Several locations in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area were critical in helping shape America. They're closely connected to the events leading up to and including the American Revolution in 1776 and the next several years that solidified the authority of the new U.S. federal government, and up through the Civil War, WWI and WWII. George Washington played a prominent part in the history of this area.

Jumonville Glen, Fayette County where George Washington first fought the French: one American was killed, two or three were wounded.

Braddock's Crossing, Allegheny County in south Pittsburgh is where Gen. Braddock tried to drive the French from Ft. Duquesne, located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. Gen. Braddock was wounded and died a few days later. One of Pittsburgh's main streets, Braddock Avenue, is named after him. (Click on these photos to see them full-size.)

Ft. Pitt, Allegheny County, this fort, which replaced Ft. Duquesne after it was destroyed by the French, was fought over by the British led by George Washington against the French. He was granted 3,000 acres in the area for leading this campaign and defeating the French. This gave the United States control of the waterways from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hanna's Town, Westmoreland County where the "Hanna's Town Resolves" - one of the most direct challenges to British authority preceding the Declaration of Independence - were written and signed here in May, 1775.

Depreciation Lands Museum & Park, Allegheny County is a live-acting narration of the place where 720,000 acres were set aside to compensate the veterans of the Revolutionary War. It is named "Depreciation" because the early U.S. currency had depriciated so much that it was nearly worthless, so the veterans were compensated with land instead of money.

Gen. Richard Butler War Memorial, Butler County An Irish-born gunsmith, Richard Butler rose from Captain, fighting in Butler County during the Revolutionary War, to Major General when he was killed fighting the Miami Indians at Ft. Recovery, Ohio.

The Bradford House, Washington County - David Bradford, deputy attorney general of Washington County, led the Whiskey Rebellion against Federal taxing of locally produced whiskey. He fled to Louisiana to avoid arrest.

Elizabeth Borough, Allegheny County - Locals claim this is the town where the boat was built that Lewis and Clark used for their expedition to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

Pittsburgh’s Black History - Several Black Americans fought with Gen. Braddock prior to the 1776 American Revolution, and on March 1, 1780, the Pennsylvania Assembly passed “An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery,” which deemed that no child born in Pennsylvania could be a slave. During the Civil War a total of 8,600 Black Pennsylvanians fought for the Union.

Some of my ancestors were involved in the anti-slavery movement: James Duane Doty, Territorial Governor of the Wisconsin Territory, is my great-great-great uncle. Rev. Nicholas Richards, my great-grandfather, a Methodist pastor in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, manned one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad. Susan B. Anthony, my great-great aunt, was a leader of the abolitionists, and after the Emancipation Proclamation she became the leader of the women's sufferage movement. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, my ancestor, led the Union Army and later became president. Gen.William T. Sherman, another ancestor, led the Union troops to capture Atlanta. My wife and I live and minister among predominantly Afro-American population in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.

Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh - Cannons, ammunition, cladding for Union warships, uniforms and other equipment for Union troops were manufactured here. On Sep. 17, 1862, an explosion at the arsenal killed dozens, including many child laborers. It was the worst civilian disaster of the Civil War.

And here's Pittsburgh today - This is the most bridged city in the world: over 200 bridges in the Pittsburgh area. Look closely, and you can see seven of them! (Click on it to see it full-size.)