Duquesnes Gold Cache

Gypsy Heart

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Nov 29, 2005
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Duquesne's Gold Cache

A Short History of Duquesne, Pa. by Mary Zella Butler, September, 1959


"From the dense forest, intermingled here and there with swamp and thicket, has risen a municipality of stability and grandeur; a municipality whose praises are being sounded in the ears of the civilized world, "Duquesne". Its rise has not been characterised by the use of mushroom advertising of the schemes of land speculators. It has been a steady, even growth. The history of Duquesne is closely allied with that of Allegheny County and a review of its rise will necessarily contain much that had to do with the early development of the community about the junction of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers.

Among the aborigines Duquesne was probably that tribe of Indians known as the "Talligewe" who were succeeded by the "Lenni Lenape" or Delaware Indians. The latter were in turn succeeded by the "Five Nations", the strongest of the Indian tribes. Among the proofs of the existence of the aborigines in present city of Duquesne were tow mounds evidently built during the early part of the eighteenth century by the Mound Builders. They were located near the corner of River Avenue and Peach Alley and were about twelve feet high and about forty feet in diameter. The outline of the mounds could be seen until the town was well established and quite a number of Indian relics, such as bones and arrowheads, have been dug up at different times. Indian burying grounds were established near the north end of the Monongahela railway bridge over Oliver Hollow and on the McElheny Farm.

In stories of the early days, handed down by word of mouth through generations there is a tale that the Indians called the ground from the present McKeesport Bridge to the Homestead Junction "The Lodge" and gathered from far and near every summer to enjoy the cool breezes along the river. Another story goes on to relate that General Braddock, on the night before his defeat at the hands of the French and Indians, rowed across the river and buried a chest of gold pieces somewhere in the Duquesne area. The day of the Battle of Braddock was to have been payday for the English soldiers and Braddock feared that if they were paid before the battle the soldiers would find some whiskey and be in no condition for the coming skirmish. The chest was never found although people dug for it even as late as 1890.
 

Tubecity

Bronze Member
Mar 11, 2007
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Good post. Queen Alliquippa's village of Delaware or Seneca Indians was located up-river from the present
town of Duquesne. The main village was at the confluence where the Youghiegheny river flows into the
larger Monongahela river, this is nearly the center of the city of Mc Keesport & was reported on when
Washington visited here in 1754 (?). There is an area, about 1 mile from my home that was listed as Braddock's
last encampment before the battle, for years there was a historical marker stating this. I still wonder why this
army crossed the Mon river only to recross back to the McKeesport side. McKeesport is located on the same side
of the river as both Braddock (where the battle took place) & Pittsburgh (down river from Braddock) where the
French fort was located at the conflunce of the Allegeny & Monongahela. The only reason I can see for this double
crossing would be the deep valley where the Westinghouse Bridge crosses today. Some rumors say Braddock's
payroll was buried inside a cannon barrel, others say it was buried near their last camp (McKeesport) ,while others
believe it was hidden back up the trail in present day Westmoreland or Fayette counties. Also on a bluff overlooking
the Mon river across from Duquesne is a plaque marking Queen Alliquippa's final resting place, now known as
McKeesport's Highland Grove section. (This area has another place in history as being the center of the fight to win
the survival of America's emergence in the tin-plate industry in the late 1800's. Cronemeyer battled the gov't. &
saved this industry that began here, his home still stands on Bowman Ave. This area was once called, Tin Plate Hill.)
 

fng68

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Nov 5, 2004
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Gypsy Heart,

I've often wondered about that story and if Braddock had hidden the loot in the hollow near Kennywood or further up towards McKeesport.
There are so many places to hide such a treasure.If I were to bury something like that, I would do so by something which I could remember or someone
who I sent could easily find.

Tubecity,

Would that village be in the 10th Ward area.I sure wish I had a detector when I was a kid and traveling all over the bush in that neck of the woods.
I wonder if the old Balkin Hotel on top of the hill past the Elephant is still there?That's gotta be good hunting, all the picnics there.There are so many places around there to hunt.
Kennywood parking lot had a racetrack that I just remember,now it's all covered.This hobby we have can be so interesting,and I for one really love it.I am mostly a coin shooter,but am considering giving relics a try.The whole Mon Valley is steeped in history. I now live well north of PGH and have many new "old"
areas to explore.There used to be the old Park in the Donora area I'd like to try also.So many places, so little time.
 

Tubecity

Bronze Member
Mar 11, 2007
1,000
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

fng68, all I have read is that her village was on the present daysite of McKeesport & as you know 10th Ward or
the area where the National Tube plant was would be about the only level areas at the 'point' for a large village
to be. It was said Queen Alliquippa had sentries posted on the hills up & down the rivers to watch for danger.
Knowing these high hills, it was unlikely anyone could approach them without being seen. The Balkin Hotel is
still standing, although the woman(can't remember her name) that owned it all my life died not too many years
ago. Years back she showed me the old original papers on that building. I can't remember the exact date, but I
think that place was built in the early 1800's. She did tell me the stone walls are over 3 feet thick & it was built
like a fort to defend against Indian attacks. The big grove area behind the hotel is now a bunch of $200,000 plus
dollar homes, they were built there less than 10 years ago. Not change for good as I see it. If you remember the
area, the historic sign marking Braddocks last camp was on the bend on O'Neil Blvd. past the entrance to Penn
State, it was exactly where the Double G car wash is today. Behind there is the Fawcett Plan ball field. And the
road leading from there down towards 5th Ave. & the river is called Camp St. Must be a reason for that name.
 

davew0710

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Oct 3, 2008
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Another story goes on to relate that General Braddock, on the night before his defeat at the hands of the French and Indians, rowed across the river and buried a chest of gold pieces somewhere in the Duquesne area. The day of the Battle of Braddock was to have been payday for the English soldiers and Braddock feared that if they were paid before the battle the soldiers would find some whiskey
[/quote]

This would be pretty good planning since Braddock was taken by surprise by the French. Also, where would the troops find whiskey in the middle of the wilderness.

There was a newspaper article form the late 1800's stating that someone digging a basement in Braddock uncovered a chest that held $700,000.00 in gold. Never could find a follow up to that story though. There are many stories of Braddock's gold being buried in many different places along his retreat route. I find it hard to believe that Braddock would bury his gold before the battle since he believed he was going to march right into Pittsburgh and drive the French out because of his much larger and better equipped force.
Has anyone have any information on where the French spent the winter after being forced out of Pittsburgh in 1758? I understand they had a small fort north of Pittsburgh that some of the force used until they could make the march north in the spring of 59.
 

Tubecity

Bronze Member
Mar 11, 2007
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Like always they had their ways. One book said Queen Alliquippa was slighted when Washington
came thru this area on his first trio & did not stop to visit & pay respects. On his second visit he
stopped at her village & supposedly presented Queen Alliquippa with 2 gifts, one was a huge
great-coat & the other was a jug of rum, which was later reported she greatly preferred the
latter gift over the former.
 

davew0710

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Oct 3, 2008
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Tubecity said:
presented Queen Alliquippa with 2 gifts, one was a huge
great-coat & the other was a jug of rum, which was later reported she greatly preferred the
latter gift over the former.

Of course, a coat can only keep you warm. Rum will get you drunk AND keep you waqrm....smart lady :tongue3:
 

Tubecity

Bronze Member
Mar 11, 2007
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Supposedly Queen Alliquippa gave permission to a man named Frazier to settle right below McKeesport where Turtle Creek
flowed into the Monongahela River. He was said to be the first white settler here. Unsure if he was here when the battle
at Braddock's field took place. Also the present day mouth of that creek is now 1000 yards or so south or upstream from
it's original course. It was moved many years ago during expansion at US Steel's , Edgar Thompson plant.
And yes, the Mon does flow north.
 

davew0710

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Oct 3, 2008
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Re: Duquesne's Gold Cache

Tubecity said:
Supposedly Queen Alliquippa gave permission to a man named Frazier to settle right below McKeesport where Turtle Creek
flowed into the Monongahela River. He was said to be the first white settler here. Unsure if he was here when the battle
at Braddock's field took place.

Frazier was kicked out by the French when they established their fort at the point. All of the English settlers in the area were pushed out as well. Frazier was an early trader. is cabin site sits under about 15 feet of fill material but in when the mill expanded.
 

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