History,  Western Pennsylvania

So Many Questions . . .

What ghost stories exist for Elliott’s, the Old Stone Tavern in Pittsburgh’s West End Village?

I read about Elliott’s in two historical novels: “The King’s Orchard” and “The Day Must Dawn” by (Western PA native) Agnes Sligh Turnbull. Mary Schenley’s grandfather James O’Hara lived in the inn section of Elliott’s when he first arrived at Fort Pitt in the 1770’s. The commanders of the failed “Squaw Campaign” of 1778 sat in Elliott’s pub after they captured (and killed) several Native American women because the tribe’s men were all out hunting. George Rogers Clark raised part of his forces for his Revolutionary War victories at Elliott’s.

On August 18, Pittburgh’s Tribune-Review included this article: “Nonprofit intends to restore West End Village tavern” by Bob Bauder. ” I learned that the Pittsburgh’s Old Stone Tavern Friends Trust Inc. wants to preserve the tavern that was known in the 1700’s as Elliott’s. The article included a list of prominent citizens who had accounts in the tavern ledger from 1793-97. The trust want to save the tavern so that we, too, can drink there.

I have so many questions after reading this article, including:

Where did Simon Girty like to perch at Elliott’s? Girty was a trader at Fort Pitt and he knew the prominent merchants of the 1770’s. I would assume that he frequented Elliott’s, then.

Did Girty meet with the British agents for a drink at Elliott’s before he defected during the Revolutionary War? I would totally grab a drink in the bar where Simon Girty switched sides.

Where did Colonel William Crawford settle for one final drink at Elliott’s before his capture and execution (he was burned alive at the stake) in Ohio? What did he order?

What would O’Hara, one of Pittsburgh’s first businessmen, think about this business of preserving the tavern? Would he laugh and call the supporters a bunch of dreamers? He took a big risk when he started his salt shipping business, and took another one when he built Pittsburgh’s first glass factory.

Did bootleggers use Elliott’s as a speakeasy during Prohibition? The Trib article indicated that the building ran as a tavern from the 1700’s until 2008.

Did Turnbull visit Elliott’s for a good stiff drink while she wrote?  Did she sit at the cool bar and write her first draft for a scene at Elliott’s? When she included Simon Girty as a character in “The Day Must Dawn,” did she wonder about the location of Girty’s favorite seat? Did she wonder what Colonel Crawford ordered for his final drink before his army marched to defeat?

Will Turnbull’s ghost visit me some day as I sit at the bar in Elliott’s?

What future novels will Elliott’s inspire?