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Just A Shot Away

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We are presenting an update because of  a new movie series, Washington’s Armor.

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Compiled by Jim Moyer originally on  27 December 2018 , updated 2/9/2020.

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This movie, Washington’s Armor,

has a scene in it about the Indian Guide accompanying Major George Washington and Christopher Gist heading home after delivering the French a message to leave.

 

This Indian Guide turning on them, took aim at them (which one is a guess) and missed.

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Gist wanted to kill him.

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Compare Major Washington’s diary with Christopher Gist’s diary of  that incident. See below.

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TIMELINE GOING HOME

It’s one thing after another.

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After delivering the message to the French to leave,  they begin their return home.  They get shot at.

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The next day, Major Washington falls into the icy river.  Gist has frostbite. They camp over night on a frozen island, so that the next day they can walk across the ice on the river back to shore.  And then they meet a lot of Indians who are scared they are going to be blamed for a massacre nearby.

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wt-painting

27 Dec 1753

Just a Shot Away !

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Their Indian guide fired  a shot at  Major Washington east of today’s Evans City, but missed.   This place takes notice  of that missed shot by the Indian in Fombell Days.

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THE MOVIE

WASHINGTON’S ARMOR

 

This picture is a famous moment in both Washington’s and Christopher Gist’s diaries.

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http://www.washingtonsarmor.com/

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Washington and Gist and Indian guide are heading back home after delivering message to the French.

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That’s Gist wanting to kill the Indian for shooting at them.

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We will edit some of the copy issues below, so please click on links provided.

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Washington’s version top of Page 26

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Then with Gun in Hand and Pack at my Back, in which were my Papers and Provifions, I set-out with Mr. Gist fitted in the fame Manner, on Wednesday the 26th. The Day following, just after we had palled a Place called the Murdering-Town (where we intended to quit the Path, and steer across the Country for Shannapins Town}

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The Shot

we fell-in with a Party of French Indians, who had lain in Wait for us.  One of them fired at Mr. Gist or me, not 15 Steps off, but fortunately missed. We took this Fellow into Custody, and kept him till about 9 o’Clcck at Night : Then let him go, and walked all the remaining Part of the Night without making any Stop ; that we might get the Start, so far, as to be out of the Eeach of their Pursuit the next Day, since we were well assured they would follow our Tract as soon as it was light.

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The next Day we continued travelling till quite dark, and got to the River about two Miles above Shannapins.

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Falling into Icy River

We expected to have found the River frozen, but it was not, only about 50 Yards from each Shore : The Ice I suppose had broken up above, for it was driving in vast Quantities. There was no Way for getting over but on a Raft : Which we-set about, v/ith but one poor Hatchet, and finifhed jufl after Sun-fetting. This was a whole Day’s Work : we next got it launched, and went on Board of it : Then fet-ofF. But before we were Half Way over, we were jammed in the Ice, in fuch a Manner that we expected every Moment our Raft to fmk, and ourfelves to perifh. I put-out my fetting Pole to try to flop the Raft, that the Ice mjight pafs by ; when the Rapidity of the Stream threw it with fo fo much Violence againft the Pole, that it j irked me out into ten Feet Water : But I fortunately faved myfelf by catching hold of one of the Raft Logs. Notwithilanding all our Efforts vv’e could not get the Raft to either Shore ; but were obliged, as we were near an Ifland, to quit our Raft and make to i^ The Cold was fo extremely fevere, that Mr. Gift had all his Fingers, and fome of his Toes frozen ; and the Water was fhut up fo hard, that we found no Difficulty in gctting-off the Illand, on the Ice, in the Morning,

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Fraser’s Cabin and a Massacre

and went to Mr. Frazier’s, We met here with 20 Warriors who were going to the South- ward to War : But coming to a Place upon the Head of the great Kunnaway^ v/here they found feven People killed and fcalped (all but one Woman with very light Hair) they turned about and ran back for Fear the Inhabitants fhould rife and take them as the Authors of the Murder. They report that the Bodies were lying about the Houfe, and fome of them much torn and eaten by Hogs : By the Marks which were left, they fay they were French Indians of the Oz/cw^Ty Nation, &c. who did it.

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Source

https://archive.org/stream/journalofmajorge00wash#page/26/mode/2up

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Gist’s version, 3/4 way down on Page 85

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Thursday 27. —

We rose early in the morning, and set out about two o’clock. Got to the Murthering town, on the southeast fork of Beaver creek. Here we met with an Indian, whom I thought I had seen at Joncaire’s, at Venango, when on our journey up to the French fort. This fellow called me by my Indian name, and pretended to be glad to see me. Heasked us several questions, as how we came to travel on foot, when we left Venango, where we parted with our horses, and when they would be there, etc. Major Washington insisted on travelling on the nearest way to forks of Alleghany. We asked the Indian if he could go with us, and show us the nearest way. The Indian seemed very glad and ready to go with us. Upon which we set out, and the Indian took the Major’s pack. We travelled very brisk for eight or ten miles, when the Major’s feet grew very sore, and he very weary, and the Indian steered too much north-eastwardly. The Major desired to encamp, to which the Indian asked to carry his gun. But he refused that, and then the Indian grew churlish, and pressed us to keep on, telling us that there were Ottawa Indians in these woods, and they would scalp us if we lay out ; but to go to his cabin, and we should be safe. I thought very ill of the fellow, but did not care to let the Major know I mistrusted him. But he soon mistrusted him as much as I. He said he could hear a gun to his cabin, and steered us more northwardly. We grew uneasy, and then he said two whoops might be heard to his cabin. We went two miles further ; then the Major said he would stay at the next water, and we desired the Indian to stop at the next water. But before we came to water, we came to a clear meadow ; it was very light, and snow on the ground. The Indian made a stop, turned about ; the Major saw him point his gun toward us and fire. Said the Major, ” Are you shot? ” ” No,” said I. Upon which the Indian ran forward to a big standing white oak, and to loading his gun ; but we were soon with him. I would have killed him ; but the Major would not suffer me to kill him. We let him charge his gun ; we found he put in a ball ; then we took care of him. The Major or I always stood by the guns; we made him make a fire for us by a little run, as if we intended to sleep there. I said to the Major, ” As you will not have him killed, we must get him away, and then we must travel all night.” Upon which I said to the Indian, ” I suppose you were lost, and fired your gun.” He said, he knew the way to his cabin, and ’twas but a little way. “Well,” said I, ” do you go home ; and as we are much tired, we will follow your track in the morning ; and here is a cake of bread for you, and you must give us meat in the morning.” He was glad to get away. I followed him, and listened until he was fairly out of the way, and then we set out about half a mile, when we made a fire, set our compass, and fixed our course, and travelled all night, and in the morning we were on the head of Piney creek.

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Friday 28. —

We travelled all the next day down the said creek, and just at night found some tracks where Indians had been hunting. We parted, and appointed a place a distance off, where to meet, it being then dark. We encamped, and thought ourselves safe enough to sleep.

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Saturday 29. —

We set out early, got to Alleghany, made a raft, and with much difficulty got over to an island, alittle above Shannopin’s town. The Major having fallen in from off the raft, and my fingers frost-bitten, and the sun down, and very cold, we contented ourselves to encamp upon that island. It was deep water between us and the shore ; but the cold did us some service, for in the morning it was frozen hard enough for us to pass over on the ice.

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Sunday 30. —

We set out about ten miles to John Frazier’s, at Turtle creek, and rested that evening.

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Monday 31. —

Next day we waited on queen Aliquippa, who lives now at the mouth of Youghiogany. She said she would never go down to the river Alleghany to live, except the English built a fort, and then she would go and live there.

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Tuesday January i, 1754. —

We set out from John Frazier’s and at night encamped at Jacob’s cabins.

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https://archive.org/stream/christophergists00gistuoft#page/92/mode/2up

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The Movie series: See Washington’s Armor

http://www.washingtonsarmor.com/

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Touch or Click to Enlarge. Painting by Carl Rakeman.

Washington falls

in an icy river.

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He and Gist stay

overnight on an island.

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In the morning

the ice forms a bridge

from the island to the shore.

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Gist loses some toes to frostbite.

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From George Washington’s Journal:

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 Mr. Gist got all his Fingers, & some of his Toes Froze, & the Water was shut up so hard, that We found no Difficulty in getting off the Island on the Ice in the Morning, & went to Mr. Frazers.

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We met here with 20 Warriors that had been going to the Southward to War, but coming to a Place upon the Head of the Great Cunnaway, where they found People kill’d & Scalpt, all but one Woman with very Light Hair, they turn’d about; & ran back, for fear of the Inhabitants rising & takeing them as the Authors of the Murder:

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They report that the People were lying about the House, & some of them much torn & eat by Hogs; by the Marks that were left, they say they were French Indians of the Ottaway Nation, &ca. that did it.

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December 31, 1753

Meeting

Queen Alliquippa.

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See Washington’s journal:

“I went up about 3 Miles

to the Mouth of Yaughyaughgane

to visit Queen Aliquippa, (See footnote 64 ) 

who had express’d great Concern

that we pass’d her in going to the Fort.

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I made her a Present of a Match Coat; & a Bottle of rum, which was thought much the best Present of the two.”

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GuyasutaGuyasuta (c.1725–c.1794) was an important leader of the Seneca was on this trip with Washington.

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This statue was dedicated in 2006 at Emerald View Park (formerly called Grand View Scenic Byway Park) which overlooks the 3 rivers, Ohio, Monongahela, Allegheny. Navigate with mouse or touch screen around this statue.

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INTERIM BETWEEN THE 2 JOURNEYS

17 January 1754 to 30 March 1754

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January 16, 1754

 Washington arrives  in Williamsburg.  Lt Gov Dinwiddie immediately asks him to prepare a written report for the House of Burgesses.  Washington reports to Dinwiddie that the French intended to stay.

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Source – Douglas Southall Freeman, George Washington: A Biography, Young Washington, vol. 1, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1948, page 338.

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January 17, 1754

Preface to the Journal Major George Washington wrote:  “There intervened but one Day between my Arrival in Williamsburg, and the Time for the Council’s Meeting, for me to prepare and transcribe, from the rough Minutes I had taken in my Travels, this Journal;”

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January 21, 1754

The French Commander’s letter given to Major Washington, Adjutant of the Southern Dept, is printed in the Council to the Governor’s minutes.  A translation is also printed here.  — Source is the upper chamber, The Council to the Governor, pages 458-460.

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14 Feb 1754

Dinwiddie cuts short the recess.  He calls a new session of  the House of Burgesses.  He gives a spirited address to the House of Burgesses about the French Threat and about George Washington’s findings.

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15 Feb. 1754

Washington’s journal was delivered to the House of Burgesses,

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21 Feb 1754

The burgesses voted the sum of £50 to George Washington.  But  before voting on money for Washington, a knife stabbing needed to be taken care of.  See Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1752-1755, page 182, Thursday 21 February 1754 (babel.hathitrust.org)

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The journal was printed in various colonial newspapers.

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21 & 28 Mar. 1754  

Maryland. Gazette  and here

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16 April–21 May 1754

Boston Gazette

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And New York Mercury,

Pennsylvania Gazette and

South-Carolina Gazette

 discussed here.

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A British edition was issued in London later that same year, for which Washington sent materials for the preparation of a map.

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June 1754

The first British edition was printed by Thomas Jefferys, an engraver from England’s Board of Trade,  appearing with a map not included in the Williamsburg printing.  See Mount Vernon link for source.

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Founders Online review of interim leading up to this 2nd journey

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February-March 1754

letter from Washington to Corbin, Royal Council member: “…you gave me some room to hope for a commission above that of a Major, and to be ranked among the chief officers of this expedition…”

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20 March 1754  

Lieutenant Colonel’s commission from Dinwiddie

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