Mt. Washington Tavern
This is a 'must-see' that I didn't see. I climbed part of the way up the trail (see warnings) and took this picture. The Tavern is part of the Ft. Necessity 'complex' (which includes Braddock's Grave and Jumonville Glen in addition to Ft. Necessity) and was being opened by the park ranger at 10:00 for a program.
Mount Washington Tavern was one of many taverns located along the National Road, which was the first highway built by the Federal government. It was a brick and stone building - built about 1828,which was during the heyday of the National Road.
James and Rebecca Sampey and their family owned and operated the Mount Washington Tavern which catered to the stagecoach clientele and was serviced by the Good Intent Stagecoach Line.
This tavern owes its name to George Washington, who returned 15 years after the Ft. Necessity battle to purchase the land which he owned until his death in 1799.
Prosperity along the National Road came to an end with the coming of the railroad. In 1855 the executors of the James Sampey estate sold the Mount Washington properties to Godfrey Fazenbaker who lived in the Tavern for over 75 years.
The Tavern now has a Barroom, Parlour, Dining Room, Kitchen and some bedrooms open to the public. The original kitchen would have been in the basement, and there would have been more sleeping area in the attics which are now principally used for storage. It is furnished to show how it may have appeared during the1828-1855 timeframe.
The Mount Washington Tavern is open for tours only. Tours are given at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. and by special arrangement for educational and tour groups. Tour times times change seasonally, so please check at the visitor center. A paved parking lot is available at the Tavern for those who do not wish to walk up the hill. No rest rooms are available in the Tavern.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
The original National Road, begun in 1811, ran from Cumberland, Maryland through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois to Vandalia, Indiana. In 1824 the National Pike was extended east from Cumberland to Baltimore.
At its peak, the road stretched 620 miles between the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and far beyond. At one time plans were made to continue the road slightly farther to connect to the Mississippi River.
General Braddock's Grave
There is a small outlying portion of Fort Necessity National Battlefield marking General Edward Braddock's grave site. He was mortally wounded near the Monongahela River, but reached this point before his death. A plaque along the road, marking this small park reads:
Gen. Edward Braddock was buried here in 1755, after his disastrous defeat and death. The site of his original grave, the new grave to which his remains were moved in 1804, and a trace of the Braddock Road may be seen here.
Braddock was originally buried in the Braddock Road just a few steps away from the monument marking his present grave. This sign reads:
This tablet marks the spot where Major-General Edward Braddock was buried, July 14th, 1755. His remains were removed in 1804 to the site of the present monument.
While Braddock's body was moved to the present site in 1804, the tomb at Braddock's Grave was not erected until 1913. The bronze plaque on the front of the monument reads:
Here lieth the remains of Major General Edward Braddock who, in command of the 44th and 48th regiments of English Regulars, was mortally wounded in an engagement with the French and Indians under the command of Captain M. de Beaujeu at the Battle of Monongahela within ten miles of Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburg, July 9, 1755. He was borne back with the retreating army to the Old Orchard Camp about one fourth of a mile west of this park where he died July 13, 1775. Lieutenant Colonel George Washington read the Burial Service at the grave.
A National Park sign near the monument explains more about his unusual grave in the road:
Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock—commander-in-chief of British forces in North America—traveled over the road trace below on June 25, 1755. Marching north with his 2,400-man army, the 60-year-old Braddock was under orders to capture Fort Duquesne and force the French from the Upper Ohio Valley.
However, disaster struck a few miles from Fort Duquesne on July 9. There they collided with about 200 French and 600 Indians. Disorganization and fear seized the British as they suffered about 900 casualties—more than half killed—out of 1,400 engaged. Braddock himself was mortally wounded.
On July 13, the British camped near here and Braddock died that night. He was buried under the road, in an unmarked grave to keep it from being disturbed by Indians. In 1804, workmen repairing this section of the Braddock Road discovered what is believed to be Braddock's original gravesite just downhill to the left. His remains were then reinterred on this hill, and the granite monument was added in 1913 to mark the grave.
The Battle of Jumonville Glen, May 28, 1754, pitted a small force of Virginians under Colonel George Washington against an equally tiny force of about 50 French soldiers led by Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. This surprise attack and clear victory by Washington marked the opening clash of the French and Indian War as well as the greater Seven Years War.
The battle took place at a French encampment around 6am when Washington's men surrounded and surprised the French. Some 10 or 12 French were killed and about 20 were captured, while Washington's men suffered just one killed. Shortly after the battle ended, Jumonville, the French commander, was executed by one of Washington's Indian allies, igniting the fury of the French. When Washington was defeated a month later at Fort Necessity, he signed surrender papers that stated Jumonville was assassinated (though some argue these surrender papers were in French, Washington could not possibly have understood them).
Jumonville Glen is located about 7.5 miles northwest of Fort Necessity by road. From Fort Necessity, head west on US 40 about 5 miles, then turn right on Jumonville Road. The turnoff to Jumonville Road and the entrance to Jumonville Glen are both marked by large, brown National Park Service signs.
Fort Necessity - the Great Meadows
The Battle of Fort Necessity, also known as the Battle of the Great Meadows, occurred on July 3, 1754 during the French and Indian War when 600 French and Indians defeated George Washington's band of 300 Virginia militia and 100 British regulars. This conflict marked the only time George Washington ever surrendered in battle. The Battle of Fort Necessity, along with the preceding Battle of Jumonville Glen were the opening conflicts in the French and Indian War and the global Seven Years War.
The prelude to the battle and the wars began in 1754 when the French took over a small British outpost at the Forks of the Ohio, now Pittsburgh, and then the French began construction of their own fortifications called Fort Duquesne. Meanwhile Washington's men approached the area and attacked a small band of about 50 French soldiers at an area called Jumonville Glen on May 28, 1754. After the French surrendered, one of Washington's Indian allies executed the French commander named Jumonville.
After the Battle of Jumonville Glen, Washington and his men returned to the Great Meadows and constructed Fort Necessity. Over a month later the French finally arrived and quickly defeated the outnumbered army under Washington. Washington surrendered his army, with terms being that he and his men could return to Virginia. On the 4th of July Washington abandoned the fort and began the march home.
The next year the British sent a larger force under the command of General Braddock to face the French, but Braddock was killed en route to Fort Duquesne, just a mile from Fort Necessity. In 1756 the war in North America expanded and France and Britain declared war on each other, beginning the Seven Years War.
Nearby is Lake Youghiogheny
Youghiogheny River Lake, or Yough Lake, was created by the Army Corps of Engineers' dam at Confluence, PA. The lake is 16 miles long and stretches from southern Pennsylvania into Maryland, with numerous campgrounds and picnic areas, as well as opportunities for boating, hunting and fishing. The dam was built in 1944 as a flood control measure and to create a reservoir.
Braddock's Camps along Braddock's Road
In 1755 British General Edward Braddock led an army from Virginia to confront the French at Fort Duquesne. During his march he created the Braddock Road, remnants of which are still visible in the Pennsylvania woods today.
The state of Pennsylvania has preserved the site of each of his camps with historical markers.
I noticed at least four of these markers during my journey, including Bear Camp, Twelve Springs Camp, Dunbark Camp, and Rock Fort Camp.
Other Monuments at Fort Necessity
Other monuments along US 40 near the battlefield include a monument to local men who fought in the nation's wars, as well as a stone plaque placed marking the Great Meadows.
The Great Meadows plaque reads:
This tablet marks the site of The Great Meadows where Lt. Col. George Washington fought his first battle and made his first and last surrender, July 3-4, 1754.
Placed by The Great Meadows Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Uniontown Pa. 1920
Mount Washington Tavern
Built on land that was once owned by George Washington, the large tavern and inn sits on a hill near the battlefield and close to old Braddock's Road. The tavern was constructed in 1827 by Judge Nathnial Ewing of Uniontown to serve travelers on the National Road. The inn was added a few years later by James Sampey. This was one of numerous important layover points on the new federally funded National Road, that allowed explorers and traders to travel west over the Allegheny Mountains.
The National Park Service purchased the tavern in 1933 and has preserved it as part of the Fort Necessity Battlefield Park.
In 1752 a Delaware Indian guide named Nemacolin helped the Ohio Company of Virginia blaze a narrow trail from Fort Cumberland, Maryland to a trading post on the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. In 1754 Washington expanded the trail into a dirt road just beyond Fort Necessity before his forces were repelled by the French. The next year British Major General Edward Braddock led another expedition to attempt to dislodge the French from Fort Duquesne, but he was mortally wounded at the Monongahela River and died a few days later just a mile from Fort Necessity; he was originally buried in the middle of the road to hide his body. The road Braddock helped create was 12 feet wide to allow the passage of horse-drawn wagons for resupply of his army.
Washignton used the Nemacolin Trail in 1753 when we was sent to order the French out of British territory. In 1754 he again used this trail before and after the Battle of Fort Necessity. Washington again led troops on this road in 1758 as a feint to allow British General John Forbes to surprise the French at Fort Duquesne. In 1784, Washington again ventured on Braddock's Road to visit his property and plan future land transportation routes to the expanding United States.