The Old Stone Tavern in the West End has been dated as likely
existing prior to 1794, and it was a big player in the Whiskey
Rebellion. The tavern was owned by Daniel Elliott who received a patent
for the land it stands on in 1785. However, there is a crude place
on the building where 1752 is carved, and this rasies a question: was it built
prior to Daniel Elliott? This is possibly the oldest
building remaining in Pittsburgh, and also somwhat of a mystery. At the very
least, an Old Stone Tavern journal from Fort Pitt was found at the Carnegie
Library, and it was dated 1794.
Daniel Elliott's oldest son John had one daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth
Elliott married John Moor Snowden, the son of John Maugride Snowden who
was mayor of Pittsburgh from 1825 to 1828. Their son was named John
Elliott Snowden. Michael Shealey, one of the people working to save the
tavern, was able to locate a great, great, great, great grandson of
Daniel Elliott, John Elliott Snowden IV, and he visited Pittsburgh in August of
2009, and he made a video about the tavern.
Text of video presntation by great, great, great, great grandson "John Elliott Snowden IV":
Daniel Elliott - Indian Trader, Soldier, Businessman, Land Speculator, Husband
When Daniel Elliot first came to “the Forks” there was no Pittsburgh,
no Allegheny County and no United States of America! This was all old growth
forest, wide shallow rivers with no flood control dams, and plenty of Indians.
But this is where Daniel Elliott would make his mark later in life.
When I first heard that Daniel Elliott was probably the builder of The
Old Stone Tavern, I was stunned that something so old had survived all these
years! To think we had a building that old, still standing, through all these
changes and 7 generations later. Unbelievable! Fantastic! What else from that
time is still here? Not much. Look down the Ohio at “Old Economy Village” in
Ambridge. When George Rapp brought the Harmonites back to Pennsylvania in 1824,
The Old Stone Tavern was at least 40 years old. As well preserved and historic
as the Old Economy Village is, it does not hold a candle to the historic
significance of The Old Stone Tavern in the West End.
I'm sure my Great-great-great-great grandfather would not recognize the
city that stands at “the forks” today. In his day, there was the fort, a few log
cabins, a few stores, a church or two and more Indians than white men. But more
settlers were on the way, and he was figuring out how to profit from it. When
the Federal government wanted to get the Indians to give up their Pennsylvania
lands, who did they call on for help getting the Indian Chiefs to agree? Daniel
Elliott and his Father-in-law, Col. Alexander Lowery. They spoke the languages
of the tribes involved and had earned their trust by square dealings with them
over 30+ years. Both men had Indian wives and many children with Indian blood.
They had lived among the Native tribes and knew their ways. Both men had served
in the war for independence and fought for freedom from British tyranny. They
were also trusted by the American Government to make a peace that would hold.
The Treaty of Fort McIntosh, which was signed 27 miles down the Ohio from the
Point, is what pushed the Indians to the Northwest Territory, which we know
today as Ohio.
Yes, Daniel Elliott was not as famous as Daniel Boone, but he was a
Pittsburgher. He served his country and his neighbors. He was a friend to the
Native People of the mountains, and he found a way to turn a good profit through
hard work and perseverance. He went from a boy carrying mail for the British
army to an Indian trader to a soldier in the Pennsylvania Militia. Through land
speculation he circumvented laws about how much land you could own in order to
stake a claim twice the size of his neighbors. He built a sawmill, flour mill,
salt works, ferry & toll house, The Old Stone Tavern was that toll house.
Let's save that one little piece that still stands, let us remember our Daniel
Boone, Pittsburgh's Daniel Boone, Daniel Elliott.
Let's save Daniel Elliott's
Old Stone Tavern.
- John Elliott Snowden IV, 2009