Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania

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Ohiopyle is a borough (Pennsylvania) in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 77 at the 2000 census. While Ohiopyle has a tiny year-round population, it is often filled with tourists on the weekend, who come take advantage of outdoor recreation. The borough is served by the Uniontown Area School District



Native Americans

The first known group of people to inhabit the Ohiopyle area were the Monongahela, a clan of the Mound Builders. These Native Americans disappeared from the scene just as European colonists were beginning to arrive in North America. As the east coast was settled, the Native Americans who lived closer to the Atlantic Ocean were exterminated or forced to flee to the west. Various tribes inhabited the Ohiopyle area at this time, preceding their ultimate removal following the French and Indian War. One of the few remnants of American Indian culture that can be found in the area is in the name. "Ohiopyle" (Ohio-pile) is thought to have been derived from the American Indian word ohiopehhla which means white frothy water.

French and Indian War

The colonial powers of New France and the British Thirteen Colonies fought for control of the trading routes in the Ohio River Valley in what was at the time the northwestern frontier of America. The French were the first to explore the upper reaches of the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. They built several forts in what is now western Pennsylvania, including Fort Duquesne in what is now Pittsburgh. Fort Duquesne was built on the remains of Fort Prince George which the French had seized from the British. George Washington was sent by the colonial governor of Virginia to try to retake the all-important fort at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. He was on two expeditions that passed through the Ohiopyle area. Washington tried to use the Youghiogheny River as a means to reach Fort Duquesne quickly, but was forced to abandon the river passage by the waterfalls in the Ohiopyle area. Still Washington pressed on to the Pittsburgh area. His troops encountered and routed a small party of French soldiers in the Battle of Jumonville Glen. One of these soldiers escaped to Fort Duquesne. Washington was forced to quickly build a fort to prepare for the oncoming French attack. Fort Necessity is just to the southwest of Ohiopyle State Park. The Colonial forces of Washington were overwhelmed by the French and their Indian allies. The Battle of the Great Meadows at Fort Necessity and the earlier Battle of Jumonville Glen are considered the opening shots of the French and Indian War which would spread to the Old World and become the Seven Years' War. The loss at Fort Necessity marked Washington's only military surrender. The British ultimately won the French and Indian war and the French were forced to leave western Pennsylvania.

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