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October 03, 2023


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History - Frontier Forts

Fort Crawford
New Kensington, PA

Memorial at site of Fort Crawford

In the autumn of 1777 the border settlements were overrun by scalping parties. Many of these parties coming from eastern Ohio were known to cross the Allegheny river at a shallow place used by them as a fording. This point was about sixteen miles north of Pittsburgh (between present day New Kensington and Springdale) and it was too remote from the posts at Kittanning or Fort Pitt to be guarded sucessfully by the military. It was therefore deemed necessary to erect a fort to cover this pathway, and to serve as a rallying point for scouts, as well as to afford protection to troops who were intended to garrison it.

In the spring of 1778 as the inroads of the Indians seemed to increase, one of the first duties assigned Colonel William Crawford, who in May of 1778 took command of the Virginia Regiment station in the Western Department, was the building of this fort. General McIntosh was then in command of the department with headquarters at Fort Pitt. Colonel Crawford, taking with him a small party of men went up the river to determine the most elgible site for the post, and to begin its erection. The place agreed upon was on the southeastern, or Fort Pitt side of the Allegheny river, a short distance above the mouth of Puckety Creek. There a stockade was built, which by direction of Brigadier General McIntosh, was called Fort Crawford. Colonel Crawford commanded here at intervals during the years 1778, 1779 and 1780.

From this time on to the close of the Revolutionary War, Fort Crawford was kept up as a depot and distributing place of supplies and munitions of war for the military, as a place of refuge for the surrounding inhabitants, as headquarters for scouts, and as a post garrisoned by the continental soldiers under the General commanding in the department, or by independent companies of militia who were called out by the County Lieutenant for short service. It served all the purposes of a frontier stockade fort.

This map shows the approximate location of Fort Crawford. It's precise location is unknown, but it stood somewhere within the limits of present day New Kensington. The marker pictured above stand near Logan's Ferry U. P. Church

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