing the glass industry in Pittsburgh in 1797 (bottles and windows). O'Hara and his wife, Mary Carson, had six children. His granddaughter was Mary Elizabeth Croghan who married an Englishman three times her age (Captain Edward Wyndham Harrington Schenley) and moved to England never to return permanently to Pittsburgh—but she did donate about 300 acres of valuable real estate to the city which became a park carrying her name. Other parcels sold off at bargain prices bring the total acreage to near 1,000. When Mary Schenley died in 1903, her remaining Pittsburgh real estate sold for $50,000,000. James O’Hara was the first truly rich person in Pittsburgh history.

Confusion surrounds O'Hara's military rank. Some references refer to him as "General," while others designate him as "Colonel." His pay record indicates he was paid as a Lieutenant Colonel; therefore, he would be addressed as "Colonel O'Hara."

(See Isaac Craig.)


Ohio. River and state. French spelling “Oyo.” Based on Seneca word for Beautiful River (or stream).  French—La Belle Rivière. The Seneca considered the Allegheny and the Ohio to be one continuous river. An Indian trail (the Great Path) followed the northern shore of the Ohio River downstream from Pittsburgh to present day Baden (Logstown). The area included in the modern-day state of Ohio is rich in Indian history. Remains of mound people are found in abundance—as in Illinois, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

By the time settlers were arriving in western PA, the tribes in Ohio had a century of experience trading with the French and a few English speakers from PA. Tribes in Ohio at one time or another included Erie, Miami, Mingo, Wyandot (Hurons), Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa, Ojibway, Potawatomi, Seneca, and other. Ohio’s strategic position between Lake Erie and the Ohio River made its portages and connecting paths valuable assets in the frontier wars. The French were determined to keep the British from entering the territory of the Ohio River. The French reasoning was that by their controlling the Ohio River they could contain the British to the territory east of the Appalachian Mountains. With control of the Great Lakes and the Ohio River there was no avenue for the English to expand to the west.

Ohio. County courthouse in Point Pleasant, WV (6th and Main). Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"Ohio. Named for the river, called by the Iroquois the "Beautiful River." Visited by LaSalle in 1669-70. Once part of the Northwest Territory. Settled at Marietta, 1788. Admitted to the Union, 1803. Home of 8 United States Presidents."


Ohio Company. Company formed by Virginians in October 1747, under the leadership of Thomas Lee, with the object of settling the Ohio Valley and profiting from the trade generated—as well as from land speculation. The Company sent Christopher Gist to that territory in 1750 to search out possibilities. Gist later remarked that Indians did not like to see people walking around with a compass or notebook in his hand. Partners in this Company included George Washington’s older brother Laurence (the owner of Mt. Vernon), Augustine Washington, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia (plus nine members of his executive council), the governors of Maryland and North Carolina, Lees, Fairfaxes, Carters, George Mason, 20 members of the Virginia House of Burgesses, four potent political London merchants, and a Duke.

In 1749 the Ohio Company petitioned the crown for land on the Ohio River. In February they got a right to 250,000 acres up front plus another 250,000 on the condition of “seating at their own expence a hundred families upon the land in seven years and erecting a fort and maintaining a garrison for the protection of the settlement.”

Two things in the way—Indians and the French.  Indians in the 1748 Lancaster Treaty agreed to surrender all claims to land west of the Alleghenies. The agreement was made with the Iroquois. Virginia’s charter from their King had already given them a claim from the Atlantic to the Pacific. At a later date, the Iroquois claimed they had only given Virginia rights to the Shenandoah Valley—not all the rest. Other tribes, the Shawnee for example, refuted that the Iroquois had any claim to that land.

The Ohio Company recognized that their venture would only succeed if a road were built connecting Wills Creek (later to be Fort Cumberland) with a terminal at Redstone on the Monongahela and later to the forks of the Ohio.

Some historians state the offer as 200,000 acres in the Ohio Valley plus a bonus of 300,000 more if they successfully settled 100 people in the area and built a fort at the forks of the Ohio within a given time period. Whatever the offer was became moot; the deal eventually fell through. The obvious conflict of interest was apparently not considered unusual at that time.

(See Treaty of Lancaster.)


Ohio Country. Area of western PA referred to as “the forks of the Ohio.” A wider geographical area is often intended to include northern WVA and southeastern OH. In the early 1700s the area was rich in animal life but nearly devoid of humans. That began to change during 1720s and ‘30s as Delaware and Shawnee started moving into the area as their old hunting grounds near the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers began to be colonized by those drawn to the colonies by William Penn. After 1720 the “hunting grounds” became a series of communities at Conemaugh, Shannopin’s town, Kittanning, Kiskiminetas town, and other. Watching their every move was the Iroquois Confederation who might remind them from time-to-time that the others were guests in Iroquois country.

The Ohio Country, or the Ohio Valley as it came to be known, came to the forefront after the American Revolution when it was seen as the land available for sale to pay-off the national debt. The British refused to surrender their forts on the American side of the treaty accord and settlers were hesitant to move into" Indian territory." James Madison called the "Western territory a mine of vast wealth." The national government spent $5 million on the territory during the period 1790-1796 (5/6ths of the Federal budget).

 (See Forks of the Ohio.)


Ohio County, West Virginia. The path across Washington County, PA leading from Washington to Wheeling, WV (the National Road/US 40) during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) was considered a part of Augusta County, VA by the leaders in Williamsburg. In fact, Augusta County, VA encompassed most of frontier Virginia. During the revolutionary war and the border settlements between PA and VA, the neck of West Augusta County, VA was split into several counties—one of which was Ohio.

Ohio County. On US-40 (the National Road) near Valley Grove, WV at the state line between PA and WV. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged marker.

"Ohio County. Formed in 1776 from West Augusta. Named for the river which bears an Indian name meaning 'Beautiful River.' Scene of last battle of the Revolution, 1782. Visited by La Salle, Celoron, Gist, Washington, and later explorers."

West Virginia Roadside Marker


Ohiopyle. A falls on the Youghiogheny River some eight miles downstream from Confluence (Turkey Foot). The river drops some 40 feet in the span of 50 yards and is not passable for boats carrying supplies. This was a serious impediment when George Washington and others tried to join the Potomac River Valley to the Monongahela River and the Ohio Valley. Its present-day attraction is as a site for white-water rafting. The word “Ohiopyle” is believed to denote “white, frothing water” in an Indian language—the Iroquois Seneca used “Oyo” for a beautiful river.

Ohiopyle. PA 381 in Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County. Parking and viewing platforms are available. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged viewer photo and enlarged site photo.

Ohiopyle State Park is a favorite for visitors interested in white-water rafting, biking, and hiking. The Youghiogheny River is a pleasant vacation area, but the river would present problems for persons attempting to move cargo boats downstream.

Compiler's note: Persons visiting Ohiopyle might consider combining the river tour with a visit to Fallingwater—the Frank Lloyd Wright house a few miles north on PA 381 (reservations).

 (See Ohio above.)


Ojibway. (oh-JIB-wuh). Indian tribe living in the Lake Superior area who spoke an Algonquin dialect related to that spoken by the Ottawa. The Ojibway are also referred to as Chippewa (from a lazy pronunciation of the word “Ojibway.”) During the French and Indian War, Pontiac’s Rebellion, and the American Revolution they were allied with the Ottawa, Miami, Wyandot, Huron, Potowatami side against the British and then later against the American colonists.

(See Anishinabeg, Cheyenne, Fort William Henry, Fort Necessity, Mississauga, Pickawillany, Pontiac, Potawatomi, and Upper Country.)


Old St. Luke's Church. Oldest Episcopal church in southwestern PA established in 1790 - Scott Township in Allegheny County.

Old St. Luke's Church. 330 Old Washington Pike, Scott Township, Allegheny County. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged marker and enlarged site photo.

"Oldest Episcopal Church in southwestern Pennsylvania, founded after the French & Indian War by veteran Maj. William Lea on his land grant. Francis Reno was the first vicar. Church members included Gen. John Neville, the unpopular tax collector in 1794 Whiskey Rebellion that disrupted the area and unsettled the congregation. Renewed interest in 1852 led to this stone church, with its 1823 English pipe organ, the first brought over the Alleghenies.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission."

(See John Neville above.)


Old Salem Methodist Church. Early church in Mercer County. The church dates from 1798. A few miles northeast of Greenville at the junction of state routes 4019 and 4020. The original church was rebuilt in 1850 and has a considerable addition built-on. The church has an active congregation and was in the midst of an arts & crafts sale at the time of our visit.

Old Salem Methodist Church. Mercer County. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged church site and enlarged plaque.

"Old Salem United Methodist Church. The first building was erected in 1811. It grew out of a class organized in 1798 and led by Robert R. Roberts, later Methodist Bishop. Roberts presided at the 1828 Pittsburgh Conference Session held here. Erected 1985 by the Commission on Archives and History of the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church."


Old Salem Presbyterian Church. One of the early "tent" churches built with with an outdoor pulpit started in 1786 in a hollow area on Sugar Loaf Hill. The "tent" was followed by a log structure, followed by another structure some 70 x 40 feet in dimension. The second log structure burned in 1848. The present building was constructed in 1848 and heavily remodeled in 1963.

Old Salem Presbyterian Church. On PA 982 two miles south of US 22 (north of New Derry). Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged sign and enlarged site.

The attached cemetery contains markers of veterans of the Revoltionary War as well as those of more recent years. It is an active church with Sunday worship services.


Old Stone Fort. This fort is cloaked in a bit of mystery. Some believe it was built by one of La Salle's aides in the late 1670s or '80s. If this is correct, it would be the earliest remaining structure in the state of Ohio built by a White settler. Many assume that La Salle did pass by the forks of the Ohio on his epic voyage. That being the case, it may not be unreasonable to assume one of his aides would replicate the trip at a later date. The fort is maybe a couple hundred yards south of Tuscarawas Creek.

Old Stone Fort. Off US 36 (Oxford Township in Coshocton County), State Road 751 south to County Road 254 (turn left immediately after crossing Tuscarawas Creek) follow 254 for a mile or so. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged plaque and enlarged site photo.

"Ohio Society. National Society Colonial Dames XVII century. OLD STONE FORT. Believed to have been built by De'Iberville, LaSalle's successor, who built French forts in the Mississippi Valley, 1679 to 1689. He located one northeast of the Ohio River. This may be that fort and Ohio's oldest building. Commemorating the Bicentennial USA 1776-1976."

The fort was restored by the Coshocton County Historical Society in 1952.


Old Stone Tavern. (See Coates Tavern.)


Oldtown. Many villages and towns in PA have had “oldtown” as a part of their name. This label stems from the Indian habit of abandoning a site after the soil had suffered from too many years of corn growing. Corn is well known for its adverse effect on soil. The Indians would abandon the site and move up or down river and establish a “new town.”


Old Zion Lutheran Church. A schoolhouse was built around 1772, which doubled as a church. The schoolmaster, Balthasar Meyer, baptized children in the absence of a regular pastor. Located about three miles southwest of Greensburg in Westmoreland County.

Sion church. Three miles south of Greensburg on PA 136 - stop light at Fort Allen marker. Across the road from Truby's Blockhouse monument. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo of stone and enlarged photo of plaque.

"Sion Church" Herold's Settlement. First Lutheran church west of the Alleghany Mountains. Pioneers arrived 1755-1760. 158 acres called "good purpose" preempted for Lutheran church in 1766. Warrant granted 1786. Patent granted 1789. Log school house and church built 1772 on site about 300 feet south of this spot.

"Fort Allen. Built 1774 on site about 400 yards south. This marker erected and dedicated Aug. 2, 1922. The Pittsburgh Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church."

(See St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church and Truby's Blockhouse.)


Olean Road. Section of the Catawba Path between Olean, NY and Kittanning, PA. Iroquois (probably mostly Seneca) would follow this path south on their war parties against the Catawbas of South Carolina.

Olean Road. US 322 in Corsica (south side of road). Jefferson County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"Olean Road. This early road from Olean to Kittanning followed the Catawba Path, formerly used by Five Nations war parties attacking the Catawbas of South Carolina. Near here it crossed the Indian path from Venango (Franklin) to Chinklacamoose (Clearfield).

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission."


Oneida. "People of the Standing Stone." Charter member of the Iroquois Confederation. They lived in the area of upstate NY north and west of Syracuse—at Kanonwalohale ("head on a post") on Oneida Creek maybe eight miles before it enters Oneida Lake. Many Iroquois leaders were from this nation—Scarrooyady and Shickellamy. The Oneida and Tuscarora were the two members of the Confederation to largely accept Christianity and to side with the rebels in the American Revolution (other Indian tribes to side with the rebels were the Penobscot, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy.). They were ardent followers of the missionary, Samuel Kirkland, who was a fervent patriot. The Oneida started out as neutrals in this “fight between brothers,” but after a battle at Oriskany Creek (Mohawk Valley) where Oneida fought on the side of the rebels and Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, and Cayuga fought on the British side, the break was complete.  Joseph Brant, Cornplanter and others railed against the Oneida, but the damage was done and the Confederation was ended.

For Indian participation in the Revolutionary Wars—see Revolutionary War—Indians.

(See Iroquois and Samuel Kirkland.)


Onondaga. "On the mountain." Charter member of the Iroquois Confederation. “Keeper of the Fire.” When the Iroquois would go into conference, the meeting would be held at Onondaga—upstate NY south of Syracuse. The village at Onondaga was the Iroquois capital. At the time of the end of the French and Indian War (1763) the Onondaga were believed to number around 150 warriors, which would indicate a total population between 600-750.

(See Iroquois and Lake Onondaga.)


Onontio. A sort of catchall phrase used by Algonquin-speaking Indians when referring to the governor of New France—or by extension the King of France or others representing that government. The French and their Indian allies would give presents and exclaim praise to their “father Onontio.” After the French lost Quebec and Montreal ending the French and Indian War and signed papers to that extent, some Indians—especially Pontiac, refused to believe that Orontio would surrender to the English. He and others were positive Orontio would rise up again and expel the English.

One source has Onontio with a meaning of “Great Mountain.”

(See Bad Birds.)


Orme. Captain Robert Orme. (c1730-1790). General Braddock’s aide who watched over his commander at the Battle of the Monongahela until help came to evacuate the General. Orme was wounded in the process. Orme was a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards given a brevet captaincy by Braddock. Several officers on Braddock's staff resented the attention Braddock directed at Orme. Among the British officers, Orme was one held in highest esteem by George Washington.


Ormsby. John Ormsby. Ormsby was born in Ireland and educated at the University of Dublin. He came to the colonies with John Forbes and the British Army. After participating in the taking of Fort Duquesne in 1758, Ormsby was Colonel Hugh Mercer’s commissary officer at Fort Pitt. Ormsby maintained his commissary position and served under Bouquet including the period of Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763. He was granted 3,000 acres along the south shore of the Monongahela River (the area between the Smithfield Street Bridge and Beck’s Run Road). He also gained the first license in 1773 to operate a ferry across the Monongahela River.  He operated the ferry from the tavern he bought from Samuel Semple. His daughter Jane married Dr. Nathaniel Bedford. If walking in the Southside of Pittsburgh, one might notice his daughter’s names on the street signs—Sarah, Jane, Mary, and Josephine. The girls’ brother Oliver built his house up the hill from the flats. We now call the area—Mt. Oliver.

Ormsby Park. Pittsburgh. Southside.


(See Nathaniel Bedford and Samuel Semples.)


Orontony  (Also Nicholas) Chief Orontony and his Kuskuski people lived up and down the Beaver and Shenango Rivers around the present site of New Castle in the late 1740s. Orontony was a competitor of Tanagharison in vying for influence with the Pennsylvania envoy Conrad Weiser. Weiser favored the Logstown based Tanagharison. Orontony was a Huron (Wyandot) who had established himself around Sandoske on Lake Erie (Sandusky). At various times he entered into agreements with both the French and the English while simultaneously antagonizing many of his Huron brethren. During King George’s War 1744-1748, he and the Mingoes remained neutral while the other Huron, Ojibway, Ottawa, and Potawatomi sent their braves to aid the French. Some papers indicate he died around Kuskusky during an epidemic.

                 His son Orontondy was also a Wyandot chief who died in 1781 and had the same “rascal” reputation.


Ottawa. Algonquin-speaking Indian. (ah-TUH-wuh) The first Europeans they met were the French around 1615. Lived in area of southern Michigan. Most famous chief was Pontiac (see Pontiac's Rebellion). They favored the French in the French and Indian War. And then favored the British against the colonists in the Revolutionary War. The Ottawa were known as the consummate traders. The word “Ottawa” in Algonquin translates as “trader.” The Ottawa together with the Ojibway and Potawatomi were called the “Three Fires.” When reading of the Ottawa being involved in a fight one might assume they were accompanied by the two other “Fires.” They were not a confederation, but were closely associated.

Turkey Foot. Fallen Timbers, Ohio. Photo by compler. Enlarged photo.

"Turkey Foot Rock. On this rock according to tradition, Chief Turkey Foot of the Ottawa Indians rallied his warriors during the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Here he was killed, and for many years tribesmen made offerings of tobacco on the rock to appease the Great Spirit."

(See Anishinabeg, Ojibway above, and Potawatomi.)


Outhouse.  Same meaning as "Privy." An outhouse is indeed outside the house. Normally a distance from the owner’s house and a distance from the owner’s water source.  Settler’s cabins had no indoor plumbing, therefore, pots were kept in the bedrooms inside small wooden cabinets. Pots used during the night would be taken to the outhouse and dumped in the morning. These small cabinets were a stock furniture item and were often elaborately ornamented. A washbowl and water pitcher would be placed on top and a towel rack attached.

(See Privy.)


Ownership. To the European settler, ownership was evidenced by paper deeds filed and approved by a land office or court of the government. A person who settles on public or unowned land is said to have established squatter’s rights to the property. The legal government may establish a time period after which a squatter may be considered the legal owner—if not the land, the improvements such as buildings and fences. The Indians did not have a judicial or legal tradition but rather they claimed ownership of property by “right of conquest” or in the fashion of a European monarch claiming all the property in his realm as being “his.”

The ownership question created divisions between the Indians and settlers as well as problems among the varying Indian groups. The Iroquois Confederation claimed land “by right of conquest” that they later sold, but was being occupied by the Lenni Lenape (Delaware), Shawnee, and other Indians. The Indians considered property at various levels, for example, they might “sell” land for a settler to build a cabin—but that did not equate to precluding the Indian from continued use of the land for hunting game or as a free passageway for traveling through. The Indians were selling “use” of the land—not the actual physical property. An Indian sachem might sell the same property to several settlers on the same basis that many families in a tribe might use common property for living and hunting. On a different level, the Indians lacked a currency or other means of storing capital. They understood and participated in a barter economy. Lack of experience in capital formation and European-style ownership resulted in their being deprived of property rightfully theirs.

As a manifest destiny historian might say, “the settlers stole the Indian’s land—fair and square.”

(See Squatter.)



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