Washington on His Way to Pittsburg


Washington on His Way to Pittsburg


William Stott
American, active c. 1845-1853
Published by R. Magee, Philadelphia.


circa 1850


George Washington was a great favorite with nineteenth-century printmakers. Most often he was depicted in the roles that endeared him to the American people: as a general in the Revolutionary War, as the first president of the United States, or as a retired statesman. This lithograph is unusual in that is shows a young Washington in the days that led up to the French and Indian War (though the title is a bit misleading, since at the time of this particular journey Pittsburgh didn’t yet exist).

On October 3, 1753, Robert Dinwiddie, British governor of the colony of Virginia, sent Washington, then a major in the militia, on a mission to Fort LeBoeuf, a French settlement just south of current day Erie, PA, in order to convey British concerns regarding French incursions into western Pennsylvania. Arriving at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers along the way, Washington noted in his journal that the location was “extremely well situated for a Fort.” The French thought so as well, and the following spring constructed Fort Duquesne on the site, in time for the beginning of the French and Indian War. Four years later, the French were forced to abandon the fort, and when the British took possession of the area, they built a more substantial fortification, which they called Fort Pitt.

Adapted from the entry written by Judith Hansen O’Toole for the 1980 Pennsylvania Prints exhibition catalogue.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager




John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager Collection, Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University


This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Lithograph with hand coloring; 16-1/16 x 11-7/8 in. (40.8 x 30.2 cm)