Posted by: Kordite
N 39° 57.299 W 079° 39.098
17S E 615173 N 4423631
Quick Description: Market on U.S. 119, 4.5 miles SW of Connellsville
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 8/25/2006 7:08:11 PM
Waymark Code: WMNCH
The marker reads: "Christopher Gist, Ohio Company surveyor who went to Fort Le Boeuf with Washington, settled here, 1753. At this point Washington halted his 1754 campaign and retreated to Fort Necessity. The pursuing French destroyed the plantation."
Born in 1706 in Baltimore, Maryland, little is known about his younger years. Gist is thought to have had little formal education, though it is believed that he received training as a surveyor, more than likely from his father Richard Gist who helped plot the city of Baltimore. By 1750 Gist had settled in northern North Carolina, near the Yadkin River, where one of his neighbors was the noted frontiersman Daniel Boone. During that same year the Ohio Company chose Gist to explore the country of the Ohio River as far as the Louisville area. That winter Gist mapped the Ohio countryside between the Lenape (Delaware) village of Shannopin's Town, site of present day Pittsburgh, to the Great Miami River in present-day western Ohio. There he crossed into Kentucky and eventually returned to his home along the Yadkin.
When he returned to North Carolina, he found that his family had fled to Roanoke, Virginia, because of Indian attacks. He rejoined them but went west again in the summer of 1751 to explore the Pennsylvania and western Virginia, now present day West Virginia, country south of the Ohio River.
In 1753 Gist would once again return to the Ohio Country, this time accompanied by George Washington. Robert Dinwiddie, the governor of Virginia, sent Washington to Fort Le Boeuf in order to deliver a message to the French demanding that they leave the Ohio Country. (The French were constructing forts in the Ohio Country to prevent the British colonies from expanding there; they would ignore Dinwiddie's letter.) Washington took Gist along as his guide; during the trip Gist earned his place in history by saving the young Washington's life on two separate occasions.
In 1754, Washington, Gist, and a detachment of Virginia militia attempted to drive the French from the region. The French soundly defeated the Virginians at the Battle of Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754. The French and Indian War had begun. At this time Gist owned land near the present city of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, which he called Gist's Plantation and began to build a town there. Unfortunately, the French burned all the buildings at the outset of the war.
Gist also was present the next year when the French and their native allies defeated the Braddock Expedition. After this Gist traveled into Tennessee, meeting with various native groups in order to seek their support during the war. His whereabouts during the final years of the war are uncertain. It is said that the summer of 1759 he contracted smallpox and died in Virginia, South Carolina, or Georgia.
Marker Name: Gist's Plantation
Date Dedicated: 01/01/1948
Marker Type: City
Location: U.S. 119, 4.5 miles SW of Connellsville
Category: Military, French & Indian War, George Washington
Website: Not listed
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