stockade of Fort Duquesne first cast its shadows on the spot. Of
this place a local historian, Neville B. Craig, fittingly writes:
"Great Britain, France, and Great Britain again, Virginia, the United
States, and Pennsylvania again, have each in turn exercised sovereignty
here. Twice it (Fort Duquesne) has been captured in war; first by
Contrecœur in 1754, and by Forbes in 1758. Once besieged by
Indians in 1763, once blown up and
burned by the French in 1758, it was the field of controversy
between neighboring states in 1774, and finally of the civil war
('Whiskey Insurrection') in 1794."
To-day the redoubt, or "block-house,"
built by Colonel Bouquet in 1764 still exists. In its weather-beaten
logs are seen the peculiar openings through which were pointed the
flint-locks of the beleaguered ones long ago. Pigeon flutter about
this quaint building, whose surroundings are Milesian rather than
aboriginal. Mrs. Lee is a lady with a sunset tint in her hair, and
the quickness of temper that usually accompanies capillary ruddiness.
"A quaint old building this," remarks
the stranger at the portals of Pittsburgh's oldest house.
"If it's acquainted wid this house ye
are, I wud be axin' yez for why I am payin' the sum of foive dollars
the month's rint for the same, an' bud the two rooms of it, an the
lady kapin' shtore on the flure below, an' payin' only the thriflin'
sum of four dollars, an' she wid a fine big room."
"This volley from the ancient redoubt
failing to disclose a foe, a lull ensued, explanations followed,
and Mrs. Lee and her brood of little ones and the fluttering pigeons
were left in quiet possession of the block-house of departed Duquesne.